Tuesday, March 29, 2011



By Rose Kagwiria


Greetings. This is a letter to you, my leaders from Mt. Kenya and Kalenjin communities.
I write to the conservatives of these two tribes though, since I don't want to lump all and sundry in one basket. For it is only the conservatives who still hold onto the view that Kenya should be ruled by one of their own, or a conglomeration of themselves, and not any other people. There is something they want to preserve.

We have come from very far as a people over the last 10 years. Indeed 20 years.We have gone through a series of political transformations, always trying to get a better government with every election. Always fighting a dictatorship, trying to bring about change. Trying to fight tribalism. Poverty. We have had our way to a certain extent. Most important, the NEW CONSTITUTION. For no fight would have been won meaningfully without this document.

So here we are. Marhc 2011. We have one year to the 2012 elections, a time when we shall be hoping to bring further change to our country, through our vote. But we have political players in all this game. We have to choose who amongst them can take us to the next level. And we shall use our historical barometers, the fight against social ills, common sense and other tools to decide whom to elect.

I want to therefore submit to you conservative Mt. Kenya and Rift Valley brigade, that you have something burning against one Raila Amollo Odinga. Its not that his credentials as a politician are bad at all. Its not that he has not suffered under dictatorships and risen above them to be a fighter against them. He has spoken against extra judicial killings, democracy, good governance. But I am not stating he is perfect either. Nobody is perfect.

What is it dear friends, that you have against this man Raila? Through some of your debates, in the press, and media, I have seen raw hatrade against this man. I see an amazing lack of trust in him. I have seen a lack of confidence in his eadership from the conservative Mt. Kenya, and now the Kalenjin folk. I have had my friends, the conservative Mt. Kenya and Kalenjin people, telling me that he is good, but he will never be president. Is this the general position you hold brothers and sisters? And is this question admissible in the first place?
Let me address myself to the admissibility of this question (As Speaker Marende would put it in his ruling). In looking at this question, we shall take Uhuru Kenyatta, as a specimen. He
seems to be the Mt. Kenya political supremo. Is he an option for Kenyas in 2012? If we are to go by recent happenings, especially the tantrums he threw at Kenyans for rejecting the Kibaki nominees, it raises doubt about him.

But more importantly, he cannot relate to the problems that the common mwananchi has because of his pedigree. The son of a former president. But like Hitler to Germany, he has held the Mt. Kenya conservatives under siege. The questions I ask, what will Uhuru offer Kenyans, if he cannot even fight against unconstitutional appointments of judicial officers? The bigger question is : -
Why is this logic so elusive to the Mt. Kenya conservative nation?

William Ruto. Initially he seemed to be a person Kenyans would trust. But recent
events point to a person who can turn into a beast, and even start devouring his own friends. He has an evil demeanor. Is this the man we wan't to elect as president? He behaves like an immature child. He cannot be president of this country, with a short temper, and vengeful attitude. Thats not a leader we want.

So to these two Nations, what is it against Raila Amollo Odinga?

For a man who has brought about so much change to this country, what is it you have against him?

Sunday, March 27, 2011



FILE  |   NATION NSIS director general Michael Gichangi takes the oath to testify before the Waki Commission at KICC in 2008

FILE | NATION NSIS director general Michael Gichangi takes the oath to testify before the Waki Commission at KICC in 2008

By Emeka-mayaka Gekara emayaka@ke.nationmedia.com

Posted Saturday, March 26 2011 at 22:00


  • Intelligence documents are crucial for the ICC prosecutor because they emanate from a key security arm of government, says lawyer

Evidence gathered by the national intelligence agency may have been used to nail post-election violence suspects waiting to appear before the International Criminal Court pre-trial judges.

Inquiries by the Sunday Nation revealed that testimonies by the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) and provincial security officials before Justice Philip Waki’s commission on post-election violence provided valuable information for ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s case.

While testifying before the Waki Commission, top security officials – including NSIS director general Michael Gichangi – disclosed that the agency had gathered and relayed intelligence on individuals who funded and organised gangs such as Mungiki and Kalenjin Warriors to cause chaos during the 2007 election period.

On July 21, 2008, Gichangi testified that the NSIS had names of politicians who bankrolled the militias and requested to reveal their identities in private.

“We established they were politicians who were seeking elective posts as civic leaders and Members of Parliament as well as others from the private sector but, because of the sensitivity of the matter, we will avail that brief to the commissioners in private,” the NSIS boss said.

Prosecution case

A retired state counsel, who cannot be quoted discussing intelligence matters, said that in attempts to clear itself, the NSIS may have unwittingly bolstered the prosecution’s case against the suspects.

“The intelligence reports and testimonies would help any prosecutor … It seems that Moreno-Ocampo succeeded in transforming the NSIS information into solid evidence. The testimonies inadvertently put the suspects out to dry,” the lawyer told the Sunday Nation.

“The NSIS documents provided critical hints for the prosecutor because they emanated from a key security arm of government. They identified prey for prosecutor.”

Mr Moreno-Ocampo has convinced ICC judges that he has grounds to prosecute Deputy Prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta, MPs William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, Public Service head Francis Muthaura, former police chief Hussein Ali and journalist Joshua arap Sang for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 2008 violence.

The six have been summoned to appear before the ICC judges on April 7 for an initial hearing to have the charges read to them.

Law Society of Kenya chairman Kenneth Akide says much of the prosecutor’s evidence could be watertight because it constituted testimonies by respected state agencies such as the NSIS and assembled by skilled jurists.

“Though the prosecutor conducted his own investigations, there is no doubt he benefited from evidence prepared by a distinguished court of appeal judge (Justice Waki) who is highly qualified to determine what sort of evidence can stand the test of a serious attack at such a high level.”

Commit atrocities

In his testimony, Major-Gen Gichangi pointed out that some youths took oaths to commit atrocities during the post-election period with blessings from politicians.

The spy chief also told the commission that politicians in some parts of the country used coded language, asking their people to rise up and get rid of some communities.

It is not known what names the spy chief revealed to the commission in camera, but the Waki report reveals his line of argument in defence of the agency.

He said NSIS did its part to inform other security agencies of possible violence.

It was his testimony that all relevant departments were adequately briefed, but failed to act accordingly.

“Kenyans are still asking: ‘Where was the NSIS?’ I want to tell them that we did our part, but the State security agents failed to respond as expected because they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the violence,” said Maj-Gen Gichangi.

The agency produced regular and special reports and security briefs at provincial and district levels in the months leading up to the 2007 General Election.

Intelligence reports, some of which were made available to the Waki Commission and apparently transmitted to the ICC, named possible suspects for the violence in Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Naivasha and Nairobi.

“The documents identified various individuals suspected of being involved in such activities as inciting, planning disruption and violence and, threatening behaviour,” said the Waki Commission report.

During his visit to Nairobi last December, the ICC prosecutor acknowledged that evidence received from the Waki Commission and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights was “fundamental” in deciding to open an investigation in Kenya.

“We collected new evidence, new testimonies, new videos and new documents,” he said.

The prosecutor’s investigations mainly revolve around violence in Naivasha, Eldoret and Nakuru.

The Waki Commission also reveals that the NSIS collected information on the planning of violence in Naivasha by Mungiki members and politicians, at local and national level.

“All NSIS evidence discussed here was produced as Exhibits 19 and 19A. Testimony produced in camera,” footnotes in the report say.

The NSIS demonstrated that as early as January 3, 2008, it had information that Mungiki members were meeting “in an undisclosed location in Nairobi with a view to carrying revenge attacks on Luos and Kalenjins travelling along Nairobi-Naivasha highway on an undisclosed date.”

The commission said it had evidence that government and political leaders in Nairobi, including key office holders at the highest level of government, may have directly participated in the preparation of the attacks.

“Central to that planning were two meetings held in State House and Nairobi Safari Club in the run-up to the election with the involvement of senior members of the government and other prominent Kikuyu personalities.”

The NSIS also gave evidence indicating that on January 15, 2008, a week before the most brutal attacks erupted in Nakuru, it established that some Mungiki members were planning to discredit the government by instigating chaos in Nakuru.

In a January 2008 report, the Gichangi’s men said that “some senior Kalenjin personalities were funding ODM activists to organise youth for violence”.

The agency indicated that by November 2007, Kalenjin youth were already harbouring plans to attack the Kikuyu and Kisii in parts of Rift Valley to disenfranchise the two communities for supporting certain politicians.

When they issued summons for the six suspects to appear before them, judges in the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber said they are convinced that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Muthaura and Mr Kenyatta are criminally responsible for acts of murder, and forcible transfer committed in Nakuru and Naivasha and rapes committed in Nakuru. Mr Kenyatta is accused of teaming up with Mr Muthaura to coordinate Mungiki revenge attacks in Naivasha.

All the three Pre-Trial Chamber judges — including dissenting Hans-Peter Kaul — were satisfied that Mr Kenyatta was “the principal contact” between the Mungiki gang and the key perpetrators. The other judges in the case are Ekaterina Trendafilova and Cuno Tarfusser.

The judges were also convinced that Major-Gen Ali, who commanded the police at that time, was contacted by Mr Muthaura who instructed him to order the police not to interfere with the perpetration of the crimes by the Mungiki.

The judges were also persuaded that Mr Ruto made available guns, grenades and gas cylinders and cash to perpetrators in Rift Valley and coordinated efforts before the outbreak of the violence.

For Mr Kosgey, the judges said there was evidence to demonstrate that he promised the perpetrators immunity for the crimes, and that he distributed money to participants in meetings while Mr Sang of Kass FM used his daily talk show to spread propaganda instigating violence against the non-Kalenjins and calling for their eviction.

Saturday, March 26, 2011



Joseph Kiheri | nation The national chairman of Internally Displaced Persons, Mr Peter Kariuki, sits in his Sport Utility Vehicle during a past confrontation with the police in Nakuru. He drives a big car, carries a laptop and a BlackBerry phone and  lives in the Mawingo IDP camp.

Joseph Kiheri | nation The national chairman of Internally Displaced Persons, Mr Peter Kariuki, (left) sits in his Sport Utility Vehicle during a past confrontation with the police in Nakuru. He drives a big car, carries a laptop and a BlackBerry phone and lives in the Mawingo IDP camp.

By Joyce Kimani newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

Posted Friday, March 25 2011 at 22:00


  • The chairman has chosen to live among his people, insisting that all IDPs have to be resettled

He drives a Toyota Hilux Surf, carries a laptop and a BlackBerry phone, holds sway over 12,000 desperate Kenyans while politicians and policemen hate him in equal measure.

It, therefore, takes some convincing that Peter Kariuki Githinji is an internally displaced person living in a tent.

On many occasions since the 2007 post-election violence, the 30-year-old Kariuki has been on the frontline of demonstrations against the government, keeping the anti-riot police along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway busy.

On a visit to the Mawingu camp recently, we meet a simple Kariuki, in gumboots, ready for farm work.

It is hard to believe that one word from him can make all the 12,000 IDPs at the camp walk the 30 kilometres to the highway to stage a demonstration over the poor conditions in which they live.

The four-wheel-drive car and other electronics are all property the IDPs, he says, he is only the national chairman of the IDPs organisation.

The car has sent many tongues wagging, that he could be squandering money meant for IDPs. He dismisses this suggestion insisting that it belongs to all IDPs in the camp.

He produces documents showing that the car is registered in the name of Rift Valley IDPs Community-Based Organisation.

The refugees, he says, chose to purchase the car due to failure by the government to provide an ambulance to the camp, yet people kept falling sick at night due to the harsh conditions in which they lived.

The government vehicle that used to ferry them to hospital was often late, by which time some of them were too sick to be moved.

“Every person in the camp contributed Sh1,000 towards the purchase of the car, and they are all free to use it as long as they keep it in good condition,” says Kariuki.

His camp has a DSTv satellite dish and a large television screen, where everyone congregates every evening to watch news.

He says that the IDPs themselves purchased the items.

Among his charges was trying to remove the current government from power.

“I’m just a tiny man who sends shivers in politicians’ spines, but I do not have the power to topple the government .”

He says the IDPs have lost faith in the government’s pledges.

“The reason we were displaced is because politicians could not solve their personal differences. Why do they want to drag us in their dirt?” he asks.

He has tried to make the IDPs lives comfortable. The camp now has a borehole, with part of the water on sale. The camp also has a battery charger, a brick-making machine and a public address system for rent.

He says he used to live in Chepsion in Kipkelion, where he worked as a carpenter before chaos broke out in 2008.

He was sneaked out of a church to a local police station before he ferried his wife and two children to Nakuru ASK showground IDP camp.

He then moved into a relative’s house in Nakuru since his wife, a Kalenjin, could not be allowed to live in the camp.

“People threatened her, accusing her tribe of being behind the fighting. Some even threatened to kill her yet she was eight months pregnant.”

However, he was elected chairman of the IDPs in absentia, meaning he had to move back into the camp and his troubles begun. He was abducted and tortured for three days by unknown people who dumped him at Kinale forest.

Back at camp, IDPs started protesting against his kidnapping. In the ensuing chaos, one of them was shot dead. He was rescued by police, who took him to hospital, where he stayed for 21 days.

“My welcome back to camp made me shed tears. I was welcomed like a king. These people had so much faith in me, I just could not betray that trust,” he says.

“Who says that an IDP has to live like a dead person?” he asks. “People are concerned when we drive good cars and carry laptops and phones, because they want us to live like condemned people.”

His sway over fellow IDPs means politicians always approach him when they need support.

“Many politicians think I harbour political interests but my only aim is to get my people resettled.”

He insists that the government has to resettle the IDPs on suitable land.

“We were living a comfortable life before the chaos, the government should not make us feel as if it is doing us a favour by resettling us,” insists Kariuki.

He once forced the minister for Special Programmes, Esther Murugi, to pledge on national television that the resettlement process would be complete by December 31, 2010.

The promise was broken, and the IDPs once again took to the road, with Kariuki ending up at Naivasha Prison.




Posted Saturday, March 26 2011 at 09:35

First Lady Lucy Kibaki on Friday asked Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to keep off her family. Mrs Kibaki was annoyed by claims attributed to Mr Musyoka in US embassy cables released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

He becomes the second Vice President in Mr Kibaki’s reign to incur the First Lady’s wrath.Mr Musyoka is said to have described the President as sickly and given accounts of events at State House that the First Lady deemed were malicious.

The first was former Vice-President Moody Awori in 2004 when she told him off for referring to her as the “second lady”.

In a statement to media houses, Mrs Kibaki described the comments attributed to the VP in the leaked diplomatic cables as “barefaced falsehood, innuendos, unkind and against African values”.

She accused the VP of allowing his “selfish interests” to drive him to make unsavoury remarks aimed at tainting the integrity of President Kibaki and urged Kenyans to avoid such talk.

“I urge Kenyans to engage in constructive dialogue that will take our country to the next level rather than smear other people’s reputation for their selfish interests,” she said.

The First Lady questioned the VP’s audacity to discuss her residence and President Kibaki’s family with US ambassadors William Bellamy and Michael Ranneberger in cables that were sent to Washington between March 2006 and November 2007.

At the time, Mr Musyoka was a member of ODM Kenya, an opposition party comprising Prime Minister Raila Odinga, deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi and suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, among others.

“In some of these cables, Kalonzo Musyoka is reported to have discussed residential matters of the First Family and made innuendos regarding the composition of the same family,” she observes.

She opened the statement by asserting that she resides at State House.

“In the said leaks, Kalonzo Musyoka is said to have alleged that I do not reside at State House, adding that I moved to State House when I learnt there were night meetings taking place there,” she said.

Mrs Kibaki stated that Kenyans were aware that she was a resident of State House from where she has carried out her charitable work on HIV/Aids and her role as the President’s wife.

“I wish to inform Kenyans that this is barefaced falsehood. As all Kenyans are aware, I have been resident at State House where I have conducted my duties and responsibilities as the spouse of the President. It is also from State House that I have continued to undertake my charitable activities within the framework of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/Aids,” she said.

She added: “I also wish to inform Kenyans that no night meetings were taking place in State House. The allegation by Kalonzo Musyoka that I moved to State House to check on night meetings was false and conceived in bad faith.”

In the cable that was dispatched by Mr Bellamy in March 2006, Mr Musyoka was quoted as saying that Mrs Kibaki was residing at the affluent Muthaiga.

“According to Musyoka (and many other), First Lady Lucy does not reside at State House with the President but stays at their residence in Nairobi’s Muthaiga suburb. Upon learning that secret meetings with political figures could be taking place in State House, Lucy reasoned that other secret liaisons (with unofficial second wife could be transpiring as well.

“She went to State House, where she stayed for two days to make her presence felt,” the VP is further quoted as saying.

On Friday, Mrs Kibaki said that while State House was the official residence of the President’s family, any member had the right to chose to put up at a private residence.

The First Lady, for the second time officially declared that members of the First Family were well known.

“I wish to clarify that the composition of the First Family is in the public domain and its integrity and moral authority is beyond reproach. Any insinuations to the contrary are unfounded and false. As Kenyans are aware, however, it is a well known fact that there are people who go around masquerading to belong to the families of prominent people in public life. Members of the public should distinguish between genuine family members and imposters,” she said.

“I further take great exception to Mr Kalonzo Musyoka’s reported allegations that President Kibaki slept on his job due to drugs administered on him. As Kenyans are fully aware, at no time has President Kibaki slept on his job. Indeed, claims to this effect were never substantiated in the Wikileaks,” she said.The First Lady was more upset by claims that President Kibaki ‘slept on the job’ due to the treatment that he was undergoing. She pointed to the improved economic growth from 2 per cent in 2002 to 5.8 per cent in 2006 and 7 per cent in 2008.

She went on: “Kenyans will remember that it is at this time that the economy begun to record unprecedented levels of growth. Indeed, the economy grew by 5.8 per cent in 2006 when the cables were being wired and rose to 7 per cent compared to 1 per cent in 2002, when the President took office. Obviously, this is an indicator of a country under sound management in every respect and does not suggest a chief executive asleep on his job.”

Mr Musyoka is alleged to have told Mr Bellamy in March 2006 thus: “I don’t know if it’s the drugs that they’re giving him (Kibaki), but he’s sleeping on the job.”

Mrs Kibaki said it was cruel of the VP to discuss the President’s health in manner that showed he was deriving pleasure from it.

“In any case, it is clearly unkind and contrary to African, indeed human, values to discuss other people’s health and to appear to derive fiendish delight from their poor health,” she said.

She expressed surprise at revelations that Mr Musyoka had urged then US President George W. Bush to prevail over President Kibaki not to contest the 2007 elections to clear the way for him.

“Like other Kenyans, I was particularly dismayed to read further revelations that Mr Kalonzo appealed to the US to prevail on President Kibaki not to run for another term in order to pave way for Kalonzo to ascend to leadership,” she said.

Friday, March 25, 2011



By Dibussi Tande

24 March 2011

Bloggers across the continent are dissatisfied, dismayed and disappointed by the Africa Union's handling of the crises in Libya and in Côte d'Ivoire, writes Dibussi Tande.

On the Up Station Mountain Club collective blog, Lloney Monono writes to Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, to expresses his dissatisfaction with the AU's (mis)handling of the Libyan crisis:

'It is clear that there could be no misunderstanding as to what a No Fly Zone entailed, since in a widely reported address to a US Congressional Committee, on March 1st 2011, the US Defence Secretary warned that a No Fly Zone would "require first destroying Libya's air defence forces" and went on to call it a "big operation in a big country."

'Therefore there was no ambiguity. The UN Security Council Resolution 1973 spelt military action against Libya, a sovereign state and member of the African Union...

'By choosing instead to put out a press statement on the 17th of March 2011 about an "Ad hoc High Level Committee" which had been agreed a week earlier on 10th March 2011 in the Peace and Security Council's 265th meeting whilst the UN Security Council deliberated and voted in Resolution 1973, the AU demonstrated that it had been dazed into impotence by the crisis. It fiddled at a crucial moment while Libya burned...

'As the Libyan defences are degraded with each bomb dropped we are witnessing the destruction of a sovereign state with the risk that it becomes a haven to anarchists and terrorists as did happen in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. An eventuality which will further destabilise Libya, bring more insecurity to its citizens likewise worsen the peace and stability of the region, infringing further on the AU's objectives of Article 3 in the Constitutive Act.

'In the light of this view and other points highlighted herein, I conclude that the AU, with respect to the Libyan situation, has completely failed in managing the crisis; it has failed to prevail in both its diplomacy with Libya and the world beyond Africa's shores. Lastly, and on the point which churns my insides, the African Union has like the defunct Organisation of African Unity demonstrated a complete inability to take ownership of and resolve its problems. It has simply failed to step up to the plate and demonstrate African self-reliance, as mandated by Article 4 subsection (k) of the Constitutive Act, when was most needed. Quite simply and sadly, your excellency it is my view history would record that at this point in time, the African Union dismally failed to provide leadership.'

Jimmy Kainka echoes the same sentiments by expressing disappointment at the AU's handling of the Ivoirian and Libyan crises:

'If we move on to the north of Africa and take a look at Libya, we have unbelievable nightmare happening right in front of our eyes. Where is the AU? So many presidents from different nations have spoken on the events in Libya, Ban Ki Moon (UN Secretary General) has made several media appearances to state the stance of the UN on the issue. So what about the AU? If the AU is not in a position to solve African problems, then who will? Libya has moved from having its leader (...and yes, the former AU chairman) killing his own people to having Western troops in the name of saving Libyans - more Libyans may now die in the hands of foreign forces.

'Where are the Leaders of Africa? Who in Africa has ever gone to kill people in France or USA or UK? Where is the African Union? I heard of the many meetings that happened before the "no fly zone" was imposed on Libya, there was even a consultation with the Arab Leaders. Does anyone know if AU was consulted and what they voted for? While you (AU) are mulling over your existence, why not also consider pulling out of the UN en masse as the UN is really a Western Union. By pulling out AU would stop providing the UN with cover.

'My biggest question is, if the AU made numerous visits to Ivory Coast, to "try" and resolve the situation there, why are they not helping the people of Libya? I have watched children being killed and everyone keeps saying "there are always casualties when there is war". Why should a child be sacrificed for democracy or oil or chocolate or whatever it is that is going on there in Libya and Ivory Coast? AU, where are you? Libya needs you, Ivory Coast has not been sorted out, what are you doing? If events like these are too big for you, then why do you exist?'

On the other end of the spectrum, Rosebell believes that the much vaunted 'African solution' to the current crises propounded by the likes of Yoweri Museveni is a mirage:

'The West may be wrong in the way they conduct the intervention in Libya but President Museveni together with his group of mostly African dictators cannot be trusted to bring a solution fast enough.

'When Gaddafi was declaring genocide on his own people saying he would 'cleanse Libya house by house', no one stood up to him. When we heard stories about Gaddafi ferrying young Africans into Libya to work as mercenaries, which escalated racist attacks on African immigrants, no African president came out to call for investigations. So many Africans stuck in Libya including Ugandans have been at the mercy of aid groups and some few government rescue missions.

'Let's now forget for the last four months, this group of men who rule the continent have failed to resolve the situation in Ivory Coast which we may as well say has slipped back into a civil war. So far more than 400 people have died in Ivory Coast and all they do is hop on planes meet in Addis Ababa.

'No wonder we have heard no calls on the AU from Libya's opposition...

'Africans want an African solution but current leaders like President Museveni who stifle freedoms in their own borders will not deliver us the much needed African solution. And that's what North Africa has realized and therefore moved to rid their countries of these leaders. Like Desmond Tutu has stated, Libya wouldn't be seeing these strikes if African leaders were answerable to their peers and populace. But which of Gaddafi's peers would have kept him in check? Museveni, Biya or Mugabe?'

The Chia Report responds to those who are against intervention in Libya on the grounds that this would most likely create a chaotic power vacuum in Libya:

'I have been asking myself why many oppressors across the world, including miscreants like Gaddafi and Paul Biya of Cameroon, invariably get sympathies from the very ones they oppress. This concern is more often than not encapsulated in the following question: who will fill the vacuum (after Biya/Gaddafi...)? My all time favorite is "what next"?

'It is pitiful to look at the almighty Gaddafi ranting that "my people all love me". There are certainly many Libyans who would die for Colonel Gaddafi. But can Gaddafi and the Biyas of the world understand that it is not about love? Better still, can they grasp that love is not a one way street? Can they grasp that walking away from power and having others give a shot at leading is the greatest love there is to share with their kids and other fellow citizens?...

'We are better than that. After the coalition bombs the hell out of Gaddafi's Libya, (and hopefully take him out) a leader will emerge. It is bound to happen.'

'It is a false premise to think and act as if every democratic nation on earth was born on the same day. But there is the expectation that younger democratic nations, even as they forge their own democratic cultures, will not slide even further back in excuse and mockery of time-tested universal values of freedom, liberty, and respect of human rights. The biggest democracy of our time (USA) was stretched thin as the Supreme Court stepped in to decide whether it was Al Gore or George Bush. Budding democracies will go through chaotic patches. It is essential that a people go through these times together. Lasting bonds are formed from common struggles. Better yet, from these common struggles, a people emerge with a common vision and purpose. African countries seem to have only one purpose - producing consumers.

Bantu Politics points out that observers and international journalists are increasingly comparing the situation in Côte d'Ivoire to the 'Pre-Genocide' atmosphere of Rwanda in 1994, and explains ethnicity, religion and hate speech are fueling the flames of the political crisis:

'The question of religious identity resurfaced on December 3, 2010, when the Ivorian Constitutional Council, in opposition to Electoral Commission's results, declared Laurent Gbagbo president by invalidating the votes of some 600,000 people in the northern, mostly Muslim, regions of the country.

'Laurent Gbagbo and his wife, Simone, are both declared born-again Christians who are not shy about sharing their faith in a political context. On Simone Gbagbo's website, religion is said to have an important place in the former first lady's life and political commitment...

'One Ivorian native netizen posted a message on American politician Sarah Palin's Facebook page in December 2010, in which he urged American Christians not to let US President Obama standby without supporting the Gbagbos: "Will Americans idly sit on the side and watch their President humiliate Laurent Gbagbo and Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, a Born-again Evangelical Christian couple and throw them out of office or watch some Muslim rebels invade their palace and kill them with the conspiracy of the international community?'

Sacha Project, a blogger who resides mainly in Abidjan, wrote a post... referring to French daily Le Monde's editorial of the same day entitled, 'The future of Africa is playing out in Côte d'Ivoire', in which the author compares Côte d'Ivoire to the Spain of 1936 under Franco. Sacha Project believes that the comparison has a lot of merit: 'Like in the Spain of 1936, a state is threatened by an armed minority which refuses a lawfully elected president (...). Gbagbo is not Franco, Gbagbo is not a fascist. Yet the ideas of the Ivorian Patriotic Front (FPI) are. Franco didn't consider himself fascist, but 'nationalist'. Gbagbo considers himself a 'patriot'. Yet the excessive xenophobic nationalism, Ivorian identity and its eulogists, media manipulation, and Simone Gbagbo's religious speech which considers her husband's power as quasi-divine, these are elements of an Ivorian style fascism.'

In a guest post on the Cassava Republic blog, historian Max Siollun challenges Nigerian writers to make Nigerian history more interesting to readers:

'I was literally heartbroken when not too long ago, a Nigerian acquaintance of mine (born and raised in Nigeria) told me that she thought Herbert Macaulay was a white American. She could recite (in chronological order) most of the post-World War II American Presidents, but she had no idea that Herbert Macaulay was a Nigerian. She was shocked when I told her that Macaulay was to Nigeria, what George Washington was to the United States of America.

'Dry, ponderous academic style renditions of Nigerian history will not do. In my writing, I have tried to dramatise the historic events I write about and bring the characters to life, so as to capture the reader's imagination. The reader momentarily suspends the belief that what they are reading is in fact....fact! We must. To interest readers in Nigerian history, we must turn our national characters into "stars" and, in the popular vernacular of the Iraq war, 'sex up' Nigerian history. That is the challenge for me and other writers...'

'Why do so many Nigerians know so little about their own country's history? The federal government must take much responsibility for this. Nigerian history is not intensively taught in schools largely because after the civil war, the federal government tried to brush the country's past under the carpet in order to foster reconciliation....But the government is not entirely to blame... We writers must also share the responsibility....We writers must present Nigerian history as something more than a mechanical rendering of dates and facts...