BY MOSES KURIA
If you talk to any serious economic analyst today, they will tell you that Africa is on the verge of a major economic renaissance. From a booming Nigerian economy to the steadily growing South African economy.
The "Paris Club" begging missions of yester-years are gone with more and more African countries following in Kenya\’s footsteps of managing the budget from internal resources. In a world that is looking at an energy crisis straight in the eye, the bulk of new oil and gas reserves are in the continent of Africa, from Equatorial Guinea, to Angola, from Chad to Zambia, from Nigeria to Uganda.
Whilst Africa has taken refuge in conspiracy theories and blamed the West for all its woes since Independence, it is difficult not to view the current happening in various African countries against the backdrop of the growing economic renaissance, the Chinese influence in Africa and the continued economic melt-down in the West. The million dollar question is: Is the West trying to dismantle Africa with a view to controlling its economic renaissance?
Just over the past one week, a cursory look at four major developments buttresses this fear. These are the unfolding situation in the Ivory Coast, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo\’s comments in Nairobi, the infamous diplomatic cables expose otherwise known as WikiLeaks and the revelations about the American ambassador\’s activities in Kenya.
Firstly, the Ivory Coast. The West is determined. They have decided there has to be regime change in Ivory Coast, no matter what the cost. The pattern is all too familiar now. Alassane Ouattara, the anointed regime change President is allowed to stuff ballot boxes in his Northern strongholds. The Electoral Commission declares him President but the Constitutional Council, an equivalent of the American Supreme Court nullifies and declares Laurent Gbagbo duly elected.
The West, quite oblivious of another country\’s constitutional provisions, demands that Ouattara is sworn in. The purported swearing in is presided over by the United Nation\’s forces stationed in Abidjan! Now Thabo Mbeki is there and soon you will hear very familiar calls. That Laurent Gbagbo must agree to share power with the opposition blah, blah, blah.
Fast forward to Ocampo. Whereas the good Argentine is entitled to do his work, this time round he has left many baffled. At the Kenya National Dialogue Conference in Nairobi last week, he referred to ‘2012’ more than six times and only once did he refer to "Justice". Even Kenyan politicians do not mention ‘2012’ that frequently as Mr Ocampo is doing.
If the ICC process is to have any credibility in Kenya, it must be more about justice to the victims than 2012 politics. It is ominous though to imagine that on Friday December 3, the last day of the conference, President Mwai Kibaki was away in Arusha and Prime Minister Raila Odinga was on his way to the climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. While they were away, both Ocampo and Kofi Annan were running the show in Nairobi. I rest my case on that.
Now the fabled Wikileaks. While we wait with bated breath on what they say about us, there is one good thing about them. Irrespective of which side of the political divide you fall in, Americans think of us in the same way. They really do not discriminate against either side of the political divide, for to them we are all equally worthless.
That is hardly a surprise for the side that is used to being battered at every point. However, there may be others in the political arena who had illusions that they were the blue-eyed favourites of the Americans and when the Wikileaks, Kenya Edition, are finally released, they will be in for a rude shock.
It might be a little bit queasy to be described in terms such as "Wishy-washy", "excitable", "anti-business populist rabble-rouser who still exhibits occasional fits of communism." All said and done, the Wikileaks expose should be a wake-up call for Africa. Until we clean up our houses and take our destiny in our hands, our future as Africans is bleak.
For the Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, I cannot agree more with Prime Minister Raila Odinga when he asked him to stop his countrywide tours. The government spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua\’s complained that Mr Ranneberger is dishing out billions of shillings in the name of youth programs.
If we have a government that is worth that name, Mr Ranneberger ought to have a cup of tea with our Foreign Affairs Minister and provide a detailed account of what he is doing with our youth. Long before Ranneberger, the government had the youth fund that is already benefiting lots of groups in the country. Then there is the Kazi-kwa-Vijana which is limping for lack of funding.
The government recently introduced the SME Fund that can be accessed by the youth to start small and micro-enterprises. Using these existing frameworks, Mr Ranneberger\’s billions would go a long way to help our youth. Which then begs the question of why he deems it fit to roam the countryside giving money to amorphous youth groups in a sovereign nation?
Ivory Coast is tense, Sudan is on the precipice going to the January 9 referendum. There is a Swahili proverb that says that if you see your neighbour being shaved, water your head, you will be the next one on the line. As a country, Kenya can decide to remain Kenya, an African jewel.
(The author is a member of the Party of National Unity (PNU). These views do not represent the position of the PNU. [email protected]).