Similarities Between Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Dictator of Scotland, and Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s Dictator

By Vanquished Vanquisher

Shakespeare’s Play, the tragedy of Macbeth is one of the darkest and most intriguing inventions of the literary Bard. It’s tragic in characterization and gloomy in plot development. The themes in the play and the current Kenyan situation have an eerie resemblance especially the convergence of character between Macbeth and Uhuru Kenyatta.

Uhuru and Macbeth are military Generals. Whereas Macbeth was a loyal General of King Duncan, Uhuru was subservient general of president Kibaki. Professor Peter Kagwanja, in his paper, Power to Uhuru, informs us Uhuru was (is) the General of Mungiki.

And Uhuru has since shown his military propensities. He dons combat fatigues at filmiest opportunity. He has betrayed his immense favour for the military and unmeasured contempt and disgust for our police service. General Macbeth. General Uhuru.

The Thane of Cawdor versus the Prime Minister

Macbeth and Uhuru are valiant soldiers who led successful raids to crush their adversaries. Macbeth,the Thane of Glamis, rise came after heavily defeating the allied forces of Norway and Ireland. He was praised for his bravery and fighting prowess, and was rewarded with the honour of Thane of Cawdor.

It’s said Uhuru marshaled his Kikuyu tribe into their defence in their day of slaughter during the post-election bloodletting. In just a day, the infamy of the revenge attack was so severe, that even his master, Kibaki, was startled and decided to deploy the military. Uhuru was betokened the honour of the Deputy Prime minister for his efforts. Both gentlemen were soldiers, with blood dripping on their hands.

uhuru
General Uhuru, the King of Kenya
General Macbeth, the King of Scotland

Initially, Mabeth had no interest in taking power, but was convinced by the prophecy of the 3 witches that he would become King. He met these sisters of the dark, accompanied by his soul mate Banquo. And they told him, he will be the king.

 

Uhuru’s biggest persuasion to take a stab at the presidency came for the dark forces. The dark forces had initially directed him to support Mudavadi. But they reneged in a dramatic U-turn and forced him to go for the seat. He was accompanied by his soul mate, One Samoei Ruto. Are the dark forces the three witches?

Mama Ngina and Lady Macbeth

Mama Ngina, a hitherto reclusive matriarch, came out unflinchingly, and in very certain terms, invoking pity, piety and victim tag among the laity and tribesmen, to vouch for his son. Hear Mama Ngina speak:

Years gone,
They (wazungus) whisked away my hapless husband,
Now they have again returned with vengeance,
Baying for my innocent son

Hear that, she is a master of oratory rhetoric. This was in a public rally as she held her son’s forehead in dramatized veneration. This ballooned Uhuru’s trajectory upwards. She was visibly behind Uhuru’s prominence. Is mama Ngina the Lady Macbeth?

The latter was the key player who chartered Macbeth’s rise. And like Mama Ngina, she was a master of nuanced rhetoric, determined to the core to have her husband usurp power. Hear Lady Macbeth speak, swearing to slay for her husband to get power.

“Come, you spirits, and unsex me,Fill me from the head to the toe,
of direst cruelty! make thick my blood; Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk, replace it with poison
Come, thick night,That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor make heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry ‘Hold, hold!”

As visible, both Macbeth and Uhuru had women of forte to chart their curves.

The elimination of Banquo and William Ruto

In order to ensure his hold of power was not endangered; Macbeth’s initial step was to eliminate deputy, Banquo. Ruto’s allies have alleged several times, Uhuru’s men behind are behind Ruto’s case at the International Criminal Court.One Iringo, Nancy Gitau, Kimemia,had their names mentioned, by Karim Khan himself in course of the court proceedings, but they are indispensable Uhuru’s icons. Are they his proxy?

Uhuru’s case at ICC collapsed as witnesses kept evaporating like morning dew from the face of the earth. Bensouda has asserted the level of witness intimidation in that case is unprecedented in the court history. However, the same as not been seen in the Ruto’s case.

While Uhuru’s case was unable to marshal even 5 witnesses, in deputy’s case, we had a whooping over two dozen prosecution witnesses testifying. The state cooperated fully with the court unlike the other case. Even witnesses who had recanted their testimony were forced to the dock and interrogated as hostile witnesses. Like Macbeth, Is it not in the best interest of Uhuru that his deputy is incapacitated?

Macbeth degenerated into a dictator. He became a paranoid leader who ruled by iron fist. The blood of slain Banquo and his other killings always troubled him. Everything in Scotland was blowing up. He covered his paranoia by trampling upon the people.

How better Uhuru performed? Is Kenya lamenting-

“O, miserable nation
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?
Bleed, bleed, poor country
For great tyranny lay as thy foundation”

Like Macbeth, the ICC prosecutor stated Uhuru is crimes against humanity suspect. Innocent blood was shed at his behest. A charge he has not been cleared, for he employed state machinery to engineer the collapse of his case.

Just like Macbeth concealed evidence of Banquo’s murder, Uhuru has concealed the evidence in post-election mayhem. Is this troubling him? He never ends a speech without cursing ICC? Like phantoms which troubled Macbeth, are ghosts of post-election victim’s buzzling Uhuru’s soul?

The era of incompetency

In Uhuru’s tenure, mediocrity has swiveled in. Any iota of competency and diligence in his administration is unwelcome aberration to the grand Corruption and grand ineptitude that has ingrained the system.

Grenades are blowing up everywhere like pop corns on roast; Al shabab and ilk goons are gunning down unsuspecting Kenyans at pleasure; thugs are stripping women on the streets at day light in the heat of evil machismo; police are being felled like flies by bandits; and military has turned into a nursery of looters and petty thieves as witnessed during the west gate fiasco.

Yet Uhuru can and will do nothing. Are Uhuru and Macbeth birds of feather flocking in terms of ineptitude?

Loyal hounds 

Macbeth’s most trusted men were the murderers he sent on diabolic errands.Uhuru seems to only trust characters who have participated in mischief. Like his director of Digital at State House is a retired twitter warlord, who before 2013 elections was a notorious digital assassin.

His major “assassination” assignment was to hack the ICC website and reveal the prosecution witnesses, an act which projected his profile significantly. It culminated into the poor witnesses vanishing, and totally trampling upon the path of justice. Maina Kiai once informed us the said director was involved in the orgy of threatening the witness families. And he has shown his mettle.

When Matsanga, a Ugandan Vagabond whose brain is ostensibly undergoing mass wasting, is humiliating Priscilla Nyokabi, it is the director of digital adding the fuel, apparently ignoring Nyokabi’s lamentation that she was being hurt by the accusation. They tried labeling Raila, Omar Hassan, as Uhuru fixers, and when they could not, they preferred a soft target to humiliate. Priscilla Nyokabi.

What is difference between these assailants who strip honourable lady like Nyokabi her honour and standing, albeit online, jeopardizing her political career, and lowlifes who strip women their skirts in Githurai buses?Any difference? Come, the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill, and tame these two parcels of strippers. Is the director of Digital the three murderers in the tragedy of Macbeth?

Propaganda Machines

Macbeth and Uhuru have able communicators. Macbeth has his indefatigable wife, Lady Macbeth, who is an adept manipulator of facts and master conjurer of false narratives. When her husband was growing mad, being visited by the demons of the dead Banquo, she would convince everybody it was a mere treatable malady.

In resembling fashion, Uhuru has marshaled able communication outfit called PSCU (President’s Shambolic Communication Unit), heavily efficient in the wiles of propaganda. They have been realising press highlights, mostly targeted at the opposition chiefs, who have called for its disbandment.

But then the way this outfit couches their words, makes its statement resemble ones issued by militia ragtag. The list of so called senior directors who sign the releases is a times higher than the message itself. Has Manoah Isipisu disengaged himself from this outfit?

Why has he never appended his signature in any of their press releases? For it would be better to have a statement from one lion which roars; than from a multitude of senior something-something nondescript whimpering.

The bloody ending?

Lastly, the people of Scotland were tired of Dictator Macbeth and his wife. They decided to kick them out in a tragic ending. Macbeth and his wife lost their lives. Uhuru is an amateur dictator. But his dictatorial tendencies are growing by the day. A new bundle of security laws is being imposed to entrench his grip.

Uhuru has decided to go gungy-ho in curtailing basic liberties and bamboozling the media. He has tight grasp of the cheer leader parliament turned zombie by the tyranny doctrine. His ego has been enlarged by his fanatical tribesmen ready to put their lives on line for him. And that way, in his tenure, the nation is in comatose.

Like Macbeth, is 2017 Uhuru’s Waterloo? Will his ouster be unceremonious like Macbeth? Is Uhuru the reincarnation of Macbeth?

Council of Governors referendum Call is a smokescreen to conceal their Governance ineptitude

COG

By Gatuyu Justice

Life is breathed into the constitution through statutory enactments, judicial pronouncements and customs of practice developing over time; never by amendments. The later ought to be a remedy of last resort, to be applied as antidote where a provision fails to encapsulate the vagaries of time.

Yet various constitutional amendment onslaughts have been mooted including changing the election date, MPs seeking powers to superintend the equalization fund, Council of Governors (COG) aiming to tinker with revenue allocation and CORD brigade lingering over potpourri of issues they are grappling to philosophize.

Constitution provisions are intricately intertwined; tampering with one may cause ripple effects diluting harmonious functionality of entire instrument. Amendment should be applied as a research backed antidote for an issue proven to be unworkable, to ensure the document remains living as society grows and not on speculative permutations of futuristic impact.

Conducting hasty mutilations may generate cumbersome results as witnessed by 1919 United States eighteenth amendment banning alcohol. A decade later the move would be reversed through another amendment. Proscribing alcohol was just impossible! This illustrates the danger amending a Constitution without comprehensive scrutiny. A closer case study is our independence Constitution reveals its vitality was militated by array of unconsidered amendments.

Whereas the Constitution is a political document, restricting politicians from using it as a dashboard for their political chess game is a mission impossible. Referendum calls by Cord brigade maybe appreciated from those lenses. Their move being political requires political ripostes from naysayers. If they prevail, well, history will be defined, with victors being venerated and the vanquished being vilified.

But pesa Mashinani calls by C.O.G clamoring more pie of revenue raised nationally is casual and baffling. Not only has COG not bothered to cost 14 functions allocated to them, they have failed to see the national government has 35 functions, some like education, national security and defense swallowing huge chunks of money. Not only has COG ignored inter-governmental mechanism to ventilate their issues, they will hear nothing of accountability at county level to facilitate prudent utilization of “meager” resources they have, hiding behind court injunctions wherever Senate moves to scrutinize them.

The referendum pursuit by governors may not be about money after all, but a choreographed side-show to conceal ineptitude characterizing the institution that is Council of Governors. Under C.O.G watch, Counties are mere consumption, instead of being production units. National treasury is now like a lorry pulling 47 heavy cages attached to it. If each of the cages were able to propel itself, the speed of the lorry would be faster. Having financially functional counties is a path for growth of the national economy.

Yet C.O.G has given a wide berth to enormous possibilities of raising revenue availed within the Constitutional and statutory framework. Even in raising revenue through county taxation, the Commission of Revenue allocation has lamented of counties being awful in utilizing this avenue, performing more dismally than the defunct local government authorities.

The County Government Act and the Public Finance Management Act encourages counties to form corporations, enter into joint ventures and explore mechanism for Private Public partnership. Capital Markets Authority through its Capital Markets Master plan 2014 – 2023 is inviting counties to explore capital markets for financing especially on infrastructural projects.

Unfortunately, as the Commission on Implementation of the Constitution assessment report on devolution, from steps to strides, reveals, most counties have no idea on how to raise revenue outside the national allocation. Inventiveness like one demonstrated by Murang’a County in their shilling kwa shilling initiative has been missing. These are the potentials C.O.G ought to be exploring and bringing into fruition through capacity building, thus facilitating the attainment of vision 2030.

But the ideologically moribund C.O.G has narrowed their mandate to activism. Wherever faced with singular adversity, instead of rising to hallmarks of leadership, their move is predictable; blaming undisclosed gnomes of Harambee house for their predicaments. When will COG shape up any ideology? When will we see shreds of initiative and glimpses of prospects from them? What of value has ever come from the council? Their choice of fiery and militant governor, ever prepared for fisticuffs affray whenever counties are questioned is telling. Does this betray C.O.G as self-effacing club and not a hub of thought?

We ought to see counties doing a peer review and benchmarking amongst themselves; devolution awards being given to the best performing counties; Kenyan “Olympics”, “world cup” and “county sevens” being held with counties as the participants. We cherish to see counties thinking big, being run away successes. COG on its volition, utilizing the corporate goodwill Kenya has, ought to be a house of wonder, pushing Kenya to higher heights. Current Governors are the founding fathers of County Governments; they ought to set the framework. Have these founding fathers turned into founding villains?
It was permissible when forces of status quo were hell-bent to scuttle realization of devolution dream for Kenyans to stand up for Counties. But Baby devolution has grown and it’s now threatening to starve her mother. Is it now permissible for Kenyans to rise up and halt the devolution train from trampling upon the national government?

The first amendment to will break our Constitutional virginity. Such amendment ought to be reached through mutual consensus and widespread agreement, not by assault. Invoking amendments option when other avenues are still nigh is being cruel in handling our treasured Constitution.

Kenya will not lose her territorial waters even if Somalia Succeeds with her suit at ICJ

By Gatuyu Justice

The Sunday Nation on 14th September, 2014 ran a story that Kenya would lose her territorial waters in the Indian Ocean if the Republic of Somalia succeeded in a case it has filed in the international court of Justice (ICJ). Claptrap! Pure Baloney.
There is no way a coastal state like Kenya can become landlocked or forfeit her territorial waters in any manner, for the matter is a firmly regulated regime in international law mostly by the United Nation convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which Kenya is a signatory and has domesticated through the Maritime Zones Act and the Merchant Shipping Act.

As provided in the UNCLOS and the Maritime zones Act, Kenya is entitled to 12 nautical miles (22 KMs) of territorial sea. Equally, the country is allowed to claim 12 nautical miles of contagious zone measured from the end of territorial sea and further claim 200 nautical miles of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) measured from the baseline.

This practice of maritime zoning by coastal states became entrenched in international practice after the “Truman Proclamation” of 28 September 1945 when the Government of United states stated they had original, natural and exclusive right to the continental shelf of its shores. Other country followed suit in making similar declarations.

President Mwai Kibaki proclaimed Kenya’s Maritime zones through the Legal Notice No. 82, published in Kenya Gazette of No. 55 of 22 July 2005, instrument which was deposited with the United Nations. Therefore, claim that Kenya may be turned into a land locked country is not only far-fetched, but fictional.

The real dispute between the Republics of Kenya and Somalia is the mode of delimitation of the coast line. Kenya claims her maritime boundary runs due east from the point at which the land border meets the coast. Somalia objects, claiming the Kenyan boundary should extend perpendicular to the coastline. It’s true that if Somalia wins the case, Kenya is likely to forfeit huge triangle of ocean water stretching for more than 100,000 square kilometres it currently controls, but the rest of Kenyan waters would remain intact.
UNCLOS does not provide for specific modality of delimiting EEZ between states with opposite or adjacent coasts. Such is left for determination through agreements between the countries. It’s only in absence of such agreement that states resort to the procedures on dispute settlement which include litigating at the ICJ.
In 2009, Kenya entered into regional agreements with her two coastal neighbours. There is an agreement with Tanzania on the maritime boundary of EEZ and the continental shelf and a memorandum of understanding with Somalia Government granting each other a no objection in respect of submissions on the outer limits of the continental shelf.
Therefore, when and if, the Somali case goes for hearing, Kenya’s key argument would be to cite this agreement as a binding pact, and thus Somalia reneging on it was a violation of the doctrine of pacta sunt servanda, that agreements must be kept.
Secondly, Kenya would bring to the notice the maritime borders of the other countries along the Eastern Coast of Africa all go due east horizontally in a straight line. Unique mode cannot be applied to suit Somalia desires. This was the position in the Delimitation of Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area case when ICJ held, criteria in delimitation of marine boundaries should be one best suited for employment in a multi-purpose delimitation.

Thirdly, Kenya would submit that the maritime territory Somalia claims has effectively been under the Kenyan control for long time and urge the court to adopt the practice of de facto maritime boundary as seen respected in the Northern Limit Line dispute between North and South Korea over the yellow sea.
Somalia key missile over Kenya in court would be to aver that when the two countries gained their respective independence, Somalia controlled the territory it claims. To deter any boundary disputes, Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) sanctioned the principle of Uti possidetis (as you possess) which required immutability of boundaries of states left by colonial masters. Therefore, the question when in history Somalia’s maritime zones reneged to be Kenyan arises.
All in all, past jurisprudence of ICJ indicate the case may be ruled either way. In fact, in North Sea Continental Shelf cases (Germany v Denmark and Netherlands, 1969) the court asserted cases on sea boundary are determined on case by case basis.

However, in realizing the real underbelly of the case is scramble for ocean mineral resources in the continental shelf, with off shore exploitation of oil and gas gaining prominence and expected to rise in the future with improvements in technology, the two countries ought to engage and settle the dispute amicably, in a win-win situation, instead of acrimonious litigation.

Undressing the Chief Bane of Africa; the anathema that is bad politics

By Gatuyu Justice

Africa has been taunted as a land of paradoxes: an amiable land glittering with shrubberies; a land reputed as a cradle of mankind; whose ancient civilization has fascinated the intellect of men, from mysterious Carthage to city state of Timbuktu, from ponders of Abyssinia to wonders of Giza. But then, like morning dew, the past glory vapourised leaving but a distant nostalgia. The continent is now billed as a repository of human tragedies, resulting from combination of human folly and natural adversities, tagged with 3Ds -Death, Disease, and Despondency—is her god on slumber?

What ails Africa? Answers to this puzzle always come fast and furious. Ouch! Its poverty; we have gods-forsaken families in city slums; children without education trotting towards crime and prostitution, perpetuating the vicious cycle. Crash! It must be bad governance; having leaders working towards downfall, instead of success, of their countries. Punch! Is it ignorance? Resulting to people ruining the environment and endangering their future? Being unable to plan their families and buckling down on their weight? Urgh! It must be corruption – stifling development and eroding the state from inside out. Oops! It must be disease; pandemics crippling the population. We briefly test the validity of these suppositions.

July 2007. Kenyan economy was growing at 7.1%. National wealth was bulging. Then come July 2008. The economy had shrunk to 1.7%. Blame it on a bungled election leading to a political strife and violence. Malawi. Food shortage was the country’s Achilles heel. The then President Mutharika revamped agriculture and the country turned into a food basket. But political wrangles with his deputy president Joyce Banda made this feat implode. South Sudan. She was full of hope and patriotism. Political animosity between president Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machier has made the country unable to kick off. Down the memory lane; East Africa Community was a world model in regional integration. But ideological (political) differences made the community explode.

These illustrations indicate that poverty, disease, ignorance et al. are mere derivatives of a bigger malady mauling Africa; bad politics. It’s the cause of all the woes. Chinua Achebe almost captured it right by quipping that trouble with Africa is simply a failure of leadership and unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility and challenges.

But Achebe must have known that bad leadership emanates from bad politics. It’s bad politics leading to tribal warfare; entrenching tribalism and hindering development of working institutions. Politicians strangle their people to poverty as deprived population can easily be manipulated to fall for a bribe to recycle bad leaders. Bad politics begets inept leaders, and then poverty, ignorance, poor health, and death follows consequently, like loyal accomplices, like indispensable accompaniments. Bad politics is the aching tooth causing the entire African body experience an excruciating pain.

Politics connotes the practice and theory of influencing people, achieving and exercising positions of governance through promoting one’s views, making laws and exercising force. A great leader must master the art of politics. It’s what Ceaser showed in building the Roman Empire. It’s what Machiavelli advises in his treatise, the Prince. Africa has suffered immensely at the hands of poor politics. Martin Meredith, State of Africa and George Ayitey, Africa betrayed, are some text offering glimpses on this realities. African leaders were like Abram, in Wilfred Owen poem – the parable of the old man- where Abram slays his son even after an Angel gave him a pride of ram to offer as sacrifice. African leaders were slaying their subjects, and excusing it as nature of politics.

What is the way forward? African leaders must be cognizant of the fact that until, and unless, politics streamlines, all efforts of uplifting my society from miasma of her woes would always get torpedoed at the altar of political theatrics; sealing other worthy ventures from sprouting. Bad politics are like dinosaurs in evolution theory, whose presence hindered upshot of human life. Kwame Nkrumah rightly remarked, seek they political kingdom, and the rest shall follow.

It takes one man to change the course of history. Thomas Carlyle, in his great man leadership theory, argues for any society to progress, there must be one individual to set the momentum. The leader must take bi-partisan approach to issues and exercising reticence for self-effacing policies.

Demystifying power can be instrumental in taming bad politics. If the mystique and opulence around power is truncated, politicians may get repackaged as leaders. Kenya has tried this route. Her new Constitution, 2010, created Post of County Governors. Glee hitherto associated with the presidency substantially dissipated. Some level of parity in devolution of resources and distribution of grievances has been actualized. The talk of one tribe eating from the cooking pot is no longer flaming, and traditional power brokers are being replaced by elected leaders. This model seems to be working.

We must cultivate a culture of the rule of law. Bad politics are watered by evil waters of impunity. In a society where politicians are demigods, even after perpetrating the vilest atrocities against humanity are never sanctioned, such tends to totter towards self-annihilation. If supremacy of the law is upheld, there would be harmonious existence, and rough edges of politics would be smoothed.

Lastly, we need to work towards institutionalization of the economy. Putting in mechanism for citizens to uplift their social economic status; not always waiting for state largess and political handouts. This could be achieved by ensuring efficient distribution of resources, in structured way, within an acceptable formula, not on whips of Power barons, and allowing the nourishment of freedom of thought and innovation. Above all, we should vouch for a change in people’s philosophy. Africa cannot progress when manacled by self-inflicted chains of Afro-pessimism. A change in philosophy would stimulate the thought pattern and altitude. This transforms behaviour and triggers action. As long as we sit on the philosophy, thought and action are crippled.

These changes would cure the anathema of bad politics, thus leading to a better leadership that would be able to address other challenges facing Africa including Poverty and its appendages. And that way, we would joyfully join hands in reciting our East African Community Anthem, God bless Africa.