By MACHARIA GAITHO
Kenya's ambassador to Washington Ogingo Ogego must start earning his pay.
The man grew up in the trenches and rose to fame as the University of Nairobi student who got his jail sentence enhanced to 10 years after telling off the judge who had initially sentenced him to seven years following the abortive 1982 military coup attempt. He seems to have softened up since, and he must immediately head to the White House and demand the resignation of President George Bush.
He must demand installation of a transitional Government of National Unity and suspension of the November presidential elections pending a review of the constitution and election laws, re-drawing of electoral boundaries, and appointment of a neutral and competent national electoral commission.
Would our man in Washington be out of line? Of course not.
In fact, he would be observing an excellent precedent first established by the self-proclaimed ‘‘Rogue Ambassador’’ Mr Smith Hempstone, who has since died, and faithfully practised by every US envoy to Nairobi since. Also busy watching out for their national interests by issuing diktat on how we run our affairs have been various envoys from Germany, Britain, Sweden and other European countries.
It is to Kenya’s national interests that Bush resigns; and on his way out, agree to share power with an executive prime minister. Believe me, this has nothing to do with Barack Obama. In fact, if our other man in Washington goes on to capture the White House, we would demand the same standards of governance that we demand of Bush, otherwise we will set up a commission of inquiry.
President Bush must go because he is a threat to the world economy, to the capitalist system, and to world peace. The man first became the most effective recruiting agent for Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network by invading Iraq under false pretence. The world today is more under the threat of radical Islamic terrorists than it was before the launch of the purported war on terror. (Also known as "War on Islam" - Ed.)
Now, more recently, we have witnessed the meltdown that threatens the Western financial system. After all the mantra on market forces, deregulation and the complete loosening of State controls, Bush is leading the way back to State intervention and the return of socialism. He pursued policies that were engineered to lead to the collapse of key US financial institutions, and then organised a $700,000,000,000 bailout package. When you count those zeros, don’t imagine for a moment that is Zimbabwean dollars; it’s in US dollars!
The fever is spreading to Europe, where major financial institutions are also under threat. Instead of letting the magic of the markets correct themselves, governments are reacting with interventions that amount to socialism. The latest is Germany’s $68 billion bail-out of Hypo Real Estate, the country’s second biggest commercial property lender. Germany followed Ireland, Greece, Sweden and Denmark with government guarantees for deposits held in private banks, a sure invitation for the managers of financial institutions to continue with their profligate ways now that the public has assumed the risk. In Iceland, the government has bailed out the country’s third largest bank, Glitnir. In the Netherlands, the government nationalised the local arm of the giant bank, Fortis.
As the Bush-inspired collapse of capitalism leads to worrying economic indicators across the world, we are likely to take terrible hits. In London, the FTSE 100 index had fallen 255 points, or 5.2 per cent within the first hour of trading on Monday morning. Germany’s Dax index lost 4.8 per cent while the Cac 40 index in France dropped 5.2 per cent. In the east, before the rest of the world had woken up, Japan’s Nikkei index closed 465 points down to a four-and-a-half year low. Markets in India, China, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore also lost ground. (And last week, the Dow took a major hit, dropping a record 777 points. -Ed) We will not be spared what the Bush White House has loosed upon the world.
The efforts at government interventions we are seeing so far in the bastions of capitalism — New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Zurich, Tokyo and so on — mostly amount to the return of socialism imposition of government controls and nationalisation of banks. Socialism, as we have been taught, is not compatible with freedom and democracy.
As the financial systems collapse, the Chinese, Russians and Arabs, flush with cash, will be at hand to bail out our economies. They are no "democrats", and will certainly demand their pound of flesh. It is evident now that George Bush has sold capitalism, democracy and freedom down the river. He probably was a secret communist after all, an agent of China or Russia or other menacing forces that have long sought to conquer the West.
Ambassador Ogego, knock now on the White House door and demand the immediate resignation of President Bush — before we hit him and his family with travel bans and confiscate their wealth. And on the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, do pass by a little reservation somewhere and get yourself installed an elder of the Sioux tribe. Front-page pictures of you in the Washington Post and New York Times clad in some fearsome regalia will scare Dubya out of his pants even before you knock on his door. I am in your neighbourhood, Mr Ambassador. Just give me a call and I will introduce you to the right Sioux elder. All he needs is kitu kidogo (a token) for his troubles.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
By MACHARIA GAITHO