The tide of Obamian Mistrust is cresting in Kenya like the El-Nino floods.
Just as at home in the U.S., the lust for change that swept Obama into office is coming to a head in Kenya. But in Kenya the ramifications are much more immediate than in the U.S.
Last week the World Court at the Hague, in the person of UN Under Secretary Ocampo, announced that it would begin unilaterally to prosecute those responsible for the violence following the 2007 elections.
The Kenyan population was ecstatic. “What took them so damn long?!” shouted a letter writer in last Sunday’s Daily Nation newspaper in Nairobi.
What the letter writer meant was that the trials of those responsible were already to have begun – indeed, already ended! This according to the agreement that Kenyan leaders signed in February, 2008.
What took them so long was the “diplomatic process.” More than any other outside player, the U.S. has been actively trying to move Kenya’s leaders to implement the agreement which ended the trouble in December, 2007.
But it’s way too slow for Kenyans: Just as at home in the U.S., where health care reform is morphing from the hopeful electricity in hundreds of thousands of American youth at rallies when Obama won, to the stuffy hyperbole of thick books about failed revolutions.
If the current political leaders in the U.S. and Kenya think that they can hide behind the umbra of “necessary time”, they are dead wrong and especially in Kenya.
Unlike the U.S. where the citizens are very polarized today — arguably the reason reform is being held up here — in Kenya citizens are united. They hate their government, despise corruption and speak with unanimous condemnation.
There is not a single poll, single nongovernment group, old or young, which currently supports the government. There are five Nairobi newspapers all shouting for instant reform. Not even the old KTV television station — originally set up by the government — now supports the government.
But the U.S. and its institutionalized allies are moving Kenya at the same speed their governor is set at back home. At home it means simply that reform won’t happen. In Kenya it will cause massive destruction within the next few years.
Twenty months after an agreement was thrust on the despised Kenyan leadership by a reluctant U.S. and U.K. — which mandated a new constitution and prosecution of those responsible for the horrific violence — little has actually happened.
The U.S. has done everything within the realm of “established diplomacy” to move things along. And that’s just the problem. These are not times for established diplomacy. Established diplomacy led to the Rwandan genocide and is the main reason there were 130,000 displaced persons in Kenya after the 2007 elections.
The U.S.’ most recent move, which I applauded in earlier blogs, was to bar 15 Kenyan leaders from visiting the U.S. But Secretary Clinton refused to make the names public.
Here’s what Rob Jillo, of Nairobi’s popular Capital FM radio station said about that:
“To the US, I can only say to them that Kenyans feel that your travel bans are a mockery; they should make the name or names of banned individuals public so that Kenyans can hold them accountable and deal with them by naming and shaming them. They should also assist the country in repatriating monies held by these corrupt individuals and anti-reformists in overseas accounts.
“Mr Ranneberger [the U.S. ambassador to Kenya] and lately Mr Johnnie Carson’s [U.S. Under Secretary for Africa] source of irritation has always been the slow nature of reforms in the country. If we want to be in-charge of our destiny then speed up the reforms.”
This is not a time for politeness, in the U.S. or Kenya. Playing by the old rules in the U.S. simply ensures the status quo and it will be at least a generation before genocide occurs on U.S. soil. But in Kenya, the trigger is set: December, 2012.
If total and complete reforms are not in place by the next scheduled election, modern Kenya will end in a bloodbath.