Sunday, March 2, 2008


Bush did an African tour last week. He even stopped in Ghana and met with Peace Corps volunteers, one of whom was a host for my students’ Ghana trip in the summer of ’07. I wonder how it went. She did think it hilarious that Bush would take advice from a bunch of twenty-somethings on development issues include water, health, and sanitation in Africa. Jeannie (the transformation anthropologist Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar here in Cape Town) thinks there should be a Peace Corps for experienced people. Good idea, Jeannie.

The Peace Prize (Nobel) went to Wangari Maathai in 2004 for her tree planting efforts across the country that both helped the environment and gave women jobs. Guess where she is from and in which country she did this? That’s right. Kenya. So it’s very ironic that a place that gave birth to Peace Prize work and a Peace Prize worker can now be a place of such unrest. Truthfully, the seeds of this unrest had already been planted. Historians would say that’s obvious as nothing is independent.

Well, it is nice that Annan was finally able to “broker” a peace “deal.” Well after a month of negotiations, they stalled again on some issues, so he suspended them. Some took this as a tactic. . .that worked. Two days after the suspension (on the 26th), Kikwete (new head of African Union, president of Tanzania) helped them reach an agreement: Odinga would be made prime minister of Kenya (a new position) and Kibaki would remain president. Cabinet posts will be shared, and they’ll try to give some of the presidential powers to the prime minister as they retool the constitution.

In honesty, I’m not sure if this will work or not, but I know that some Zim people still don’t see this as fair. And in all honesty, it isn’t a full rectification. What was expected was a re-vote. So who knows what this will bring. Will the prime minister really play an equal role as the president? Does this only satisfy Odinga and not his tribesman? Does Odinga even care about his tribesman now that he has this post? We will see. Time will tell.

Time told with Kibaki. You remember me naming the different African leaders who have led countries for far too long and connected that to the global perspective on the Bushes and Clintons explicating why Obama was preferred from that viewpoint? Well, remember, that Kibaki took over Kenya after just such another long-reigning president. All of the opposition people formed together a “rainbow” coalition (I think it was called rainbow) and they democratically chose Kibaki to be the new leadership that would not lead in that same dictator-for-life style. And now, time has shown him to be just like the predecessor he was chosen to contrast. Strange isn’t it?

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