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ANALYSIS: Behind Kenya’s Political Turmoil, a Tale of Fathers and Sons



The two men were political allies.
But they had a falling out over the direction of newly independent Kenya — especially over land and power — and became bitter adversaries.
Now their sons are fighting a modern adaptation of the same battle as they vie to lead the country, pushing one of Africa’s youngest and most vibrant democracies to the brink of a constitutional crisis.
“History is not exactly repeating itself,” said Maina Kiai, a human rights lawyer in Kenya, describing the eerie political parallels between past and present, “but it certainly is rhyming.”
Politically, Kenya is deeply — and evenly — divided between Uhuru Kenyatta, the president, and his longtime political rival, Raila Odinga. In last year’s election, Mr. Kenyatta won slightly more than half the votes, and Mr. Odinga slightly less. Those results were tossed out in a historic decision by the Supreme Court, which cited widespread irregularities.
The court ordered a do-over of the polling, which Mr. Kenyatta won. But Mr. Odinga has not accepted the result, and even “inaugurated” himself as “the people’s president” at the end of January.
In recent weeks, supporters on both sides have hardened their claims that their man is the only legitimate leader.
Mr. Odinga’s followers threaten to secede from the country if his main demands — dialogue and a path to new elections this year — are not met. Mr. Kenyatta’s followers say the opposition leader committed treason by staging his mock inauguration to undercut the legitimacy of the real one.
It didn’t start out like this.

From left, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, left, and Jomo Kenyatta, second from left, with other leaders in Nairobi giving a news conference in December 1963 on the eve of Kenya’s independence

Jomo Kenyatta, the father of the current president, was a Kenyan freedom fighter, the living embodiment of African nationalism, and, therefore, the British colonial government’s most hated man. He spent the last decade of Kenya’s colonial rule in prison.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the father of Raila Odinga, negotiated independence with the British. The colonial rulers wanted Mr. Odinga to lead the new Kenya, but Mr. Odinga had other ideas: He demanded Mr. Kenyatta’s freedom — and his appointment as Kenya’s first head of state.
“Kenyatta would not have been released, and he wouldn’t have been made prime minister, if it hadn’t been for Odinga’s backing,” said Daniel Branch, a professor of history at the University of Warwick and an expert on post-colonial Kenyan politics. “The two men always admired each other.”
Willy Mutunga, who was chief justice of the Supreme Court from 2011 to 2016, believes Mr. Odinga was motivated by more than mere admiration. “I think he genuinely believed that the country was going to be better off with somebody who had become a legend,” he said.
And so, in 1964, when Kenya became a republic, Jomo Kenyatta became its president, and Jaramogi Odinga vice-president.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, unveiling a statue of President Jomo Kenyatta in 1964. Mr. Kenyatta is sitting at right. Credit Bettman, via Getty Images

Not long after, though, things fell apart.
The elder Mr. Kenyatta became a pro-Western capitalist, entrenching the wealth of his family and his ethnic community from his presidential perch. The elder Mr. Odinga advocated sharing state resources — especially the land the British settlers would leave behind — among Kenya’s many ethnic communities.
“There was a dramatic departure between Odinga’s father and Kenyatta’s father,” said John Githongo, a longtime civil rights activist and a former federal civil servant. “In a sense, that old fight is ongoing now.”
That fight was, and remains, partly about land, and partly about power.
Mr. Kenyatta wanted to sell the British settler lands to Kenyans of means, and to concentrate political power in the presidency.

Mr. Odinga wanted to redistribute land among those marginalized by the colonial government, and to have a decentralized power system that would allow neglected regions more autonomy and a share of the state coffers.
These differences ultimately undermined the founding fathers’ alliance. In the end, Mr. Kenyatta set up a buyback scheme, which meant the land “went more or less to the political elites,” said Odenda Lumumba, the chief executive officer of the Kenya Land Alliance, a national land rights group based in Nyanyuki. “The political elites, to protect themselves, attracted their ethnic tribes around them.”
Mr. Kenyatta brokered land deals that benefited his fellow Kikuyus, and his own family. His government blocked repeated efforts by Parliament to limit land ownership, and his family amassed vast tracts of land, tea and coffee plantations, and stakes in ruby mines, among other riches, according to a 1978 dossier that the C.I.A. declassified last year.
In 1966, Mr. Odinga split with Mr. Kenyatta and started a new political party. It was banned three years later, and Mr. Odinga was jailed for more than a year.
After Mr. Kenyatta’s death in 1978, his handpicked successor, Daniel Arap Moi, banned other political parties, largely to keep Mr. Odinga out of politics.
His government also cracked down on dissent, harassing and jailing opposition figures and democracy advocates, censoring the press, canceling the passports of perceived “enemies” of his government — all moves the younger Mr. Kenyatta has reinstated, in these last weeks, as he battles with the younger Odinga.

By the time Kenya held its first competitive election, in 2002, political leadership had passed from Kenya’s founding fathers to their sons. Mr. Moi, who had run the country for 24 years, had groomed Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor, and Raila Odinga picked up his father’s fight after he died in 1994.
In that election, Mr. Odinga’s party won, and Mwai Kibaki became president. But by 2013, Mr. Kenyatta defeated Mr. Odinga in a presidential election. Now he has won re-election — twice.

President Daniel Arap Moi, second from right, talking with Uhuru Kenyatta, right, after a meeting of the ruling Kenya African National Union party in 2002. On the far left is Raila Odinga.

It can feel, some here say, more like a family dynasty than a democracy.
“Mr. Kenyatta is the fourth president of Kenya,” said Mr. Mutunga, the former chief justice. “He is also the son of the first president, the political protégé of the second president, and the godson of the third president.”
Many here say Mr. Kenyatta’s interests look similar to his father’s.
“Uhuru Kenyatta represents, in some respects, the continuation of an old order,” said Mr. Githongo, the civil rights activist. “And Odinga has always represented a change from that.”
Mr. Kenyatta’s family’s land holdings have ballooned, to an estimated half-million hectares, or about 10 percent of the country, and corruption in his administration is rife. His first administration decentralized some of power shored up in Nairobi, but complaints about the financial support for Kenya’s new counties are widespread.
Many say budgets are slow to come, or never appear. Concerns about the central government’s fiscal responsibility became so bad last year that the United States suspended $21 million in aid to the Ministry of Health, citing corruption and poor accounting.
Mr. Odinga’s central political argument today is that over generations, many Kenyans have been left by circumstances — their geographic location, their ethnic groups, their landlessness — on the outside of power. He speaks often of marginalization and disenfranchisement, of economic grievances and historical injustices, code words that tap into decades’ worth of disappointments and frustrations first articulated by his father.
“What has always happened is the instrumentalization of grievance,” said Patrick Gathara, a political analyst in Nairobi. “People know they’re being treated unfairly, but politicians put a veneer. They substitute their problems for the people’s problems.”


SOURCE: New York Times


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President Museveni Warns UN Security Council On Somalia



President Yoweri Museveni has called upon the United Nations Security Council not to repeat previous mistakes made in Somalia.

The President made the remarks today at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held at Speke resort Munyonyo Hotel in Kampala.

“If we do things right, chances are Somalia will be much better anytime soon. Let us avoid new mistakes,” he said.

President Museveni convened the Summit in the wake of the challenges AMISOM was facing, characterized by a mismatch between the mission ideals and resources.

It also followed the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 2372 of 30th August 2017 whose main thrust was the phased reduction and drawdown of AMISOM troops by 2020.

President Museveni mandated the African Union Commissioner, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat to communicate to the UN Security Council the decisions and recommendations of the Kampala Summit.

Troop Contributing Countries to the African Union-led Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) include Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

According to the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), the timeframes and troops levels under the UN Security Council Resolution 2372 are not realistic and undermine the capacity of AMISOM to deliver its mandate and would lead to a reversal of the gains made by AMISOM.

The Somalia National Army (SNA) and AMISOM have recovered more than 80% of Somalia but despite the notable achievement, the situation remains fragile with Al Shabab and other terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa country remaining a threat to Somalia, the region and to international peace and security.

The TCCs, therefore, urged the UN Security Council to reconsider resolution 2372 on draw down of the mission, restore AMISOM to previous troop levels and stay any further reduction of AMISOM troops in order to allow recovery of territory still under control of Al Shabab and other terrorist groups. The TCCs also called for ample time for integration, reorganization, training and mentoring of the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF).

The TCCs also requested the partners to support the enhancement of the capacity and training of the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) to maintain peace and security in Somalia and the integration exercise of the Federal Member States’ Forces into the Somali National Army (SNA) and to enhance their support to the Federal Government of Somalia so as to stabilize the political situation in the country and also the strengthening of administration structures and systems in areas liberated from Al Shabab.

The AU’s Commissioner, Mr. Faki Mahamat said that the continued presence of AMISOM in Somalia is crucial and a welcome commitment as well as an offer from partners to support AMISOM and the Federal Government of Somalia in their stabilization efforts.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of the Federal Republic of Somalia thanked President Museveni for taking the decision to deploy troops to Somalia ten years ago and his commitment to achieve peace in Somalia.

“I believe AMISOM is succeeding but we have a long way to go. We need to collaborate and continue funding to defeat Al Shabab,” he said.

The First Vice-President of Somalia, Gaston Sindimwo; Minister of National Defence of Djibouti, Ali Hassan Bahdon; Kenya Cabinet Secretary of Defence, Ambassador Raychelle Omamo and the Ethiopian Ambassador to Uganda, Tolesa Shagi Moti, attended the Summit.

Representatives of international partners from Algeria, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, France, Sweden, Turkey, Britain, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union were at the Summit.



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South Sudan: Government Lacks Will to Work for Peace – Opposition



The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Friday adjourned the South Sudan peace talks for three weeks. An IGAD envoy did not say why, but opposition parties questioned the government delegation’s commitment to finding solutions.

Opposition parties, civil society activists and faith-based groups have been attending the regional bloc’s meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for two weeks to discuss the road to peace in South Sudan.

Ismail Wais, IGAD’s special envoy for South Sudan, told delegates from the various South Sudanese stakeholders that his office would communicate a date for the resumption of the peace talks, dubbed High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF).

“Today we shall postpone phase two of the forum,” he said. “But before we do so, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate all of you for your patience and dedication to the revitalization process.”

Wais did not specify reasons for suspending the peace talks. However, nine opposition parties represented at the talks issued a statement accusing the South Sudan government delegation of lacking the “political will” to address core issues blocking the road to peace in South Sudan.

“We came to participate in the HLRF with an open mind and negotiate in good faith to usher peace to our people,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, our brothers and sisters in the government came to Addis Ababa to maintain the status quo and to accommodate the opposition group into bloated government.”

Speaking to VOA’s South Sudan in Focus from Addis Ababa, Kwaje Lasu, secretary-general of the South Sudan National Movement for Change, said the government delegation was not willing to end the violence in South Sudan.

Lasu also noted that when the so-called declaration of principles — the road map for the peace negotiations — were negotiated, “the government of South Sudan refused to sign” it.

South Sudan In Focus requested an interview with Michael Makuei, South Sudan’s minister of information and the government’s spokesman, but has not spoken to him yet.
Troika statement

The troika countries of Norway, the United States and Britain — the countries that funded and facilitated the 2015 South Sudan peace deal — issued a statement Friday throwing their weight behind the efforts of IGAD to end violence in South Sudan.

‘While useful dialogue has taken place over the past two weeks, there is much more for the parties to do if the HLRF is to make meaningful and sustainable progress towards peace,” the statement said.

The troika called on South Sudan’s various parties to reconvene as soon as possible, without preconditions, to address the security and governance arrangements essential for peace.

“We urge all parties to take steps to maintain the momentum of the process and refrain from comments or actions that could make returning to dialogue more difficult,” the statement said. “We urge the parties to agree that a negotiated arrangement for an inclusive transitional government that reflects South Sudan’s diversity is needed.”

The troika’s statement renewed its firm view that elections in South Sudan could not be viable in 2018, given the continuing conflict, lack of security, displacement of one-third of the population and severe food insecurity affecting half the population.

The opposition groups refused to discuss IGAD’s proposed power sharing arrangement, which would give 51 percent control President Salva Kiir’s party and 49 percent to the various opposition groups.

Lasu said the opposition parties were advocating for a lean and effective transitional government in South Sudan.


Source: VOA


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HOW HE WAS FORCED OUT: Jacob Zuma Resigns As South Africa’s President



President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, a master tactician who survived a string of scandals and harsh court judgments during his nearly nine-year presidency, agreed on Wednesday to step down, repudiated by the governing African National Congress Party, cornered by opposition parties and abandoned by millions of voters.

In an address to the nation Wednesday night, Mr. Zuma said he was resigning even though he disagreed with the party’s decision ordering him to do so.

“I have therefore come to the decision to resign as the president of the Republic with immediate effect, even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization,” he said at the end of a lengthy address on television. “I have always been a disciplined member of the A.N.C.”

It is a humiliating end for Mr. Zuma, a charismatic anti-apartheid hero who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and was once the A.N.C.’s intelligence chief.

Initially he inspired hope in millions of South Africans, especially the poorest. But, tainted by numerous accusations of misconduct, he came to symbolize the corruption that flourished during his time in office.

Influence-peddling in his administration was so widespread, according to the nation’s former public protector, that it became a form of state capture in which Mr. Zuma’s business partners or friends influenced government decisions in their personal interest.

He will resign anytime from now – Malema told Zuma recently

Now, his departure as president leaves South Africa with a disillusioned electorate, a weakened economy and a tarnished image in the rest of Africa.

Only hours before his resignation he had sounded defiant and aggrieved during a live interview with the state broadcaster SABC, after party leaders had threatened to remove him through a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Thursday. He had indicated strongly that he would not resign, saying the party’s effort to pull him from office was “unfair,” that he was being “victimized,” and that he had done nothing wrong.

The deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa — whose election as A.N.C. leader in December set off a power struggle with Mr. Zuma — immediately became acting president. On Thursday, Mr. Ramaphosa is almost certain to be chosen by Parliament to become the nation’s fifth president since the end of apartheid in 1994; all have been members of the A.N.C.

The resignation was the culmination of a long internal fight, pitting Mr. Zuma’s supporters against an ascendant faction led by Mr. Ramaphosa, who pushed the president to step down before the end of his full term in mid-2019. The balance finally tipped against Mr. Zuma, when the majority of party leaders concluded that the A.N.C.’s interests, and their own, would be better served under a new head of state.

On Tuesday, after more than a week of failed efforts by Mr. Ramaphosa to ease Mr. Zuma out office, party leaders ordered Mr. Zuma to step down, saying his continued presence as the nation’s leader would “erode the renewed hope and confidence among South Africans,” and indicating that he was hurting the party’s electoral prospects.

Mr. Zuma’s administration appeared to schedule an address to the nation by Mr. Zuma at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, but then issued a statement saying no such briefing was planned an hour before it was scheduled to start.

As Mr. Zuma remained defiantly silent, the police’s investigative unit — which has long been subject to political interference — raided the residence in Johannesburg of the Guptas, a family with wide-ranging business interests and close ties to one of the president’s sons and his political allies, and arrested three people.

The intended message, political analysts said, was that those closest to Mr. Zuma, or even Mr. Zuma himself, could be next unless he acceded to the party’s order to quit.

Then, a few hours after that, as Mr. Zuma gave no indication of responding to his party’s order, A.N.C. leaders escalated the pressure. If the president did not resign by the end of the day, they said, they would move to remove him through a vote of no confidence the next day.

“The ball is in his court,” said Paul Mashatile, the party’s treasurer general and a Ramaphosa ally.

Mr. Zuma broke his silence with the SABC interview shortly after that, before finally resigning during his address to the nation.

The developments were a clear sign of how much had changed in the two months since Mr. Ramaphosa was chosen to succeed Mr. Zuma as the leader of the A.N.C., creating what South Africans refer to as the two centers of power — the presidency and the head of the party.

Mr. Zuma, seemingly untouchable just a couple of months ago, was gone in just 58 days.

For years, Mr. Zuma — as the leader of both the party and the nation — had relied on his party’s support to fend off opposition-led no-confidence votes in Parliament and damning rulings by the nation’s highest courts.

Mr. Zuma’s reversal in fortunes began in December, when his choice as party successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician and his former wife, lost to Mr. Ramaphosa by a small margin.

Mr. Ramaphosa’s election was considered a victory for reformers inside the A.N.C. After his election, South Africa’s currency, the rand, and overall business confidence have risen.

In recent weeks, Mr. Ramaphosa’s supporters lobbied for Mr. Zuma’s early exit. They argued that Mr. Ramaphosa needed time before the 2019 elections to rebuild the party and woo back voters, especially in the urban black middle class.

Pushing back, Mr. Zuma’s followers said he should be allowed to complete his term. But the momentum was not in their favor, and other challenges, potentially embarrassing to both Mr. Zuma and the party, lay ahead.

Mr. Zuma faced possible corruption charges for an arms deal in the 1990s, before he was president, as well as possible impeachment proceedings stemming from another corruption case, related to the misuse of public funds for upgrades to his homestead.

Mr. Zuma’s resignation saved the A.N.C. from a potentially embarrassing confrontation in Parliament. It is almost certain that the party would have succeeded in passing the no-confidence vote, given its dominance in the legislative body.

But the spectacle of a party finally turning against a leader it had protected steadfastly for nearly nine years would have likely resulted in awkward verbal footwork by A.N.C. lawmakers and stinging attacks by a reinvigorated opposition.

The same A.N.C. lawmakers, who had until a couple of months ago always offered a full-throated defense of Mr. Zuma’s conduct in a series of scandals, would have been forced to proffer reasons to remove him in Parliament — exposing the party to charges of hypocrisy and expediency, and casting doubt on Mr. Ramaphosa’s pledge to reform it.

The A.N.C.’s difficult position was on clear display on Tuesday. At a news conference at its headquarters in Johannesburg, Ace Magashule — who is third in the party’s hierarchy and has traditionally acted as its spokesman — struggled to explain why the party was asking for Mr. Zuma’s resignation.

Mr. Magashule said the corruption accusations against the president had played no role, saying, “We did not take these decisions because Comrade Jacob Zuma has done anything wrong.”

Mr. Magashule’s remarks suggested the party might be reluctant to deal head-on with the culture of corruption that was endemic under Mr. Zuma — and also that it was concerned about its success in future elections.

In the 2016 local elections, the A.N.C. lost control over the nation’s biggest cities after it was deserted by traditional supporters disillusioned by Mr. Zuma’s conduct; some party officials have since warned that it might face a similar fate in national elections in 2019.
But party leaders did not explain, as Mr. Zuma himself pointed out in the television interview, why they had loyally backed him until two months ago and were now demanding his resignation. What had changed, beyond the fact that there was now a new A.N.C. leader who wanted him out?

“Nobody’s saying what I’ve done,” Mr. Zuma said in his television interview.

SOURCE: New York Times


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