Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa

Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa

Monday, 29 August 2022

Lessons for Africa from Kenya’s just-ended polls

 



What you need to know:

Why spend billions on something unproductive? How much money would Kenya have saved had it used manual ballot papers? What does this say about the country? Does it mean that some African countries have decided to divorce technology the same way they did with democracy that they tamper with like diapers? 

Although African governments, just like others, spend billions of shillings on acquiring and teaching technologies, the just concluded general elections in Kenya proved that technology can be abused, corrupted, and outsmarted where there is venality and the lack of ethicality, and patriotism. 

        While this matter’s still sub judice–it’s still before the court–considering some of the affidavits filed before the court to prove that there were hacking and tampering with technology, Africa needs to revisit its quest for spending money on technology that doesn’t deliver as expected as was in Kenya’s just-concluded elections.Technology is inexorable. However, for the countries that can spend billions on something that doesn’t deliver, it is another type of corruption.

         It’s sad to find that pebble-dependent elections in the Gambia can deliver dependable results, but Kenya integrated election management systems (Kiems) kits couldn’t. Why spend billions on something unproductive? How much money would Kenya have saved had it used manual ballot papers? What does this say about the country? Does it mean that some African countries have decided to divorce technology the same way they did with democracy that they tamper with like diapers?

        What good can a president produced by forgery, hacking, and rigging do for his or her country? Can such a president serve his or her people instead of his or her hankering for power and wealth? What would Africa do to avert the dangers corrupt systems pose? 

        Although there are many ways of foiling political criminality, ethics is the first frontier Africa must explore. Instead of allowing rich criminals to run for presidency and other positions, there must be a system that will deny such characters to participate in politics.

        Africa’s constitutions and systems need to make presidents accountable to their people instead of being accountable to their masters abroad and tummies. If this is introduced and entrenched in the constitution, presidency will soon cease to be a life-and-death matter since it places heavy onuses on whoever wins it. 

        Also, we need to have the presidency that can be easily expelled from office whenever it goes wrong. This is what I call the deconstruction of presidency. Without deconstructing the presidency and its powers to offer latitude to those elected to plunder their countries instead of serving them, Africa hasn’t seen the worse yet.

         Actually, presidency in Africa is a tool with which to use and exploit the mass instead of serving them. African presidents serve their families, friends and tummies but not the electorate. They are like demigods that are above the law.

        Currently, African presidency isn’t only a tool by which to plunder the country but also to ruin it and its people without those doing so being brought to book provided they remain in power or install their stooges to take over after them.     

        Here’s where the dangers and root causes of dictatorship and abuses of and tampering with the constitution lie. Because of the ability to abuse and misuse power and countries, African presidency  becomes something for which people are ready to kill or die.

                If anything, that’s why political criminals go to great lengths of hiring other Tec criminals to corrupt and manipulate systems in their favour as it is alleged to have happened in Kenya.  If proved that some candidates hired hackers to corrupt and defeat the Kiems, they must be banned from running for public office so that this can be a good lesson for others envisaging the same.

        Why Kenyan elections? We all know how presidency saved the outgoing president and his deputy from the ICC’s scaffolds after being indicted of crimes against humanity. To survive, the duo had to clinch presidency by all means possible and thereby secure immunity against criminal liability, which they got. Remember. The ICC’s case has never been legally disposed. It means, the ICC can come calling anytime.

         Thus, for William Ruto to secure his freedom, he must also become president by all means possible even if doing so means to wreck the country economically and financially.  Even if it means abusing such expensive systems bought by poor people’s taxes. Those are virulent lessons from Kenya’s elections.

Source: Daily Monitor today.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

IEBC, the house Chebukati put asunder

The electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati (centre) with fellow commissioners Prof Abdi Guliye (left) and Mr Molu Boya during a press briefing at the IEBC headquarters in Anniversary Towers in Nairobi on April 20, 2018. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

      By Makau Mutua Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.

Only two elections have ever been “free and fair” – reflecting the will of the people – in Kenya. That would be the 1963 and 2002 general elections. All the other elections – and I mean all others – have been shambolic. Even where the balloting was relatively free of illegalities and irregularities, the end result has often been an election that is stolen, or irredeemably compromised.

        Election year in and election year out, voters come out in large numbers to choose their leaders, only to have their spirits murdered at the ballot box. The 2022 election hasn’t been any different. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati, and a tiny minority of commissioners – Prof Abdi Guliye and Mr Boya Molu – have given the country two horribly fatal elections.

        Mr Chebukati cuts the figure of an inflexible statue. He neither smiles nor exercises the muscles on his face. His walk looks pained and stiff. His demeanour and temperament are mulish. You can never tell whether he says anything with conviction because he doesn’t emote. Prof Guliye, who has been dubbed by some as “Mr Chebukati’s brain”, appears to have a permanent scowl. He’s witty and scrappy, but underneath lies a cold calculating man. I don’t know much about Mr Molu. I think he’s just one of those who follow the leader, no matter over the cliff.

Iron grip

Imagine this trio, out of the seven commissioners, with an exclusive iron grip on the IEBC. I don’t know what makes Mr Chebukati tick. If I were him, I would have resigned after bungling the 2017 presidential election that was nullified by the Supreme Court. But true to his immobile nature, he stuck around.

        In 2022, he appears to have bungled another election, which is once again the subject of cases at the Supreme Court. But rather than exit hanging his head in shame, Mr Chebukati has stuck to his guns, impervious of his sins. Instead, he’s chosen to run the IEBC with his two mates. He’s been taking most decisions to the exclusion of the majority in the commission.

        He’s become the Vladimir Putin of the IEBC. His term mercifully comes to an end in January if he’s not ejected from office before then. The end is nigh. Institutions don’t often function as written on paper. Human beings run them and mould them to create tradition. In Kenya, the institution of the national electoral agency has been a Frankenstein. An ogre, a monster bent on the consumption of humans.

Happy middle

But in democratic countries, important institutions negotiate a happy middle between the role of the leader and the integrity of the institution. This negotiation is supposed to confer legitimacy on the institution so that it can effectively carry out its mandate without being suffocated by the leader. Otherwise, the institution becomes malevolent.

            Kenya’s electoral agencies have never found this “happy middle”. They’ve either been handmaidens of the Executive, or putty in the hands of a dictatorial chair. The result is that Kenya’s electoral agencies exist to subvert the will of the electors. I remember well the 1988 ‘mlolongo’ (queue) elections. In that sad but comical affair, voters were required to line up behind the imagined effigy of their candidates. The polling officer would then take one look and declare that one line – picked arbitrarily and not by its depth of humanity – was for the winning candidate. The matter ended there.

        That’s how politically undesirable candidates were sent to their political deaths. The barometer was usually who was more pro-Kanu than the other. Any whiff of disloyalty sent you packing. No ballot papers, not tallying. No Kiems kits. It’s not even clear whether poll officials checked for IDs.

        I hate to imagine this, but the ‘mlolongo’ elections were probably more transparent than the recent high-tech affair. At least ‘mlolongo’ rigging was done in broad daylight. You were rigged out transparently in the full glare of the hot sun as you watched. In Mr Chebukati’s IEBC, you are rigged out through fake Forms 34A – as alleged in court papers – which are plucked from orbit and replaced on something called a portal. It sounds like a place where lobotomies of the brain are done.

Tech infrastructure

There’s information, which has been presented in court, suggesting that the IEBC tech infrastructure was being run from elsewhere – in a place not called Bomas. Some say abroad. Perhaps we captured the Venezuelans but forgot that they had left the real IEBC from whence they came. It’s sickening. What kind of a patriot takes one of the most important institutions in a country and puts it asunder?

        Was it a design problem of the IEBC that has made a monster out of the IEBC, or has Mr Chebukati simply been a malign force? If so, how can we deal with him, and prevent his facsimile from overtaking over the IEBC? More importantly, how does the country make an example out of the IEBC leadership? Something needs, and must, be done. We cannot simply let them walk away without facing the full weight of the law.

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York. @makaumutua.

Source: Sunday Nation tomorrow

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Wafula Chebukati, the IEBC dictator

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati during a Press briefing at Bomas of Kenya on August 10, 2022.
 
             Makau Mutua Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.
What you need to know:
.Chebukati's performance as the head of the IEBC can only be described as dismal and catastrophic. 
.The law is clear that Mr Chebukati is only the first among equals in a democratic institution, not an unaccountable overlord. 
.The commissioners as a corporate body do the IEBC’s works – by consensus, or a vote of the majority – not by the fiat of the chair.
 In illiberal societies, public institutions often create monsters. These are individuals who assume that the public trust invested in them makes them demigods; state factotums who seek power to prosecute agendas and vendettas contrary to the institution’s purposes.
        In the past week, we have witnessed the textbook definition of such a functionary. Chairperson Wafula Chebukati of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has shocked me with his singular obsession to husband – and I use the term advisedly – all the most important powers of the institution. He has done so in total disregard of the Constitution, the laws of Kenya, and the applicable case law. His performance as the head of the IEBC can only be described as dismal and catastrophic. Truly, incredibly sad.
Transition from autocracy 
Laws are written for specific purposes to cure or address, specific issues. That’s true of institutions created under particular laws. There’s no law, or institution, that’s created to orbit in space without a social, political or economic anchor. None. But laws are born of historical and local contexts. Importantly, laws don’t exist without a path to their implementation. This is especially in societies that are in the process of transitioning from autocracy to democracy.
        Kenya has been in such a transition since the late 1980s. Moving away from an imperial executive and bureaucracy, a rubber legislature, and a captive judiciary, to a freer society.
However, institutions are only as good as the people who run and manage them.  A morally decrepit person must never be allowed anywhere near children. A corrupt official must never be given keys to the public purse. A politically greedy manic must not be given executive power. That’s why individuals who haven’t internalised the values of democratic governance must never be allowed to run public institutions.
        But what do you do when such people are in short supply, or where cartels have captured public institutions?
Or where a nincompoop finds himself at the head of a public body? I submit that it’s up to the public to eject such a misfit from office. Such an official can do great damage to society. He can precipitate a national meltdown with one action. The IEBC was created in the 2010 Constitution to cure the colossal failures of its predecessors. Some people may be too young to remember the debacles of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), the predecessor to the IEBC. The ECK was in law, spirit and structure the exact opposite of the IEBC. It was an institution controlled in law and fact by the Executive.
        It had no independent existence from the State House. Its main job was to keep Kanu and subsequent regimes in power in perpetuity, especially before term limits.  The chairpersons of the ECK were “poodles” of the executive. They, and their fellow commissioners, had no minds, or ideas, of their own. They existed to do the bidding of the president. One remembers with pity the sad spectacle of the last chairperson of the ECK, the late Samuel Kivuitu.
        In 2007, the poor fellow disappeared from his office in unclear circumstances only to appear at dusk at State House to swear in President Mwai Kibaki after a stolen election.
We know what happened next. The country exploded in genocidal violence. Only a “Handshake” between ODM’s Raila Odinga and Mr Kibaki stopped Kenya from going the way of Somalia.
        A year later, I bumped into Mr Kivuitu and asked him where he had disappeared to before showing up at State House. The wisecracking lawyer said that he had no recollection of the events of that day. My jaw dropped to the floor.
The ECK-Kivuitu problem
The IEBC was created to cure the ECK-Kivuitu problem. To make sure the chair of the electoral body was neither a dictator, nor a poodle of the state.
'Brazen dictator'
  I don’t know what else Mr Chekubati is, or isn’t. But I know this – he’s a brazen dictator. The law is clear that Mr Chebukati is only the first among equals in a democratic institution, not an unaccountable overlord. He’s not a king. He has no legal powers to carry out unilateral decisions or to commit the IEBC to his personal commands, or wishes.
        The commissioners as a corporate body do the IEBC’s works – by consensus, or a vote of the majority – not by the fiat of the chair. He can’t issue edits. This is especially true in presidential elections, one of the most consequential decisions any public body can make in Kenya. That existential decision can’t be made by Mr Chebukati alone, or with a tiny minority of commissioners.
        Such a decision is void and null. It’s unconstitutional and a legal nullity. At least four of the seven commissioners are required by law to make such a decision, which then Mr Chebukati is allowed to communicate to the public. 
This week four commissioners rejected Mr Chebukati’s announcement of UDA candidate William Ruto as President-elect. In law, this means Kenya doesn’t have an official of the elections or a President-elect.
Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s Chair of KHRC. @makaumutua
Source: Sunday Nation tomorrow

Thursday, 18 August 2022

TOWARDS A NEW CONSTITUTION : PRESIDENT KIKWETE’s REASONS FOR INTRODUCING A NEW CONSTITUTION.

In  the  Judiciary  system,   by  rule,  or  convention,  court  judges  have  a  duty   to   give  reasons  for their  decisions,  when  they  deliver  their  court   judgments.   But  it   is   totally  different  in  the  Administrative  system,  such  as  the  government;   where  it  does  not  apply.   Thus,  when  President  Jakaya  Kikwete  of  the  Fourth  phase  government   decided  to  embark  on  the  process  of  introducing  a  new  constitution  of  the  United  Republic  of   Tanzania  at  the  beginning  of  his  second  term  in  office  in  2011;  he  had  no  obligation  to  publicly  disclose  his  reasons  for  that  decision;  which  left  some  inquiring  minds,  even  within  CCM,  wondering  why  he  had  taken  such  decision.            
        But  for  those  who  knew  its  background  well  enough,   this   decision  was,   basically,   a  spectacular  manifestation  of  ‘prudent  political  management’.   It   was,  in  fact,  a   positive  response  to  the  political  needs  and  demands  for  a  new  constitution  that  were   being  repeatedly  raised  by  the  Opposition  parties;   and    which,  if   they  had  continued   to  be   ignored  or  obstinately  left  unattended,   would  possibly  have    created   a  major  political  crisis;  as  had  been  manifested   by  the  political   events  which  occurred  during  his   first  term  in  Office   which  had  just   expired,  indicating   that   his  government  was  fast  losing  the  peoples’  moral  support.  
         It  is  common  knowledge   that   in  order  to  be  effective,  any  government  of  the  day  needs   a  certain  high   level  of  popular   acceptability,  popular  support,  and obedience.  This  is  firmly  embedded  in  the  political   principle  that   ‘an  effective  government  must  be  based  on   popular  support  and  consent’.
        Thus,  in  practice,  the government’s  legitimacy  is  justified  not  in  legal  terms  alone;  it  also  needs   moral  justification  from  the   people  it    governs.    For  example,  the  government  could  lose  the  people’s   moral  support,   upon  the  occurrence  of   certain   negative  factors ,  especially  where  the   occurrence  of  such  events   is   attributed  to  it;  and  the  government  either  fails,  or  neglects,  or  obstinately  refuses  to  recognize  the  gravity  of  these  problems,  by  not  taking  the  necessary   measures  to  provide   the  expected  reliefs.    Such  factors  would   include:-   the  people  facing   economic  hardships   due  to  the  adoption  of  unpopular  policies;    poor  delivery  of  social  services;   failure  to  control  crime;  and   serious    corruption  scandals   attributed  to  government  leaders  or  officials;  etc.                                    
         The  last  mentioned   factor  of   corruption   scandals  is  what  seriously  eroded  the   people’s  trust  in  President  Kikwete’s   first  term  government;  and  very  nearly  became   CCM’s  “killer  disease”  in  the  2010  general  election.  This  relatively  huge   loss  of  people’s  moral  support,   was  caused  by  an  unprecedented  emergence  of  corruption    scandals  during  President  Kikwete’s  first  term  in  office;   which  were  directly  associated  with  a  number  of  government  Ministers,  including  the  then  Prime  Minister  Edward  Lowassa;   who  was  linked  to  the  “Richmond  scandal”,  that   eventually  led  to  his   forced  resignation  from   that  office  in  February  2008.     And   this  forced  Prime  Minister’s  resignation  event  was  followed,   in  rapid  succession,  by  another,  equally  damaging  scandal,   relating  to  the  theft  of  reportedly  large  amounts  of  money,   allegedly  stolen  from  the  Central  Bank’s  External  Payments  Account,  which  became  known  as   the  “EPA  scandal”. 
         Naturally,  such   serious  allegations  (to  which,   apparently,   President  Kikwete’s   government  failed  to  provide  satisfactory  responses);   created  a  truly  hostile  political  environment   which  could  have   led  to  the  downfall  of  that   CCM  government;  due  to  the  principle  that  ‘in  order  for  the  constitutional  order  to  be  maintained,  the  government,  at  any  time,  needs  the  people’s  moral    support;  the   lack  of  which  could  lead  to  civil  disobedience,  and  the  maintenance  of  law  and  order  would  obviously   become  very  difficult.
        The  said  scandals   seemingly   produced  significant  levels  of   public  anger,  which  became  clearly   manifested  in   the  2010  general  election;  in  which   President  Kikwete’s   victory  dropped  drastically  from  the  massive   80%  which  he  had  received  in  2005,  down  to  61%.   In  addition,  there  were  similar  manifestations  of  voters’  anger  in  the  Parliamentary  elections;  in  which  some  prominent  CCM  candidates  were  soundly  defeated.  And  popular  public  opinion,  obviously  wrongly,   accused  the  constitution  as  being  the  “leaking  umbrella”.
             The  cumulative  effect  of  all  these  rather  unusual  events,   must  have  been  the  principal  factor  that  made   President  Kikwete   feel  obliged  to   embark   on  the  task  of   making  a  new  constitution,  in  order to  avert  this  emerging   political  crisis.  This  was,  indeed,   a  very   smart  move,  because  it   also  positively  responded   to  the  persistent  Opposition  parties’   demand  for  a  new  constitution.   And  this  is  what  I  have  described  above  as  “prudent  political  management”.     
The  constitution-making  ‘guiding  factors’.
In  one  of  my  past  articles  on  “constitution-making in  Tanzania”  which  have  been  published  in  this  column,   I referred   to  two  of   the   “principal  factors  which  normally  guide   the  process  of  constitution-making”  (as  prescribed  in  the  books  of  authority  on  this  subject).  They   are  the    following:-                         
 (a) the  political forces  which  are  at  work  at  the  material  time;  and  
(b) the  commonsense  considerations  of  practical  convenience. And  these  are  the  main  factors  which  have  generally  also  influenced  the  ‘constitutional  engineering’  process  even  here  in  post-independence  Tanzania.   These  are   the  factors  which  largely   prompted   the    ‘constitutional  change’   to  multi-party  politics  in  1992;  and  they  are  the  same  factors   that   prompted  President  Kikwete (as  he  was  then)  to  embark  on  the  task  of  introducing  a  new  constitution  of  the  United  Republic,  in  2011.                   And,  in  view  of  the  political  forces  that  were   ‘at  work  during  the  relevant  periods;  it  can  reasonably  be   argued   that   ‘prudent  political  management’  was  the  main  consideration;  which,  in  both  cases,   was  guided  by  the  factor of  “the  commonsense  considerations  of  practical  convenience”.                 
The  twin  concepts  of ‘ constitutional  change’.
The  expression   ‘constitutional  change’  is  actually  a  twin  concept,   which   implies  two  distinct  processes:   one  is  the  enactment  of  an  entirely  new  constitution;  but   the  other  is  the  introduction  of  changes  in  the  existing  constitution.    In  their  recorded  history,   countries  like  the  United  States  of  America,  and  India,  have  not  enacted  any   new  constitution,  they  only  have   been  making  amendments  to  their  existing  constitutions  from  time  to  time,  as  the   need  arises.                              
          But  Tanzania’s   experience  in  this  regard,  shows   that  we  have  been  using  both  options,  that  of  introducing    a  new  constitution (as  happened  in  1962,  when  the  Tanganyika  Republican  Constitution  was  enacted);   in  1965,  when  the  One-party  State  ‘interim’ constitution  was  enacted);  and  in  1977 (when  the  ‘permanent’   constitution  was  enacted;  and  former  President  Kikwete’s  decision in  2011, to  start  the  process  of  enacting  a  new  constitution;  as  well  as  that  of  introducing  amendments  to  the  existing  constitution.       
         In  respect  of  making  a  new  constitution,   the  normal  practice  has  been  for  the   relevant  Authorities  to  issue  specific  directives  to  the  constitution-making  body,  specifying  the  provisions  which  must  be  incorporated  therein,  in  order  to  protect  certain  national  interests,  for  example,  of  maintaining  the  values   of  democracy,  as  was  the  intention  in  President  Nyerere’s  directives  that  were  issued  in  respect  of  the 1965  ‘one-party’  constitution;  or  maintaining   the  “national  values  and  ethos”  in   President  Kikwete’s  directives  issued  in  2011.      
        The  other  option  of  making  amendments  to  the  existing  constitution  has  been  used  fourteen  times  since  its   enactment   in  1977.   And   some  of  these  amendments  have  introduced  very  significant  and  substantial   constitutional  changes;   such  as  the  1984  amendments,  and   the  1992  amendments.  
             The  1984  amendments   addressed  the  crucial  issue   of  strengthening  the  operation  of  democracy  in  the  one  party   constitutional   dispensation, in  areas  such  as  enhancing  the  authority  of  Parliament  and  its  representative  character;  and   peoples’  power  at  the  grassroots  level,  by  providing  for  the  establishment  of   democratic  Local  Authority  representative  institutions.   They   also   introduced   the   Bill  of  Rights   provisions;  which  previously  had  been  rejected   when it  was  first  considered  for  inclusion  in  the  ‘one-party’,  constitution  of  1965;  on  the  ground  that  “it  would  cause  endless  litigation,  and  that  it  would  adversely  affect  the   government’s  fast-track  development  strategy” .                    
        Legal  pundits  had  advised  at  the  time ,  that  “A  Bill  of  Rights  has  the  tendency  to  turn  communal  values  into  legal  battlefields.  It  will  generate  a  litigation  culture,  and  the  only  benefit will  be  to  the  lawyers.  But  in  addition,  there  was   also  the  concern  that  “a  Bill  of  Rights  takes  away  power  from  an  elected  Parliament,  to  an  unelected  Judiciary”.           
        Similarly,  the  1992  constitutional  Amendments  were  even  more  substantial,  for   they  introduced  a   fundamental  change  of  the  country’s  political  system,  from  the  single-party   to  the  multi-party  system .  And  I  too  was   of  the  opinion  that  such  fundamental  change  would  necessitate  the  enactment  of  a  new  constitution,  and  said  so  loudly   in  a  paper  which   I  wrote at  the  time   titled  Towards  a  Multi-Party  Constitution.  This  Paper  was  subsequently  included  as   Chapter  Ten  in  my  book  titled  The  Transition  to  Multi-partysm  in  Tanzania ( Dar es Salaam  University  Press,  1995).  But  the  relevant  Authorities  thought   otherwise,  and  opted  for  the  alternative  procedure  of   introducing amendments  in  the  existing   constitution.  Thus,  we  have,  all  the  time  so  far,  adhered  to  the  established  ‘constitutional  principles  an  guidelines’.                         
President  Kikwete’s   procedural   innovations.
 In  a  refreshing  departure  from  the  normal  practice  and  procedure  described  above;   President  Kikwete  introduced  new  additional  procedural  steps  to  be  taken   in  the  process  of   implementing  the  constitutional  change  that  he  had  decided  to  initiate;  which  he  did   through  a  new   law  enacted  by  Parliament,  titled  “the  Constitutional  Review Act,  2011,  which   was  designed  to  govern  that  constitution - making  process. 
          Although  he  adhered  to  the  normal  practices  described  above;   but  in  his  directives  to  the  constitution-making  constituent  Assembly,   he  also  issued  directives  which   introduced  some  new  procedural  steps  that  were  to  be  followed,  such  as  the   requirement  for  a  referendum  to  give   approval  to  the  Constituent  Assembly’s   proposals.
        The  other   matters  specified  in  the  said  directives   included  the  following:-                      
 (a)  the  continued  existence  of   the  United  Republic;  
(b)  the  continued  existence  of  the  Zanzibar  Revolutionary  government;  
 (c )   the   continued   existence   of  the   Executive,  the  Legislative,  and  the  Judiciary  Branches  of  government;  
 (d)  the  maintenance  of   national  unity,  cohesion  and  peace;  
(e)  the  holding  of  periodic  elections  based  on  universal  adult    suffrage;  
(d)  the  protection  of  human  rights,  human  dignity,  and  equality  before the  law;  and  
(e)   the   maintenance   of   the  secular  nature  of  the  United  Republic. 
        It  can  however  be  said,  that  this   matter  of  issuing   ‘guiding  principles’  in  constitution-making,    Tanzania  has  taken  a  distinctly  different  approach of  its  own.    This  is  because,  in  the  making  of  their  independence  constitutions,  countries  like  Namibia,  Zimbabwe  and  South  Africa;   their   ‘guiding  principles’  actually   represented  a  consensus  of  the  different  social   groups  involved  who  held   differing   vested   interests,  and  were  each  seeking  guaranteed  protection  of  its  particular  interests.                                                 
        But  In  the  case  of  Tanzania,  the  guidelines  were  intended  to  protect  specified  “political  principles”.  This   is  an  inclusive  concept,   which   ensures   that  all  the  country’s   social  groups  are  accorded  the  same  rights  and  opportunities.   
This  background  information  will,  hopefully,  be  useful  to  the  newcomers,   who  will  be  participating  in  the  forthcoming  exercise  of  reactivating  the  stalled  process  for  enacting  a  new  constitution  of  the  United  Republic  of  Tanzania. 
        The issue  of   “constitutional   guidelines”  is  the  most  pertinent  lesson  to  be  learnt  from  this  presentation.   Those  that  relate  to  protecting  “group  interests’,   are  obviously  negotiable. But  those  that  aim  at  protecting  political  principles,  such  as   that  of  “national  values  and  ethos”  should,  I  humbly   suggest,  be   taken  for  granted,  and  unanimously  accepted.
piomsekwa@gmail.com /075767576. 
Source>: Daily News and Cde Msekwa today.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Ruto Win: What Kenya Did Was Kenyan but Not ‘UnAfrican’

The pronouncement of William Ruto, Kenyan President-Elect, speaks volumes. In this analysis, I’ll shine light on what we need to interrogate, not for the aim of disputing the decision that Kenyans made recently but putting the record straight.
        Before I delve into what I’m to aver, I must make some clarifications. I’ll do so by asking a few questions to help my readership to decide if what Kenya recently did is ‘unAfrican’ or just Kenyan.
        Considering the imbroglio that hasn’t been addressed and resolved yet, are the results that the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced recently legally binding? Do they hold water considering that four out of the seven electoral commissioners openly distanced themselves from the results? Why did the IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati, override the four commissioners?  Why did he hurry to announce the results? Do we need to listen to the commissioners and the Azimio to know why this occurred so that we can know more before passing an informed judgment? There are more questions than answers.
        The other day I read an article by Charles Onyango-Obbo (East African, 14 August, 2022) saying that Kenya did something ‘unAfrican’ to mean electoral transparency as if it totally were. I see nothing new here if I remind myself and refer to what’s been transpiring in Botswana since 1966 or what transpired in Malawi and Zambia since 1992. I feel bad when some of our people become their own enemies and portray Africa including themselves as an inferior society that’s to be tutored by the West on everything. I don’t want to say such characters are bought. My understanding is that the problem is ignorance if not coloniality or personal inferiority complex. Such people must underline the fact that pre-colonial Africa was democratic and peaceful. That’s why history has never recorded any war of any magnitude compared to Europe’s WWI and WWII or genocide in Australia and the Americas.
  Secondly, when COO, as he’s known for those who have worked with him for a long time, asserts that Kenya did something ‘unAfrican’, he doesn’t define what African and what ‘unAfrican’ mean. COO writes “what happened in Kenya was different and new in that it went over the top, and weaponised electoral openness, at a time when Africa is facing a democracy crisis.” Seriously? Let me play the devil’s advocate.  Can you compare the slapdash conclusion of recent Kenyan elections with those of Malawi and Zambia since the introduction of multipartyism? Is it because some people like to see everything by replicating what’s happening in their countries without even thinking rationally based on history?  What type of openness is this if four commissioners out of seven can boycott the results issued by their own commissioner? What does openness imply and mean when competitors refuse to concede?
        Kenya’s elections would have contributed something to Africa’s democracy had it not ended the way it did. I hate generalization. It is wrong to ignore the examples above of the countries whose elections have always been credible and peaceable. If COO is talking about a warring country as a replica of Africa, which also is wrong, maybe he might have a point, though a weak one.
        Stating generally that Kenya has become a harbinger of electoral openness is an understatement if we remind ourselves about what Botswana’s been doing since gaining independence or what Malawi and Zambia have perfected. Those who know the history of Kenya’s chaotic elections and rigging allegations will agree with me that the problem always is not how voters vote but how results are received and reached at. That’s that.
        If I can be honest to myself, Kenya did what it’s been good at, doing things in a Kenyan way, which means that its transition to democracy is still premature. How can we take a pride on such a thing while some of the participants view it as a sham or something abnormal?
        Another thing that I’d like us to consider are the CVs of the competitors. As I’m writing, nobody knows if the President-Elect with his Deputy President will be sworn in. This is because there’s a sub judice issue on the legality of Rigathe Gachagua’s fitness to hold public office after being convicted of a criminal offence. What does this say? Kenya might have a very progressive constitution. However, it is a paternalistic system. If we clinically view the CVs of the contenders, especially the frontrunners, who are ethical?
        Practically, electors choose the leaders that look like them. If they’re corrupt, they’ll elect corrupt people. If they’re clean, they’ll elect uncontaminated leaders. I’m not a judge on this matter. I remember. When I was in Kenya, I would hear some Kenyans say that ‘it is our turn to eat.’ They would exonerate a thief and say proudly, “even if he’s a thief, he’s our thief.”
        Democracy also revolves around ethics.  If democracy is a heaven, those entering it must be ethically clean and trustworthy. They must be like the wife of Caesar who, when was accused of wrongdoing, her husband told her that he knew she was clean. However, being the wife of Caesar, she’d to be beyond any reproach. Therefore, what Kenya did isn’t ‘unAfrican’ but Kenyan.
Source: African Executive tomorrow.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Barua kwa Rais Samia Suluhu Hassan Tuachane na Uchukuaji Uitwao Uwekezaji

Kwanza, nikiri. Juhudi zako za kuleta maendeleo ni za kupigiwa mfano. Tangu uchukue ukanda, hakuna kilichoharibika. Sana sana kilichokosekana ni kubadili mfumo wetu wa hovyo uitwao uwekezaji wakati kiuhalisia ni uchukuaji unaowawezesha wageni kutuibia kwa kisingizio cha uwekezaji. Je hapa alaumiwe nani iwapo tumejiwekea mifumo ya kujiiibia na kuibiwa?

            Mheshimiwa Rais, niruhusu nitoe mfano toka hapa Kanada na baadhi ya nchi za Kiafrika nilizodurusu mifumo yao ya uwekezaji. Ukitaka kuwekeza hapa Kanada, unapaswa uwe na si chini ya Dola za kimarekani 200,000 au Dola 75,000 kama umewekeza kwenye kampuni ya Kikanada chini ya kinachoitwa designated Canadian angel investor group. Ukiwa na kiasi hiki, unapewa visa haraka haraka kuingia na kuanza kuishi na familia yako huku ukipewa ukazi wa kudumu au uraia––––kama utautaka––––baada ya kuishi hapa kwa miaka mitatu bila kutoka. Hapa wanao watasoma na kutibiwa bure sawa na wakanada. Hii ni kwa mujibu wa tovuti ya serikali ya cic.gc.ca.

            Mheshimiwa Rais, ukitaka kuwekeza na kuingia Botswana, unatakiwa kuwa na ima Pula za Botswana milioni moja au Euro 82,000 au Dola za kimarekani 93,000. Kwa Tanzania, kama si mtanzania, unapaswa kuwa na Dola 500, 000 na mtanzania Dola 100,000! Kwa Namibia ni Dola za kimarekani 135,000 au NMD 2,000,000. Kwa nchi zote tatu, raia wao hawahitajiki kuwa na kiasi chochote. Je sisi tunafanya hivyo kumkomoa nani? Jibu ni kwamba ni kwa sababu tunawanyima watanzania wenye uraia pacha fursa ya kuwekeza kwao na kuendeleza nchi zao baada ya kusotea fedha ughaibuni. Matokeo yake, wanatafuta nchi nyingi kwenda kuwekeza wakati wanao uwezo wa kuwekeza kwao. Kwanini tusiwamotishe watu wetu wenye uraia wa nchi nyingine lau kwa kuwawekea sharti katika kupewa uraia pacha kulingana na uwezo wao wa kuwekeza nchini badala ya kupoteza muda tukibembeleza wageni wakati watu wetu wanazo fedha nje lakini wanahofia kurejea nyumbani na kuibiwa kwa vile hawaruhusiwi kufanya baadhi ya mambo?

            Mheshimiwa Rais, niliwahi kuandika makala juu ya namna Waziri Mkuu Mstaafu Mhe. Mizengo Pinda anavyoweza kusaidia watu wetu wengi wasio na ajira au wastaafu kuishia maisha bora huku wakianzisha miradi inayoweza kuwasaidia wao na familia zao huku wakitoa ajira kwa wengine na kuwa vyanzo vizuri vya kodi na maisha bora. Baada ya makala hiyo kusomwa, nilipata maombi mengi toka ughaibuni yakitaka niwaunganishe na gwiji huyu wa kilimo na uwekezaji bila mafanikio tokana na kutokuwa na mawasiliano yake. Nilijaribu kutafuta baruapepe au simu yake toka kwa rafiki yangu Spika Mstaafu, Mzee Pius Msekwa, bahati mbaya hakuwa nayo.  Nilikwamia hapo na kushindwa kuwasaidia wenzangu waliovutiwa na uwekezaji wa Mzee Pinda.

            Mheshimiwa Rais, naomba ujiulize. Je mfumo wetu wa uwekezaji unatusaidiaje kama nchi wakati wezi wengi tena wa kigeni wanautumia kwa kusaidiana na wezi wasio na uraia pacha wala uzalendo kuingia na kupiga fedha na kuondoka? Rejea kilichotokea wakati kampuni ya kihindi Rites Consortium lilipojifanya kuwekeza kwenye Reli na kuishia kutupiga mabilioni na kuondoka. Je mfumo wetu wa uwekezaji unatusaidia kama taifa au kutuumiza? Kwa nchi za magharibi, ukiwekeza, watakutoza kodi, utaajiri watu wao na kuwalipa kiwango cha juu cha mshahara, kulipia bima na mambo mengine. Mfumo wao, kimsingi, ni wa kuwahudumia na si wa kuhudumia matapeli kama ilivyo yetu iliyochakaa na kujaa ujanjaujanja. Mifumo ya hapa haina huruma na mgeni. inamhudumia mwananchi kwa mgongo wa mgeni. Nitoe mfano wangu binafsi. Mie na mke wangu tuna nyumba hapa. Tumeinunua kwa kulipa aslimia 30 na zinazobaki tunalipa taratibu kwa kutozwa riba kubwa tu. Tunafanya kazi na kutozwa si chini ya aslimia 30 ya mishahara pia tunalipa kodi ya manunuzi.

            Mheshimiwa Rais, hapa wanahimiza watu waongeze ujuzi. Ukianza, unapewa tuzo kwa sharti kuwa lazima uchukue mikopo ya masomo ambayo hutozwa riba pindi tu ukimaliza masomo. Mfano, katika shahada yangu ya uzamivu, nadaiwa karibu milioni 100 za kitanzania. Japo huu ni uwekezaji kwangu na familia, umeiingizia fedha nyingi Kanada kwa sababu tu imenipa fursa ya kuongeza maarifa.

            Mheshimiwa Rais, sasa turejee kwa wanadiaspora waliowekeza ima kwenye ajira, biashara au elimu. Je tunawasaidiaje na kujisaidiaje kama nchi inayohitaji uwekezaji uwe mkubwa au mdogo? Tumeshindwa kuwa na mfumo hata wa kuhamisha fedha za watu wetu bila kukatwa na kuibiwa. Hivi, mfano, kama mtanzania anataka kurejesha nyumbani Dola za kimarekani kiasi chochote. Kwanini tusiwe na utaratibu wa kupeleka fedha hizo kwenye ubalozi wetu akapewa risiti ya malipo zikatumika kulipa wafanyakazi huko, akaenda kuzipokea nyumbani ambako atakuwa ameokoa aslimia kumi ya fedha husika? Mfano, nikiweka Dola 200,000 ubalozini zikalipa mishahara nikaja kulipwa na serikali sitakuwa nimeokoa Dola 20,000 kiasi ambacho, kwa mikoani kinaweza kujenga banda au kuanzisha kijibiashara ya ufugaji hata wa kuku, mbuzi au samaki.

            Mheshimiwa Rais, hii ndiyo njia inayotumiwa na wageni wengi nchini kuhamisha fedha zao bila kupoteza hata senti. Hebu wachunguze wawekezaji au hata wafanyakazi wa kigeni walioko nchi kwa vibali vya kufanya kazi. Utakuta kila wakisafiri kwenda kwao hawahamishi fedha. Lakini ukiuliza fedha yao iko wapi huioni. Inapitia kwenye balozi zao ambapo huenda kulipiwa kwao.

            Mhe. Rais nisikuchoshe, nashauri uanze kudurusu namna ya kuwavutia watanzania waioko nje. Kuna fedha inaweza kuingia na kunufaisha taifa. Chukulia mfano mtu ambaye anapata mshahara wa Dola 100, 000 kwa mwaka. Huku anakatwa kodi si chini ya 36,000. Je anaweka akiba kiasi gani? Je kama anaruhusiwa kuhamisha fedha yake baada ya kuamua kurejea nyumbani atakuwa na fedha kiasi gani na zinaweza kusaidia taifa kiasi gani? Naomba tutafakari pamoja.

Chanzo: Raia Mwema leo.

Photo from Nkwazi Magazine, which I happen to stumble on when I was reading stuff

Those interested in Nkwazi Magazine, which does not have any relationship with this blog, can CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Will Africa Learn from Ukraine Conflict on Food Security?

As per the Al Jazeera (11 April, 2022), the Ukraine conflict’s likely to adversely impact on African countries vis-a-vis food independence and security. I didn’t know that Africa still depends on a small country like Ukraine for its supply of wheat. This doesn’t add up for a country that covers only 603, 628 km2 compared to Africa’s 30,370, 000 km2 to feed Africa.  Something is wrong somewhere. What does Africa supply to Ukraine that it produces? Don’t tell me the minerals. Does Africa own its own minerals while they don’t benefit it? Does African countries with oil own it while the multinationals benefit while the so-called owners suffer? Compare the lives of citizens in oil-producing African countries with those they supply? If anything, African countries with oil and minerals own mine holes and the pangs of pollution while foreign companies enjoy the profits.

 Africa’s goofs and quandaries need profound explanations to understand. It doesn’t convince common sense for the country that’s 1/50 of Africa to feed Africa. The analogous allegory I can give here’s of a baby breastfeeding its mother.  But again, Ukraine does feed Africa. Then what’s iniquitous here? What’s the miracle here? Are Africans like elephants? Elephants are huge. They’ve huge body mass and brains. Yet, they’re destroyed by a small human to the verge of extinction. Again, elephants are beasts. They’re not human. Again, who are Africans in such an equation?

            To avoid being seen as I’m dissing my people, look at the picture of African leaders. Most of them are fatter than their donors. Their lives are posher than those of their donors. They pay themselves bigger salaries than their donors. The other day I was watching UK’s parliamentary session. What a simple affair that it is! Thereafter, I watched my country’s parliamentary debates, huge hall with all avantgarde gadgets and grandeur. Again, if you listen to the representatives in the two, you understand why ours are gigantic. It is because we’re reckless and selfish since we serve ourselves as opposed to our donors’ representatives who serve their countries and people.

The other day I read somewhere that countries in West Africa were importing onions from the EU! I also read somewhere that Kenya, despite being surrounded by the mighty Lake Nyanza, was importing septic fish from China whereas some Chinese traders were exporting clean fish from Kenya to China! How do you call this folly and futility? When push comes to the shove this must be said that it is more than a shame for such a humungous country to be fed by any country while it has everything for producing for its people except a will to do so. Whom do such bestiality and comportment help dear African brethren?

            Bovines, ewes and goats can comfortably depend on one type to feed them since they’re faunae. No shame at all for such brutes to be fed by human even by another ogre but not humans. For Africa even a part of it to be fed by small countries like Ukraine is more than a disgrace for whoever whose marbles upstairs are still intact. How come while African countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Zimbabwe, all except Kenya, Madagascar and Botswana are bigger than Ukraine grow wheat, yet this tiny country beat them? What’s wrong? Asper Gro Intelligence (16 April, 2015), the World Bank identified 3.84 million hectares of land suitable for wheat production in Sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of which is in East Africa. This is almost equal to the amount of land dedicated to the cultivation of wheat in Argentina, one of the world’s major producers of the crop.

I don’t get it for a humongous country like Sudan covering the area of 1, 886,068 km2 to starve simply because a country like Ukraine that’s less than 1/3 of the same’s at war and thus can’t feed it. Is the problem here natural or nurtured? What are all heads of Sudanese as a replica of Africa doing? Ironically, while Sudan’s starving and weeping for wheat from Ukraine, the same’s the guts to pointlessly lease out its land to Gulf countries to produce food for their citizens while its own people are starving to death! What are the hands of Sudanese doing? Food’s power. S/he who’s able to feed oneself is a free person. Hunger’s slavery. This has become evident to Europe whose power dependency on Russia turned it into a laughingstock when it failed to fully apply sanctions against Russia. Had it dared, its economy and posh life would become the things of the past.

            Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founder, used to say that for the country to develop, it needs three things namely land, people and good policies. What is missing here? Sudan like Africa’s the land, people and policies. What else is missing? Are our people abnormal? Is our land barren? Are our policies wanting? The first two are Okay. The third ingredient seems to be the matter. It is the missing link. Our people are normal and land productive save that our policies are abnormal so to speak. Take Sudan, for example, how’d it feed itself while it ruled instead of being led? The same applies on many African countries. Many African countries lack leaders. They’ve tons and tons of rulers but they’re bankrupt when it comes to leaders. They’ve policies. Yet they lack sound policies. When it comes to sound leadership and policies, Africa’s bankrupt. Leaders are accountable. So, too, they feel shame. What do you expect out of shameless rulers whose powers are but a private estate for them, their tick-like bloods, courtiers, and cronies? What do you expect of beggars in chief? What do you expect of such shameless men and women who take pride in aid and begging even from smaller countries by land and people than theirs? When’ll Africa see the light if it can’t even learn from such a simple matter as the Ukraine conflict? Why’s Africa at home with chicken mentality. The chickens eat what they don’t produce and produced what they don’t produce. The needle sews many clothes, but it is forever naked. The spoon scoops tons and tons of food yet, it is forever hungry. Who wants such a life? These are beasts and tools. Africans, to the contrary, are humans. Again, is it the same way others understand us? Refer to the treatments of useful Ukrainians compared to Africans and others.

            In sum, there are no important lessons Africa needs to learn from the Ukraine conflict like feeling shame, starting rethinking about its future, frugality, and above all, loathing and stopping dependency and extravagance. We’ve what it takes to feed ourselves. Again, what’s amiss is self-worthy and sense of humanity. We’re living and thinking like animals as if we’re animals. A few examples above speak to this anomaly. Suppose––––God forbid––––the conflict in Ukraine drags in for year. You can take this to the bank. Many countries ruled by corrupt and swindling rulers will crumble since hungry people will take over.  Instead of being fired up by their humanity, deprivation and destitution will do the show.

Source: Daily Monitor today.

Political revenge of the Kenyan nerds

Azimio la Umoja running mate Martha Karua confers with presidential candidate Raila Odinga during the final Azimio rally at Kasarani Stadium on August 6, 2022. Azimio will take a good look at our education system and structure to bring sanity and credibility to it. By Francis Nderitu National Media Group.

            Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.

What you need to know:

  • As our education system failed, so did the state and society. Back in the day, the nerd used to get the girl.
  • Azimio will take a good look at our education system and restructure it to bring sanity and credibility to it.

Our education system has collapsed. International employers no longer believe in Kenyan academic credentials.

Colleges and universities in America used to take transcripts from Kenyan schools as gospel truth. No longer.

        Today they hold them under the proverbial magnifying glass. Often, they discount the grades and knock them down a peg. If you doubt me, listen to some of our “graduates”. Many can’t string together a coherent sentence. Our universities are tawdry diploma mills. Anyone and I mean anyone, who wants a degree gets one. “Nerds”, or so-called “bookworms”, went out of fashion eons ago. 

        As our institutions of learning – from kindergarten to college – have collapsed, our country has slowly decayed in virtually every facet of life.

"Screwed up"

The economy is on its deathbed. Traffic rules mean diddly squat. We can’t grow enough food to feed ourselves. Official impunity is at an all-time high. Morality and honesty are a distant whisper. We no longer respect our parents or elders. Our senior politicos mouth the vilest epithets at rallies. Our moral code as a nation is no more. PhDs are despised by dropouts and make less than MCAs. We are a country that’s screwed up.

     Royally. That’s why the August 9 elections mean everything. We are at an inflection point. We must get a grip. Let me recall my idyllic early education and how nerds were the bomb then. 

        First, the usual opening line by folks of my generation. The school was far away, miles over several valleys and rivulets.  But we got up at the crack of dawn, took cold baths from buckets in outhouses (running water was only a rumour in the village), and then trekked into the horizon to school after a bite of breakfast.

        Often, many went barefoot, the only thing distinguishing them being the bright-coloured uniforms. At six o’clock sharp, we reported to school. Guess what? We were truly happy campers.  The entire school day was one great adventure. We loved it. Then we happily trooped home hopping and skipping.  My children roll their eyes every time I tell this story of “hardship”. Teachers were stern then.

         The rule was spare the rod and spoil the child. There was more corporal punishment than I would’ve liked. The education system was a copycat of the harsh British public education, only without the benefits of industrial democracy. But I will say this of the system. It forged character, the excesses notwithstanding.

        I remember disciplined school culture percolated all the way to the University of Nairobi. The idea of cheating in exams, for example, never even occurred to us. That’s how innocent and na├»ve we all were. I can see more eye rolls. That system made us who we are today.

A broken people 

But those who came after us are broken people. The 8-4-4 system was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The state has so tinkered with the education system that nothing makes sense anymore. Nothing.

      Today it’s the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). Who knows what monster is next? As our education system failed, so did the state and society. Back in the day, the nerd used to get the girl. Then the nerd was dropped for the villain, the vagabond. Then the flashy but empty-headed dresser took charge.

        Materialism took over. Soon, it didn’t matter how you acquired your wealth. Only that you were morally inferior – a fool, an idiot – if you weren’t rich. The nerds were pushed to the margins of society. Kenya became an anti-intellectual society. We are largely governed by our inferiors.

        People who are moral dwarfs and intellectual midgets. That’s what sells in Kenya as long they have cash in their pocket. But lately, I have seen some incipient changes. The nerds are coming back. It’s what I call the revenge of the nerds. In the political campaigns of the major candidates, for example, nerds are increasingly valuable.

        It’s the nerds who crank out manifestos. They organise “thinking” retreats. They write “think pieces”. My suspicion is that the next government will pay more attention to what nerds think, and say. That’s partly out of necessity because the country has to think its way out of the mess it’s in.

        But it’s also because in Azimio, for example, flag-bearer Raila Odinga and running mate Martha Karua are intellectuals. The campaign is driven by data, evidence and facts from impeccable research. They interrogate their advisers repeatedly and think with them. They don’t shoot in the dark or act on a hunch.

        I believe the Azimio government will have its fair share of nerds. I also believe because of this, Azimio will take a good look at our education system and restructure it to bring sanity and credibility to it. It will modernise it while making it competitive internationally. It will make sure we are no longer an international laughing stock.

    As Azimio restores the education system, banishes corruption and shuns impunity, the country will return to moral sobriety.

Let the nerds return to respectability.

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York. @makaumutua.