Liberal Peace Conflict, Gender, and Peacebuilding

Liberal Peace Conflict, Gender, and Peacebuilding

Saturday 26 February 2022

Cry my beloved Kenya Airways

  • What you need to know:

    • Kenya Airways, or KQ, as it’s popularly known, once ruled the African skies.
    • There was never a truer moniker for the national carrier than the “Pride of Africa”.
    There was never a truer moniker for the national carrier than the “Pride of Africa”.
    • Today, I write to mourn the possible – perhaps probable – demise of Kenya Airways, once a leading airline on the African continent. Kenya Airways, or KQ, as it’s popularly known, long, long ago – in the misty past unknown to anyone below 25 years of age – ruled the African skies.
    • There was never a truer moniker for the national carrier than the “Pride of Africa”. Africans of every hue and nationality bowed to KQ and swore by it. But that was back then. Today, KQ might as well be named the “Shame of Africa”. Once an undisputed giant, KQ is but a dwarf of its former self. What happened to this monument to national pride? Who, or what, cannibalised it?
    • Let me first lay my cards on the table before jingoists start ranting, and gagging. My late sister – may she rest in peace – was among the founding staff of KQ. She, along with everyone in the family, took deep pride in the national carrier. That’s why it pains me to write what some may see as a eulogy. But only an ostrich stupidly buries its head in the sand in the face of an oncoming cyclone. KQ is deathly ill, perhaps terminally, unless Kenya works a miracle. If not, we must ask ourselves for how much longer should the poor taxpayer continue to carry this carcass on her shoulder. Should we accept the inevitable and read its last rites?
    • One can’t blame emergent post-colonial states for their fascination with state-owned, or funded, national airlines. Piercing the skies and borders of other nations through the national airline was the most emphatic and visible image of independence and national sovereignty, even if the boast was empty. Literally penetrating another country’s borders – especially a European one – brought Africans psychological satisfaction. The colonial “master” had to accept this form of “native” revenge. The national airline usually adorned the colours of the national flag just to drive the point home. That’s why the collapse of some national airlines – and Uganda’s comes to mind – was an incalculable blow to the national psyche. Most states maintained unprofitable national carriers for the sake of ego.
    • Haemorrhaging KQ
    • It wasn’t just in Africa where the national carrier is a measure of a state’s greatness. Many European countries measure their international standing by the girth of their national airlines. I vividly recall how despondent the Swiss became when Swissair – the choice airline for UN diplomats and jetsetters – literally and figuratively came crashing down to earth and plunged into the deep oceans. You could hear the national hollers all the way from Geneva. One would’ve been forgiven for thinking that the Swiss had been decapitated of their manhood by a machete. The Dutch tightly clutch on to KLM, the French to Air France, the Brits to British Airways, the Qataris to Qatar Airways, and UAE to the Emirates. 
    • Even the mighty Americans, although they’ve no official national carrier, take great pride in the privately-owned large carriers such as Delta, American, United, and others. Not to mention that America is the home of Boeing, the world’s most iconic airplane manufacturer. So “little” African countries like Kenya should be cut some slack for holding onto a hulking money pit like KQ. But a time comes when enough is enough. Over the last two decades, the Kenyan taxpayer has repeatedly bailed out the haemorrhaging KQ to the tune of billions – with a big “B” – of dollars. Mismanagement, corruption, looting, bad partnerships, the government’s fecklessness, and plain old stupidity have done in KQ. Covid has driven in the last nail.
    • I heard that a certain imposing Gulf carrier wanted to make Nairobi its Africa hub. But corrupt government mandarins wanted to be kissed with millions of dollars. So the carrier took its wares and is now making some tiny Kenyan neighbour its hub. Very soon that country – no bigger than my native Kitui – could replace JKIA as the region’s dominant hub. If KQ dies and is buried, that tiny state will be Kenya’s only outlet to the outside world. When it rains, it pours. We will all be trooping through there, tail between the legs. Why? Because Kenyans – officials, the private sector, and citizens – are corrupt through and through. Who, or what, will slap us out of our slumber?
    • Wide-body jet
    • I end with a vignette. Last week I flew back and forth from Nairobi to Johannesburg. The flight there in a wide-body jet was on time and uneventful. The crew was excellent and the flight smooth. But the return leg was terrible. The nightmare started at the Oliver Tambo International Airport. It wasn’t clear whether to check in at Terminal A or B. We trekked back and forth. After check in, the departure gate became a mystery. It changed several times without warning. Then an interminable delay before departure. KQ ground staff were clueless. The flight crew was nice, although the pilot could’ve offered a full-throated apology. Should we just kill KQ?
    • Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s chair of KHRC. @makaumutua
    • Source: Daily Nation tomorrow.

Thursday 24 February 2022

Letter to Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Bwana Mdogo Kakwenza,
I’m happy that, at last, you left the gaol you’re wantonly confined to, tortured, battered and humiliated. I thank Lord that they tortured your body but not your spirit. I thank God that you outsmarted them and fled even when you’re on bail for committing no offence. Your spirit is still fresh and committed.  For, you’re recently saying that you’ll return to Uganda without sneaking as you sneaked out. Again, I’ve some nuggets of wisdom for you. It is too early to think about coming back and stand your ground. You need to underscore power dynamics between you and your muggers. First, next time, before you write any lampoon, please first read Festo Kivengere’s book, I love Idi Amin: The Story Of Triumph Under Fire In The Midst Of Suffering And Persecution In Uganda.
        Bwana mdogo, remember. When you write something that can provoke even those you didn’t aim, you need to be very careful. When Kivengere wrote he loved Amin, it was to the contrary. And he got away with it. Sometimes, you can show your dander through laughter and vice versa. Let me give you an example of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. When he wants to say a serious thing, he says it jokingly. If I were you, the title of the book would have been a very loving saviour or something close to it. What if the book were titled Our Selfless Saviour? Using such tactics and techniques doesn’t depict you as a chicken or anything but a shrewd thinker who wants to safely deliver his message to both those who likers and loathers. Why using poison to kill your enemy while using honey can? Also, keep your bolthole a top secret since barbarians nowadays hunt down their enemies even abroad.
        Secondly, never use obvious innuendos, metaphor or anything close. Instead, you can think of what we call creative deconstruction. For example, why call somebody a greedy barbarian whereas you can call him a selfless fighter who fights for nobody except his family as Gen. M7 once told Ugandans to stop thinking he’s working for them as if he were their servant. If I were you, I’d use greedy pigs instead of barbarians since nobody’d like to associate him/herself with a hog.  I know your intention’s well and you’re sick and tired of lowbrows and their hangers-on. But remember. God sends meat and the devil sends cooks. Who knows if the cooks for the powers that be are the ones who misconstrued your message and told your target to mercilessly descend on you? Next time, never involve yourself in a tweeting duel with the lowbrows. They’re coldblooded and are game for killing. Make sure you write something like Ngugi’s Matigari Manjiruungi or Ngaahika Ndeenda. Hopefully, you know these shrewd pieces by this doyen of literature.
        Thirdly, why did you write about a greedy barbarian while Uganda either has none or is pregnant with many? Why one greedy barbarian while Africa––––Uganda included––––has millions of them? Did you aim at chopping the head or destroying the entire thing or just attacking the queen? If your title were about greedy barbarians and the milieu were about a barbarian, you’d have safely gotten away with murder young man. The sage’s it that if you want to hide a tree, hide it in the forest.
         Anyway, I don’t want or intend to tutor you on how to write about something controversial you believe in. I know you young guys have torrid blood wishing to address everything brutally and truthfully. You’d like to solve all problems the world’s facing. Sometimes, you wrongly ruminate that our generation’s cowardly languid. And that’s why it produced greedy barbarians like those you targeted. Again, when you think of writing such stuff next time, please make sure you’re not within the barbarian’s jurisdiction when the stuff hits the shelves. I’m saying this to remind you that you need to know the type of banana republic you live in and the type of greedy and hard-nosed barbarians you’re dealing with. I want you to understand that freedoms and liberties we hear our politicos sing about are but theoretical. Even those the gurus of human rights who encourage us to fight for and enjoy our freedoms and rights such as the right to expression, in our humbly views, are the ones who have maintained barbaric and corrupt morons simply because they rob us and vend them the pillages. They’re the same that killed our radical leaders such as Patrice Emile Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah among others.
        Fourthly, never write something even a buffoon can crack. If your satire were highly knotty, those barbarians and goons that ordered your torture would not get it easily as they did. They don’t read books. Thus, I doubt what attracted them is the provocative title you give your book. I don’t want to go deeper into this since I haven’t yet read your magnum opus, which I wish I must read and learn one or two things about the greedy barbarian.
        Fifth, before writing, you need to gage your enemy or target. Methinks you know what I mean. For example, there’s no reason whatever to write something that’d cost your dear and tender life. Think about your young family, own life and future not to mention your contribution to the nation. Also, remember, when you write anything allegedly to be against the dude who’s an avenger or the avenger himself who wield such much power, you must cover your tracks or ass.  For today, this is enough. Pole sana Bwana Mdogo Rukirabashaija. To those persecuting Rukirabashaija, you’re tarnishing the good name of Uganda. You can kill or force one Rukirabashaija. Many are under your noses even though they don’t holler like dogo. To avoid their poisonous arrows, just accountably and equally do justice to everybody. Stop corruption, authoritarianism, hooliganism, nepotism, nihilism, and other isms of the sorts.
Source: Daily Monitor today


 CCM’s   annual  celebrations  of  its  birthday  anniversary  on  February   5th      of  every  year  ,   has  always  been  the   greatest  political  event of  that   month.  This  was  also  the  case  for  the  current  year;   when  these  celebrations,  the  45th  in  the  series,  were   duly   held  in  Musoma.  These  celebrations  are intended  to  provide   an  opportunity  for  the  ruling  party  to  reflect  on  its  past  performance ,  and  on  the  way  forward.                       
          In   our  article  of  February  3rd,  2022;  we  discussed   some of  the  positive   factors  which  have  facilitated  CCM’s  longevity  as  the  country’s  ruling  party,  ‘basking  in   the  sunshine’  of  the  past   huge  electoral   successes  which  have  kept  it  in  power. However   in  order  to  provide  a  proper  balance  in  the  presentation  of  these  facts,  we  need  to  also  take  a  look  at  the ‘negative’  factors,  namely  those  that  could  possibly   lead  to  CCM’s  removal  from  power.That   will  be  the  subject  of  today’s  article.                                                                    
        For  the  purpose  of  this  presentation,  I  have  deliberately  excluded  the  unlawful,  remote  probability  of  the  occurrence   of   an  unconstitutional  seizure  of  state  power  by  the  military  (which  post-colonial  Africa  has  witnessed  many  times  in  many  different  countries).  This  is  because,  following  the  military  coup  in  Uganda  in  January  1971,  President  Nyerere  addressed  a  huge  rally  at  the  famous  Jangwani  grounds  in  Dar  es Salaam,  at  which  he  not  only  strongly  condemned   this  unconstitutional  seizure  of  power  by  General  Iddi   Amin,  but  he  also  prophesied  that  no  such  coup  would ever  take  place  in  Tanzania,  in  the  following  words:-  “Mtu  mmoja  kichaa  anaweza  labda   kunipiga  risasi  barabarani,  akaniua.  Huyo  atakuwa amepindua  serikali.  Lakini  hakuna   mapinduzi  ya  kijeshi  yatakayotokea.  Hakuna.                            
        Similarly,  I  have  also  excluded  the  unlawful  activity  of  “hacking”,  or  otherwise  “doctoring”  the  election  results.    
I  am  therefore   talking  only  about  the  democratic  process   of  changing  power,  as  a  result  of   civilized  competition  between  political  parties. For  that  purpose,  I  have  identified  two  categories  of  ‘negative’  occurrences   which  could  possibly  remove  CCM  from  power;  which  are   the  following:-                    (i)  the  effects  of  longevity  itself;    
(ii)  dangerous  complacency;  and  
 (iii)   the  self-inflicted  injuries.
(i)    A  political  party’s  longevity  in  office  may,  unwittingly,   create  its  own  problem  by  being  the  cause  of  its  downfall  from  office,  and  more  particularly,  the  longevity  in  office  of  its  op  leader,  who  is  normally  designated  “Chairman”  or  “President”  of the  relevant  party.   It  is  normal  human  nature  for  people  to  ‘get  tired’  of  their  leaders  who  stay  in  office  for  long  periods  of  time.  They  develop  a  feeling  that  they  have  had  enough  of  his  leadership;   even just   because  they  no  longer  find  him  interesting,  or  because  he  makes  them   angry  or  unhappy.   They  thus   develop  the  urge  to  get  rid  of  him.
        And,  as  happened  in  the  case  of  President  Kenneth  Kaunda  of  Zambia  in  1991,  who  was  voted  out  of  office  when  he  lost  that  year’s  Presidential  election;  with  the  result  that  his  political  party,  the  United  Independence  Party,  was  also  defeated,   and  thus   ceased to   be  Zambia’s  ruling  party. It  is  the  awareness  of  this  danger,  that  led  to  CCM  adopting  the  policy  of  limiting  its  top  leaders  term  of  office  to  only  two  five  year  terms;  which  has   paid  handsome  dividends,  following  President  Nyerere’s  own  voluntary  resignation  from  the Presidency  in  1985.
(ii)  The  need  to  avoid  complacency.   
In  this  context,  the  word  “complacency”  is  used  to  mean  ‘a  feeling  of  satisfaction  with  a  situation,  so  that  you  do  not  think that any  change,  or  improvement,  is  necessary. Fortunately,  CCM  has always  wisely  avoided  falling  into  this  dangerous  complacency;  and  this  is  easily  confirmed,  firstly   by  CCM’s  vigorous   and  serious  campaigns,  which  the  party  always   undertakes  during  all  general  elections;   as well  as   by-elections;  and  secondly,  by  its  convention,  or  rule,  of  carefully  preparing  “election  manifestos”  for  each  and  every  general  election,  outlining  its  policies  and  programmes  which  will  be  implemented  during  the  post-election  leadership  period.         
        The  political  gurus  have  said  that  “political  parties  are absolutely  essential  for  the  proper  functioning  of  democracy;  simply because  democracy  gives  the  majority  the  right  to  govern,  and  there  is  no  acceptable  way  of  establishing  such  majority without  an  open  competition  taking  place  between  different  political  parties  for  the  right  to  form  the  government;  by  resenting  their  different policies  and  programmes  to  the  electorate;  and  each  party  trying  to  persuade  that  electorate  to  vote  for  its  candidates,  on  the  basis  of  their  policies  and  programmes”.  However,  this   doctrinaire  argument  does  not,  and  cannot,  extinguish  the  right  of  private  candidates  to  participate  in   elections,  a  constitutional  right  which  has,  at  all  times,  unfortunately   been  denied  to  Tanzanians.                
        But,  unlike  some  of  he  other  political  parties,  for  some  lame  excuses,  have opted  to  boycott  some  of  the  elections;   CCM  has  adopted  the  option  of  seriously  and  vigorously   participating  in  all  the  elections,  in  fulfillment  of  the  requirements  of  the  political  parties  Act  of  1992,  which  impose  on  political   parties  (in  the  definition   of  the   words  “political  party)  the  duty  of  participating  in  elections  “for  the  purpose  of  forming  a  government,  or  a  local  Authority”.   But  CCM  has  also  been   making  ‘deep  reflections’  on  its  electoral  performances  after  every  such  election,  in  order  to  enable  it  to  design  appropriate  improvements,  where  necessary.           
        For  example,  immediately  after   the  2010  general  election;   CCM’s  policy  making  body,  the    National  Executive  Committee,  carried  out   long  and  serious  deliberations  regarding  its  relatively  poor  electoral  performance,  and  made  new  decisions   to  improve  its  organizational  structure,  in  a ‘surgical’  operation  which  was  aptly  code-named  “kujivua  gamba”  
(iii) the  “self-inflicted  injuries”.
        Experience  has   shown   that  the  phenomenon  of   self- inflicted  injuries  is  the  ‘mega’  threat  in  this  particular  respect;  as  this  is  what contributed  to  diminished  election  victories  in  some  of  the  past   general  elections,  specifically  the 2015  general  election  where   CCM  garnered  the  lows  ever  election  victory,  in  terms  of  percentages,  with  only  58.46%  for  the  Presidential  candidate,  and  73.86%  of  the  total  number  of   Parliamentary  seats.  Although  these  results  were  very  good  for  CCM,  but  they  were  still  worrying,  when  compared  with  the  previous  2010  election  victories,  in  which  the  Presidential  candidate  had  obtained  61.17%;  and   78.2%  of  the  Parliamentary  seats.
Examples  of  CCM’s  ‘self-inflicted  injuries’.
Failure  to  discipline  its  perceived  ‘truant  leaders’.
One  such  example  was  the   apparent   failure,  during  the  2005 -  2010  leadership  period,  to enforce  discipline  among  some  of  its  leaders  at  the  national  level.  This  was  in  connection  with  certain    financial  scandals,  which  generated   a  great deal  of   public  anger  countrywide.                        
         There  were  two  specific   “anger-generating”  scandals which  were  closely  associated  with certain  high-ranking  CCM  government  leaders,  namely  the  “Richmond”  scandal;  and  the  “EPA”  scandal.  The  “Richmond” scandal  surfaced  in  an  acrimonious National  Assembly  debate,  which  eventually  led  to  the  forced  resignation  of  then  Prime  Minister  Edward  Lowassa.  This  particular  debate  inflicted  immense  damage  to  CCM,  for  it  created  two  antagonistic  groups  among  its  members  of  Parliament;  one  of  which  was  labeled  the  “mafisadi”  group;  while the  other  presented  itself  as  the  “anti-mafisadi”  crusaders;  which  dedicated  itself  to  the  task  of  seeking  the  downfall  of  the  “mafisadi”   group  at  the  next  following  general  election  of  2010.
        As  that  alone  was  not  bad  enough,  this  “Richmond”  scandal  was  followed,  in  quick  succession,  by  another equally  damaging  scandal,  involving  accusations  directed  at  some  leading  CCM  national   leaders,  who  were  alleged  to  have  stolen  money  from  the  External  Payments  Account  (EPA)  of  the  Bank  of  Tanzania.                                                             
        Such  accusations,  naturally  generated  a  significant  amount  of  anger  among  many  Tanzanians,  and  thus  hugely  contributed  to  the  loss  of  confidence  in  the  ruling  party  top  leadership,  for  failing  to  take  action;   and,  consequently,  gave  rise  to  the  presumption  that  the  top  leadership  was  deliberately  protecting  the  abhorred  “mafisadi”  cadres  within  its   ranks!
        It  is  such  damaging  public  perceptions  that  created  what  may  be  described  as  “collective  anger”  against  CCM;  and  probably   led  to  the  very  low  turnout  of  voters  at  their  respective  polling  stations  on   polling  day  for  the  2010  general  election, which  was   a  dismal  42%;    and  contributed  to   CCM’s  diminished  CCM’s  victory  in  the  Presidential  election,  from  80.25  in  the  2005  election,  down  to  61.17%.                    
        And   with  regard to  the  parliamentary  elections,  the  problem was  further  compounded  by  CCM’s  imprudent  selection  of  some of  the  “mafisadi” group,  as  candidates  for  the  parliamentary   elections.  It  was  very  much  like  “rubbing  salt”  in  the  wounds  of  the  already  angry  electorate;  which  is  probably  what  explains  the  very   low  turnout  of  voters  referred  to  above,  as  a  demonstration  of  protest.  
        Such  “collective  public  anger” fits  quite  well  into  the  definition  of  “self-inflicted  injuries”;  for  it  was  brought  about  as  a  result  of  failure by  the  CCM  top   leadership  to  take  appropriate  disciplinary  action  against  the  culprits.  It  was  at  about  the  same  time  that  the  African  National  Congress  of  South  Africa  was  going  through  very  hard  times,  because  of  “corruption  scandals”  that  were  being  associated  with  its  top  leadership.                                                                                                       According  to  South  Africa’s  media  reports  coming  out  at  that  time,  “South  Africa’s  ruling  party  is  struggling  to  show  the  voting  public  that  it  can  clean  up  the  mess  it  has  made.    With  voting  trends  suggesting  a  significant  decline  in  its  share  of  the  votes,  there  is  a  very  real  prospect  of  the  ANC  being  voted  out  of  power  at  the  forthcoming  general  election  of  2019;  which  was  unthinkable  until  recently”.   
The  importance  of  party   discipline.
It  should  be  noted  that  the  culture  of  multi-party  politics  puts  the  greatest  emphasis  on  two  related  factors.  These  are:  
(a)  party  organization;  and 
 (b)  party discipline.                                                  
 This  culture  generally  recognizes  and accepts,  that  these  two  factors  are  the  most  fundamental  features  of  any  serious  political  party;  which  must “organize  effective   support  throughout  the  country’;   but  must  also  be  prepared  to  “ impose  discipline  on  its  leaders  and  members”,  where  necessary.
CCM’s  organizational  structure  has  served  this   party  extremely   well,  by  giving  it  the  strength  required  to  win  competitive  elections.  
        And  it  may  be  helpful  at  this  juncture,  to  remember  party  Chairman  John  Pombe  Magufuli’s  “sweeping”  positive  reforms  which he  introduced  into   the  organizational  structure  of  our  ruling  party,  thus  providing  it  with  a  more  suitable  framework  for  more  effective  participation  in  the  competitive  politics  of  the  multi-party  political  landscape.
         But   the   disciplining  of  its  members,  and  particularly   its  leaders  where  necessary,  is  of  equal  importance.  We have  already  referred  above,  to  the  antagonistic  groups  which  at  one  time  developed  among  CCM  members  of  Parliament  during  the  9th  Parliament,  and  the  damage  which  was  caused  by  the  failure  to  take  appropriate  disciplinary  action  against  the  culprits. This  should  be  enough  evidence  of  the  importance  of  implementing   party  discipline,  for  its   guaranteed  survival  as  the  ruling  party. 
“Reasoning   with  the  worst  that  may  befall” 
This  now  reminds  me  of  that  famous  English  Playwright  and  dramatist,  William  Shakespeare,  who  wrote  the  following  lines  in  his  Julius  Caesar,  Act  V,  scene 1 : “since  the  affairs  of  men  are  uncertain,  let  us  reason  with  the  worst  that  may  befall” 
 This  presentation  largely  assumes  that  the  affairs of  electoral  politics  are  equally  uncertain.  I  have  therefore  “reasoned  with  the  worst  that may  befall  CCM”; namely   the  remote  probability   of   its  democratic   removal  from  power;  for  the  purpose  of  alerting  it  to  the  need  to be prepared  to  guard  against  such  an  unwelcome  eventuality.
Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa today.

Monday 21 February 2022


Hayati John Wandiba akiwa na Yvonne Chakachaka alipotembelea Tanzania enzi zile. Wangapi wanamkumbuka njemba huyu machachari? Nadhani akina Santana bado wanadunda. RIP JOHN

Saturday 19 February 2022



Kenya’s reset moment beckons

                                      By Makau Mutua
Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.
What you need to know:
A state can’t be better than its people and their leaders.
It’s never happened anywhere in the world, and Kenya is no exception.
During every presidential election cycle, pundits refer to the historical moment at hand. To hear them tell it, you’d think every presidential contest has historic – epochal – significance. That’s rarely the case. It’s akin to the story of the boy who always cried wolf without cause only to be in serious trouble when a real wolf actually waylaid him.
        However, the August 9, 2022 Kenyan elections are truly epochal. Really. Kenya today stands at an inflection point. The country has lost confidence in itself. The populace is not at ease. The legitimacy of institutions is in doubt. It’s an era of discontent. Everyone is on a short fuse. The conspiracy of nature and man have made this a reset moment. States are only as good – or bad – as the people in them, and those who run them. A state can’t be better than its people and their leaders. It’s never happened anywhere in the world, and Kenya is no exception.
        The character of a people is the crucible in which the nature of the state is forged. I am aware that the state is an instrumentality, an ogre, bent on the metaphorical consumption of humans. In other words, the state is naturally a controlling, repressive and jealous husband of its citizens and inhabitants. It wants to see – and know – everything. But it’s also a cultural and moral phenomenon. These two – culture and morality – determine the nature of the state.
Culture and morality
Culture and morality shouldn’t be understood as artefacts that exist in the museum of antiquities. They are dynamic and in constant evolution. They’ve a genetic fingerprint that distinguishes one culture, or moral structure, from another. You notice these stark differences when you travel from one country, or state, to another. Or even one region of the same country to another. Often, culture and morality seem intangible, but they aren’t. They are thick, and you can almost cut them with a machete.
        Two particular cultures have been very critical for Kenya. The first is about political governance. The second is about ideological conviction. The two work together to produce the moral structures of the state and society. Let’s unpack them.
        At independence, the state got off on the wrong foot. Rather than forging a united nation, our early leaders disagreed on the nature of political governance and ideological convictions that would anchor the emergent state. They put personal greed over the national interest. They put their ethno-cultural nations ahead of the idea of a Kenyan nation. As a consequence, the Kenyan nation has been stillborn – barely stirring in its crib. Often, we’ve almost choked the baby to death, as we did after the 2007 elections.
Later leaders were mainly the ideological children of the worst proclivities of our political forebears. And even when we make the right turn, we often find a way to end up in the ditch.
Ideological convictions
Our three single most important flaws are corruption, the tendency towards fascism and lack of public shame. Today, the corrupt and those who loot from Kenyans – the taxpayer and the littlest among us – are our heroes. They steal our future and give us offensive handouts that we fight over at political rallies without any concept of dignity. They keep us poor so that they can dominate us. They have found the political wand for domination – impoverish the people, make them desperate from disease, hunger and ignorance. Then colonise them through the police state. Even when you send Kenyans to school, the system makes sure they are undereducated. Graduates can’t string together two coherent sentences, let alone write a page.
        We are a broken people. The state and our rulers have broken us. Then we have empowered them to continue breaking us. We’ve lost faith in each other and the state. Even the animals in Maasai Mara treat each other better because they don’t harm each other for gratuitous pleasure. They do so only in self-defence, or for dinner.
We destroy each other deliberately. We don’t understand that the welfare of one is the welfare of all. And that if one is harmed, then the whole is harmed. We need to reengineer our morality and culture – deliberately. This must start at home, our local communities and schools. We must recover – reclaim – our souls as individuals and as a state.
        On August 9, 2022, we must choose leaders who have proven – in their public and personal lives – that they are not thieves and looters. We must choose leaders who can prove how they acquired what they own. We must choose leaders who understand how we can reset the moral structure, political culture, and ideological convictions of our people and the state. We must choose leaders who’ve proven they can love others, not just themselves. Leaders who will reset the foundations of our state and society. But to do so, we must – each and every one of us – reset our own moral and political codes and structures.
Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s Chair of KHRC. @makaumutua.
Source:Daily Nation and consent of Bro, Makau Mutua.

Wednesday 16 February 2022


The events pertaining to former Speaker Job Ndugai’s resignation, and the process leading to Speaker  Tulia  Ackson’s   election  to  that  position; were  altogether  an  entirely  new  experience  to  many  of  our  people. This is because the last time such events occurred in our jurisdiction  was   in 1994,  nearly  thirty  long  years  ago. Hence, understandably, these “novel” events stimulated some   animated   discussions   among the interested members  of  the  public;  and  I  was  asked  several  times  by  the  media  to  comment  on,  or clarify,  some  of  the  issues  involved  in  connection  therewith,  particularly  those   relating  to  the Speaker’s “meagre” election qualifications, and  his/her leadership  roles.  And I responded by doing the needful, in   several articles published in this column.  
  However, because of limited editorial space allocations, I could not cover some of   the more important aspects; such as the question of the “Speaker’s burdens”; which  include  that  of  “defending  Parliament’s  decisions”.  I have thus decided to make that issue the subject of today’s article.
   The relevant   background.
The British Parliament, the House of Commons, still   maintains a tradition, which started at a time in its history, when the relations between Parliament and the Monarch were  toxic,  and  extremely   antagonistic. Thus, because the Speaker had the duty of conveying certain Parliamentary resolutions to the Monarch, an irate King, who was opposed to  such  resolutions,  could   demonstrate  his  anger  by  ordering  the  Speaker’s   punishment,  for  the ‘crime’  of  bringing  such  ‘treasonable ‘   messages  to  him.   Hence,  in  view  of  that   lingering  danger,  there  developed a  tradition  for  the  person  who  was  elected  to  the  position  of  Speaker,  to  make  a  token  show  of  reluctance  in  accepting  that  office,  as  a  demonstration  of   fear  for  the  consequences  involved;  whereby    every  newly  elected  Speaker  of  the  House  of  commons  had  to  be  literally ‘dragged’  to  the  Speaker’s  Chair,  in  a  mock  little  ceremony.                                                     
        This ‘dangerous’ role of the Speaker   is what I have referred to in the heading of this article, as the  “unsung  Speaker’s  Burden”.  In this context, the word “burden” means ‘responsibility that causes worry, or difficulty”. Thus,  in  pursuance  of  that  responsibility,   in  February  2004,  I  published  an  article  titled  “In   the   defense  of  our  Parliament” ;   which  was  published  simultaneously   in  two  local  English  language  newspapers,   the  Daily  News,  and   The  African,  on  26th  February,  2002,   commenting  on  a  judgment  by  the  Court  of  Appeal  of  Tanzania,  in  the  case  of  Julius  Ishengoma   Francis  Ndyanabo  vs  Attorney  General;   delivered  in  Dar es  Salaam   on  14th  February, 2002;    in  which  the  court  held  that:   “Parliament  exceeded  its  powers  by  enacting  the  unconstitutional  provision”.                                                 
    This is precisely the point which prompted me, as the Speaker, to defend Parliament’s decision in that regard. But surprisingly, that article raised a ‘hue and cry’ from some obviously   uninformed gentlemen members of the media.  One Kiswahili newspaper carried a front page headline with the malicious wording:‘MSEKWA  AWASHAMBULIA  MAJAJI”,  which  was  a deliberate  and   mischievous  misrepresentation  of  the  facts.                      
        And  another  attack  came   from   the  Tanganyika  Law  Society ,  which  responded  (like  the   irate  King  in  the  story  of  the  British  tradition  narrated  above),  by  publishing   its  own  misconceived  statement,  describing  my   article  as  an ‘assault  on  the  Judiciary’,  and  falsely   attributed  to  me  certain   words  that   I  had  not  said  in  my  article! For example, they falsely claimed that I “had challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal”; when, in fact, I had stated clearly therein, that “the offending provision is surely dead and buried”.                                               
        They also falsely claimed that I had “challenged the power of the court to make that decision”; when, in fact, I had   fully acknowledged the power  of  the  courts  of  competent  jurisdiction   to  make  such  decisions,  by  quoting  the  1984  constitutional   amendments  which  gave  them  that  power. As the incumbent Speaker at the material time, I was only carrying out my responsibility of defending Parliament’s decisions.                     
         This is what I said: -Basically, I raised the following   three “points of order” in that submission.  One, that Parliament did not exceed its powers in enacting that legislation. In support of that assertion, I made reference to the High Court judgment in the case of Rev Mtikila vs Attorney General, (TRL 31); in which the  High  Court  of  Tanzania  magnanimously  acknowledged  the  wide  extent  of  parliaments  legislative  powers,  even  in  respect  of  the  Constitution itself.  The High court had held that “our Constitution confers on Parliament very wide  powers  of  amendment;  but  they  are   by  no  means  unlimited. These   powers   are to be found in article 98 (1) and (2).  They are evidently wide, for in the first place, Parliament has   power to amend even those  provisions  providing  for  basic  human  rights.               
    Secondly, that   power is not confined to a small sphere.  It extends to modification of those provisions; their suspension or repeal and  replacement;  or  re-enactment  or  modification  in  the  application  thereof”
        Two, an admission that the inherited British concept had been substantially been   modified and qualified by   article 64 (1) of  our  Constitution,  which  confines  Parliament’s  legislative  powers  only  to  matters  that  are  specifically  stated  therein.
        Three, that this   court had   unfairly ignored the Latimer House Guidelines for the Commonwealth” on ‘the relationship between  Parliament  and  the  Judiciary’;  which  provides  that  “the  legislative  function  is  primarily  the  responsibility  of  Parliament,  as  the  elected  body  representing  the  people.  Judges may be constructive and purposive in the interpretation of legislation but  must  not  usurp  Parliament’s  legislative  function. 
    Courts have the power to declare legislation to be  unconstitutional,  However,  the  appropriate  remedy  should  be  for  the  court  to declare  the  incompatibility  of  a  status  with  the  Constitution,  leaving  it  to  the  Legislature  to  take  remedial  legislative  measures”.
    Four, that this court had also unfairly ignored the “intention  of  the  Legislature”  in  enacting  this  legislation;  which  was  ,firstly,   to  avoid  vexatious  or  frivolous  petitions;  and  secondly,  to  ensure  that  the  respondents  in  election  petitions  are  protected  in  terms  of  costs  which  they  are  forced  to incur  in  defending  their  cases.  But alas, in spite of these  cogent  arguments,  I  became the  victim  of  attack  by  the said   “irate  Kings”.
  An abbreviated version of that article.
        “On  14th  February,  2002;  the  Court  of  Appeal  of  Tanzania  delivered  its  judgment  in  the  appeal  case  of    Julius  Ishengoma  Francis  Ndyanabo  vs  Attorney  General;    in  which  the  court  held  that  section  112 (2)  of  the  Elections  Act,  1985  (which  requires  a  deposit  of  shillings  five  million  to  be  made  by  a  petitioner  in  an  election  petition,  in  order  for  his  petition  to  proceed  to  hearing),  was  unconstitutional.,  and  was  consequently  struck  out  of  the  statute  book.  But the Court of Appeal held further, that “Parliament had  exceeded  its   legislative  competence  is  limited  to  making  laws  which  are  consistent  with  the  Constitution”.  
        The question of Parliament exceeding its legislative powers.
Article 64 (1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977; provides that: “Legislative power in relation to  all  Union  matters,  and  also  in  relation  to  all  other  maters  which  are  not  Union  matters  concerning  Mainland  Tanzania,  is  hereby  vested  in  Parliament”. As in many other cases, this provision was inherited from the then British concept, that “the  legislative  authority  of  Parliament  over  all  matters  and  persons  within  its  jurisdiction  is  unlimited.  A law might be unjust or contrary to sound principles of governance, but when it erred, its errors  could  only  be  corrected  by  itself”.   
     However, new developments that took place in the twentieth century, led Parliament to accept that its unlimited legislative  powers  should  be  qualified. But,  perhaps  unwittingly,  the  previous  British  concept  of  Parliament’s  legislative    supremacy  was  transferred  to  Tanganyika   in  its  totality  at  the  time  of  the  country’s  independence,  through  its  inclusion  in  both  the  Independence  and  Republican  Constitutions  of  1961  and 1962  respectively;  and  is  reflected  in  Mwalimu  Nyerere’s  in  the  House  on 28th  June,  1962  when  he  said  the  following:-  “This  Parliament  can  make  any  law.  For example, it has power to pass a law, which provides that no one in  Tanganyika  should  have  the  right  to  vote,  except  bachelors  and  polygamists.  They have the constitutional power to do so; but our MPs will certainly not  do  that;    simply  because  they  are  not  insane.  There is a distinction between the availability of given powers, and the practical use of  such  powers”.                                                                                              The Latimer House Guidelines.
These  Guidelines  were  drawn  up  and  approved  at  a  meeting  of  Representatives  of the  Commonwealth  Parliamentary  Association; the  Commonwealth  Magistrates’  and  Judges’  Association;  the  Commonwealth  Lawyers’  Association;  and  the  Commonwealth  Legal  Education  Association;   which  was  held  at  Latimer  House  in  the  United  Kingdom,  from  15th  to  19th  June, 1998;  which  adopted  the  resolution  that  was  quoted  above;  which  requires  the  courts,  in  the  relevant   cases,  “to  declare  the  incompatibility  of a  statute,  leaving  it  to  Parliament  to  take  the  remedial  legislative  measures”.  
        And in the  case  of  Tanzania,  this  guideline   was  actually  implemented  through  the  constitutional   amendments  which were  made  in 1994  to   by   article  30 (5)  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  Republic;  which  prescribe  the  procedure  to  be  followed  where  the  court  of  competent  jurisdiction  considers  that  Parliament  enacted  legislation  which  is  in  conflict  with  the  Constitution,  aa  follows:- “Where,  in  any  proceedings  it  is  alleged  that  any  law  enacted  abrogates  or  abridges  any  of  the  basic  rights  set  out  in  this  Constitution,  the  court  is  satisfied  that  the  law,  to  the  extent  that  it  is  in  conflict  with  the  Constitution  then,  instead  of  declaring  that  such  law  is  void,  shall  have  power  to  afford  the  authority  concerned  a  opportunity  to  rectify  the  defect,  within  such  period  and  in  such  manner  as  the  Court  shall  determine”.  That   is when I posed the question:  why did the  noble  court  of  Appeal  fail,  or  perhaps  refuse,  to  adopt  this  procedure,  which  is  prescribed  by  the  Constitution  itself?
        It is worth noting, that in creating the said guidelines, the Latima House meeting also emphasized  that “the  successful implementation  of  these  guidelines  calls  for  a  commitment  made  in  the  utmost  good  faith  of   the  relevant  national  institutions,  in  particular  the  Executive,  the  Parliament,  and  the  Judiciary”.  In our case, both the Executive and the Parliament had done the needful in introducing the  constitutional  amendments  referred  to  above.                                               
        The decision by the court of Appeal to ignore these guidelines, provides a temptation for  people  to  assume  that  perhaps  it  was  lacking  in  its “commitment  to  the  utmost  good  faith”  that  is  required  for  the  proper  implementation  of  these  guidelines! And I concluded with a humble admission, that this article “was a   purely   intellectual exercise, for  it  is  clearly  of  no  effect  with  regard  to  the  Court  of  Appeal’s  decision.  
    The full story, that is to say, the court of Appeal’s judgment; my  published  article  commenting  on  that  judgment;  the  Tanzania  Law  Society’s  misconceived  statement;  and  my  rejoinder  to  that  Statement;  are  all   available  in  my  book  titled  “The  story  of  the  Tanzania  Parliament” (Nyambari  Nyangwine  Publishers,  Dar  es  Salaam,  2012).   
    The Speaker is not only   the Presiding Officer over the business of the House; he/she is also  its  spokesperson,  and  guardian  of  its  privileges. This story hopefully helps to ‘bring to light’ the   little  known  (unsung)  Speaker’s  burden  of  having  to  defend  Parliament’s  decisions  in  a  hostile  environment.   /0754767576.  
Source: Daily News tomorrow.                                                                                                                

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Kenya Presidential Race: How and Where Ruto Goofed on Kenyatta

No doubt. Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto is in a political limbo if not hot soup. If we can make sense of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s open avowal to back his archnemesis, former PM Raila Odinga in the coming general elections. This makes Ruto’s dreams to succeed his boss in toto unactualizable. Again, whom to blame in the first place? Ruto is. Why? The following reasons speak volumes as to why Ruto won’t make it to the statehouse in the coming general elections.
        Firstly, Ruto goofed wrongly thinking that his political marriage with Kenyatta was the upshot of love. He however knew that this marriage of inconvenience was necessitated by the then looming ICC’s case the duo faced together. Maybe, he thought he’d outsmart or change Kenyatta before being outsmarted or shortchanged. Ruto knew that ganging up with Kenyatta won’t only provide an opportunity to take a stab at power but also would award and guarantee him support from the then government of Mwai Kibaki since Kenyatta was part of it. 
        And, indeed, Ruto survived by using Kenyatta. Maybe, this made Ruto wrongly believe he’d use Kenyatta to achieve his covert goals.  On Kenyatta’s side, he used Ruto to access Kalenjin votes. And this averted the duo the danger they’re temporarily facing together. Importantly, it’d be noted that Kenyatta didn’t like or love Ruto and vice versa. They’re just strange bedfellows. It was a strategy for survival since it didn’t only enable the duo to get assistance from the government but also awarded them presidency, which, though was Kenyatta’s but not for the duo.
        Provided that Ruto survived on Kenyatta’s back, he forgot that the duo wasn’t equal and the same. Neither was it in true love. Thus, he lacked patience and needed more. The sage has it that nothing should be done in a hurry except catching fleas. Instead of studying his boss, Ruto myopically lowballed him and started behaving as a co-president instead of deputy. This has its dangers. Presidency’s a pomp position that doesn’t want any interference or co-ownership. Refer to what happened when Kibaki and Odinga entered the GNU not to mention the neighbouring South Sudan. To survive, Ruto needed unflappability of living in the stupor under the wings of his boss. Had he done this, Ruto would now be grinning instead of  being grumpy.
        Secondly, Ruto needs to blame and curse his overconfidence that blinded him to view Kenyatta as the guy he’d easily use as a door to the statehouse. Kenyatta’s born a politician who grew up in political family. He also enjoyed the backing and tutelage of Moi and Kibaki. Ruto’s overconfidence deluded Ruto and thereby forgot that almost all Kenya’s presidents were supported by someone to get to power. Kenyatta senior was supported by Odinga Senior. Moi by Kenyatta Sr and Kibaki by Odinga Jr and soon Odinga Jr will be supported by Kenyatta Sr paying his father’s debt. Who’s Ruto to disturb this legacy and strategy?
        Thirdly, Ruto underestimated Kenyatta who’s smarter and more pre-emptive than Ruto. When he started acting as a co-president while he wasn’t, he forgot that nobody likes to share what’s his or hers otherwise doing so is for her/his advantage. In co-owning presidency, many things can happen. For example, what if the co-president seeks to dwarf another not to mention abusively using power to undermine another. By acting as a co-president, Ruto exposed himself, mainly when he started to be linked with venality and amassing wealth illegally. Failure to think that being a deputy president didn’t give Ruto automatic power of sharing power is the mistake he’ll forever regret. This is an albatross around his neck. It’s very hard to dispel or overcome. It becomes even harder when a tycoon like Ruto runs under the slogan of hustler that he realistically isn’t. This shows him as a con who seeks to hoodwink the majority of the Kenyan poor people. Sane people would want him to explain how he quickly amassed the alleged mammon.
        Fourthly, Ruto refused to learn from history, especially that of his mentor and cloner, Moi who tolerated many blitzes and degradation from Kenyatta’s inner circle. This assured Kenyatta that if anything would happen as it did, he or his family would be in safe hands. What Ruto did is to count chickens before hatching.
        Fifthly, Ruto failed to study Kenyatta’s decoys, namely caginess, clandestineness, unfussiness and wiliness. The sage’s it that wise men are never in a hurry. Kenyatta waited for the right moment to foray back, and he succeeded without any ado. So did Odinga. When Kenyatta pretended that he’s comfortable with Ruto’s behaving and thinking he’s co-president, Ruto bit a bait. Had it not been Ruto’s greed for power hurry and myopia, today, Ruto would have been preparing himself to succeed his boss. 
        Again, when Kenyatta said Ruto would succeed him after finishing his two term-presidency, Ruto’s blindly and pointlessly on cloud nine little knowing that a week in politics is a long time. Anything can change since Ruto failed to underscore the fact that humans are fickle. Who knew Kenyatta would back his archnemesis and dump his VP? Again, were Kenyatta and Ruto buddies or two enemies in the same bed?
Source: African Executive Magazine tomorrow.

Sunday 13 February 2022

A season of hope – and fear


President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto display winners' certificates at the Bomas of Kenya on October 30, 2017 after IEBC declared the presidential election results. A close election is contestable, especially in the street, but a shellacking isn’t.

                      By Makau Mutua
Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.
On January 31, 2022, iconic cartoon artist Godfrey Mwampembwa – popularly known as Gado – took his pen to my visage in The Standard. 
His handiwork didn’t especially warm the cockles of my heart. But I suppose the cartoon would be pointless if it didn’t lampoon and mock me. That’s why free speech is a beautiful thing. I laughed out loud. However, the brilliant cartoonist had swung, and landed a big punch. I wasn’t quite sure whose noggin took the hit. Clearly, Gado was having fun at both my expense and that of ODM’s Raila Odinga. But it was the fiendishly menacing face – part hidden – in the crystal ball that caught my attention. Gado feared a titanic, if utterly Armageddon-like, clash.
        That’s why Gado’s cartoon of yours truly was a metaphor for what might – or might not – happen on August 9, Anno Domini 2022. Let’s hope this year won’t reprise 2007/2008, decidedly an annus horribilis. A truly stinking year if ever there was one in Kenya’s history as a republic. In that year, Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Odinga were on the same side of the political pitch. Ranged against them was PNU’s Mwai Kibaki and Kanu’s Uhuru Kenyatta.
Neutral observers
They say Mr Kibaki prevailed, but Judge Johann Kriegler, the wily South African jurist, demurred. Incredibly, against all available evidence, he said we would never know the winner. It was Solomonic, but bitter to neutral observers and supporters of Mr Odinga. There’s no doubt Mr Odinga was robbed – in broad daylight. The man they call Agwambo made peace with Mr Kibaki for the sake of Kenya and joined him in a unity coalition government. In that moment, no one could deny Mr Odinga was a towering statesman.
        Our country almost went to hell in a handbasket because of a stolen election. Some of our people summoned the devil in them and did unspeakable things. Countries and states can grow, or retard, from a cataclysm like that one. I would like to think though Kenya is a very noisy – and messy – fledgling democracy, it’s still the beacon of East Africa. Our laundry is dirty, but we democratically wash it in public.
        On August 9, Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto will be on opposite ends. The battle has been joined and the student has raised his scythe against his master. An intemperate and impudent understudy has threatened to upend those who know better.  Mr Ruto is clever, often by half. The man from Sugoi can look you in the eye and tell you the colour green is actually red. I often get the impression that he believes his own “alternative facts”. The headline going into August 9 is that Mr Ruto is dying to kick his boss in you-know-where. In Kiambu, the backyard of Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Ruto called his boss a pathetic dismal failure and laggard.
        I am dumbfounded that Mr Ruto has thrown all caution to the wind. He acts and talks as though he has nothing to lose. He seems to have a premonition that he’s going down. That’s why the claws are out. I still don’t get his strategy. He wants to pull off a palace coup against his boss, albeit at the ballot. It’s never been done in Kenya. Mr Odinga, on the other hand, has taken the high road. He’s the international statesman. His allies have projected him as the safe hands. He has shied away from brawling with his junior pupil. But how long can Mr Odinga hold fire? My guess is not for long. And he shouldn’t.
A latent fuse
As the teacher, Mr Odinga should take his pupil back to the classroom and give him a 101 in whooping. It will be good for Mr Ruto and make him a better person. But what Gado feared might also happen. August 9 could be a latent fuse. This is what I fear, and hope doesn’t happen. That’s why, even as Mr Odinga lacerates Mr Ruto going forward, he must do so with clean, if merciless, shots to the body. Nay, to the noggin. By the time August 9 rolls around, Mr Odinga needs to make sure Mr Ruto is punch-drunk. He must punch again and again, over and over until he brings him to the point of political surrender.
        What’s my point? My crystal ball calls for Mr Odinga to beat Mr Ruto with a convincing margin that any thoughts of lighting a deadly fuse akin to 2007-08 is unthinkable. That’s why Mr Odinga needs a formidable coalition of democrats and reformers to deliver a fatal blow to the politics of skullduggery, looting, and hypocrisy.
        A close election is contestable, especially in the streets. But a shellacking isn’t. My view is that Mr Odinga is Kenya’s foremost liberator. His ascension to power would signal a huge step towards the maturation of our democracy. A win by the other guy would take us back to the 1980s.
Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s chair of KHRC. @makaumutua
Source: Sunday Nation today.