On Friday, August 27th 2010, Kenya promulgated their new constitution. This was a pretty big deal, considering that Kenyans have been living with a constitution that was signed by the Queen of England back in 1963! One would think that this good news would be the focus of the world media but alas, that has not been the case. It turns out that among Kenya’s special guests for the event was the President of Sudan, Al Bashir, who has a warrant of arrest on his head. Apparently, Kenya should not have invited him to witness this great event but more importantly, Kenya should have arrested Mr. Al Bashir considering the outstanding warrant.
At this point I want to point out that the last time Kenyans went to vote for anything was back in 2007, and it ended badly to put it mildly:it led to the Post Election Violence that was witnessed the world over. This brings me to my main bone of contention with the world and media reaction to the events of August 27th 2010. Kenyans actually voted for a very important document peacefully and without incident yet the world wants to focus on the negative aspects. What the hell is up with that?!?!?
Maybe Kenya’s leadership shouldn’t have invited this alleged criminal BUT there are other things to consider, for example:
1. In the many many years that Sudan has been trying to develop and maintain a working democracy, this same world/media has been able to count on Kenya’s positive influence on Sudan to help things get better. Treaties have been signed in Kenya, which – fyi – is also the strongest economy of the East African region.
2. This visit could also be used as a ‘heaping hot coals on someone’s head’ type of learning opportunity. A leader of a country without a proper working government watching millions of people celebrating their own grand achievement? Don’t you think it would be positive proof of what can (and should) happen in his own country?
3. Kenya is a member of the AU (African Union) and as such, is held to the agreements that it signs. I don’t claim to be an expert but I do know that one member of the AU is forbidden from arresting another member of the AU. Would the US arrest Tony Blair? Would Belgium arrest the German Chancellor? Let’s be realistic people!
4. Kenya has interests of its own that require the cooperation of Al Bashir. Yes, it may include eating with the devil but there isn’t a country in the world that would claim that they wouldn’t develop an already existing positive relationship with a President if it would help their cause; not the US, UK, China, Korea….none!
The world is apparently still hellbent on seeing the dark, scary, backward and savage Africa (which never existed, by the way, except in the eyes of the so-called discoverers of Africa). It’s time the world leaders and media openned their eyes to an Africa that does NOT fit that mold. It’s ridiculous to suggest that a country but be perfect in the eyes of other countries before it will get a fair representation of its citizens.
The so-called world leaders and media need to get over themselves; the sooner the better. Sudan’s el Presidente can always be arrested. A new constitution is only promulgated once!