Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa

Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Bobi Wine: Is it the Beginning of the End of Museveni’s era

 Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, a Ugandan musician-turned politician is a small man with a big heart. Who knows that such a young man would take on goliath knowingly the ramifications of doing so? Who’d think that this man would seriously plod where many fear to and those who tried suffered hugely? As it seems, Bobi is now shaking things up. Like the oh-my-God particle, this youthful Member of Parliament for Kyaddondo caught President Yoweri Museveni by surprise and took Uganda and the world by storm. What’s been ongoing in Uganda recently is but a tell-tale that may tell us something we couldn’t make out yet; and if we did, it wasn’t in this manner and speed. It seems. Museveni’s immunity against political dangers is slowly fizzling.
Now that Wine is becoming a very strong wine for desperate Ugandans to latch on, is it time for President Yoweri Museveni to start contemplating or musing about calling it quits? Will he? After Bobi Wine burst onto the scene from the blue, Museveni’s long-time administration’s caught off guard. The manner and speed wherein Bobi Wine claimed prominence, earlier on from the jump, shocked and left the administration shaking in its boots. Being proven to be as tough as a nail, Bobi Wine seems hell-bent to write history. His genesis will never be for nothing for Uganda and Africa in general. What we didn’t expect is the reaction of the government after facing such impromptu resistance. Since Museveni came to power over three decades ago, he’s held Uganda at ransom; and turned it into his private estate. His grip on power has always been mercurial whereby he employed various ploys to remain in power. One of the things Museveni isn’t used is seeing people demonstrate in the streets or opposing his edicts. He created a brutal but fickle regime that subjected Ugandans to fear and intimidations. Now, it seems; things have changed dramatically and quickly. Those he made to be sheep are slowly waking up from the slumber so as to threaten turning tables on him.
In the great scheme of things, when Museveni arrested and charged Bobi Wine with trumped up charges, he thought that would put the case to rest. What a blooper! Ugandans, especially youths took to the streets demanding Bobi be released. After being hurriedly court marshalled, Bobi was released to end up being rearrested and charged with treason. What treason did Bobi commit? His so-called supporters pelted rocks at the presidential motorcade in Arua where he went to campaign for his party that ended up losing to the opposition.
               At worst, like his counterpart in Libya, Muamar Gadaffi, Museveni has turned Uganda into his private estate. This has guaranteed him the ownership of Uganda. Thus, Museveni doesn’t think there’s a time his textbook autocratic and corrupt rule will come to an end. I don’t know if Museveni believes even in death. After being in power with absolute power, it seems, power has corrupted Museveni absolutely. Indeed, absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, Museveni needs to understand that his overstay and other allegations his rule faces have poisoned Uganda so much that whoever comes and takes on him will be welcomed and supported. This is why Bobi Wine is seen as a breath of nova caeli in Uganda’s political milieu. This reminds me of an anonymous Zimbabwean who, during the toppling of Robert Mugabe said that even if a duck had come to Zimbabweans promising to topple Mugabe, they’d have supported it.
               Now that the die is cast, chances for Museveni’s rule to start crumbling are on the agora.  Faced with youths who want true not cosmetic changes, Museveni is forced to unleash his military apparatuses to intimidate them and thereby create more anger and angst. Essentially, Museveni is playing in the hands of his enemies. By arresting Bobi and other opposition MPs, Museveni was offering the ammo to his enemies.  The more he’ll kill, the more he’ll embolden Ugandans to shun pseudo fear and get out opposing him. This will have domino effects on Museveni’s aging regime. What Museveni needs to know is simple. Ugandans are tired of him. He too is tired of them though he wants them to stay in power. So, too, Museveni is tired. Like Gadaffi, Museveni may be caught off guard so as to go down quickly and unexpectedly. Like Blaise Compaore in Burkinabe, Museveni’s fall may come from unexpected quarters after conquering many of his consigliore. This is obvious, especially if youths stand their ground to see to it that Museveni is packing and hit the road. Museveni needs to underscore the fact that there were as tough dictators as old boots that went under unexpectedly and quickly. Refer to how dictators such as Joseph Mobutu (the then Zaire now the DRC), Jean-Bedel Bokassa (CAR), Gadaffi (Libya), Yahya Jammeh (Gambia), Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and Idi Amin, among others.
            In sum, by the look of things, there are those who think that this is the beginning of the end of yet another dictatorship.  A major question we need to ask and ask ourselves is will Bobi Wine act as Tunisia’s Mohamed Bouazizi whose ripple effects consumed the whole Maghreb leaving many dictators dropping like houseflies from power after he decided to set himself on fire protesting against hardship. Will Bobi Wine become the catalyst that may change the Sub-Saharan Africa starting with Uganda? Is this the beginning of the end of Museveni?  Nobody can tell right on the money. However, time will accurately tell.  
Source: Citizen, Today.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Ajali na MV Nyerere iwe somo kwa taifa

See the source image
Tunaungana na ndugu na jamaa na watanzania wote kuomboleza msiba mkubwa uliotokea baada ya kuzama kwa kivuko cha MV Nyerere kwenye ziwa Nyanza. Dua na sala zetu ziko wa marehemu na ndugu na jamaa na taifa kwa ujumla. Hata hivyo, kama taifa na watu, tunapaswa kujifunza kutokana na makosa yetu. Kinachoudhi na kuumiza ni kwanini hatukujifunza toka mwenye msiba wa MV Bukoba iliyozama miaka yapata 22 iliyopita ikiwa imeteketeza zaidi ya watu 1,000. Je kama taifa, tumegeuka taifa lisilojali wala kujifunza? Je nini kitokee zaidi ili tujifunze? Naamini utawala wa sasa hautakuwa bubu wala sitting duck kama tawala zilizopita ambazo zilishindwa kujifunza tokana na janga la MV Bukoba.
Mungu aziweke roho za marehemu mahali pema peponi na kuwafariji ndugu jamaa na marafaiki wa marehemu. AMINA.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Will the US succeed to kill or suffocate the ICC?

                        Recent outbursts by US president’s National Security Advisor, Michael Bolton against the International Criminal Court (ICC) are but attempts and tell porkies to distract Americans’ attention. Will Trump get away with murder or just recoil and swallow his pride?  The BBC (Sept., 10, 2018) quoted Bolton as saying “we will not co-operate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.” As if it was not enough, Bolton referred to the ICC as an illegitimate court. The US was irked when the ICC indicated that it could investigate American troops in Afghanistan for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. To show how murky and spooky the situation is, Bolton added as he was quoted by the Daily Nation (Sept., 10, 2018) as saying “we will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system.” If the US goes on making good on its promises, it will be patronising itself and toppling itself from its self-proclaimed role of the leader of the free. For, freedom, among others, gyrates around the rule of law and respect of law. And the US, as a sole hegemony currently needs to lead by examples. It needs to preach water and drink water but not wine.
            What looks like apologia pro vita sua, the ICC categorically said it is unfazed by threats from the US. The Daily Telegraph quoted ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda as saying that “the ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law.” Further, Bensouda said that there is a reasonable basis to believe war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan; thus, that all sides in the conflict would be examined, including members of the US armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
            By all standards, US’s move is not only a violation of international law and shame but also abhorrent, duplicitous and malodorous. Ironically, when Kenyan authorities refused to cooperate with the ICC when their president and his deputy were indicted, the US condemned the same cheekiness of law it is now barefacedly replicating. Shall the ICC make good on its promises, it means, it will be on the collision course with the current only hegemony. Will the US kick-back and look while its citizens and allies are crucified? Will it too make good on its promises of going after the ICC?  What precedent does the US set, especially at this time some African countries have already agitated and registered discomfort that they’d pull out of the ICC?
            Under injudicious and megalomaniac holier than thou predisposition, the US is once again shooting itself in the foot. What a blow that’s unleashed by president Donald Trump’s administration thanks to his ignorance of law, international law and diplomacy.  Shall Trump survive his self-inflicted wounds resulting from his collusion with Russia among many bloopers; and left in office, the US will suffer even more embarrassment and losses than the already incurred by this apathetic administration.
Losing international clout
            Will the US support and use African countries that have already shown the intention to withdraw their membership from the ICC? What ramifications will this have on conflict, democracy, human rights and the general global geopolitics and realpolitik? Looking at how peace prevailed in Kenya in the elections that followed after the ICC indicted some big cheeses, shall the ICC be butchered, smothered or sabotaged, many conflicts–many countries avoided for the fear of indictments–will surge and wreak havoc to the already fragile situations in countries such as Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, South Sudan, Sudan and Togo wherein some monocratic rulers use violence to cling to power either by tinkering with the constitutions or unleashing terror to their opponents. The fear–the ICC instilled globally on the to be criminals and human right abusers–still is a deterrence without which many innocent people are likely to suffer viz. being killed, displaced and silenced.
            Even if the US doesn’t kill the ICC, boycotting and disparaging it not to mention referring to it as illegitimate court doesn’t do the US and the world good, particularly at this time conflict revolving around struggle for power and resource control seems to have increased. An ideal example can be drawn from Burundi which saw some violations of human rights after president Pierre Nkurunziza enacted his illegal manoeuvres to tinker with the constitution in order to cling to power. I’d argue that the number of deaths was largely avoided or reduced by the fear of indictment by the ICC. So, too, the ongoing morass in Togo fundamentally became less brutal for fear of the ICC; otherwise the authorities wouldn’t have failed to unleash brutal forces to subdue opponents.
Creating dramas and theatrics
            Additionally, facing a mega scandal resulting from the Russian collusion, Trump’s administration will stop at nothing to see to it that goes away or fade from the minds of Americans. Due to the vulnerability of his presidency, Trump would create any dramas and theatrics in order get a reprieve even temporarily as it is in this gambit. Therefore, by taking on the ICC, Trump is purposely seeking to addle Americans from his scandals, especially at this time his party is facing midterm elections. If anything, this is a ruse Trump has always employed when faced with dangers. However, the upshot here’s simple that the cockerel taught the chicks to poo in the nest. The US must respect the ICC. For, killing it won’t only create more room for big criminals to commit crimes but will also exacerbate conflict. Under the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR, 1948), all human beings are equal and they must be practically and internationally treated so.
Source: The Citizen, Today.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Can you trace the nexus here?

Who is brave and wise here between spectators and a simian?

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Will Sino-Africa ‘marriage’ help Africa out of penury

            Currently, Africa’s like a very beautiful girl that attracts all sorts of suitors thanks to its abundant and untapped resources. The just concluded conference between Africa and China aka Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 2018) speaks volume on this newly-found love. Despite this love, African countries, as victims of colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, need to examine and interrogate it carefully and collectively shall they want not to repeat the same mistakes they’ve been making for over five decades.
            There’s a misconception that all flows of Chinese funds into Africa are aid. However, what difference’s there between the colonial eras whereby colonial agents offered African beads in exchange with gold and current China’s neocolonialism? Isn’t China offering Africa a chicken to end up making away with an elephant? There are assumptions that what’s seen as aid’s nothing but a bait for securing businesses for Chinese companies that are scattered all over Africa making a killing. The situation’s worse provided that whatever tenders awarded to Chinese construction companies are supervised by corrupt black colonisers, though not all, who care about their interests but not those of their people. Soon you’ll hear the India-African Forum. Africa now’s losing big time in terms of resources to China and India due to imbalanced trade.
            A major question, among others, we need to ask is: Will the coming of China make Africa’s situation better or just exacerbate it.  The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) CEO, Ray Washburne, warns that Africa’s pointlessly cascading into a debt trap as  Reuters (July 16, 2018) quotes him as saying “we try to have countries realise that they’re indebting themselves to the Chinese.” Again, do the US and the West in general have any moral high ground to counsel Africa about what to do if, at all, for over five decades, have been doing what China’s now replicating? On their side, according to the survey by Ipsos Synovate cited by theDaily nation (5 September, 2018), a total of 38% of Kenyans think that the continued relationship between Kenya and China will lead to job losses. This is only 11% in the relationship between Kenya and USA. The survey also looked into the issue of cheap and substandard goods and came up with the stunning findings wherein 25% of Kenyans think that China will flood the Kenyan market with cheap goods compared to 18% perception of the US. Further, the Guardian (5 February, 2007) quotes former Zambia president Guy Scott as saying that “we’ve had bad people before. The whites were bad, the Indians were worse but the Chinese are worst of all.” Moreover, the Business Insider (July 9, 2015) quotes an Angolan cook Marisa who concurs with Scott as saying that “the agreements with China are a benefit for them and the president and not for us.”
            Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce (2009) notes that Chinese contractors signed construction contracts in Africa worth $40 billion. What does this say? China gave Africa just US$5.7 billion and got away with the tender of US$40 billion which can rake in more money in terms of profit than the one offered apart from creating job for Chinese workers and market for Chinese goods like steel and other garbage China is currently dumping in other countries. Swahili business philosophy has it that you know me and you are my friend but my business doesn’t know you.
            You can see this on how China and India are exporting their jobless people to Africa to take up jobs from Africans not to mention indulge themselves in illicit activities due to not benefiting from the job markets at home. When Shinn and Eisenman (2012) in their book, Africa and China-A Century of Engagement, they conducted interviews about the relationship between Africa and China, and were shocked to find Chinese ditch diggers in Sudan.
            While China and India are exporting their unskilled workers to Africa to take up even menial jobs, Europe’s been doing things differently. It’s always sent technocrats and diplomats who use Africans to do their works. Instead of sending such unskilled troupes, Europe’s been attracting Africa’s experts under the so-called brain drain. As we will see, drain brain is costing and hurting Africa heavily. Arguably, it’s important to note that such loss-making settings don’t only end in brain drain but also in other aspects such as trade, technical assistance and the horse-jockey relationship.
            When it comes to the coming of China and India, I admonish Africa to clutch and latch on this opportunity; and secure a good deal provided that Africa must be reunited: and thereby act as one country instead of acting severally as it currently is.
            Another conduit of robbing; and thereby burdening Africa’s nothing but forcing any country receiving aid, specifically technical aid, to make sure that the said country uses the companies, experts and sometimes, materials from the donor countries. When will Africa use its resources and workforce? Is there any exchange of skills in the business between China and Africa or just creating more dependency for Africa’s peril? These and others are the questions African rulers need to ask themselves before getting to bed with China or India simply because their aid has fewer strings attached it than the West though the effects are likely to be the same even gross than the former.
            In a nutshell, what China and India are doing to Africa has no difference from what the West’s been doing for over five decades of neocolonialism and neo-liberalism. For Africa to benefit from its relationships with the two emerging power, it needs to think out of the box and make sure that it complicates it so that the new suitors can competently compete with the old ones namely the West. Importantly, when it comes to trade what matters is profit but not relationship or any hooey as African rulers wrongly think. Whether Africa’s cascading into a debt trap or not, is the matter of time to accurately tell just soon.
Source: Citizen today.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Lion in your car, what would you do if it were you?

Present defections massacre or the suicide for the opposition?

            Alarmingly speedy defections to the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) the opposition is facing make the heads shake. Thanks to this, Pius Msekwa, columnist and one of the stalwarts of our politics, queries “current defections by opposition MPs and Councillors to the ruling party: is this a strategy to ‘kill’ opposition in parliament?”(Daily News, Aug., 9, 2018). Though Msekwa, carefully and skilfully used the word ‘kill’ to allow everybody to make a judgement and sense of it, what’s apparent about such concerns is opposition’s bereavement. After reading his piece, my crystal ball told me to pen this piece about this strange but expected phenomenon. I therefore, I’ll dwell on the bottom-line of this trend. In doing my autopsy, I can confirm: there’s no any convolution or dearth of the clues of the causes of opposition’s death that’s certain save that what’ll cause it is an issue. To know what’ll kill the opposition, we need to conduct an investigation to ascertain whether this death is homicide, natural or suicide. 
            The following are my findings:
Lowassa vs Slaa effects
            Let’s face it. After former PM, Edward Lowassa invaded, coaxed the UKAWA and got what he wanted; the opposition started a suicide that hastened its journey to the political boneyard.  Just imagine, if they got 39.97 % with Lowassa, what’d have been the situation had they stuck with Dr Wilbrod Slaa? If anything, Lowassa’s became an albatross around CHADEAMA’s and UKAWA’s necks. Or put it, he’s a big stone that sank the opposition as it faces a raging sea. His arrival to the opposition didn’t add up save causing melee that saw juggernauts like Slaa packing and vacating the opposition. This sent signals to the voters on how desperate, double-faced, ill-informed, indifferent and fly-by-night the opposition was. I know those of us who used to support them felt when the man the opposition demonised and whose blood they’re baying for became a diamond in the rough just overnight. There’s no way such strange bedfellows could make it in this fatal embrace.
On his side, Lowassa didn’t bother about losing the presidency. Arguably, he wanted to meet three goals therefrom he came out as a champ. First, he fulfilled his ambition of taking a shot at presidency after the CCM refused to endorse him. Secondly, Lowassa, easily punished the opposition that didn’t only tarnish his image in the CCM but also blew his cover after coming with the list of shame wherein Lowassa featured high. Thirdly, Lowassa knew too well: the opposition’s among the causes-cum-obstacles that authored his fall from grace after unearthing Richmond scam. With such a great role in pulling Lowassa down, there’s no way he’d forgive or forget. He thus, knowingly decided to crucify from within.
Mtulia’s effects
            After Kinondoni MP (CCM formerly CUF), Maulid Mtulia started a high-level defection, won the trust of his new party and the voters; and regained his job, he set the precedent for others to follow. This opened floodgates for the defections we now evidence. Whatever the cause[s] of this defection, the opposition need to rejig its ranks.
Magufulification’s effects
            After hitting the ground running, soon after winning the presidency, Dr John Magufuli started delivering on his promises. Refer to the SGR, the ATC, services such as free education, stable health services and whatnots that can’t be gainsaid. On this, I hear some disparagers saying that they don’t know where Magufuli got the money to purchase planes or finance the SGR they say will incur more debts. Well, I don’t know if this bothers voters in rural areas or a common mwananchi. This reminds me how Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, replied when one, Dr Bony Khalwale confronted him asking why he didn’t tell the NASA coalition he’d negotiate with his nemesis-turned-ally, president Uhuru Kenyatta and iron out their differences so as to come up with what’s now famously known as handshake. Odinga asked Khalwale what’s logical for both between telling them he’s going hunting or the meat he brought with him after the handshake. For the common mwananchi in Ushetu, Nakapanya, Ngara and elsewhere, what matters is nothing but services. He or she wants to see clinics, flyovers, hospitals, schools, railway, roads and whatnots but not knowing if the money financing or purchasing such things came from the parliament or the statehouse. This is why, when detractors are complaining, Magufuli is busy making good on his promises.
UKAWA’s feebleness and fickleness
            UKAWA’s establishment was fickle and feeble from the outset. It’s built on a shaky footing. Refer to how they’re now faring after losing Buyungu, Kinondoni, and Siha just recently. Methinks the straw that broke camel’s back for the UKAWA is the type of politics they embarked on plus the above effects that sealed their fate. They’re more in urban areas but absent in rural areas where many voters live. This lack of national-wide network and base had its negative effects on them.
 What should they do?
Go back to the drawing board and accept to change according to the politics of the day. The current manner and style in which the UKAWA is operating is hugely counterproductive. Attack Magufuli’s performance based on facts and reality. For example, if the UKAWA thinks there’s corruption anywhere, they’d bring this to the fore.
Look at issues to prioritise and tackle. Instead of complaining, make sure you reach the people you didn’t reach.
Re-evaluate, rejig and rejigger your strategies based on the realities of today as far as Magufuli’s style is concerned. People need services more than anything in the first place.
Commute parties from being private to public parties. Currently, almost all political parties minus the CCM gyrate around personalities but not issues, which is a setback.
Expand your national network by adding up rural Tanzania to the already established urban network.
 Lastly though not least, unite pragmatically but not seasonally under marriage of convenience as it is in the case of the slack UKAWA. Equally, stop witch-hunting. The enemy’s within.
Source: Citizen, today.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

African Reunite or Perish

Is he or she still the one?

This Shania Twain's song, You Are Still the One was hit in the late 90s. For those of us who danced it on the day we tied the knot, this song is still a hit entrenched in our marital history. For us, it has been over twenty years since we entered this business known as marriage. We've crossed many valleys and climbed many mountains. This being the case and said, is he or she still the one?