Thursday, March 29, 2012
March 28, 2012
Najib Balala finally lost his ministerial flag this week in a mini reshuffle.
I didn’t know that Balala was in the Kibaki government as a Muslim.
I thought he was in the cabinet in his capacity as a Kenyan and a national leader.
If indeed Balala was in the cabinet to represent the Muslim community in Kenya then what were the clerics’ briefs to Yusuf Haji the current minister for Defence, Chirau Ali Makwere of Environment, Mohamed Kuti of Livestock and Ibrahim Elmi Mohamed of Northern Kenya still serving in the cabinet? Did the PNU Muslim ministers also sign a separate MoU with President Kibaki?
At the beginning of the coalition government, there were 11 ministerial positions occupied by Muslims, 6 permanent secretaries and five other national posts held by Muslims. Of all of them, only Aden Duale and Najib Balala have lost their jobs out of their personal choice to demonize the party that took them to Parliament. In the case of Duale, it was strange that a mere nominee of the party could turn against his party boss in such a vicious manner.
The world over, it is very normal for comrades in the party to fall out. When they do, appointees usually resign from the government citing either personal reasons or differences over policy matters; or better still, over ideologies. It is only in Kenya where politicians differ with their party leaders but cling to their government portfolios and parliamentary seats. In this country, they want to have their cake and eat it at the same time.
The National Muslims Forum, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya say they have nullified the MoU with Raila Odinga. Namlef now tells Kenyans five years later that the MoU with Raila was conditional upon Balala being appointed to the Pentagon and Cabinet. Did this MoU stipulate that no matter how badly Balala destabilized and undermined the ODM, he would never be removed from the cabinet?
Are these clerics aware that Kenya is not an Islamic State and for that matter not a religious state? Are they aware that as Muslims, they are a minority in this country and should not use that minority status to harass and intimidate other Kenyans, Raila Odinga and ODM included?
In the run up to the 2007 elections, many parties promised every community many things. Had things gone as planned, Musalia Mudavadi would today be the Vice President. William Ruto would probably have become the Prime Minister or something to that effect. It is therefore in bad taste and reckless for a few clerics to come out with ridiculous statements that have no use in modern Kenya knowing so well how things went wrong in 2007.
If all religious leaders with more votes than Muslims were to make demands on Kibaki and Raila for equitable representation in the cabinet, where would the Muslim community find itself?
This door to door campaign that these clerics keep harping on; how come it did not translate into 100% Muslim votes for either Raila or ODM?
This door to door campaign they want to unleash on Raila, will it work in Kericho, Kendu Bay, Kisumu, Rift Valley and Namanga where Muslims also reside? Was Balala the MP for Mvita or Muslims countrywide?
Is Hassan Joho not Muslim enough? Are Muslims the only people at the coast? Don’t we have Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and animists at the coast that need to be in government?
In my opinion, there are so many good Muslims in this country that are doing a wonderful job for all Kenyans. They are serving in very influential positions in the Office of the President and Prime Minister’s office. They are in parliament leading very influential parliamentary committees. We even have a Muslim serving as the Deputy Speaker, not to mention the chairman of the powerful Electoral Commission. Raila’s own office is headed by a Muslim. These are great Kenyans doing great things for Kenya.
They do not need a cleric based in Mombasa to tell them how to behave just like Christians do not expect their bishops and priests to tell them who to vote in office or not.
Let clerics deal with saving souls as politicians and technocrats get busy delivering services to the people of Kenya because we are a secular state pure and simple.
Raila will definitely need all Muslim votes based on his election agenda just like he will need the votes of other religious believers. However, this request for votes should not be used as ransom to favour Muslims, Christians or any other religious group beyond their quota in Kenya.
This country has 42 tribes, some of who have never heard of Islam or Christianity. They too need to be invited to the party. This diversity is what Kenya is all about; not petty, parochial and narrow sectarian interests.
By MARTIN VOGL & RUKMINI CALLIMACHI,
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Five African presidents seeking to restore Mali's elected government were forced to make a mid-air U-turn and head to Ivory Coast to hold their meeting, after demonstrators supporting the military junta took over the tarmac to stop the jets from landing, officials said.
The presidents of Ivory Coast, Benin, Liberia, Niger and Burkina Faso were due to arrive in Mali on Thursday to press for the departure of the junior officers that grabbed power in a coup last week, reversing over two decades of democratic rule in this landlocked nation south of the Sahara.
The planes carrying the presidents were turned around after it became clear that the demonstrators had taken over the tarmac. They landed in the capital of Ivory Coast, where they went ahead with their meeting, officials said.
A senior adviser to the Ivorian president said that the five leaders were considering imposing economic and political sanctions on the regime of Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, and that the coup leader's unwillingness to even secure the airport for their arrival shows that he is not a partner worth taking seriously.
The adviser to President Alassane Ouattara, who could not be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said that the leaders are considering cutting off the gas supply to Mali, which can be done by sealing the border with Ivory Coast from where petroleum products are imported. They are also considering a travel ban on members of the junta and their family, as well as cutting off the supply of cash.
At the Bamako airport, Ouattara's Minister of African Integration Adama Bictogo, who had arrived in Mali on an earlier flight, told reporters that the presidents had not felt safe landing after pro-coup demonstrators flooded the runway.
"The meeting (in Bamako) was canceled for security reasons," said Bictogo. "When we arrived this morning we saw that the security hadn't been organized and that around 100 people had managed to get on the tarmac. This prevented the plane from landing, and there was hostility in the air," he said.
He said that while he was waiting for the leaders to arrive, he took the opportunity to meet in the VIP lounge with coup leader Sanogo, and stressed the position of the Economic Community of West African States, who had sent the five-president delegation. Sanogo did not go to Abidjan for the meeting.
"This unfortunate incident can't be an obstacle to finding a solution to the crisis. The bridge hasn't been burnt," he said. "And certainly it was youthfulness and inexperience that let this happen, or perhaps they just let things get out of control."
Last week's coup happened in one of the few established democracies in the troubled western half of the African continent. Sanogo, who is in his 30s, seized power from President Amadou Toumani Toure, who is considered one of Africa's senior statesman and was just months from stepping down.
Sanogo's soldiers have ransacked the presidential palace. They have set up their de facto seat of power inside an aging, two-story building in the Kati military barracks located around 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the palace.
It was at that garrison that a mutiny erupted on March 21, led by troops angry over the treatment of fellow soldiers killed in operations in the country's north, where they were sent to fight Tuareg rebels. The soldiers accused Toure of mishandling the operations and of sending the military to the remote region without enough arms or ammunition.
Several thousand people took to the streets this week in support of the military takeover, indicating that frustration at Toure's handling of the rebellion is widespread. Toure has gone into hiding and his whereabouts are unknown. He gave an interview Thursday to French radio RFI saying that he was in good health and was carefully following the developments.
Meanwhile on Thursday, a joint force of Tuareg rebels began attacking the besieged northern city of Kidal using shells, rockets and gunfire, said a Niger government source speaking to both sides in the conflict.
The Tuareg leaders' decision to attack came after more than a week of negotiations failed, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press.
Kidal would be a major prize for the rebels, who relaunched their decades-old fight in mid-January, led by battle-hardened officers and troops who fought for Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and returned home heavily armed. Kidal is one of two major northern towns that failed to fall in two previous Tuareg rebellions in the 1990s and 2000s.
Associated Press writers Martin Vogl and Baba Ahmed in Bamako, Mali and Michelle Faul in Agadez, Niger contributed to this report.
By Jerry Okungu
March 28, 2012
As military tanks rolled in the streets of Bamako, Dakar was gearing for a titanic election rerun pitying the aging Abdulahi Wade and his relatively youthful former Prime Minister, Macky Sall.
In Bamako, junior military officers chose to throw out their former Commander in Chief, President Amadou Toumani Toure, just a month before he could have democratically retired from active politics. Ironically, this deposed president was a former army commander who overthrew a Malian military dictator in 1991, restored democracy in a year and left office to disappear from public life for a decade. When he reemerged as a civilian, he contested elections and won. When he did win, he received that important phone call from his worthy opponent to congratulate Toure and concede defeat.
This time round, soldiers used a lame excuse that the Tuareg rebels from the North were gaining ground trying to overthrow the Malian government because soldiers had not been equipped with modern fighter military hardware.
What ordinary Malians could not understand was why soldiers chose to harass and intimidate civilians as they went on a looting spree on the streets of Bamako instead of focusing on fighting rebels in the North.
If indeed soldiers had genuine grievances against President Toure, why did they overthrow him knowing full well that he had just weeks to retire? Or was this a coup against civilians that were gearing up to succeed Toure? Is it the reason all the opposition parties have been vocal in opposing the coup?
Whatever the real reasons the soldiers rolled tanks against a civilian government on the streets of Bamako, the fact still remains that their actions have reversed democratic gains in that country for two decades. Now they have to start all over again where Mali was in 1991.
Looking at a barrage of condemnations from Africa, Europe and North America, one gets the feeling that this coup was ill- timed and occurred when the world, including Africa had moved on. Coups are no longer fashionable.
Next door in Senegal, there was another kind of coup. In this regime change, there were no military tanks barricading the presidential palace. It was a people’s coup through the power of the ballot rather than the bullet. Senegalese came out in their millions to hand the aging Abdulahi Wade a devastating defeat from his younger compatriot who once served as the old man’s prime minister. And when the results were counted in this country of 12 million people, Wade could only manage a paltry 30% of the votes cast. Macky Sall had run away with the prize.
However, despite earlier acrimonious campaign period that forced a rerun, Wade had the presence of mind to know when to quit with a little dignity still left. He saw the results on TV, picked a phone and called his former premier to congratulate Sall and concede defeat in the process. That is the way it should be in civilized and mature democracies. You win some; you lose some. And when you lose, you acknowledge the winner and move on.
Violent as we may be perceived to be in Kenya, we indeed had a similar election in December 2002. In that year, the top contenders were Uhuru Kenyatta of KANU and Mwai Kibaki of NARC. When Uhuru realized he had lost by over 67%, he called a press conference at the Serena Hotel and conceded defeat and phoned Mwai Kibaki to congratulate him. At that moment, we were very proud of Uhuru Kenyatta and congratulated him for being a statesman and a democrat. On that day, many of us were convinced that Uhuru stood a very good chance of leading Kenya at a later date.
Had we repeated the same civility in 2007 rather than going to war with ourselves, we would today be celebrating a decade of democratic governance. However in 2007, our political class refused to concede defeat and chose to steal our votes. It is this theft that was an affront to the citizens of Kenya. Their anger was a display of rage on our streets that reverberated across Africa and the rest of the world.
Had our politicians chosen the path of democracy like Wade did in Senegal early this week, Kenya would today not be having its citizens languishing in refugee camps in Uganda with thousands more still internally displaced in various parts of Kenya. Had Kenya chosen democracy rather than old fashioned political fraud, we would not have lost 1500 Kenyans in senseless killings. More importantly we would today not be sending our citizens to The Hague for trial.
As we analyze the contrasting events in Bamako and Dakar, let us in this region aspire to be like Senegal and shun the rebels in Mali. We must manage our democratic transitions with maturity if we want to be respected by the rest of the world. Our fate and destiny is in our hands. Let us not disrupt our societies with silly coups then blame it on this or that super power; this or that former colonizer.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) – The body representing nations in western Africa has suspended Mali and has put a peacekeeping force on standby in the most direct threat yet to the junta that seized control in a military coup last week.
Alassane Ouattara, the president of Ivory Coast who is the rotating chair of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, told reporters after an emergency meeting in the capital of Ivory Coast that Mali's democracy cannot be abandoned. A delegation of five African presidents will head to Mali within the next 48 hours to try to "restore constitutional order."
There is no immediate plan to deploy the peacekeepers who will be put on standby in the event that a military intervention is needed, said Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, the president of the ECOWAS commission. The move suggests the bloc may consider force if the mutinous soldiers who overthrew Mali's democratically elected leader do not stand down.
"We cannot allow this country endowed with such precious democratic instruments, dating back at least two decades, to leave history by regressing. It's why Mali needs to immediately return its democratic institutions to normal," said Ouattara. "This position is nonnegotiable."
Already, the United States, the European Union and France have cut off all but essential aid, representing a loss of tens of millions of dollars. Additional sanctions from the region would be a further blow to the junta, which seized control of the nation of 15 million in the wake of a mutiny at a military camp in the capital last Wednesday.
In the chaos that ensued, soldiers stormed the presidential palace and drove into hiding President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was due to step down next month. In a matter of hours, they erased two decades of democratic rule.
Besides the threat of military intervention, Mali's neighbors could suffocate the nation financially. Many of the 15 nations represented on the regional bloc share the same currency, and they could together decide to cut off Mali's supply of cash. Also if nearby Ivory Coast were to shut its border, landlocked Mali, a nation twice the size of Texas spanning over an expanse of scrubland, verdant hills and desert dunes, would run out of gasoline, which is trucked in from Ivorian refineries.
The coup took the region and the world by surprise, because Mali has long been held up as one of the few established democracies in the troubled western corner of the continent. Late Tuesday on state television, the newscaster announced that Mali would soon be under a new constitution, indicating the putschists are moving forward with plans to create a new government, and not restoring the nation's democratic order.
The newsreader on state television, controlled by the junta, said that the military committee controlling the country "has just adopted the basic law regarding a new constitution for the Republic of Mali. The new basic law which will govern the state during the entire transition has 12 headings and 69 articles." The entire constitution will be read on state television later Tuesday.
The junta leaders are working hard to give the semblance of normalcy. In Bamako, the airport and the country's land borders reopened on Tuesday. The nighttime curfew was lifted. traffic was heavy, as offices reopened for the first time since the coup. The junta showed images on TV of looted goods being returned to their owners, after soldiers went on a pillaging spree, even stealing bananas from elderly women who eke out a living selling them on street corners.
"We want the soldiers back in their barracks," said Mohammed Decko, wearing a shirt with the image of ousted President Toure. "This coup is putting Mali back 20 years."
It was 21 years ago in 1991 that Toure ousted the country's military leader in a coup that came after months of protests. The former general, who once headed the country's parachute commandos, was dubbed "The Soldier of Democracy," after he handed power to civilians a year later, then retreated from public life. He remerged to win the 2002 and 2007 elections, and was due to retire at the end of his term next month.
Toure, whose whereabouts since the coup remain unknown, began losing support when an al-Qaeda-linked terror cell implanted itself in northern Mali starting in 2003. He is accused of turning a blind eye, while diplomatic cables suggest the government entered into a pact of nonaggression with the terrorists for fear they would strike the capital in revenge.
It was in January that Toure's popularity hit a new low, after a Tuareg uprising began in the country's north. Again Toure did not respond forcefully, and when he finally sent troops to fight the insurgents, they were ill-equipped. Some did not even have enough food.
The group of soldiers that led the attack last week said that it was Toure's failure and incompetence in dealing with the two-month-old insurgency that pushed them to seize power. Their leader is an army captain, who has been sent to the United States for military training. He speaks English and before the coup, he was an English language instructor at a military college.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI,
DAKAR, Senegal (AP)
The moment that crystallized this nation's reputation as one of Africa's established democracies came the morning after the presidential election 12 years ago. In the neoclassical presidential palace, Senegal's leader stayed awake all night, counting and re-counting the results that showed in no uncertain terms that he had lost.
President Abdou Diouf could have rigged the election from the start, as his neighbor to the north in Mauritania had the habit of doing. He could have stacked the court in charge of validating the election with supporters, the strategy his neighbor to the south in Ivory Coast would one day put to good use.
Or he could have deployed the army to keep his grasp on power like in nearby Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau all of which share a border with Senegal, a nation of 12.4 million on Africa's western edge.
Instead the 64-year-old president emerged from his office, told his aides to draft a statement conceding defeat and picked up the phone to congratulate the man who had beaten him, Abdoulaye Wade.
At 9:27 p.m. this Sunday, Wade followed his predecessor's lead, picked up the phone and for the second time in the history of this coastal nation, he called to congratulate his rival.
To the world, these events 12 years apart are mirror images of each other, reinforcing Senegal's standing as one of the few mature democracies in a troubled neighborhood of the world.
The coup last week in neighboring Mali which overturned over 20 years of democratic rule, underscores how fragile Africa's democratic roots are and how easily they are upended.
Only the Senegalese, however, know how close the country came to veering off course. Wade had attempted to gerrymander the constitution to make it possible to put his son in office. And weeks of protesters clashing with police had residents calling a downtown roundabout their Tahrir Square and made the sea air that normally wafts across this capital perched on the Atlantic Ocean acrid with tear gas.
"In these last few years, these last few months and these last few days, Wade inflicted great harm on the people of Senegal. You can't erase that with one democratic gesture," said historian Ibrahima Thioub, the chair of the history department at Cheikh Ante Diop University in Dakar. "His phone call can't be considered to be the same as the phone call Diouf made. His back was to the wall. He had no means whatsoever to hang on to power."
The early results that came in after runoff polls closed Sunday showed that the 85-year-old Wade had been trounced. Even in his home polling station in the Point E neighborhood of the capital, preliminary results gave Wade only 454 votes to rival Macky Sall's 1,589.
While Wade's quick concession was welcomed by the opposition, and praised by the White House, the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations, some say it as an effort by the veteran politician to regain his standing after a violent election season which marred his reputation as well as that of his country.
"It shows that he still had an eensy teensy bit of lucidity. But this lucidity was only awakened by the immensity of his defeat," said Thioub, considered the country's leading historian.
An official privy to how the events unfolded said that the head of the national TV station made three trips to the presidential palace late Sunday to bring Wade the results as they came in. On the third visit to the palace, Babacar Diagne, the director of the Radio Television Senegal station, delivered the news: All was lost. Wade was not just losing by a three- or four- or five-point margin. Macky Sall was beating him 60 to 40 and maybe even 70 to 30.
The official, who could not be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that when Wade was informed, he didn't try to fight it. The news of his defeat ran on a ticker on state TV.
Presidential spokesman Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye issued a one-paragraph statement: "On this day, the 25th of March 2012, at 9:27 p.m., President Abdoulaye Wade, a candidate in the presidential election, called President Macky Sall to congratulate him for having won the election and to wish him good luck in his mission at the head of Senegal in the hopes that he will render the Senegalese happy. In this way, Senegal, through a transparent election, has once again proven that she remains a great democracy — a great country."
The series of events is a study in similarities and contrasts to how the election unfolded over a decade ago. The night of the March 19, 2000 runoff, Diouf asked to be left alone inside his private office in the palace. His aides were sitting in an anteroom just outside, remembers his special communications adviser Cheikh Tidiane Dieye. Diouf lost with a much tighter margin and unlike Wade, he had no precedent to look back on — only the examples of neighboring strongmen.
"When the results were communicated to us, the mood was like at a funeral. Morose. It was an extremely traumatizing experience. You could hear the flies flying around. No one said anything. Every single radio station was repeating the same results. Until 3 in the morning, the president kept on studying and studying and studying the results," remembers Dieye. "When he came out, he said, 'I think this is how democracy works.' ... He asked me to draft the statement congratulating Wade."
The gesture of phoning to concede defeat was so unexpected, that Wade didn't even take the call when Diouf first tried to reach him, said Dieye. The outgoing president reached Wade's head of protocol, who informed him that the candidate was sleeping and had to call a second time to be able to relay the message.
Diouf boxed up his belongings and left the presidential palace within days of his defeat. And in a further act that solidified his reputation as a rare statesman on a continent of autocrats, he exiled himself to France, a move his former aide says was intended to create space for the new regime.
Two years later, the gesture was copied by Soumaila Cisse after he lost the 2002 Malian election. He publicly congratulated the polls' winner, Amadou Toumani Toure, who was president of Mali until last week.
On Wednesday, a group of renegade soldiers stormed the presidential palace in Mali and declared a coup, overturning one of the only other established democracies in the region. It underscores just how ephemeral constitutional rule is in a part of the world where armies have made a habit of seizing power with the gun.
"The concession speech and the congratulation still remains a pretty rare phenomenon in Africa," said Jennifer Cooke, Africa program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It's always a surprise, and a welcome surprise because it's so rare."
Callimachi is the West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press. She has covered seven African elections, including the 2007 vote in Senegal.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Monday, March 26, 2012
By Nile Bowie
Global Research, March 23, 2012
As the Obama administration claims to welcome the peaceful rise of China on the world stage, recent policy shifts toward an increased US military presence in Central Africa threaten deepening Chinese commercial activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, widely considered the world’s most resource rich nation.
Since the time of the British Empire and the manifesto of Cecil Rhodes, the pursuit of treasures on the hopeless continent has demonstrated the expendability of human life. Despite decades of apathy among the primary resource consumers, the increasing reach of social media propaganda has ignited public interest in Africa’s long overlooked social issues.
In the wake of celebrity endorsed pro-intervention publicity stunts, public opinion in the United States is now being mobilized in favor of a greater military presence on the African continent. Following the deployment of one hundred US military personnel to Uganda in 2011, a new bill has been introduced to the Congress calling for the further expansion of regional military forces in pursuit of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an ailing rebel group allegedly responsible for recruiting child soldiers and conducting crimes against humanity.
As the Obama administration claims to welcome the peaceful rise of China on the world stage, recent policy shifts toward an American Pacific Century indicate a desire to maintain the capacity to project military force toward the emerging superpower.
In addition to maintaining a permanent military presence in Northern Australia, the construction of an expansive military base on South Korea’s Jeju Island has indicated growing antagonism towards Beijing.
The base maintains the capacity to host up to twenty American and South Korean warships, including submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers once completed in 2014 – in addition to the presence of Aegis anti-ballistic systems.
In response, Chinese leadership has referred to the increasing militarization in the region as an open provocation.
On the economic front, China has been excluded from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a trade agreement intended to administer US-designed international trading regulations throughout Asia, to the benefit of American corporations.
As further fundamental policy divisions emerge subsequent to China and Russia’s UNSC veto mandating intervention in Syria, the Obama administration has begun utilizing alternative measures to exert new economic pressure towards Beijing.
The United States, along with the EU and Japan have called on the World Trade Organization to block Chinese-funded mining projects in the US, in addition to a freeze on World Bank financing for China’s extensive mining projects.
In a move to counteract Chinese economic ascendancy, Washington is crusading against China's export restrictions on minerals that are crucial components in the production of consumer electronics such as flat-screen televisions, smart phones, laptop batteries, and a host of other products.
In a 2010 white paper entitled “Critical Raw Materials for the EU,” the European Commission cites the immediate need for reserve supplies of tantalum, cobalt, niobium, and tungsten among others; the US Department of Energy 2010 white paper “Critical Mineral Strategy” also acknowledged the strategic importance of these key components.
Coincidently, the US military is now attempting to increase its presence in what is widely considered the world’s most resource rich nation, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The DRC has suffered immensely during its history of foreign plunder and colonial occupation; it maintains the second lowest GDP per capita despite having an estimated $24 trillion in untapped raw minerals deposits.
During the Congo Wars of the 1996 to 2003, the United States provided training and arms to Rwandan and Ugandan militias who later invaded the eastern provinces of the DRC in proxy. In addition to benefiting various multinational corporations, the regimes of Paul Kagame in Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda both profited immensely from the plunder of Congolese conflict minerals such as cassiterite, wolframite, coltan (from which niobium and tantalum are derived) and gold.
The DRC holds more than 30% of the world's diamond reserves and 80% of the world's coltan, the majority of which is exported to China for processing into electronic-grade tantalum powder and wiring.
China’s unprecedented economic transformation has relied not only on consumer markets in the United States, Australia and the EU – but also on Africa, as a source for a vast array of raw materials.
As Chinese economic and cultural influence in Africa expands exponentially with the symbolic construction of the new $200 million African Union headquarters funded solely by Beijing, the ailing United States and its leadership have expressed dissatisfaction toward its diminishing role in the region.
During a diplomatic tour of Africa in 2011, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton herself has irresponsibly insinuated China’s guilt in perpetuating a creeping “new colonialism.”
At a time when China holds an estimated $1.5 trillion in American government debt, Clinton’s comments remain dangerously provocative. As China, backed by the world’s largest foreign currency reserves, begins to offer loans to its BRICS counterparts in RMB, the prospect of emerging nations resisting the New American Century appear to be increasingly assured.
While the success of Anglo-American imperialism relies on its capacity to militarily drive target nations into submission, today’s African leaders are not obliged to do business with China – although doing so may be to their benefit.
China annually invests an estimated $5.5 billion in Africa, with only 29 percent of direct investment in the mining sector in 2009 – while more than half was directed toward domestic manufacturing, finance, and construction industries, which largely benefit Africans themselves – despite reports of worker mistreatment.
China has further committed $10 billion in concessional loans to Africa between 2009 and 2012 and made significant investments in manufacturing zones in non-resource-rich economies such as Zambia and Tanzania. As Africa’s largest trading partner, China imports 1.5 million barrels of oil from Africa per day, approximately accounting for 30 percent of its total imports.
Over the past decade, 750,000 Chinese nationals have settled in Africa, while Chinese state-funded cultural centers in rural parts of the continent conduct language classes in Mandarin and Cantonese.
As China is predicted to formally emerge as the world’s largest economy in 2016, the recent materialization of plans for a BRICS Bank have the potential to restructure the global financial climate and directly challenge the hegemonic conduct of the International Monetary Fund in Africa’s strategic emerging economies.
China’s deepening economic engagement in Africa and its crucial role in developing the mineral sector, telecommunications industry and much needed infrastructural projects is creating "deep nervousness" in the West, according to David Shinn, the former US ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
In a 2011 Department of Defense whitepaper entitled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China”, the US acknowledges the maturity of China’s modern hardware and military technology, and the likelihood of Beijing finding hostility with further military alliances between the United States and Taiwan.
The document further indicates that “China’s rise as a major international actor is likely to stand out as a defining feature of the strategic landscape of the early 21st century.” Furthermore, the Department of Defense concedes to the uncertainty of how China’s growing capabilities will be administered on the world stage.
Although a US military presence in Africa (under the guise of fighting terrorism and protecting human rights) specifically to counter Chinese regional economic authority may not incite tension in the same way that a US presence in North Korea or Taiwan would, the potential for brinksmanship exists and will persist.
China maintains the largest standing army in the world with 2,285,000 personnel and is working to challenge the regional military hegemony of America’s Pacific Century with its expanding naval and conventional capabilities, including an effort to develop the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile.
Furthermore, China has moved to begin testing advanced anti-satellite (ASAT) and Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) weapons systems in an effort to bring the US-China rivalry into Space warfare.
The concept of US intervention into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Uganda under the pretext of disarming the Lord’s Resistance Army is an ultimately fraudulent purpose.
The LRA has been in operation for over two decades, and presently remains at an extremely weakened state, with approximately 400 soldiers. According the LRA Crisis Tracker, a digital crisis mapping software launched by the Invisible Children group, not a single case of LRA activity has been reported in Uganda since 2006.
The vast majority of reported attacks are presently taking place in the northeastern Bangadi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located on the foot of a tri-border expanse between the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The existence of the Lord’s Resistance Army should rightfully be disputed, as the cases of LRA activity reported by US State Department-supported Invisible Children rely on unconfirmed reports – cases where LRA activity is presumed and suspected.
Given the extreme instability in the northern DRC after decades of foreign invasion and countless rebel insurgencies, the lack of adequate investigative infrastructure needed to sufficiently examine and confirm the LRA’s presence is simply not in place.
The villainous branding of Joseph Kony may well be deserved, however it cannot be overstated that the LRA threat is wholly misrepresented in recent pro-intervention US legislation. An increasing US presence in the region exists only to curtail the increasing economic presence of China in one of the world’s most resource and mineral rich regions.
The Lord’s Resistance Army was originally formed in 1987 in northwestern Uganda by members of the Acholi ethnic group, who were historically exploited for forced labor by the British colonialists and later marginalized by the nation’s dominant Bantu ethic groups following independence.
The Lord’s Resistance Army originally aimed to overthrow the government of current Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni – due to a campaign of genocide waged against the Acholi people. The northern Ugandan Acholi and Langi ethnic groups have been historically targeted and ostracized by successive Anglo-American backed administrations.
In 1971, Israeli and British intelligence agencies engineered a coup against Uganda’s socialist President Milton Obote, which gave rise to the disastrous regime of Idi Amin.
Prior to declaring himself head of state after deposing Obote, Amin was a member of the British colonial regiment, charged with managing concentration camps in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion beginning in 1952. Amin conducted genocide against the Acholi people on the suspicion of loyalty toward the former Obote leadership, who later reclaimed power in 1979 after Amin attempted to annex the neighboring Kagera province of Tanzania.
Museveni founded the Front for National Salvation, which helped topple Obote with US support in 1986, despite the fact that his army exploited the use of child soldiers. Museveni formally took power and was subsequently accused of genocide for driving the Acholi people into detainment camps in an attempt to usurp fertile land in northern Uganda.
The Museveni regime has displaced approximately 1.5 million Acholi and killed at least three hundred thousand people when taking power in 1986 according to the Red Cross. In addition to accusations of using rape as weapon and overseeing the deaths of thousands in squalid detainment camps, Museveni has been accused of exerting a campaign of state-sponsored terror onto the Acholi people in a 1992 Amnesty International report.
During an interview with Joseph Kony in 2006, the LRA commander denies allegations of mutilation and torture and further accuses Museveni’s forces of committing such actions as propaganda against the Lord’s Resistance Army.
In a detailed report of Museveni’s atrocities, Ugandan writer Herrn Edward Mulindwa offers, “During the 22-year war, Museveni’s army killed, maimed and mutilated thousands of civilians, while blaming it on rebels.
In northern Uganda, instead of defending and protecting civilians against rebel attacks, Museveni’s army would masquerade as rebels and commit gross atrocities, including maiming and mutilation, only to return and pretend to be saviors of the affected people.”
Despite such compelling evidence of brutality, Museveni has been a staunch US ally since the Reagan administration and received $45 million dollars in military aid from the Obama administration for Ugandan participation in the fight against Somalia’s al Shabaab militia. Since the abhorrent failure of the 1993 US intervention in Somalia, the US has relied on the militaries of Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia to carry out US interests in proxy.
Since colonial times, the West has historically exploited ethnic differences in Africa for political gain. In Rwanda, the Belgian colonial administration exacerbated tension between the Hutu, who were subjugated as a workforce – and the Tutsi, seen as extenders of Belgian rule.
From the start of the Rwandan civil war in 1990, the US sought to overthrow the 20-year reign of Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana by installing a Tutsi proxy government in Rwanda, a region historically under the influence of France and Belgium. At that time prior to the outbreak of the Rwandan civil war, the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) led by current Rwandan President Paul Kagame, was part of Museveni’s United People's Defense Forces (UPDF).
Ugandan forces invaded Rwanda in 1990 under the pretext of Tutsi liberation, despite the fact that Museveni refused to grant citizenship to Tutsi-Rwandan refugees living in Uganda at the time, a move that further offset the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Kagame himself was trained at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) in Leavenworth, Kansas prior to returning to the region to oversee the 1990 invasion of Rwanda as commander of the RPA, which received supplies from US-funded UPDF military bases inside Uganda.
The invasion of Rwanda had the full support of the US and Britain, who provided training by US Special Forces in collaboration with US mercenary outfit, Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI).
A report issued in 2000 by Canadian Professor Michel Chossudovsky and Belgian economist Senator Pierre Galand concluded that western financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank financed both sides of the Rwandan civil war, through a process of financing military expenditure from the external debt of both the regimes of Habyarimana and Museveni.
In Uganda, the World Bank imposed austerity measures solely on civilian expenditures while overseeing the diversion of State revenue go toward funding the UPDF, on behalf of Washington. In Rwanda, the influx of development loans from the World Bank's affiliates such as the International Development Association (IDA), the African Development Fund (AFD), and the European Development Fund (EDF) were diverted into funding the Hutu extremist Interhamwe militia, the main protagonists of the Rwandan genocide.
Perhaps most disturbingly, the World Bank oversaw huge arms purchases that were recorded as bona fide government expenditures, a stark violation of agreements signed between the Rwandan government and donor institutions.
Under the watch of the World Bank, the Habyarimana regime imported approximately one million machetes through various Interhamwe linked organizations, under the pretext of importing civilian commodities.
To ensure their reimbursement, a multilateral trust fund of $55.2 million dollars was designated toward postwar reconstruction efforts, although the money was not allocated to Rwanda – but to the World Bank, to service the debts used to finance the massacres.
Furthermore, Paul Kagame was pressured by Washington upon coming to power to recognize the legitimacy of the debt incurred by the previous genocidal Habyarimana regime. The swap of old loans for new debts (under the banner of post-war reconstruction) was conditional upon the acceptance of a new wave of IMF-World Bank reforms, which similarly diverted outside funds into military expenditure prior to the Kagame-led invasion of the Congo, then referred to as Zaire.
As present day Washington legislators attempt to increase US military presence in the DRC under the pretext of humanitarian concern, the highly documented conduct of lawless western intelligence agencies and defense contractors in the Congo since its independence sheds further light on the exploitative nature of western intervention.
In 1961, the Congo’s first legally elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with support from Belgian intelligence and the CIA, paving the way for the thirty-two year reign of Mobutu Sese Seko.
As part of an attempt to purge the Congo of all colonial cultural influence, Mobutu renamed the country Zaire and led an authoritarian regime closely allied to France, Belgium and the US. Mobutu was regarded as a staunch US ally during the Cold War due to his strong stance against communism; the regime received billions in international aid, most from the United States.
His administration allowed national infrastructure to deteriorate while the Zairian kleptocracy embezzled international aid and loans; Mobutu himself reportedly held $4 billion USD in a personal Swiss bank account.
Relations between the US and Zaire thawed at the end of the Cold War, when Mobutu was no longer needed as an ally; Washington would later use Rwandan and Ugandan troops to invade the Congo to topple Mobutu and install a new proxy regime.
Following the conflict in Rwanda, 1.2 million Hutu civilians (many of whom who took part in the genocide) crossed into the Kivu province of eastern Zaire fearing prosecution from Paul Kagame’s Tutsi RPA. US Special Forces trained Rwandan and Ugandan troops at Fort Bragg in the United States and supported Congolese rebels under future President, Laurent Kabila.
Under the pretext of safeguarding Rwandan national security against the threat of displaced Hutu militias, troops from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi invaded the Congo and ripped through Hutu refugee camps, slaughtering thousands of Rwandan and Congolese Hutu civilians, many of who were women and children.
Reports of brutality and mass killing in the Congo were rarely addressed in the West, as the International Community was sympathetic to Kagame and the Rwandan Tutsi victims of genocide. Both Halliburton and Bechtel (military contractors that profited immensely from the Iraq war) were involved in military training and reconnaissance operations in an attempt to overthrow Mobutu and bring Kabila to power.
After deposing Mobutu and seizing control in Kinshasa, Laurent Kabila was quickly regarded as an equally despotic leader after eradicating all opposition to his rule; he turned away from his Rwandan backers and called on Congolese civilians to violently purge the nation of Rwandans, prompting Rwandan forces to regroup in Goma, in an attempt to capture resource rich territory in eastern Congo.
Prior to becoming President in 1997, Kabila sent representatives to Toronto to discuss mining opportunities with American Mineral Fields (AMF) and Canada’s Barrick Gold Corporation; AMF had direct ties to US President Bill Clinton and was given exclusive exploration rights to zinc, copper, and cobalt mines in the area.
The Congolese Wars perpetrated by Rwanda and Uganda killed at least six million people, making it the largest case of genocide since the Jewish holocaust. The successful perpetration of the conflict relied on western military and financial support, and was fought primarily to usurp the extensive mining resources of eastern and southern Congo; the US defense industry relies on high quality metallic alloys indigenous to the region, used primarily in the construction of high-performance jet engines.
In 1980, Pentagon documents acknowledged shortages of cobalt, titanium, chromium, tantalum, beryllium, and nickel; US participation in the Congolese conflict was largely an effort to obtain these needed resources. The sole piece of legislation authored by President Obama during his time as a Senator was S.B. 2125, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006.
In the legislation, Obama acknowledges the Congo as a long-term interest to the United States and further alludes to the threat of Hutu militias as an apparent pretext for continued interference in the region; Section 201(6) of the bill specifically calls for the protection of natural resources in the eastern DRC.
The Congressional Budget Office’s 1982 report “Cobalt: Policy Options for a Strategic Mineral” notes that cobalt alloys are critical to the aerospace and weapons industries and that 64% of the world’s cobalt reserves lay in the Katanga Copper Belt, running from southeastern Congo into northern Zambia.
For this reason, the future perpetration of the military industrial complex largely depends on the control of strategic resources in the eastern DRC. In 2001, Laurent Kabila was assassinated by a member of his security staff, paving the way for his son Joseph Kabila to dynastically usurp the presidency.
The younger Kabila derives his legitimacy solely from the support of foreign heads of state and the international business community, due to his ability to comply with foreign plunder.
During the Congo’s general elections in November 2011, the international community and the UN remained predictably silent regarding the mass irregularities observed by the electoral committee.
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has faced frequent allegations of corruption, prompting opposition leader Étienne Tshisikedi to call for the UN mission to end its deliberate efforts to maintain the system of international plundering and to appoint someone “less corrupt and more credible” to head UN operations.
MONUSCO has been plagued with frequent cases of peacekeeping troops caught smuggling minerals such as cassiterite and dealing weapons to militia groups.
Under the younger Joseph Kabila, Chinese commercial activities in the DRC have significantly increased not only in the mining sector, but also considerably in the telecommunications field. In 2000, the Chinese ZTE Corporation finalized a $12.6 million deal with the Congolese government to establish the first Sino-Congolese telecommunications company; furthermore, the DRC exported $1.4 billion worth of cobalt between 2007 and 2008.
The majority of Congolese raw materials like cobalt, copper ore and a variety of hard woods are exported to China for further processing and 90% of the processing plants in resource rich southeastern Katanga province are owned by Chinese nationals. In 2008, a consortium of Chinese companies were granted the rights to mining operations in Katanga in exchange for US$6 billion in infrastructure investments, including the construction of two hospitals, four universities and a hydroelectric power project.
The framework of the deal allocated an additional $3 million to develop cobalt and copper mining operations in Katanga. In 2009, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded renegotiation of the deal, arguing that the agreement between China and the DRC violated the foreign debt relief program for so-called HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) nations.
The vast majority of the DRC’s $11 billion foreign debt owed to the Paris Club was embezzled by the previous regime of Mobuto Sesi Seko. The IMF successfully blocked the deal in May 2009, calling for a more feasibility study of the DRCs mineral concessions.
The United States is currently mobilizing public opinion in favor of a greater US presence in Africa, under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony, quelling Islamist terrorism and putting an end to long-standing humanitarian issues.
As well-meaning Americans are successively coerced by highly emotional social media campaigns promoting an American response to atrocities, few realize the role of the United States and western financial institutions in fomenting the very tragedies they are now poised to resolve.
While many genuinely concerned individuals naively support forms of pro-war brand activism, the mobilization of ground forces in Central Africa will likely employ the use of predator drones and targeted missile strikes that have been notoriously responsible for civilian causalities en masse.
The further consolidation of US presence in the region is part of a larger program to expand AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command through a proposed archipelago of military bases in the region.
In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham offered the following on AFRICOM and its strategic objectives of "protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment."
Additionally, during an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared AFRICOM’s guiding principle of protecting “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market,” before citing the increasing presence of China as a major challenge to US interests in the region.
The increased US presence in Central Africa is not simply a measure to secure monopolies on Uganda’s recently discovered oil reserves; Museveni’s legitimacy depends solely on foreign backers and their extensive military aid contributions – US ground forces are not required to obtain valuable oil contracts from Kampala.
The push into Africa has more to do with destabilizing the deeply troubled Democratic Republic of the Congo and capturing its strategic reserves of cobalt, tantalum, gold and diamonds.
More accurately, the US is poised to employ a scorched-earth policy by creating dangerous war-like conditions in the Congo, prompting the mass exodus of Chinese investors.
Similarly to the Libyan conflict, the Chinese returned after the fall of Gaddafi to find a proxy government only willing to do business with the western nations who helped it into power.
As the US uses its influence to nurture the emergence of breakaway states like South Sudan, the activities of Somalia’s al Shabaab, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and larger factions of AQIM in North Africa offer a concrete pretext for further US involvement in regional affairs.
The ostensible role of the first African-American US President is to export the theatresque War on Terror directly to the African continent, in a campaign to exploit established tensions along tribal, ethnic and religious lines.
As US policy theoreticians such as Dr. Henry Kissinger, willingly proclaim, "Depopulation should be the highest priority of US foreign policy towards the Third World,” the vast expanse of desert and jungles in northern and central Africa will undoubtedly serve as the venue for the next decade of resource wars.
Nile Bowie is an independent writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; he regularly contributes to Global Research Twitter: @NileBowi
Friday, March 23, 2012
By Jerry Okungu
March 23 2013
Isaak Hassan’s election date is not cast in stone; so I understand. More importantly, March 2013 is still too far to be assumed is a foregone conclusion.
There are multiple dangers in this date that good Kenyans of courage must point out to the IEBC chairman in good time. The days when we used to say Nyayo Juu once the date was announced are long gone. This country was reclaimed by the people of Kenya in October 2010 and there is no going back.
It is a pity those who should know better, some of who opposed the December polls and even went to court for the August date have switched sides. I only pray that they have better reasons to do so and that history will prove them right.
This date has done this country more damage than good. It has accomplished what the 2005 referendum did to the country. It has in equal measure divided the cabinet, the government and the country. It has given us two formations just like the referendum of 2005 did.
The political class has taken sides. The pros and the cons want to have it their way or nothing at all.. Worse still, it has muddied the waters for both sides of the political divide. Traditional supporters of the President are now on the Prime Minister’s side. Diehard supporters of the Prime Minister have jumped ship and are now with the President. This means that if the debate does not die a natural death, we will go to the polls a divided nation one more time.
When you see the Vice President abandoning his principal and the deputy prime minister forsaking his party leader, be warned that things are thick. Political realignments are in the offing.
Right now the cabinet is divided right in the middle. The President is controlling 15 cabinet ministers, 9 of them from ODM side. The Prime Minister on the other hand is in control of 16 ministers, 10 of them from the President’s side.
With Uhuru Kenya not committing to either side, we have 32 ministers whose stand is already known with 10 more yet to decide which direction to go.
What Hassan and his IEBC need to know is this; the more they prolongs the elections, the more chances political temperatures will rise with dire consequences for Kenya’s stability and economic wellbeing.
The chairman should remember that as soon as the new constitution was promulgated, election mood set in and it has never abated. Those who started the race for governor, senator, national assembly and county assembly hit the ground running assuming that elections would be held in August 2012. Two years later they are still in the race. As their resources run out, frustration will set in and with frustration, anger and bitterness will be their companions.
There are serious problems in holding elections in March 2013. It means there will be no Christmas and no New Year Celebrations. Other than that, it will be next to impossible to sit for exams in October and November 2012 in the middle of a charged campaign period.
It will be impossible to open schools in January when elections will be in top gear for the first quarter of 2013. Worse still, the coming elections will not be a one day affair like we used to have. Chances of rerun, injunctions and court cases are very real. Put together, there may be no new government sworn in until around June 2013. Worse still, there may be no cabinet in place until many months later because cabinet secretaries will need to be nominated by an elected president before the parliamentary vetting process starts. The vetting process for the 22 cabinet secretaries may take up to 60 days of express sitting by the Parliamentary Committee in charge.
Assuming that the cabinet finally gets formed in June 2013, the Budget cycle will be more than two months behind schedule, making it impossible to have the budget approved before July 2013. This disruption will not just affect Kenya’s government operations. It will disrupt the entire East African Community budget plans unless they choose to ignore Kenya and move on with their lives.
If the schools don’t open until June 2013, it will be impossible for teachers to complete the syllabus in readiness for exams in 2013.
This disruption will eat into the 2014 calendar just like it will shorten the 11th parliament by at least six months.
With parliament having been dissolved in January 2013, chances of public servants going without salaries will be very real considering that there will be no parliament to pass supplementary budgets let alone pass the main 2013/2014 budget in good time.
Those who want us to have elections in 2013 just to give the current MPs three months’ salary must ask themselves many questions. One of those questions must be: which is cheaper, to send MPs home in October 2012 and pay them the remaining three months or keep them in parliament until January 14 and disrupt the life of the entire nation? Which one is more import, the salaries of 220 MPs or the future of millions of our children whose learning will be disrupted?
Think again Ndugu Hassan before you proceed with your timetable. All we are asking for is your honest understanding of the circumstances.
A clean a credible election that disrupts the life of the entire nation is not healthy for this country.
By Jerry Okungu
March 21, 2012
It all started as a joke somewhere in Central Province. President Kibaki was two weeks ago at a function in his rural neighborhood. After performing the ceremony that took him there, he made an incoherent statement that was immediately picked up by the media. At first he intimated that the elections should be held at the end of 2012. On being alerted that he was already in the news with the December date, he quickly changed and reiterated that he would rather go with the March 2012 constitutional court ruling for March 2013.
Following this pronouncement, the chairman of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission went on overdrive. Within three days, the Commission had hurriedly consulted the President and the Prime Minister in separate meetings and concluded that the two coalition partners would not agree on a date to dissolve the coalition to pave way for elections as per the constitutional requirement. A day later and on Saturday morning, the Commission chairman called a press conference to announce the election date 12 months away.
As things stand now, there are leading politicians that have supported the date while others have opposed it. Interestingly, this division is more visible in the cabinet than anywhere else. As of now, Kibaki has 15 cabinet ministers supporting the March 4 2013 date. Among them are 8 ministers from the ODM who traditionally support Raila Odinga. Interestingly, Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga’s deputy in the ODM has cast his lot with President Kibaki.
Raila Odinga’s side has 16 cabinet ministers opposed to the March 2013 elections. Interestingly, he is supported by 10 cabinet ministers from the PNU; chief among them is Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who is Kibaki’s deputy.
As things stand now, only 32 out of 42 cabinet ministers have taken sides. We expect that the remaining 10 ministers will take as stand as the public debate takes center stage in the coming weeks.
Outside the cabinet, critical voices that may influence the direction the debate takes have been Martha Karua, the former minister for Justice who is a presidential candidate in this year’s elections. She is on record as having challenged Prime Minister Raila Odinga to pull out of the coalition and force an earlier election. Her view is that President Kibaki and all MPs’ terms will expire on December 30 2012 and any extension of the life of Parliament or term of the President beyond that date will be illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent.
However, two other presidential candidates from Mt. Kenya region- Peter Kenneth of Gatanga constituency and Rev. Mutava Musyimi of Embu have thrown their weight behind Kibaki in supporting the March 2013 date.
Interestingly, Raila Odinga’s fiercest opponents, the G7 alliance comprising of the three presidential aspirants- William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka and five other contenders have chosen to side with Raila Odinga in opposing the March date.
Looking at this scenario, it may be the beginning of fresh realignment on the political scene. If things work according known Kenyan political script, this issue may well present a golden opportunity for politicians to form new alliances based on which side of the election date one supports. If this happens, sworn political enemies may as well find themselves on one side and form an alliance before we go to the polls.
Why do I say this? In March 2002, Raila Odinga’s NDP political party merged with Moi’s KANU in a grand ceremony at Nyayo Kasarani Stadium. However, a few months later, this merger collapsed after President Moi chose to anoint Uhuru Kenyatta without going through the process of party primaries. For this reason Raila Odinga walked out of KANU and with him several diehard KANU operatives such as George Saitoti, then Moi’s Vice President and Kalonzo Musyoka, Foreign Minister among several cabinet ministers.
In a matter of weeks- just two months to the elections, these KANU renegades joined forces with Kibaki’s coalition and formed the Rainbow coalition. It is the coalition that terminated KANU’s rule after nearly 40 years in power.
In 2007, the same scenario had to repeat itself when the Rainbow coalition fell apart after an acrimonious referendum on the new constitution failed in November 2005. When Kibaki’s faction lost the referendum vote to Raila’s group, President Kibaki sacked all ministers allied to Raila Odinga. This referendum was the birth of the Orange Democratic Movement party.
The formation of the ODM following the 20005 referendum meant that the Rainbow coalition was no longer viable for Kibaki to defend his seat. He then formed PNU- the Party of National Unity just months to the elections. Whereas Raila’s ODM had representation from 7 out 8 provinces, Kibaki’s PNU drew its leadership mainly from Mt. Kenya region with support from former President Arap Moi in the Rift Valley. When the votes were counted, ODM swept 7 out of 8 provinces while PNU only managed Central Province. Yet when the ECK chairman announced the presidential vote, Kibaki had won by 200,000 votes.
In the coming elections, the stakes are high for Raila Odinga. Kibaki is not running but if March 2013 remains, chances are that Kibaki will remain the President until mid-2013 or even later because election rules have changed. If there is no outright winner, there may be re runs or even court injunctions delaying the swearing in.
Yes, Kenyans are being prepared for another round of drama if not another series of election protests depending on how the President handles this sensitive time bomb.
By Jerry Okungu
March 20, 2012
Kenya's IEBC Chairman, Mr. Isaak Hassan has finally tasted what it means to be in charge of elections in Kenya. It is never easy, never been easy and it will definitely not be a bed of roses. In fact one misstep can ruin all of one’s achievements in the past. One blunder quickly galvanizes the public against you and before you know it, you are public enemy number one. In a matter of hours, nobody wants to remember your past decorations. They erase them from their memory with the speed of a computer mouse.
Isaak Hassan’s last blunder with the election date has got tongues wagging in all directions. Suddenly the good Hassan of August 2010 has vanished. All that his opponents are seeing is the reincarnation of Samuel Kivuitu of the infamous 2007 general elections.
I am genuinely convinced that Hassan meant well. I don’t think he announced the March 4 election date at the behest of President Kibaki. I want to give him the benefit of doubt that he is a well-meaning chairman who really wants to do good for this country.
However, a few questions have been bothering me since Hassan announced his election date. First he says announcement followed extensive consultations will principals but after realizing that they could not agree, he chose to come up with the date citing mundane excuses as the factors that informed his decision.
Surely if the principals did not agree on a date, under what circumstances did he consult them? Did he have a joint meeting with them or did he consult them separately as some media reports are implying? If they didn’t agree, why didn’t the chairman seek the support of other players like political party leaders, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee and any other person with a stake in the elections?
Hassan announced an election date 12 months in advance. It is the first time in the history of this country that an election date has been set a year in advance. We are used to; in the absence of a constitutional date, having the announcement at least six weeks to the date. Why was there a hurry to name a date? How can not knowing the date hamper logistical preparations? And if the public was anxious to know the date, was it his business to worry over the public?
That aside, Isaak Hassan has to be a good student of history to understand how Kenya works. Studying the life and times of Samuel Kivuitu as chairman of the defunct ECK would come in handy.
In 2002, Samuel Kivuitu conducted one of the most peaceful, freest and fairest elections in Kenya’s history. He managed what many ECKs had not achieved in more than a decade. With all the power of a sitting President, state resources and all, KANU still lost the elections to little known NARC that was hardly two months old. It was an election that was hailed throughout Africa and the world. Kenya suddenly became a model of democracy in the continent.
Three years later, Samuel Kivuitu had to undergo another litmus test. The very NARC that had won the 2002 polls was now split. One side led by Mwai Kibaki was bent on passing a flawed constitution in November 2005 referendum. The other side led by Raila Odinga joined forces with the official opposition to oppose the constitution.
When it was time to go to the polls, Samuel Kivuitu gave Kibaki side a banana as their symbol as Raila side received an orange.
The duel between the Orange and Banana split the country like never before. In the process, it was clear that Mt. Kenya region and parts of Western were for the constitution while Nyanza, Coast, Rift Valley, Nairobi and lower Eastern were against.
Kibaki being the sitting president was expected to carry the day however, it was not to be. He lost the referendum by a million votes. It was another proof that Samuel Kivuitu was a man of integrity and that Kenyans could rely on him to deliver credible results. It was on this basis that Raila Odinga and company campaigned for him to be retained at the ECK when all signs were that Kibaki wanted him out as ECK chairman.
However when it came to the general elections two years later, Kivuitu made a 360 degree turn, witnessed elections rigged under his watch and openly sided with Kibaki at Kenya’s darkest hour. He lost control of returning officers claiming that they had switched off their cell phones. With massive rigging of the elections all over the country, Kivuitu defiantly declared that he would declare presidential results anywhere whether all the results were in or not. At one time he intimated that if necessary, he would announce the results in a battle ship.
When the theatrics were over, the whole country was engulfed in an orgy of unprecedented violence culminating in the deaths of 1500 Kenyans with over 600,000 people displaced.
As soon as calm was restored, Kivuitu became one of the earliest casualties of the post-election violence. He was booted out of office unceremoniously.
Hassan has done so well so far conducting numerous by-elections and the 2010 referendum flawlessly. Will he follow in Kivuitu’s footsteps with the 2012 elections?
By FRAN BLANDY
March 22 2012
Senegal votes on Sunday in a cliffhanger poll to determine whether 85-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade secures a contentious third term in a bid that has rattled the stability of the west African state.
Having failed to deliver a crushing first-round victory a month ago, Mr Wade faces a stiff challenge from his former prime minister Macky Sall, who has gathered the full weight of the opposition behind his presidential bid.
While laden with suspense, this latest pre-election period was calm compared to the first round, which had been preceded by a month of riots over Mr Wade’s candidacy that left six dead and over 150 injured.
The octogenarian’s efforts to seek re-election by circumventing a two-term constitutional limit earned him stiff rebukes from abroad, and raised fears for the stability of one of Africa’s oldest democracies.
Mr Wade polled 34.8 per cent in the first round and said he failed to win outright because “the West was campaigning against me”.
The odds are in Mr Sall’s favour heading into the election, with all the runners-up spread throughout the country to campaign for him, including superstar-turned-politician Youssou Ndour.
The opposition obtained a total 65 per cent of the vote in the first round, but turnout was low and it is not clear whether voters will follow their respective leaders in backing Sall against the incumbent.
Senegal's Sall wins key endorsement
While Mr Sall won the backing of the opposition, Mr Wade scored the official support of a leading member of the country’s most powerful Islamic brotherhood, the Mourides, seen as key in the majority Muslim nation.
Mr Wade, an intelligent and crafty political survivor who was in opposition for 25 years before his Senegalese Democratic Party unseated the Socialist Party in 2000 elections, has remained defiant in the storm of criticism.
“There is only one hypothesis. I win. The possibility of my defeat is absurd,” he told local television station Africa7 yesterday.
“It is as if I say the sky is going to fall on our heads in one minute. It is absurd because the sky is not going to fall on our heads.”
A Wade victory will stoke fears of violence after his mere presence in the race prompted opposition supporters to take to the streets.
Despite having served two terms in office, a limit he himself introduced, Mr Wade says later changes to the constitution allow him to serve two more successive mandates.
Officially the second oldest African leader after Zimbabwe’s 88-year-old Robert Mugabe, some claim Mr Wade is in fact pushing 90 due to discrepancies in the way birth certificates were filed at the time he was born in a nation where the median age is now 18.
In 2007, he won elections in the first round with 55 per cent, but his popularity has plunged in recent years amid rising food prices and power cuts which crippled economic activity last year but disappeared in time for the election campaign.
While Mr Wade receives kudos for an aggressive infrastructure drive, critics say he has focused on fanciful legacy projects — which he calls the “Seven Wonders” — to the detriment of good governance initiatives.
His piece de resistance is the African Renaissance Monument, a North Korean-built bronze behemoth that cost 15 million euros (Ksh1.6bn), offending those living in its shadow, battling poverty and power cuts.
Aside from a new airport and a tolled highway, both still incomplete, Mr Wade has a long list of projects to finish.
He envisions art and architecture schools and has planned an entire new capital city as well as new administrative district to be built on the site of the old airport.(AFP)
By ADAM NOSSITER
Published: March 22, 2012
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Soldiers in Mali, a West African nation often cited as a democratic model, overthrew the elected government on Thursday, looted the presidential palace, arrested ministers and declared that they had seized power.
It was the latest government to fall as a consequence of the Arab Spring, though in this case it did not come through popular uprisings or protests for democracy. To the contrary, Mali was preparing to hold elections only a month from now, and the president, adhering to the Constitution, was not running again.
But the downfall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya sent a flood of weapons into Mali, bolstering a longstanding rebel movement in the country’s vast desert north and delivering many defeats to Malian forces. The mutinous soldiers who led the coup, low-ranking officers and enlisted men, said on state television that they had been fed up with the way Mali’s government was confronting the rebellion, complaining about being underequipped for the fight.
Foreign governments, analysts and some Malians deplored Thursday’s coup — in a country that has not had one since 1991 — as a severe setback for democracy in Africa. The huge, mostly desert nation, considered one of the least likely candidates for a coup attempt in all of West Africa, was threatened with immediate foreign aid cutoffs.
Analysts cited the coup as an example of how Colonel Qaddafi’s overthrow could yield unexpected political mutations, destabilizing parts of the vast Sahara region. In Mali, many of the rebels had fought for Colonel Qaddafi in Libya, equipping themselves extensively from his armories before returning home and joining the rebellion against the Malian government.
The colonel’s weapons have allowed the rebels, nomadic Tuareg tribesmen, to score surprising victories off the Malian Army in the desert north, where they control large stretches of territory. Previous such uprisings have been suppressed; this one shows no signs of being snuffed out.
That relative guerrilla success — whole towns have been captured, and soldiers chased out of their garrisons — has led, analysts say, to intense frustration in the 7,000-strong Malian Army, which blamed the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré, a former general, for the military’s shaky position. Discontent has been brewing for months, with officers complaining of a lack of weaponry and effective leadership in curbing the rebellion. There have been marches in the capital, Bamako, as well as bonfires and barricades.
On Wednesday, the soldiers rose up in revolt, storming the state broadcaster in Bamako and the presidential palace. As of Thursday evening, the previously unknown military men, calling themselves the National Council for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State, appeared to be in control of the government. A spokesman announced on state television that Mali’s Constitution had been “suspended” and its institutions “dissolved.”
The spokesman, Lt. Amadou Konaré, blamed the “incompetent regime” of Mr. Touré for his overthrow, citing “the incapacity of the regime to fight against the terrorists.” He spoke in halting French, stumbled over the junta’s moniker and was surrounded by humble-looking soldiers in the uniforms of enlisted men or low-ranking officers.
Lieutenant Konaré said the government had not given the troops adequate means “to defend the nation” against the northern rebels. He promised that civilian rule would be restored. The leader of the mutinous troops, identified on state television as Capt. Amadou Sanogo, appeared briefly to announce that a curfew was in force, and the junta members ordered Mali’s land and air borders closed.
The president’s whereabouts were not known Thursday night, and human rights groups reported that a number of his ministers had been arrested.
The coup was all the more unexpected because of the presidential elections scheduled for April 29. Mr. Touré long ago announced that he would respect the Constitution and not seek another term. That attitude was in sharp contrast to what has occurred in neighboring countries — Senegal, Niger and Ivory Coast — whose leaders have sought to hang on to power past constitutional limits. African news media have cited Mr. Touré as an exemplar for the region over the last year.“I’m very surprised,” said a leading French specialist on Mali, Pierre Boilley of the Sorbonne. “That it should transform itself so quickly into a coup d’état, it’s very surprising in Mali.”
Still, whether or not power has been definitively seized remained an open question. It was not clear how much beyond the presidential palace and the television the officers’ writ extended, or whether they commanded much support elsewhere in the Malian Army.
In addition to the looting of the palace, witnesses said stores in Bamako had been pillaged. And a leading presidential candidate, Soumaïla Cissé, said the soldiers had sacked his house.
“They broke everything; my house is now uninhabitable,” said Mr. Cissé, a former finance minister, who said he was in hiding to avoid the fate of other senior political figures. “The situation is very serious, and absolutely chaotic,” he said. “It’s a very, very big step back for democracy.”
Meanwhile, the French government called for elections “as soon as possible” in its former colony. The French Foreign Ministry said it was suspending cooperation with Mali except for food aid and joint effort to combat terrorism.
The White House press secretary issued a statement condemning “the violence initiated by elements of the armed forces of Mali” and calling for “the immediate restoration of constitutional rule.” The statement said that the United States stood by “the legitimately elected government” of Mr. Touré.
The Malian leader is a former soldier who overthrew the president-for-life, Moussa Traoré, in 1991 before handing power back to civilians. He came to office in elections in 2002 and was returned to office in 2007.
Apart from the rebellion in the north, Mali has acknowledged in the past that several hundred fighters from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have found sanctuary in its desert reaches. The United States has worked closely with Mali to try to contain such threats, sending Green Berets to train Malian forces.
Alan Cowell contributed reporting from London, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
BY WAMBUI NDONGA, 22 MARCH 201
Malian soldiers stand in formation during a military a exercise (file photo). (Photo Courtesy Staff Sergeant Samuel Bendet U.S.AFCOM/Wikimedia Commons)
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula now says that the situation in Mali is getting worse and a curfew is in force in Bamako.
Wetangula, who is in the company of three other government officials posted a message on his Facebook page on Thursday morning saying heavy gunfire could be heard from the hotel where they were holed up.
He also said that he had received a call from the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping.
"Situation worsening; curfew imposed. Airport closed. Heavier gunfire can be heard repeatedly. Received call from AU chief Dr Jean Ping," the post read.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry had earlier sent a statement to newsrooms assuring Kenyans of the officials' safety after they were stranded in the West African country following Wednesday's coup d'etat.
The statement also indicated that the government was in touch with other Kenyan nationals in Mali and was working with Kenya Airways for a possible evacuation.
"The government is also trying to establish contact with the interim authority that is reported to have taken charge in a bid to have the Kenyans evacuated," the statement assured.
Wetangula, who had travelled to Mali to attend an African Union meeting on peace and security, had earlier said that he and his colleagues were unable to establish whether they were other Kenyans living in Mali.
Wetangula added: "Another Kenya, manager of KQ Bamako holed up at the airport where he had gone ahead to receive yesterday's flight & check us in. We are in communication."
The government's statement asked Kenyans in Mali to get in touch with Kenya Airways Area Manager Sally Osuke, in Bamako on +22177638386 for assistance.
"The government is in touch with the Kenyan delegation and is keenly observing the unfolding scenario and awaiting for more information on the state of security."
Wetangula was due to return to Nairobi on Wednesday night on a Kenya Airways flight before the military putsch forced the airline to cancel landing in Bamako.
French news agency (AFP) reported on Wednesday that soldiers fired shots in the air in Bamako before storming the state broadcaster to demand better equipment with which to battle an insurgency in the north.
Anger has grown in recent weeks over the government's handling of the conflict in which the Tuareg have seized several towns, causing up to 200,000 people to flee.
While no official death toll is available, many soldiers are believed to have died in the fighting. When the town of Aguelhok was captured, up to 100 soldiers and civilians were summarily executed, France said in February.
That same month, the wives and families of those fighting the rebels took to the streets of the capital and several other cities, and some protests turned violent as they denounced what they said was the government's weak response.
Tuareg homes and properties were vandalised and angry protesters also aimed their anger at other light-skinned communities such as the Arabs or Mauritanians.
Since mid-January, northern Mali has been rocked by a rebellion fought by the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) and other Tuareg who have taken up a decades-old struggle for independence.
The October 1, 1946 Süddeutsche Zeitung announces "The Verdict in Nuremberg." Charged in court were: Göring, Hess, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick; (second column) Funk, Streicher, Schacht; (third column) Dönitz, Raeder, Schirach; (right, from top) Sauckel, Jodl, Papen, Seyss-Inquart, Speer, Neurath, Fritzsche and Bormann.
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany.
The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, in 1945–46, at the Palace of Justice.
The first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 24 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany, though several key architects of the war such as Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels had committed suicide before the trials began.
The initial trials were held from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946. The second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT); among them included the Doctors' Trial and the Judges' Trial. This article primarily deals with the IMT
Nuremberg Trials. Defendants in the Dock:
The main target of the prosecution was Hermann Göring, considered to be the most important surviving official in the Third Reich after Hitler's death.
British War Cabinet documents, released on 2 January 2006, showed that as early as December 1944, the Cabinet had discussed their policy for the punishment of the leading Nazis if captured.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had then advocated a policy of summary execution in some circumstances, with the use of an Act of Attainder to circumvent legal obstacles, being dissuaded from this only by talks with US leaders later in the war.
In late 1943, during the Tripartite Dinner Meeting at the Tehran Conference, the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, proposed executing 50,000–100,000 German staff officers. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, joked that perhaps 49,000 would do. Churchill denounced the idea of "the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country" and that he'd rather be "taken out in the courtyard and shot" himself than to partake in any action.
However, he also stated that war criminals must pay for their crimes and that in accordance with the Moscow Document which he himself had written, they should be tried at the places where the crimes were committed.
Churchill was vigorously opposed to executions "for political purposes." According to the minutes of a Roosevelt-Stalin meeting during the Yalta Conference, on February 4, 1945, at the Livadia Palace, President Roosevelt "said that he had been very much struck by the extent of German destruction in the Crimea and therefore he was more bloodthirsty in regard to the Germans than he had been a year ago, and he hoped that Marshal Stalin would again propose a toast to the execution of 50,000 officers of the German Army."
US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., suggested a plan for the total denazification of Germany; this was known as the Morgenthau Plan.
The plan advocated the forced de-industrialisation of Germany. Roosevelt initially supported this plan, and managed to convince Churchill to support it in a less drastic form. Later, details were leaked to the public, generating widespread protest. Roosevelt, aware of strong public disapproval, abandoned the plan, but did not adopt an alternate position on the matter.
The demise of the Morgenthau Plan created the need for an alternative method of dealing with the Nazi leadership. The plan for the "Trial of European War Criminals" was drafted by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and the War Department.
Following Roosevelt's death in April 1945, the new president, Harry S. Truman, gave strong approval for a judicial process. After a series of negotiations between Britain, the US, Soviet Union and France, details of the trial were worked out. The trials were to commence on 20 November 1945, in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg.
Creation of the courts
On January 14, 1942, representatives from the nine occupying countries met in London to draft the Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes. At the meetings in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945), the three major wartime powers, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics agreed on the format of punishment for those responsible for war crimes during World War II. France was also awarded a place on the tribunal.
The legal basis for the trial was established by the London Charter, issued on August 8, 1945, which restricted the trial to "punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries."
Some 200 German war crimes defendants were tried at Nuremberg, and 1,600 others were tried under the traditional channels of military justice. The legal basis for the jurisdiction of the court was that defined by the Instrument of Surrender of Germany.
Political authority for Germany had been transferred to the Allied Control Council which, having sovereign power over Germany, could choose to punish violations of international law and the laws of war.
Because the court was limited to violations of the laws of war, it did not have jurisdiction over crimes that took place before the outbreak of war on September 3, 1939.
Leipzig, Munich and Luxembourg were briefly considered as the location for the trial. The Soviet Union had wanted the trials to take place in Berlin, as the capital city of the 'fascist conspirators', but Nuremberg was chosen as the site for two specific reasons:
The Palace of Justice was spacious and largely undamaged (one of the few buildings that had remained largely intact through extensive Allied bombing of Germany), and a large prison was also part of the complex.
Nuremberg was considered the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi Party, and hosted annual propaganda rallies. Thus, it was considered a fitting place to mark its symbolic demise.
As a compromise with the Soviets, it was agreed that while the location of the trial would be Nuremberg, Berlin would be the official home of the Tribunal authorities.
It was also agreed that France would become the permanent seat of the IMT and that the first trial would take place in Nuremberg.
Each of the four countries provided one judge and an alternate, as well as a prosecutor.
The Nuremberg judges were John Parker, Francis Biddle, Alexander Volchkov, Iona Nikitchenko, Geoffrey Lawrence, Norman Birkett, Major General Iona Nikitchenko (Soviet main)
,Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Volchkov (Soviet alternate), Colonel Sir Geoffrey Lawrence (British main), President of the Tribunal, Sir Norman Birkett (British alternate), Francis Biddle (American main), John J. Parker (American alternate), Professor Henri Donnedieu de Vabres (French main)
and Robert Falco (French alternate).
The chief prosecutors:
Attorney General Sir Hartley Shawcross (United Kingdom), Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson (United States), Lieutenant-General Roman Andreyevich Rudenko (Soviet Union)and François de Menthon (France).
Assisting Jackson was the lawyer Telford Taylor, Thomas J. Dodd and a young US Army interpreter named Richard Sonnenfeldt. Assisting Shawcross were Major Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe and Sir John Wheeler-Bennett. Mervyn Griffith-Jones, later to become famous as the chief prosecutor in the Lady Chatterley's Lover obscenity trial, was also on Shawcross's team. Shawcross also recruited a young barrister, Anthony Marreco, who was the son of a friend of his, to help the British team with the heavy workload. Assisting de Menthon was Auguste Champetier de Ribes.
The majority of defense attorneys were German lawyers.
The main trial:
The International Military Tribunal was opened on October 18, 1945, in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. The first session was presided over by the Soviet judge, Nikitchenko. The prosecution entered indictments against 24 major war criminals and six criminal organizations – the leadership of the Nazi party, the Schutzstaffel (SS), Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the Gestapo, the Sturmabteilung (SA) and the "General Staff and High Command," comprising several categories of senior military officers.
The indictments were for:
Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
War crimes: Crimes against humanity:
The 24 accused were, with respect to each charge, either indicted but acquitted (I), indicted and found guilty (G), or not charged (-), as listed below by defendant, charge, and eventual outcome:
1. Martin Bormann I - G G Death Successor to Hess as Nazi Party Secretary. Sentenced to death in absentia. Remains found in Berlin in 1972 and dated to 1945.
2. Karl Dönitz I G G - 10 years Leader of the Kriegsmarine from 1943, succeeded Raeder. Initiator of the U-boat campaign. Briefly became President of Germany following Hitler's death. Convicted of carrying out unrestricted submarine warfare in breach of the 1936 Second London Naval Treaty, but was not punished for that charge because the United States committed the same breach. Defense attorney: Otto Kranzbühler
3. Hans Frank I - G G Death Reich Law Leader 1933–1945 and Governor-General of the General Government in occupied Poland 1939–1945. Expressed repentance.
4. Wilhelm Frick I G G G Death Hitler's Minister of the Interior 1933–1943 and Reich Protector of Bohemia-Moravia 1943–1945. Authored the Nuremberg Race Laws.
5. Hans Fritzsche I I I - Acquitted Popular radio commentator; head of the news division of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry. Tried in place of Joseph Goebbels.
6. Walther Funk I G G G Life Imprisonment Hitler's Minister of Economics; succeeded Schacht as head of the Reichsbank. Released because of ill health on 16 May 1957. Died 31 May 1960.
7. Hermann Göring G G G G Death Reichsmarschall, Commander of the Luftwaffe 1935–1945, Chief of the 4-Year Plan 1936–1945, and original head of the Gestapo before turning it over to the SS in April 1934. Originally Hitler's designated successor and the second highest ranking Nazi official. By 1942, with his power waning, Göring fell out of favor and was replaced in the Nazi hierarchy by Himmler. Committed suicide the night before his execution.
8. Rudolf Hess G G I I Life Imprisonment Hitler's Deputy Führer until he flew to Scotland in 1941 in attempt to broker peace with Great Britain. After trial, committed to Spandau Prison; died in 1987.
9. Alfred Jodl G G G G Death Wehrmacht Generaloberst, Keitel's subordinate and Chief of the OKW's Operations Division 1938–1945.
10. Ernst Kaltenbrunner I - G G Death Highest surviving SS-leader. Chief of RSHA 1943–45, the Nazi organ made up of the intelligence service (SD), Secret State Police (Gestapo), Criminal Police (Kripo) and had overall command over the Einsatzgruppen.
11. Wilhelm Keitel G G G G Death Head of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) 1938–1945. Expressed regrets.
12. Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach I I I ---- Major Nazi industrialist. C.E.O. of Krupp A.G. 1912–45. Medically unfit for trial (died January 16, 1950). The prosecutors attempted to substitute his son Alfried (who ran Krupp for his father during most of the war) in the indictment, but the judges rejected this as being too close to trial. Alfried was tried in a separate Nuremberg trial for his use of slave labor, thus escaping the worst notoriety and possibly death.
13. Robert Ley I I I I ---- Head of DAF, The German Labour Front. Suicide on 25 October 1945, before the trial began.
14. Baron Konstantin von Neurath G G G G 15 years Minister of Foreign Affairs 1932–1938, succeeded by Ribbentrop. Later, Protector of Bohemia and Moravia 1939–43. Resigned in 1943 because of a dispute with Hitler. Released (ill health) 6 November 1954 after having a heart attack. Died 14 August 1956.
15. Franz von Papen I I - - Acquitted Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and Vice-Chancellor under Hitler in 1933–1934. Ambassador to Austria 1934–38 and ambassador to Turkey 1939–1944. Although acquitted at Nuremberg, von Papen was reclassified as a war criminal in 1947 by a German de-Nazification court, and sentenced to eight years' hard labour. He was acquitted following appeal after serving two years.
16. Erich Raeder G G G - Life Imprisonment Commander In Chief of the Kriegsmarine from 1928 until his retirement in 1943, succeeded by Dönitz. Released (ill health) 26 September 1955. Died 6 November 1960.
17. Joachim von Ribbentrop G G G G Death Ambassador-Plenipotentiary 1935–1936. Ambassador to the United Kingdom 1936–1938. Nazi Minister of Foreign Affairs 1938–1945
18. Alfred Rosenberg G G G G Death Racial theory ideologist. Later, Minister of the Eastern Occupied Territories 1941–1945.
19. Fritz Sauckel I I G G Death Gauleiter of Thuringia 1927–1945. Plenipotentiary of the Nazi slave labor program 1942–1945. Defense attorney: Robert Servatius
20. Dr. Hjalmar Schacht I I - - Acquitted Prominent banker and economist. Pre-war president of the Reichsbank 1923–1930 & 1933–1938 and Economics Minister 1934–1937. Admitted to violating the Treaty of Versailles.
21. Baldur von Schirach I - - G 20 years Head of the Hitlerjugend from 1933 to 1940, Gauleiter of Vienna 1940–1945. Expressed repentance.
22. Arthur Seyss-Inquart I G G G Death Instrumental in the Anschluss and briefly Austrian Chancellor 1938. Deputy to Frank in Poland 1939–1940. Later, Reich Commissioner of the occupied Netherlands 1940–1945. Expressed repentance.
23. Albert Speer I I G G 20 Years Hitler's favorite architect, close friend, and Minister of Armaments from 1942 until the end of the war. In this capacity, he was ultimately responsible for the use of slave laborers from the occupied territories in armaments production. Expressed repentance.
24. Julius Streicher I - - G Death Gauleiter of Franconia 1922–1940. Publisher of the weekly newspaper, Der Stürmer.
The accusers were successful in unveiling the background of developments that had led to the outbreak of World War II, which cost at least 40 million lives in Europe alone, as well as the extent of the atrocities committed in the name of the Hitler regime. Twelve of the accused were sentenced to death, seven received prison sentences, and three were acquitted.
Throughout the trials, specifically between January and July 1946, the defendants and a number of witnesses were interviewed by American psychiatrist Leon Goldensohn. His notes detailing the demeanor and comments of the defendants survive; they were edited into book form and published in 2004.
Oct 17, 1946 U.S. Newsreel of Nuremberg Trials Sentencing
The death sentences were carried out 16 October 1946 by hanging using the standard drop method instead of long drop. The U.S. army denied claims that the drop length was too short which caused the condemned to die slowly from strangulation instead of quickly from a broken neck.
The executioner was John C. Woods. Although the rumor has long persisted that the bodies were taken to Dachau and burned there, they were actually incinerated in a crematorium in Munich, and the ashes scattered over the river Isar.
The French judges suggested the use of a firing squad for the military condemned, as is standard for military courts-martial, but this was opposed by Biddle and the Soviet judges. These argued that the military officers had violated their military ethos and were not worthy of the firing squad, which was considered to be more dignified.
The prisoners sentenced to incarceration were transferred to Spandau Prison in 1947.
Of the 12 defendants sentenced to death by hanging, two were not hanged: Hermann Göring committed suicide the night before the execution and Martin Bormann was not present when convicted (he had, unbeknownst to the Allies, committed suicide in Berlin in 1945). The remaining 10 defendants sentenced to death were hanged.
The definition of what constitutes a war crime is described by the Nuremberg Principles, a set of guidelines document which was created as a result of the trial. The medical experiments conducted by German doctors and prosecuted in the so-called Doctors' Trial led to the creation of the Nuremberg Code to control future trials involving human subjects, a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation.
Of the organizations the following were found not to be criminal:
"The General Staff and High Command" was found not to comprise a group or organization as defined by Article 9 of the London Charter
Subsidiary and related trials
The American authorities conducted subsequent Nuremberg Trials in their occupied zone.
Other trials conducted after the Nuremberg Trials include the following:Dachau Trials, Auschwitz Trial, Belsen Trial, Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials, Mauthausen-Gusen camp trials and Ravensbrück Trial
American role in the main trial:
While Sir Geoffrey Lawrence of Britain was the judge chosen as president of the court, the most prominent of the judges at trial arguably was his American counterpart, Francis Biddle. Prior to the trial, Biddle had been Attorney General of the United States but had been asked to resign by Truman earlier in 1945.
Some accounts argue that Truman had appointed Biddle as the main American judge for the trial as an apology for asking for his resignation. Ironically, Biddle was known during his time as Attorney General for opposing the idea of prosecuting Nazi leaders for crimes committed before the beginning of the war, even sending out a memorandum on January 5, 1945 on the subject. The note also expressed Biddle’s opinion that instead of proceeding with the original plan for prosecuting entire organizations, there should simply be more trials that would prosecute specific offenders.
Biddle soon changed his mind, as he approved a modified version of the plan on January 21, 1945, likely due to time constraints, since the trial would be one of the main issues discussed at Yalta. At trial, the Nuremberg tribunal ruled that any member of an organization convicted of war crimes, such as the SS or Gestapo, who had joined after 1939 would be considered a war criminal. Biddle managed to convince the other judges to make an exemption for any member who was drafted or had no knowledge of the crimes being committed by these organizations.
Justice Robert Jackson played an important role in not only the trial itself, but also in the creation of the International Military Tribunal, as he led the American delegation to London that, in the summer of 1945, argued in favour of prosecuting the Nazi leadership as a criminal conspiracy.
According to Airey Neave, Jackson was also the one behind the prosecution’s decision to include membership in any of the six criminal organizations in the indictments at the trial, though the IMT rejected this on the grounds that it was wholly without precedent in either international law or the domestic laws of any of the Allies. Jackson also attempted to have Alfried Krupp be tried in place of his father, Gustav, and even suggested that Alfried volunteer to be tried in his father’s place. Both proposals were rejected by the IMT, particularly by Sir Lawrence and Biddle, and some sources indicate that this resulted in Jackson being viewed unfavourably by the latter.
The creation of the IMT was followed by trials of lesser Nazi officials and the trials of Nazi doctors, who performed experiments on people in prison camps. It served as the model for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East which tried Japanese officials for crimes against peace and against humanity. It also served as the model for the Eichmann trial and for present-day courts at The Hague, for trying crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s, and at Arusha, for trying the people responsible for the genocide in Rwanda.
The Nuremberg trials had a great influence on the development of international criminal law. The Conclusions of the Nuremberg trials served as models for:
The Genocide Convention, 1948.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
The Nuremberg Principles, 1950.
The Convention on the Abolition of the Statute of Limitations on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, 1968.
The Geneva Convention on the Laws and Customs of War, 1949; its supplementary protocols, 1977.
The International Law Commission, acting on the request of the United Nations General Assembly, produced in 1950 the report Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal and in the Judgement of the Tribunal (Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1950, vol. II.
The influence of the tribunal can also be seen in the proposals for a permanent international criminal court, and the drafting of international criminal codes, later prepared by the International Law Commission.
Establishment of a Permanent International Criminal Court:
The Nuremberg trials initiated a movement for the prompt establishment of a permanent international criminal court, eventually leading over fifty years later to the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Critics of the Nuremberg trials argued that the charges against the defendants were only defined as "crimes" after they were committed and that therefore the trial was invalid as a form of "victors' justice". As Biddiss noted "...the Nuremberg Trial continues to haunt us... It is a question also of the weaknesses and strengths of the proceedings themselves. The undoubted flaws rightly continue to trouble the thoughtful."
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Harlan Fiske Stone called the Nuremberg trials a fraud. "(Chief U.S. prosecutor) Jackson is away conducting his high-grade lynching party in Nuremberg," he wrote. "I don't mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas."
Jackson, in a letter discussing the weaknesses of the trial, in October 1945 told U.S. President Harry S. Truman that the Allies themselves "have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practicing it. We say aggressive war is a crime and one of our allies asserts sovereignty over the Baltic States based on no title except conquest."
Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas charged that the Allies were guilty of "substituting power for principle" at Nuremberg. "I thought at the time and still think that the Nuremberg trials were unprincipled," he wrote. "Law was created ex post facto to suit the passion and clamor of the time."
U.S. Deputy Chief Counsel Abraham Pomerantz resigned in protest at the low caliber of the judges assigned to try the industrial war criminals such as those at I.G. Farben.
The validity of the court has been questioned for a variety of reasons:
The defendants were not allowed to appeal or affect the selection of judges. A. L. Goodhart, Professor at Oxford, opposed the view that, because the judges were appointed by the victors, the Tribunal was not impartial and could not be regarded as a court in the true sense.
Attractive as this argument may sound in theory, it ignores the fact that it runs counter to the administration of law in every country. If it were true then no spy could be given a legal trial, because his case is always heard by judges representing the enemy country. Yet no one has ever argued that in such cases it was necessary to call on neutral judges. The prisoner has the right to demand that his judges shall be fair, but not that they shall be neutral. As Lord Writ has pointed out, the same principle is applicable to ordinary criminal law because 'a burglar cannot complain that he is being tried by a jury of honest citizens.'
One of the charges, brought against Keitel, Jodl, and Ribbentrop included conspiracy to commit aggression against Poland in 1939. The Secret Protocols of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939, proposed the partition of Poland between the Germans and the Soviets (which was subsequently executed in September 1939); however, Soviet leaders were not tried for being part of the same conspiracy. Instead, the Tribunal falsely proclaimed the Secret Protocols of the Non-Aggression Pact to be a forgery.
Moreover, Allied Powers Britain and Soviet Union were not tried for preparing and conducting the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and the Winter War, respectively.
In 1915, the Allied Powers, Britain, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging, for the first time, another government (the Sublime Porte) of committing "a crime against humanity". However it was not until the phrase was further developed in the London Charter that it had a specific meaning.
As the London Charter definition of what constituted a crime against humanity was unknown when many of the crimes were committed, it could be argued to be a retrospective law, in violation of the principles of prohibition of ex post facto laws and the general principle of penal law nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.
The court agreed to relieve the Soviet leadership from attending these trials as war criminals in order to hide their crimes against war civilians, war crimes that were committed by their army that included "carving up Poland in 1939 and attacking Finland three months later." This "exclusion request" was initiated by the Soviets and subsequently approved by the court's administration.
The trials were conducted under their own rules of evidence; the tu quoque defense was removed; and some claim the entire spirit of the assembly was "victor's justice".
The Charter of the International Military Tribunal permitted the use of normally inadmissible "evidence". Article 19 specified that "The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence... and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value".
Article 21 of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) Charter stipulated:
The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations, including acts and documents of the committees set up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and the records and findings of military and other Tribunals of any of the United Nations.
The chief Soviet prosecutor submitted false documentation in an attempt to indict defendants for the murder of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest near Smolensk. However, the other Allied prosecutors refused to support the indictment and German lawyers promised to mount an embarrassing defense. No one was charged or found guilty at Nuremberg for the Katyn Forest massacre.
In 1990, the Soviet government acknowledged that the Katyn massacre was carried out, not by the Germans, but by the Soviet secret police.
Freda Utley, in her 1949 book "The High Cost of Vengeance" charged the court with amongst other things double standards. She pointed to the Allied use of civilian forced labor, and deliberate starvation of civilians in the occupied territories. She also noted that General Rudenko, the chief Soviet prosecutor, after the trials became commandant of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. (After the fall of East Germany the bodies of 12,500 Soviet era victims were uncovered at the camp, mainly "children, adolescents and elderly people."
Luise, the wife of Alfred Jodl, attached herself to her husband's defense team. Subsequently interviewed by Gitta Sereny, researching her biography of Albert Speer, Luise alleged that in many instances the Allied prosecution made charges against Jodl based on documents that they refused to share with the defense. Jodl nevertheless proved some of the charges made against him were untrue, such as the charge that he helped Hitler gain control of Germany in 1933. He was in one instance aided by a GI clerk who chose to give Luise a document showing that the execution of a group of British commandos in Norway had been legitimate. The GI warned Luise that if she didn't copy it immediately she would never see it again; "... it was being 'filed'."
The main Soviet judge, Iona Nikitchenko, presided over some of the most notorious of Joseph Stalin's show trials during the Great Purges of 1936 to 1938, where he among other things sentenced Kamenev and Zinoviev.
According to the declassified Soviet archives, 681,692 people arrested for "counter-revolutionary and state crimes" were shot in 1937 and 1938 alone–an average of over 900 executions a day.
Moreover, the Tribunal itself strongly disputed that the London Charter was ex post facto law, pointing to existing international agreements signed by Germany that made aggressive war and certain wartime actions unlawful, such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Covenant of the League of Nations, and the Hague Conventions.
Additionally, commentators such as Professor Henry T. King and some of the defendants and their legal teams believed the Nuremberg Trials represented a step forward in extending fairness to the vanquished by requiring that actual criminal misdeeds be proved before punishment could ensue:
Perhaps the most telling responses to the critics of Jackson and Nuremberg were those of the defendants at trial. Hans Frank, the defendant who had served as the Nazi Governor General of occupied Poland, stated, "I regard this trial as a God-willed court to examine and put an end to the terrible era of suffering under Adolf Hitler."
With the same theme, but a different emphasis, defendant Albert Speer, Hitler's war production minister, said, "This trial is necessary. There is a shared responsibility for such horrible crimes even in an authoritarian state."
Dr. Theodore Klefish, a member of the German defense team, wrote: "It is obvious that the trial and judgment of such proceedings require of the tribunal the utmost impartiality, loyalty and sense of justice. The Nuremberg tribunal has met all these requirements with consideration and dignity. Nobody dares to doubt that it was guided by the search for truth and justice from the first to the last day of this tremendous trial."
In his opening statements to the trial, after the indictments had been read and the defendants had enterered pleas of not guilty to the charges, Mr Justice Jackson explained some of the difficulties faced by the prosecution:
In justice to the nations and the men associated in this prosecution, I must remind you of certain difficulties which may leave their mark on this case. Never before in legal history has an effort been made to bring within the scope of a single litigation the developments of a decade, covering a whole continent, and involving a score of nations, countless individuals, and innumerable events.
Despite the magnitude of the task, the world has demanded immediate action. This demand has had to be met, though perhaps at the cost of finished craftmanship. In my country, established courts, following familiar procedures, applying well-thumbed precedents, and dealing with the legal consequences of local and limited events, seldom commence a trial within a year of the event in litigation. Yet less than eight months ago to-day the courtroom in which you sit was an enemy fortress in the hands of German S.S. troops. Less than eight months ago nearly all our witnesses and documents were in enemy hands.
He also acknowledged that the trial would not be perfect, as well as asserting the legal precedent being set:
I should be the last to deny that the case may well suffer from incomplete researches, and quite likely will not be the example of professional work which any of the prosecuting nations would normally wish to sponsor. It is, however, a completely adequate case to the judgment we shall ask you to render, and its full development we shall be obliged to leave to historians... At the very outset, let us dispose of the contention that to put these men to trial is to do them an injustice, entitling them to some special consideration. These defendants may be hard pressed but they are not ill used... If these men are the first war leaders of a defeated nation to be prosecuted in the name of the law, they are also the first to be given the chance to plead for their lives in the name of the law.
One criticism that was made of the IMT was that some treaties were not binding on the Axis powers because they were not signatories. This was addressed in the judgment relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity which contains an expansion of customary law: "the Convention Hague 1907 expressly stated that it was an attempt 'to revise the general laws and customs of war,' which it thus recognised to be then existing, but by 1939 these rules laid down in the Convention were recognised by all civilised nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war which are referred to in Article 6 (b) of the London Charter."
The implication under international law is that if enough countries have signed up to a treaty, and that treaty has been in effect for a reasonable period of time, then it can be interpreted as binding on all nations, not just those who signed the original treaty. This is a highly controversial aspect of international law, one that is still actively debated in international legal journals.
Introduction of Extempore Simultaneous Interpretation
The Nuremberg Trials employed four official languages: English, German, French, and Russian. In order to address the complex linguistic issues that clouded over the proceedings, interpretation and translation departments had to be established. However, it was feared that consecutive interpretation would slow down the proceedings significantly.
What is therefore unique in both the Nuremberg tribunals and history of the interpretation profession was the introduction of an entirely new technique, extempore simultaneous interpretation. This technique of interpretation requires the interpreter to listen to a speaker in a source (or passive) language and orally translate that speech into another language in real time, that is, simultaneously, through headsets and microphones.
Interpreters were split into four sections, one for each official language, with three interpreters per section working from the other three languages into the fourth (their mother tongue). For instance, the English booth consisted of three interpreters, one working from German into English, one working from French, and one from Russian, etc. Defendants who did not speak any of the four official languages were provided with consecutive court interpreters. Some of the languages heard over the course of the proceedings included Yiddish, Hungarian, Czech, Ukrainian, and Polish.
The equipment used to establish this system was provided by IBM, and included an elaborate setup of cables which were hooked up to headsets and single earphones directly from the four interpreting booths (often referred to as "the aquarium").
Four channels existed for each working language, as well as a root channel for the proceedings without interpretation. Switching of channels was controlled by a setup at each table in which the listener merely had to turn a dial in order to switch between languages. People tripping over the floor-laid cables often led to the headsets getting disconnected, with several hours at a time sometimes being taken in order to repair the problem and continue on with the trials.
Interpreters were recruited and examined by the respective countries in which the official languages were spoken: United States, United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, as well as in special cases Belgium and the Netherlands.
Many were former translators, army personnel, and linguists, some were experienced consecutive interpreters, others were ordinary individuals and even recent secondary school-graduates who led international lives in multilingual environments. It was, and still is believed, that the qualities that made the best interpreters were not just a perfect understanding of two or more languages, but more importantly a broad sense of culture, encyclopædic knowledge, inquisitiveness, as well as a naturally calm disposition.
With the simultaneous technique being extremely new, interpreters practically trained themselves, but many could not handle the pressure or the psychological strain. Many often had to be replaced, many returned to the translation department, and many left.
Serious doubts were given as to whether interpretation provided a fair trial for the defendants, particularly because of fears of mistranslation and errors made on transcripts. The translation department had to also deal with the overwhelming problem of being understaffed and overburdened with an influx of documents that could not be kept up with.
More often than not, interpreters were stuck in a session without having proper documents in front of them and were relied upon to do sight translation or double translation of texts, causing further problems and extensive criticism.
Other problems that arose included complaints from lawyers and other legal professionals with regard to questioning and cross-examination. Legal professionals were most often appalled at the slower speed at which they had to conduct their task because of the extended time required for interpreters to do an interpretation properly.
Also, a number of interpreters were noted for protesting the idea of using vulgar language reflected in the proceeds, especially if it referenced Jews or the conditions of the concentration camps. Bilingual/trilingual members who attended the trials picked up quickly on this aspect of character and were equally quick to file complaints.
Yet, despite the extensive trial and error, without the interpretation system the trials would not have been possible and in turn revolutionized the way multilingual issues were addressed in tribunals and conferences.
A number of the interpreters following the trials were immediately recruited into the newly formed United Nations, while others returned to their ordinary lives, pursued other careers, or worked freelance.
Outside the boundaries of the trials, many interpreters continued their positions on weekends interpreting for dinners, private meetings between judges, and excursions between delegates. Others worked as investigators or editors, or aided the translation department when they could, often using it as an opportunity to sharpen their skills and to correct poor interpretations on transcripts before they were available for public record.
For further reference, a book titled The Origins of Simultaneous Interpretation: The Nuremberg Trial, written by interpreter Francesca Gaiba, was published by the University of Ottawa Press in 1998.
Today, all major international organizations, as well as any conference or government that uses more than one official language, uses extempore simultaneous interpretation. Notable bodies include the Parliament of Canada with two official languages, the Parliament of South Africa with eleven official languages, the European Union with twenty-three official languages, and the United Nations with six official working languages.
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