Fighting for Africa’s Soul
Nairobi – Africa’s open economic and political rebellion towards traditional allies in North America and Western Europe in favour of China due to its pro-development agenda that does not interfere with its sovereignty has been met with rage by the West.
To counter this rebellion, the Western countries ‑ led by Britain and the United States ‑ are working hard to reclaim their lost interests in Africa through unorthodox means, including sowing seeds of discontent in some of the known peaceful countries.
In Kenya, this notion is already gaining momentum after opposition chief, Raila Odinga ‑ who enjoys massive support from the United States and Europe ‑ accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of “auctioning the country to the Chinese” has planned a massive political rally “to save Kenya from mismanagement”.
Odinga and his CORD coalition are behind June 7, 2014, public disorder in Kisumu, in which, according to media reports, police used teargas to dispense hundreds of protesting youths who were chanting anti-Kenyatta slogans.
Incidentally, Odinga only made the mismanagement allegations upon his return from nearly three months “study leave” in the US, a study that the Kenyan Embassy in Washington described as a visit by the former prime minister for private meetings.
Prior to the US sojourn, Odinga’s grip on politics was dwindling with a botched election in his party and facing rebellion from his political allies only to return re-energised and calling for national dialogue over alleged mismanagement of the country by the President Kenyatta administration.
The call for national dialogue, which the government has rubbished, seems to have divided Kenyans, with Odinga supporters accusing the government of corruption, tribalism, and inability to contain escalating insecurity that has seen European and American tourists snub the country.
Kenyatta supporters, on the other side, squarely blame Odinga and his Western handlers for their camouflaged intent to destabilise the East African country through terrorist attacks and constant political rallies laced with hate speeches.
According to respected political analyst, Mutahi Ngunyi, and veteran political activist, Koigi Wamwere, who are both government sympathisers, Odinga through his American and British friends is planning a regime change in Kenya and is using guerrilla warfare tactics to call for “national dialogue”.
Weeks prior to Kenya’s 2013 general elections, two authoritative newspapers in the UK and the US – The Independent and New York Times carried separate but somehow similar articles that painted imminent strained relations between the West and Kenya and undisclosed consequences should Uhuru Kenyatta become the country’s president.
According to the articles, President Kenyatta had been charged with heinous crimes and accused of bankrolling death squads that slaughtered women and children, while his running mate, William Ruto, also faced charges of crimes against humanity. The Obama administration warned Kenyans that they were free to pick their own leaders but that “choices have consequences”.
The papers further wrote that if Kenyatta was to win, he would not only worsen the sour diplomatic relations between Kenya and the West – he would also become the second current African Head of State, after Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, to face grave charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Prior to his election victory, there was intrigue in the US and British power corridors with several meetings held to decide what action to take on a range of issues involving Kenya, a Commonwealth member.
The meetings recognised that Kenya is the centre for security operations by the UK and the West against the Islamist al-Shabaab group in neighbouring Somalia and the Horn of Africa, a country which Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, has described as second only to Pakistan as a destination for extremist British Muslims.
Today, the Kenyatta administration has snubbed the US and Europe in favour of China. Kenya is engaging the Asian economic powerhouse in business deals worth billions of shillings and has invited Chinese tourists at the expense of Western tourists, who were advised by their embassies to leave Kenya because of recent terror attacks that have exposed security lapses.
The al-Qaeda offshoot in Somalia, al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the recent deadly attacks in Mpeketoni that killed 60 people and displaced hundreds.
The Kenyan government insists the attacks are connected to politics.
And since Odinga’s return from two-and-a-half months “study leave” in the US, he has called for national dialogue on challenges inflicting the country, including failure to deal with the Islamic insurgents, while threatening that the government will suffer undisclosed consequences.
Analysts believe that the former prime minister is bitter after losing last year’s presidential elections and is organising political rallies to destabilise the country in order to cause a revolution and topple President Uhuru Kenyatta’s year-old administration.
In his state of the nation address, President Kenyatta warned politicians of dire consequences against fuelling insurgency in Kenya. In response, Odinga and his CORD coalition said that the president’s statement was “reckless, pre-empting police investigations and shifting focus from the real terrorist threat”.
Several forums have questioned Odinga’s real intentions since his return from abroad.
Kenyatta’s protégé, Moses Kuria, quipped that the US was sending Odinga back to Kenya as a “Messiah” to liberate Kenya.
Kuria pointed out that the West is not using al-Shabaab but some Kenyan politicians to exploit security lapses to destabilise the country and gain power and give in the West’s demands.
But the civil society, while calling for peace, has urged the President to desist from attacks on the opposition that will polarise the country further and instead act on the country’s security situation.
A section of Kenyans too believe that the president is losing focus and fighting the wrong enemy. But why are Kenyans ignoring the president’s concern? And what is Odinga not telling Kenyans?
By deserting Kenya militarily, specifically not sharing intelligence information, the West has exposed Kenya to terror attacks and the country’s new darling China has a hands off policy towards sovereign countries.