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Fear and Loathing in the Eternal Sunshine of Kenya’s Elite Pacts

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The uthamaki code, the sense of Kikuyu elite entitlement, has defined Kenya’s politics for 55 years, a history of assassinations, blood oaths and cloak-and-dagger games. Since 1967, the Kalenjin elite have been the other protagonist in this power arrangement, offering land in exchange for a seat at the high table, and taking hostage the Kikuyu diaspora in the Rift Valley in this matrix of fear. How to break the cycle and liberate Kenya? By DAVID NDII

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Fear and Loathing in the Eternal Sunshine of Kenya’s Elite Pacts
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I was having coffee with a friend a few days after ‘The Handshake”, as the Uhuru Kenyatta-Raila Odinga rapprochement has come to be known, and noticed three gentlemen sitting at the next table, stealing glances. They stood up to leave, walked to our table and offered compliments. One of them lingered on. I invited him to sit. My friend had to leave. We sat for another hour. He did most of the talking.

I need to disclose at this point that the three gentlemen were prominent Kikuyus. This was the first of several encounters I’ve had with the Kikuyu elite since then, a group which, for obvious reasons, I have not had occasion to interact with lately.

I have learned from these encounters that the rapprochement has precipitated both relief and fear. There are two related parts to this sense of relief. First, it has given Uhuru Kenyatta a political lifeline. As one gentleman put it: “Our man (Kenyatta)” was being choked. He could not breathe. Now he can breathe.” Second, it portends an alternative to what seemed to be a certain succession of Kenyatta by his deputy William Ruto. But underlying this sense of relief is fear. Fear of what reneging on the pact between Kenyatta and Ruto portends. The word that has been used most frequently is “hostages”, meaning of course the Kikuyu in the Rift Valley diaspora.

Once he survived the aftermath of the events of `69, Jomo Kenyatta became a small god. HIs London-trained consigliere, Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, decreed imagining his mortality lése majesté to ward off the rival faction within The Family, which had its own ideas for the old man’s imminent succession. So people stopped imagining. Then, he died. A sunny Tuesday morning. Just like that. And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men simply couldn’t put it together again.

There is also a sense of helplessness borne of a realization that their political destiny is out of their hands, set to be determined by a duel between their enemies, the Kalenjiin, who hold the hostages, and the Luo, with whom they have a toxic political feud going back half a century.

It’s a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

The Kikuyu elite is the author of its predicament.

As many Kenyans will know, we started off at independence with a multiparty, federal, parliamentary system. A series of political manoeuvres between 1963 and 1969 changed Kenya from a multiparty, federal parliamentary system to a one-party dictatorship. The independence constitution, signed in Lancaster House in March, 1963 by the main political protagonists, KANU and KADU, did not last the year. Shortly after independence, the opposition party KADU dissolved itself. Its members joined KANU making Kenya a de facto one-party state. Multiparty politics was restored briefly when in 1966 KANU deliberately restructured its leadership to dilute Oginga Odinga’s party vice-presidency into eight positions, one from each of the provinces. This triggered the formation of the Kenya Peoples Union, and led subsequently to the “little general election.”The little general election would have been unnecessary had the constitution not been amended, precisely to frustrate the KPU, to require members who cross the floor to seek re-election. It would be the last multiparty election for 26 years.

Moi was appointed vice-president of the republic in 1967 following the sudden resignation of Joseph Murumbi, Odinga’s replacement. Moi was not a leading contender. His name did not feature at all in the frenzied speculation that went on for the three months that the position was vacant.

Jomo Kenyatta would have faced his first election challenge in 1969. His health was not good. Jaramogi was a definite challenger. Mboya was the obvious heir-apparent, and possible challenger in that election or the next. In 1968, the minimum age to contest the presidency was raised from 35 to 40. Mboya was then 38. On 5 July 1969, Mboya was assassinated. In October, KPU was banned and Odinga put under house arrest. In December at the general elections, Jomo Kenyatta was elected unopposed.

August 22, 1978 is one of those days when every Kenyan who was old enough remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I was sitting under a tree reading a book. My father came home from work early afternoon, looking like he had seen a ghost.

Once he survived the aftermath of the events of `69, Jomo Kenyatta became a small god. HIs London-trained consigliere, Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, decreed imagining his mortality lése majesté to ward off the rival faction within The Family, as the Kenyatta inner circle was known, which had its own ideas for the old man’s imminent succession. So people stopped imagining. Then, he died. A sunny Tuesday morning. Just like that. And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men simply couldn’t put it together again.

Jomo bequeathed the Kikuyu elite not just a taste for power but a sense of entitlement – and in some quarters, a belief in manifest destiny. In his lifetime, it was proclaimed that the biki biki (motocycle outriders) would never cross the Chania, meaning power would never leave Kiambu. Oathing, which had begun sometime in 1968 soon after Kenyatta suffered a massive stroke in May of that year, was meant to bind the Kikuyu to this idea. Crossing the Chania takes you to Murang’a and onward to Nyeri. It was unthinkable that the power could leave Kikuyuland. It does not seem to have occurred to them that with Mboya dead and KPU banned, they had all but ensured that Moi would succeed Kenyatta. The 1976 change-the-constitution campaign, and the Plan B Ngoroko affair, in which a militia within the Anti-Stock Theft Unit was outfitted with top-of-the-range arms and training specifically to eliminate Moi, just in case – all that was too little too late.

Moi’s elevation to vice-president under Jomo belied a Faustian bargain with the Kalenjin elite—land for power. Of this they may not have been alive to at the time, but it was brought to their attention in 1992, and in 1997 and in 2007. In one of those extreme ironies of fate, the ICC indictments drove the Kikuyu and Kalenjin elite into an even tighter political embrace.

Under Moi, the ‘passing cloud’ that lingered slightly longer than anticipated, the struggle for power became a quest to return the river to its course (gucookia ruui mukaro).

But what Jomo passed on was a vicious predatory presidency whose allure the Kikuyu elite seem unable to resist but live in mortal fear of it being out of their hands. We say in Gikuyu kahiu koohiga muno gatemaga mwene (when a knife is too sharp it cuts the owner). Moi wielded the knife that Jomo sharpened.

In 2002, Kibaki entered into a political pact to dismantle this power structure, but as soon as he assumed office, he regrouped with the Jomo-era cronies and subverted the pact. While both the Bomas Convention and the Committee of Experts (CoE) proposed a parliamentary system with a French-style dual executive, political skulduggery saw us end up with an American style pure presidential system that had never been contemplated.

But more poignantly, Moi’s elevation to vice-president under Jomo belied a Faustian bargain with the Kalenjin elite—land for power. Of this they may not have been alive to at the time, but it was brought to their attention in 1992, and in 1997 and in 2007. In one of those extreme ironies of fate, the ICC indictments drove the Kikuyu and Kalenjin elite into an even tighter political embrace.

For the past four years, Uhuru Kenyatta and his acolytes have fought tooth and nail to restore the ancien regime. The happy-go-lucky high-fiving kamwana was enthroned muthamaki (king). He took to donning military fatigues but the tough guy act never took off, bloodshot eyes notwithstanding. By the time of the August 2017 elections, a case for benevolent dictatorship was being made. For the second term we were promised a “lethal, brutal and more ruthless” Kenyatta. In a country that tottered on the edge of an ethnic conflagration only a decade ago, the hubris and ethnic jingoism we have been treated to over the past few years beggars belief.

For whatever reason, it appears that the Kikuyu power elite had once again not contemplated that there being little, if any, prospect of Uhuru Kenyatta being succeeded by another Kikuyu, that the knife they were so intent on sharpening would soon be wielded by others. I have contended, including to members of this cabal, that Uhuru Kenyatta, and the Kikuyu community in general had more to gain from a free and fair election than the opposition. Why so?

losing the election would have by default discharged the political pact to deliver the presidency to his deputy in 2022. In short, my contention was, and remains, that Uhuru Kenyatta had everything to gain and nothing to lose from a free and fair election. Not so his partner in crime.

Win or lose, Uhuru Kenyatta would have been credited with only the second free and fair election (after the 2002 contest), and the first one with the incumbent contesting. If he won, he would have eased the burden of illegitimacy from the 2013 election and gained some control over his legacy. If he lost, he would have earned accolades for accepting defeat, as he did in 2002 and earned his place in history as the first Kenyan president to do so. A legacy and continental statesman role would have been assured—incumbents graciously conceding and going home is still a big deal on this continent. More significantly, losing the election would have by default discharged the political pact to deliver the presidency to his deputy in 2022. In short, my contention was, and remains, that Uhuru Kenyatta had everything to gain and nothing to lose from a free and fair election.

Not so his partner in crime. The 2022 deal was always tenuous in so far as it was predicated on Kikuyus voting en masse for William Ruto be it out of reciprocity or fear. The surer way for Uhuru to deliver on the bargain was to establish the system now characterized as electoral authoritarianism— sham elections, a captive judiciary and a parliament to rubber-stamp it all.

The Kalenjin elite has been at the centre of power for all but five years (2003-7) of the 50 years since Moi became vice president in 1967. The country has paid for it in spades – in blood and plunder. In 2007, facing the prospect of staying “in the cold” for another five, they executed a thousand hostages. Twenty-five years on, our democratic transition remains hostage to this political neurosis. We need to know how much longer. We need to know how much more we owe this rapacious cabal who have come believe apparently, that plunder is a birthright.

It is fortuitous that Daniel arap Moi is still here. There is one more thing he can still do for his country. He can discharge this debt. All he has to do is call his people and tell them to let the Kikuyu settlers be.

As for the Kikuyu community, it needs to reflect honestly and deeply about its obsession with power. Kahiu koohiga muno gatemaga mwene.

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David Ndii is a leading Kenyan economist and public intellectual.

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Twitter: Let It Burn!

Whether or not Twitter survives should be irrelevant to those committed to building a democratic public sphere.

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Elon Musk finally bought Twitter. Although everyone expected the move to quickly prove foolhardy, the speed of the implosion has been impressive. The latest gaffe is a failed attempt to monetize verification by requiring paid subscriptions for them, which has led to all manner of comical impersonations (one macabre highlight was a “verified” George W. Bush account tweeting “I miss killing Iraqis. “Tony Blair” responded with “Same tbh”). Some are watching with shock and horror and wondering if Twitter can be saved. But, when sulfur and fire rains, it is best not to look back.

Africa Is a Country managing editor, Boima Tucker, put it best some years ago: “Contrary to the utopian dreams of the early internet, the idea of a more democratic communications space has given way to a system of capitalist exploitation.” The thing to reckon with is the extent to which we have exaggerated the emancipatory potential of networked communication and social media, partly owing to our own psychic overinvestments in it. Which is not to deny that it has never shown democratic and egalitarian potential, but that’s never been what Twitter is forThere can be no right platform in the wrong world.

What was Twitter for then? In the New York Review of Books, Ben Tarnoff describes it as a “network of influence.” In a world characterized by the economization of everything, social media is the place to commodify the self, to transform one’s unique traits and personality into a product for public display. The main imperative online is to “stay on brand,” to cultivate an appealing enough persona in the endless “production of new genres of being human.”

The key contradiction of social media use, of course, is that even though these platforms appear to us as complete products that we participate in and consume, we are the ones responsible for ensuring their possibility in the first place. As the media scholar Christian Fuchs notes, “Digital work is the organization of human experiences with the help of the human brain, digital media and speech in such a way that new products are created. These products can be online information, meanings, social relations, artifacts or social systems.” Thus, it is us who create the value of these platforms.

In a better world, these digital communications platforms would be democratically owned and operated. But one also wonders if in a better world they would be as necessary. Perhaps, when we are less socially disaffected, living in societies with social provision, an abundance of recreational public goods and less exploitative, dignifying work, then we would all have less reason to be online. For now, the question is: in a time when this ideal is nowhere close to being within view, how best can we use platforms like Twitter as tools to get us to that world?

The possible answers here are murky. Twitter seems like a critical piece of infrastructure for modern political life. Musk is not alone in thinking of it as a marketplace of ideas, as something like a digital town square. Yet, and especially in Africa, Twitter is not as popular a platform, and even on it, a minority of Twiteratti exert an outsized influence in terms of setting the discursive agenda. But setting aside the question of who is excluded from the digitalized public sphere of which Twitter is a cornerstone, the important question is whether the quality of political debate that takes place is healthy or desirable at all. Granted, it can be fun and cathartic, but at the best of times, amounts to hyper-politics. In Anton Jager’s explanation, this:

can only occur at a discursive level or within the prism of mediatic politics: every major event is scrutinized for its ideological character, this produces controversies which play out among increasingly clearly delineated camps on social media platforms and are then rebounded through each side’s preferred media outlets. Through this process much is politicized, but little is achieved.

We would lack critical self-awareness if we did not admit that Africa Is A Country is a venue whose existence greatly benefits from an online presence—so it goes for every media outlet. Tarnoff points out that “… if Twitter is not all that populous in absolute terms, it does exert considerable power over popular and elite discourses.” To lack an online presence is to reconcile oneself to irrelevance. Although, the news cycle itself is a disorienting vortex of one topic du jour to the next. It makes difficult the kind of long, slow, and sustained discourse-over-time that is the lifeblood of politics, and instead reduces everything into fleeting soundbites.

Nowhere is the modern phenomenon of what Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman called “pointillist time” more apparent than on Twitter. For Bauman, pointillist time is the experience of temporality as a series of eternal instants, and the present moment’s connection to the past and future “turns into gaps—with no bridges, and hopefully unbridgeable.” The consequence of this, is that “there is no room for the idea of ‘progress.’” Living through a mode where everything seems to be happening all at once, is both to experience time as what Walter Benjamin called “a “time of possibilities, a random time, open at any moment to the unforeseeable irruption of the new,” but curiously, at the same time, for everything to feel inert, and for nothing to seem genuinely possible.

For a while, notions of historical progress have been passé on the left, associated with Eurocentric theories of modernity. Now, more than ever, the idea is worth reclaiming. The Right today is no longer straightforwardly conservative, but nihilistic and anti-social, thriving on sowing deeper communal mistrust and paranoia. These are pathologies that flourish on Twitter. The alternative to media-fuelled hyper-politics and anti-politics is not real politics per some ideal type. Politics, in the first instance, is not defined by content, but by form. The reason our politics are empty and shallow is not because today’s political subject lacks virtues possessed by the subjects of yore. It’s because today’s political subject is barely one in the first place, lacking rootedness in those institutions that would have ordinarily shaped an individual’s clear sense of values and commitments. The alternative to digitized human association, as noted by many, is mass politics: only when the majority of citizens are meaningfully mobilized through civic and political organizations can we create a vibrant and substantive public sphere.

AIAC editor Sean Jacobs observed in his book, Media In Post-apartheid South Africa: “the larger context for the growing role of media in political processes is the decline of mass political parties and social movements.” Whether Twitter dies or not, and if it does, whether we should mourn it or not, should be beside the point for those committed to building a world of three-dimensional solidarity and justice.

This post is from a partnership between Africa Is a Country and The Elephant. We will be publishing a series of posts from their site once a week.

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COP 27: Climate Negotiations Repeatedly Flounder

The distribution of global pandemic deaths ignored existing country vulnerability assessments and dealt some of the heaviest blows to the best prepared countries in the world

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As COP 27 in Egypt nears its end, I find it difficult, almost impossible, to talk to my children about climate change. The shame of our monumental failings as a global community to address the greatest crisis our planet has consciously faced weighs too heavy. The stakes have never been higher, the moral quivering of political leaders has never been more distressing.

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others,” goes the famous commandment from George Orwell’s political allegory Animal Farm. It applies with particular acuity to international negotiations, where each country has a seat, but seats hold very different weights. The outcome of the Sharm-El-Sheik conference will in large part depend on what Western governments are willing to commit to and follow up on. Rich European and other Western countries are historically responsible for the bulk of carbon emissions. The moral case for them being the first-movers and the biggest movers on cutting emissions is crystal clear, and genuine commitments on their part may hold the key to opening up the floodgate of policy innovation towards decarbonization in other countries.

In this context, viewed from the Global South, recent events in the country that still held the COP presidency until it was handed over to Egypt appear as signs of the madness that grips societies before a fall. In her short time as head of government in the UK, Liz Truss spoke as if she lived on another planet that did not show signs of collapsing under the battering of models of economic growth birthed under the British Empire, gleefully pronouncing that her three priorities for Britain were “growth, growth and growth.” Her successor, Rishi Sunak, announced that he would not attend the COP 27 climate summit because he had to focus on the UK economy. The silver lining is that Truss did not last long and Sunak was shamed into reversing his decision. In a scathing rebuke, the Spanish environment minister called the shenanigans of British political leaders “absurd” and pointed out that elections in Brazil and Australia show that voters are starting to punish leaders who ignore climate change.

I see another silver lining. Last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that Europe was warming twice as fast as other parts of the world. A similar report was not issued for North America, but other studies indicate faster than average temperature increases across the continent’s northeastern coast, and its west coast was home to one of the most striking heat waves last year, with a memorable summer temperature peak of 49.6°C recorded in British Columbia, Canada.

Professor Petteri Taalas, the WMO secretary-general, emphasized that the findings highlighted that “even well-prepared societies are not safe from impacts of extreme weather events.” In other words, the report should make Europeans think it could happen to us, with “it” being devastating floods on the scale of what Pakistan and Bangladesh recently experienced, or the hunger-inducing droughts afflicting Madagascar and the Horn of Africa. While some may find it dismal that human beings remain relatively unmoved by the plight of other human beings considered too distant or too different, this is a part of human nature to reckon with. And reckoning with it can turn a sentiment of shared vulnerability into an opportunity for the planet.

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries to pay developing countries loss and damages to fund their transitions to greener energies and build crucially needed climate adaptability to limit deaths. Underlying such a position is a centuries-old smug belief that Europe and North America will never need to depend on solidarity from other parts of the world. The WMO report calls into question such hubris, as did the Covid 19 pandemic before that.

The distribution of global pandemic deaths ignored existing country vulnerability assessments and dealt some of the heaviest blows to the best prepared countries in the world. Europe and North America, where barely 15% of the world population resides, accounted for more than half of COVID deaths. Turning the normal direction of disaster statistics upside down, high- and upper-middle-income countries accounted for four out of five Covid deaths globally. While some scientists still pose questions over the real death toll in low-income countries, I was grateful to not live in the West during the pandemic. In Burkina Faso, Kenya and Senegal where I spent most of my pandemic months, I often encountered “COVID refugees,” young Europeans who had temporarily relocated to work remotely from Africa to escape pandemic despair at home.

We are at a point in our failures to fight climate change where fiction writers and other experts of human nature are often more useful than scientists in indicating what our priorities should be. Many fiction writers have turned their focus on what will be necessary for humans to remain humane as societies crumble. Before we get to that stage, let us hope that political leaders and delegates keep remembering that climate disaster could very concretely befall them personally at any time. Let us hope that the sense of equal—or more cynically, unpredictable—vulnerability instills a sense of global solidarity and a platform to negotiate in true good faith. Let us hope that we can start talking to our children again about what we adults are doing to avert the disaster that looms over their futures.

This post is from a partnership between Africa Is a Country and The Elephant. We will be publishing a series of posts from their site once a week.

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The Specter of Foreign Forces in Haiti

The so-called ‘Haitian crisis’ is primarily about outsiders’ attempts force Haitians to live under an imposed order and the latter’s resistance to that order.

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What actually happened on the nights of October 6th and 7th, 2022, remains unclear. What reverberated was the rather loud rumor of the resignation of Haiti’s acting prime minister  Ariel Henry. He was a member of President Jovenel Moïse’s pro-US Pati Ayisien Tèt Kale (PHTK) party. (Moïse was assassinated in July 2021.) Had Henry truly resigned? Or was it just a well-propagated rumor? Could it have perhaps been both at the same time: that Henry might have indeed resigned but had been coerced to stay, thus making the news of his resignation spread like gossip that the governmental communication machine had fabricated for public consumption?

Nevertheless, we witnessed the following the next day: in Henry’s address to the nation, he first requested the intervention of foreign military forces in Haiti. He then made a formal request to the United Nations. This call was picked up by international organizations, particularly the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres. In the media coverage of the events, no relationship was established between the (rumored) resignation of the de facto Prime Minister and his request for military intervention. Was it a way to keep our minds occupied while waiting on a response from the international community? Or was the military intervention a promise made by the international community to Henry for the withdrawal of his letter of resignation?

Media coverage has seemingly obscured what happened on October 6th and 7th by choosing to focus solely on the request for military intervention, obscuring a chain of events in the process. Was the same request addressed to the UN and the US administration? Or were these two distinct approaches: one within a multilateral framework and the other within a bilateral framework? Supposing it was the latter, what does this tell us about the Haitian government’s domestic policy, about US foreign policy toward (or against) Haiti, or even about geopolitics (as part of a white-hot world order)—especially in light of US Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols’ visit to Haiti, his ensuing meetings, and the presence of US Coast Guard ships in Haitian waters?

At least one thing’s for sure. Since the request for formal intervention and the presence of the US in the form of its warships and its emissary, the question of military intervention has been swiftly framed as a discourse on the supposed “consensus between Haitians.” In reality, it refers to the convergence of interests between the representatives of the de facto Haitian government; the representatives of the Montana Accord (agreed on between civic and political groups in the wake of Moise’s assassination); and the president, Fritz Jean, and prime minister, Steven Benoit, agreed on as part of that accord. The message is clear: If you do not want a military intervention, side with Ariel Henry, who initiated the request himself. Any posture of self-determination must undergo review by Ariel Henry and his crew.

In these circumstances, there can be no self-determination. It is as though those truly responsible for the military intervention (which was already underway) aren’t those who asked for it, but rather those who were unable to thwart it by finding an agreement with the former group. In this sense, the “nationalist” label (the current catchall term which, among other things, is being made to include any praxis refuting the colonial apparatus) refers to doing everything possible to avoid military intervention—and that means doing exactly what the representatives of the “Colonial Capitalist Internationale” want.

American presence in Haiti—in the form of warships and a high-ranking emissary—takes after historical colonial endeavors such as the Napoleonic expedition for the reestablishment of slavery (1802) and King Charles X’s fleet, sent to demand ransom for Haiti’s independence (1825). Yet, in this case, the point is not to put pressure on those who hold the keys to institutions, but rather to avoid losing control in a context where those in government are not only misguided, but also display the greatest shortcomings in managing the lives of the population for the better. The US’s current presence thus more closely echoes the language of the English warship HMS Bulldog, sent to shell the city of Cap Haitien to support President Geffrard against the anti-government insurrection of Salnave.

The Henry government uses the same grammar as its tutelar powers to discuss the current situation. Much has been made of “efforts deployed by the United States and Canada”: they have consisted in flying police equipment into Haiti on Canadian and US military cargo aircraft. Henry and the Haitian National Police offered warm, public thanks for material paid for with Haitian funds some time ago; indeed, these deliveries have come very late, and only thanks to pressure from Haitian civil society actors. More problematic still, the presence of foreign military planes at the Toussaint Louverture Airport in Port-au-Prince has served both as evidence of an ongoing military intervention and as a subterfuge to obtain such an intervention.

This request for intervention, while it seeks to obfuscate this fact, nevertheless exposes the political illegitimacy of the Henry government—made up of members of Henry’s PHTK and former members of the opposition. Its illegitimacy doesn’t rest on the usual discussion (or lack thereof) and confrontation between the governors and the governed, nor on the classic power play between the political opposition and the authorities in place; rather, it is the result of the absolute rejection on the part of Haitians of an order controlled and engineered by the PHTK machine in Haiti for over 10 years with one purpose in mind: defending the neoliberal interests and projects of the Colonial Capitalist Internationale. The request for intervention reveals the fact that the rejection of the PHTK machine is but one part of a broader rejection of the neoliberal colonial order as it has manifested itself in various anti-popular economic projects, which themselves were made possible by many attempts at reconfiguring Haiti socially and constitutionally: consider, to name but a few, the financial project of privatization of the island of Gonâve, the referendum to replace the 1987 Constitution, and others.

For the first time since the US military intervention of 1915 (the centenary of which was silenced by the PHTK machine), we are witnessing a direct confrontation between the Colonial Capitalist Internationale and the Haitian people, as local political go-betweens aren’t in a position to mediate and local armed forces (whether the military, the militias, or the armed gangs) aren’t able to fully and totally repress unrest. In this colonial scenario—drafted in the past five years, maintained and fueled by the geopolitics of “natural disasters,” epidemics, pandemics, and the presence of gangs (simultaneously functioning as the armed extensions of political parties and materializing “disorder”)—the only possible solution to chaos is military intervention by foreign forces.

Yet one cannot pretend that such an intervention will help the Haitian people, and no agreement crafted in the language of the colonial system can stifle popular demands and aspirations which, in the past twelve years, have built what Haitian academic and activist Camille Chalmers calls a real “anti-imperialist conscience.”

What of late has breathlessly been labeled the “Haitian crisis” must instead be identified as the highest point of the contradiction which has brewed throughout the PHTK regime: between the International Colonial Capitalists’ will to force us to live under an imposed order and our resistance to that order.

This post is from a partnership between Africa Is a Country and The Elephant. We will be publishing a series of posts from their site once a week.

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