The Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia H.E Mrs Purity Muhindi has been recalled by the Kenyan government. A short Statement issued by the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not give reasons why the Ambassador had been recalled.
Since she assumed Office, the Ambassador has been at the center of several scandals in Stockholm which might have been embarrassing the Kibaki government. The latest was the hiring of VIP Shipping International, a non existent company, to transport a container belonging to Mr. George Kinya, a diplomat, who was on transfer to Canada.
An Official at the Foreign Affairs Office in Nairobi could not comment on the news but told KSB that the Ministry “is in the process of restructuring” to accommodate terms of the new Coalition government and that it is normal that officers abroad could be recalled.
A source at Orange House (ODM Headquarters in Nairobi) told KSB that the Party is negotiating diplomatic positions especially those of Kenyan Ambassadors and that the Party is keen on having an ODM loyalist posted at the Kenyan Embassy in Scandinavia because of its strategic location.
An Official at the Embassy said that the Embassy was unaware about the recall and advised that KSB call back later so that the Embassy could confirm the news.
The recall will, no doubt, be a big relief especially among Kenyans who believe that Purity has been a let down in his running of the Embassy and contacts with the Kenyan community in Sweden.
The Orange Democratic Movement Scandinavia (ODM-S) sends condolences to the family of Hon William Ruto following the death of his father, Mr. Daniel Kipruto Cheruiyot on Saturday March 29th 2008. Mr. Cheruiyot, who was 78, died at his Kamagut home in Uasin Gishu District.
The Party hopes that Ruto and family will have the courage to go through the tragedy of losing a close member. May the soul of Ruto’s father rest in peace.
Mr. Martin Ngatia
Kenyans have continued to awaken to the quotidian reality that the peace agreement signed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga on February 28th might have hit a snag because of the gridlock surrounding the naming of the grand Coalition Cabinet that was expected to send signals that Kenya was eventually getting back to business following the mobocracy that was precipitated by election rigging by PNU.
The bickering seem to be centered on what has euphemistically been referred to as “portfolio balance” but what breaks down into the number of Cabinet ministers to be appointed in the grand Coalition and the actual identity of Ministries to be pocketed by the two coalition partners represented by the two principals – Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga.
The entrenchment of the Prime Minister’s Office in the Kenyan Constitution through Parliament a few weeks ago means that Kenyans and the world have already witnessed the birthday of a “dual centered” power structure in the country.
The current pickle on the appointment of the much awaited grand Coalition Cabinet should be a worrying signal that the political symbiosis that was expected to flourish between ODM and their PNU protagonists following the signing of the peace agreement might have been a distant mirage.
Politically, Kibaki is a representation of the corrupt Kikuyu ruling class that has been in control of the Kenyan State machine since the December 2002 elections while Raila Odinga is the embodiment of the Luo, Kalenjin, Luhya and other ethnic ruling classes which mobilized their kith and kin to vote for ODM in the last elections.
The quantitative message that can be discerned from the current quandary is that the intransigent Kikuyu ruling class which Kibaki represents is averse to the concept of “real power sharing” that had been propagated strongly by both American Imperialism and agents of European Union who would like to see a peaceful Kenya as this is the key to a peaceful exploitation of the country’s economic, natural and human resources.
The inability of the “principals” to set up a Cabinet because of petty disagreements based on the size of the Cabinet and the identity of the Ministries for their Parties should serve as enough evidence that the Coalition will not be able to work in harmony to transform the lives of millions of Kenyans pregnant with expectations of change and transformation once the Coalition gets into business.
What should be expected is a series of disagreements, political atmospherics, combat in Parliament, flaps in policy making, malevolence during strategic inter-ministerial consultations and a host of roadblocks in the way of Coalition governing.
THE STRUGGLE AGAINST KIKUYU RULING CLASS
ODM and PNU did not envision the possibility of a Coalition government when they went to the polls and what we have today is an abrupt product of diplomatic force that was commanded by Kofi Annan after election rigging and the eruption of crisis in Kenya.
The catalyst was Mass action that made Kenya “ungovernable” thereby sending worries to external forces with interests in Kenya including the United States and the European Union.
For PNU, the stakes of power sharing are high because in as much as the issue remains debatable, PNU and, by extension, the Kikuyu ruling class, is experiencing its last days in power in the Republic of Kenya.
Every conscious Kenyan knows that if elections were called today, the remnants of PNU apparatchiks in government will be swept out of power because the Kenyan nation is not in favor of another Kikuyu ruling class in control of government following what was witnessed before, during and after elections which were rigged by the same people.
After stealing elections and being caught red handed, one would have expected the Kikuyu ruling class to humble itself and try to heal the wounds created as a result of election rigging. They could have thanked ODM for accepting to share power with PNU and even recognizing Kibaki as President after the deal, not introducing new problems at a time when even Raila Odinga has not been sworn in as Prime Minister.
What is holding progress today in Kenya is pure Kikuyu ruling class arrogance and the general old fashioned belief within this class that Kenya belongs to Wakikuyu. The back bone of this belief has already been broken by Kenyan voters but the ruling class has been blinded in a way that they cannot yet see it.
The current impasse has nothing to do with the ordinary Kikuyu in the streets of Nairobi, New York or Stockholm. Outside this ruling class, the group of Kikuyus who wish that Kibaki does not give in to the concept of real power sharing is the Kikuyu chauvinists whom, in their own Mukimo brains, believe that the whole idea of power sharing with ODM was a grand mistake which has to be corrected at the implementation stage thus the impasse.
Unfortunately, majority of those surrounding Kibaki are Kikuyu chauvinists and these includes personalities in the Cabinet like Martha Karua, John Michuki, Kiraitu Murungi, Amos Kimunya, Uhuru Kenyatta and others. They are supported by leeches such as Kalonzo Musyoka, Mutula Kalonzo, Moses Wetangula and company who are playing the typical Kenyan politics of the stomach.
With the battle lines already drawn as seen in difficulties in the appointment of the Cabinet by just two people calling the shots in the grand coalition, our perspective is that the Coalition will not work on a long term.
As the squabbles continue, Kenyans should prepare to go to the polls to elect leaders who can form a government without the ghost of election rigging lurking in the sidelines. The Kikuyu ruling class will never give in because they are still living under the illusion that Kikuyus must be part of the Central control mechanism in the Kenyan political establishment.
This is the source of resistance against Kikuyu ruling class and although this struggle will take time before victory can be achieved, it must be known among Kenyans that the real enemy is not the Kikuyu masses (some of whom have been brain washed with the House of Mumbi ideology) but the class of Kikuyu wealth grabbers that are trying to protect their loot by delaying an idea whose time has come – the idea that Kenya belongs to no single ethnic group. It will not be easy. But the struggle has to continue.
It is astonishing to hear that some crazy person, or people have suggested a Kenya Cabinet size of 44. According to the 2007/8 budget the total cost of running 34 ministries this year is Ksh 299.6 billion (an average of Ksh 8 billion per ministry per annum).
Using the same average cost, 44 Ministries might cost you and I about Ksh 387 billion. Are you prepared to fork out another 100 billion shillings or so every year to accommodate your Member of Parliament’s desire to have a flag and to be called “Waziri”?
Let’s be clear, MPs were elected to represent us, not to agitate for wasteful government expenditure in the name of power sharing. Certainly, they are not meant to be inciting Government to spend Ksh 100 billion more for no serious purpose beyond contriving to get Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga to give them sinecures at public expense.
If you read the 2007/2008 Estimates of Recurring Expenditure of the Government of Kenya, you will find that Ksh 100 billion per year is equivalent to Kenya’s current annual public debt repayments. Ksh 100 billion would finance the youth fund for 100 years and the women’s fund for 50 years. Ksh 100 billion would build ten 10-lane highways each of 50 km of length – the distance between Nairobi and Thika. It is twice the aid in loans and grants received from bilateral partners for development; and four times all the grants Kenya receives from multilaterals such as the World Bank.
We cannot afford to spend Ksh 100 billion this year on a bloated government. We have better things to do with our money. What has the GOK done about IDPs who are still living in tents and being chased from place to place by GOK security personnel whenever they dare to complain about their abysmal living conditions? Nothing.
What provision is really being made for the resettlement and welfare of these unfortunate fellow citizens? Your guess is as good as mine. Do the people negotiating the size of the Cabinet have even a spare thought for the IDPs? I doubt it. Ksh 100 Billion is two times as much as we all lost because of corruption in Anglo Leasing. It is twice the amount of money Treasury will raise from the sale of public shares in Safaricom. In fact it is equivalent to at least 5 years of Safaricom’s profit at 17 billion shillings.
Kenya needs a good government not a big one. Today noone seriously argues that we have a good government in place. In fact, and here I am suggesting a vetting methodology for high offices, only 7 of the current Ministers would pass the test of not being adversely mentioned in PAC, PIC, KACC reports, or adverse court judgements. At over 30 Ministries (larger and better paid at top level than any World power) we already have a big government. Who is trying to get us to pay more for an even larger cabinet? For how long can we continue this way?
In my opinion, we need no more than 12 Ministries with one Assistant each. The rest of the Members of Parliament should represent us as they were voted, and are paid quite handsomely, to do from the Back Benches on both sides. We need good honest technocrats to run the public service for the benefit of the public with minimal political interference by temporary ministers. We need to stop pampering politicians who only recently caused us all to have the life threatening, or near death experience that we euphemistically call the “post election crisis”.
On this point many of those jostling and lining up for positions at our expense ought properly to be investigated for their individual roles in the making of this crisis. What were many of them doing in the run-up to the election of December 27th 2007? Where were many of them when we needed them to help Kenyans? Who has mismanaged our public resources in the past, present and in the near future if we don’t stop them? Indeed these are questions we should be focusing our energy in answering.
Our immediate and priority concern should be directed to the poorest and not the wealthiest Kenyans. Nearly twenty million Kenyans live on less than Ksh 64 per day. That means they will make no more or have no more to spend than Ksh 25,000 in a whole year. And that is for families! These are the Kenyans we should be spending money on. I would prefer to spend 100 billion shillings this coming year on poor Kenyans rather than continuing to fatten political sacred cows.
Finally, the only reason such a proposal is even seeing the light of day is the fact that despite the clear provisions of section 16 of the Constitution, Parliament has never made a law to establish and determine the number and portfolios of the Cabinet. Never – in 45 years! Is this the reason why there is no outrage from our elected MPs about the abuse of authority and culture of sinecures which has persisted in Kenya since the days of Jomo Kenyatta?
I am writing to thank you for your efforts to keep on defending Kenyans in Diaspora whenever need arises. I wish to mention that not much needs to be added to your comments regarding the attack aimed at Kenyans in Diaspora
As you well know, I am part of the Diaspora although most of the times I am in Kenya, trying to advocate for meaningful and ideological changes in politics through our Party the Chama Cha Mwananchi (CCM).
For Clay Muganda to lump all Kenyans in one basket and accuse them of interfering with Kenyan politics as if they are not Kenyans, is a sign of stupidity and ideological bankruptcy. This man forgets that Kenyans abroad are more likely to better understand how their leaders are doing things back home.
They have information from their relatives and friends back in Kenya. They visit Kenya regularly as I do and see things as they are. Kenyans abroad are more ideologically aware of how politics in Kenya is conducted and from this position, they can tell what is being done wrong and by who.
Osewe mentioned that we, Kenyans in Diaspora, are doing many good things back home with the money we work hard for abroad. With our own money, we even send the bodies of Kenyans who die abroad to rest, regardless of their tribes thereby saving their families back home from such expenses.
We have opened schools for the orphaned while we also send, on a regular basis, medical equipment for free to various hospitals in Kenya. We have been sending money to help maintain Kenyans who returned to Kenya to try to bring sanity in Kenyan politics. We have been sending money to help buy medicine for political prisoners in Kenyan jails. We are daily sending money to relatives in IDPS. Recently Kenyans in Stockholm sent about a quarter million Kenyan shillings to assist the displaced. I wonder how much Muganda has spent on IDPS since his money does not come from dish-washing.
We do not only send money to Kenya but we also help keep watch on what politicians are doing when they travel abroad. I remember one time in 1997 when the current President visited us in Sweden through our invitation and we told him our minds and gave advice on the Kenya that Kenyans wanted. I hope Kibaki still remembers what we told him.
Raila also visited us in Sweden and we gave him a piece of our minds. I hope he will do as he promised – to make Kenya a better place for all. Many other politicians whom Muganda finds hard to meet always meet us while abroad and sit with us not as bosses but as fellow citizens.
Personally, what I have witnessed is that Kenyans abroad are most likely, going to be the only voice of reason this time since there is no opposition in Parliament. Kenyans will need to know what their leaders are doing or not doing for them. As Osewe rightly said, we do not only send money to Kenya but are also trying to put some sense of responsibility in our leader’s minds. Angered by what we saw after claims of rigged elections, we find it important to create ideologically oriented parties that will work hard to change the negative thinking among ordinary Kenyans and the likes of Muganda who can’t see beyond the length of their noses, leave alone criticize their tribal chiefs.
I was in Kenya the whole period of elections but I did not catch the first flight back to Sweden after chaos erupted. I remained in Kenya the whole of December, January and part of February, visiting IDPs and giving them any available assistance from CCM. I am still in Kenya to be part of the change we need in our country. We have a long way to go before Kenya returns to lasting sanity.
I have little hope that things will be alright soon for poor Kenyans, but at the same time I hope that Kenyans at home will not go back to cutting each other’s throats.
It’s my hope that as time goes by, Kenyans abroad will increase their resources in other areas such as politics to support true changes. We now have about three parties led by Kenyans who lived abroad just less than five years ago. We have CCM, in which I am Secretary General with Koigi being the founder, SDP with Mwandawiro Mghanga as the Chairman and ODM which Raila leads. He was once in exile too.
As Osewe said, life abroad is not easy and people like Muganda are just making very wrong conclusions. If he gets his way, Muganda would like all Kenyans abroad to shut up and let the Mugandas and his likes active in Kenyan politics spill venom against innocent and hard working Kenyans abroad.
I appeal to all Kenyans not to be intimidated by “frog-noise”. Just go on doing the good work you are doing and let actions speak for you. Have a nice Easter.
Dick Kamau in Kenya
Well put Mr. Osewe! Many critics of Kenyans abroad often expose their ignorance of life abroad in their so called analysis of how Kenyans fare in the diaspora. I would suspect that the majority of these critics have never even ventured out of the country and yet purport to be experts of living abroad. Kenyans may not be aware but the fact is menial jobs are a means to an end in the developed world. Many people combine studies with these jobs to enable them to go through school and the mentally of parents paying for their way through life does not exist in their minds.
Sadly many Kenyans are of the opinion that the jet set life style comes on a silver platter, handed down from affluent parents. Granted, this may be true for a tiny percent of the Kenyan populace but the majority have to sweat blood and tears to get there, if ever. Many Kenyan tycoons did not suddenly wake up one day with the riches they have, some may even have pulled a mkokoteni before making their billions! If these critics were to ask the many scholars and corporate leaders in the west, they would be shocked to learn that many of them had menial jobs when they were in school.
This proves that having a menial job does not diminish your intellect or make you less of a person as implied by Clay Muganda. Perhaps Kenya would be a better place if the likes of Muganda had a change of attitude and realized that one has to get their hands dirty in the process of self development and in pursuit of excellence.
Occasionally, one comes across a scurrilous attack on Kenyans abroad in the Kenyan media by Kenyans at home who hate their Diaspora counterparts allegedly because members of this gigantic and growing Constituency are “washing dishes” abroad, “cleaning crap at Mac Donalds”, fixing beds in Hotels, doing rounds at old people’s nursing homes or taking up other junk jobs which, by Kenyan standards, are reserved for “losers” and other lumpens in society.
Kenyan Lawyers, Bankers, Engineers, Accountants, medics, students and other cadres are seldom accused (without analysis) of ending up at the “junk yard” of job opportunity once they arrive in Western capitals. Pathetic as it sounds, the complexity of this reality might not be tackled adequately in this short contribution.
With the advent of the Internet, Diaspora Kenyans have been very prolific when it comes to diagnosing Kenya’s ailments and proposing prescriptions for therapy of the debilitating diseases that have afflicted our country thereby crippling our national economy and permanently confining the future of more than 30 million people in a political incubator.
Through the Internet, these Kenya Diaspora “Para-medics” in the field of political commentary have been working overtime, trying to rejuvenate the country with new ideas after its systems were poisoned by political opportunists, charlatans and other vultures of reaction who have let our people down. This kind of posturing has ruffled the feathers of critics who believe that Kenyans abroad should have nothing to do with solutions for political problems because they abandoned the country for greener pastures abroad.
For critics, Diaspora Kenyans should just shut up and concentrate on “working their bodies” while sending huge amounts of money at home after every thirty days.
While there are Kenyans who appreciate the role Kenyans abroad are playing, there are others in the minority who believe that Kenyans abroad are leeches, “distant cousins”, noise makers, empty debes or even total strangers who will take the next flight to their permanent bases in Western capitals in case a crisis of the “post election type” finds them holidaying in Kenya.
That could not be far from the truth. What is known among humans is that if a flood is approaching, potential victims with the capacity tend to move to higher and safer ground.
“We have been abroad and we know what’s good for Kenya” talk is hated by Kenya Diaspora critics who think that these Kenyans actually know nothing about the country. But what is the reality of the situation?
ONE DYNAMIC OF JUNK JOBS FOR KENYAN PROFESSIONALS
If you take the case of Kenya Professionals who have taken junk jobs abroad as a matter of survival, it is possible to condemn them because of lack of perspective on the side of critics. The crisis of Professionals or educated elites taking up junk jobs abroad is not a problem of Diaspora Kenyans but a structural problem facing almost all Immigrant communities who have settled in western capitals. The problem is grounded on Institutional racism and discrimination in the labour market, a problem that is not just well recognized but which is also a serious political issue in several Western countries.
The situation is worse for immigrants who have settled in countries where the language of instruction is not the same as the language which one was schooled in. An English speaking Accountant who tries to settle in Sweden, Denmark, Germany or France may end up cleaning or doing the dishes because everything – from daily communication to paper work – is done in another language. The basic requirement is that one has to go through the process of learning the new language before going for specialized orientation courses in one’s area of study, a frustrating process that may take years.
Even when you are through, there may be no job guarantee because of serious competition from the natives who studied in local Institutions and who have been hit hard by the crisis of unemployment in many Western countries occasioned by the chronic crisis of capitalism which continues to rock the world of International capitalism.
When Andrew Kimani Ngumba, former Member of Parliament in Kenya, fled to exile in Sweden in the 80’s, he ended up as a sweeper in the streets of Stockholm because he could not find a better job. This single example should summarize the predicament of millions of Kenyans who find themselves outside the country and who have to deal with less fulfilling jobs in their new areas of abode as a matter of necessity.
Instead of constantly attacking Diaspora Kenyans in articles loaded with sarcasm, Kenyans at home need to appreciate the role Diaspora Kenyans are playing in the development of the country.
Raila Odinga was once in exile in Norway but he returned to Kenya to play a political role and now he is the PM. The same case applies to Koigi wa Wamwere and Mwandawiro Mghanga who both returned from exile and got elected as MPs to represent their constituencies with varying degrees of successes and failures. In the last elections, several Kenyans returned to try their hand in politics and this trend is likely to increase in the future as conditions also change. The point is that it is possible to surface from abroad and play politics in Kenya so Diaspora Kenyans should not just be taken for granted.
If Kenyans in Diaspora were to look down on Kenyans in the country, then the whole population is just stupid because how do you begin to kill your neighbor whom you have cohabited with for years because someone has rigged elections? How comes that we never fought our Luo, Kikuyu, Kalenjin or Luhya neighbors abroad when you were busy lynching one another, burning churches filled with children and cutting one another’s throats in the name of a rigged election?
KENYA IS A BIG PRISON
It goes something like this: The stupidity is so deep that you continue to elect the same corrupt politicians and when corruption hits the headlines, you begin to complain. When your leaders want to get elected as President, they have to come to us for endorsement and once we say that this or that leader is hopeless, he loses an election because Kenyans abroad have said he or she is not good.
After you have cut one anothers throats and created IDPs, it is us who mobilize or send cash for rehab. It is like the proverbial panga cutting the hand that feeds it. Do you know that it is us who lecture your leaders about the ills they are doing in the country whenever they come up here?
We continue to send billions of Kenyan shillings to you every month yet you continue asking for more so that you can find food to eat, kids can go to school, you can have access to basic medical care and other services that an elected government should be providing. You then turn around and attack us for doing what we need to do to get you out of crisis! Is this the way to go? That is just an outline of hypothetical lecture if it were to be delivered by a Diaspora Kenyan responding to the histrionics of naïve critics.
A Kenyan once put up an advert in his home town that he needed ten competent Kenyans he wanted to take abroad to clean toilets and that there would be an interview at a hall in town. Guess what? The hall was packed to capacity and when he proceeded to look at the CVs of applicants, some of them were University students who had failed to get jobs in the country and were ready to do anything. What does this teach us?
That Kenya is a big prison and majority of those who are inside are desperately trying to get out while those outside are either desperately trying to get back or have resolved to spend their lives outside the country for personal reasons.
Critics of Diaspora Kenyans should seek to open debate on the issue of staying abroad instead of throwing occasional barbs at the hard working Kenya Diaspora community. The main reason why Kenyans abroad continue to participate in the country’s politics is because they love Kenya. They are out of the country but Kenya is not yet out of their system and probably never will.
This situation is not unique to Diaspora Kenyans. It is a uniform pattern that exists among millions of Immigrants across the world. As critics continue to read mischief among Diaspora Kenyans, the next item on the agenda of the community is the Right to vote from abroad and the right to dual citizenship which needs to be entrenched in the Constitution. Kenyans should get used to Diaspora Kenyans intervening in the country’s politics because this is a serious responsibility that cannot be abdicated or left to politicians alone. Hands off Kenyans abroad!
Daily Nation’s “Weekend” magazine, Friday, 21st March 2008
There is little they do not know, and they never lose an opportunity to remind Kenyans at home that they are with “it” -whatever it is. These are the Kenyans in the Diaspora – the self-appointed “law enforcement officers” who check on the excesses of those of at home. Whenever there is a natural disaster in Kenya, and as usual, the GOK is slow in dealing with its effects, they are the first to tell us how things are done in the countries where they have taken refuge.
I insist on “refuge” because if they were as patriotic as they claim and knowledgeable about the ways of the world, they wouuldn’t be “assisting” through the mail. During the last elections, they were steadfast in buying space in local newspapers to tell us what they liked and hated. Labelling themselves as professionals, they had all sorts of “advice” ongovernance.
But their tribal footprints were all over the internet, all in the name of patriotism. With their much-touted knowledge, they forgot that, as somebody once said, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. When the chaos erupted – and you can even say they had a hand in it through their inflammatory advertisements – they went silent. Those of them who were on “holiday” boarded the first flight (economy class of course) to the Diaspora – or wherever else they have replaced dish-washing machines. Cowards!
If they are such professionals as they claim, how come none of them had any solution to the post-election crisis? Now that some “foreigners” have done the dirty work for us, Kenyans in the Dias-Wherever will start “advising” us again. Methinks they should stick to their “patriotic” duty of working their body parts and sending money back home. They can keep their lofty ideas about governance to themselves.
Ester, a young Kenyan lady with a six months old baby, is looking for someone to stay with to help her take care of her daughter. In return, the successful candidate will get free food and accommodation. Ester told KSB that she is prepared to make an agreement to pay a smalll maintainance allowance per month. The arrangement is expected to be informal and based on mutual benefit.
Ester works for 40 hrs a week but says that the successful candidate will be free during all days she is off duty. The deal is expected to run upto September this year, time when the toddler will be old enough to begin attending nursery school. There is no gender restrictions and all sexes are free to make offers. Send your inquiries to KSB so that you can be linked to Ester.
CUBAN SOCIALIST INTERNATIONALISM: A Challenge to African Revolutionaries. Statement by Mwandawiro Mghanga Made at a Symposium
“20 years after the battle of Cuito Cuanavale: Implications for Africa and South – South Solidarity”: Thursday 20th March, 2008, 5.00-7.00pm At Charter Hall, City Hall Way Nairobi, Kenya.
CUBAN SOCIALIST INTERNATIONALISM: A Challenge to African Revolutionaries
On behalf of the Kenya – Friendship Society (KCFS), I take this opportunity to thank our guest speakers, Ambassadors of Cuba, South Africa and Angola for accepting the invitation to address the friends of Cuba and Pan – Africans gathered here today. Special thanks to the diplomat from the land of Agostino Neto who has traveled all the way from Tanzania to Kenya to honour and colour the event. Thanks also to Oxfam for collaborating with KCFS to organise the forum and for extending material support. May I also thank all of you for participating in the important discussion which is part and parcel of defending revolutionary history of Africa and the world from distortion by imperialists and their stooges.
I particularly want to congratulate all the speakers this evening for giving an in sight of Cuba’s revolutionary solidarity with Africa in general and the significance of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the liberation of Southern Africa from colonialism and apartheid in particular. The truth about the liberation struggle of Southern Africa and its friends must be told to present and future generation. This is because imperialist countries that were consistently then on the side of colonialism and apartheid politically, economically, militarily and diplomatically are today rewriting the history to claim that they were friends of the national liberation of Southern African countries and that it is they who ultimately contributed to the end of classical colonialism and apartheid.
The truth about the role played by Cuba and the then socialist countries of the world in the name of socialist revolutionary internationalism to African liberation movements must be told. Yet, who can say it better than those Africans who are still in the struggle for socialism? For true African history cannot be written by turncoats who portrayed themselves as revolutionaries only about three decades ago but today have become capitalists and imperialist’s puppets amassing wealth and priviges for themselves, friends and families at the expense of the masses of African people.
WHAT HAVE AFRICANS DONE WITH CUBAN SOLIDARITY
May I also take this opportunity to point out that despite being under successive regimes that embraced capitalism and imperialism and even apartheid at the time of the battle of Cuito Cuanavalle and during the struggle of the liberation of Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa from apartheid and colonialism, the Kenyan popular masses were generally in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Southern Africa and identified with their struggles. I remember that, for example, as a student leader at University of Nairobi in the early 1980s, we organised many meetings and demonstrations together with members of ANC, PAC, SWAPO and SWANU in Nairobi in support of the struggle for the liberation of Southern Africa. In the then International Union of Students’ meetings at Dar-es-saalam, Moscow, Prague and Sofia we were in the forefront in the movement of articulating revolutionary support to the liberation of Southern Africa and for peace, socialism and anti- imperialist solidarity.
The struggle for the release of Cuban revolutionary heroes imprisoned by US imperialism is one of the most important agendas of KCFS today. The Cuban five – Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramon Labanino Salazar, Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, Fernando Gonzalez Llort and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez – are Cuban patriots and heroes and are among the most famous people in the world today. They were arrested on September 12, 1998, and falsely and unjustly convicted before a Miami jury in June 2001 on espionage – conspiracy and related charges. They are serving sentences of between ten and two life imprisonments for entering Miami to execute a noble mission of monitoring terrorist groups that operate in Florida and informing the Cuban government against planned attacks against their country, and, thus avoiding more terrorist actions. Today, we are proud to announce that the Cuban five also participated in Cuban revolutionary struggles in Africa.
From 1987 to 1989, Fernando Gonzalez was part of the Cuban forces supporting Angola against the South African apartheid regime while in 1989 Gerardo Hernandez was part of the Cuban forces fighting on the side of Angola against the invading South African apartheid regime. Rene Gonzalez too served in Angola as part of the Cuban forces, from 1977 to 1979.
In December 2006 I attended a similar symposium organised by The Guayasamin Foundation in Havana, Cuba. The symposium was part of the celebrations of the 80th birthday anniversary of Commander Fidel. At the symposium at Karl Marx Theatre international friends and comrades of Fidel and the Cuban revolution assembled together to contemplate on Cuba’s history of revolutionary internationalism.
We acknowledge and applauded with pride Cuba’s revolutionary solidarity with DRC Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Algeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, and Guinea Bissau. We paid tribute to the thousand Cuban socialist revolutionaries that shed their blood in Africa in order that Africa is free from colonialism, apartheid and imperialism. In the same meeting were heores who lived to tell about the liberation war in which Cuban troops played the decisive role that made the apartheid regime to surrender both at the war front and the negotiation table, were present.
Cuban revolutionary internationalism is an example of socialist globalisation that is driven by the desire to make the world more peaceful, just, free, conducive to life and progressive than it is to day. It is globalisation deriven by values of humanity, friendship and solidarity between peoples embodied in socialism. Cuban internationalism countinues to offer the world this globalisation as shown by thousands of students from all over the world studying in Cuba free of charge and also thousands of Cuban medical, teaching and other personel working voluntarily in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries.
The globalisation represented by Cuba’s internationalism exposes the reactionary neo-liberal globalisation that is aimed at maintaining and expanding the status quo of capitalism and imperialism and that is ultimately responsible for the escalation of poverty, injustice, conflicts, erosion of cultures and the environment and increasing gap between the rich and the poor within and between nations.
But while in Havana contemplating about the socialist globalisation exemplified by Cuba, I could not stop the temptation to ask the questions which even today I cannot also stop myself from asking. The questions are in fact a challenge to African socialist revolutionaries.
What have we Africans done with the solidarity of the Cuban people to our continent? Did Cuban people shed their blood in Angola, Namibia, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Ethiopia so that they can bring to power dictatorial, capitalist and pro-imperialist regimes? Was the battle of Cuito Cuanavalle about helping comprador regimes composed of yesterdays ‘revolutionaries’ now turned millionaires of collaborating with foreign capital to sell their oil, minerals and other natural recourses to benefit mainly of the class of the rich elite controling state and political power?
CHALLENGE OF PRESENT DAY AFRICAN REVOLUTIONARIES
Where are the revolutionaries of yesterday and what happened to socialist oriented political programmes and manifestoes held by the then liberation movements in Southern Africa and Portuguese colonies? How comes revolutionaries of yesterday are today millionaire businessmen singing the praises of capitalism and neo-liberal globalisation? How comes what used to be progressive and revolutionary political parties and movements during the liberation war in Angola, Guinnea Bissau, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa today while in power are happily implementing capitalist oriented neo-liberal economic and social policies that escalate the alienation of the masses from the resources, economic and political power of their nations?
Where is the legacy of Kwameh Nkuruma, Madibo Keita, Patrice Lumumba, Agostino Neto, Amilicar Cabral, Julius Nyerere, Abdel Nasser, Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu, Samora Machel, Dedan Kimathi, Govan Mbeki, Chris Hani, Joe Slovo and hundreds of communists revolutionaries produced by the struggle of South Africa?
Even now, Africa continues to benefit from Cuba’s solidarity in scholarship for students studying in Cuba, doctors, teachers and whatever solidarity Cuba is able to offer. But what does Africa give in return? While we praise Cuba’s success in safeguarding its revolution and national sovereignity, in health, education and provision of social services and the production of a better human being, what prevents us from learning from Cuba? Why instead do we prefer to keep on emulating the West and related countries by implementing neo-liberal economic, social and political policies while chanting about democracy, human rights, transparency, accountability, good governance, poverty alleviation, equality, gender, conservation of the environment, etc., without the wish and will to take concrete political and economic measures to make them a reality to the majority of our people. Yet the truth is that under condition of capitalism and imperialism these words are a sham as they are not meant to change the lives of the majority African people who are poor but are used to help maintain the status quo of the system of exploitation and oppression of person by person?
In other words, the challenge of the present generation of African revolutionaries is to move beyond nostalgia, which many a time is a camouflage of the hypocricy of the reactionary forces in power today, and debate about concrete issues aimed at justifying the sacrifices made by African and Cuban heroes in the first liberation of African countries. Cuba has payed its debt to Africa and it continues to do so. We also have a debt to Cuba which we shall pay by struggling for socialism in our countries and in Africa.
Chairman Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Chairman Kenya – Cuba Friendship Society (KCFS)
The case of the Kenyan sentenced to a six year jail term and whose appeal has just been dismissed will be featured on “Insider” program on Swedish National TV 3 channel tonight at 21.00 hrs. Keep tuned.
Yusf Mzee, a Kenyan resident in Uppsala, has lost his sister in Kenya following a long sickness. The sister, whose name is Fatuma Cheruto Yusuf, passed away last Friday and has already been buried in accordance with Islamic traditions.
Speaking to KSB, Mzee said that there will be a remembrance session of her sister after 40 days according to the Islamic teaching.
KSB sends deep condolences to the family of Mzee during this time of shock and sorrow. Just like Carren who has lost her mother, KSB hopes that Mzee’s family will be able to go through this difficult time and that the family will find the support it needs to go through the process.
Carren Anyango, cousin to Carolin Ayodo and Margaret Ayodo, has lost her mother in Kenya. Kenyans friends and well wishers are invited to an “Open House” at Carren’s House at Harbrevägen 41 in Skogås on Saturday 22nd March 2008 from 17.00 hrs. The house is just five minutes walk from the Station.
Take train to Västerhanninge then alight at Skogås. Take the back wagon. Further info: 0704478833.
KSB sends deep condolences to Carren and family during this tragic moment. It is always very difficult and painful to lose a loved one, more so, a mother. We hope that Carren will have the courage to go through this difficult moment.
A Swedish court has thrown out an appeal by a Kenyan national who was last year sentenced to a three year jail term for assaulting a Swedish woman. During the appeal hearing, which was attended by the Kenyan’s ex girlfriend, the Prosecution upgraded the charge from “assault” to “serious assault” while the charge of rape was also upgraded to “serous rape”.
The Kenyan was initially charged with “taking away the woman’s freedom” but at the appeal, this charge was also upgraded to “serious attempt to enslave” the woman.
The consequence of this series of upgrading is that the Kenyan had his sentence increased from three to six years. When he was sentenced last year, the Kenyan was subjected to a fine of 128.000 kr (Ksh 1.28 million) but at the appeal, this amount was increased to 220.000 kr (Ksh 2.2 million).
Apart from the Swedish woman who accused the Kenyan, another Swedish woman was among those who testified at the appeal. The Kenyan has another option of lodging another appeal against the sentence.
Last year, a Kenyan serving a five year jail sentence for infecting a Swedish woman with HIV also had his sentence increased from 3 to five years after one of the women he allegedly raped lodged an appeal to have his jail sentence increased.
When the appeal came up, the sentence was increased from 3 to five years with recommendation that the Kenyan be deported to Kenyan upon completion of his sentence.
Martha Karua, the Minister of Justice in Kibaki’s government, is being touted as a possible candidate for the post of Deputy Prime Minister in the camp of Party of National Unity (PNU). In a country where tribalism is a big issue, the question that arises is whether those in PNU pushing for her Deputy Premiership understand the real impact of appointing Karua to that coveted position.
This is because Karua is a Kikuyu, just like Kibaki who is the President. Her arrogance aside, it must be noted that PNU is a conglomeration of a handful of political parties from different parts of the country represented by different tribal chieftains. Isn’t there any alternative candidate PNU could push for this position apart from Martha?
There is the argument that there should be “gender balance” in the distribution of top positions both in ODM and PNU. This is absolutely necessary because gender balance in political appointments is part of the democratic struggle in Kenya. For PNU, Karua could be a better candidate because she has been the most prominent woman who has been visible and who has been defending Kibaki no matter what until Kofi Annan called the two principals to decide the fate of Kenya.
Playing a dexterous political game, Karua has now put her theatrics witnessed before the peace deal behind her to focus on the future. Although Raila was her worst political enemy (judging by her militancy in arguing that Raila needed to go to court over the post election imbroglio), she has forgotten the past and has had both lunch and supper with Raila.
The winning and dinning with Raila last week was, in a way, a moment of acceptance by Karua that there are some stuff she cannot change and that Raila is not just theoretically a possible Prime Minister in the Grand Coalition but the actual PM designate.
There are signals in the Internet that appointing Karua the Deputy PM in the PNU camp will amount to confirming Kikuyu tribalism especially in politics. The apparent logic is that since Kibaki, the President, hails from Mount Kenya, the Deputy PM should not hail from the same region, an argument which makes a lot of sense in tribal Kenya. Under the circumstances, should Karua be touted by PNU as a possible filler of this post or should she be left to cool on the touch lines?
If it is a question of gender balance, does it mean that there are no other competent women in PNU other than Karua who can take the post? With her known and high level of arrogance (sometimes laced with strong anti-Imperialist rhetoric) and undiplomatic language in her public outbursts, won’t Karua literally grow horns if she is appointed DPM and probably diarrhea on the heads of PNU and other MPs?
If you ask me, I think that Martha Karua should take it easy with her ambitions on the Deputy Premiership to focus on the future because the current political equations are heavily weighed against her.
William Ruto, the ODM pentagon member, has already read the writing on the wall and put a brake on pressure by his fanatic supporters who wanted him to go for the post on ODM side. He has declared that he will support Musalia Mudavadi because this is what is expedient at the moment.
The political equations did not favor Ruto, prompting him to do the right thing. Someone whom Karua can listen to should advise the maverick lady on this because there is always another opportunity. She has already exposed herself as arrogant and insisting on going for the Deputy Premiership will only work to expose her as “greedy”.