Sunday, October 5, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
October 3, 2008

Our current Foreign Minister is a very learned man. He also served as an assistant minister in that ministry for the better part of the 9th parliament under Raphael Tuju. But somehow, it would appear like diplomacy is not the art we learn inside classrooms. It would appear like Wetangula has brought to his office the arrogance of a lawyer into an otherwise public relations job.

In the world of diplomacy; grandstanding of any nature won’t do no matter how strongly we feel about an issue. Whenever there is a looming crisis or diplomatic standoff, behind the scenes negotiations work wonders. Those who rush to the rooftops to declare how right they are or protest against an issue or incident do not go very far. That is the work of unschooled politicians.

The latest row that Wetangula is embroiled in concerns the Americans and the European Union regarding the resignation or dissolution of the discredited ECK. Our foreign masters want the ECK out like yesterday. In this they are in agreement with a number of Kenyans some of who are in the same government Wetangula is serving.
Whereas Wetangula is reading from the same script as Uhuru Kenyatta and Kalonzo Musyoka among others regarding the ECK, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and others in the same government seem to have a different script.

What intrigued me when Wetangula blasted the EU and the United States for meddling in Kenyan affairs was that Moses Wetangula overlooked some very simple but obvious facts.

Let us accept that our foreign masters are on ECK’s case because they have a stake in the institution. For many years, our masters have never sought the permission of the Kenya Government or Wetangula’s office to pay courtesy calls to the ECK offices. In many occasions big financial deals have been negotiated between donors and Kivuitu’s office without going through the Treasury simply because they have always viewed ECK as an independent and autonomous body. And Kivuitu has personally encouraged them to think so.

For many years, our elections have been funded by the same donors Wetangula now accuses of interference in our internal matters. If it has not been ballot boxes being donated by a foreign government, it has been ballot papers being printed using donor funds. Just last year alone millions of dollars were used by UNDP through its donor basket fund to buy computers for the 2007 elections. Those computers were never used and nobody knows where they are now.

Every time there is an election, the Kenya government never gives the ECK enough funds to carry out its duties. It has always fallen on the donor community to meet the difference in the belief that the democratic process would improve the lives of Kenyans.

Right now, Kenyans are preparing for the 2009 census and a possible referendum on the new constitution next year. I can bet my last dollar that 70% of the funds will come from donors.

When chaos erupted in Kenya following the disputed elections, the now vilified donor community was everywhere trying to bring peace to the country. Either they intervened through the European Union, the United States of America or the African Union. They funded the process to negotiate peace that Wetangula was part of. The Kriegler Commission that is now generating so much heat was a direct product of this foreign intervention.

The fact of the matter is, Kenya, like many poor countries in the world is only sovereign on paper. We are no different from Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine or Lebanon when it comes to international interventions. We don’t have the resources or moral rectitude to run our affairs with dignity. We wallow in negative ethnicity, greed, corruption and mismanagement of our resources. Once we have messed up, we cry loud for outside help and when help finally arrives we begin to cry foul that our sovereignty is being abused!

Had we funded our elections from our local resources; had we conducted fair, democratic and peaceful elections and had we not taken spears and pangas to murder ourselves, foreigners would not have come in to intervene and stop the senseless killings. Had we built on our achievements of the 2002 elections, the fiasco that was the 2007 would not have been necessary.

If Wetangula truly wants to stop foreign interference in our country, let him first seek economic independence from our foreign masters. Without it, he will continue to bark until cows come home.


Anonymous said...
October 6, 2008 at 3:04 AM  

An excellent commentary!