The news that several former presidents of African countries bordering Kenya had gone to the troubled country to try to end the disturbances there, is welcome. It is welcome in the sense that these are concrete efforts by African leaders themselves coming to the aid of another nation, without having to wait for the intervention of western nations.
Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Tanzania; Joachim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia; Ketumire Masire, former president of Botswana, who rushed to Kenya to calm raging and destructive, killing crowds, are now considered elders whose advice should be listened to.
Some of them, like Joachim Chissano, have won awards for good governance, and yet others have relinquished power willingly after defeat at elections, when they could also have caused chaos in their countries if they had chosen to cling to leadership.
The presence of such leaders also gives some hope that Africa is not yet lost, if we have some redeeming personages like the ones mentioned here.
Perhaps we need greater regional efforts in calming down the heightened tempers in Kenya, so that when that nation sees the concern that their destructive instincts has raised, they will sheathe their machetes for shame, and demand electoral accountability in a more civilized manner.
It would certainly carry with it some amount of danger, but being no strangers to danger, if all regional leaders went and pitched camp in Kenya, and then proceeded to different places to placate the angry mobs, this would have some positive effect.
It is also commendable that countries neighbouring Kenya that are giving refuge to the distraught people seeking safety, are doing it much out of a sense of brotherhood and pathos, and not because they are enjoined by those international conventions on refugees that the local people have never even heard of.
This African unity, used positively, will ultimately deliver us from many of our woes, including economic ones, everywhere that it is applied. But it should never be used for destructive purposes.