On 9 January, the media reported that some retired African presidents were congregating in Kenya to try "straightening things up." Heavyweights like Kenneth Kaunda, Festus Mogae and Joachim Chissano gathered in Kenya aiming at arresting the situation. These three have good records: thus a force to reckon with. But again, who thinks an African ruler with a dictatorial constitution under his disposal like Kibaki will listen to such former presidents despite their noble records?
Another “tainted" former president Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania (awkward and untrustworthy by all standards) minus Bakili Muluzi (Malawi), also weighed in! Mkapa, like Muluzi, Chiluba and Moi, arrogantly supported or dubiously ran all-time-corrupt and undemocratic forces-cum regimes in his country when he was in power. Mkapa faces charges of being one of the corrupt rulers in Africa. He owns illegal conduits such as ANBEN, Fosnik and Tanpower outfits which acquired some lucrative projects in Tanzania. His Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is renowned for rigging and being undemocratic altogether. Muluzi, on the other hand, attempted and failed what Kibaki successfully did by rigging. I don’t know why Rwandan Pasteur Bizimungu was excluded. Is it just because the dictator in Rwanda does not like it?
Bringing back calm and normalcy in Kenya is noble and desired. But who has such moral authority to do the same? Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Mkapa should not be accepted in whatever talks on Kenya. Their governments and parties have a known philosophy. Mere pieces of paper (ballots) can not take away power from their grip. So is their murky image. Dictators like Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame are products of foul play. Will these doyens really hold water as far as the volatile situation in Kenya is concerned? Can Kenyans really trust such emissaries?
What did they achieve in Zimbabwe? What did they do when Fredrick Chiluba (Zambia) and Bakili Muluzi (Malawi) respectively attempted this sin? What did regional rulers do when Yoweri Museveni tampered with the constitution and ultimately rigged election and got away with it? Don’t forget Paul Kagame who heinously overthrew and degraded Bizimungu.
African rulers share one nexus: they sympathize with those with powers and vindicate those without. African politics is about hypocrisy and time wasting. Thus Kenyans should never be deceived by these fire-extinguishing or coke like efforts. In the end, the "winner" takes it all.
Africans under the yolk of bovine politics need to borrow a leaf from countries like Iran, South Africa, and Romania. Changes in those countries were not enhanced by international efforts but those of the citizenry themselves.
If regional rulers are all rotten, should we turn to the international community? As fate may have it, chances of putting the genie back to the bottle this way are also slim.
Like Dictator Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, Kibaki knows too well how the police of the world --the US that is currently white washing-- is unable to nibble him. You know what? Kibaki knows what Al-Qaeda threat in Somalia means and poses to the US. He thus knows: the US needs his services; and he’s already offered much. To know what this means refer to the dictator of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi. He can kill and torture his opponents without any worry given that Delilah is in bed with the Samson of the world.
As for the UN and AU, forget. What can toothless dogs do? So who is to solve this puzzle? Kenyans and only Kenyans can. Go back to the drawing board: and give the heck to Kibaki’s illegal regime. Stick on "people power": boycott and demonstrate against it. This will suffocate it as it breaks its backbone. Ultimately Kibaki will succumb let go the presidency. Otherwise all this hocus pocus and flibbertigibbets by rulers, be they African or otherwise, is but buying time so as to let the people goof and forget. Importantly Kenyans must learn from Zimbabwe.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He is a Journalist, Teacher, Human Rights activist and member of the Writers' Association of New Foundland and Labrador (WANL)
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