By Jerry Okungu
I don’t claim to know Mheshimiwa Ababu Namwamba that personally, but I have read a lot of his political commentaries in the local press in the last five years. The last major theatrical show he put up inside parliament on the day of the grand opening was spectacular and superbly entertaining. I watched it live from my hotel room on CNN in Maputo.
Ababu Namwamba badly needs to cut his teeth pretty early as a fearless democrat in the ninth parliament. To achieve this fete, he has set his eyes beyond the Orange Democratic Movement, the party that took him to parliament. He is busy reaching out to PNU, NARC Kenya, ODM Kenya, KADDU and any other MP that will care to listen to him. He is craving for a grand opposition in parliament along the lines of the grand coalition that has been put together between PNU affiliate parties and Raila Odinga’s ODM.
To achieve his goal, as much as he is prepared to step on every one’s toe that may stand in his way, he has enlisted the support of Cyrus Jirongo of KADDU, Isaac Ruto of ODM, Franklin Bett of ODM and possibly Kiema Kilonzo of ODM Kenya; even though Kilonzo has gone rather quiet of late. In his earlier crusade, he significantly convinced Millicent Odhiambo, an ODM nominated MP to support his cause.
Personally I see nothing wrong with what Ababu Namwamba is doing. Being a politician, there are certain political paths an individual MP is allowed by law and conscience to pursue. One such path is independence of thought, conviction and the pursuit of democratic space in the attainment of a transparent and a just society. In so doing, one is bound to annoy, disobey and even step on other people’s toes.
However, this kind of behavior can only apply in a truly democratic society. It could never happen in Communist Russia, Nyerere’s CCM, Communist China, Moi or Kenyatta’s one party era. Such blatant disregard for authority in the party would have earned him several severe punishments that would include immediate expulsion from the party and parliament.
Now that Ababu Namwamba has chosen the path of confrontational politics right inside his ODM party, what are the likely repucations or backlashes against him? Can he go against the wishes of his party leaders and still survive much longer as a politician?
There are several factors that will determine Namwamba’s failure or success in his current calling. One such factor will depend on his personal popularity back in his constituency. In other words; did the legislator win the election on his own right or did he ride on the popularity of the ODM party that was sweeping across Western and Nyanza provinces? Did he ride on the backs of Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Chris Okemo to win the seat or, could he have done it even as an independent candidate?
Ababu Namwamba reminds me of tragic heroes I have read in William Shakespeare’s plays. In Shakespearean writings, I am reminded of Othello, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar among others. On the African scene, Achebe’s Okonkwo and Ngugi’s Mugo are classic examples of tragic heroes.
They are characters that are headstrong, forceful, pay no attention to other people’s opinion but most of all; are one track-minded in such a way that they are blind to every alternative thought. They get destroyed by their own folly.
If Ababu Namwamba were to come from Nyanza Province, more so Luo Nyanza, I would have invoked for him living examples that have in the past crossed swords with Raila Odinga on the political platform and lived to regret it. Such examples are Joe Donde of Gem, Shem Ochuodho of Rangue, Raphael Tuju of Rarieda, Oloo Aringo of Alego, James Orengo of Ugenya and Anyang Nyong’o of Kisumu East. Others include Otieno Kopiyo of Kasipul Kabondo, Odongo Omamo in Bondo, Dalmas Otieno in Rongo and Dennis Akumu in Nyakach.
These were worthy politicians in their own rights and achievements. They could hold their grounds anywhere locally and internationally.
One only remembers too well when Raila Odinga’s NDP merged with KANU in March 2002 prompting the entire NDP parliamentarians to join the government side in parliament. The only dissenting voice was Dr. Shem Ochuodho of Rangwe who remained seated in the opposition side alongside Kibaki’s official opposition. When the elections came, it didn’t matter that Raila Odinga had joined Kibaki in opposing KANU in the 2002 general elections. Ochuodho was a marked man in Nyanza. Six years down the line, Ochuodho’s political star continues to dim with each passing day.
The only possible reason Ababu Namwamba may survive the onslaught and even squeeze a compromise rather than punishment from Raila is because everything political in Kenya is rather shaky for everybody for now. The coalition is not working as well as envisaged. More importantly, the discontent in Rift Valley for reasons that are obvious to Raila Odinga may force the Prime Minister to tread carefully especially with MPs that have no tribal allegiance to him. Ababu may just invoke the tribal factor and get all Luhyas singing behind him. He may just be the messiah the Luhyas like Jirongo, Kombo and other disgruntled Luhya politicians were waiting for.
Having said that; there is something in Raila Amolo Odinga, which Ababu Namwamba and other ODM rebels may need to know; that Raila Odinga is at his best when faced with a political crisis. Like he always says; never mistake a lion that has been rained on for a cat!
The other reason that may make Ababu Namwamba a tragic hero is because he seems to have been pushed to the forefront by people who have nothing to lose because they have been losers before. The likes of Jirongo, Isaac Ruto and Franklin Bett may be in parliament today by default when in actual sense of the word; they cannot be politicians of substance without god- fathers. These politicians are adept at wheeler- dealing, arm-twisting and blackmailing. That is how Moi brought them up.
They know they cannot convince a single legislator outside or inside parliament; the more reason they have zeroed in on the innocent and more credible Ababu Namwamba.
What I can guarantee Namwamba is that if today Kibaki and Raila woke up to reshuffle the cabinet and included Jirongo and Isaac Ruto in the new lineup, they would deny him three times before the cock crows!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
By Jerry Okungu
Saturday, May 24, 2008
21st May 2008
Dear Citizens and Compatriots:
I greet you all in the name of the Sudan People¢s Liberation Army the (SPLA) on whose day we are celebrating. 25 years ago today your sons and daughters in the towns of Bor, Ayod and Pibor in the Greater Upper Nile State, decisively took a stand against the sectarian and discriminative policies of the traditional political and military juntas that had ruled our country after the colonial powers.
As much as we celebrate this great day, our nation profoundly grieves the sudden and untimely death of our founding Commander in Chief of the SPLA and Chairman of the SPLM, comrade in struggle, friend and brother, John Garang de Mabior, whose leadership ability and capability propelled our liberation struggle both politically and militarily from the bushes of Southern Sudan to most parts of rural Sudan, particularly in Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan and Darfur. Dr. John Garang was a selfless leader who dedicated all his time, energy and finally life for the salvation and freedom of his own people. He will be remembered for the generations to come and beyond.
Dear Citizens and Compatriots:
The coincidence of May 16 celebrations and the SPLM Second National Convention that ended last night in Juba is remarkable in the sense that these two great occasions in our history have a lot in common. The SPLM First National Convention was a turning point in the history of our Movement. In that meeting the birth of the New Sudan was proclaimed. The 1983 Manifesto was revised in line with changing realities within and outside Sudan . Guidelines for peaceful negotiations with the government of the day in Khartoum under the auspices of regional and international meditation were set.
The First National Convention also resolved that military and civilian administration be separated and that resulted in formation of the Civil Authority of the New Sudan (CANS). One year after the First National Convention more than 800 SPLA officers representing all ranks met and adopted plans to transform the SPLA into an organic army.
Dear Citizens and Compatriots:
We owe the relative peace we all enjoy today to our fallen heroes and martyrs, who are not physically with us today to witness this great historic event. This assemblage of fallen heroes and heroines made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the fruits of our struggle. Let me also add the names of two SPLM veterans: Comrade Dominic Dim Deng, Minister of SPLA Affairs and Comrade Justin Yaac Arop who just met their fate, together with their wives and other comrades, in a tragic plane crash while they were engaged in the process of reorganizing SPLM at the grass-root recently. Please, let¢s stand up and observe a minute of silence in their memories!
Although they are not physically with us, they are with us in spirit and will remain in our memories for ever. In order to remember the great sacrifices of our heroes and heroines, and to acknowledge the tremendous contribution made by our gallant SPLA forces, we have declared 16th May as an official national day to be celebrated yearly throughout Southern Sudan .
Our people took up arms in order to end the many years of undemocratic governance, repression, discrimination, and injustice perpetrated by successive regimes in the Sudan . Following its founding in 1983, the SPLM/SPLA leadership called upon all the Sudanese people regardless of their religion, colour, ethnicity or gender to come and join the ranks and file of the Movement to fight for the creation of the New Sudan, a Sudan that will be for all the Sudanese.
I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate our SPLA gallant forces in the various fronts in our country. These achievements are what transcend into the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January, 2005. The CPA has been achieved but the realization of the New Sudan is still a step ahead. However; with the CPA as a vehicle that would carry us to the New Sudan we all are duty bound to work towards a successful implementation of the CPA.
Dear Citizens and Compatriots:
The CPA has brought about real changes to the lives of our people peace now prevails in all parts of Southern Sudan . Though we do acknowledge some insecurity problems including cattle rustling in some parts of Southern Sudan , we are also well aware of the perpetrators, who are responsible for the prevailing insecurity situation in those areas. We are monitoring the situation closely and call upon the authorities in these areas to maintain law and order. We also have asked our people to voluntarily disarm by handing over their fire arms so that neighbours can live in peace and harmony, but whoever does not heed to this peaceful approach, will of course face forceful disarmament.
Of recent late, Juba our capital city is witnessing increasing crimes of burglary and armed robbery in the local hotels and businesses. This is reportedly to be happening at night. As government, we will not tolerate these acts of hooliganism in our society as we are peace-loving people. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government of Central Equatoria State and local authorities in Juba with the help of the SPLA Military Police are hereby directed to see that this does not happen.
Dear Citizens and Compatriots:
The LRA, though is not a Sudanese rebel movement, it has become part and parcel of our security concerns. As you are all aware the Ugandan Peace Talks that were launched two years ago, have been at times progressing and at times dwindling to the dead end.
The last setback was in April when the two parties were ready for the signing ceremony of the Final Ugandan Peace Agreement. Unfortunately Joseph Kony failed to sign the agreement in Ri-Kwanba while H.E. President Yoweri Museveni was ready to append his signature in Juba . Indeed, President Museveni did come on the designated day, only to find that Joseph Kony was not seen in the area designated for him to sign the Agreement. Although we will continue to mediate the Ugandan Peace Talks, we are concerned and we will take all necessary measures to protect our people from the LRA.
Dear Citizens and Compatriots:
As Government of Southern Sudan we are committed to transform SPLA into professional army and that is why substantial resources have been allocated to SPLA. Also in the last Sudan Consortium, your government presented a comprehensive proposal for security sector reform including DDR programme and we expect substantial assistance from the international community.
The Government has recently passed the SPLA White Defence Paper. This White Paper represents a watershed in the development process of a professional defence force for Southern Sudan in particular and Sudan in general. It derived its legitimacy and legal mandate from the provisions of the CPA, the Interim National Constitution and the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan. To that, the White Paper sets out a clear mission for the SPLA, defending the CPA and Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan as its primary mission.
The SPLA will continue to be the people¢s army with strong commitment to defend the people¢s cause in Sudan . On this note, our Government will not only pledge to support the SPLA to contribute towards greater human security but also to ensure that the safety of the people shall be our primary responsibility. Additionally, this Defence White Paper is a big indispensable part of the Security Sector Reform as it commits the Defence Sector in Southern Sudan to ensure human security and to facilitate practical efforts towards good governance of the security sector.
On this regard, we will equally commit efforts for transformation of the other security institutions and the justice system. We will also ensure that Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programmes play an important role in Security Sector Reform, as does the control of small arms and light weapons in order to consolidate the gains from our peace agreement and reduce the threat of armed violence in the society.
In order to fulfil these pledges, I call upon the various leaderships in Southern Sudan in particular, the Sudanese people and the International Community to commit all the necessary requirements and guidance to transform the SPLA into a professional, disciplined, accountable and operationally effective army all under the overarching principle of civil-military control. Such a transformation will not only ensure peace and stability in Sudan but also provide the relevant capabilities for the SPLA to contribute towards regional and international peace and stability.
In conclusion, I would like to assure you that SPLA is not only capable of protecting you, your properties and Southern Sudan, but it is competent to defend your achievements in CPA, particularly the right to self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei, and popular consultation for the people of Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile.
Thanks you and I wish you a happy SPLA Day
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
By Associated Press Team
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton quickly apologized Friday after citing the June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in defending her decision to keep running for the Democratic presidential nomination despite increasingly long odds.
"I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever," the former first lady said.
The episode occurred as Clinton campaigned in advance of the June 3 South Dakota primary.
Responding to a question from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board about calls for her to drop out of the race, she said: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it," she said, dismissing the idea of abandoning the race.
Clinton said she didn't understand why, given this history, some Democrats were calling for her to quit.
Her remark about an assassination during a primary campaign drew a quick response from aides to Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama.
"Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the senator was only referring to her husband and Kennedy "as historical examples of the nominating process going well into the summer and any reading into it beyond that would be inaccurate and outrageous."
She has said much the same thing before. In a March interview with Time magazine, she said: "Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual."
Within a couple hours of the South Dakota remarks drawing attention, Clinton decided to make a personal apology.
"I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns of both my husband and Senator (Robert) Kennedy waged in California in June in 1992 and 1968 and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June. That's a historic fact," she said.
"The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy," she added, referring to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's recent diagnosis of a brain tumor. "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever.
"My view is that we have to look to the past to our leaders who have inspired us, give us a lot to live up to, and I'm honored to hold Senator Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York and have the highest regard for the Kennedy family," she said.
A close Obama ally in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said he accepted her explanation.
"I know Hillary Clinton, and the last thing in the world she'd ever want is to wish misfortune on anybody. She and Barack are friends," Durbin said. "It was ... a careless remark and we'll leave it at that."
In the same editorial board meeting, Clinton said "it is unprecedented in history" for political activists to urge a candidate to withdraw when his or her chances of winning the nomination appear remote. In fact, such events have happened several times.
Three months ago, Republican hopeful Mike Huckabee angered Sen. John McCain by lingering in the GOP race after McCain's nomination seemed all but assured. "Of course I would like for him to withdraw today," McCain said at the time. A McCain campaign memo, which was leaked to the media, said the campaign was being forced to spend money in upcoming primary states merely to avoid being embarrassed by the underfunded Huckabee.
Clinton also said her campaign has had no discussions with Obama's aides about her possibly becoming his vice presidential pick.
"It is flatly untrue and it is not anything I'm entertaining. It is nothing I have planned and it is nothing I am prepared to engage in. I am still vigorously campaigning."
The Obama campaign also dismissed reports that there were talks going on between the two campaigns about putting Clinton on the ticket.
Obama has an almost 200-delegate lead over Clinton and is just 56 delegates short of the number needed to clinch the nomination, making Clinton's goal of catching him more difficult by the day. The primaries end June 3.
Clinton spent the day campaigning in South Dakota, which holds one of two June 3 primaries. At stake are 15 delegates.
Recent reports suggested she may be discussing ways to end her campaign by being offered the vice presidential slot underneath Obama, but she rejected that and said she suspected the talk was coming from Obama aides.
"I would look to the camp of my opponent for the source of these stories," she said. "People have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa."
Two of those recent reports, however, were attributed by CNN and The New York Times to supporters of Clinton.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a staunch Clinton supporter, said Friday that she believes that if Obama becomes the nominee he should select Clinton as his running mate.
"I think as this race has emerged each one of them has garnered a different constituency and different states, and therefore when you put the two of them together it forms, I believe, the strongest ticket," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
"Women feel very strongly about Hillary and African-Americans feel very strongly about Barack, and the election results show that, and the young versus old, the higher educated versus the working person. ... All these things are sort of separated out into one or the other so there is a logic in combining the two constituencies."
Associated Press writer Erica Werner, Charles Babington and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
By Lemi Stephen
Juba, South Sudan
The first democratic exercise ever in south Sudan has just ended with the election of Comrade Salva Kiir as the Chairman. The south is indeed leading the whole country in the process of democratic transformation; though a lot still needs to be done yet they are by-passing Northern Sudan in long strides. National parties in North Sudan as such are not truely democratic or national in the real sense of the word. This is because party leaderships are dominated by either members of one family (modern fuedalism) as in the case of UMMA party of Sadiq Mahdi, National Democratic Alliance of Mohamed Mirghani or purely religious like the National Cogress party of Omer Bashir and the Popular congress party of Dr. Hassen Turabi. None moslems may only be nominal memebers without leadership positions, and those who may have the chance of being offered a poistion will either be stooges or the so call puppets of the real party owners.
It is time the SPLM got rid of ills like tribalism, nepotism and corruption. Otherwise, they have started the real transformation of the country.
Below is the Speech of Comrade Salva Kiir, Chairman of the SPLM
"I would first to congratulate the Convention Organizing Committee (CoC) under the leadership of Comrade James Wani Igga for such a remarkable achievement
I thank also all countries that participated in this Convention as they have shown their solidarity with SPLM during this critical phase of democratic transformation in Sudan .
I would like also to extend my sincere appreciation for the valuable words of encouragement and advice from other political parties with whom we share a national commitment and agenda to realizing peace and stability in Sudan through implementation of CPA, democratic transformation and national reconciliation.
I will not also forget the valuable contribution and advice provided by our elders Molana Abel Alier and Gen. Joseph Lagu.
Above all, I would like to sincerely congratulate each of you for making this Convention a success, Maburuk Alaikum.
2. The Confidence of National Convention and People:
I would like to thank each of you for electing me as Chairperson of SPLM and this clearly shows your confidence in me as the appropriate person to lead you during this critical phase of our struggle. Your trust and confidence in me pose a real challenge on me of how I can live up to your expectations. I want to assure you Comrades that I will not and I shall not let you down.
Let me also seize this opportunity to congratulate each of you for trust you have given to the newly elected members of National Liberation Council and I tell them Maburuk Alaikum. I am committed to work closely with them in making SPLM a credible political party that would bring the real change in the Sudan .
Also for delegates of the National Convention, you have the confidence of our people and each of you has a role to play in making SPLM to be felt at the grass root and to become a true people’s party. Let us return to our community and make the structure of SPLM functional and operational in the state, counties, payams and bomas.
3. My Commitments as SPLM Chairperson
As you have entrusted me to lead this great party, the SPLM, I would like to share with you my personal commitments during my tenure of office:
3.1 No to War Yes for New Sudan :
I am committed, Dear Comrades, to the full implementation of CPA and as I mentioned in most of my speeches that I will not take my people again to war as they have suffered a great deal and they need to lead a peaceful life like other peoples in the world. I call upon each of you to cherish this culture of peace among our communities in all parts of Sudan . Let our people know that SPLM is a party of peace and stability
Despite our unconditional commitment to peace, the SPLM is committed to protect your rights and achievements in the CPA through the peaceful mechanisms provided for in the CPA. As I mentioned in my opening remarks that SPLA as people’s army will be vigilant and on alert to protect your rights and that is why we are committed to making SPLA a professional and modern army.
I am also, Dear Comrades, committed towards realization of the Vision of New Sudan. We must replace the Old Sudan with New Sudan. This is not a dream it is a reality as we are virtually dismantling everyday the Old Sudan. Who would imagine one day that all marginalized people of Sudan from the East, West, South, North and Centre would meet under one umbrella of SPLM. If all Sudan is here, then who would dare to stop us not to change Sudan . Sudan must and shall change in the terms and will of our people. Let us rise up to this noble challenge. As you have now elected me as Chairperson of the SPLM, I declare now with trust and confidence that I am now the Leader of the Marginalized people of Sudan and I am committed to protect their rights and realize their aspirations.
As we are committed to the principle of the right of self-determination to the people of Sudan as an internationally recognized right, I am committed to ensure that the people of Southern Sudan exercise their rights of self-determination as well as the conduct of referendum for the people of Abyei and popular consultation for the people of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile as per the provisions of CPA. It is my personal commitment to ensure that these referenda are implemented in letter and spirit and any attempt to deny these rights to be exercised or their outcomes not to be respected shall be tantamount to gross violation of CPA that may have serious consequences on stability of Sudan.
As part of our vision of New Sudan, I am committed to work towards realization of peace in Darfur and to ensure the protection of civil population and their access to humanitarian assistance. No Peace with Darfur burning!
As First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan , I will be committed to ensure the full implementation of Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement.
3.2. Unity and Reconciliation:
Dear Comrades, our survival as political party rests with our unity and I would like to assure you that I shall be committed to the unity of our party. We have come along way with bitter history of division that resulted in enormous atrocities committed against our people and we have no any option but to nurture unity and reconciliation.
Dear Comrades, I shall ensure the full implementation of Nairobi and Juba Declarations, Wunlit Agreement and other agreements.
As Chairperson of the SPLM, I will ensure that the national reconciliation and healing process is initiated and implemented as stipulated in the CPA. Besides national reconciliation process, I will renew the South-South Dialogue as well as encouraging the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue.
Dear Comrades, I would like to remind you all that my personal relations with comrades Pagan Amum, Riek Machar, James Wani Igga, Malik Agar and others go back to the early and difficult days of our Movement. These values of comradeship and solidarity are the ones that kept us together during our struggle till we realized the CPA.
We need to renew these values to be the basis for our team work as we enter this critical phase of our struggle. I would like to assure you that I will work with them in the spirit of comradeship and trust and within the vision of New Sudan. SPLM can only be strong with our unity and shall only be victorious with spirit of comradeship. Can we stand up all and hold our hands together to symbolize the spirit of our comradeship and let us say loud and clear “SPLM Oyee, Unity Oyee, Comradeship Oyee”.
I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to each and every one of us to forgive each other and to open a new page so that we can focus together into our future and to rise up to the aspirations of our people. We have a lot to loose in our disunity and more to gain in our unity.
3.3. Democratic Transformation and Democracy:
Dear Comrades we have been talking loud about democratic transformation and democracy, it is now high time to walk our talks and away from rhetoric to action. We have no any other option except the path of democracy. I know that sometimes we confuse ourselves by exaggerating the cost of maintaining unity so that we can undermine the democratic process.
If we allow some of us to temper with democratic process in the name of unity then we will be making disservice to our people. Any unity that is based on pillars other than commitment to SPLM principles and respect of democracy and the free will of our people shall be fragile and may produce “Old Sudan” and wars. I truly believe that the basis of our unity is democracy and free will of our people and these are cardinal values that we need to cherish in our party. As we are initially witnessing democratic process based more on ethnic representation than on individual merits, it is a challenge for us of how we can gradually replace ethnic allegiance with that of SPLM. Democracy is a process, not a single event.
Me personally, I am committed to these democratic process within the Party and I hope that in our next meeting of the NC we will have by then a credible and democratic SPLM not only established at all levels but the only ruling party in parts of Sudan.
Also as SPLM, we are committed to conduct fair and transparent general elections as per the provisions of CPA. I am committed to champion the SPLM’s election campaign that shall hopefully result in landslide victory in all parts of Sudan . We must win the forthcoming general election so that we can set Sudan on the path of New Sudan and away from the “Old Sudan”.
3.4. Transparency and Corruption
Besides ensuring democratic transformation, the SPLM is committed to economic transformation that would ensure transparent and efficient management of public resources so that we can provide peace dividends and realize the Millennium Development Goals.
Dear Comrades, I want to assure you that I am adamant to fight corruption not only in the Government of Southern Sudan and the SPLM but also in the Government of National Unity in my capacity as First Vice President of the Sudan . Based on the resolutions of the Interim National Council, I will ensure that all levels and structures of the SPLM to finish the audit of their accounts as basis to improve and ensure prudent financial management of the SPLM meagre resources.
3.5 Party Discipline and Code of Conduct
The issue of the party’s discipline is critical for making our party stronger. Of late we have seen some members in key positions making public statements that are contrary to the vision of the SPLM and even some members decided to undermine the activities and programmes of the SPLM while others directly interfered with the functions and duties of other levels of SPLM.
I would like to reiterate that if these individuals managed to get their ways again into the SPLM key offices, I would strongly advice them to adjust in the new spirit of National Convention and to respect the rules and regulations laid down by the SPLM. Let us be vigilant in identifying those who will rock our boat. The enemy from within is more dangerous than a well known enemy. We have a lot ahead of us and we need not to waste more time in disciplining ourselves.
3.6. Women Rights, Youth and Diaspora Participation
Our commitment to women empowerment has now become a national agenda as it has been adopted by all political parties.
I would like to assure you Dear Comrades that I am not only committed to women empowerment but I will also continue with my noble mission of ensuring as well that women are represented well in the SPLM structures and at all levels of government in Sudan.
Besides women empowerment, I would like to assure you that I am committed to making SPLM young by ensuring active participation of youth in all activities and their adequate representation in the SPLM structure. I am delighted to tell our youth that our Comrade Yien Matthew B. Chol (he is here with us in the hall) has now been released and we expect the rest of our comrades who are illegally detained in various prisons to be released as well.
Diaspora used to be our Seventh Front but now I am giving you another mission. You are now given another task to become our “CPA Watch Dogs” and you are tasked to mobilize international community and peace-loving nations to ensure the implementation of the CPA and to mobilize development assistance for realization of peace dividends. I am delighted that among you, you have Madam Fatima Yusif Kwa Makii, whom I believe will play a critical role in promoting the unity among the Sudanese people in Diaspora, particularly in USA .
3.7. Full Implementation of Abyei Protocol
Lack of implementation of Abyei Protocol is not only a gross violation of the provisions of the CPA and Interim National Constitution, but it is questioning the political will of our partner NCP to the implementation of CPA. If Abyei Protocol is not implemented, the same will happen to general elections, demarcation of North-South border, referendum and popular consultation.
Added to the injury is the current massive displacement of the entire population of Abyei town that became one of the worst provocations and violations of CPA since its signature in 2005. Virtually tens of thousands of civil population, mainly women and children, are uprooted again from their houses and are now in open areas under heavy rains with no shelter, food and water. This human tragedy is caused unfortunately by Sudan Armed Forces Brigade 31 that is illegally present in Abyei town and against the provisions of the CPA. Dear Comrades it is not only Darfur that is burning but Abyei also and we hope it will not reach other areas.
In the same way we condemned the attack on Omdurman , we condemn in the strongest possible terms the gross violations of the human rights in Abyei area. We call not only the immediate redeployment of these forces outside the area but they should be brought before the court of law.
For the aggrieved people of Abyei area, I would like to assure that the SPLM is standing by you and is committed to protect your rights and full implementation of Abyei Protocol.
4. Concluding Remarks:
Dear Comrades, I am extremely delighted that the SPLM 2nd National Convention has ended peacefully with strong sense of unity. The SPLM to all of us is not just a party but it is a life project and commitment.
My key message to all of you Dear Comrades is to your grass root where you came from. Tell them that “SPLM is the only party for a change in Sudan ”. Tell them also that SPLM with their support shall win the forthcoming general elections in 2009.
New Sudan Oyee
Thank you and God Bless You All
DOES THIS TANZANIAN SAGA SOUND RATHER KENYAN?
By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
I have not been in Dar es Salaam in eleven years. The last time I was in the coastal city was in 1997 when former Minister Alnoor Kassam invited me to Julius Nyerere’s birthday. I had sought his assistance in getting Mwalimu as the key note speaker to a conference I was organizing in Nairobi.
Eleven years is a long time and truly the face of Dar es Salaam has changed. It is now cleaner, more robust and organized. More sky crappers have dotted it skyline with such legendary hotels as The Kilimanjaro and the New Africa receiving substantial facelifts.
However, what hit me on the face was how our political problems back home in Kenya were so similar to those that affected Tanzanians, which if you asked me, would make a very good case for a political federation.
Everyone knows what Kenyans went through after the 2007 December elections and the chaos that followed. What we Kenyans were not being told was that Tanzanians were also having problems with their own “mwafaka” minus machete wielding thugs that caused mayhem in Kenya! For the less endowed Kenyans in the language of the coast, the word means a political accord.
The intriguing part of all this story was that as we kept both former Tanzanian President and his successor having sleepless nights as we jostled, opposed and contracted one another during the Annan negotiation sessions, CCM and CUF, the main political parties in the land of Undugu were having similar duels of their own!
One wonders whether in the cause of their counseling Kenyans on how to resolve the differences, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete ever referred warring PNU and ODM negotiators to their own problems in the Islands of Zanzibar and Pemba where the main players were the ruling CCM and the main opposition, CUF.
The other interesting aspect is that as Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete penned their signatures to the brokered deal in Kenya as far back as February this year, three months later, a similar problem in Tanzania is far from over! Can Kenyan politicians be invited to show our brothers in the South how to insult each other in public but finally agree to move on?
Following is a story I got from The-African Daily and filed by Isaac Chanzi in Tanzania:
“IT’S WAR OF WORDS IN CCM-CUF ACCORD
The CCM-CFU political stand-off on “mwafaka” (accord) has now turned into a war of words with both parties holding press conferences to trade counter accusations.
The CUF Secretary General, Seif Shariff Hamad yesterday made public a booklet containing what had actually transpired between the two parties and maintained that CUF would not go back to the negotiating table.
CCM Secretary General, Yusuf Makamba had claimed a day earlier that there was still unfinished business in the mwafaka concerning the modalities of implementing the accord. But Maalim Seif yesterday stuck to his guns saying CUF had closed shop. He stressed that there was no pending item in the agenda s claimed by Makamba.
Among the issues that were hotly debated during the mwafaka talks was the fate of the Chief Minister’s post. The CUF wanted it abolished and instead the Zanzibari President should have two Vice Presidents.
According to Seif, the two parties had agreed on the issue but CCM had all along been dragging its feet. He said from the current situation, it was clear that the political crisis in Zanzibar was deepening!
According to Seif, President Jakaya Kikwete requested the CUF to go back to the negotiation table, which the CUF did and hammered out an agreement! He added that this time CUF would not accept to resume the talks, which, according to them, had been concluded.
Seif instead asked President Kikwete to intervene and ensure that the political crisis in Zanzibar was resolved to avoid a replica of what happened in countries like Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Comoros.
He said there was need for President Kikwete to convene a meeting that would also involve the Zanzibari President, Amani Abeid Karume and other players to end the matter once and for all.
He pointed out that failure by President Kikwete to end the crisis would mean the CUF sticking to its guns and invite the international community to intervene.
Now if you substitute names like CCM with PNU, CUF with ODM and players like Seif with Anyang’, Makamba with Karua, Kikwete with Kibaki and Karume with Raila, you get the Kenyan story during the Annan negotiations.”
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
HOW VIABLE IS KALONZO’S PRESIDENCY IN 2012?
By Jerry Okungu
Minister Kiraitu Murungi thinks it is viable. A number of Mt. Kenya politicians who belong to Kiraitu’s camp think the Vice President is their best bet in five years time. They are banking on at least five tribes out of forty-two ethnic groupings to propel Kalonzo Musyoka to the House on the Hill. They think Kambas, Kisiis, Kikuyus, Embus and Merus are enough to elect a Kenyan president. They think two and a half provinces are enough to elect a president in a country of eight provinces.
This arithmetic may very well be true however; there are a few hurdles Minister Kiraitu Murungi may need to consider. One such hurdle is that not all Kikuyus, Merus, Embus, Kambas and Kisiis may not be of the same opinion. In Ukambani, there are Charity Ngilu and John Haroun Mwau to worry about. In Kikuyu land, there are George Saitoti and Martha Karua to be careful about. In Kisii, the likes of Chris Obure and Omigo Magara may want to be consulted. These are some of the hurdles a Kalonzo presidency may have to deal with very early in its early stages.
The other day when there was a search for the deputy prime minister from PNU, Kiraitu Murungi initially offered his candidacy as a possible nominee. He confessed that despite his stormy past relationships with Raila Odinga, especially when Murungi was in charge of Justice Ministry, he could still work very well with the Prime Minister since they had worked closely together in their Ford Kenya days adding that he was at one time Raila Odinga’s lawyer during those heady days of multiparty activism.
Shift of loyalty in Kenyan politics is not something new. Politicians do it all the time. Mwai Kibaki was once loyal to Moi. Raila Odinga once served in the Moi regime. Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta were once Moi loyalists. So, there is nothing wrong with Kiraitu finding a new boss. After all a Kalonzo presidency might just land Murungi a premiership or vice presidency if everything goes well.
The danger with letting the cat out of the bag too early lies in the problem with cat hunters. This Murungi utterance has jeopardized the plans of Kalonzo strategists. Now they have made the son of Muingi a marked man for no reason at all. He didn’t have to say it at the time he did. It is the folly of inviting loud mouths to your party and before you know it, they have ruined your ceremony!
On the other hand; what about if this Murungi talk was the work of other outside forces opposed to the Kalonzo candidacy in 2012? Suppose Murungi was in fact not representing the interests of Kalonzo but rather Martha Karua or George Saitoti? Suppose this salvo was to test the waters, build up resentment against Kalonzo then turn around and tell him that he was unelectable?
Minister Murungi is a seasoned politician. He has been in Parliament since 1992. He has been a cabinet minister since 2003 with a short stint in 2006 when he was removed from the cabinet over the Anglo Leasing scandal.
Minister Murungi mourned with us during the January- February Kenyan election crisis. As we speak now, Minister Murungi is aware that close to 300,000 IDPs are in camps all over Kenya. He knows that the wounds following the election violence have yet to heal.
He is well aware that thousands of Kenyans are still in asylums in Uganda not to mention more thousands that lost their lives and property!
At a time when we are raising funds, begging the international community and battling with the Saboat Land Defense Forces over land issues, is it the best time to start campaigning for the 2012 elections?
The coalition accord between PNU and ODM has some priorities to deal with. One of them is to deal with past injustices as part of national healing. The other is to give Kenyans a new constitution in a year’s time from the date of its signing. With these pressing issues on our plate, is this the time to launch the 2012 presidential campaigns?
If I were Kiraitu Murungi, I would ask for forgiveness from all Kenyans of good will, Kenyans who currently are tired of campaign politics but more so; ask for forgiveness from poor Kenyans still languishing in IDP camps and police cells following the 2007 election violence. If I were Kiraitu Murungi, I would direct my energies in to providing electricity for all by the year 2012 then present Kalonzo thereafter as my candidate of choice for president come election time.
By Jerry Okungu
An American couple has lived in Mt. Kenya area for twelve years preaching the word of God, a very noble calling if you ask me. They have been holed up in Mt. Kenya area for all these many years. I wonder whether they had the time to travel to Western Kenya during their tour of duty.
Now that they are tired of preaching to these ungrateful ingrates, they have apparently seen the light and decided to change their calling. Now they are the new breed of political analysts with the ability and technology to define the American politics in terms of Kenya politics.
Their attraction to politics has been inspired by two characters; one in the United States of America and the other in the Kibera slums of Nairobi. Since both politicians are making some kind of shockwaves with their near fanatical following in both countries, our good missionaries having been busy churning long articles on the internet to prove that Kenya’s Prime Minister from Kibera is indeed the blood relative of Barack Obama.
Half-hearted response from Raila Odinga’s spokesman over allegations that Barack Obama donated over US $ 1 million to the Raila campaign has not deterred our right-wing good Samaritans from hitting at Obama.
On reading these exposes from the internet, perhaps a lot more Kenyans and Americans were surprised. I found them interesting but not surprising.
First, I found it pretty naïve for the two Americans to think they were saying something new. Most Kenyans and even informed Americans have known for years that Barack Obama’s father came from Alego in Siaya District in Luo Nyanza, the very place Obama visited with a huge contingent of American marines just the other day.
The entire world press was there and they talked to anybody who cared to listen.
Sometimes last year, when Raila Odinga returned from one of his many trips to the US, he displayed a photograph he had taken with Barack Obama while in the US. The media had it all and some even questioned its significance and relevance to Kenyan politics.
On going through these articles a second time, it dawned on me that these missionaries may not even be Americans after all. The article reminded me of the many hate mails I used to receive on Raila Odinga in last year’s presidential campaigns. Most of them came from an anonymous group of Kenyans calling themselves The Voice of the Diaspora.
Two months ago, I visited the United States and had a chance to meet many Kenyans of all tribes living and working in America. At that, Barack Obama’s campaign had reached a critical moment. He was neck to neck with Hilary Clinton, at times winning; at times losing some states.
Every time we delved into discussing the Democratic nominations, I realized a measure of resentment of Obama by a section of Kenyans that opposed Raila Odinga in the United States in last year’s elections. I couldn’t help but trace a link, no matter how weak, between these American missionaries that coincidentally lived in Meru and Embu for twelve years being uncomfortable with an Obama presidency on the basis that he was related to Raila Odinga!
Allow me to be skeptical; but would it be too much to speculate that these American missionaries could actually be our brothers stretching their low life tribalism too far? Better still, could right-wing Americans be getting their feeds from our bothers right- here; the brothers that would hate to see an American president with a Luo blood in the White House?
Finally; during the Kenyan crisis in January and February this year, there was a group of Kenyans who exploited their brothers’ misfortune to the maximum. All of a sudden, economic refugees became victims of genocide knocking at the gates of good old American immigration department to be let it. And they weren’t stupid. They carried evidence of burnt houses and hacked bodies along the road, claiming them as their lost property and blood relatives. And gullible America swallowed it all. They were given temporary asylum while their papers were being processed!
Anybody who thinks he can lie to the Americans that Raila Odinga is a socialist must be living in another planet. Raila Odinga’s upbringing, lifestyle and ideology are anything but socialist. He has said for the umpteenth time that he is a social-democrat like all German Chancellors, British Prime Ministers, Scandinavian Prime Ministers and French leaders since World War 11.
What is more, Americans have the right to elect a president of their choice be that president black, white, male or female irrespective of his or her ancestral origins in Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Morocco or Alego in Kenya.
By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
In recent times I have been to South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, and met many nationals from Southern Africa. The story is the same. It is a nightmare to be a black African in South Africa today if you happen to come from neighboring African countries.
There is anger against political and economic refugees rushing to the rich Southern State. Impoverished Zambians, Malawians, Tanzanians and Zimbabweans are a hated lot. Now jobless South African blacks see them as the cause of their desperation. They are asking why these foreigners should occupy jobs that they rightly deserve.
This anger is no longer just anger. It has turned into a vicious morbid hate that is claiming the lives of hundreds of black foreigners in many cities in South Africa. They have resorted to killings with apparently no plans by the Mbeki government to stop these discriminatory and targeted crimes.
Writing in the daily edition of The African in Tanzania, Mr. Stephen Twembeho of Kigali argues that “It is increasingly becoming unacceptable to watch how South Africans mistreat their fellow Africans who happen to be in their country for various reasons.” Their deep seated resentment of fellow Africans has resulted in violent beatings and even deaths.
As an individual who grew up in Kenya during the apartheid period, I have clear and vivid memories of the sacrifices the nationals of the then frontline states made in order to free South Africans from the clutches the Boer regime. These sacrifices included bombings and regular air raids from the South African forces targeting what they considered ANC armed forces’ hide outs and training centers. The countries most hit by these raids included Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and to some extent Angola.
Living in a non-frontline state in up north Kenya, we were spared the sporadic and frequent air raids that our fellow Tanzanians were subjected to. Be that as it may, what was not lost on us via the most powerful media at the time was that the war of words, ideology and arms was real and in progress.
For some of our families that had the privilege of having a radio in our families, tuning to Radio RSA and Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam gave us an inkling of the battle of wits and propaganda that was waged between the two giant broadcasters of our time. Radio Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, especially the External Service that broadcast in English was targeted at the English speaking Africa and the rest of the world to counteract the apartheid propaganda that was beaming from RSA in Johannesburg.
At the height of this war, Zambia found itself economically being strangled by apartheid South Africa. The Botha regime cut off its seaport lifeline which for decades had been the South African sea ports. For this reason, a good friend in the form of Communist China offered to build a railway line to link Lusaka with Dar es Salaam as an alternative route. That railroad was nick-named TAZARA.
Several assassinations of prominent South African fighters were carried out inside the territories of front line states with numerous collateral damages to the host citizens of those countries. The murder of Samora Machel, the independence hero Mozambique who went on to become the founding father of modern Mozambique is still very fresh in our minds.
As it was, these countries were already poor enough but because of their pride and the African dignity, they never hesitated to stand up for their brothers in South Africa as Mandela was rotting in Robben Island while Mbeki was living comfortably in European capitals. When Steve Biko was murdered by the Botha regime, the grief in Dar es Salaam, Maputo, Harare, Lusaka and Luanda was a devastating as it was in Soweto.
When the Soweto school children’s uprising of the 1976 culminated in more deaths and riots, the frontline states, more than ever, resolved to continue with the struggle until the evil of apartheid was wiped from the face of the continent.
It was this unqualified moral support from frontline states that Winnie Mandela going and the spirit of Nelson Mandela alive.
Yes, South Africans may have gripe with black Africans in their country; but to beat, maim and kill is to go too far. There are better and more civilized ways of dealing with this grievance. They must remember who fought their war, wiped their wounds, clothed them and gave them shelter at their hour of need. The memory is too recent to be forgotten.
By Jerry Okungu
Killings of foreigners in South Africa are spreading fast, very fast. Unless the South African military steps in; the situation may be out of control sooner rather than later.
The twist of fate can be annoying at times. The other day Desmond Tutu and Cyril Ramaphosa were the main guys in Kenya trying to find a lasting solution to the Kenyan crisis. Hardly three months later, has mayhem broken loose on the streets of Johannesburg with far reaching consequences for the most powerful nation on the continent.
Unlike the Kenyan situation that was characterized by long running ethnic injustices, South African jobless hooligans are venting their anger and frustration on foreigners that they have identified as the source of all their problems that range from joblessness to insecurity in their neighborhoods.
As I write this article, another civil unrest is seeping through the once most stable country in Africa; Tanzania. The Mwafaka accord between the ruling party CCM and the main opposition party, CUF doesn’t seem to be holding in Zanzibar and Pemba. The discontent with the Union arrangement hurriedly put together by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere seems to have reached its tipping point.
As we grapple with the unfolding events in the City of Gold, it is not lost on us that the Kenyan situation is not settled yet while Nigerians are still battling with rebels in the oil rich regions of their country.
Like in Kenya , where the government resorted to military intervention in Mt. Elgon area, it would appear like South Africa must go the same root to arrest the mayhem particularly in the slum areas of Johannesburg.
Right now the world press is awash with the killings taking place in South Africa. As of now, the buzz word is xenophobia that I wrote about last week while I was in Tanzania. As it is, one would think that this word, that even some of the most educated in the continent could not spell, let alone pronounce just a few weeks ago, was the invention of South Africans.
The disease that has afflicted South Africans, making them kill their black brothers from the continent is not the preserve of South Africans. The truth is, every country in the world suffers some kind of xenophobia from time to time. For centuries, white Americans targeted the American Negro, the macho black stud that threatened the supremacy of the white man right in his bedroom.
Soon after independence in West Africa, Nigerians at one time expelled Ghanaians en masse over night. The then slogan that persists to this day was; Ghana must go! There is a cheap manila traveling bag named after this xenophobia to this day.
Back here in East Africa, there are deep feelings of suspicion running in the veins of Tanzanians against Kenyans.
Any time the political federation comes up, one can predict the reaction of every Tanzania from the professor to the taxi driver. There is nothing that unites Tanzanians like the word Kenyans, who they see as a threat to their jobs, businesses, peace and well being. To the Tanzanians, an average Kenyan is the incarnation of thuggery, bank robbery, murder, land grabbing and unparalled greed of every kind.
If South Africans are rising in arms against foreigners, they are following in the footsteps of the United States of America, Britain, Germany under Hitler and any other developed country that currently exercises xenophobia against third world economic refugees. Just see the number of West Africans dying at sea in order to get to the land of plenty in Europe to understand the level of xenophobia world wide.
As South Africans they have the right to demand protection from their government. If they don’t get it, they will fight for it. Therefore any potential economic refugees that toy with the idea of going to South Africa to make a fortune must be prepared to face the consequences if the sons of the soil rise up against them.
Yes, it is true Zimbabweans and other former frontline states sacrificed everything for South Africa’s freedom, but they didn’t do this to later grab every job and kiosk from the locals. If Mugabe, Banda, Chiluba and others have run down their economies, it is not the business of South Africans to fix it.
More importantly, don’t sell that old crap that Africa housed South African exiles in their hour of need. The boys rioting on the streets are a new breed whose fathers died in battlefields with nothing to show for it. They are the young generation that was probably ten years old or younger when Mandela walked away from Robben Island. These are the people who have been let down by Thabo Mbeki’s regime.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Story by: By SUNDAY TIMES TEAM
Two functions a week apart but loaded with rich symbolism. Though they were both supposed to be parties thrown to celebrate victories of the last General Election, Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s last weekend’s homecoming in Nyanza and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Friday’s fete at Machakos held more significance for the 2012 General Election.
The country seems to have gone into a four-month election campaign recess only to resume with the same intensity and sense of urgency of December2007. The battlelines are already being drawn and the generals being identified. Despite the formation of a Grand Coalition Government and the absence of an Official Opposition, it is slowly dawning to many that the four and a half years to the next elections will be as politically charged as ever.
What emerged at the two functions was an outline of the shape that the next election is likely to take. The Mwai Kibaki succession battle is already on, barely five months after his controversial re-election and just a month since the Coalition Government was formed. President Kibaki is serving his second term and is constitutionally barred from seeking a third one.
The emerging picture is that of a two-horse race in the Kibaki succession election pitting a candidate from Western part of Kenya against one from the Eastern side of the country. Barring major realignments, the succession poll will largely be about the leaders who attended Raila’s fete battling it out with leaders who attended Kalonzo’s thanksgiving.
After the two significant meetings, one thing is also for sure: The presidency remains the bone of contention, despite the premiership having been introduced into the political structure to accommodate the power-sharing formula between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Unless the anticipated overhaul of the Constitution will render the presidency less attractive than the premiership, the party principals will go for it and use the premiership as a consolation prize for a valuable ally. Unfortunately for majority Kenyans, including those who would have wished to see the Internally Displaced Persons resettled and the pledges in the 2007 campaigns implemented, their preferences are not sought as politicians push their new albeit selfish agenda instead of pursuing the healing path.
There is little doubt who in the two camps start as the favourites for flag bearers. Premier Raila has a grip on ODM flag while V-P Musyoka holds the PNU-ODM-K flag. This doesn’t mean they will have a smooth ride all the way without someone trying to grab the flag from them. While the two got all the limelight and what sounded like endorsements from the potential rivals during their homecoming parties, the nice words may have been more out of politeness rather than conviction.
The two have four and half years to hold together their individual camps and use them as a ladder to power. But that will be easier said than done. In the four years, personal, ethnic and regional issues will come into play and how the two will handle them will ensure whether the camps will stay intact or not. Raila may be the front runner on the ODM side, but he has the task of convincing Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto and other members of the Pentagon team to give up their presidential ambitions for the second time and support his bid.
Handling Musalia may be a particularly tough nut to crack for Raila. A statement issued by a group of youths from Western Kenya this week following what sounded like another endorsement of Raila by Musalia at the PM’s homecoming party could explain why. While the Deputy PM may be ready to allow Raila to carry ODM flag again in the next polls, Western Kenya where Musalia draws his main support may not be as enthusiastic about such an arrangement.
According to the more than a hundred youth leaders calling itself Western Youth Caucus, it was wrong for Musalia to endorse Raila for another stab at the presidency when he himself ( Musalia) was qualified to do so. “If Mudavadi still feels he can support Raila for the presidency in the next General Election, then we will have no alternative but to back another Luhya leader for the top seat,” the group was quoted as saying in a statement read by a Mr Cleophas Shimanyula who is designated as the Provincial co-coordinator.
The youth’s sentiments may, to some significant extent, represent the general feeling in Western Kenya regarding another presidential attempt by Raila with support from Western Kenya. The region is understood to have backed Raila in the last Election following an agreement that Raila would support Musalia in the 2012 poll. Whether the pact stands even after Raila’s failed bid is anybody’s guess. Besides Musalia and Western Kenya, containing young and ambitious Agriculture Minister William Ruto and using him to bait the huge Rift Valley like in the last poll will prove a challenge.
There is already talk of strained relations between Ruto and the PM though the former has taken the trouble to deny the “rumours.” Rift Valley voters remain a different issue altogether. A rebellion led by disgruntled ODM backbenchers in the province seems to be brewing. Whether the ripple effects of this disgruntlement will have significant impact on Raila’s fortunes in Rift Valley remains to be seen.
The PM, however, has to do a lot to appease the region especially the South Rift whose leaders have loudly lamented that Raila shortchanged them while naming the ODM members to the Cabinet. For Kalonzo, his Machakos thanksgiving party and the one in Meru yesterday may have been choreographed to the last detail to bring him out as the man to face the Western candidate in the likely East-West battle in 2012.
Most speakers, mainly drawn from the PNU-ODM-K wing of the Grand Coalition Government, extolled the V-P’s virtues, most stopping short of endorsing him their candidate in the next Election. Perhaps, what held most of them back from being open about it was the presence of other politicians seen to be angling to take over President Kibaki’s mantle in the Mt Kenya region when he retires.
Uhuru Kenyatta and Martha Karua, who were present during Kalonzo’s party, are considered candidates. But both coming from President Kibaki’s backyard may not be viable candidates to succeed him. But it was one absentee who may turn out to be Kalonzo’s chief trouble in the succession war: Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.
While Kalonzo was having his day in the sun, especially with Kigumo MP Jamleck Irungu declaring him the region’s choice in 2012, Prof Saitoti was with President Kibaki in his former boss Daniel arap Moi’s rural home in Nakuru where the latter was awarding Kabarak University its Charter. It is not clear why Prof Saitoti chose to skip the Machakos function, seeing that his presence in Kabarak was not absolutely necessary. But it could just be one of the signs that a fight between the two to inherit Kibaki’s political empire could already have started.
The Internal Security Minister may have given Machakos a wide berth because he wanted to avoid a situation where he would be forced to appear like he is endorsing his archrival’s presidential bid. The succession war may have started early and patterns began to form. But things could still change a great deal as alignments and realignments take place. A significant third force could for instance emerge from the groups that feel like they are being left out the main blocs.
Coast Province is case in point. The region’s leaders have been seen to be sticking together in recent days as the PNU/ODM wall collapses. Apart from Najib Balala, a person to watch in Coast Province is Special programmes Minister Naomi Shaban who is slowly emerging as a political heavyweight on the PNU side.
Some leaders from the province have been quoted calling for a formation of a common vehicle to represent the region’s interests on the national level. If they go ahead and form a party, or identify an exiting one, this could complicate things for Raila and Kalonzo since the Province is one that one cannot afford to ignore during elections.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
NATIONAL politics has in the recent past been dominated by festivities as politicians retreat to their home-turfs to celebrate victories with their constituents. These so called homecomings are welcome, but we take this early opportunity to point out that they may threaten national unity and social cohesion if there are not handled cautiously. The gatherings which have been dubbed either thanksgiving or homecoming ceremonies can provide the political class with effective platforms for preaching unity and harmonious co-existence among various communities.
They can also be exploited to reconcile groups that went for each others necks during the post-election violence and ensure effective resettlement of internal refugees. However, the political overtones that have characterized these homecomings that have been held in the last two weeks have shown that the social gatherings if not checked can threaten the National Peace Accord, which saved the nation from the brink of collapse.
In all the festivals that have been held so far, Kenyans have been treated to more of political showmanship by leaders who instead of preaching peace are busy scheming how to win President Mwai Kibaki’s succession battle. They have provided our opportunistic politicians to start ethnic galvanisation for the 2012 poll. It is no wonder that most of the speeches are deftly delivered in local languages. The leaders seem to have forgotten that the country is still bleeding from post-election violence that shattered the very foundation of our nationhood and left more than 1000people killed and over 300,000 internally displaced.
Several families are still holed up in camps across the country as the Government makes efforts to return them home and what is needed at the moment is assurance from the political elite in areas where they were rooted that they are welcome back. But when the same leaders have begun tearing at each other in public and promising political fireworks come the 2012 General Election, one can only conclude that lessons learnt from the disputed presidential polls in 2007 are yet to sink.
The ceremonies could have provided a better opportunity from members of the Grand Coalition Government, a product of the peace accord, to demonstrate to ordinary Kenyans that they are united by sharing the podium to preach peace, love and unity among all. We expected ODM and PNU members to attend each other’s homecomings and prove to the country that they are committed to uniting the country and returning it to the path of progress after the signing of the peace deal and subsequent formation of the Grand Coalition Government.
We need to see Rift Valley politicians allied to ODM visiting Central Province to celebrate with their PNU counterparts just to show Kenyans of Kikuyu descent who were uprooted from Kalenjin dominated areas that they are welcome back. But if the leaders retreat to their ethnic and regional cocoons to counter onslaught from there rivals, their rhetoric on peace fades fast and the seed of ethnic and political polarization germinates fast.
The country is faced with myriads of challenges arising from last year’s disputed polls and these cannot be solved in an atmosphere of mistrust, chest-thumping and grandstanding that the political leaders continue to display at the public rallies. If the politicians believe they have a cause to celebrate in the aftermath of the skirmishes, let the fetes be platforms for mending the nation’s social fabric which was shattered by violence. We have just begun treading the path to economic, political and social reconstruction and care must be taken not to endanger the processes that will restore our focus to the original vision of our founding fathers.
Published on May 18, 2008, 12:00 am
By Dennis Onyango
The Grand Coalition Government, whose Cabinet met for the first time on Thursday, is shaping up like a replay of the National Rainbow Coalition, which first brought together President Kibaki and Raila Odinga in 2003.
As was in 2003 when disagreements on the Memorandum of Understanding caused trouble from the beginning until 2005 when Narc collapsed, the Grand Coalition appears to have begun on like footing.
This time, instead of the MoU, the fate of those arrested over post-election violence is shaping up to be the critical issue to determine whether the Coalition stands or collapses before the 2012 General Election.
Disagreements over MoU made President Kibaki run a troubled government for five years, cobbling unlikely alliances for a rough ride through his first term that now seems set to be replicated.
As was in 2003 when the MoU simmered, mutated and eventually killed the National Rainbow Coalition, the fate of the thousands of youth being held in police stations, especially in the Rift Valley, may determine the fate of the Coalition Government.
Even after President Kibaki and the PM called for unity and common approach to issues during bonding a week ago, differences in public have persisted.
Battle lines drawn
Lines are being drawn between "the clean" and the "unclean," villains of violence and victims.
Last Sunday, at the homecoming party for Public Health and Sanitation Minister Mrs Beth Mugo in Dagoretti, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Justice Minister Martha Karua led a PNU team in rejecting ODM’s demand that people arrested over post-election violence be released.
"Anybody who had a hand in post-election violence must face the law. Those who took part or hid behind their tribes while 1,500 Kenyans were killed and 350,000 evicted from their homes must face the law, no matter how long it takes."
The VP drew the line between those with cases to answer and those who do not, adding a rider that he would not mention names.
MPs, including Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers, have taken divergent positions on whether to grant amnesty to those arrested in post-election violence or prosecute them.
Politicians from the Rift Valley are tying the success of the resettlement and reconciliation efforts to the release of the youth.
On Friday, Agriculture Minister William Ruto, speaking in Eldoret North constituency, repeated that the thousands of young people arrested in the chaos should be released unconditionally, as part of reconciliation.
"If we want the peace efforts to succeed, we have to forgive each other first and then release the youth arrested in connection with the violence," Ruto said.
The minister says innocent people are in custody and they should be freed so the healing can begin.
The case of the youth being held in police stations across the Rift Valley has ceased being an affair only for the region’s leaders. Instead, it is taking party dimensions. ODM, which swept the vote in the Rift Valley, sees the arrest as persecution of its supporters.
The matter is particularly critical for Rift Valley MPs, whose re-election may depend on the resettlement of the internally displaced persons and the fate of the youth in police custody.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga is said to have opted for a quiet approach, but has raised the issue with President Kibaki. The PM is said to have raised the matter with the President at every stop during their tour of the Rift Valley last month. He, too, thinks the incarceration of the youth from the region could undermine reconciliation.
ECK still free, so should the youths
On Saturday, Lands Minister James Orengo added his voice to the issue, saying the continued detention of the youth makes no sense at a time no action has been taken against the Electoral Commission of Kenya officials, whose conduct, he says, triggered the chaos.
The minister said he is concerned that ODM’s coalition partners are talking as if their position is the official one. He says the youth in custody are being persecuted for demanding that their votes should count.
"What gave birth to the chaos is the fact that there was an indeterminate position at the end of the elections. The ECK said it could not tell who won. That indeterminate position is what gave birth to the chaos," Orengo said.
The minister agreed with his Agriculture colleague, Ruto, that it was the resistance of the youth that gave birth to the coalition, and it did not make sense to praise the power sharing arrangement, while the youth were being detained.
"Without the resistance and determination of these young people against injustice, the National Accord would not have come," the minister said.
Orengo said he sees double standards in the application of the law.
"We are seeing a situation where one side says the law must apply no matter the consequences. But that same side is not keen on investigating those who caused the election crisis or those who falsified and manipulated election results," the minister said.
"Somebody should have been in court today, charged with the criminal offence of manipulating election results. The youths being held are victims of injustice. In a democracy, every vote counts. When one vote is tampered with, the voter is justified to protest. We cannot say the voters are only important when they are casting the vote and they should have no say whether that vote counts," Orengo added.
Konoin MP Dr Julius Kones says there are over 1,000 youths being held in police stations across the province.
"Most of them are yet to be taken to court, months after they were arrested," he said.
"I am sorry this may be taking the direction of the troubles that destroyed Narc. But this is far more complex and could be worse than the troubles the MoU gave Narc," the MP said.
He added: "For this reconciliation to work, these young men must be released. They created this Government."
Last month, the Government appointed Court of Appeal judge, Justice Philip Waki to chair a mini-commission to investigate post-election violence.
The appointment came after weeks of consultations by members of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team.
Waki will lead the judicial mini-commission, whose two other members are yet to be appointed.
The Independent Review Commission investigating the bungled presidential election is also working.
The commission, chaired by retired judge, Justice Johaan Kriegler is, however, running into trouble.
On Friday, Mr Kriegler said his commission faced many challenges in investigating the poll fiasco, largely because the two key partners — Party of National Unity and Orange Democratic Party — have "very different interests in the inquiry".
He said the major bone of contention was the presidential vote tallying, which is still a major concern.
The Kriegler commission began work on March 15, and is mandated to investigate all aspects of the presidential election, and make findings and recommendations to improve the electoral process. It has six months to conclude its report.
Orengo said if the Government acted in good faith, it would release all those in custody and wait for the findings of the Waki and Kriegler commissions before arrests.
"People have been taken to court only for them to be freed for lack of evidence, after being held for months," Orengo said.
He gave the example of Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi who was charged with a string of offences only for the cases to fail when he was taken to court.
"People are being arrested just to show the strong arm of the law. They should be freed until all the commissions have done their work," Orengo reiterated.
"I fear that the other side are not talking as partners. They talk as if they are the Government. What Ruto, the PM and myself are saying should be listened to," he added.
By "the other side," Orengo meant PNU leaders, led by Justice Minister Ms Martha Karua. The PNU leaders have stated that justice must run its course, even as some of them call for negotiations with proscribed Mungiki sect.
Complicating things more is the fact that politicians appear to have hit the road to 2012, with succession in their minds, just like 2003, when every political decision was taken with 2007 General Election in mind.
Government Chief Whip, Mr George Thuo, agrees that a pattern of agreement and disagreement similar to what took place soon after Narc took power in 2003 appears to be shaping up.
But he is optimistic that differences in opinion this time will not lead to collapse of the coalition.
"When you look at precedent, it is possible to conclude that things can go wrong when members of the same government take different positions on one issue," Thuo said.
Thuo said his hope is that the proposed leadership structure in the coalition will end public disagreements.
"It would be unfortunate if we were to return to the 2003 scenario. In 2003, some people felt that they were short-changed and only realised it when they were in Government. This time, people felt short-changed but they stayed out and negotiated. They went into Government with their eyes wide open. The discussions were made public, not like the MoU that was signed secretly," the Chief Whip said.
Thuo said he personally felt the law should apply, but added that there was need for compromise.
Story by JOHN KIHURIA
Publication Date: 5/18/2008
Charles Njonjo speaks to journalists recently at his Nairobi residence about the protocol mix up witnessed during the visits to the Rift Valley by leaders.
For a man who has consistently been reluctant to have his memoirs recorded on pen and paper, it was rather ironical to hear ‘Sir Charles’ lament what a pity it was that one time provincial commissioner, Eliud Mahihu, had died without telling the world the events that surrounded and followed the death of Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
“He was the only man who was with Mzee when he died and so the only man who knew exactly the circumstances under which the former president died.
“He was also the man who secretly arranged for the body of the late president to be flown to Nairobi and one shudders to imagine what might have happened if some people found out about the death before the body was ferried to the capital from where we announced the death. What a pity he had to die before he told this story,” pensively wondered one time attorney general, Charles Mugane Njonjo in a recent interview.
Our journey through memory lane with Mr Njonjo had started with a kingly ride in Mzee Kenyatta’s presidential limousine one day in the late 1960s following the abrupt resignation of then vice president Joseph Murumbi.
“I think we were coming from Kericho and Mzee was agonising loudly who he would appoint the VP to replace Murumbi.
‘Whom do I have?’ the old man worried as we sat in the back seat of the presidential limousine,” Njonjo recalled last week, in the spacious confines of his CFC Bank office on Chiromo Road.
And when the current chairman of CFC Bank quipped, “What about Moi?” it was according to him like a revelation to the late president.
“He was so pleased with the suggestion that he appointed Moi the vice president the very next day”.
The former AG says he recommended Moi because he believed the man who would survive the rough and tumble of Kenyan politics to rise to the presidency in 1978 and later have the country in his grips for more than two decades would be loyal to the president and would also cooperate with others.
“Mzee all long felt Kenya being made up of many tribes, it would have been unwise for a Kikuyu to succeed him, “unless he had exceptional leadership qualities, but the Kikuyu who were poised to succeed him were mostly from among the so called Kiambu Mafia and he would gather us together and loudly wonder who among us could “cross the Chania River.
“By this Mzee who was a national figure, meant that none of us senior politicians and civil servants were known outside our home district Kiambu and so we could never hope to lead this country”.
That despite the much hyped real or imaginary line associated with Kiambu politicians at that time, ‘itigakira Chania’ (the motorcycle outriders will never cross Chania River).
But the man who would stand by Moi and by “following the constitutional route” ensure the man from Sacho became president, would years later suffer untold humiliation under Moi’s rule; branded traitor, teased by lesser mortals, made to undergo harsh rebukes by judges and lawyers who were his juniors just a few months before, only for Moi to show ‘his magnanimity’ and pardon him when the show was all over.
“I had no intention of overthrowing the government of President Moi, and the whole thing was made up by people who thought I was too strong and wanted to get out of the power equation. They claimed that I had the direct support of the American and British with the express mission of forcibly installing me as president which was not the case at all,”he said.
“It was very sad that Moi was misled by some people and instead of checking out the facts, he accepted what he was told as the gospel truth. If you are told something and you do not investigate to find out the truth, you can make a very serious mistake,” a pensive Mr Njonjo told the Sunday Nation.
What Mr Moi did, he said, was quite contrary to what Mzee Kenyatta would have done.
“If you told Mzee something about one of your colleagues, he would note ‘how interesting’ what you were telling him was, then confront you with it in the presence of the person you had accused”.
He recalled an incident when a senior Kikuyu politician had accused him of planning to overthrow the Kenyatta government.
“When Mzee confronted him with the accusation in my presence, the man could only hide behind alcohol, weakly claiming that he had been tipsy when he made the accusation,” Njonjo said, laughing.
He said there is “no truth and no foundation” to the allegations that he was a traitor in Moi’s government, and though “these were truly trying times” (the inquiry period), he at times “enjoyed their singing” for he believed their (his accusers) lies would eventually put them to shame.
He lost quite a few friends, but there are those who steadfastly stood by him, led by business partner Jeremiah Kiereini, former cabinet colleague GG Kariuki and the late spymaster Joseph Kanyotu.
For more than a decade following the conclusion of the inquiry into his conduct and the subsequent pardon by Mr Moi, Mr Njonjo disappeared from public view during which time he says he spent restoring his family farm in Kibichiku in Kikuyu.
“I was also kept busy by my three young children whom I used to take out (abroad) and teach how to ski. I also had my banking and insurance businesses to take care of”. Mr Njonjo married rather late in life, on November 20, 1972.
“I liked my work very much and for many years I was married to it, and the idea of marriage did not feature much in my mind. I also worked odd hours and believed there would be a clash of interests if someone else entered my life. When not working, I was either swimming, at the sauna or the theatre, and that was enough for me”.
But there was a lot of pressure from Mzee Kenyatta for Mr Njonjo to get married as “he could not understand how a bachelor could advise him! My parents, especially my mother Wairimu, would also insist that I was getting old and must be married”.
But he said with a smile that he could not get anybody suitable from the backyard “Kikuyu or Luo communities” but was lucky to get one (of British extraction) from among the Kalenjin (his wife was born in the Rift Valley).
“I used to attend church services at the All Saints Cathedral, and there was this girl who was in the choir but also sat in my pew. I would look at her and think to myself, ‘now there’s a nice girl’”.
Maybe his pastor also thought the girl was good enough for Sir Charles, and he would invite the two among other faithful to his house for supper; gradually the two got to know each other and were eventually married.
In the middle of the interview, an SMS news alert about President Kibaki warning his Cabinet against discussing affairs of government in the media appeared on Mr Njonjo’s cell phone, and he promptly switched to matters of collective responsibility and the media.
“The press is the worst enemy of government, and matters discussed in government should never be brought to the attention of the press. In my opinion, ministers should not make press statements; these should be left to a qualified and professional government spokesman as is the case in established democracies.
"He said under Kenyatta the government was very well organized and efficient. There were, of course, allegations of favouritism towards the Kikuyu, but only highly qualified people were employed by the Kenyatta government. If this favoured the Kikuyu, it was rather by accident and not design,” he said with a straight face.
Mr Njonjo called the so-called ‘change the constitution’ move meant to prevent Mr Moi from succeeding Kenyatta ünconstitutional.”
“You do not change the constitution in the bush, and I told them (the ‘Kiambu mafia’) to bring the necessary amendment to Parliament, but they instead chose to seek public sympathy.
“They were playing the tribal card, warning the Kikuyu that the community stood to lose everything they had acquired under a Moi presidency; the excuse they used was that Mzee was ageing. and it was only through the constitutional change that Moi would be barred from ascending to the most powerful seat in the land.”
But Mr Njonjo went to Kenyatta and told him the mafia was going round the country saying he was sick and even imagining his death.
Kenyatta, a man who could not tolerate talk about death, especially his own, immediately called a Cabinet meeting and brought the ‘change the constitution’ debate to a close.
Hence the famous Njonjo statement that, “it is a capital offence to even imagine the death of the president”.
On the Kenyatta succession, Mr Njonjo insists he followed the constitutional path - the king is dead, long live the king.
“The president was dead, and under the Constitution, the vice president had to take over for a period of 90 days before fresh elections could take place. In an effort to subvert this clause, there were people who did not want Mzee’s death to be announced, but I resisted this and as soon as the body was flown to Nairobi from Mombasa, we announced the death and Moi was appointed acting president.”
On this score and his recent real or perceived support of ODM leader Raila Odinga, Mr Njonjo says he is not popular with his fellow Kikuyus “some of whom think I should not have done what I did and that someone else should have succeeded Kenyatta.
“In the recent past I have been accused of supporting Raila at the expense of fellow tribesmen, but we (Kikuyu) must realize we are not the only tribe in Kenya and learn to live and cooperate with others”.
However Sir Charles is quick to qualify that there is no personal rivalry or vendetta between him and President Kibaki.
“We have never quarreled, but I suppose he (at one time or the other), was told I do not support him, and he believed it”.
How politicians bungled Mboya, JM murder
Perhaps in appreciation of the unwavering support his Attorney-General had given him to the extent of alienating himself from his community, former President Daniel arap Moi offered Charles Njonjo the vice-presidency.
But Mr Njonjo, the chief government legal officer, was a civil servant who could not become the Number Two in government.
He would later join politics, as the Member of Parliament for Kikuyu. Did he do that so that Mr Moi could make good on his offer?
“As the Attorney-General I had done what I could do and more and I had a ready successor. By going into politics, I felt it was time I helped the people of my native Kikuyu constituency develop, especially by providing clean tap water to women who would trek long distances in search of the precious commodity.
“Today, I feel ever so happy when I go to far-flung villages in the constituency and find women fetching water from taps outside or inside their houses.”
The former AG readily admits he was one of the most powerful people in the Kenyatta government.
“Perhaps I was powerful because Kenyatta was a powerful president and I was working for him. As the Attorney-General, I headed a powerful ministry as, apart from prosecutions, I was also in charge of investigations.”
One of the high profile cases he investigated during his tenure was that of MPs Jesse Gachago and Muhuri Muchiri, who were charged with smuggling coffee in from Uganda at the height of the magendo (illegal) coffee trade in the 1980s.
“The two politicians were among the people who were involved in the scam and despite their plea to the President, I maintained they had to face the full force of the law so that we could set an example. We could not afford to be selective in dispensing justice and, on their conviction, the magendo coffee business came to an end.”
Njonjo says he was traumatised by the death of Tom Mboya in 1969 and deeply shocked by that of JM Kariuki in 1975, but he regrets that politicians led by Elijah Mwangale meddled in the investigations.
“I told them to let the CID that was under my docket conduct the investigations but they instead insisted on leading the investigations. Can you imagine these people (the inquiry committee) interrogating Moi (then Vice-President) and myself at a time when I was Attorney-General and the CID was under me? Were the CID allowed to conduct proper investigations, we would have got to the bottom of this matter,” he says.
As AG, some of Mr Njonjo’s greatest moments were with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and he enjoyed working for him, travelling with him, listening to him and watching him as he transformed the country from a British colony to independent prosperity.
He says Kenya’s biggest problem is that it has “been eaten up by corruption” and those supposed to fight the vice are unable or unwilling to do their work.
He hits out at the Ninth Parliament for increasing their salaries and allowances instead of addressing the issue of poverty, which is partly to blame for the prevalence of corruption.
He hopes the 10th Parliament will serve the people first.
By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
In Kenya you can be a Mungiki sect leader like Pastor Waruinge and preside over the deaths of hundreds of innocent Kenyans, extort cash from poor slum dwellers and matatu touts, however, if you are on the right side of the political class, you can be pardoned, join a pastoral college and graduate as a priest.
If you are moneyed like Kamlesh Pattni, you can raid the nation’s Central Bank, export fake gold, divide the loot with conspirators in the system and reveal all their names with each amount paid out at a public inquiry and still fail to go to prison! In the case of Pattni, you can fake ill health as many times as you can, get admitted in a public hospital with five star facilities, all at the tax payer’s expense. For Paul Pattni again, you freely autograph school children’s exercise books at a public inquiry because you enjoy celebrity status by virtue of being a fraudster.
In Kenya, all the land grabbers of the Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki eras are millionaires living freely and comfortably with their ill-gotten wealth. The Golden Berg culprits are sitting pretty in the present cabinet. They have joined their later cousins of the Anglo Leasing era without as much as a whimper from the Chief Anti- Corruption czar. This is the meaning of impunity in the Kenyan political system.
For many decades, Tanzanians chided us as an incorrigible corrupt lot that only God would save from burning hell. There is this joke about a Tanzanian shaking the hand of a Kenyan in a meeting but soon after the handshake, must count his fingers to ensure that one of them is not missing!
As early as Nyerere and Kenyatta era, Tanzanians always referred to us as a man-eat-man society. We gained this distinction because of our greedy capitalist ways of Western culture where individualism was the overriding principle. For this reason, Kenyans could, steal, kill or rob to gain wealth.
For all their poverty that made Kenya’s Charles Njonjo describe them as dog-eat –dog society, ordinary Kenyans admired Tanzanians for their humanity and sense of communalism. Their ability to share made many poor Kenyans see Tanzania as a beacon of hope.
What is happening in Tanzania today would make Mwalimu Julius Kabarage Nyerere turn in his grave. He would not believe that less than ten years after his death, the Ndugu nation had not only imbibed every negative trait from Kenyans but were actually striving to overtake Kenyans in the institutionalization of graft.
Just recently, Jakaya Kikwete dropped several of his earlier ministers including the Prime Minister and Central Bank Governor on the grounds that they had been found to have fiddled with public funds. However, as the region hailed Kikwete for the bold step in letting go public officials with itching fingers, something has happened which has stunned Tanzanians.
Like their Kenyan counterparts, the culprits have retreated to their tribal cocoons and turned the tables on Kikwete. As they retreated to their villages, instead of being vilified and shunned by law abiding and upright Tanzanians, they have turned their shame into collective tribal guilt. Now they are claiming that they are targets of marginalization because of where they hail from.
They are claiming with some amount of success like their Kenyan mentors that they and their communities are being finished.
What has baffled many Tanzanians, Kikwete included is that the same bandits have been received and feted in their homes in the same fashion Kenyan ministers get feted when they are appointed to the cabinet! What is alarming is that their homecoming parties are being organized by local CCM party operatives! Looked at politically, it can only signal something; that the CCM national office headed by Kikwete is either facing a rebellion from the grassroots or Kikwete has lost the grip and loyalty of the grassroots.
If this is the case, how will Kikwete face the electorate three years from now when all these jackals form a coalition against him?
As Jakaya Kikwete ponders over this new challenge to his authority, ordinary Tanzanians who are more enlightened are baying for the blood of these looters. They are asking Kikwete to spill some blood. They want to see these people arraigned in courts and charged with stealing public funds.
Will Jakaya Kikwete accomplish the fete that eluded Daniel arap Moi for twenty four years and Mwai Kibaki for the last six years?
Only time will tell.
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