In East Africa, tomorrow’s leaders are in power already
The biggest story in the region was the clashes in Tana River County in Kenya where the death toll passed the 100 (about 113 by the time of writing this) people mark soon after I had just written about it last week.
Kenyans gradually grew angry not just about the clashes but the disturbing silence of their leaders as all this happened. To the political class, the elections by-elections in Kajiado and Ndhiwa seemed more important than the numerous lives in Tana River clashes.
Kibaki’s disturbing silence compelled Garsen MP, Danson Mungatana to lament on TV that things would have been different if the clashes were in central Kenya. Eventually, Mzee Kibaki had something to say after weeks of silence. The initial reaction by the police had some of the police officers getting killed.
Now that the parliament has authorised the army’s intervention and that Kibaki is now talking, my prayer is that it all ends well since the election time is drawing closer and Kenyans deserve a peaceful election.
Away from the clashes in Tana, Mzee Kibaki hosted Tanzania’s Pres. Jakaya Kikwete a leader who some claim spends more time travelling than addressing issues back home. The gruesome death of journalist, Daudi Mwangosi who was beaten by police officers in the presence of the Regional Police Commander, and a tear gas canister was fired into his stomach from close range. What a shame.
The police officers who assaulted Mwangosi should face the full face of the law. The evidence against them is so clear if you have had a look at the horrible pictures that Francis Godwin took as the whole chaos unravelled. Sadly, Godwin is now in hiding after receiving death threats over the pictures.
The Tanzanian government and CCM in particular should know by now that continued brutality against the opposition only helps to increase CHADEMA’s popularity. It would be wiser to be more accommodative of divergent views.
In Kigali, the contributions to the Agaciro Development Fund have continued to increase and are now over 17 billion Rwandan Francs. For me the key message in all this is that African countries should seriously think about the long term dangers of reliance on donor aid. If we join hands and work harder we can achieve self sustenance and true development.
Burundi has had greater news away from Bujumbura. Pres Pierre Nkurunziza will be hosted by the Indian leadership for three days just three years since Burundi opened an embassy in India. A few weeks back, there was an incident of a Burundian student who was beaten in India.
This development is very encouraging for the relations between the two countries. Indian investors seem to be very interested in the uranium in Burundi and trade between the two countries.
Meanwhile, a UK newspaper reported that Newcastle’s Burundian footballer Gael Bigirimana is still pondering which country to play for when he finally makes his international debut.
It turns out he can (could) feature for his home country Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the UK (if they called him up). And yet there have been reports that Rwanda is also eyeing him as well. If only East Africa was just one country then it would not have been so difficult for the 18-year old to make a decision.
Uganda produced some very interesting pieces of news this last week. The capital city woke up to a rather interesting piece of drama as the City Council law enforcement people descended on a multimillion car showroom that had encroached on the road reserve and demolished it.
To even think that it belonged to none other than Toyota Nzeire, the young brother to Pres. Yoweri Museveni. The demolition exercise came soon after complaints from the Kampala Capital City Authority’s Executive Director Jennifer Musisi that the Vice President had obstructed the demolition of the building.
Kampala city clearly needs a lot of reorganisation to make it a better place to live and work in. But as people were still talking about the demolished building, history was being made. A 19-year-old Proscovia Alengot Oromait was elected a Member of Parliament to represent Usuk County.
With a 19-year-old in parliament debating the country’s laws, we can safely say that the proverbial leaders of tomorrow are already at work in Uganda. And that clearly age is just a number. We should not forget that there is evidence to show Uganda currently has the youngest population in the world anyway.
Contact email: ssenyonga[at]gmail.com