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Monday, February 10th, 2020

 

Salvador: le chef du Parlement accuse le président Bukele de « tentative de coup d’Etat »

Publié le 11.02.2020 à 01h50 par AFP

Le président du Parlement salvadorien, Mario Ponce, a accusé lundi le président Nayib Bukele de « tentative de coup d’Etat » pour avoir envoyé la veille des militaires et policiers lourdement armés investir le Parlement où il a prononcé un discours menaçant.

L’exécutif a commis « une tentative de coup d’Etat » contre le pouvoir législatif, a dénoncé M. Ponce, membre du Parti de la concertation nationale (PCN, conservateur d’opposition), après s’être réuni avec des représentants de partis politiques.

« Nous ne pouvons pas répondre au pouvoir exécutif avec un pistolet sur la tempe », s’est-il indigné, appelant le gouvernement au dialogue.

La chambre constitutionnelle de la Cour suprême a exigé lundi du chef de l’Etat de « s’abstenir de faire usage des Forces armées » et de « mettre en danger le mode de gouvernement républicain, démocratique et représentatif, le système pluraliste et particulièrement la séparation des pouvoirs ».

Dimanche, des soldats équipés de fusils d’assaut et des policiers anti-émeutes ont fait irruption dans l’enceinte du Parlement monocaméral. Peu après, le président Bukele a fait un discours devant les 84 députés, les qualifiant publiquement de « bons à rien ».

Le chef de l’Etat, arrivé au pouvoir en juin 2019, a ensuite lancé un ultimatum à la Chambre, où ses partisans sont minoritaires, pour qu’elle approuve cette semaine un prêt de 109 millions de dollars visant à équiper les forces de l’ordre pour lutter contre les « maras », les redoutables gangs criminels salvadoriens.

En réaction, le président du Parlement a suspendu sine die la session plénière prévue lundi, dont le seul point à l’ordre du jour était l’emprunt réclamé par Nayib Bukele.

Ce report a été durement critiqué par le chef de l’Etat qui a accusé sur Twitter les députés de « mentir (…) comme toujours ».

« Ce n’est pas avec des caprices ou de l’autoritarisme que les choses vont avancer », a répliqué le député d’opposition, Jorge Shafick Handal, du Front Farabundo Marti pour la libération nationale (FLMN).

– Une image « terrible » du Salvador –

Le pays est « au bord d’une dangereuse confrontation », titrait lundi le quotidien La Prensa Grafica, tandis que El Mundo s’inquiétait de la « tension » dans le pays.

De son côté, El Diario de Hoy dénonçait dans un éditorial « la grave erreur » de « prendre l’Assemblée par la force des armes », contre toutes les « normes très claires de la Constitution », qui consacre le « caractère apolitique de l’armée ».

Lundi, aucune présence policière ou militaire n’était visible aux abords du siège du législatif.

« Les gens en ont assez de la classe politique, et il faut faire attention à ça », a averti le politologue Dagoberto Gutiérrez, selon lequel les Salvadoriens reprochent aux parlementaires de « n’avoir rien fait pour améliorer la situation en matière de sécurité, de santé, d’éducation et d’emploi ».

« Si le prêt est approuvé (cet épisode) sera terminé. Mais (…) il faut faire attention : le peuple exprime de la haine et de la rancoeur envers les députés, et c’est le ressort qu’utilise le gouvernement », ajoute-t-il.

Le Salvador (6,5 millions d’habitants) est un des pays les plus dangereux au monde, hors zone de conflit armé, avec un taux annuel de 35,6 meurtres pour 100.000 habitants en 2019. Ces homicides sont en majorité en relation avec l’activité criminelle des « maras », qui terrorisent la population en la rackettant.

« Cela fait peur de voir tant de soldats et de policiers au siège du Parlement. Cela ressemblait à un coup d’Etat », a estimé lundi auprès de l’AFP Marcos Salguero, restaurateur dans le centre de la capitale.

Si la population est sous le choc, l’image du Parlement investi par des hommes armés est aussi « terrible au niveau international quant à la manière de ce gouvernement de faire de la politique », juge le politologue Saul Hernandez.

Amnesty International a souligné que le déploiement de policiers et de militaires armés face aux députés a fait ressurgir le souvenir « des moments les plus sombres » de l’histoire du Salvador.

Le président Bukele a le devoir de « sauvegarder » l’héritage des Accords de paix du 16 janvier 1992 qui ont mis fin à 12 années d’une sanglante guerre civile, a relevé l’organisation de défense des droits de l’homme.


UA: Présentation du rapport du Roi Mohammed VI sur le suivi de la mise en place de l’Observatoire africain des migrations au Maroc

Publié le 11.02.2020 à 01h18 par APA

Le rapport du Roi Mohammed VI sur le suivi de la mise en place de l’Observatoire africain des migrations au Maroc a été présenté ce lundi par le chef du gouvernement, Saad Eddine Otmani, devant le 33e Sommet Ordinaire de L’Union Africaine (UA), à Addis-Abeba.Ce rapport, qui met en avant la migration comme facteur important de développement, s’articule autour de trois axes fondamentaux. Il s’agit d’un diagnostic de la question de la migration en Afrique, de la  mise en valeur du rôle clé de l’Observatoire africain des migrations dans le cadre de la bonne gouvernance de la migration en Afrique  et de l’impératif de placer l’Afrique au cœur de la mise en œuvre du pacte de Marrakech sur les migrations.

Selon le chef de gouvernement, ce rapport souligne que l’Observatoire africain des migrations en tant que nouveau mécanisme de l’UA en charge de missions techniques et de terrain, contribuera, à la faveur de données fiables et précises sur la migration, à élaborer des politiques claires, efficaces et réalistes.

Selon la même source, l’Observatoire, qui sera basé à Rabat, veillera à la mise en œuvre du pacte de Marrakech sur la migration à travers la collecte de données et la promotion de la coopération continentale et internationale dans le domaine de la migration et le renforcement de la contribution de la migration au développement durable.

Ainsi, l’Observatoire offrira également l’occasion de mettre en valeur les aspects positifs de la migration à travers l’encouragement de la migration régulière, la protection des droits des migrants et la promotion d’un investissement nouveau au service du développement.

Il a, d’autre part, relevé que le Roi a souligné que le Maroc a mis à la disposition de l’organisation des locaux modernes respectant les normes et les standards internationaux pour abriter l’Observatoire, qui sera officiellement inauguré en coordination avec la commission de l’UA après l’adoption du statut de l’Observatoire lors de l’actuel sommet.

Concernant le pacte de Marrakech sur les migrations, le rapport propose une feuille de route fondée sur quatre axes. Il s’agit des politiques nationales africaines claires et efficaces, d’une coordination inter-régionale à travers les communautés économiques régionales, d’une vision continentale permettant de faire de la migration un levier de développement communautaire et d’un partenariat international responsable facilitant une migration et un mouvement pacifique et régulier des personnes.


L’UA, réunie en sommet, tente de peser dans le dossier libyen

L’Union africaine, réunie en sommet à Addis Abeba dimanche et lundi, s’est engagée à être plus active et plus efficace dans la médiation des conflits qui déchirent le continent, et en particulier sur le dossier libyen, dont elle a jusqu’à présent largement été exclue.

Entre problèmes de financement et dissensions internes, les observateurs soulignent toutefois que l’UA a de nombreux défis à relever afin d’entreprendre des actions à la hauteur de ses ambitions.

Après plusieurs sommets consacrés au développement économique et aux réformes de l’UA, les débats se sont concentrés, lors de ce sommet annuel, sur la multiplication des conflits en Afrique.

Le président sud-africain Cyril Ramaphosa, qui a pris pour un an la tête de l’UA dimanche, a d’ailleurs annoncé lors des discussions la tenue d’un sommet spécial en mai en Afrique du Sud, consacré exclusivement à cette thématique.

Le sommet d’Addis Abeba devait s’achever lundi soir, mais en raison de retards sur le programme, l’adoption des décisions et résolutions de ce rendez-vous africain, notamment sur le renforcement de la lutte contre le terrorisme dans la région du Sahel, devrait finalement avoir lieu tard dans la nuit, voire tôt mardi matin.

Reconnaissant l’échec de l’engagement pris en 2013 de mettre fin à toutes les guerres en Afrique, du Sahel à la Somalie en passant par l’est de la République démocratique du Congo, les dirigeants africains ont principalement parlé de deux conflits lors de ces deux jours: la Libye et le Soudan du Sud.

En Libye, l’ONU, principal médiateur, « a besoin de nous maintenant », a assuré lundi Smaïl Chergui, commissaire de l’UA à la paix et la sécurité.

« C’est un problème africain, et nous avons une sensibilité que peut-être d’autres n’ont pas », a-t-il ajouté, rappelant le « lien » entre l’instabilité en Libye et la montée en puissance des groupes jihadistes au Mali, au Niger et au Burkina ces dernières années.

– Capacité d’action –

La Libye, qui dispose des réserves de pétrole les plus abondantes d’Afrique, est plongée dans le chaos depuis la chute du régime de Mouammar Kadhafi en 2011. Une trêve très précaire est entrée en vigueur le 12 janvier et des efforts sont en cours pour la convertir en cessez-le-feu durable.

Samedi, les belligérants, réunis à Genève, se sont séparés sans parvenir à un accord.

Longtemps mise à l’écart dans ce dossier où l’Union européenne est au contraire très impliquée, l’UA a pris plusieurs initiatives ces dernières semaines, notamment celle d’un forum de réconciliation que l’Algérie s’est proposée d’accueillir.

Le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Guterres, qui a dit comprendre la « frustration » de cette mise à l’écart de l’UA, a assuré soutenir cette initiative.

Lundi, M. Chergui a indiqué qu’une fois un cessez-le-feu durable établi, l’UA se joindrait à l’ONU dans une mission d’observation de ce cessez-le-feu, et a dit s’attendre à ce que l’UA déménage sa mission pour la Libye à Tripoli.

« La capacité d’action de l’UA ne peut en aucun cas être comparée à l’implication de l’ONU, ne serait-ce qu’en terme de connaissance et de présence sur le terrain », a toutefois nuancé Claudia Gazzini, experte de l’International Crisis Group (ICG).

Mohamed Diatta chercheur pour l’Institut d’études de sécurité (ISS), estime, lui, que « l’UA occupera la place que les protagonistes du conflit veulent bien lui donner ». « Si ces protagonistes estiment que l’UA peut apporter la solution, ils se tourneront vers elle, et ce ne sera pas à l’ONU de décider cela ».

M. Diatta soutient que pour jouer un rôle prépondérant, l’UA doit dépasser ses dissensions internes sur le conflit libyen.

– Date-butoir –

Le conflit au Soudan du Sud a également été évoqué, et M. Ramaphosa a rencontré séparément samedi soir le président sud-soudanais Salva Kiir et le chef rebelle, Riek Machar.

Sous l’égide de l’organisation est-africaine Igad, principal médiateur dans le conflit sud-soudanais, la guerre civile qui a fait plus de 380.000 morts et provoqué une crise humanitaire catastrophique, les deux hommes se sont ensuite rencontrés dimanche.

A l’approche de la date-butoir du 22 février pour la formation d’un gouvernement d’union, l’Igad les a réunis pour trouver un accord sur la principale pierre d’achoppement des négociations: le nombre d’États régionaux ainsi que le tracé de leurs frontières. En vain.

L’Igad a dès lors tenté de mettre la pression sur les deux dirigeants: la formation d’un gouvernement d’union, a-t-elle fait valoir, « a été reportée deux fois, en mai et en novembre 2019, et une nouvelle extension n’est ni désirable, ni faisable à ce stade du processus de paix ».


Overhaul the NHIF to save it from collapse

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The latest findings on the status of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) are hardly surprising.

A report by the Health Financing Reforms Experts Panel appointed by then-Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki presents a damning picture of the fund, stating that it could collapse in two years unless urgent and drastic actions are taken to salvage it.

The NHIF’s problems did not begin yesterday. It has suffered perennially due to mismanagement of funds, corruption and political interference.

Strong cartels comprising private hospitals, fund managers and brokers have, for years, fleeced the institution of the cash painfully contributed by unsuspecting citizens.

In 2018, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) conducted an investigation into the health service provision and established that the sector was mired in graft.

Specifically, the EACC singled out the NHIF for censure. The findings, contained in a report on the review of systems, policies, procedures and practices in the pricing for pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies in Kenya’s health sector, outlined avenues through which the NHIF lost cash, including inflation of medical bills by private health providers through collusion.

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REVIEW COST STRUCTURE

Last year, the EACC published a graft index report that ranked NHIF third in the list of shame, coming after Kenya Power and Kenya Police Service.

Such consistent negative depiction should have jolted everyone into action. But that was not to be.

Indeed, the expert panel’s report reinforces what is in the public domain. But with all the reports, why hasn’t the government taken decisive measures to shake up and clean the organisation? Where is the political will to turn around the fund?

Notably, the report spotlights the NHIF’s operational weaknesses, indicating that its expenditure matrix is negatively skewed.

More than half of its budget, 54 per cent, is spent on administrative costs, mainly staff expenses, travel and accommodation, crowding out cash for the pivotal expenditures — claims settlement.

This expressly demands administrative and structural interventions. The fund’s cost structure has to be reviewed with the objective of cutting the fat and channelling cash to its core business.

STAMP OUT GRAFT

To be fair, the NHIF has expanded product offerings to include renal dialysis, kidney transplants, emergency evacuation and foreign treatment, which is quite positive.

But these cannot be implemented when the fund is bleeding. Even so, there are concerns that these benefit those who can afford medical care.

The Health ministry has to institute quick and radical measures to change the NHIF.

It should work with other agencies to rid the fund of corruption, wastefulness and financial mismanagement. With 7.6 million members, the fund can generate sufficient funds.


End blood donation hitch

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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One of the easiest and most practical ways in which almost anybody can contribute to saving a critically ill patient is through giving blood.

There is absolutely no threat to the life of the donor, but this gesture of humanity and goodwill could mean the difference between life and death for many patients.

Lately, hospitals have been sending out urgent appeals for blood donations, and yet properly organised, this could be easier.

It’s also common for relatives and friends of patients to be asked to donate blood. This crisis would never have arisen if the culture of donating blood, which had taken root some years ago, had continued. Sadly, there are still some myths and ignorance.

Quite significantly, the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) has been severely cash-strapped since a key donor pulled out.

A department of the Ministry of Health, the KNBTS cannot source its own funds. Efforts to turn it into a parastatal to ease fundraising and donor support have also been frustrated.

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STREAMLINE DEPARTMENT

However, there is still enough goodwill from donors, corporate organisations and individuals to ensure that blood is collected, screened and distributed.

There is a hitch, though, as the KNBTS collects just 164,000 units a year against a target of 500,000 units.

Part of the solution is to have a blood bank that is efficiently operated, yet the ministry does not seem to have made any serious efforts to address the critical situation as the country only has 7,500 units of blood.

The incoming Health Cabinet Secretary, Mr Mutahi Kagwe, will have to quickly streamline blood donor services.

And this must go in tandem with a major campaign to create public awareness on the need to regularly volunteer to donate blood.


Les Emirats arabes unis vont construire l’institut mauritanien des arts

Publié le 10.02.2020 à 23h18 par APA

Les Emirats arabes unis se sont engagés,lundi, à construire un institut mauritanien des arts à Nouakchott, le premier du genre dans le pays.Cet engagement s’est matérialisé par un mémorandum conclu entre les deux parties lundi à Nouakchott. Le mémorandum a été signé par le ministre mauritanien de la Culture, de l’Artisanat et des Relations avec le Parlement, Sidi Mohamed Ould Ghaber, et le président du conseil d’administration de la société émiratie « Essalam El Ghabidha », Mohamed Ben Nacer Ben Wezn El Ghahtani.

Les arts représentent un facteur principal d’impulsion de la créativité et du génie des sociétés, a expliqué Ould Ghaber dans un mot lors de la cérémonie de signature.

Ils contribuent à l’enracinement des valeurs de paix et de tolérance, a-t-il ajouté, soulignant qu’ils se trouvent en bonne position dans le programme du président mauritanien Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani.

Pour sa part, Abdel Kader Abderrahmane, expert membre du conseil d’administration de «Essalam El Ghabidha», a loué l’intérêt accordé par la partie mauritanienne à la culture de manière générale et particulièrement à la promotion des arts.


State clears four agencies to cover Moi prayer service

LEOPOLD OBIBy LEOPOLD OBI
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Several media houses have been blocked from reporting live the national prayer service for former president Daniel arap Moi at Nyayo National Stadium.

Government spokesperson Col (rtd) Cyrus Oguna announced on Monday that only KTN, KBC, Ministry of Defence and the Joint Production team will be allowed to cover the live proceedings on Tuesday.

“It is only the crew and equipment of the four production units that shall be allowed into Nyayo National Stadium,” Mr Oguna said.

Mr Oguna added that other media houses will acquire live feeds from the accredited units.

“For other media houses, arrangement have been made to acquire live feeds from accredited production units. Still photography on the other hand shall be shared by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU),” he said.

The government had earlier declared February 11 a national holiday to allow Kenyans to mourn Moi, who ruled for 24 years.

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Kenyans thronged Parliament Buildings on Saturday and Sunday to view his body.


If there ever was a kindly tyrant, that was Moi, the necessary evil

MACHARIA GAITHOBy MACHARIA GAITHO
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The ancient parable of blind men and an elephant may date back to Buddhist texts of the first millennium, but it remains universally relevant to this day and should be particularly apt for us in Kenya right now.

A long, long time ago, six old blind men in a village somewhere in India argued about a strange animal. They had heard of a beast that could trample forests and carry giant loads.

But they also knew that the Rajah’s daughter rode an elephant. Would the Rajah let his daughter get near such a dangerous creature?

The old men argued day and night about elephants. One was sure it was a powerful, dangerous giant. Another argued that it must be graceful and gentle.

Eventually, they grew tired of endless arguments and decided to visit the Rajah’s palace and ‘see’ for themselves.

On arrival, they were led to the courtyard, and there stood the magnificent beast.

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DIFFERENT REACTIONS

The first blind man reached out and touched the side of the huge animal.

“An elephant is solid like a wall!” he declared. The second man put his hand on the trunk. “An elephant is like a giant snake,” he announced.

The third man felt the pointed tusk. “This creature is as sharp and deadly as a spear.” The fourth man held one of the legs. “What we have here,” he said, “is a mighty tree trunk.”

Another felt the giant ear. “An elephant is like a huge fan or maybe a magic carpet that can fly over mountains and treetops,” he said.

The last man gave a tug on the elephant’s tail. “This is nothing more than a piece of rope. Dangerous, indeed!” he scoffed.

After the six blind men retreated to consider their findings, arguments started all over again.

“An elephant is like a wall,” pronounced the first blind man. “Surely, we can finally agree on that.”

“A wall? An elephant is a giant snake!” answered the next man. “It’s a rope, I tell you,” insisted another.

Their argument continued, growing louder and louder and escalating into fisticuffs.

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“Order!” commanded a very angry voice. It was the Rajah. “How can each of you be so certain you are right?”

Not one of the six could respond. “The elephant is a very large animal,” explained the Rajah gently, “but each one of you touched only one part. Perhaps if you put the parts together, you will see the truth.”

“He is right,” said the first blind man. “To learn the truth, we must consider all the parts together. Let’s discuss this on the journey home.”

The elephant was our retired President Daniel arap Moi. Since his death a week ago, a lot has been published and broadcast about the man, who, for 24 years, until 2002, bestrode Kenya like a colossus.

To some, he was God’s gift to Kenya: a kindly, wise, generous and sagacious leader, who ensured peace, stability, national unity and unmatched economic development.

To others, he was devil incarnate: a brutal dictator who tortured, killed and jailed political opponents, looted the national coffers dry and destroyed all institutions of governance.

DEEPER UNDERSTANDING

We all have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on our own limited and subjective experience, but we will ignore the similarly limited and subjective experiences of other persons though they may be equally accurate.

My subjective experience can be true but inherently limited by failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth.

The Buddhist parable provides insights into the need for deeper understanding and respect for different perspectives on the same object.

In my own view, President Moi is accurately described at both extremes. He was a contradiction of a man who kept the country united but by dictatorial means.

He was a leader who pocketed the national purse but threw loose change around on charitable causes.

I don’t know whether there is anything like a kindly tyrant, but that was Moi.

He was the quintessential African dictator driven to terrorise and impoverish his subjects by his own insecurities, fears and terrible inferiority complex.

NECESSARY EVIL

Moi was, indeed, a complex man and, in many ways, a terrible curse on Kenya.

But looking at the circumstances of his rise to power, one can’t fail to acknowledge that he was the necessary evil.

The option of a ‘Kiambu Mafia’ succeeding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta remains too terrible to contemplate.

We have leaders now contemplating their own legacies. They could do well to note the divided views on Moi and work towards ensuring one positive memory.


My encounters with the fatherly Moi

MANOAH ESIPISUBy MANOAH ESIPISU
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I stood at the entrance to the presidential suite at the Lusaka InterContinental.

When my turn came, Mark Too, the well-heeled businessman who had abruptly summoned me on the orders of President Daniel arap Moi, lumbered to the door and said, “He’s ready.”

I was ushered into the suite. President Moi sat on his bed, slowly, and thoughtfully, wearing his socks. “Habari gani (How are you) young man,” President Moi opened softly. “You still work for British imperialists?” he asked.

I hesitated, then said, “They pay for more than a roof over my head, Sir, and I’m contributing to nation-building in a big way.” A high-profile journalist for a leading agency, I had had, in equal measure, skirmishes and jovial encounters.

“How is President Chiluba?” he bellowed, tone suddenly sharp, steely eyed.

That sweltering morning in July 2001, Zambia’s second, President Frederick Joseph Titus Chiluba, was hosting the last Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit and presiding over the birthing of its successor, the African Union (AU).

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I was the Lusaka-based bureau chief for Zambia and Malawi for the global news agency Reuters.

I told him of Chiluba’s season of discomfort, headaches, anomie. Cabinet revolt. Street riots. Impeachment motions. Murder of a prominent critic. Humiliation.

To be fought viciously by the opposition was commonplace for African leaders. But for a revolt to be led by your handpicked incumbent vice-president, supported by more than half the Cabinet, was something new for Moi, who had named himself ‘Professor of Politics’ because of his mastery of the political chessboard.

Moi had a long hearty laugh, cracked finally by the irony of how Chiluba — who had trumpeted democracy, berated him and proclaimed the end of the ‘Big Man’ rule and pledged to leave office when his term ended — was now miserable due to a doomed-to-fail attempt at clinging onto power illegally.

“Democracy. Democracy. Democracy, has served its portion,” summed up Moi, his six-plus-foot frame shaking with mirth.

MAJOR INTERVIEW

“Okay, asante (thank you). Keep well and remember you are a Kenyan. Remember to be patriotic,” he declared with a smile, to my relief.

“It’s time,” Mark Too told me. It was back to his familiar self. Stiff. Almost unapproachable. He walked into the presidential bubble to his last OAU summit.

Four years earlier, I had had another encounter with President Moi in the Credentials Room, the multipurpose stateroom at State House Nairobi.

It was a very sunny and pleasant day in November 1997. I was a Reuters Correspondent in Nairobi. The occasion was an interview that we had been waiting for for months.

We had been abruptly summoned by Dr Sally Kosgei, a powerful figure in the government. Questions had to be delivered in advance and vetted. I was accompanied by Nick Kotch, my Nairobi Bureau Chief, friend and mentor.

We’d start with the agreed questions and then throw in a few out-of-script salvos towards the end, we agreed.

We were given seats, but President Moi stood behind his podium. At the right moment, I threw in the first of two questions: “Will you be retiring?”

ELECTORAL VICTORY

President Moi looked up. For a tiny instance, his eyes betrayed surprise. “I will not be retiring,” he said, pointedly.

“I am sure to win the upcoming election. Kanu (the then-ruling party) will win.” He then added, rather ominously, “I will not retire if that threatens the stability and unity of the country.”

We also threw in a question about the International Monetary Fund. He took this in his stride, reminding us of the colonial mindset of donors and news agencies like the one we represented.

Earlier, in September 1997, urged by senior aides Dr Kosgei and John Lokorio, Moi had hosted a rare cocktail for media at State House. He strolled about, engaging his guests.

Months earlier, the then-famous UK Africa Minister Baroness Lynda Chalker had had the cheek to hold a news conference before meeting her host, Moi, and railed on about political change and rampant corruption.

I called my State House contacts for the President’s comments. “She has the attitude of a Kindergarten schoolteacher,” came the prompt response.

Strong. Unambiguous. Unapologetic. Crystal. President Moi had delivered his broadside with a smile while still being able to send the message that a televised assault on African dignity would not be entertained.

Kenya’s history is littered with stories and anecdotes that peppered the Second President’s long and colourful rule. #KwaheriBabaMoi

Mr Esipisu, Kenya’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is a former State House Spokesperson in the current administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta, a Moi protégé.


Moi was a nationalist who spent his entire life serving humanity

KENNEDY CHESOLIBy KENNEDY CHESOLI
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His flaws notwithstanding, second President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi remains one of Africa’s towering patriarchs and the last true Father of the Nation.

Moi’s unlikely rise to the presidency, from an obscure village in Baringo, was heavily informed by his Christian roots and Christ-like personality.

He endured scorn, ridicule and humiliation as well as attempts at overthrowing and killing him.

Powerful donor nations frustrated him by withholding development finance, leading high-stakes smear campaigns against him and providing material and moral support to underground movements.

But Moi saved our republic from bloodshed, economic chaos and political anarchy by overcoming these dark forces.

Moi was a nationalist who opened wide the doors of his cathedral to remote, marginalised and oft-forgotten groups.

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He had a deep sense of awareness that the country belonged to all of us, regardless of tribe or race. He staved off opposition and integrated ‘outsider’ Kenyans into our national family.

NATURE’S FRIEND

In exercising discretionary powers, he was thoughtful and balanced — as seen in Cabinet and Provincial Administration appointments, which reflected the face of Kenya.

He denounced the flawed practice that sensitive, strategic and powerful ministries could only be steered by his tribesmen.

On sustainable development, Moi was ahead of his time. He prioritised and inculcated in schoolchildren the importance of environmental sustainability through conservation, tree planting, reforestation and soil erosion remedial programmes.

He established Nyayo Tea Zones as a novel buffer for the dwindling forest cover from human encroachment.

Remarkably, long before the UN’s three pillars of development, Moi had articulated and demonstrated that it was impossible to attain social and economic well-being without proper regard to the environment.

Moi promoted African Socialism as the economic and political model suited to the continent’s tribal and historical contexts.

HARAMBEE SPIRIT

He cautioned against a wholesale embrace of Western-style democracy and capitalism by pointing out its pitfalls.

He favoured the ubiquitous Harambee spirit — a participatory development approach where the citizens collaborated in developing local infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and churches.

Andrew Morton writes that Moi was adjudged guilty for simply “defending the uniquely African traditions and values of his people, of guarding the sovereignty of his country, and of attempting, albeit often hesitantly and awkwardly, to define a Kenyan approach to the problems a new nation faced.

The President was condemned for conflicts with the donor nations over the pace of economic and political reform, his warnings about dire consequences of multiparty politics in a country where tribal loyalties often suffocate national allegiance, for his emphasis on conciliation and consensus, which hacks back to tribal values, but sits oddly in a world promoting an adversarial legal and political system”.

Moi was an enigma: a man of limited formal education, yet he accomplished a lot. He was widely admired, including by his critics, for his high energy levels, wisdom, tolerance, forgiveness and love for the common mwananchi.

He also had splendid instinct and foresight. For instance, 30 years ago, he unsuccessfully championed a variance of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) that we are trying to mainstream.

‘Baba Moi’ selflessly spent his entire life serving humanity, as Morton wrote, “perhaps because serving his nation is now second nature; he rarely, if ever, thinks of himself before his country… his day-to-day life is a rigorous round of meetings and audiences that Moi the president and politician has subsumed the personality of Moi the man. When he took a short holiday in Israel in 1996, it was his first break in more than 40 years of public life”.

It’s with sadness and gratitude that we say, “Go well, Agui.”

Mr Chesoli is a New York-based development economist and global policy expert. [email protected] @kenchesoli