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Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Curse of Military Rule



President Paul Kagame of Rwanda made a startling suggestion in prescribing military rule for Kenya. Even journalists covering him were left with their jaws agape wondering what a heap of poison the ‘youthful’ Kagame was prescribing to Kenyans.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The era of military rule midwifing democracy from a political fallout or dictatorship belongs to the last Century. True, desperate moments calls for desperate measures but tasking the Kenya army with leadership is to unwittingly invite full blown anarchy on our shores.

Our military is a product of political manipulations. The Kenyan men (and women) in the barracks simply lack the intellectual capacity to govern. They have no minds of their own and woe unto you in the army if any trace of independence betrays your thinking. Our military officers owe their positions to their political masters. They are nothing better than political sycophants albeit in uniform.

Kenya is no Rwanda. While Rwanda has only two tribes (Hutus and Tutsis), Kenya a kaleidoscope of ethnic competition that only requires the faintest spark to explode. Both Kenyatta and Moi packed the forces with their military cheerleaders. In the last five years Kibaki has no disappointed by promptly but systematically replacing the military top brass by his henchmen and compliant soldiers.

Competing ethnic interest makes our military a very risky business to premise our country’s salvation. The barracks are not spared Kenya’s tribal tensions. Paranoia is the stock in trade in the barracks where any intellectual challenge is promptly nipped in the bud.

Kibaki’s trip to Ethiopia was singularly purposed to pass a latent message of no vulnerability to military putsch. Even if the Kalenjins and Kambas still constitute a significant proportion of foot soldiers, Kibaki is safe and at peace in the knowledge that military top guns owes him their positions.

Kagame may have meant well for Kenya and her people. But his suggestions is a POISONED CHALICE particularly for Kenya. His idea can be contrasted to our old generation suffering about of nostalgia in which they uncritically and shamelessly claim to miss colonialism. Granted, the colonialists were 'humane' and intellectual in their brutality compared to our present day indigenous colonialists.

Lethal precedent
Allowing the military to take over Kenya will set a very costly and deadly precedent. In addition to disenfranchising Kenyan voters forever, it will trash all our democratic credentials and history. And worst or it will be a perpetuation of the present day slavery to HELL-FOR-LEATHER rulership and absolutely no leadership. Two wrongs never made a right.

The lives of those Kenyans lost in the present war against ELECTORAL THEFT and DECEPTION must not be trivialized neither abused by succumbing to rule by the barrel of the gun. If in doubt just cast your eyes up north and the scenes from the streets of Djamena in Chad are not pleasant, or are they? The bottom line is power not only corrupts but it is also intoxicating.

Kenya is crying for politico-economic justice which the military CANNOT deliver. It is therefore not only suicidal but also reckless and STUPID to entrust such an audacious quest to gun wielders while still smarting from fractures and amputations from machetes. We cannot afford to engage is such an expensive and FATAL gamble.

42 comments:

Kemmy said...

Well put Taabu. Letting the Kenyan army take over will be asking for suicide. It is too tribalist and split to ever work together to form a coherent leadership. Kagame meant well, but that's not a solution for Kenya. It might have worked if it were an independent entity, but we all know that there's nothing independent about anything Kenyan, especially where power is involved.

I was reading about the Chadian rebels advancing on the presidential palace and for some reason, I pictured the same thing happening in Kenya. Not to say that Kenya and Chad are suffering from the same illness, but if unchecked, the Kenyan situation can readily deteriorate, especially if some of these gangs exchange their machetes and rungus for machine guns.

Anonymous said...

Taabu yes, the military may not be the best solution but I too understand the desparation that led to that proposal.

The solution is passing the 2002 Constitution draft. Simply an announcement that the draft will be passed in the next few days will put an end to the violence.

Anonymous said...

BBC Africa is reporting fresh violence in Kericho, Eldoret and Western Kenya.

Instead of wasting our time in hand wringing and lamenting, why can't our leaders do as Anon @ 10.32 a.m. says?

Anonymous said...

55% of the military is Kikuyu...an this happened over five years

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10.36 a.m.; that is precisely why we need to weaken the power of the executive. Kenya's presidents have always been able to run our national institutions like personal kitchens.

Anonymous said...

Annan has promised a solution to the political impasse in 15 days. If they succeed, it would be way better than the military.

If he fails, that 15 day mark could turn into OUR WORST NIGHTMARE; a ticker unto even greater depths of hopelessness and violence.

luke said...

Mwalimu, indeed currently (and for a long time now) there is no institution left in Kenya that has not drunk out of the poisoned chalice of ETHNIC PREJUDICE mixed with accompanying petty mindedness and childish squabbles
I'm sure no one will dare suggest that the entire business community, civil society or the local church take over the leadership of the country. Each to his own they will say.Where does this leave us? squarely in the hands of our current captors and tormentors the current politicians all 210 of them
I pray God will have mercy on us, these leaders have proven selfish and without the best interests of the nation at heart. Its just Human nature after all public servants are human beings you might argue-i couldn't agree more-its cruel, almost inhumane human nature, and it seems we are trapped with no light at the end of the tunnel
If the people know how they want to be ruled and governed, maybe the people should just do it themselves, throw away legislative arm of government and form a rotating board of 42 trustees who manage the country each year in turns

Anonymous said...

Not a Kenyan solution. Army full of Mungiki and Gema thugs.

Abass said...

I very much agree that Kibaki's departure to Addis Ababa was meant to send a message that he has nothing to fear and that he is in full control of the army.

Kim said...

The army is not full of GEMA. Yes, top Army leaders are of GEMA but the overwhelming foot soldiers are brig's and colonels are from ODM tribes. If a war starts, there is nothing the army can do. They will side with their tribes just as the police does. Furthermore, weapons will pour in like rain and all Kenya's borders are manned by ODM tribes.

Anonymous said...

@Kim, and that's exactly why we can't afford to have the army take over. My question is, is it possible to get a new constitution without there being a government in place? Is it possible to have a transitional government (and who would head this government...forget Raila and Kibaki) while parliament works on effecting a new constituion? Is it possible at all?

I'm afraid Kenya is becoming more and more lawless by day, with enemies taking advantage of the situation to settle old scores.

In Kisii, at Borabu (border of Kisiis and Kipsigis), there is intense fighting going on as we speak between the Kipsigis and the Kisiis. I wonder why nobody is reporting on this.

Anonymous said...

Kagame Disowns his comments saying that he was quoted out of context.

http://dinahicious.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12.51 p.m. Yes, it is possible for us to have a new constitution.

All we require is for the M.P.s to meet in parliament to pass the 2002draft. That would require Kibaki to keep his 2002 electoral promise and my hope is that the international community would pressure him to do so.

Anonymous said...

Talks, talks, talks. Wachawaongee lakini suluhisho ni KATIBA MPYA.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Kibaki's inner circle are determined to teach opposition a lesson.

Mungiki are being recruited in hundreds.

And the presence of only Kikuyu military officers in Rift valley couple with the transfer of all security personnel from preceived opposition communities is sign that something is in the offing

Anonymous said...

Anthony Gitonga reporting for the Standard (2/2/08); Mungiki are in Naivasha harrasing women (Kikuyu and non-Kikuyu) dressed in trousers.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust Kibaki to put an end to this primitive group.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you have a bad constitution.

Kenyatta started in the sixties by repeatedly ammending it to make the executive powerful, his followers have continued to wallow in its powers to the disadvantage of the nation.

Wanjiku - Mombasa said...

This Dinahicious is a Kiswahili porn site hiding under catching headlines. I've visited it after getting the link from Kumekucha under some fake headline. Kwani you don't vet these links?

Kenyan Son said...

Taaabu!
Sasa wewe unaleta taabu mingi mno. Did you post this before you thought? Military takeover is necessary at this time. And understand this better this time. The military is not to govern nor lead Kenya. It is to pave way for a complete, organized, free and Kivuitu-free election within a very short period of time. That is the idea. Otherwise, don’t ever expect Mr. Kibaki to step out of State house in place for President Raila. It will never happen even in the eyes of Annan, Bush or Gordon.

So a tough guy in the military ought to take these powers from kubavu Kibaki and give it to the people to vote in the right person. I know you may never understand or agree to this but for God’s sake, believe me that Kibaki will only lead for the next 5 years through some kind of authoritative or dictatorship style.

conserned Eastfrican said...

Kagame should have maybe pushed for a more neutral agenda, like deploying an EA Police force , and assert Rwanda's position and place in the region as an EA member.
I tend to believe an EA police force, whose synergies would be under an EA security council, now more than ever, will be a necessity to the regions peace, prosperity and the future of the EA Union, if it's to ever happen. This is bound to bring neutrality, more like a UN peace mission.
Kenyan internal affairs at this point, mainly caused by uncontrollable marauding hooligans, and a local police force that has not shown ability or the cohesion to breach the peace, is sacrificing the region as a whole, economically now and in the future.
Political differences make a democracy and will always be there, but not at the peril of a whole region, its people and achievements already made. To loot and destroy the fabric of society, homes and businesses, beats the purpose the struggle is attempting to achieve.
I think an EA solution would absolute be viable for the future a region that has massive potential outside our differences.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4.22 p.m.; I like the E.A. force idea.

Whether or not it ever takes off the reality is that Kenya's crisis cannot be solved without external intervention; peaceful or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Its like removing one dictator and replacing it with another , afadhali the devil you know , miaka tano sio refu .Let odm fight to implement the ippg in to law and disband the Kivuitu led commision so finaly we can have free and fair elections in 2012.

Anonymous said...

Given the interview below perhaps the Canadian ambassador ought to be called to the negotiating table:

By JOHN STACKHOUSE AND PATRICK MARTIN
Saturday, February 2, 2002 – Print Edition,Page F3 - The Globe and Mail

he wants Canadians to know they are "a model for the world."
"Canada is today the most successful pluralist society on the face of our globe, without any doubt in my mind. . . . That is something unique to Canada. It is an amazing global human asset," he said.

"You have created a pluralist society where minorities, generally speaking, are welcome," he continued. "They feel comfortable. They assimilate the Canadian psyche. They are allowed to move forward within civil society in an equitable manner. Their children are educated. And I'm not the one who is making the judgment. Look at the international evaluation of Canada as a country and the way it functions."

After a 90-minute lunch with Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien, the Aga Khan sat down for a rare and long interview in which he urged Canada to hold itself up to the developing world as a model for the 21st century.

But his most pressing concern was the need for pluralism -- globally as well as in most developing countries -- and what he called a Canadian model.

"Canada has succeeded in an area where the developing world has one of its greatest needs: How do you build pluralist civil society in the developing world? Look at Africa. Look at Asia. What is one of the characteristics? The inability of different groups of people to live together in peace in a constructive environment to build civil society."

Part of the Aga Khan's mission in Ottawa was to ask Canadian leaders about the reasons for the country's peaceful development, and how that could be translated to poorer, more divided countries
While in Washington, he said, the new Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, told him in a private meeting that Canada is the one country where the pluralism of society and the successful management of that pluralism is something he and others in Afghanistan want to look at.

If the West wants to combat terrorist forces in these troubled hot spots, he said economic development and political change would be more effective than military action, even in areas such as Mindanao where al-Qaeda cells are thought to operate. "It is amazing how much can be done if you go in with economic support, social services, dialogue, bringing the community together, focusing on hope in the future rather than looking backwards in despair. That looking backwards in despair is probably one of the most divisive forces that you will ever find in Third World countries."

Where there is hostile opposition to governments in the Islamic world -- such as in Algeria and Pakistan -- he said he often finds a root cause in an economic stagnation that is unable to meet the demands of fast-growing and increasingly educated populations

Anonymous said...

Read:

Several of Kibaki's Kikuyu golfing friends have assumed significant influence at State House in recent years. 'Some of these people hold very strong thoughts about the superiority of the Kikuyus and their inherent right to govern,' said a former government minister. 'It's a case of "We helped end British rule using the Mau Mau, and we are the ones that keep the economy ticking over. The other 42 ethnic groups are welcome to live in Kenya, but only we can rule".' He said he did not believe 'the President is calling the shots at all. He always has to consult the hardliners around him'.

kimeli said...

Paul Kagame takes a dig at Kibaki and other dictators.


http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/sun_news/Kagame_blasts_African_dictators.shtml

Kimeli said...

Kibaki "Gen. Coward" has been stealing elections from Day One, says The Guardian.

"...A brilliant student at the London School of Economics, Kibaki entered Kenya's first post-independence government in 1963. Six years later he stood in Nairobi's Bahati constituency against Jael Mbogo, the popular head of Kenya's biggest women's association. He won by a wafer-thin margin in remarkably similar circumstances to December's election; behind in the early tallying, the verdict was delayed for days and a crack squad of police officers swarmed around the vote-counting centre when the result was announced. 'I was so far ahead in early vote counting that even the BBC even reported that a young woman had felled a government minister,' Mbogo, now a civil society activist in Nairobi, told The Observer. 'Kibaki stalled the result, and then robbed me of victory. Because he looks so holy, people are still asking if he really was capable of stealing this election. What I say is "Of course, he has done it before".

Read more:


http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2251523,00.html

Jack said...

See this http://kenya-thieves-warlords.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

For the first time, I find myself agreeing wholly with Taabu. Ordinarily, Taabu's otherwise good ideas are often clouded by his naked distate for the Kikuyu people in general. In most of his posts, the Kikuyus come out as either economic mafias ridinng every available phony or Mungikis drinking chai from human skulls. Often, I find myself having to patiently wade through that ethnocentric phobia to get to his intellectual gems. It is therefore refreshing to read his post today where he confronts military adventurists with his gloves off.
Thank you for exposing the naivety of those who are advocating for a coup d'etat (which literaly means a "blow to state"). I was equally shocked when I read Kagame's military prescription for Kenya. My previous impression of Kagame was of a brilliant and action-oriented leader, as opposed to Kibaki who is brilliant but paralysed by either arrogance or fear of active governance.
But Kagame is not alone; there are many Kenyan intellectuals and weekend warriors who have been pushing the military proposition for quite a while. Like Kagame, they have said that they have always felt the Kenyan military is professional and can be entrusted with the task of a short-lived mission of cleaning the civilian mess before returning to the dull life of military cafeterias. That is the same naivety that prevailed before the current crisis that held that Kenyans, unlike other Africans, had outwitted the magic of tribal demons. Now we know better.
At least in the case of Kagame, one can reluctantly understand where he is coming from. Like Museveni, he shot his way to power with the help of mono-ethnic guerrillas. Also, in his case, by the time he entered Rwanda there was no country to talk about; the situation that obtained there could only get better and not worse.
In the case of the Kenyans who are advocating military intervention, it is hard to figure out whether they are driven by desperation or by deliberate ignorance of facts in plain view about military interventions across Africa since the advent of independence.
With the exception of Mali, coup d'etats have been a curse to Africa. And it has nothing to do some genes of the military men and women. As Taabu succinctly said, the problem has been the tribal composition of those in the uniform. The military as an institution, is the most tribalised of all other institutions across Africa. Since pre-independence days, the trainees were never recruited on merit. Mostly, recuits have come from those tribes perceived to be pliant or loyal to those in power.
For example, in Kenya, the British recruited mainly from those tribes who were purpoted to be obedient and could be trusted with the gun - those who could not turn around and point the gun at the white master and demand independence. This trend continued after independence with the difference being that the master was now black. The armed forces we have now have the stamp of Nyayo in every respect (with Kamatusa having a disproportionate share). Even the generals at the top were able to go through the ranks because their blood tested Nyayo positive at every promotion interview. What Kibaki has done is to look for a few generals who can work with him while he tries to find his equilibrium.
The so called professionalism of the Kenyan military has never been tested. We have tested our previously overrated national unity with machetes, poisoned arrows, and crowbars, and it has not been a pretty picture. Let us not test the military and their tribal guns. There is stil some room for the civilan leadership to reason together.

Anonymous said...

Taabu,

Read the MESSAGE. I (WE) are in charge and I can leave the country for an AU meeting in Ethiopia and return home when I want. Simple and clear. Taabu, when KIbaki took over, there were more Kalenjin in the Major and above ranks than any other tribe and that has been diluted.

Lest you forget, many coups and bloodshed have occured during these jaunts abroad. Even the genesis of the Rwandese genocide stemmed from such a trip abroad. So Kibaki is simply telling people that he is in charge.

The same way Kenyatta marched all the way from Central Police along Moi Avenue to the former American Embassy during the JM Kariuki crisis. This is a remake, but by an intelligent man!

Jac said...

anon 3:57AM

You refused the military option and said that there is room for civilian rule and an understanding in that regard, but with who? Do you expect the Kibaki that you are supporting (your language spoke) will have the dignity to talk to people and be honest and honour any promise?

Taabu said...

Anon@3:57 nice pitch and well articulated. However, your opening premise gives you away when you chose to go unprovocatively ballistic. You chose what you read and you have all the right to your opinion which I must respect even if I don't agree with them. Facts are SACRED (chungu and hurts) while opinions are free. All the same Kenya ni yetu na tuzidi, ama?

Anonymous said...

Kimeli; thanks for your reach back into history. Oh how much it teaches us!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11.40 a.m. Thank you for saying what I have previously said before here on Kumekucha.

There is one ethnic group in this country that believes only one of their own should govern them and others.

That is why we need the 2002 Constitution and its provision for the devolution of powers MAJIMBOISM as well as a weaker executive.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11.40; Let it be said here that other ethnic groups had fought their own battles before Mau Mau e.g.

a) Turkanas; longest resistance against British in Africa (25 years).

b) Nandi; another bitter resistance lasting years. They gave us Koitalel arap Samoei.

c) Giriama;Mekatilili wa Medza and her fellow activitist Wanje engaged the British in a bitter guerilla war in the first quarter of the first century. When it was over, they had been defeated, but the British left the Giriama alone.

etc...

So Kibaki's cronies should stop this we gave them Mau Mau crap. Just because it was better covered by the press and video camera doesn't mean the one's before it don't matter.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:13, and that's one of the fundamental problems we have. It started with the Mau Mau claiming responsibility and taking all glory and praise for Kenya's independence, thus making Kikuyus feel superior to other tribes. And I love how you put it. We all fought for independence, the Mau Mau got better press coverage.

Anonymous said...

When you say that, "Our military officers owe their positions to their political masters," you mean our top brass military officers. One can envision a situation where junior military officers will carry out a coup and neutralize both politicians and top brass military officers. This happened in Portugal in 1974 during the "Carnation Revolution" when junior Portuguese army officers ended the dictatorship of the civilian dictator President Marcelo Caetano... The idea of President Paul Kagame isn't that far-fetched...

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8.13 and Anon @ 10.19; I want to agree with you both.

One of the problems we have had is that a certain clique dominated the publication of textbooks in this country. Mau Mau is always raised above all other resistance movements and this ideology has perpetuated decades of Kikuyu superiority complex.

ALL resistance movements were just as important as Mau Mau. They all contributed to the loosening of the British grip on Kenya

Anonymous said...

STOP The Mau Mau rubbish!

Was it not the real politics REAL KENYANS (not Kikuyus) played which ended colonialism. Jigger footed 'soldiers' were shot like flies and became a loughing matter in Europe. Stop fooling Kenyans and changing history.

Mau Mau members were demanding their Kikuyu lands back. Odinga, Mboya, etc fought intellectually to CREATE Kenya. Which Kikuyu member at that time could speak good English to face a white man?

Without West Kenyans Kenya would still be a white man's land and the White Rhino Club in Nyeri would still bear: "No dogs and Kikuyus".

Anonymous said...

Can those who are denying the fact that Mau Mau brought independence donfirm how many of their fathers, sons or grandfathers were detained.

History is well known were it not Kikuyu Kenya would probably still be British colony. Infact the name Kenya originates from Kirinyaga which is the present day Mt. Kenya, the mzungu asked a mkamba the name and thats how Kenya name came to be.

Its also a known fact that Kalenjins & Luos collaborated with the white man to torture & main Kikuyus who were held in detention camps. Most guards who mistreated those detainees were Kalenjins and Luos.

So who are the real enemies of Kenya?

Anonymous said...

anon@7:20, the pen is mightier than the sword, do you honestly believe that Mau Mau would have fought a war here the British were as armed and organized? Read your history, begin at the Lancaster Conference.....

Anonymous said...

Kenyans are very thoughtful.
A Creative Kenyan has come up with potential names for new borns following the terrible post-election conflict. I think some of the names are truly priceless. Take your pick. I will settle for number 5, 30 and 33.

1. Violence onyango
2. Teargas canister oluoch
3. Riot gear anyango
4. Looting Apiyo Wiper
5. Skirmishes achieng
6. Anti rioti police auma
7. Rubber bullet oloo
8. Shoot me onyango
9. Peacefull protest auma
10. GSU aluoch
11. Rigging votes oduor
12. Form 16a odero
13. Civil coup otieno
14. Returning officer mboya
15. Ethinic cleansing okembo.
16. Mass action ojwang
17. ECK onditi
18. No raila no peace oluoch
19. Iowa caucas macotieno
20. Hillary clinton aluoch

21. Church Burnt Kamau

22. Genocide Kipruto

23. Eminent Statesman Kufuor Otieno

24. Speaker marende oliech

25. Graca Michelle wambui

26. Kibaki Mwizi Cheptoo

27. judas musyoka mc`opiyo
28. ballot box otula
29. kukubo olweny
30. Re-run sianda
31. Matiba Fazuldin Ng`ethe otieno
32. cardinal njue majimbo
33. lucymakofi achieng`

Anonymous said...

aNON 7:20 I am disappointed with your facts....The mau mau that fought for the 1st liberation never enjoyed the fruits of independence....The homeguards like Michuki, Kenyatta and their ilk enjoyed the fruits. Kikuyus were not the only people that fought for independece your history books can confrirm that....But i understand that your grand pa made you belive that!!!! JUst the same way were kalenjin/luo collaborators we also have kikuyus who collaborated!!

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