Posts Tagged With: East Africa

An Obama Administration and the Horn

Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all had a chance to either celebrate or not, let us ponder what this change in the White House may mean for the Horn of Africa. Granted, America’s overall foreign policy philosophy will not change, regardless of the Change Mantra we have gotten use to. Starting with the positives: an Obama Administration means diplomacy will have a significant role in bringing the warlords-led Transitional Federal Government and the opposition. Unlike Bush, Obama has the knowledge and pragmatism that many of the problems in Somalia require.

The negatives, however, maybe more than the positives – at least right now. Will President Obama reject anything that has to do with the Union of Islamic Courts? Will the same mentality in the State Department that has brought us such policies as handing out cash to warlords continue to prevail in Obama’s policy towards the Horn? Or will Obama’s two year stint in the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee give him an insight to develop a new course for the Horn? These are the $64,000 questions. For the first time since 1993, we Somalis should be optimistic for the future and expect some changes for the Horn’s gangsters, Abdillahi Yusuf & Meles Zenawi.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Elections, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where Are They Now?

Some of us remember the bloody recent election in Kenya despite the fact that it seems like a long time ago. The last time I wrote about the election, Kofi Annan’s mediation brought an agreement between president Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the opposition leader and the winner of the election, to form a unity government compromised of 50/50 coalition of Kibaki’s party and Odinga’s ODM party, however, the implementation of that agreement, like everything else in Kenya, has been elusive. It was reported yesterday (Monday Apr 7), that Odinga skipped on a meeting that was to suppose to announce the “new” coalition based unity government.

Apparently Raila Odinga got Kibaki’s SMS message to his party officials (just before the meeting and instead took a detour to news conference ) that read: odinga is gona fall for it again, LOL Kibaki BFF….PS: keep it confidential. Obviously I’m dramatizing it a little but perhaps this is what really happened because last Friday they both agreed to announce the new government’s cabinet posts on Sunday, with the understanding that they both will appoint an equal amount of ministers while presidential powers will be divided equally as well. I mean, doesn’t it seem like a fair expectation?

From my point of view, Kibaki is really greedy, considering that he did lose the election and thousands died and displaced as a result of this, still Raila Odinga is willing to share power with him when he could simply refuse negotiating with him until a new election decides who’s president. Perhaps I’m Monday-morning quarterbacking here, so to speak, but isn’t the definition of a leader is to do the good of the people instead of self-interest motivations? Yet no one can argue with me that what Africa lacks are courageous leaders who are not afraid of losing elections or appeasing Western interests in their countries but only care about their people’s welfare.

While the debacles of the recent Kenya and Zimbabwe elections hijacked the international media, the president of Botswana stepped down last week without any bloodshed or coup or political pressure (there was no scandal at all, if that is what you’re thinking) although he still had a year and half left on his term because he just felt that was the right thing to do. Isn’t that amazing? Juxtapositioning that with Robert Mugabe who has been in office for nearly three decades is nothing short of astonishing.

Ou Va La\’Afrique by Askia Modibo

 

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Elections | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worst of the Worst

“In many ways, Somalia is not a state at all, but more a lawless space between its neighbors and the sea. Sometimes it seems that if anything binds this country together, it is scar tissue.”

The quote above comes from a report by Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times, entitled, “Somalia’s Government Teeters on Collapse,” perhaps the first in-depth look at what is going on in Somalia since the Bush Administration funded invasion of Somalia by Meles Zenawi in late December of 2006. From June of that year until December, southern Somalia enjoyed the most peaceful period since 1990, thanks to the Union of Islamic Courts. However, that was the last time calm and security existed in souther Somalia, thanks to President Bush, Meles Zenawi, and Abdullahi Yusuf of the “Transitional Federal Government,” which the international community “recognized” it as the lawful government of Somalia, despite its murdering, raping, and robbing of the people of souther Somalia.

Like before the Union of Islamic Courts took control of souther Somalia in mid 2006, the “government” is hated by every Somali in unison for its ineffective and barbaric treatment of the people. And like in 2006, the UIC are being funded and supported by the people to defeat the TFG, as it is evident in the Times report. It is only a matter of time before the TFG is annihilated by the UIC because their support comes from the people and most importantly, the business community.

In my previous post about Somalia, I called out the international media for its neglectful duty to report the plight of the people of Somalia and I’m glad the New York Times has reciprocated the call. It is a shame that the Times is the only news outlet to do its duty. So sad.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So They Say

Violence in Kenya has only gotten worst in the past few weeks, leaving many to describe the situation as “ethnic cleansing” and even some to use the dreaded term “genocide.” The last time I checked, the conservative estimate of the dead was hovering between 800 to 850; nonetheless, the disputing parties are not making any progress toward a concrete solutions.

Many former and current African leaders have been to Kenya to mediate the dispute to no avail. So far only Kofi Anan have made a “slight” progress in the talks between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, but really, who are they kidding? “Four points of agreement towards peace” is what they announced after a week of “intense” negotiation – all nonsense to the people of Kenya.

Let’s keep in mind that five years ago, Odinga and Kibaki had an “agreement of understanding” between them in which Odinga put his support behind Kibaki’s bid for the presidency against Daniel arap Moi and in return, Kibaki was supposed to create a Prime Minister post for Odinga when he’s elected. Well, in a true African style, Mwai Kibaki screwed Odinga and skipped on the agreement (both signed) of understanding.  And that is how the Democratic Orange Movement opposition in Kenya started – a loose coalition dedicated to getting rid of Mwai Kibaki.

If the previous screw off is any indication, Odinga is not going to back off from his demand for a new election, and certainly Kibaki will not want to allow a new election because he is as certain as his death that he will be crushed like a grape. So what is the moral of this sad story? Unless Kibaki allows for a new presidential election (which I seriously doubt he will- sadly) Kenya will just become another failed state in Africa – a club that includes its illustrious neighbor Somalia,  Sudan (Darfur), Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and so on.

Regardless of what Kofi Anan has achieved in his talks with Kibaki and Odinga, which has been erroneously reported as the end of the violence in Kenya by the International media, Kenya’s only hope for return to stability is a new presidential election and redistribution of land, the cause of so many displacements and civil unrest. Unless the first (a new presidential election) happens, the second cannot happen, and if the second (land distribution) cannot happen, then a true civil war is inevitable.

Categories: Africa Related, Corruption, East Africa, Elections | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will the Real Patriot Please Stand up

What has been happening in Kenya for the past three weeks is nothing short of tragedy and bewilderment. With over 600 people dead, countless injured or homeless; someone has to ask: Will the TRUE patriot of Kenya please stand up!

Until now, neither Raila Odinga or Mwai Kibaki have demonstrated their love for their country. Perhaps Mwai Kibaki being the least patriot of all. How many poor Kenyan souls have to perish before Mr. Kibaki stops the bloodshed? How many innocent children and their mothers have to be hacked to pieces or burned alive before Mr. Kibaki steps down and allows for a new election? How many slum dwellers have to die for the presidency of Mr. Kibaki? A thousand? A million? Is presidency that important? Don’t they realize all the politicians in Africa who have chosen the path of bloodshed to power have not succeeded?

I sometimes spend hours thinking about what is so important about being a president in Africa that politicians are more than happy to sacrifice millions of their fellow countrymen in order to get or stay in power – yet I never conclude one person’s life is worth a lifetime of absolute power. I know I may sound naive, but I don’t see the allure of power when such a power doesn’t last.

What is going on in Kenya right now is exactly the path to years of civil war. I don’t even know why Mr. Kibaki chose to rig the election when he could’ve just suspended the constitution and declare himself the absolute ruler of Kenya – that way, he could brutalize everyone in Kenya. Instead, now he is the corrupt senile power-graping guy who will stop at nothing to stay in power, even though he thinks he was elected “democratically.”

On the other hand, Raila Odinga seems to prefer the bloodshed over other options. News flash! Mr. Kibaki doesn’t give a F%$K about dead Kenyans! So, the question is: Who cares about Kenya – Mwai Kibaki or Raila Odinga? For now, neither – at least something to that effect.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Elections | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shame

It has been over a week since Kenya’s elections were held and Kenya is still burning. In my previous post, I worried that the infant violence at the time (Dec. 30) would last longer or even evolve into tribal or civil war. At this moment, part of my worry has largely become true – tribal war is now threatening Kenya’s statehood. Let me be clear: I was not predicting or expecting the violence to evolve into a full-blown tribal war and I am certainly not saying now ‘I told you so,’ but the fact is, Kenya is now more close to civil war than it had ever been.21307097.jpg21329471.jpg21329735.jpg21308443.jpg21305333.jpg21307069.jpg21307261.jpg21308613.jpg21329419.jpgNY Times/AP

Like so many third world countries, Kenya was never a “prosperous” democracy as The Associated Press erroneously refers to in its infinite dispatches. However, Kenya was one of the most stable countries in Africa, certainly in East Africa. And like so many countries in East Africa, tribal animosities is just below the surface. It is only matter of time before that acid filled bottle of tribal animosities blows up with vengeance. It has happened in Kenya’s neighbors like Somalia and Sudan – and will certainly happen in Ethiopia as the majority Oromo and Amhara are being oppressed by Meles Zenawi.

I fear Kenya has reached its boiling point on Dec. 30, 2007 when the Electorate Commission of Kenya deliberately and knowingly declared the losing candidate, Mr. Mwai Kibaki the winner instead of the guy who people chose. At the time, I really believed Kenyans would swallow another blatant robbery of their votes, and for the sake of their country, look the other way, but apparently not this time. This anger and outrage has come to a full circle and it took over forty years – much, much longer than its neighbors. Needless to say, the anger and hatred toward the ruling Kikuyi tribe is in full display ever since Dec. 30, 2007. And for that matter, the over 300 people killed, maimed, or burned so far have largely been poor Kikuyis, a la Rwanda 1994. It is beyond comprehension to see women and children being burned alive in a house of worship in 2008.21352353.jpg

21314627.jpg21315329.jpg21329197.jpg213291971.jpg21352699.jpg21330109.jpg04kenya01_600.jpg21352361.jpgNY Times/AP

Yesterday I saw a young man with a machete in Nairobi being interviewed on TV and when asked, “Why are you doing what you’re doing?,” he said, “We have had enough! Then he continued, “Now I’m willing to die for what I believe.” I just hope what he is willing to die for is a better, stable, prosperous and united Kenya – not killing his fellow Kenyans.21315467.jpg

Otherwise, it would be a shame to see this magnificent and beautiful country descend into civil war.

Categories: Africa Related, Corruption, East Africa, Elections | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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