Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hope And Change Kenya Style - Yes We Can!

Much political capital was made during the 2008 Presidential election campaign about the links between President Obama and Africa on account of his father being Kenyan. His political opponents claim that although they were estranged, and in order to secure the non-white vote, candidate Obama successfully passed himself off as an African-American even though he is of mixed race due to his white mother.

These same detractors also claim that his links to Africa, tenuous as they may have been, were exploited in order to seduce low information voters into believing they were making history by electing the first African-American president.

In other words they are claiming that an upbringing in Indonesia and Hawaii followed by a life in Chicago, his links both emotional and cultural to Africa are manufactured for image and electoral purposes, therefore they can be discounted. Any student of post colonial Africa will confirm that this is foolishly incorrect.

To anyone who has any knowledge or experience in East Africa, especially Kenya, the parallels between how these governments operate and the Obama administration are startling. Whether he has consciously used these governments as a template for his own is open to question but it cannot be discounted entirely.

The history of Kenya is well documented elsewhere but briefly for this essay a stable government by the Colonial Office was the hallmark of British colonial rule. The decolonisation process consisted of a transitional government led by the first elected black Prime Minister, Jomo Kenyatta, and a Governor General representing the Queen, working under an agreed Constitution.

Americans should take note that things started to plummet downhill after full independence was granted in December 1963 and the parallels with the current administration began to appear in earnest.

In June 1964 Kenyatta amended the Constitution to make Kenya a republic with himself as President. He gave himself wide executive powers effectively sidelining the legislature becoming not only the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the armed forces but Head of Government as well.

His contempt for the Constitution was further demonstrated when he ignored it again after his re-election in 1966 granting himself all the power he needed to run Kenya entirely by Executive Order. He filled important posts in the government, industry and the military with his own cronies along with family members and fellow tribal members.

During his rule Jomo Kenyatta used government agencies, including the police and the military, to harass political opponents finally banning the only other political party prior to the 1969 elections. Principled opposition politicians fled into exile with the unprincipled former opposition politicians joining with Kenyatta in his Kenya African National Union (KANU).

For fifteen years Kenyatta remained in control of this one party state until he died in 1978 to be succeeded by his deputy, Daniel arap Moi.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" could have been written especially for Moi who continued ignoring the Constitution for the next twenty four years engendering one of the most hopelessly corrupt governments in Africa if not the entire world.

The current President of Kenya is Uhru Kenyatta, son of Jomo who is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for human rights abuses.

The United States of America obviously hasn't reached this condition just yet but it can't be denied that by sidelining its Constitution, bypassing the legislature and allowing a President to govern by Executive Order it is embarking on the same road as Kenya and therefore it is only a matter of time.

With little difference between the ruling Democrat Party and the establishment run Republican Party, America is for all intents and purposes a one party state with no third party on the horizon to halt the visible decline into third world status.

It's a safe bet that whoever wins the next election deficit spending will remain, the national debt will continue to increase, the borders will remain porous, amnesty to illegals will be granted and African levels of corruption in the government and its agencies will remain deeply entrenched.

In conclusion its worth noting that altering the Constitution in order to by-pass legislators thus instituting government by Executive Order is the African way, therefore if President Obama does have emotional and cultural links with East Africa then his current behavior is explainable and shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

It is also worth noting the behavior of neighbouring East African countries post independence.

Julius Nyerere, first President of independent Tanganyika/Tanzania from 1962 until 1985. Suspended the Constitution making himself Executive President.

Milton Obote, first President of independent Uganda from 1962 until deposed by a military coup in 1971. Amended the Constitution making himself Executive President.

Kenneth Kaunda, first President of independent Zambia from 1964 until 1991. Banned all political parties except his own in 1968.

Hastings Banda, first President of Malawi from 1966 until 1994.................etc. etc.    

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