Onyango Offers Another 2 for 1 Digital Deal
1.0. A Tale of Two Zim Poets
By the time most of you get to skim these lines for the first time, millions of
voting Zimbabweans waking up on April 1st will be wondering whether they are fools or victors.
According to the online news wires like this one from the New York Times and this other one from the London Independent available to me here in the not so frigid any more Montreal,
turn out was heavy with some MDC supporters unsure of the future and with the China Daily projecting that Robert Mugabe would romp home to another "win" which may very be a Kevorkian case of assisted political suicide for his political credibility as an enduring nationalist and "liberator" figure. Still, the Times of India saw the poll exercise as a defiance against the West which has already denounced the elections as a sham according to this Swiss source.
To many wizened and slightly cynical Kenyans, Mugabe is the
Harare, the Mzee of the 21st Century, another Pan Africanist icon who turned out to be a neo-colonial ogre in his dotage. Notwithstanding his fascist spearing of oppositional democratic spaces, one must keep in mind the imperialist agenda that would propel
Morgan Tsvangirai and his Rhodesian backers to a post ZANU neo-liberal morrow in Zimbabwe. Some of us refuse to limit the choices for our Chimurenga dadas and kakas to one between the aging Maoist leaning Tweedledum who spent decades in Ian Smith's dungeons and the slick pro-Western Tweedledee who plotted with Zionist agents in Montreal to eliminate the ZANU supremo. Some of us think there is still room for a socialist oriented, anti-imperialist, non- neo-liberal dispensation for Zimbabwe and her people...
But you know what, I am not going to say anything further on either Mugabe or Tsvingarai. And I did speak the other day about Zvakwana...
Instead, as is my wont, I want to dash off in a complete tangent and wax poetic about two venerated versifiers from Zimbabwe, one who died eighteen years ago in his mid thirties and another one who soldiers on today inching towards his fiftieth year.
Zimbabwe has produced more than its fair share of novelists, playwrights, poets and other scribes and sometimes I wonder what why is it as Kenyans, with our love for the printed, the spoken and the sung word, why we have never quite approached the prodigous literary output of so young an African nation as Zimbabwe is relatively speaking...
Sometimes a country's pulse, its human condition, its temperament, its hopes and its fears is better gauged from those scribblers, keyboardists, griots and word smiths who toil using biros, typewriters, lap tops, and assorted word processing software packages to bring to life what is sometimes often whispered, or vaguely alluded to. We have our own
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuors,
Binyavanga Wainainas and
But yet we still have to come close to the collective national acclaim that Zimbabwean writers have garnered on the continental and international stage. Perhaps it is possible that there is a stronger network of fostering, marketing and promoting literary talent in that southern African country as opposed to the eastern one. Let me let the poetic, dramatic and prosaic aficionados duel over that one as I reintroduce, FIRST, the late iconoclastic poet with an anarchist bent, the Oxford attending, ruck sack toting, Rasta embracing gone too soon gift of a gifted writer, the once and still one and only
Dambudzo Marechera, who as you can see in this profile, lived a very interesting, if somewhat eccentric, but quintessentially bohemian lifestyle indeed.
His works, including
the Black Insider, have stood the test of time.
Brian Chikwava remembered his legacy in this powerful Guardian piece that appeared earlier today.
If you click on this link, you will uncover a whole page dedicated to his writings.
The other Zimbabwean literary colossus is none other than
The accomplished author of works like
To get a glimpse of Chenjerai's artistic temperament and political sensibilities, first read this critical appraisal by Maurice Vambe before scrolling through poems like
To a Dictator
in your time
you took away
the flowers of our freedom.
in your time
the weak defended
and the land cried;
the moon too
in your time.
(in memory of a Pakistani poet who refused)
- 2003, Chenjerai Hove
The coming was gold-ridden,
wealth that rinsed blood out of us.
Maybe we just looked,
sharing the amazement of pain
in seeing drunken madness.
We had a noose round our necks
so we tugged,
and cut the choking rope.
but we still had the noose
around our neck.
Still we smell greatness out there
in the decaying abbeys and castles.
So we carry the noose
and beg to be dragged again
in the name of development.
All I know is the land is here
and the people's bare feet maul the dry earth
till freedom come.
- 1985, Chenjerai Hove
with hunger on her hands
and soaked love in her eyes.
Then the flies came
to sing nasty songs to her ears.
We listened to the interrupted tale
of hunger and strife.
But mother didn't sing
when singing time came
in the folk tale.
She just pointed to the flies
and asked us to hum
the same song sung by the wings.
We sang the winged song
as we joined the search.
Fly and child sang together.
Mother and the leaves fell together,
father was not present,
and we never met him.
While the fly sings her search
we search together
or form a joint committee
to resolve the issues of fly and child.
For on our hearts
are the steaming finger-prints of the fly
Whose wings told us stories
of the search for life, and to whom we belong.
Over the radio
we hear there is a crisis
Members of Parliament demand higher salaries,
so there is no debate about us.
At least we are free from wrecked promises.
We shall debate
in the open chamber
with a thousand million diseases
standing for the Grave constituency.
And figures of population increase
standing for Survival constituency.
send representatives to this chamber,
so the debate gets dreary at times.
lack of seats!
or simple lack of order in the house.
Then we share all we have �
from pocketfuls of blood
to parliamentary jargon.
Together we survive,
the subject of long debating sessions
and stale overdue projects
that crawl now
when they should have run yesterday.
- 1985, Chenjerai Hove
this is how we dress
with whistles and muskets and gunpowder
smoked glass windows
we dress power
like a pestilence.
1998, Chenjerai Hove
On Being Asked For a Ruling Party Membership Card
you asked me, party cadre,
for a membership card
of the ruining party.
what an insult
to the flowers and the birds
of my country
in my heart.
1998, Chenjerai Hove
A War-torn Wife
I am tired
of a husband who never sleeps
guarding the home or on call-up,
Maybe inside him he says
"I am tired of a wife
who never dies
so I could stop guarding".
- 1982, Chenjerai Hove
2.0. What Is Missing from the Khilafah Analysis on Kenyan Political Realignments?
As you have probably come to suspect by this point, that is if you have read more than one of Oloo's digital essays, the above section on Zimbabwe has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what follows. I take a special and particular pleasure in annoying the hell out of my readers. I live for the moment when you dear reader, reel back in pure disgust as you realized that once more, you have been had by that meandering yabberer from the cold expanses of desolate Quebec. When you slap the computer monitor in fury- that is when I chortle with absolute and delirious satisfaction. That is why, if you want to spite me, please
calm down already, OK?
Yesterday, I posted a brief article on the blog talking about this analysis on Kenyan political developments that I saw over at khilafah.com, a web site promoting the idea of Imamah and Shariah.
At the time, I never bothered to comment on the views of the anonymous authors of the piece, preferring to sleep on it, mulling and musing over the strands in their arguments for a few hours before I opened my big mouth to say anything.
Having given the piece some thought, I can now offer an opinion, my take on their take.
In the first place, like I said, it is an amazing piece and the level of analysis and depth of factual information leads me to surmise very strongly that the authors are themselves Kenyan- one reason why they prefer to remain anonymous after posting on an Islamic site.
In the second place, I think it offers a very fresh departure from the warmed over offerings we get from foreign "Kenya watchers" and self-styled pundits like Gwyn Dyer and others of his ilk. There is actual, tangible SUBSTANCE in what they say.
In the third place, the candid, no holds barred demeanour that permeates the contribution evokes people who are not looking over their shoulder to see the frowns of disapproving editors wary of late night phone calls from Sheria House or Harambee House to kill a piece because it is too incendiary.
In the fourth place the geopolitical angle adds flesh to the highly personalized tribal skeletons that home based political commentators start and finish their weekly columns.
So what is my verdict?
Well, the article is NOT on trial and I am certainly no judge so I will confine myself to mere reactions and end with my own contribution to an analysis of the geopolitical forces shaping the ongoing political discourse in our country.
Let us proceeed now to a minute dissection of the article, chunk by chunk.
KCom Journal(via Khilafah.com Opines:
Since independence in 1963, Kenya has been closely linked to British interests in Africa assuming the role of one of Britain’s most reliable agents within the region. This was so under the leadership of the first president, Jomo Kenyatta, who ruled from 1963 until his death in 1978 under the close protection and advice of the British. Under Kenyatta’s rule, the government was virtually identical to the ruling party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU) with the president also being KANU chairman. The situation continued under the second president, Daniel Arap Moi, who ruled from 1978 until 2002 while also enjoying a similar period as chairman of KANU. Britain has major interests to maintain in Kenya including economic interests (British multinationals particularly banks dominate the local economy), and protecting the sizable British settler elite who remained in Kenya dominating particularly agriculture and tourism...
Onyango Oloo Reacts:
Actually, this is only PARTIALLY true. For 68 years from the end of the 19th Century to December 12, 1963, Kenya was an orthodox colony under the direct thumb of our mkoloni mkongwe master, Great Britain. This changed at midnight of the same day when Kenya, far from becoming independent, became even more DEPENDENT on imperialism- with this difference: Instead of just the UK, we now had the additional influence of the other Western powers. The role of the United States was very much present right at the outset. A couple of years before independence, Tom Mboya had been busy with his airlifts and he had been a stooge of CIA agents in the American labour movement like Irving Brown. Mboya helped to provide an ideological beach head for US interests via the emasculated trade union movement which had been robbed of its militant leaders like Makhan Singh, Fred Kubai, Chege Kibachia and others who were serving long prison terms because of their active involvement in the anti-colonial freedom struggle in the 1950s. While it is true that Jomo Kenyatta and some members of the Kiambu Mafia like Mbiyu Koinange, James Gichuru and later Njoroge Mungai and Charles Njonjo were beholden to MI5 and Whitehall, the emergence of Tom Mboya as a young right wing hawk who captured the pivotal post of KANU Secretary General and was first Justice and later Economic Planning minister was quite a coup and a plume in Washington's cap. It is almost common knowledge that the first major Kenya economic blue print 1965's Sessional Paper Number 10 on African Socialism and Its Application to Planning and Development in Kenya was the brainchild of an American professor at Harvard who, of course, worked hand in glove with their man in Nairobi, Tom Joseph Mboya. The anti-communist witchunt of the 1960s was NOT at the instigation of the British, but the Americans, as part of their cold war containment of radical nationalists like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Bildad Kaggia, Pio Gama Pinto, JD Kali, Chokwe, Munyua Waiyaki, Achieng Oneko, Okello Odongo and others. Almost a year ago, in another digital essay on Kenyan workers, I detailed the often obscured pro-imperialist stratagems of the late Tom Mboya who became a matyr when Kenyatta eliminated him on July 5, 1969. Indeed, the rising clout of the Americans in internal Kenyan matters was probably the motivation that propelled Mzee to eliminate TJ, who like Ouko under Moi had served him in fighting his ideological, and more importantly, regional and ethnic battles of neutralizing the influence of Oginga Odinga in Nyanza. Anyways, here is an excerpt from that essay:
It is not for NOTHING that Makhan Singh and Cege Kibacia were each locked up for at least TEN YEARS- the imperialists simply FEARED THEM MORE than the liberal democratic nationalists like Jomo Kenyatta and the KAU leadership. Of course we do know that the Kapenguria Six included two members of the KKM Central Committee- Fred Kubai and Bildad Kaggia.
It as this point that a young sanitary inspector called Tom Mboya becomes very notorious in the Kenyan imperialist project.
At the outset let me say that I am very pissed off with the Kenyatta Dictatorship for arranging the callous POLITICAL ASSASSINATION of Tom Mboya on July 5, 1969.
Having said that, it is important to underscore the well documented FACT that Thomas Joseph Mboya was a CIA STOOGE!
Many Luos, especially “joloka” from the former South Nyanza district have put a fatwa on my head for publicly expressing this opinion. That is why, even though my sister is married in Karachuonyo and I have three aunts and a couple of cousins also married there, I will not venture to Oyugis, Kendu Bay, Migori etc without my very own armed to the teeth Kagola/Kisa Security Guards- just kidding, these are online jousts and I will try and spend a week in Homa Bay in the coming months to test this theory.
But I am actually serious:
Tom Mboya SOLD OUT the Kenyan working class movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Yes, he was probably Kenya’s most eloquent political orator of his generation, but so are many rightwing mainstream politicians that I can mention.
Ok, I am weary because I can anticipate the questions:
Where is the proof etc?
Just do your research folks.
One place you can start is the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California. This is essentially a CIA think tank- and no wonder they have such a vast collection of African memorabilia.
I mean, start by scrolling down this page.
Check out this excerpt:
“East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands
Collections include the Tom Mboya Papers, 1953-1969, and the William X. Scheinman Papers, 1952-1999, on Kenya; the Harvey Glickman Papers on Tanzanian politics, 1955-1969; the George S. Reppas Papers concerning business in Madagascar, 1966-1982; the Price Family Papers relating to missionary work in Madagascar, 1875-1882; the Donald Arthur Knies Collection concerning education assistance in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; the Martin Lowenkopf Papers on politics in Liberia, Uganda, and Tanzania during the 1950s; and slides on the history of Christianity in East Africa.”
And this one as well:
“Collections dealing with African labor include the Paul Lubeck Collection on trade unionism in the 1950s and 1960s, mainly in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, but also for Cameroon, Congo, Algeria, Dahomey, Liberia, Ethiopia, Libya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Uganda; the William H. Friedland Collection on Tanzania, 1929-1967, with materials on the Tanganyika Federation of Labor, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, African Labour College materials, interviews with union members and reports on union meetings (dock, railway, plantation, postal, sisal, and government workers); and the Jay Lovestone Collection, with material on the African-American Labor Center (1969-74), the African Labor College in Kampala (1959, 1963-65), letters from Tom Mboya, leader of the labor movement in Kenya (late 1950s-1960s), Mboya paper from John K. Tettegah, Ghanaian labor leader (early 1960s), and letters and reports on union activities of the late 1950s to 1960s in Nigeria, Kenya, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Leopoldville, Cameroon, Tanganyika, Rhodesia, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Gabon and Sudan.”
Check out the following excerpt from this
Censoring books, particularly Marchetti's pre-publication review. Marchetti
named Jack O'Connell as the control agent for King Hussein of Jordan.
Karamessines warned against making public the existence of electronic
collection devices in India aimed at Chinese and Russian weapons systems,
CIA financial assistance to Tom Mboya and Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya. the ruling
by judge Bryan re reviews effectively nullified the first amendment rights
of government workers who sign secrecy agreement..”
And here is former CIA spook Ken Lawrence fingering Tom Mboya:
“The Third Camp was the CIA's preferred propaganda vehicle during the
Eisenhower and Kennedy years. One front was the Geneva-based International
Union of Socialist Youth, headed by Bakery and Confectioners Union honcho Dan
Gallin. Under the pseudonym Andre Giacometti, Gallin wrote an SP pamphlet on
Algeria that promoted Messali Hadj's nationalist MNA against the more
revolutionary and Marxist FLN. Another CIA stooge was Tom Mboya, leader of
Kenya's trade unions. Both taught seminars at a YPSL summer school I attended,
I think in 1960, which I found quite distressing at the time for their
astonishing absence of political passion, although the CIA ties weren't
revealed until long afterward…”
Here is another eye-opener
“The African-American Labor Center (AALC), founded in 1964, is active in some 31 countries ranging from Angola to Zimbabwe. Its founder and first director was longtime labor activist and CIA operative Irving Brown.' He molded the institute into an anticommunist organization that spread the doctrine of labor-business harmony and bread-and-butter unionism to its African beneficiaries. Under Brown, the AALC became a vehicle for funneling U.S. aid to procapitalist, economistic African trade unions, a role which it continues to play today...The AALC builds and finances trade union education centers throughout the continent where it trains unionists through courses, seminars, and workshops. It also supports visitor exchanges, conducts development projects, and sponsors job-creation schemes. Recipients of its grants and training have promoted essentially harmonious relationships with management, tend to be politically quiescent, and, until recently, were known as collaborationists with South Africa's apartheid regime.The activities of the American Institute for Free Labor Development-and, to a lesser extent, the Free Trade Union Institute-have stimulated controversy and a certain amount of scrutiny, but the operations of the AALC have been clouded in obscurity. Like the other institutes, however, the AALC has been accused of fronting for CIA operations in the region. Certainly the key role played by Irving Brown in the institute is a major factor supporting this conclusion. One former intelligence officer, Paul Sakwa, identified Brown as a funnel for CIA cash to Kenya's Tom Mboya, a rightist politician backed by the United States until his murder in 1969.'° Brown also helped organize the National Front for the Liberation of Angola, a CIA-sponsored rebel army headed by Holden Roberto. Brown's support for Roberto's "labor" activities was a cover for funneling cash to the group." Another important figure whose activities with the AALC drew suspicion was Nelson "Nana" Mahomo. Mahomo-suspended and eventually expelled from the Pan-African Congress due to allegations of financial improprieties and cooperation with the CIA-was selected by the AALC in 1982 to head its Program of Action in Support of Black Trade Unions. This selection occurred in spite of the fact that Mahomo had been absent from Africa for some 20 years and had had no experience as a trade unionist…”
And here is a little known tidbit about Tom Mboya and Jonas Savimbi:
“..Savimbi rejected several offers of scholarships in Moscow and fell back on the missionaries for a scholarship that enabled him to resume his studies in Switzerland. In the early 1960s he flirted with the various Angolan independence movements, at one point joining the youth wing of the Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Then he fell prey to the influence of the Kenyan Tom Mboya - suspected even at the time of being a CIA agent - and began to show the anti-Soviet and racist tendencies that would be the hallmark of his own movement. He switched allegiance to the UPA-FNLA, but then quarreled with the leadership…”
On a slightly different note, he is a report from March 1963 describing a visit by both Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin to Tom Mboya’s Nairobi home.
Here are sources closer to the home front:
The First One..
The Second One..
It is important to unmask Tom Mboya because he was not only a devious CIA agent who took over the Kenyan trade union movement at a time when the more progressive, socialist leaning East African Trade Union Congress had been banned and its radical leaders like Makhan Singh detained, but because he is one of the earliest examples of how US imperialism would go to great lengths to identify charismatic individuals like Tom Mboya and boost them into very strategic positions of influence...
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com Opines:
During the 1990s, however, KANU faced a strong challenge via the calls for ‘reform’ and ‘multi-party democracy’, with the United States playing a visible and influential role in promoting and nurturing opposition parties to challenge KANU, and therefore British, rule in Kenya. At that time, the US ambassador to Kenya—Smith Hempstone—led a vocal and aggressive role in pushing Moi to accept multiparty democracy using various means including withdrawal of aid, critical public speeches, granting protection and political asylum to KANU critics which was unprecendented for any ambassador let alone a superpower envoy. Britain resisted such attempts and argued for “constructive and behind the scenes” diplomacy, sometimes even openly clashing with Hempstone. Britain used its historical shrewdness and political cunning to assist Moi to retain power in two multiparty elections of 1992 and 1997, despite intense US pressure, using a classic “divide and rule” together with “carrot and stick” policies to divide, disorient, confuse, corrupt, intimidate and defeat the opposition.
Onyango Oloo Responds:
See my previous interjection. The United States has ALWAYS pushed its ideological, strategic and geo-political agendas throughout the life of so called "independent Kenya" Remember, it was with Daniel arap Moi that the United States secured access it military bases in Mombasa and elsewhere- from the early 1980s. After the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974, the regional headquarters of the CIA in eastern and central Africa moved to NAIROBI and when key US ally Israel needed to raid Entebbe, they did so with the involvement of the Kenyan government- and this was on July 6, 1976, when Jomo Kenyatta was very much alive. When the United States wanted to torpedo Muamar Gaddafi's bid for OAU dominance, they relied on Kenya and some of their other client states- and this was in 1981, long before we heard of the Washington Times anti-communist cold warrior called Smith Hempstone. While it is true that the UK supported KANU and Moi throughout his reign of terror and error, we should also not forget that Reagan and the first Bush looked the other way when hundreds of Kenyan political prisoners and detainees were railroaded to Kamiti and Naivasha elsewhere between 1982 and 1988. At that time, Kenya was valuable to the United States as a buffer state against the so called "communist" to our north- Mengistu Haile Mariam's Ethiopia and was seen as a stabilizing influence in respect to the anarchy in Uganda from the Amin dictatorship through Obote II right up to the ascendancy of Museveni in the mid 1980s and implosion of the disastrous Ujamaa pseudo- ideological experiment in Tanzania to the south. In other words, while there were tensions and jockeying for overall influence in Kenya between the Anglo-American cousins, it would be a bit disingenous to portray these two close allies as hostile rivals in east Africa. They have never been, in my opinion. At least not to the extent that they would try to vanquish each other.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com Opines:
However, in the December 2002 elections where Moi accepted to retire due to constitutional rules limiting the president to two terms, it appeared that Britain advised Moi to “win while losing” by allowing an opposition united against him under the umbrella of the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (NARC) coalition party to defeat KANU led dismally by a virtual novice—Uhuru Kenyatta (son of the first president, Jomo Kenyatta)—whom Moi imposed upon KANU thereby leading to fatal internal rebellion and division in the once mighty ruling party. Thus, on 31st December 2004, Moi voluntarily handed over power to a third president, Emilio Mwai Kibaki, who made history as the first opposition presidential candidate to assume power leading the NARC coalition party—made of disparate and tribalistic parties i.e. the Democratic Party (DP) dominated by Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe (the dominant faction in the coalition), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) dominated by Raila Odinga’s Luo tribe with support from the Kamba and Mijikenda tribes, and Ford Kenya (Ford-K) dominated by the Luhya tribe now led by Musikari Kombo following the death of Kibaki’s first Vice-President (Michael Kijana Wamalwa).
Onyango Oloo Offers This Riposte:
This is where I begin to have serious problems with KCom's analysis. The first wave of nationalist Kenyan historians like Gideon S. Were, Godfrey Muriuki and Bethwell Ogot went to lengths to debunk the racist myths perpetuated by the CG Celigmans and Trevor Ropers who ascribed any major developments in Africa to external forces. From a different take off point this is what the folks at Khilafah are attempting to sneak in, according to my humble opinion. The key factor which brought about the downfall of the Moi-KANU dictatorship was NOT the machinations of Whitehall and the White House, but rather, the concerted united democratic struggles of millions of wananchi who FORCED the squabbling mainstream politicians to get their act together and form a coalition behind a single presidential candidates. By this time, Moi had become expendable, in fact a liability for the global imperialist project- for both the Americans and the British. Thus, while the British may have been sad to see Biwott et al go down to ignoble defeat, they certainly did not lock themselves up in their lavatories and bawl their English eyeballs out. Let us not forget the role of people like David Steele and other mainstream British politicians flirting openly with many of the Young Turks throughout the 1990s- and let us not forget that the United States government itself under George Bush was actually ambivalent about whether they should actually drop Moi right up to the very end. If Moi had rigged himself to power without a major uprising, the Americans would have continued to do business with Nyayo- as they had done in 1992 and 1997. Let us give the credit where it is due: first and foremost to the wananchi, secondly to the much maligned Kenyan Left forces who set the stage for the massive pro-democracy rallies of the 1990s via the clandestine formations of the 1980s; thirdly liberal democrats like Kiraitu Murungi, Paul Muite, Kenneth Matiba, Timothy Njoya, Alexander Muge, Gitobu Imanyara, Charity Ngilu, Michael Wamalwa, James Orengo, Raila Odinga, forces like the Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change, the NCEC and other civil society voices and other formerly mainstream politicians who weakened KANU by jettisoning it in the second half of 2002. The downfall of Moi and KANU had a very distinct endogenous nature although the external pressure boosted these home grown efforts to turf out the 39 year old dictatorship.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
The early indications following NARC’s assumption of office was that Britain supported the new coalition government as seen in the early and public endorsement of the election results by Sir Edward Clay, the British High Commissioner, Britain’s leading the resumption of aid to Kenya on the grounds that the new government presented a new “reformist” and “democratic” face, several visits by senior British Foreign Office officials etc.
However, over time it has appeared that Britain has lost its dominance over the Kibaki regime—or, more likely, that the US has been able to attract Kenya’s government—leading Britain to adopt an unprecedented policy of openly undermining the regime. In an ironic reversal of roles, the critical language now used by the British envoy, Sir Edward Clay, to criticise Kibaki’s regime in public is so aggressive as to outdo even the best that even the most aggressive former US envoy, William Hempstone, ever managed!
Onyango Oloo Shakes His Head in Disagreement:
Quite frankly this is a bit simplistic and reductionist. Why? Because it has not been obvious to me that Britain has actually lost much ground. The UK is still Kenya's most dominant trading partner and its clout in shaping domestic policies was overtly in the way the Kibaki government rushed to implement the often ridiculous security stipulations demanded by the UK and her very close ally- the United States. Surely the folks at Khilafah.Com must have noticed the close cooperation between the two Anglo-American cousins when it came to the most significant global conflicts of the past four years- 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq. If anything, the United States RELIES on Britain's often superior intelligence and business contacts to push its overall globalization and hegemonic agenda in Kenya and other parts of Africa. To portray the two close military, business and ideological kissing cousins as hostile suitors struggling to win the hand of the Kenyan brand is to lose contact with the local, regional and global reality of Anglo-American collaboration and cooperation. I do not see ANY evidence of a major disjuncture between contemporary US designs on Kenya and traditional UK interests in our country. They are part of a tag team, working in tandem. For example while it is true that Bush has refused to go along with Blair's (or is it Brown's) Plan for Africa, do not expect the USA to invade Birmingham or Manchester in mid April.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com Opines):
The British split with the Kibaki regime came out publicly in July 2004 when Edward Clay spoke as guest of honour at a dinner hosted by a linking western and Kenyan business leaders. At the dinner, attended by the local press who were also given copies of Clay’s speech, Clay used unprecedented strong language to expose corruption scandals in the Kenyan government directly implicating senior ministers considered close to Kibaki himself as well as insulting the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service. Clay used colourful language in threatening the withholding of aid to Kenya on the grounds to wasteful corruption saying that government ministers were crying for aid on one hand while “vomiting over the shoes” of donors in the other due to extravagant excesses and indulgence in grand corruption. This outburst was headline news and appeared to break a taboo in the local press which had previously been reluctant to use strong language to accuse the Kibaki regime of corruption. Since that speech, the opposition parties led by KANU and civil society groups have become very outspoken and critical of the Kibaki regime which has been severely tarnished in the eyes of the masses.
Clay has not only refused to apologise for his undiplomatic remarks but has gone even further to incite anti-Kibaki sentiments. In January 2005, Clay used another public platform as chief guest at an annual awards ceremony sponsored by the Kenya Union of Journalists (a union representing journalists) to not only repeat his allegations but stress that donors are even more certain of grand and massive corruption scandals. He went on to report his meeting the president whom he presented with a dossier outlining 20 major corruption scandals whose cost to the taxpayer he claims to be in excess of all aid given by all donors to the Kenyan government i.e. approx. 100 million pounds. This public outburst has set the tone for political discussion since with the continuation of massive corruption and the Kibaki regime’s betrayal of public promises becoming the key topic amongst the political elite, intelligentsia and common people. The local press—newspapers, TV and radio—is now set upon this agenda with more scandals being exposed and discussed every day leading to a critical decline in popularity for Kibaki and his regime.A recent poll sponsored by the Standard Media Group, an opposition media group involved in TV and radio, recently reported a growing public perception that the Kibaki regime is even worse than the Moi regime in practising cronyism, massive corruption, looting of public money, and betraying the masses etc. In fact, for the first time since NARC’s assumption of power, Kibaki (who was always the leading contender) is now only third in public preferences as to who they prefer as president come the next general election expected in 2007!
Onyango Oloo Observes:
There is very little to disagree with the above excerpt which is largely factual narration citing developments that Kenyans are widely conversant with.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
There is no doubt that the current political mood has changed from pro-NARC to anti-NARC led by Clay’s attack. Clay’s skillful public interventions has led to the most difficult time for the Kibaki regime with strong external attack from its key donors—the UK, US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France among others who have publicly criticised the regime and accused it of not doing enough to combat corruption—and internal pressure—with key government ministers from the LDP and Ford Kenya factions together with KANU opposition MPs attacking the government in concert with key civil society and religious groups. Also the government’s key man leading the anti-corruption drive, John Githongo, who has an international reputation as an independent, serious and committed anti-corruption crusader resigned suddenly while in mid-February 2005 in London where he has remained to date, which has been interpreted as caused by Githongo’s frustration due to Kibaki’s protecting key ministers involved in grand corruption; most also believe that Githongo has chosen “exile” in England in fear for his safety. Several key persons have subsequently resigned from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Advisory Board which was supposed to steer the government’s anti-corruption drive for similar reasons. In response, Kibaki has conducted a minor Cabinet reshuffle moving one of his closest ministers, Chris Murungaru—who is publicly reviled and considered most corrupt—with from the Internal Security ministry to the Ministry of Transport and Communications and vice versa; he also sacked two permanent secretaries in the Internal Security and Finance ministries, while appointing fellow Kikuyu to take over. This cabinet reshuffle was a weak attempt to defuse the pressure, and has been considered to be “too little and too late.” The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission has also commenced criminal prosecution against several senior civil servants inherited from the Moi regime, but again most observers consider this to be a cover-up since no senior minister implicated in the same corrupt transactions has been prosecuted.
Onyango Oloo Quips:
As my 14 year old, Canadian born son would say, were he to revert to the Hip Hop vernacular:
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
The following points illustrate the evidence indicating that the UK has lost control over the Kibaki regime, with the US influence increasing instead:-
1.Kibaki state visit to US: The only state visit that Kibaki has undertaken to a major world player is his state visit to the United States in 2003. He was well received and hosted as a state dinner, and Bush praised Kibaki for leading a new, reformist government with which the US could work. To date, Kibaki has not been on a state visit to Britain.
Onyango Oloo Sharpens His Scalpel:
Well, let us look at these points one by one. Too much is being made of this. Kibaki has not traveled widely overseas because since his accident, the man in Ikulu has simply been sick as a dog. In fact, there is a defacto collective presidency embracing and going beyond the so called 6 Ms (minus Kereri who was replaced by the first lady Muthoni) with Kiraitu and Murungaru being key players. Kenyan ministers have more than qualified for frequent flyer status- many of them are probably recognized by all the major airlines from South Africa to China to Belgium and of course Britain. Where did Wamalwa expire? Certainly not at a hospital affiliated to Johns Hopkins University. As the authors themselves point out, the North Americans- the United States and Canada, have actually been more hard core in pressurizing Kibaki compared to the foppish Brits who are like the the mice in the Luo expression, "oyieyo makayi to kudhi" to a certain extent, a mouse that nibbles and blows on your feet when you notice any discomfort. So to summarize: Big Effing Deal if Kibaki has not been to Britain- which is where he was rushed to convalesce, in case the good old people at Khilafah have forgotten.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
2. US-Kenya military cooperation: The US military has prioritised Kenya as a regional base for its operations. US Central Command (Centcom) is believed to have a major rapid deployment base in Kenya’s south coast to which it has added another base in Lamu from which it monitors Somalia, east coast of Africa and the southern Red Sea. The US has also set up a major peacekeeping training course using Kenya as a regional headquarters to train senior officers from neighbouring countries to be used in peacekeeping operations funded and/or supported by the US but manned by African soldiers. Further, the US now carries out virtually annual joint training exercises with the Kenya military. The British military which has the stronger historical military presence in Kenya is now outgunned.
Onyango Oloo Wearily Reminds His Readers:
Like I pointed out much earlier in the essay, Kenya-US military cooperation dates back almost 30 years and its ideological ties to the pre-independence period. Britain is STILL the United States' chief and closest military ally and it would be RIDICULOUS to posit that the Anglo-American cousins would come to blows over such a tiny and insignificant country as Kenya.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
3.Tenders: British companies have lost out on major lucrative public procurement tenders which it has long dominated e.g. Central Bank of Kenya currency printing contract where a deal with a British company was cancelled and given to a French one, and a recent purchase of new Kenya navy patrol boats was given to a Spanish company. Interestingly, these are among the contracts that Clay pointed to in his dossier of corruption; he would presumably have remained silent if they were given to British companies.
Onyango Oloo Avers:
We are on the same page- at least until half way down the same page. Yes, I concur that the loss of lucrative tenders has made Sir Ted and his public school ( in the Britihsh sense) posse to sulk like a kindergarten katoi whose lollipop has just been confiscated for "rough housing". But you notice that it is NOT the Americans who are the beneficiaries of these lost tenders. I recently argued that it was the CHINESE who may have thrown a life line to the beleagured kleptocracy of the NAK parvenu misrulers of Nairobi-in exchange for lucrative contracts in telecoms and possibly oil when Kenya hits pay dirt down the road.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
4. US using Kenya to achieve important regional goals: The US has used the Kenyan government to mediate and lead the Sudanese and Somali peace talks to achieve important US regional goals. The new Somali government led by Col. Abdilahi Yusuf is well known for a pro-US stance was established in Nairobi where it is still based due to security fears with respect to moving to Somalia. As for Sudan, the peace accord allowing the Southern rebels led by the US agent, John Garang, to split and form a new government in 6 years was mediated and signed in Kenya. In fact, the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Kenya 3 times during NARC’s two years of rule—more than any other sub-Saharan country—to personally push the Sudanese (and Somali) peace talks, and he personally attended the final signing ceremony in Nairobi in December 2005. This shows that the US was able to use Kenya as a regional base for important regional initiatives.
Onyango Oloo Retorts:
So what is NEW? The US has been doing this in Kenya since this since the 1950s. I agree with the analysis on Somalia and Sudan- it is spot on.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
5. Key NARC ministers attacking Clay and the UK: While Kibaki himself has remained silent in the face of the strong British attack, some of his key ministers have responded publicly and harshly criticised Clay’s criticism. For example, in particular the powerful former Internal Security Minister (now Transport Minister) Murungaru recently wrote an article for a leading local newspaper vehemently criticising Britain and arguing that Britain is angry because, for the first time in Kenya’s history, British companies have been losing major public procurement contracts which they have always monopolised since independence. The powerful Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Kiraitu Murungi, has also discounted Britain as peddling lies due to loss of influence and insisted that Kenya would pursue its own direction without being pushed by Britain. Also the Minister for Lands, Amos Kimunya, has recently made dangerous statements stating that some civil servants—probably meaning Githongo—have committed treason by betraying state secrets to Clay who himself should be prosecuted for “corruption”! This high-level and public critical attacks between Britain and the Kenyan government has never been seen in Kenyan post-independence history.
Onyango Oloo Points Out:
The NAK attack dogs have sought to devour ALL their Western diplomatic foes, it is just that Clay has been the most abrasive Murungaru, Kimunya, Kiraitu and Company Limited know only too well that they would be looking at regime change if any of them unziopped their trousers to urinate on the patent leather shoes of George Bush.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
While NARC is suffering major political problems due to corruption allegations and internal divisions, KANU has made a strong comeback after its devastating loss in the 2002 elections. With the successfully concluded nationwide party elections of January 2005, KANU is now the only major party which has successfully organised a whole new list of officials led by the new chairman, Uhuru Kenyatta, all of which was closely coordinated by retired president Moi. Furthermore it was obvious that Kibaki preferred Uhuru’s rival, Nicholas Biwott, a former powerful minister in Moi’s regime since Biwott was tainted by major corruption and murder scandals which would ensure that he would lead KANU into another defeat in 2007. With Uhuru’s win, and his building a new image for KANU as young, dynamic and corruption-free, KANU—Britain’s traditionally preferred political party—into a strong contender to regain power in 2007. Already Uhuru is now the preferred presidential candidate for the 2007 elections among the general public.
Onyango Oloo Offer an Alternative Take on KANU:
The former ruling party's recent resurgence is very illusory. Just like the South Africans will NEVER re-elect the former racist National party no matter how terrible the ANC becomes, the Kenyan wananchi will NEVER revert to the vomit that is recycled KANU no matter how much NARC implodes. NARC was precisely that: a transient coalition of disparate parties that had very little in common except their common KANU origins. Again, the Khilafah folks revert back to their elitist arrogance of not appreciating the seismic shifts on the Kenyan political landscape. While the formation known as NARC, and especially NAK is becoming very unpopular, its consttutuent parties and partners like the LDP and FORD-Kenya are becoming revitalized at regional and national levels and even a former key component of NAK, Charity Ngilu's NPK and the splinter factions from NAK led by David Mwenje and Danson Mungatana are looking for alternative local and national allies. Kibaki and his back room boys are on the way to defeat, that is true- but the next Kenyan president is NOT going to be Uhuru Kenyatta. The key thing is to watch out how the constitutional review battle evolves in the next eight months. Whoever wins the Katiba battle will form the next government, pure and simple. Let me bold to predict that I see Uhuru Kenyatta as a key minister in another coalition government in which the main opposition parties will be DP and FORD-People.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
In light of the above, it now appears that the British government has lost control of the Kibaki regime—in particular the DP faction dominated by the Kikuyu elite who wield the dominant power—and has resorted to inciting harsh criticism and public disaffection with the same under the guise of fighting corruption within the curent regime. Corruption is being used as the tactic of choice to disguise the struggle for interest since Britain did not mind corruption too much when it was practised by its agent, Moi, during his 25 years of rule!
Onyango Oloo Cries Out Loud:
For crying out loud, good people of KCom journal- how CLUELESS could you possibly get on this point? The British have NOT LOST control of the Kibaki regime- they are stoking the flames of regime change! They could work with Charity Ngilu, Raila, some insiders of NAK and a smattering of their old KANU friends. The Kibaki regime is HOBBLED, and like its President, it has technically walked into the ICU unit and may want to book the same priest who is offering John Paul II his last rites. And believe me, EVERYTHING the British are doing, they are consulting closely with the Americans, the Canadians, the Germans, the rest of the EU and Japan. Their main big power threat is China.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
One matter must be kept in mind. There is a possibility of Britain playing political games. It may be pretending to attack the NARC government while it is actually supporting it, similar to what the US used to do to attack Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime in Egypt in order to build its popularity. As evidence, despite Britain’s anti-corruption attacks it has not yet withdrawn any aid whereas the US (approx. $2.5 million) and German (approx. $7 million) have acted practically in withdrawing grants earmarked to assist Kenya’s anti-corruption efforts. However, this is more likely merely a US attempt to belatedly appear to attack NARC for its corruption scandals following Britain’s lead, as a means to maintain its moral credibility in Kenya as a “democratic champion” keen to protect the public interest. Moreover, the US still has a travel advisory against its citizens travelling to Kenya despite Bush’s promise to Kibaki during his state visit to the US; however, this has more to do with Bush’s domestic interests in portraying himself as keen to protect US citizens abroad rather than the US seeking to harm Kenya’s vital economic interests in tourism.
Onyango Oloo Says:
As someone who speculates every day about a lot of things, let me just say that this speculation by K Com sounds intriguing and I will leave it at that.
KCom Journal (via Khilafah.com) Opines:
Current events indicate that, for the first time, Britain has lost its dominant influence over Kenya’s government—probably to the US—leading it to adopt an unprecedented hostile attitude in inciting public disaffection against the NARC regime while preparing KANU to take over power in 2007. Britain cannot afford to lose its major interests in Kenya which means it will use all its political cunning to regain dominance. Accordingly we can expect a strong Anglo-American conflict over interests in Kenya for the foreseeable future.
Onyango Oloo Responds:
Not true my brothers and sisters, not true at all. Britain has gained the influence of other emerging political players on the Kenyan scene, who even as we joust are openly fashioning new political alliances from within and without the ruling bloc. Britain has NOT lost its domination over Kibaki's government- it has abandoned it and it is using her superior intelligence gathering resources to put in place the next pro-Western regime in Kenya. Look out for Charity Ngilu as the centre-piece in this alternative scenario. Of course, there will be no MAJOR conflicts among the Anglo-American cousins over their MUTUAL interests in Kenya. Both of them will be working over time to thwart Chinese influence.
Just to show how much in lock step the Western powers are marching when it comes to Kenya, consider these two stories:
a Very Critical Statement on Grand Corruption from the CANADIAN ambassador to Kenya and the latest US State Department Report on the Human Rights situation in Kenya.
Finally, just to underscore concrete Kenyan national reality that the opposition to the NAK parvenu misrulers is more home grown rather than foreign influenced, check out how David Mwiraria was transformed into Nyama Choma over at Bunge yesterday..
By the way, I yesterday, after I first posted the Khilafah piece, I noticed one of the most rabid supporters of the NAK kleptocracy online ululating with delirium because of the Khilafah analysis backing Murungaru's hypothesis of a dark Anglo plot against the Agikuyu. If I were that over excited cheerleader of NAK, I would actually put down the drums, take off the dancing shoes and pause with the firimbi for four minutes to absorb this sobering thoughts:
Many Kenyan revolutionaries, democrats and patriots including many Muslims(whether within or outside the country) do NOT view encroaching US hegemony in Kenya as a good thing because they are convinced that Muslims will be the easy scapegoats of a hawkish pro-Bush, anti-wananchi regime eager to prove that they are tough on "terrorism". Therefore, people who lean towards Islamic fundamentalist ideological positions will tend to interpret the Khilafah article as saying that Kenya is getting closer to the United States and by extension, Israel.
Friday, April 01, 2005
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Redundant parties should dissolve
It is a well-known fact that most of the existing political parties in Kenya are either paper tigers or practically non-existent with absolutely undefined paraphernalia that reflects the being of any such institution. Most of even the so considered strong political parties are only joyriding on the backs of their purported members. The parties have up to now been reduced to tribal chiefdoms that only propel some individuals to national power structures while the people whose representation is claimed continue living in deplorable conditions. At the grassroots, seldom will one find any practical change in living conditions since the political transition of 2002. One of the major factors that lead to this include the pretence of ‘one of our own’ being in the government or ‘our party is part of the narc government’, therefore ‘we are in government.’This trait of political hypocrisy has impacted so much negatively on Kenyan progressive thinkers from the so-called political strongholds of the ethnically defined political parties. Through the same stint, the less informed grassroots have been over exploited under this pretext due to lack of access to the right information.
Narc’s main objective of uniting Kenyans is becoming quite ironical since the constituent parties claiming only tribal supremacy of their leaders in the effort of being or remaining relevant are reversing its intentions. It is very positive that some cabinet ministers have learnt the danger of this sort of political trend and are calling for dissolution of their respective parties and unification of narc as a national front. This is not necessarily for supporting narc as a political party but an advice to our leaders towards promoting nationalism. The current leaders must also read the signs of times and know that the upcoming generation is made up of an absolutely intellectual lot that will hardly allow any leader to ride on perceived tribal chiefdom as an access to self-political exaltation.
Some of the leaders have created a tendency of violating respective constitutions or doctoring the same to either keep them in office permanently or generally suit their whims. It is quite unfortunate the way Kenyans watch and continue to rubberstamp democracy and their intellect being abused without raising a finger. It is my humble request to all Kenyans who are irked by this culture to strongly stand up and be counted as true nationalists. It is a worrying trend and can easily push the country to very serious ethnic clashes any time these political opportunists will clash against each other, which is most obviously an automatic eventuality. It has also been hard to elect genuine and committed leaders because of this attitude of tribal chauvinism that was originally developed by the white colonial masters and propagated by our post independence ‘founding fathers’.
The same parties have gone ahead and conspired that no citizen can be a narc member directly. This is, to me holding the electorate at ransom in order to make sure that one can only exist politically as a subject of he party he must belong to and not a citizen of the ruling government. The leaders of these parties most of them being cabinet ministers are unable to run the activities of their parties due to their commitment on the issues of governance hence its hard for them to perform to the level of the expectation of their party members. Every institution that is unable to cater for the interest of their members serves no purpose of existence. This is what applies to the existing tribal political parties of national stature. It is unfortunate for the members who hope that they will ever get anything due to their loyalty when they are being used as mere instruments of sycophancy and yet when the employment opportunities arise the tribal chieftains prefer only their relatives who are usually nowhere during political campaigns. Kenyans must wake up and bargain independently including freedom to choose the political party they want to belong to as members, not corporate members. The leaders must also give Kenyans freedom to choose where they can belong politically so that those who want to be narc members become without unnecessary conditions from the political parties that only address sectional interests and don’t benefit them as such. We are better off without these parties.
The genesis of multiparty in Kenya was initially based on phasing out corruption and nepotism that was allegedly deep rooted and tolerated by the past governments. However in latest developments it is self evident that the narc government with many political mouthpieces can hardly qualify to be the panacea of the problem unless the issue of intra-government unity is well addressed.
The greatest fear of claims of developmental marginalization should be radically be put under legislation in order to ensure equal distribution of the national resources. The provincial administration should be strengthened to cater for issues dealing with regional and rural development. All funds meant for development should be handled by the provincial administration under strict rules that guide the use and expenditure of these monies. Through this the issue of what politicians hypocritically call being ‘short-changed’ doesn’t arise.
FWAMBA NC FWAMBA
NATIONAL STUDENTS AND YOUTH NETWORK.
BOX 30197,GPO, NAIROBI
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