Migingo: Museveni supported by world powers

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has long been a darling of the West, specifically the United States and United Kingdom, as a bulwark against Arab, Chinese and French influence in Central Africa.

Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) troops in action. Picture by Africom.

Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) troops in training. Picture by Africom.

It is worth noting that none of the world powers have condemned President Museveni’s moves at Migingo Island. Meanwhile, the actions of Ugandan soldiers in Kenya’s Pokot district have elicited absolutely no reaction from the international community.

If anything, rather than criticize the actions of its favourite African leader, the United Kingdom has offered its colonial archives back in London to help determine the correct border between Kenya and Uganda. This is in sharp contrast to the situation back in the 1960s and 70s when Britain made it clear to Kenya’s neighbours that any sign of military action would be met with the full might of Her Majesty’s forces.

Could this mean that Museveni’s actions have the backing of the West? If so, the implication is that Kenya has fallen out of favor of the major world powers. Even China is maintaining a loud silence over the matter. In any case, China is unlikely to risk antagonizing its relationship with the West by coming out strongly in Kenya’s defence.

Thanks to tribal politics, Kenya is about to turn into a failed state. For this reason, the West has decided to act in preventing another Somalia-like situation in East Africa. Ordinarily, the usual strategy is to locate an alternative leadership within the country then support it in taking over the government. This strategy has been implemented across Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America to install pro-Western governments.

However, Western political analysts are of the view that all of Kenya’s current breed of leaders are beyond redemption. They are severely afflicted with corruption and insensitivity to the needs of the suffering masses. There is none among Kenya’s politicians who can provide a way out of Kenya’s mess. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi are all blamed for driving Kenya into the snake pit of tribal hatred.

The United States is extremely worried about the possibilities of a Rwanda-style scenario in Kenya. A few days ago, President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete held two-party talks where Kenya was discussed. Former US President George W. Bush also regularly consulted Kikwete over Kenya’s impending implosion and this was long before the 2007 elections.

The US came under heavy criticism back in 1994 for failing to stop the Rwanda genocide. Since then, Washington is determined to pre-empt a repeat of the same in order to avoid placing American soldiers on African soil. With ongoing engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US does not wish to have an implosion in Kenya. The growth of militant Islam in the Horn of Africa is already presenting nightmares to US strategists who fear that the failure of the Kenyan state would be a bonanza to Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda.

The British also want to see a stable and peaceful Kenya due to their economic and strategic interests in the region. The UK government fears an influx of Kenyan Asians, many of whom already hold British citizenship.

Faced with an impending crisis in Kenya, but fearful of committing themselves too deeply, what is the solution for the United States and Britain? That is where Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni steps into the equation.

Museveni has for long been the West’s point man in the East and Central African region. He has made numerous interventions on behalf of the West in Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia and even Iraq. Museveni is an African partner that the US and Britain can rely upon to promote Western interests. US Presidents and British Prime Ministers make it a matter of routine to visit Uganda during their terms of office. Even the Queen of England has visited Uganda on more than one occasion.

Since the 1980s, Kenya’s ratings in the West have been on a steady decline. No serving US President has ever visited independent Kenya. Hardly anybody remembers the last time Queen Elizabeth visited Kenya. For that matter, even British Prime Ministers have been giving Kenya a wide berth, only dropping by once they are out of office.

It is obvious that the West has given Museveni a role to play in Kenya’s politics. There is more to Museveni’s intervention than meets the eye, hence his confidence over the Migingo and Pokot affairs. The question is: what does the West hope to accomplish in Kenya through Museveni? Is it possible that Museveni will in the near future decide who will be Kenya’s next leader, just like he changed the governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo?

For sure, Museveni is fully aware that Kenya’s leaders are so divided that little action will be taken against him. President Kibaki sees the Migingo saga as a Luo issue that does not need military involvement. The fact that Prime Minister Raila Odinga is from the Luo tribe certainly plays into Museveni’s game plan, and will be used to show Raila’s impotence in spite of being the supervisor of government.

5 Responses

  1. I think Kenya is on the right path….remember that the same Uganda relies on the west to finance 40% of its budget while Kenya only needs 3% …so…we need to chart our own future and forget about those western monkeys…we are better off doing business with more reliable DEVELOPING countries like China and India who dont have evil policies and are genuinely interested in doing business….On the military aspect…it is Unlikely that any military power will support either side of a Kenya-Uganda conflict because Kenya and Uganda are just too similar…both beeing british ex-colonies…so..we only need to craft our future…we need to boost manufacturing…build infrastracture etc..

  2. I agree with you Mkenya. We should chart our own future and leave the west alone. The 40 or so years that we have depended on them have not made us any better other than to inflate our foreign debt. The Migingo saga is so minor that no foreign power has so far shown any interest in it. In any case both Kenya and Uganda have indicated that they will solve the issue amicably in the spirit of East African Co-operation. As such there is no course for alarm. There still exist many avenues of handling the saga even in the event of a disagreement. The west have grown weary of intervening in African conflicts and are likely to leave the Migingo issue to African and regional players to sort out. Realizing the need for accelerated development, our govt has increasingly turned to the east and middle eastern countries for support. This is a step in the right direction since these countries do not attach conditions as the west does. Ultimately, it is we Kenyans who will develop our nation. The era of handouts from the west is over. The political confusion currently obtaining in the country is just but a temporary setback.

  3. Yes i agree with the both of you. Kenya is on the right path in general. We need to reduce the reduction on dependency on foreign AID and engage in trade with whoever wants to engage with us.

    Your article is quite speculative and paints Britain and America as Demigods which they are certainely not. China in recent times has become Kenya’s most avid development partners.

  4. You are giving Museveni too much credit people. The west has not pronounced themselves on this issue because it is clear to them who the island belongs to. Download your PDF copy of the whole Kenya-Uganda border from
    http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/collection/LimitsinSeas/IBS139.pdf It is unfortunate that the west has more information about our borders than we do.

    Fellow East Africans, do not demonise each other for the sake of nationalism. The rumours that UPDF are in, what’s that place again, Kacheliba and Kampenguria, is simply not true. What is there? UPDF only crosses the border in pursuit of cattle rustlers when they kill, burn villages and steal cattle and it reserves the right to do so. The beacon positions are known to everyone. UPDF can not remove them when the cordinates are known even to the British and Americans. I have said it time and again that the beacons are removed by rackets looking for mercury for the black market but it seems Kenyans want to believe it is the UPDF doing so. What do you hope to gain from a war between Kenya and Uganda? The last time I checked we were two brotherly nations.
    Migingo is not worth fighting for until the demarcation exercise is over and one of the parties refuses to accept the findings. The MPs may need to read what the Kenya Colony and Protectorate (Boundaries) Order in Council says before calling for war.

    The border passes on westerly most point of Pyramid Island, leaving Migingo in Uganda.

    Remember to download your PDF copy from
    http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/collection/LimitsinSeas/IBS139.pdf Disabuse yourself of the jingoistic feelings brought on by not knowing the facts!

  5. Museveni cannot influence Kenya’s future. Not militarily or otherwise. Our systems in Kenya are far much better than those in Uganda. they actually work. This Migingo Is too trivial a matter to vie for. It is nothing but a matter of sovereignty and national pride that is driving both side to make a mountain out of it. We do not need the west to fund us, we need them to do business as partners. This means that apart from them we have the liberty to engage in other partners as well without having to suffer budgetary cuts. This way we can continue to diversify our economy and make it sustainable by extension. This among other reason explains why the west do not have to make high profile camera appearances in Kenya. Our capitalist past, our resources, our systems, our inherent aggressiveness and our proximity to the region has contributed to our relative economic independence. A country worth its name does not need friends who give it handouts, it needs allies to trade with

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