Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Kofi Annan and Thabo Mbeki owe Africa an apology

Recent media reports from Kenya about the deepening rifts in Kenya’s coalition government, caused by a failure to press ahead with promised reforms and a proliferation of armed militia groups are causing anxiety among many Zimbabweans and those who have been holding their breaths over the shaky forced coalition “government of national unity” in Zimbabwe.
As in Kenya, there are fears that the country could slide back into violence.

In Zimbabwe, as in Kenya, an aging politician, totally out of touch with what was on the ground and the younger generation, lost an election and simply refused to step down.
Both held their respective nations hostage by unleashing violent militia gangs that killed hundreds and displaced millions more.
In both cases, the world exposed its impotence towards rogue leaders who defy elections and abuse their citizens.

Continental and regional groups kept a safe distance away, reluctant to commit themselves by chiding the aging leaders to vacate State House and to respect the democratic electoral process.
Once in a while, an African leader would make a feeble statement here and there but, on the whole, African leaders preferred their nonsensical policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country, thereby defeating the whole need for the existence of such continental and regional bodies.

The carnage in Kenya started affecting the entire world as the death toll compelled hourly updates, more or less like what has been happening in Iraq for the last several years.

Someone pushed former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan into the fray to mediate between the two political rivals, Mwai Kibaki, the loser, and Raila Odinga, the man perceived to have won the election.
And Africans being Africans, instead of coming together and sternly making it clear to Kibaki that Africa cannot tolerate such behaviour and such total disregard for human life, Annan brokered an agreement in which the loser kept the presidency he had lost and the winner having a new post created for him.

I wrote many articles chiding Annan for setting a dangerous precedent in Africa as this was clear encouragement to other African leaders and a signal to existing aspiring dictators to ridicule the electoral process at a time when Africa, in spite of its leaders, is genuinely trying to invite democratic governments on its soil.
Supporters of the two losing presidents chided me and called me names, saying I was a prophet of doom.

The killing subsided in kenya and Kofi Annan received accolades from just about everywhere.

In March 2008, three months after Africa betrayed Kenyan voters with the installation of a bloated government and keeping a losing presidential contender in power, Zimbabweans went to the polls and a mirror image of the Kenyan experience was re-enacted, complete with run-off elections.
If anyone had missed news bulletins of what had happened in Kenya, all they had to do was to listen to news bulletins of events unfolding in Zimbabwe and they would get the Kenyan picture.

As people died in election violence, Mugabe lost the election and, like Kibaki, refused to accept the outcome, forcing his way into a run-off election in which he was the sole candidate.
The violence increased and a stalemate was born. With the help of Thabo Mbeki and SADC, the quarrelling political rivals were forced into a coalition government that demanded, as in Kenya, that the loser keep his job and the loser having a new post created for him.

Hardly two months into this marriage of inconvenience, cracks are beginning to show at a time when people were just about to start believing that the little peace they were reluctantly seeing might be there to stay.

In both cases, bad faith is the stumbling block but it is bad faith born from an imperfect arrangement.
The losing candidates were sitting presidents who feared losing power because of what they had done during their tenure.

Kibaki was concerned about rampant corruption in his government. Stepping aside would have given his political opponents a chance to bring him before the courts and once that happened, no one would tell where it would end.

Mugabe, on the other hand, had not only to worry about corruption and the emptying of national coffers, he also has to worry about human rights abuses and possible prosecution for genocide.
mugabe and his lieutenants badly want amnesty and immunity from prosecution although none of them has either apologized or admitted to any wrong doing.

In either case, it was clearly a big mistake to prescribe such a solution involving leaders who had abused their own people and who had been rejected by the same people.

In the end, it was outside interference, after all, that helped to keep these people in power.
It is a big shame that the architects of these horrible solutions, Annan, Mbeki and SADCC, continue to keep quiet when the men they installed against the citizens’ wishes continue to abuse the nation.

These dangerous “former” presidents, who had so much to answer for, were given opportunities to stay in power to continue doing the same things against their nations and their people when their own people had rejected them.

Is it not a pity that the SADC Tribunal long ruled that the farm invasions in Zimbabwe were illegal?

But last week, Mugabe came out in support of his war veterans who had started launching new raids and seizing farms beating up and killing people in the process.

As the other partners try to bring normalcy to the country, the ZANU-PF people, who have everything to fear if the country returns to the rule of law, are doing everything possible to foil this unity government because in chaos, they have always had the upper hand.
SADC is quiet about all the arrests and property grabbing not to mention the continued incarceration of innocent people.

Kofi Annan and Thabo Mbeki must apologise to Africa for their prescriptions for both Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Both Annan and Mbeki forced these two countries to accept an agreement that did not take into consideration the prevailing opinion among the peoples concerned.

They forced nations to accept imperfect governments made from imperfect arrangements.

Surely, such governments cannot be expected to deliver justice, law and order.

We are in trouble, thanks to these two African statesmen.
Thabo Mbeki and Kofi Annan owe Africa an apology and they must never let their prescription be used on any African nation again.


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