Mwenda launches second attack on Obama


Andrew Mwenda

Ugandan senior journalist, Andrew Mwenda, is bent on breaking social media which is awash with both positive and negative views about him for attacking US president, Barack Obama.

Only this morning, another critic and social media enthusiast, Janette Mugisha, did not mince her words either.

“Mwenda let me indulge you, despite the flaws in the criminal justice system in the US let us agree that its far much fair in scale than the judicial system in the African continent,” she stated.

Mugisha said the central purposes of any Criminal Justice System is to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent in an efficient, effective, accountable under a fair justice process for the public , all are equal under the law.

“In Africa in most cases the reverse its truth, the leaders have subverted the purposes of the justice system to persecute political opponents and employ selective application of the law to bail out their supporters in clear mockery and violation of the law.”

She cited cases like that of Kizza Besigye where he was charged with rape in order to sabotage him from running in the elections and others like former vice president, Gilbert Bukenya who go to jail allegation over corruption charges but the likes of “Sam Kutesa, John Nasasira escape prison under the similar charges”.

She said most African presidents have committed crimes against humanity yet Mwenda continues to defend them when Obama talks about repressing democracy and overstaying in power.

“So, Mwenda at this time when the African continent is struggling to ensure that there is accountability for serious human rights violations and abuses, it is impossible to comprehend that you can even contemplate to defend their excesses in fact they ideally should be charged with offenses, prosecuted and convicted and jailed like our felon brothers in the US, so much for banana republics.”

Mwenda is not done yet, launches second attack on Obama

While everyone cried foul for his attack on Obama in an AlJazeera opinion, Mwenda launched a second one in his Independent Magazine titled: Obama in Kenya.

He first the case of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has governed Germany since 2005, and is running for a fourth term.

“May be Obama needs to fly to Germany to give Merkel a lecture on why term limits are absolutely necessary.”

He says even Kenya which has term limits is still eaten up by corruption.

“Obama excites our imagination because we see in his success the image of a future we aspire for. Yet although he bears “our skin”, Obama represents the power of those who seek to dominate us by destroying our self-confidence.”

“Therefore his speeches reinforce a pattern of contempt that his predecessors have purveyed for decades. Thus, although his speech in Nairobi (compared to Accra in 2009) was less of headmaster lecturing his pupils and recognised the transformative changes taking place on our continent due to our initiatives, he still castigated us.”

Mwenda says Obama’s comments on political violence and corruption in Kenya continued the tradition of “lecturing to us. Why does America feel obliged to comment on how African nations govern themselves, something he does not do in Western Europe? Who gives Obama and the US the moral right to lecture to Kenyans about their governance?”

He concludes: “Western leaders do not merely demean and insult our leaders as a section of our chattering class imagines. They demean and insult us as a people, even though they mostly use our political leaders as bogeymen. Their media present our people largely in their misery and poverty. Can’t they tell the story of our accomplishments? By constantly showing us our failures, they are destroying our most important resource, our self-confidence, and thereby justifying their interventions “to save” us. They do not depict us negatively because we are poor and they pick some of our bills. They do it because we accept and approve of it. Bob Marley best captured Africa’s biggest challenge when he said we must liberate ourselves from mental slavery.”

Read the full article here:

Why negative response

If there are weaknesses in our governance they are ours to struggle against and overcome. We don’t have to wait for an Obama to lecture us on water while his own country takes wine. US and the Western World has been nothing but paternalistic with Africa.

On why I did not reply to the substance in Obama’s message: Well, there was little in his political rhetoric to reply to specifically. A reply to the broader flow of his point was better.

On Obama’s claim of leaders sticking to power. It is simple. If people don’t want a leader they remove him regardless of his reasons to stay. So many presidents have tried to remove term limits in Africa and failed. Africa has 54 countries and in only 8 have term limits been removed.

Malawi (under Muluzi), Zambia (Chiluba) Nigeria (Obasanjo) etc all tried to remove term limits but because majority didn’t agree, they failed in removing them.

They could not marshal the necessary political majority to do it. Just because USA has term limits doesn’t mean we too should. All Western Europe (except France) don’t have term limits. Has this stopped them from progressing?

We see many problems in USA but we don’t lecture to Americans on how to govern themselves. We respect their sovereignty. Is that reciprocation too much to ask from them? That they too, should respect the sovereignty of African states.

The Western World should stop trying to tell us how to solve African Problems, if Africa is to grow; it needs to be given the opportunity to learn from its mistakes. Nations and people grow through trial and error.

America has amended its constitution 27 times!! It is the responsibility of African citizens to organize and improve governance. That is why we fought for independence.

If you are tired of Museveni and think he is performing poorly, don’t listen to Obama. Organize with Besigye, don’t agonize. If you feel Museveni is mismanaging Uganda, don’t wait for Obama.

Join the movement for change. It’s your duty.

The youth in Burkina Faso didn’t wait for Obama to lecture their leaders. You can see what they did to Gen. Compaure.

A leader can’t change term limits unless majority side with that. If a country’s citizens are incapable of removing a non performing president then it means he is the best they’ve got.

How can one say a country has highly competent people but being suffocated by an incompetent leader they can’t remove?

Why do people even think its right for Obama to publicly admonish our leaders? Is that love or contempt?

What would happen if an African president addressing the U.S. congress condemned American leadership? Obama was exhibiting the racist contempt many Americans hold of us but fear to show because they would be accused of racism.

It is discourteous to visit a country and publicly admonish its leader (your host). Obama did it because of contempt. When Mugabe “lectured” Reagan on US policy of supporting the contras in d Oval Office, it was the last time he visited. Imagine if someone did what Obama did to Africa, while addressing the U.S. Congress.

Finally, to insist that Africa should have a specific form of constitution is to say it should not have politics. A nation’s constitution is a product of political action, not a textbook theory.

Even if a nation aspired to some political principle (like term limits) it has to be achieved through political action.

I used to parrot the same lines back then, the lines of clapping when the west joined in admonishing Africa and its leaders.

I have since then with tempered wisdom enlightened myself off that path. Africa needs a revolution of the minds, we need to get rid of our mental colonization.

Just because you have a rich neighbour, it doesn’t accord him the right to lecture you on how to run your home or household, Mwenda writes.

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