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Modern Democracy Has No Room for an Autocratic Ruler

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President Uhuru Kenyatta must be advised and made aware that should he intend to, think of, or try to become anything closer to an autocratic ruler or a dictator, his dictatorship will be a weaker one and will never cease to avoid  accommodating the masses (NASA supporters), or fall to a coup d’état.

It will confirm to him and his team that a democratic form of government is the logical and the historical progression of governments being forced to accommodate the wishes of the citizenry not region-ry.

In the Kantian theory of virtue, autocracy he defined to be a state in which an agent has rational self-rule over himself informed by radical evil, thereby taking the right attitude toward his own sensible nature and managing it appropriately. The Kantian virtuous person therefore is a person enjoined by duty to control, maintain and cultivate emotional states. The success of it results into a virtuous agent who is at peace with himself and the people he leads. Therefore, the calmness and tranquil always prepare him to stand down the potential threat to good conduct that his propensity to evil could pose.

The current political situation in Kenya have caused many to develop a (misled) perception that the country is heading to autocratic or dictatorial rule. In fact, believers of this misconceived theory argue that should Uhuru wins or be declared the fifth president of the republic of Kenya, the writing seems to be on the wall that he is likely to become an autocratic President.

Further, the recent behavior of Uhuru Kenyatta appears to be dominated by uncontrolled emotions which looks like the key contributors to all recent his action and behaviors whether he is in the state house or Harambee house or in the streets campaigning. Not only Media houses have captured, quoted and reported this, individual people have s well done great work in reporting the same on social media.

It may be true that Uhuru Kenyatta may have been carried away with his emotions or said what he ought not to have said, he might have abused the chief justice and the judiciary or Raila and the NASA team or the Luos and other people from a given ethnic community, but that does not make him an autocratic ruler or will lead him into becoming one.

Africa in the 21st century is far much different from the Africa in 19th or 20th century. The Kenya of 2017 can and will never be the same as the Kenya of between 1966-2002. No one will ever succeed as an autocratic president in Kenya. Whether he comes from either the majority or minority ethnic community in Kenya. The people of the modern Kenya cannot allow that. Never.

We read daily in the historic books that former president Moi was an autocratic and dictatorial ruler and that he ruled the country as his personal enterprise, the way himself wanted and for about twenty four years he succeeded. Maybe what we need to ask is… what are some of the reasons why Moi’s autocratic rule lasted for long? The simple answer is that there were no independent judges like Njoki Sussana Ndung’u or Smokin Wanjala to either dissent or accept. Moi was the judge, the president, the speaker of the national assembly, the bishop, the Sheikh, the Pope and the Chancellor of all Kenyan public Universities. Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi was everything.

Kenya has undergone through many legal systemic changes that makes it simply impossible for any autocratic ruler to prevail. Maybe for one or two days, an autocratic ruler can survive, however, he cannot resist the wave on the third day, and he will be gone. Kenyans themselves have tasted, enjoyed and celebrated the fruits of democracy since 1992 when section 2A was finally repealed. People had a chance to see for themselves the beauty of freedom when the dangers of an autocratic ruler was exposed.

One of the greatest achievements which is the victory of all Kenyans was the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2010. This Constitution captured most of the fundamental issues which initially were lacking in the old one hence gave room and sustained autocratic rulers. These were the very issues which created room for President Moi and his team to authoritatively rule Kenya with an iron rod without fear of anything. Some of the major achievements of 2010 Constitution which has sorted out and done away with any autocratic ruler are;

The 2010 Constitution made it legally impossible for anyone to reign for more than two term (ten years). This is to say, an individual is legally allowed to only rule for ten years and not more as it was during Moi’s time. The creation of devolution (County government) has settled out the problems of imbalance development. Moi was accused of exercising economic sabotage in some parts of Kenya especially those seen to be opposition strong holds or opposition friendly.

It means, whether one region or county supports the government in place or not, their share will still be given out to them and should the government refuse or delay, they simply go to court and have this money allocated to them released even as required by the Constitution. This also means, these regions are able to develop, create jobs for it people and improve livelihoods of the people residing within them with or without begging, singing or dancing to the tune mtukufu rais.

Thirdly, the 2010 Constitution created and established strong horizontal exercising of power. This is to say, it established clear roles of branches of government such as the parliament for making of laws, judiciary for interpreting such laws and the executives for the implementation of both the formulated and the interpreted laws. Each of these branches stands on its own, independent and away from any form of interference. Power is shared horizontally and not vertically as it used to be before.

Because of the above reasons, it is almost impossible for whoever rules to influence both the three branches of governments, maybe he can influence one or two but not all. It is open that former Presidents like Jomo Kenyatta, Moi and even Mwa Kibaki hugely managed to rule because Kenya had a weak Constitution to protect its citizen from autocratic rulers. Again, power was vertically exercised.

In addition, probably the most celebrated accomplishment of the 2010 Constitution is the inclusion of the statement that power belongs to the people of Kenya and the bills of rights and freedom that any Kenyan is allowed to enjoy anywhere anytime any day.  The fact that people must be consulted through referendum should there be any need for change in major areas on the Constitution cement it all.

In the days of President Moi, himself was the constitution, what some may call a walking Constitution. Moi could either fire or appoint you when taking tea in his kitchen. It was even illegal to mention the name Moi unconstructively. Those who attempted disappeared miraculously. Some who criticized Moi were picked from their homes, directly from the thighs of their wives, some rushed to the police stations were others were tortured to death while others jailed without trial.

Those who led Kenya by then did so when majority of Kenyans were ignorant of their rights, many did not even have idea that there is something called government or election. Some Kenyan Communities were not aware of the important of the seat of presidency. They were busy taking care of their animals in the bush or with finishing in the deep waters of Lake Victoria or Lake Baringo. They were kept in darkness, fresh tasting the honey. Some were probably made to believe that honey (being in government) is poisonous hence did not bother to know who the president was leave alone knowing how they are elected.

Today, even in the deepest parts of this country Kenyans are not only aware but are actively participating in electing who they think will represent their interests. Kenyans have known why it is important to choose a leader. Kenyans are aware of their Constitutional rights and freedoms. This is why voices of Kenyans are heard from all parts of the country either for or against the government.

Further, the opposition party in Kenya is a force to reckon with. It is equal to the task all together. The Kenya of today, no president can wake up one day and disappear with the opposition leader or officials lest he want his reign ends just that simple. Today, we see opposition leaders calling for mass actions and demonstrations are large number of Kenyans are turning up demanding for their right, something that none could have attempted in the times of Moi or Jomo Kenyatta. In fact, we now hear calls to divide Kenya into two if things cannot work out when together.

Uhuru Kenyatta may win the repeat of election on October 26th 2017. Indeed he maybe attempted to be an autocratic President for one or two days. He may be bitter, hungry or extremely emotional as it appears right now. However, the truth remains, Uhuru Kenyatta can never survive as an autocratic president in Kenya. There is no room for that in the current Kenya. Kenyans will never give him that opportunity. Even his running mate William Rutto also knows that. It is impossible and so there is no point for anyone to worry.

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Africa

Critical Views On Russia’s Policy Towards Africa Within Context Of New World Order

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In September WhatsApp conversation with Matthew Ehret, a Senior Fellow and International Relations Expert at the American University in Moscow, he offers an insight into some aspects of Russia-African relations within the context of the emerging new global order. 

In particular, Matthew gives in-depth views on Russia’s valuable contribution in a number of economic sectors including infrastructure development during the past few years in Africa, some suggestions for African leaders and further on the possible implications of Russia-China collaboration with Africa. Here are important excerpts of the wide-ranging interview:

What are the implications here and from historical perspectives that Russia is looking for its allies from Soviet-era in Africa…and “non-Western friends” for creating the new world order?

Russia is certainly working very hard to consolidate its alliances with many nations of the global south and former non-aligned network. This process is hinged on the Russia-China alliance best exemplified by the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union with the Belt and Road Initiative and the spirit of cooperation outlined in the the Feb. 4 Joint Statement for a New Era of Cooperation.

Of course this is more than simply gaining spheres of influence as many analysts try to interpret the process now underway, but has much more to do with a common vision for instituting a new system of cooperation, creative growth and long term thinking uniting diverse cultural and religious groups of the globe around a common destiny which is a completely different type of paradigm than the unipolar ideology of closed-system thinking dominant among the technocrats trying to manage the rules based international order.

Soviet Union, of course, enormously supported Africa’s liberation struggle and resultantly attained political independence in the 60s. What could be the best practical way for Russia to fight what it now referred to as “neocolonialism” in Africa?

Simply operating on a foundation of honest business is an obvious but important thing to do. The African people have known mostly abuse and dishonest neo-colonial policies under the helm of the World Bank and IMF since WW2, and so having Russia continue to provide investment and business deals tied to the construction of special economic zones that drive industrial growth, infrastructure and especially modern electricity access which Africa desperately needs are key in this process.

African countries currently need to transform the untapped resources, build basic infrastructure and get industrialized -these are necessary to become somehow economic independent. How do you evaluate Russia’s role in these economic areas, at least, during the past decade in Africa?

It has been improving steadily. Of course, Russia does not have the same level of national controls over their banking system as we see enjoyed by China whose trade with Africa has attained $200 billion in recent years while Russia’s trade with Africa is about $20 billion. But despite that, Russia has done well to not only provide trains in Egypt, and has made the emphasis on core hard infrastructure, energy, water systems, and interconnectivity a high priority in the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit and the upcoming 2023 Summit.

Generally, how can we interpret African elite’s sentiments about Russia’s return to Africa? Do you think Russia is most often critical about United States and European Union’s hegemony in Africa?

I think the over arching feeling is one of trust and relief that Russia has returned with a spirit of cooperation. According to all the messaging from Lavrov who recently completed an important Africa tour late July, I can say that Russia is very critical of the USA and EU approach to hegemony in Africa. As Museveni and the South Africa Foreign Minister have recently emphasized, they are sick of being talked down to and threatened by western patronizing technocrats, whereas we see a sense of mutual respect among the discourse of Russian and Chinese players which is seen as a breath of fresh air. 

While the west is obsessed with “appropriate green technologies” for Africa while chastizing the continent for its corruption problems (which is fairly hypocritical when one looks at the scope of corruption within the Wall Street- City of London domain), Russia supports all forms of energy development from coal, oil, natural gas and even nuclear which Africa so desperately needs to leapfrog into the 21st century.

Understandably, Russia’s policy has to stimulate or boost Africa’s economic aspirations especially among the youth and the middle class. What are views about this? And your objective evaluation of Russia’s public outreach diplomacy with Africa?

So far Russia has done well in stimulating their youth policy with expanded scholarships to African youth touching on agricultural science, engineering, medicine, IT, and other advanced sectors. Additionally the Special Economic Zones built up by Russia in Mozambique, Egypt have established opportunities for manufacturing and other technical training that has largely been prevented from growing under the IMF-World Bank model of conditionality laced loans driven primarily by the sole aim of resource extraction for western markets and overall control by a western elite. Russia has tended to follow China’s lead (and her own historic traditions of aiding African nations in their development aspirations) without pushing the sorts of regime change operations or debt slavery schemes which have been common practice by the west for too long.

Sochi summit has already provided the key to the questions you have, so far, discussed above. Can these, if strategically and consistently addressed, mark a definitive start of a new dawn in the Russia-African relations?

Most certainly.

Geopolitical confrontation, rivalry and competition in Africa. Do you think there is an emerging geopolitical rivalry, and confrontation against the United States and Europe (especially France) in Africa? What if, in an alliance, China and Russia team up together?

China and Russia have already teamed up together on nearly every aspect of geopolitical, scientific, cultural and geo-economic interest imaginable which has created a robust basis for the continued successful growth of the multipolar alliance centered as it is upon such organizations as the BRICS+, SCO, ASEAN and BRI/Polar Silk Road orientation. This is clear across Africa as well and to the degree that this alliance continues to stand strong, which I see no reason why it would not for the foreseeable future, then an important stabilizing force can not only empower African nations to resist the threats, intimidation and destabilizing influences of western unipolarists. 

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Sahel security crisis ‘poses a global threat’

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Refugee women prepare food in a displacement site in Ouallam, in the Tillaberi region of Niger. © UNOCHA/Michele Cattani

Rising insecurity, including the proliferation of terrorist and other non-State armed groups, coupled with political instability, is creating a crisis in the Sahel that poses a “global threat”, the UN chief warned Thursday’s high level meeting on the vast African region, which took place behind closed doors at UN Headquarters in New York.

“If nothing is done, the effects of terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime will be felt far beyond the region and the African continent”, said Secretary-General António Guterres, in his remarks issued by his Spokesperson’s Office.

“A coordinated international breakthrough is urgently needed. We must rethink our collective approach and show creativity, going beyond existing efforts.”

The insecurity is making a “catastrophic humanitarian situation even worse”, he said, leaving some beleaguered national governments, without any access to their own citizens.

‘Deadly grip’ tightening

Meanwhile, “non-State armed groups are tightening their deadly grip over the region and are even seeking to extend their presence into the countries of the Gulf of Guinea.”

The indiscriminate use of violence by terrorist and other groups means that thousands of innocent civilians are left to suffer, while millions of others are forced from their homes, Mr. Guterres told the meeting of national leaders, during the High Level Week summit.

Women and children in particular are bearing the brunt of insecurity, violence and growing inequality”, he said, with human rights violations, sometimes committed by security forces mandated to protect civilians, “of great concern”.

Climate factor

And the crises are being compounded by climate change, said the UN chief, with soil erosion and the drying-up of water sources, “thereby contributing to acute food insecurity and exacerbating tensions between farmers and herders.”

“Against a global backdrop of turmoil on energy, food and financial markets, the region is threatened by a systemic debt crisis that is likely to have repercussions throughout the continent.”

The conventional international finance remedies are not helping, the UN chief said bluntly, with more and more countries forced to channel precious reserves into servicing debt payments, leaving them unable to pursue an inclusive recovery, or boost resilience.

“It is absolutely necessary to change the rules of the game of the financial reports of the world. These rules of the game are today completely against the interests of developing countries, and in particular the interests of African countries”, said Mr. Guterres, “with debt problems, with liquidity problems, with inflation problems, with instability, necessarily posed by this profound injustice in international financial and economic relations.”

Democracy, constitutional order

The UN chief called for a “renewal of our collective efforts to promote democratic governance and restore constitutional order” across the whole Sahel, which stretches from Senegal in the west to northern Eritrea and Ethiopia in the east, a belt beneath the Sahara of up to 1,000 kilometres.

The rule of law and full respect for human rights are indispensable for ensuring security and sustainable development, Mr. Guterres said.

Addressing national leaders and senior politicians from the region, he said the UN “stands ready to work alongside you, with urgency and solidarity, for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Sahel.”

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South Sudan: Extended roadmap for lasting peace deal, a ‘way point, not an end point’

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Since 2018, the Revitalized Agreement between the key players in South Sudan’s long-running civil war has provided a framework for peace, the Head of the UN mission there, UNMISS, told the Security Council on Friday – “despite continued outbreaks of intercommunal violence”. 

UN Special Representative Nicholas Haysom said that although key provisions of the Agreement are set to end by February, the parties agreed in August on a Roadmap that extends the current transitional period by 24 months. 

While a welcome development, he reminded that “there is no alternative to the implementation of the peace agreement”. 

“Let me underscore that the roadmap is a way point, not an end point”, he said. 

Inclusive political process 

The UNMISS chief flagged the importance of an inclusive political process and the opening of civic spaces as “essential conditions” for a robust and competitive electoral process. 

He then outlined some steps underway – from President Salva Kiir and first Vice-President Riek Machar’s agreement to resolve the parliamentary impasse, to the graduation of the first class of joint armed forces recruits – for which budgetary resources, integration and deployment, are vital to allow a broader security sector transformation. 

“Failure to address these critical issues…have the potential to reverse the gains made,” Mr. Haysom warned. 

Violence continues 

He went on to describe violence on the regional level, marked by cycles of cattle raiding, abduction, and revenge killings along with fighting in Upper Nile state that has displaced thousands of people. 

The Special Representative reported that while conflict-related violence is also increasing, UNMISS continues to support prevention through policy frameworks and other areas. 

“The Mission is strengthening its support to the justice chain in each state…to address crimes that risk destabilizing the peace, including those involving gender-based violence,” he told the ambassadors. 

‘Double pivot’ 

Mr. Haysom said that UNMISS has managed to accomplish a “double pivot” in its focus and operations, by channeling resources towards the political process; proactive deployment to violent hotspots; and expanding its protection presence for civilians. 

He assured that South Sudan’s natural resources have “tremendous potential” for either conflict, or cooperation.  

“It is always political that can make the difference”. 

Turning to the humanitarian situation, he acknowledged that food security continues to deteriorate, leaving some 8.3 million people in need and outstripping available funding. 

Noting that the Humanitarian Response Plan is only 44.6 per cent funded, he urged donors to fulfil their pledges. 

‘Litmus test’ 

He asserted that the next few months would be “a litmus test” for the parties to demonstrate their commitment to the Roadmap, warning against “delays and setbacks”. 

In closing, the Special Representative reaffirmed the importance of the international community’s support. 

“Our collective task now is to support the parties in fulfilling their obligations to the people of South Sudan as per the timing of the Roadmap,” he concluded. 

Indispensable timelines 

Meanwhile, Lilian Riziq, President, South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network discussed a broad-based and inclusive process for all key participants, underscoring the need for a new transitional governance process.  

She underscored that election timelines are indispensable, noting that four years on, levels of revitalized agreement implementation have not brought security or ended humanitarian misery. 

She also highlighted ways that precious oil revenues in South Sudan, have been heavily misused. 

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