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Victor Kenyatta dates ICC as Zimbabwe blunders on
Rejoice Ngwenya
March 18, 2013

Kenyans opted for an International Criminal Court-bound man. Some ‘progressive’ Africans finger ICC for harbouring ‘sinister imperialist motives’. In their repertoire of accusations: haul George Bush Jr. and Tony Blair to The Hague for ‘killing thousands of Arabs’! Others argue: if Charles Taylor, Omar al Bashir, Laurent Gbagbo, Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga, Uhuru Kenyatta or known ZANU-PF operatives, have inhumanity cases to answer, The Hague is ideal for clearing their names. They insist AU is incapable of apprehending African leaders who habitually flout humanity laws.

Uhuru Kenyatta ‘agreed’ to appear before The Hague. Question: why then did Kenyans opt for his presidential candidature? Answer: ‘ethnic democracy’! Kenyatta benefited from Democratic Tribal Elections [D-TREL]. Lindsey Hilsum prophesised: “Kikuyus will largely vote for the main Kikuyu candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta... Kalenjins will also vote Jubilee...Luos and some other minority groups will vote for Raila Odinga, a Luo....” Harvard Professor Calestous Juma lends weight to D-TREL: “Political violence soon took on an ethnic dimension after Kenya's disputed 2007 elections...”

The Kikuyu-Kisii-Kalenjin electoral bloc’s strong affinity with Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi – elevated a Hague-bound candidate to presidential status. Raila Odinga’s Luo-Luhyia-Kamba ethnic bloc was vanquished. Professor Juma insists: “[African] Leaders often exploit tribal loyalty to advance personal gain, parochial interests, patronage, and cronyism” because “Tribal interests have played a major role in armed conflict and civil unrest across the continent.” Zimbabwe is no different.

Of the five presidential candidates, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirayi and Simba Makoni are Shona ‘tribesmen’ allegedly tainted with Zimbabwe’s deadly anti-Ndebele 1980s Gukurahundi genocide. Mugabe was commander-in-chief while Tsvangirayi and Makoni never ‘opposed’ massacres. All three were members of ZANU-PF. Their political moral worthiness could easily be subjected to ICC-like public scrutiny. Moreover, the D-TREL phenomenon favours them.

Zimbabweans will have to choose amongst Mugabe, Tsvangirayi, Makoni, Welshman Ncube or Dumiso Dabengwa. Dabengwa and Ncube are both from the ‘minority’ Kalanga/Ndebele tribe – direct victims of Gukurahundi. It requires major ethnic national transformation for either to win 2013 presidential elections, not least because they are incapable, but that even disgruntled Mugabe, Tsvangirayi and Makoni supporters would find it ‘painful’ to cross the electoral tribal divide. Some Tsvangirayi supporters, under the cover of political darkness, confess they can never vote for an Ndebele presidential candidate. Thokozani Khupe and Lovemore Moyo – party vice president and national chairman respectively - are ‘minority’ in the lineage of Tsvangirayi’s MDC-T ‘presidential royalty’. Were Tsvangirayi to prevail, they both have to wait till 2017 before their party congress slots them into the presidential cockpit. However, Ms Khupe must first defeat secretary general Tendai Biti in the courtyard of tribal populism. Mugabe, having spent most of his time juggling with factional politics would also never have ‘allowed’, even in the so-called ‘united’ ZANU-PF/ZAPU, the late Joshua Nkomo or his late younger brother John to ascend beyond vice-presidency.

For now, he can sleep soundly. None of his disgruntled supporters can vote for Professor Ncube. Even where Tsvangirayi prevails, it will take an act of gigantic self-denial to recommend ‘fellow tribesmen’ Mugabe and Makoni, let alone himself, to The Hague. Given the South African experience, I doubt whether truth and reconciliation ‘findings’ can result in convictions or ‘Kenyatta-like’ outcomes. Says Basil Ibrahim: “Building modern political parties … is, therefore, the most urgent way to counter tribal politics.” Professor Juma concludes: “The way forward for African democracy lies in concerted efforts to build … political parties founded on development ideas and not tribal bonds.”

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