WILLY MUTUNGA: Our foreign policy must reflect public participation

A duplicitous, perfidious, hypocritical, opaque, and non-accountable foreign policy

In Summary
  • Our Linda Nchi operation in Somalia is a proxy war for Western imperialism.
  • Kenyans have not been consulted on this issue.
Former chief justice Willy Mutunga.
COLONISATION: Former chief justice Willy Mutunga.
Image: FILE

Kenyan foreign has since independence been as clear as mud. Christopher Mulei a journalist and a lawyer once dubbed it “wait and see.”

He borrowed this categorization from one of the British Prime Ministers, Lord Asquith, who dodged questions asked in the House of Commons by a refrain, “I ask the honourable member to wait and see.”

After independence our unwritten and unspoken foreign policy towards apartheid South Africa was to have relations with that inhuman regime. Indeed, in the late 1960s there was a spat between Charles Njonjo, then Attorney General, and Munyua Waki, the foreign affairs minister on this issue.

The latter publicly said that relations with the apartheid South Africa would happen over his dead body. Kenya was actually subverting a popular policy position by the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

It is now in the public domain that Charles Njonjo continued to visit South Africa (the Njonjo inquiry) while my passport was stamped by the same government that I could visit all foreign states except South Africa. So, our foreign policy then, as it is now was duplicitous, perfidious, hypocritical, opaque, and non-accountable.

The Entebbe Raid, Palestine, and Zionist Israel

In 1976 the infamous raid of Entebbe by Zionist Israel took place. It is also public knowledge that Kenya allowed the Israeli planes to land in Kenya and refuel after the raid.

Uganda and Kenya could have gone to war over this issue. Indeed, Kenyan foreign policy towards Israel has never changed. It is common knowledge that Kenyans have never been consulted on this policy. Indeed, if consulted I have no doubt that Kenyans would support the cause for a  free Palestine.

This is because that struggle has parallel with our own colonial struggles when we resisted colonial occupation, acquisition of our lands and resources, and the subversion of our freedoms.

Another parallel would be the brutality meted out to us by our occupier now replicated by the Zionist regime against Palestinians’ land, livelihoods, life, and freedom.

Those Kenyans who want to monitor what is happening to the Palestinians will find the Twitter handle of Sarah Wilkinson @swilkinsonbc a great one to follow.

Our Linda Nchi operation in Somalia is a proxy war for Western imperialism. Kenyans have not been consulted on this issue.

Kenyans by and large regard Somalia Somalis as our sisters and brothers. Kenyans would like to see Somalia in the East African Community. Political rather than militarism should be the solution.

Kenya should withdraw its troops from Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These military interventions are not in our name and our constitutional sovereignty under Article 1 of the Constitution is not protected, upheld, and respected.

The Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) government in its early life of 23 days has obeyed court orders when President Ruto swore in judges to the Court of Appeal and High Court.

Miguna Miguna has his new Kenyan passport and his 17 court orders for his return that had been disobeyed by the government complied with.

The government has also promised to make public the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) contracts between Kenya and China (and I believe the expulsion of the Chinese who are illegally in our country) public. Speaking for myself I applaud these decisions.

Even if the SGR contracts are in Mandarin, as our rich Kenyan grapevine has stated, we have Kenyans who read and write Mandarin and they will translate them for us!

Going back to the foreign policy issue the Government has goofed on Western Sahara, shown opaqueness and duplicity on the issue of war in Ukraine.

There is no indication that the government will have new policy other than taking sides in the geopolitical and hegemonic struggles between China and the West. You do not have to guess on whose side the new government is on.

Foreign Policy is the Expression of Our Sovereign Power

Article 1 of the Constitution decrees our sovereign power as Kenyans. Article 10 states very clearly that national values and principles in the matter of our foreign policy include patriotism, inclusiveness, national unity, democracy, participation of the people, transparency and accountability.

The purpose of these articles was to cure the history of our foreign policy that I have narrated above by giving a few examples. The government must henceforth speak in our name in all matters of foreign policy. We demand that major pillars of our foreign policy be subjected to public participation of the Kenyan people.

Our courts have developed clear jurisprudence on what public participation entails. Kenyans must take up the matter directly since delegated sovereign power has been used to betray us.

Some of the pillars I have in mind have been stated here (foreign investments, military bases and interventions, Palestine, Israel) and we could demand our foreign policy should never become an appendage of foreign interests, economic, social, military, and political. We should discuss our trade agreements that are being opaquely discussed by our past and current government.

Our Stand in the Global World

The Kipsigis and the Tallai compatriots are seeking reparations from the British in the European Court on Human Rights. Their demands are for reparations for their stolen lands.

Some years back the Mau Mau Veterans sued the British Government for reparations for illegal torture. The British Government paid token reparations, apologized and built a Mau Mau Memorial at Uhuru Park.

The reparations movement in Africa and Global Africa seeks reparations for slavery, colonization, and our healing. It is growing in strength. This is a global issue as indeed, was the killing of George Floyd that the movement Black Lives Matter took up.

Kenyans must demand that on our stand on global issues the government must consult us and to be our voice.

If we have no quarrels with our Somali sisters and brothers where does our government get our authority to make the decision to participate in the proxy war?

Will the government support the struggle by our Kipsigis and Tallai compatriots? Will it help us give Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi an heroic funeral by showing us where is remains are?

Will the skull of Koitalel arap Samoie that the British have kept as a trophy be returned?

Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of the Supreme Court, 2011-2016.

Former chief justice Willy Mutunga.
COLONISATION: Former chief justice Willy Mutunga.
Image: FILE
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