Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ok, Mugabe is still around

A few weeks ago, I posted here an article wishing Mugabe a nice retirement. The Zimbabwean election came and went (or rather, refuses to go away) yet we do not have presidential results. The opposition MDC won (according to their count and remarks by US envoy Jendayi Frazer).


Incidentally, Frazer was unable to find similar words for Kibaki, whose fraudulent election is the novel Mugabe read before going to bed a few weeks ago.

Like in Zimbabwe, Raila's opposition ODM beat Kibaki at the election, but somehow, Kibaki remains the country's president. After sending congratulations to him, Jendayi Frazer's country was quick to withdraw when it noticed that the European Union and other more honest nations saw through Kibaki's ruse. Any surprise that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been calling for a coalition government?

Mugabe is sticking to a recount (amazingly, of results which have not been released). Not surprisingly, about 200 MDC supporters are in jail.

In a previous article, I asked what the African Union was planning to do about Mugabe. Well, it turns out they planned to do exactly nothing, so the matter remains in the hands of the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, to borrow another leaf straight from Kenya, Mugabe's police are accused of unleashing violence in the countryside, displacing thousands of people. This is a tactic that might become handy in case repeat presidential elections are called.

I just hope Zimbabweans will not descend to the level of killing each other like Kenyans did a few weeks ago.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kibaki pushing his luck

This man who claims to be the president of Kenya, STOLE elections on December 30. As a result of that theft, 1,500 Kenyans are dead and thousands more are refugees in their own country. Peacemakers came and went but a deal was struck when Kofi Annan managed to convince ODM, the election winners, to negotiate with Kibaki.

That was a soft landing for the thief. A few weeks before that, he would have helped himself (literally and allegorically) by looking for a country that could have accepted him. To date, he remains a pariah who is recognized by about seven despotic African and Middle Eastern countries.

In the deal that was signed before the chief mediators and the international community, Kibaki agreed to share power on equal terms with Raila Odinga, the leader of the winning party whose victory he had stolen. That agreement ended the civil war that Kenya had plunged into. It also held the promise for the resettlement of the displaced, and signalled hope for the country's economic recovery. To date, no cabinet has been agreed on, mainly because Kibaki and his henchmen continue to cling onto positions he assigned them during the chaos.

Kibaki, against the advice of the international community and local leaders, appointed his half-cabinet the same day Kofi Annan arrived in the country to mediate the talks. With hindsight, he was portraying himself as having the upper hand when we know he could hardly leave State House. The one time he ventured out of Nairobi, angry locals in Eldoret burnt homes near the vicinity of his function (the scene where scores of IDPs were burnt to death in a church). It was an act of spite, despicable as it was following the saddening deaths in the church, but Kibaki could only watch helplessly.

Yesterday, Kibaki sent his fellow octogenerian Branjis Muthaura to purport that according to the constitution, only the president had executive authority to appoint ministers. Huh! If that is the case, why did Kibaki not name the full cabinet in the first place? Why did Kibaki (reluctantly) negotiate with ODM if he had such powers?

It is not the first time Muthaura, the head of the civil service, is pooping on the high table. A few weeks back, accompanied by an equally repugnant uncivil servant Dr Alfred Mutua, he issued a startling statement that the portfolio balance and power-sharing in the deal signed by Kibaki and Raila would not touch the civil service. Total nonsense. Government includes civil service, otherwise Muthaura would not be a political appointee lapping Kibaki's every vomit and regurgitating it on our feet.

On KTN last night, Local Government minister Uhuru Kenyatta repeated roughly the same remarks. Media reports indicate that Uhuru is among the Kibaki lapdogs who have refused to let go of their ministries. This explains why Kibaki, against all reason, insists on a 40-member cabinet. ODM had asked for 34 in total, giving itself 17.

This is the way to go:
1. Declare Kibaki illegally in office.
2. Call for mass action until the cabinet is named.
3. Pile international and diplomatic pressure on Kibaki to go home.
4. Keep up the pressure on the Hague to investigate human rights abuses committed under his illegal watch, including the killing of unarmed and fleeing protesters.
5. Freeze Kibaki's assets and deport his family members living abroad.
6. Disband the Electoral commission and call fresh elections in six months.
7. Announce a plan to resettle the displaced under a new government. The current one is not only the cause of their displacement but has shown no inclination to resolve the issue of IDPs. Indeed, it has shown it wants more Kenyans displaced.
8. Cooperate with the TJRC to investigate the post-election violence and historical injustices.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bye, bye Mugabe; Rust in piece


Zimbabwe's Mugabe has conceded defeat -report
Thu 3 Apr 2008, 5:34 GMT
[-] Text [+]

JOHANNESBURG, April 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has admitted to his family and advisers that he has lost the most important election of his 28-year rule, South African financial daily Business Day reported on Thursday.

Mugabe lost control of parliament for the first time since independence in 1980 and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said he had also been defeated in a presidential election last Saturday and should concede defeat.

Business Day said Mugabe had privately conceded defeat and was deciding if he should contest a run-off vote needed because MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai failed to secure a clear majority.

As Mugabe goes home to shower, I'm trying to think whether to view him as a hero or as a villain. I'll try to base my decision on three things: land reforms, commitment to the independence of Zimbabwe and his legacy.

His land reforms, one of the main ingredients of his downfall, were well-intentioned. It is difficult to justify a situation where the majority black population owns less than half the arable land of their fathers, a situation similar to Kenya before independence. I've met a few Zimbabweans who think Mugabe was right to take over white lands. It sounded reasonable for Mugabe to ask Britain to compensate the whites they had brought to Zimbabwe. But things went horribly wrong when Mugabe turned to his people and started seeing them as enemies for simply opposing his methods.

Mugabe thumbed his nose at the west for years against the backdrop of economic sanction and diplomatic isolation. Apart from the land issue, this is one of the reasons why few African leaders openly criticised the man. They understood the oppression Mugabe himself had withstood and the hands of Britain (he was jailed for 10 years in the period leading to 1974). They also understood why he wanted to kick out the white settlers from the land of his people.

Mugabe's legacy for Africa is mixed. At home, he leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of his people. Abroad, his name evokes mixed emotions. Largely, I feel his legacy is a negative one. There are few enduring lessons from his rulership. A positive one, though, is that he had the courage to concede defeat and walk away without having to be pushed out by the gun. Interestingly too, although it could have been inadvertent, Zimbabwe under Mugabe retained a little mentioned law that could help many AFrican nations. It is a provision for a rerun in case a presidential election produces no clear winner. It is doubtful Mugabe retained it out of altruism, but as of yesterday, the country was preparing for a rerun now that his closest rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, did not attain the 50+1 majority needed to get him the presidency.

Like Daniel arap Moi in 2002, Mugabe has tasted defeat and will walk away a proud man. I do not see him going for the rerun.

Like a new spanner in the mechanic's workshop, Mugabe came in strong, shining like tempered steel. Now he walks away rusted, not out of good use but out of internal acidosis. On the whole, I give him 4 out of 10.

God bless Africa.