Thursday, January 10, 2008

RTF: Demanding Freedom From a Brother?

Do I have to apologize every single time I bounce back? I am not sure, but I think I should. There are folks who have faithfully checked on this blog to see if I have fresh insights on what is happenings in Bongoland. For you faithful readers, I appreciate your diligence. I truly do.

But life, yes life, kept me from this space. I know most of you can relate. A lot have happened in the past few days, some thrilling while some are just straight up sad. Of course the hottest topic is what transpired in the Kenyan election. The aftermath of elections in Kenya couldn’t prove Dr. Watson’s theory of Africans’ lack of intelligence . I mean, seriously, what is it about the State House that makes our tired African leaders act like the merely intelligent chimps? Was that the best Kenyans could do?

Well, the thrilling news for Kenyans (at least) was the victory of their cousin, Senator Baraka Obama, in Iowa. Well, the fact that Hillary Clinton bounced back in New Hampshire is a whole new story. The next thrilling news of the week is the sacking of the Bank of Tanzania’s former governor – Daudi Ballali.I think story which started way back, has had a “happy” ending. I think multiparty system is working, somewhat. If it wasn’t for the opposition camp, I am sure this BoT crap would have gone under wrap. Trust me.

You didn’t think I just wanted to recap what you already know, did you?

Let me just go back to the Kenyan election story. I think it really underscores my reflection for today. You know what? My eyes “opened” in the early 1980s, the period which was still the heydays of the post-colonialism agenda. I grew up listening the preaching of the Kaundas and Nyereres and all other African greats about the evils of the West and the beauty of Pan Africanism. These speeches made me believe that the greatest thing that ever happened to the African kids was for “us” to get out of the chains of colonial rule.

For the most part, that was truly an inspiring story, because the desire for freedom is a universal phenomenon. For the most, “we” had to get our freedom. As such, debating whether Africans deserved to get their freedom then is almost mute pointless.

What is debatable, from my perspective, is whether most Africans are truly free. I seriously think that most Africans are still in bondage. They are enslaved and encaged by the very few elite brothers and sisters they ignorantly elected to occupy State Houses across Africa. They are enslaved by their own brothers who look like them and speak their mother tongues. These are not slave masters who crossed salty waters from continents far away, but slave masters who grew up in their own backyards.

Looking at the imagery I saw in Kenya, where the police resorts to shooting unarmed citizens simply for demanding a fair and just electoral process, one has to wonder – whose interest was the police trying to protect? Are they trying to protect the elite few? Trying to protect that bald imbecile who rigged the election?

Isn’t it crazy that after forty years of "independence", a Kenyan, and many other Africans have to beg for and demand freedom and justice from a fellow African? Why in the world then did we kick the Queen out of Nyanza, Mbarara and Kericho?

I am not that intelligent, nor am I an expert in the psychological makeup of the African mind. Nevertheless, this much I know. It takes so much gut to do insane things African leaders do. It takes a sick mind to boldly do what Mwai Kibaki has done in Kenya. It takes an insane mind to do and say the things Museveni does in Uganda. Honestly, are these best brand of leaders Africa could produce?
Photo Credit: New York Times


Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I was wondering if what you started doing was nguvu ya soda tuu au? but honestly I can relate to what you are saying... life happens and some things are just to be put on hold for a while. We are glad you are back. As far as kenya and other African countries are concerned we need some deliverance from above it is sickening and sad.

Anonymous said...


Let me just give the following quote, “Many African Leaders refuse to send their troops on peace-keeping missions abroad because they probably need their armies to intimidate their own people”. Kofi Annan.

Mwai Kibaki has proved this to be true. What is happening in Kenya right now should be a serious lesson to our beloved Tanzania. One of the vivid lessons on the on-going violence in Kenya for our country is the behaviour which has been portrayed by our neighbours’ leaderships (Kenya and Uganda) as the region is contemplating towards the legitimate East Africa Community. Museveni is the only leader in this region, who has acknowledged Kibaki’s victory and this has shed a shadow of big doubt in the type of presidents we have. There are rumours however, that Museveni has gone as far as deploying a contingent of army to support Kibaki.

Despite the call from International community and all the efforts to bring a sense of understanding and tranquility in the country, But ‘our big brother’ Kibaki has remained defiant and not responsive. It is a shame on African leadership, where more than 20% of the leaders are above 70 years old!

I sincerely believe that no one in Kenya is comfortable with the current chaotic situation in the country even those who voted for Kibaki. I think Kibaki is doing this purposely due to the long-time and unforeseen tribal rift, which existed in Kenya and in fear of being brought into justice in case Odinga comes into power. On the other side Kibaki doesn’t want to be recorded in history as the first East African president, who has been voted out of the office, although there are such cases in Africa as it was with Kaunda. I strongly see the violence in Kenya as something which has been there for decades and the general elections have just ignited the anger among those who would like the justice not only to be done but to be seen done.

If I was Kibaki and wanted to remain honest to the voters, I would call another presidential election within the shortest possible time under supervision of an independent international body to show my integrity and love to my nation or I would step down so long as I am convincingly certain that what I have been doing for far in the state house is the right thing for the nation. I think people would have respected him more and continued to see him as a hero!

Let me finish up with a quote from one of the prominent scientists, who is also known as “Father of Internet” Dr Philip Emeagweli. He said, “Unless Africa increases its intellectual capacity the continent will remain irrelevant in the 21st Century even beyond. Africa needs innovators, producers of knowledge and wise men and women who can discover purpose and then implement progressive ideas”. This shows that the types of people to discover the purpose are highly needed in our continent and not the contemporary colonial masters.

Onyango Jashirati