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AFRIK-IT  June 1995

AFRIK-IT June 1995

Subject:

Message from Peter da Costa

From:

Peter da Costa <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Thu, 15 Jun 1995 10:24:34 BST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (175 lines)

Here's an example of an IPS story FYI:
--------
 
KENYA-POLITICS: Rattled Government Plays Race Card
 
   By Charles Wachira
 
NAIROBI, Jun 13 (IPS) - In October 1952, the British colonial
government declared a state of emergency to contain the
nationalist Mau Mau uprising in central Kenya.
 
   Although the peasant-based Mau Mau movement was defeated, its
emergence helped speed British plans for decolonisation.
 
   Now, more than three decades later, the Kenyan government is
claiming the mantle of the struggle for black rule as it attempts
to see off the challenge of a proposed new party.
 
   The ire of the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) has
been directed at one of the leading figures in the yet unnamed
and unregistered party, the redoubtable Dr Richard Leakey, the
former director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
 
   A third generation Kenyan, Leakey is from one of Kenya's most
illustrious white families. As director of the KWS, he built a
formidable reputation for drive and getting his way.
 
   On May 7 he announced that he would join opposition dissident
Paul Muite in a new party that would apply for registration by
June 15.
 
   President Daniel Moi and the KANU establishment responded
violently. Moi described Leakey as an ''arrogant colonialist and
foreigner with no understanding of Kenya.'' Some KANU politicians
went further and called him an ''idiot''. Last month, armed Masai
-- related to Moi's Kalenjin -- surrounded the Leakey home and
demanded that the ''colonialist'' leave.
 
   It is not Leakey's conservationist credentials that have
rattled KANU. It is the fear that as a white man he can stand
above the ethnic fray that has knee-capped the opposition and
provide a credible alternative for Kenyans in elections in 1997.
 
   KANU is also concerned that a donor community exasperated with
the government's inability to curb corruption, be less
repressive, and build on its reluctant introduction of multi-
party politics in 1992, may back a serious-looking party in which
Leakey is involved. They have given up on Kenya's existing
squabbling and ineffective opposition.
 
   The government has already fired off a series of rhetorical
salvos aimed at Leakey's alleged neo-colonial agenda, membership
of the Klu Klux Klan and foreign financing which has been
interpreted as preparing the way to refuse the new party's
registration.
 
   But unfortunately for Moi, his registration decision will come
before a key emergency donors' meeting in Paris on July 24,
brought forward by four months due to international concern over
his government's direction. The donors would not look favourably
on a specious attempt to block the new party.
 
   Human rights lawyer Dr Gibson Kamau Ruia says the constitution
''does not recognise race, colour or tribe of citizens and the
Attorney-General should advise the government accordingly.''
 
   Kuria stresses the former director of KWS ''has every right to
run for the highest office in the country,'' despite Moi's talk
of independence betrayed if the country were to be governed again
by a white person.
 
   ''I am not a young man ... I have no interest in politics for
the sake of politics. And up to now all I have said is that there
are certain problems that need to be faced. It is very sad to see
the personalisation of this issue and the racial and ethnic
overtones,'' Leakey has responded to the KANU campaign.
 
   However, the threat of neo-colonialism does not appear to be
keeping Kenyans awake at night.
 
   ''Look man, this is 1995. The world is a global village. Its
primitive to engage in this petty talk of racism,'' argues
university student Philip Kihara. ''What I want is a leadership
that can deliver the goods. Whether it's made up of Chinese or
Bushmen, the point is race will never be a factor.''
 
   ''My concern is the leaders' ability to do what they were
elected to do.''
 
   He also pointed to the fact that Leakey's younger brother,
Philip, is a member of KANU and was the first white person under
Moi's reign to get a ministerial position after winning a
parliamentary seat.
 
   ''I agree that it would be unfortunate if a white person ruled
us. But let's pause for a second and ask: Now that the black man
is running his affairs, how well off has he made the life of his
people,'' says Tabitha Wangari, a primary school teacher.
 
   ''If you are honest with yourself you will realise that only a
few have benefited. So I really don't mind Leakey, he has proven
himself before as director of KWS and he seems a sober man.''
 
   History may play against Leakey, though. His parents were
opposed to the Mau Mau movement, which demanded land distribution
and squatter rights for Africans confined to barren reserves in
the White Highlands -- as were virtually all other white farmers.
 
   But according to car dealer Sanjay Sharma: ''You can't pin a
child down because of his parents misdeeds. Every person is an
entity and should be treated that way. Personally when the time
comes, I shall vote for an individual irrespective of party
affiliation, race tribe or religious stripe, and that includes Dr
Leakey.''
 
   That may not be the case in the rural areas. ''I don't know
what has happened to the men of today. We chased the white man so
that we could proudly say that we are independent, but now I hear
noises that some people want to be lead by a 'mzungu'. Wherever
(Dedan) Kimathi is his body is writhing in pain,'' says Wangai
Njuguna, a grandfather several times over.
 
   Kimathi was a Mau Mau leader who was betrayed and caught by
the colonial government which hanged him.
 
   But while KANU resurrects the memory of the majority Kikuyu-
based nationalist movement, Kimathi's body is still buried in an
unmarked grave at Kamiti maximum security prison, 40 kms
northeast of here.
 
   At independence, the Mau Mau leaders were sidelined by the
then Kikuyu-based KANU political establishment.
 
   Today, in an ethnically polarised Kenya, the government is
supporting the minority Kalenjin in a campaign of ethnic
cleansing aimed at forcing Kikuyu settlers out of the Rift Valley
in which thousands have died, and insulating the Kalenjin in
positions of authority in the military and civil service.
(end/ips/cw/oa/95)
 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Peter da Costa, Regional Director for Africa
Inter Press Service (IPS) Third World News Agency
Regional Headquarters for Africa
P.O. Box 6050, 127 Union Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: (263-4) 790104/5 Fax: (263-4) 728415
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nnnn

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