Liberal Peace Conflict, Gender, and Peacebuilding

Liberal Peace Conflict, Gender, and Peacebuilding

Thursday 29 September 2022

When sorrow comes to heart

When you remember love

When your remember time

If it did not work

Sorrow will come to the heart

Kenya’s presidential election petitions: Some practical lessons in ‘democracy’

The   word  “democracy”   has  several  meanings.  In  the  context  of  this  presentation,  it  is  only  used  to  mean  “a  system  of  governance  in  which  all  the  people have  a  right  to  elect  their  leaders”.
        A  British  clergyman, one   Sydney  Smith (187 -1845);  is  on  record  as  having  said the  following:-  “Mankind  are  always  happy  for  having  been  happy;    so  that  if  you  make  them  happy  now,  you  make  them  happy  twenty  years  hence   by  the  memory  of  it”.
            Last  week,   a  fellow  columnist,   John  Mukumi  Mbaku,  who  introduced  himself  as  Professor  at  Weber  State  University   presented,   in  his  article  published  in  The CITIZEN  of  19th  September,  2022,  titled  “Why  Raila  should  be  thanked  for  his  election  defeats”;  a  scholarly  analysis  regarding   the  ‘democracy’   effects  of   Raila  Odinga’s  Presidential  election  defeats;  and   his court  actions  challenging  the  relevant  results;  wherein  he asserted   that  these   “have   positively  contributed   to  enhancing   democracy  in  Kenya”.   He  argued  thus:- “ It  is  important  to  recognize  the  role  that  his  legal  petitions  have  played  in  helping  to  improve,  entrench,  and   deepen  democracy  in  that  country”.
            This  would  appear  to  confirm  the  words  of  the  British  clergyman  quoted  above. One  way  of  interpreting  that   Clergyman’s  statement,   is   to  assume  that  the  return  of   our  countries   to   the  democratic  system  of  governance,  made  us  “happy”;  and  that   we   become  happy  “by  the  memory  of  it”,   when  we  see  ‘democracy’   being  practically  implemented;  as  was  done  in  Kenya  in  solving    their   2022  Presidential  election  conflicts.
The  ‘practical’  lessons  from  Kenya’s  2022  Presidential  election
Lessons  can  be  either  positive,  or  negative;  and  in  the  latter  case,  they  become  known  as  “salutary”  lessons.  But  the  word  “salutary”  is  normally  used  to  refer  to  something  unpleasant,  which  should  therefore  be  avoided.   For  example,  as  used  in  this  sentence:  “the  road  accident  was  a  salutary   reminder  of  the  dangers  of  dangerous  driving”.
        Professor  John  Mbaku’s  listed  his  “positive”  lessons  to  be  learnt    from  Raila  Odinga’s  court  actions   in  response  to  his   defeats   in  the  relevant   Kenya’s  Presidential  elections  as  follows :- (i)  That   “Odinga’s  petition  will  result  in  far-reaching  reforms  in  the  electoral  commission”;  which  he  says,  “will  be  good  for  the  electoral  system  in  particular,  and  democracy  in  general  in  Kenya”.
(ii)  That  Odinga’s  petitions  have  achieved  important  shifts  in  public  attitudes  regarding the  courts  as  the  final  arbiter  of  election  conflicts”.                                  
  (iii)  That  “Odinga  has  granted  the  Kenyan  Judiciary   the  opportunity  to  establish  and  enhance  its  independence”.  And  that  “its  2017  ruling is  what   contributed  to  the  reforms  that  were  made  in  preparation for  the  2022  Presidential  election.              
 (iv) That  these  changes  helped  Odinga’s   supporters  particularly,  and  Kenya’s  in  general,    to  appreciate  the  role  that  peaceful  resolution  of  election  conflicts  can  play  in  deepening  democratic  governance”.
The  negative  lessons 
As  we  have  stated  above,   lessons  can  either  be  ‘positive’ ,  or  negative.    I  fully   agree  with   the  learned  Professor,   regarding  the  positive  lessons relating  to  Kenya’s  2022  electoral process;   but  would  want  to  go  a  little  farther  beyond  that,  and   also  point   out   the  negative  ones.
        The   books  of  authority  on  this  subject,   tell us  that   there  are  certain   ‘essential  elements’   in  an  electoral  system,   which  are  designed  to  produce  the  following   positive  results:-
(i)  To  ensure  that  the  largest  possible  number  of  its  citizens   are  given  a  legitimate  voice  in   choosing  who  will govern  them.
(ii)  To  ensure  that   all   the  votes  cast   count  for  something,  and  are  as  close  as possible  to  equivalent  weight.
(ii)  To  ensure   that  it  is  free  from  manipulation  and/or  abuse,  with  built-in  safeguards  to  ensure  this.
(iv)  To  ensure  that  it  establish  a  close  link  between  the  electors  and  the  elected;  by  making  the  elected  people  directly  accountable  to  those  who  elected  them.
        In  my  humble  opinion,   Kenya’s  2022   Presidential  results  are  a  ‘salutary’  reminder  of  the  democratic   disadvantages  of  the  “First-past- the-Post”  electoral  system.  The  majority  of  the  commonwealth  countries  continue  to  operate  their   elections  on  the  basis  of  the  “First-past-the-Post   (FPTP)   electoral   system,    that  we  all   inherited  from  the  British   at  the  time  of  our  countries  becoming  independent  from  British  colonialism.  This  system   is  also  otherwise  known  as  the  “majority  system”,  or  as   the  “Plurality  System”;  which  basically  means  that the  candidate  who  receives  the  majority  of  the  votes  cast   at  an  election,  becomes  the  winner.  And the  political  party  (or  coalition  of  parties)   that  wins  the  majority  of  the  Parliamentary  seats,   gets  the  exclusive  right  to  form  the  ‘government  of  the  day’.
        However,  this  arrangement  can,  and  has  indeed  been,  criticized  on  several  grounds,  such  as   that:  (a)  large  numbers  of  people  who  voted  for  the  losing  party  or  parties,  will  be  governed  for  long  periods  of  time  by  people  whose  policies  the  disagree  with;  and    (b),  that  capable  men  and  women  who  do  not  belong  to  any  political  party  can  play  no  effective  role  in  the  country’s  governance.
In  the  just  ended  2022  Presidential  election  in  Kenya;  the  declared  results  show  that  the  winner,  President  William  Ruto,  obtained  50. 49 %  of  the  valid  votes  cast;  while  the  loser,  Raila  Odinga,  obtained  48.85 %  of  those   votes.
        The  ideal  model  of  contested  elections  between  political  parties  assumes  that  each  party  will  present  to  the  electorate  in  its  election  manifesto,  a  detailed  set  of  issues  and  implementation  programmes;  which  will  give the  voters  clear  alternatives  to  choose  from. This  ideal  model  also  assumes  that  the  voters  fully  will  understand   these  alternatives  which   are  being  offered  to  them  by  the  different  parties;  and  that,  as  a  result  of  this  understanding,  they  will  rationally  make  their  choices  between  the  competing  parties.
            Thus,   on  the  basis  of  these  assumptions,   and  in  view  of    their   declared  election   results,  this   means  that  practically  a  whole  half   of   the  Kenyan  electorate   will,    for  the  next  five  years;   “be  governed  by  people  whose  policies   they  disagree  with”.
Tanzania  has had  similar  experiences
Needless   to  say,   there  is   a  very  similar   situation  here  in  Tanzania;    where,  starting  with  the  first  multiparty  election  in  1995,   the  declared  results  of  the  Zanzibar  Presidential  elections  have  been  showing   similar  ‘razor-thin’   victories  for  the  ruling  party  CCM.  But,  because  of  the  constitutional  prohibition   that  we  discussed   in  an  earlier  article  in  this  column;  these  results  could  not  be  challenged  in  court.
            However,  apart  from  that   prohibition,  it  should  also  be  remembered  that    our   Opposition  parties  were  totally  new  (coming,  as  they  did,  after  thirty  years  of  one-party’   constitutional  governance   system).  Thus,  they  had  not  yet  developed  their  policies  and  election   campaign    strategies,  on  the  lines  of  the  ‘ideal  model’  described  above.  Instead,  they  mistakenly  believed  that under  the  strength  of  the  popular  “wind  of  change” to  multi-party   politics   that    was  blowing  across  the  world  at  the  time,   the  electorate  would   opt  for  change  and  simply  reject  the  hitherto   ruling  party.  That,  however, turned  out  to  be  a   totally  false  assumption;  since  the  electors  apparently  preferred  “the  devil  you  know”,  to   “the  angel  you  don’t  know”!   Thus,  presumably,  they  were  thereafter  governed  under  policies  with  which  they  disagreed.
            I am here  using the word “presumably” purposefully.  This  is  because in  our  circumstances,   these   assumptions   are  basically  not  true,  and  they  certainly do  not  apply.    For,   even  today,   after  so  many  years  of  operating  the  multi-party  system;   our  Opposition  parties   still  have  not  been  able  to  develop  policies  that  are  fundamentally  different,  to  the  extent  that  would  offer  a  distinct,  attractive  alternative  to  those  of  the  ruling  party.   This  is  primarily  because  n  our  objective  conditions,   the  main  issues  of  concern  to  the  electorate,   are  those  which  are   already  at  the  cornerstone  of  the  ruling  party’s  policies,  namely  the  fight  against  hunger,  poverty  and  disease, and  for the  equitable  social  and  economic  development  of   all  the  people  of  Tanzania.  with  the  aim  of  uplifting    the  living  standards  of  the  people  as  a  whole.   It   would   therefore  be  very  difficult,  or  even  impossible,  for  the  Opposition  parties  to  design  policies   which  are  fundamentally   different,   for  them  to  be  able  to  attract  voters  away  from  voting  for  the   ruling  party.
The  alternative  electoral  systems
For  the  purpose  of  enhancing  our  readers’  understanding  of  these  matters,   we  will  also  briefly  refer  to   the  other  electoral  system,   which  is  also  in  use  in  many  other  countries  of  the  world,  some  of  which  are   within  the  Commonwealth;  whose  elections  are  based  on  the  alternative  system  that  is   known  as  the  “Proportional  Representation (PR)   system. There  are  many  stakeholders  who  believe  that  this  is  a  more  just  system,  for  the  reason  that  the  election  results  truly   represent  the  voters’  wishes  or  preferences  among  the  competing  political  parties;  plus  that  women,  and  the  minority  communities,   have  a  better  chance  of   getting  elected  under  this  PR   system.                                                                                                           
             However,  there  is  no  ‘perfect’  electoral  system;  and  the  PR  system  has  its  own  serious   disadvantages;  including  the  following:-                                           
 (i)  That  the   voter  has  no direct  relationship  with  the  person  he  actually  votes  for,  since,  in  this  system,   voters  are  presented  with  long  lists  of  candidates  selected  by  the  competing  political  parties;  which  means   that   the  voter,  in  fact,   votes  for  the  party  of  his  choice,  and  certainly  not  for  the  candidate  of  his  choice.         
  (ii)  This  system  encourages  the  formation   of   many  small  parties,   which  often  leads  to   undesirable   political  fragmentation.                                                          
   (iii)  Removing  an  unpopular  individual  Member  of  Parliament  through  elections,   becomes  almost  impossible  under  this  system.                                                           
             A  more   detailed  discussion  of  the  pros  and  cons  of  these  two  electoral   systems  is  to  be   found  in  my  book  titled  “Reflections  on  the  First  Decade  of  Multi-Party  Politics  in  Tanzania”;  (Nyambari  Nyangwine  Publishers;   Dar es Salaam,  2014).
The  PR  system  is   not  a  cure  for  electoral  conflicts
I  am,  however,  not  suggesting   that   that  the  PR  system  would   provide  a  cure  for  Kenya’s  electoral  deficiencies  (that   have  been  the  main  ground  for  Raila   Odinga’s  basic  repeated   complaints  and   resort  to  the  Supreme  Court);  in  which  the  main  culprit  has  always  been  the  Kenya Independent  Electoral  and  Boundaries  Commission  (IEBC);  which,  in  2017,  was  accused  of  false    transmission  and  verification  of  the  Presidential  results.                                                                          
         And  again  in  2022,   Odinga’s   main  complaints   alleged  several  irregularities  including  fraud,  and  impunity  by  the  Commission  Chairman,  Wafula  Chebukati;   allegations  which  this  time  were  rejected  by  the  Supreme  Court,  a  ruling   to  which   Raila  Odinga  expressed   his  utter   dissatisfaction  with.
The  power-sharing  solution
In  the   search  for  a  viable  solution  to  the  fatal  post-election  conflicts  which  erupted  in  Kenya  following  their  2013  Presidential  election;    the  negotiating  parties  reached  Agreement  on   a   power-sharing  arrangement,  which  gave  Raila  Odinga  the  position  of Prime  Minister  in  the  Government  of  Kenya,  which  also   included  some  of  his   supporters.  And  his  seemed  to  have  worked  reasonably  well  for  some  time;   but  was  subsequently  abandoned.
                And  this  is  again  similar  to  what  happened  in the  cases  of  Zanzibar.  When  they  became  repeatedly  faced  with  similar  post-election  conflicts  in  Zanzibar  between  1995  and  2005;    the  CCM  decision  makers   successfully  negotiated   a  viable  solution,  which  was  to  make  a   new  constitutional  provision  for  a  Government  of  National  Unity  in  Zanzibar;  which  made  provision  for  power-sharing  between   the  main  contending   parties.
            This   was  effected  in 2010,  by  introducing  appropriate  amendments  to  the  Zanzibar  Constitution.   And   this   arrangement   has  worked  reasonably  well  ever  since.   /  0754767576.
Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa.

Saturday 24 September 2022

Four imperatives for Africa’s renaissance

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses Presidents and delegates via a telecast during the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, on February 5, 2022. In its relationships with the world, Africa can no longer be a consumer of the ideas of others.     

                             By Makau Mutua

What you need to know:

  • The world is today an idea by which I mean no one and nothing – states or peoples – can silo and isolate themselves.
  • Those who do not produce will be dominated by those who do at both the national and international levels. Produce ideas, or perish.
  • In its relationships with the world, Africa can no longer be a consumer of the ideas of others.

I want to underscore four imperatives that Africa must internalise in its relationship with the world, and within Africa.

These are the pivots for Africa’s renaissance. First, the world is no longer simply a piece of geography.

        The world is today an idea by which I mean no one and nothing – states or peoples – can silo and isolate themselves.

Virtually every barrier has, or is, coming down. These include barriers of geography as represented by national borders, notions of citizenship as exclusive possessions of nationals within a state, and barriers of identity that prevent gender, colour, religion, political opinion, ethnicity and other cleavages dividing “us” from “them”.

    Technology is breaking down all sorts of nativism and creating a plethora of untold possibilities. What is going to matter going forward isn’t where you are born, but where you can go, and the beauty of today and tomorrow – unlike yesterday – is that you can go anywhere. This is the first thing African states, peoples, civil societies and business interests must realise. Silos don’t exist anymore.

        It’s the superiority of ideas that has become paramount over everything else. Those who do not produce will be dominated by those who do at both the national and international levels. Produce ideas, or perish. Even within states, internal political competition will increasingly become a contest of ideas, not of identity. When you compete internally, ask whether you are competing for Kenya, or solely for your ethnic group.

Producer of ideas 

Second, in its relationships with the world, Africa can no longer be a consumer of the ideas of others. Africa will not be able to play effectively at the global level unless it becomes a key producer of ideas.

        Thus Africa’s external posture – with its head craned in a begging and longing posture towards either the West or the East – is not a viable condition of existence. That mentality of “otherness” or of inbred subordination in which the master-servant, inferior-superior construct exists must be expunged from our consciousness.

        But pursuing a pan-African identity doesn’t mean that Africans will be cynical about aspects of universality that have legitimate, universal and global purchases. These include foundational principles such as the rule of law, democracy, social justice and equity.

        If we don’t create and nurture free societies in Africa, we won’t be able to play on an African, let alone a global, plane. States and societies that are riven by corruption, impunity, extreme forms of exploitation and social injustice beget extremism and social dysfunction.

        That’s not where Africa wants to go. In this regard, Africa’s elites – the political intelligentsia, civil society and business – must cohere societies of empathy, not societies of exclusion. Those who see domestic politics as a zero-sum game, where the “enemy” must be vanquished, are the real enemies of Africa. We must fight them the way we fought colonialists for they are a mortal disease. Let’s fight for political power, and use it to put ourselves on the global map.

            Third, there is no future for an Africa that remains balkanised. No single African country can leverage global forces and trends by itself. That’s not how new geopolitical and market dynamics work. Hostilities and negative rivalries between and among African states are the banes of the continent’s prosperity.

        Regional synergies are indispensable for creating larger blocs for trade, diplomacy and geopolitical bargaining.  Africans must tear down the walls that keep their people apart. Otherwise individual African states would simply be prisons where we are trapped for exploitation by internal and external forces. Such a state would need to be overthrown, or smashed, by the people. This is what African leaders must remember every time they go to bed at night.

            Fourth, and finally, regional integration must be used to create and nurture values that give meaning to every African citizen. Africans should grow national and regional economies and markets, and do so not by replicating exclusions and marginalisation of certain groups in society.

Hang on to power 

Regionalisation should strengthen countries, not incubate practices that tear them apart. A case in point is the push by some leaders to hang on to power beyond their mandates. 

            Finally, African regional institutions must be real, not fake, cynical or hypocritical. They must mean something to Africans and to a global audience. Here, I can’t help but refer to the reaction of some Africans towards the International Criminal Court. That court would be totally unnecessary if as Africans we got our act together.  

        Let me conclude with a few caveats. We must remember that no society in history has ever developed without a great elite and a dominant intelligentsia. Those who don’t or can’t think are doomed. And this is not just the damnation of material things.It’s a damnation of the spirit, of the people’s zeitgeist. Secondly, we must remember great nations are built by individuals acting collectively. That’s why as Kenyans and Africans we don’t have the luxury of wasting a single human being. Let’s all rise together as one.

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

Source: Suday Nation tomorrow.

Friday 23 September 2022

Lessons from Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

The death of queen Elizabeth II recently was received with mixed feelings globally. The queen’s an icon and anathema altogether, that’s loved and loathed in equal measures. It depends on who you are vis-a-vis who she deservedly was. For the victims of her empire that enslaved and colonised them, queen Elizabeth II, like any colonialist, was a criminal that didn’t deserve any commemoration or clemency from her victims. Why? Because her empire abused and gazumped them for decades and thereby became rich and globally dominant.

Secondly, the queen presided over criminality and died without asking for forgiveness or offering any apology and redress to the victims. The South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s quoted as saying that “by mourning and praising the queen, you are celebrating colonialism” (Eye Witness News, Sept., 9, 2022). Therefore, victims had nothing to mourn.

            Of all who showed their detestation of the queen, Professor Uju Anya of Carnegie Mellon University broke a record of openness. She tweeted “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying” (New York Post, Sept., 11, 2022). Anya’s reaction became a knock after one of the world richest men, Jeff Bezos replied “this is someone supposedly working to make the world better?” He retorted, “I don’t think so.”

            Now, let’s look at the lessons from Queen’s demise as follows:

Firstly, colonialism is still live and well globally. This can be seen on how many leaders, ironically including the victims, consoled Britain without necessarily remembering its dirty and horrid past. Why did they forget the victims? How’d they while most of them are doing the same? Beneficiaries of slavery and colonisation still revere the late queen. Western countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US among others that are the offshoots of British colonisation still venerate her while some of the ex-colonies genuflect blindly and inanely.

Oddly, some ex-colonies such as Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and others declared national mourning. Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera’s quoted as saying that “... the flags will fly at half-mast for 10 days as a mark of respect for Her Majesty the Queen" (News24, Sept.,10, 2022). Ask Chakwera. How many days did the UK mourn when any of its President died? The answer is none.

Further “upon the passing of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Kagame has instructed that the National Flag and the Flag of the East African Community, on Rwandan territory, be flown at half-mast from today, 9 September 2022, until the conclusion of the State Funeral Service for Her Majesty” (Igihe, Sept., 9, 2022). Ask Rwanda what the queen did when genocide was perpetrated in 1994. The answer won’t be pleasant. Again, who forced those rulers to mourn one of the criminals who tortured them historically? Is this the lesson Africa learned from history?

Secondly, there’s this irony of flying flags half-mast. All countries that declared national mourning had their flags flying half-mast. However, the flag at the Buckingham Palace and King Charles III’s car had theirs full mast! What does this speak to if not the dominance of the British empire over others who sheepishly kowtow before it and its interests as in this case?

Thirdly, it came to my attention that the queen mooched the world without passport. She’d enter any country as she does Britain! Why did our postcolonial African leaders allow this if indeed they’re free from colonial yolk? Why didn’t they reciprocate by visiting Britain without carrying passport and see what’d happen?

Fourthly, although Africa mourned queen’s expiry but not of her victims who include themselves, I’m sure. If citizens of African countries that declared national mourning were asked of what to be done, many wouldn’t have agreed with what seems like their traumatization. Queen’s expiry awoke horrid memories of slavery and colonisation.

            In sum, many victims still wonder how national mourning could happen in Africa, the biggest victim of British enslavement and colonisation. The answer’s simple. Aren’t some African rulers modern time colonisers of their people? What do you call thievish, dictatorial rulers, and those that tamper with the constitutions or overstay in power illegally by force? What differences do they’ve from colonisers? Methinks the difference’s modern African black colonisers are robbing and colonising their own people, brothers and sisters while Europeans weren’t related to Africans whom they’ve kept on exploiting and discriminating against systematically and globally.

Source: Daily Monitor, today.

Thursday 22 September 2022

From ‘God save Her Majesty the Queen’ to God save his Majesty the King’

THE United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, now has a new Monarch, His Majesty King Charles III. He becomes the third British Monarch in my lifetime. I was born during the reign of the new King’s grandfather, King George VI; who, at that time, reigned over a huge, vast Empire, stretching right round the globe; and regarding which, Britons took pride in asserting that “the sun never sets on the British Empire”. This simply meant that when night fell in one part of that vast Empire, it was already morning in another part.
            Our country, the then Tanganyika Territory (now part of the United Republic of Tanzania), was initially part of that British Empire, being administered by the British government on behalf of the United Nations, under the latter’s mandate. Thus, being part of that Empire; we owed due allegiance to the British Monarch. Hence, on all formal occasions during that period, we were made to sing the British National Anthem, which includes a special prayer, in the last line of its first stanza.
        That line prays for the Queen “long to reign over us”; as follows :- “God save our gracious Queen, God save our noble Queen; God save the Queen. Send her Victorious, Happy and Glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the Queen”.
        The Almighty God must surely have granted the British their fervent wish, when he allowed the late Queen Elizabeth II to “reign over them” for seventy long years. But, as a consequence of this ‘change of guard’, the British National Anthem will similarly change to “God save the King”.
        The shift from ‘Empire’ to ‘Commonwealth’.
The ‘disintegration’ of the British Empire started even before she ascended to the throne; and by the time she died, that Empire had completely vanished; as a result of the granting of independence to all the countries that had previously been under British sovereignty.
        To her credit, Queen Elizabeth adjusted to these fundamental changes “with aplomb and good grace”. It is widely acknowledged that Queen Elizabeth II played an important role in maintaining this highly disparate organization together.
        And, with regard to African Commonwealth member countries, her personal relationships with their leaders; including Tanzania’s Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, were an important indicator of the social and attitudinal changes which accompanied the great shift from ‘Empire’ to ‘Commonwealth’.
        In an manifest show of personal affection and respect to Mwalimu Nyerere’s leadership, Queen Elizabeth II sent her own husband, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, to preside over the ceremonies relating to the granting of independence to Tanganyika, in December 1961.
        The celebration events included the formal ‘State Opening’ of the Independence Parliament; which also gave me the opportunity to participate in the traditional ‘Speaker’s procession’ in entering Parliament for that Opening ceremony.
The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.
Queen Elizabeth II played an important role in holding this disparate organization together. And, of course, the new King Charles III will also continue to head the Commonwealth, which has become even more inclusive, having recently been joined by countries which were never ruled by the British, namely Mozambique, Rwanda, Togo and Gabon.
        These countries have done so, presumably because they see certain distinct advantages in being members of the Commonwealth. Some of these advantages were identified by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in his Legislative Council speech delivered on 5th June, 1961; in which, in explaining the reasons for Tanganyika’s intention to join the Commonwealth upon the attainment of independence later that year; Nyerere described those benefits as follows:- “More than any other group of nations in the world today, the Commonwealth binds together, in friendship and in like-mindedness an astonishing variety of nations, both great and small, without distinction between them, and without discrimination amongst themselves.
        Being stronger than ties and treaties; less selfish than alliances; and less restrictive than any other association, the Commonwealth seems to me to offer much hope for lasting peace and friendship among the people of the world”.
        Tanganyika duly joined the Commonwealth upon the attainment of independence; and our Parliament also quickly joined the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
        My lucky personal contacts with Queen Elizabeth II. I personally had the rare good fortune, of personally shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth II on three separate occasions; all of which were facilitated by my being among the few top leaders of our country at the material time.
        The ‘books of authority’ on the subject of ‘leadership’ state as follows, regarding the basic sources of leadership:-“Some people become leaders because they possess certain talents, charisma, or passions; or because of their wealth, job title, or family name.
        Others become leaders because they possess great minds or ideas; or they can tell compelling stories. And then, there are those who just stumble into leadership, because of the times they live in, or the circumstances in which they find themselves”. With due humility, I count myself as belonging to this last category, namely, that of people who “just stumble into leadership, simply because of the time in which they lived, or the circumstances in they found themselves”.
            This is because I have none of the other special attributes that are mentioned therein. I was merely ‘thrust’ into these leadership positions by Presidential appointments. 
As Shakespeare said in Twelfth Night: “some people are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them”.
            That includes me. Hence, I was just lucky to have been holding some of these high-level leadership positions (which facilitated my personal contacts with Queen Elizabeth II); simply because of “ the circumstances in which I found myself” at the time of the relevant occasions.
            The first such occasion was when I was the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam, (1970 – 1977); a position to which I was appointed by President Julius Nyerere upon its establishment on 1st July. 1970; with President Nyerere himself being the Chancellor of that University, so designated by the 1970 statute which had established it.
        And I honestly believe that my appointment to that position was based primarily on “ the political circumstances of the time”; when President Nyerere wanted to disabuse the then widely held notion that Universities were “ivory towers”.
            The words “ivory tower” are normally used disapprovingly, to describe “a place where you are separated from the problems and practical aspects of normal life, and therefore you do not have to worry about them, or even understand them”. Obviously, President Nyerere did not want that label to be applied to Tanzania’s first and only University. He, thus wanted to give it a “Tanzanian look”, in terms of its top leadership; while retaining the University’s core functions of high-level quality research and teaching activities, which I was given strict instructions not to interfere with.
            I served in that capacity for a good seven years, until February 1977, when I was transferred to the post of Chief Executive Secretary of the newly established Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM); an apex CEO position in the then ‘one-party State’ constitutional dispensation. It is during that period, in 1979, that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II chose to pay a State Visit to Tanzania.
            Thus, due to my high status, I was among the few national leaders who were invited to Her Majesty’s welcoming dinner at State House, Dar es Salaam. And that is when I got my first opportunity to shake hands with Queen Elizabeth II, and to sit at the same ‘High Table’ with her. In the course of casual conversation before dinner, President Nyerere narrated to Her Majesty how his political party, TANU, had given full support to the process of establishing the University of Dar es Salaam; a short story which he briefly narrated as follows:- “This University was actually started in a hurry, initially as a University College of the University of East Africa, in early 1961. And that was even before the necessary infrastructures had been built.
            Hence, in those difficult circumstances, our Party, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), willingly donated its newly completed Party headquarters building, to the new University College, to enable it to make a start . And again when that institution eventually graduated to full University status in 1970, the party this time, donated its Executive Secretary General to go and provide the initial Administrative leadership of the new University; in the person of this young man here (pointing at me).
           This provoked a gentle smile from Her Majesty, and I was highly elated by that ‘humorous’ introduction. The second occasion when I got a similar opportunity, was when I was the Speaker of the Tanzania Parliament, and had also been elected Chairman of the International Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), in 1999.
                Two years later, in 2001, this Association was celebrating the 50th anniversary of existence. At the time of its founding in 1911, its name was the “Empire Parliamentary Association”; but had subsequently also changed to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. For the commemoration of its 50th anniversary, we had decided to hold our Annual General Meeting in London, the home of the British Parliament.
        Thus, in my leadership capacity of that of that organization, I got the privilege of being very close to Her Majesty at all the official functions, which were arranged for that occasion; specifically the official opening of the Annual General Meeting; and the glittering evening reception.
        In both events, I got the privilege of shaking hands with Her Majesty, and engaging in appropriate ‘tete-a-tete’ conversations. I remember the Queen saying to me: “So, Mr. Chairman, you are doing all the work? “No, your Majesty”, I replied “We have the Secretary General, who does all the work”.
            Enter His Majesty King Charles III. The title of “King Charles” reminds me of the ‘infamous’ reign of His Majesty King Charles I. (1600 – 1649); which was eventually terminated by his execution in 1649.
            In Commonwealth Parliamentary circles, King Charles I is especially remembered for his failed attempt to arrest five members of the British Parliament; an event, which subsequently became the foundation of the most cherished doctrine of “Parliamentary immunity, Powers and Privileges”.
            On 4th January, 1642; King Charles I arrived, uninvited, at the British House of Commons, purportedly to personally arrest five members who were opposing him loudly in the House, The Speaker, Hon. William Lenthall, had apparently been informed of the King’s evil intentions; and had forewarned the five members to absent themselves from the House on that day.
            The King entered Parliament, found the Members sitting there in conspiratorial absolute silence. He reportedly “borrowed” the Speaker’s Chair, and started scanning the House for the wanted MPs; but could not see any of them. Whereupon, he turned to the Speaker and said:- “I see all the birds have flown.
            But I do expect from you, that you shall send them unto me as soon as they return hither”. To which the Speaker meekly replied: “Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak here, except as the House may be pleased to direct me”. This famous statement has been granted a historic ‘space of honour’ in the annals of the British Parliament. 0754767576.
Source: Daily News today.

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II lived and died large

What you need to know:

Queen Elizabeth lived large, though on the backs of poor Britons who, however, never complained about it since her empire made them richer than they were supposed to deservedly be after colonising and plundering other countries, mainly Africa
        It is not easy, to sum up, the life and the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Although she had a small physique, she was larger than life. She was one of the longest-serving monarchs in the UK and the world, with 70 years on the throne. She was married for 73 years. A few can even dream about such a feat and live, let alone living it.
        Queen Elizabeth lived large, though on the backs of poor Britons who, however, never complained about it since her empire made them richer than they were supposed to deservedly be after colonising and plundering other countries, mainly Africa. I must state it from the outset. I don’t personally hate the Queen.
        She was a human, a lonely dowager after her beloved Philip died. Thus, my views aim to unearth colonisation, double standards, egoism, hypocrisy, and ignorance among others. I thus dissect the Queen as an institution but not a person. I see her as a part of a criminal enterprise that benefited Brits at the expense and suffering of others.
I also am trying to view the other side of the Queen whom many media angelised and lionised. I do this as a goodwill reminder to the perpetrators and victims of their duty and history.
Now, let’s look at how humans sometimes can be crazy by looking at what went on after the death of the Queen. Ask yourself. How much money was spent on 13 truckloads of flowers that were laid at different sites for her commemoration? According to the Al Jazeera (September 11, 2022), 13 truckloads of flowers were cleaned out from Buckingham palace at the material time.
        At the time the Queen died, the price of a bouquet of cut flowers in London stood between $20 to $90 (Shs76,389 to Shs343,754). Estimate the bouquet of flowers that were laid at all places for the commemoration of the Queen at half of the price.
            How many dollars were burnt by the same people on whose taxes the queen lived? How much reprieve would such money have caused to the victim of colonisation and slavery? Is this environmentally logical or is it just a symbol of extravagance and selfishness? Did she deserve that?
        I am sure that if Jesus would come today and die, nothing like this would happen. Why? Because people simply like pomp either out of ignorance or inferiority.  Again, why do Britons care much about the monarch? The answer[s] is simple. The colonisation and enslavement British empire authored and carried out changed Europe’s fate for many years. Europe has no resources of value except colonisation, hypocrisy, racism, and slavery if I may brutally be honest to you and myself.
            After considering the millions spent on flowers, further ask yourself. How much money was spent on her funeral, especially if we remind ourselves that many countries declared public holidays for her? Think again. How much this money would have done to constructively change the lives of disadvantaged people she, her empire, and other colonisers, enslaved, and exploited globally?
        Apart from money, think again. How much airtime was devoted to the Queen’s mourning? How many African presidents went to her entombment all flying in first class or presidential jets all paid for by the poor taxpayers who are the victims of the enterprise the queen presided over? To add salt to the injuries, such irresponsible rulers are accompanied by their spouses, courtiers, and eaters for no reason except for self-seeking and celebrating the opportunity colonisation gave them as they aped it. 
        The problem for many African rulers is lack of confidence in themselves. Two years ago, Tanzania lost its president. Britain didn’t declare a national mourning day. Neither its head attended the funeral. What are African rulers reciprocating for if at all they have always been viewed as the head prefects of colonies, which they seem to ignorantly enjoy instead of fighting it?
        In sum, when you ponder on everything, Remember. The Queen is the person who used to spend public taxes to fly her beloved dogs on private jets everywhere in the world. Again, was the money spent on the Queen? Nope. Britons wanted to showcase and convince the world that monarchy is important. Mark my words.
        Monarchy is important for the west but not for the rest. Remember. The same people making us understand and believe in a monarchy are the same ones that killed our kings and queens as they hypocritically kept, maintained, and went on revering theirs.
Source: Daily Monitor today.

Monday 19 September 2022

When African Presidents Are Treated Like Prefects

African leaders being transported on a coach provided by the United Kingdom government for the leaders attending the burial ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.
When they are in their countries, they are afraid of everybody and everything even innocent babies. Again, why are they so awkwardly afraid of the same people who finance their posh lives? The answer is simple. They don't do justice. Most of them are corrupt, thievish, and nepotic.
    Apart from the above vices, our rulers are extravagant, myopia, ruthless, and selfish. Powers, for them, is the means to fool and rob others but not to serve as they swear.
    What they faced in London is what they do to us. How many people travel crammed like sardines?

Saturday 17 September 2022

Nationalism, a danger to democracy

Kenyans gather at the the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani in Nairobi, Kenya, on September 13, 2022 ahead of William Ruto inauguration ceremony. 


                By Makau Professor at SUNNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC

Few forces in history have been more enduring – and more destructive – than nationalism, or its close derivative, sub-nationalism. Nationalism does not necessarily have negative connotations.

        At its core, nationalism can be understood as an ideology that advocates that the nation – the political society and the state – is the locus of sovereignty and self-governance free of external coercion and domination. In this rendering, nationalism sees the nation – meaning the people – as the actual source of power and popular sovereignty.

        There is no doubt that nationalism was one of the key ideologies that drove the struggle for self-determination and decolonisation. This was an anti-imperial, liberatory strand of nationalism that sought to reclaim Africa from European political, economic, cultural and intellectual domination.

Exclusionary impulses

It was an affirming nationalism without exclusionary impulses. But there are other forms of nationalism that define themselves as oppositional to “the other”. One expression of such nationalism would support one’s national interests but to the detriment of other nations and peoples.This has often led to isolationism or imperialism. Perhaps the most toxic forms of nationalism and sub-nationalism are inspired by race, culture and ethnicity. Racial and ethnic nationalism drove the colonial project. The imposition of Christianity as part of the colonial project cannot be isolated from white supremacy. Denys Shropshire, a white missionary in Africa, noted that Africans “as a primitive people” had not developed the “sovereignty of reason”.

        A. H. Barrow, another European missionary, argued that the mission to Africa was the “least that we [Europeans] can do to strive to raise him [the African] in the scale of mankind”. By no means have deep-seated racist and ethnically bigoted views been expressed only against Africans – and then used to subject, or attempt, to destroy a whole people.

        Racial hatred driven by the supposed superiority of the Aryan race over all others led to the Nazi Holocaust. The enslavement of Africans by Europeans and White Americans is a classic example of white nationalist supremacy.

In the case of Germany, ethnic and racial nationalism exerted itself at home and abroad, and sought global domination. It rejected the liberal constraints of political democracy. In it is the textbook application of the failure of the nation-state, or put differently, the inability of the liberal toolkit to contain the madness of nationalist and sub-nationalist hatreds.

         What lends itself in the structure and normative canvas of political democracy in the crucible of the modern state to subvert liberalism? The crisis of liberalism, and its inability to realise the ideal society it imagines, is partially rooted in the problematic relationship between the nation – the people who inhabit the country – and the state, the political instrumentality that governs the nation and the country.

Competing interests

This crisis arises because of the competing interests within the nation between the diverse nationalities to husband resources and political power. There is a natural tension between the nation and the state, and the inability to separate the two, or at least to prevent the capture of the state by the nation, or one or several of its nationalities.

        When the state is so captured, it may be rendered a servant of one of the nationalities to the exclusion of others. This nightmare scenario for liberalism can often vanquish the centrality of individual rights – and individualism, as opposed to racial or ethnical group consciousness and identities – as the pillar for governance and decision-making.

        In other words, benign nationalism, defined as patriotism or commitment to the national polity as a whole, is replaced by pernicious ethnic, religious and racial mass consciousness that sees “the other” as the enemy against whom power should be exercised by exclusion, marginalisation, demonisation, or even extermination. The state is then untethered from its liberal moors and set adrift in the turbulent seas of xenophobia, racism and ethnic chauvinism. In this climate, the risk of pogroms against minorities, or those without power, is heightened.

Citizen disillusionment

 In Europe and the United States, the rise of white nationalism has thrown open many seemingly settled questions about the liberal state, and the values by which it should be governed. Often, white nationalism is couched as populism, or citizen disillusionment with elitist, out-of-touch governments and institutions that threaten national, cultural and traditional heritages from within and without.

        The white nationalist sentiment that stokes European hatred of migrants with fears that black and brown refugees and migrants are a threat to European values and traditions aims to torpedo the liberal values of open society, tolerance, equal protection, the rule of law, multi-culturalism, diversity and anti-discrimination.        

         Even serene and stereotypically liberal and tolerant Sweden has been no exception. In America, Donald Trump rode on a wave of white xenophobia to the White House. Once in office, Trump waged an unprecedented war against civil liberties, democratic institutions, the judiciary, the press, the notion of separation of powers, immigrants and refugees, and the rule of law in general. In a word, he singlehandedly wrecked long-standing norms and protocols of American democracy. Can democracy in Kenya and elsewhere weather these illiberal fascist tendencies?

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.

Thursday 15 September 2022

Will Ruto Divide or Unite Kenya?

What you need to know:
Did Ruto contemplate the monopolisation and tribalisation of the presidency by two communities, Kalenjin and Kikuyu who have produced two and three presidents of Kenya respectively since independence?
        Kenya’s President-Elect, William Ruto’s a bumpy road ahead of him. He’s inheriting a divided and tribalized country. Therefore, he needs to think out of and without box to maintain the existing peace Kenya experienced after the elections that saw him being declared a winner though controversially. Now Ruto’s at the helms. He needs to think like a leader but not just an imperial President that’s become Africa’s curse thanks to coloniality.
        Ruto’s recently quoted as saying “we will not have a handshake that creates a mongrel of a government where no one knows where the line is. I believe in the rule of law. I do not believe in handshake stories” (Daily Nation, Sept 5, 2022). Did Ruto contemplate about the monopolization and tribalization of Presidency by two communities, Kalenjin and Kikuyu who have produced two and three Presidents of Kenya for close to sixty period of being independent? Uhuru Kenyatta, outgoing President who enacted handshake politics is worried as he’s quoted as saying that “when I said a time has come that this country needs a leader from another community, I didn't say it in bad taste, I said it because I have seen elections dividing this country and maybe it's time to show that a leader can come from another community” (Daily Nation, Sept 7, 2022).
        Kenyatta adds that “politics is an interesting game and a lot of things will change within three months.” Does Ruto grasp this, especially if he underscores the facts that Kenyans are now complaining about corruption, debts, surge in living cost, tanking economy, tribalism and many more. Kenyatta speaks from a practical experience despite openly preferring Ruto’s nemesis, Raila Odinga. Again, should we ignore Kenyatta’s nuggets of wisdom? I found Ruto’s approach anything but.
  If anything, Ruto needs to embark on the unification of Kenya instead of chest beating since:
Firstly, Kenya’s been divided since it gained its independence after the first government entrenched, internalised and weaponised tribalism, which has been Kenya’s albatross around its neck. Therefore, Ruto needs to thread the needle and let Kenya unite instead of dividing it.
        Secondly Ruto must revisit marginal victory, which puts Kenya on the razor’s edge. And this is serious. Remember, within three months Kenyatta says things can change, Ruto needs to remind himself about what forced Kenyatta into the handshake with Odinga. It is simple. Odinga still has a big chunk of Kenyans and Kenyan voters. Therefore, it is a political suicide to wish him away, especially if we reckon with the unpredictability of tribal politics. In tribal toxic societies, winning Presidency and ruling tribally divided people are two different things. Kenyatta knows this too well.
        Thirdly, Ruto needs to consider the numbers in the parliament. Narok Senator-elect Ledama Ole Kina that “we are the majority and we will play our role. Let us meet in Parliament starting tomorrow” (Daily Nation, Sept 7, 2022). This also speaks volume on how Ruto’s regime will face an uphill situation in passing its bills.
Apart from the above necessities for the unification of Kenya, Ruto and his advisors and handlers need to underscore the fact that he promised many things real and unreal for him to win. Will he deliver without offering an olive branch to his nemesis? Does Ruto know what Odinga, and his staunch followers are contemplating after losing because of what Odinga said “this judgment is by no means the end of our movement, in fact it inspires us to redouble our efforts to transform this country into a prosperous democracy where each and every Kenyan can find their full belonging” (AllAfrica, Sept 5, 2022). Odinga adds that “we will be communicating in the near future on our plans to continue our struggle for transparency, accountability and democracy.”
What adds up to the above utterances by three prominent Kenya politicians on what to expect is that there’s a tough nut for Ruto to crack shall he keep his chest-thumping proclivity. For example, many Kenyans know that his Deputy President, Rigathi Gachagua was convicted of obtaining money illegally. Justice Esther Maina of the High Court's Anti-Corruption Division, in convicting Gachagua, says that “the court finds that the funds are liable to forfeiture as the Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) has discharged its burden of proof that the funds were received by Gachagua” (, July 28, 2022).m However you interpret it, this Gachagua’s conviction.         I don’t know what Kenyan constitution says about ethicality and the fitness for convicts to hold high public office. Gachagua remains convicted since he’s not appealed the sentence as he promised. This speaks volumes on how a section of Kenyans would like to see accountability and the fight against corruption based on top-down approach if I can use the term. 
        In sum, will Ruto accept to think out of and without box and take a bull by horn and unite Kenya or squander the opportunity and hang on power hunger and divide it for his peril and his people? 
Source: Daily Monitor today.