Tanzanians rating soar as Kenyans turn into global laughing stock
By Phil Wesonga
While Kenyans were listening to self-praise and veiled threats coming out of Nyayo Stadium on 20th Oct, South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete and South Sudan SPLM faction leader Riek Machar were enjoying Tanganyika tea while holding very useful talks in Arusha.
The fact that both factions agreed to go to Arusha and were hosted by Chama Cha Mapinduzi honchos is a huge indictment on both Uganda and Kenya which share borders with Southern Sudan, and whose leaders are falsely assumed to be regional power brokers. It is worse for Kenya because Machar’s faction outrightly rejected Nairobi as host of any talks with Kirr’s government because the Jubilee administration showed open bias and was willing to deploy troops in Juba to protect dictator Kirr.
Where Kenyaâ€™s Kenyatta was not seen as a neutral or fair arbiter, Tanzaniaâ€™s Kikwete was accorded respect, recognition and immediate positive response by both SPLM warring factions. To rub it in, the Sudanese trashed the fact that Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta, is both Chairman of the EAC and Rapporteur of IGAD. The irony here is both leaders transited in Nairobi on their way to Arusha on eve of Kenya’s important national day, but none saw it necessary to pay courtesy call at State House. That is how low in murk Kenyaâ€™s foreign relations have sunk.
Nothing underlines Kenya’s low ranking in foreign relations than these South Sudan peace talks. As bad as he was Moi and KANU, represented by CORD’s Kalonzo Musyoka gave the world the CPA for the worldâ€™s longest and bloodiest civil war. At the time of singing the CPA, the Sudanese Government had a full diplomatic mission in Nairobi, where also the SPLM had its headquarters. But Moi still calmed both parties down. Jubilee administration on the other hand is sustaining an untenable war in Somalia, and was, together with Uganda’s UPDF, ready to invade another Southern Sudan to protect the interests of an interim president who has developed dictatorial tendencies and has not been in any election.
Jubilee’s foreign policy is a far cry from the days of the Grand Coalition Government when the then Prime Minister was freely received and hosted by leaders of G-8 countries and Kenya as a country was on going places in so far as diplomacy was concerned. Then, every Kenyan held their head high as Raila Odinga knocked on the doors of foreign partners for sustainable partnerships. Tourist numbers soared, free primary eduction received support, and South Sudan was in the threshold of admission to EAC.
Today, we are embarrassed yet again as President Kikwete brokers preliminary peace deal that had Kenyans totally confused and running in circles at the behest of the Ugandan dictator. Kikwete even pulled a diplomatic coup that had global leaders around the world look in admiration; as both protagonist conceded and admitted liability to human right abuses in that country. Where does this leave Kenyatta and Museveni?