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Friday,September 18,2020 14:59 PM

Peace on the horizon

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th January 2004 03:00 AM

Under my often somewhat solemn countenance lies a gay character (not ‘gay’ in the way of the American bishop who has divided the Protestant church!) much given to laughter and dance and a song on the lips. Even more so when younger!

Under my often somewhat solemn countenance lies a gay character (not ‘gay’ in the way of the American bishop who has divided the Protestant church!) much given to laughter and dance and a song on the lips. Even more so when younger!

One Man's Week By John Naggenda
Under my often somewhat solemn countenance lies a gay character (not ‘gay’ in the way of the American bishop who has divided the Protestant church!) much given to laughter and dance and a song on the lips. Even more so when younger!

So, before fulminating about the terrible goings-on of the planet we inhabit, which I surely shall, let the happier moments of this New Year take first centre stage. What about the possibility that at long last the protracted battling between Khartoum and the SPLA (Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Army) might sooner rather than later be coming to a negotiated settlement?

Moi of Kenya will wear a rueful expression to ponder how so easily this triumph could have been achieved in his reign. He must have chaired a dozen summits to this end without holding the prize.

Such, as my German ambassador friend Henatsch used to say, is life in the tropics. Should the final signatures be obtained in Naivasha, Kenya, in the coming days (and, more importantly should they be respected, no easy matter) the fallout will be truly momentous.

Firstly, to that gigantic country itself, the largest in Africa, we sometimes forget.

There, for a couple of decades, they have had seasonal tugs of war between the northern Arabs and the southern Blacks, where neither side ever looked like holding on to any gains; a dispiriting and wasteful scenario.

With its new-found oil to boot, a united Sudan, more mighty than the sum of its parts, could, in Nadine Gordimer’s memorable phrase on a stag, out-leap the arc of its own strength.

As for Uganda, such a situation would be the final nail in the coffin for the dreadful Kony and his bandits, for there would be no reason for Khartoum to keep harbouring them.

Not only that, with the Kony nuisance out of the way, Uganda’s own development would come on by leaps and bounds. (Of course the question must be put why, even today, Kony continues to have a bolt-hole within Sudan; why can’t Khartoum curtail it?)

To our south, Burundi’s last rebel force has at last agreed to join the table for talks. That is a first step to somewhere better, as acknowledged by the current chairman for peace strategies in that unhappy country, none other than our own President Yoweri Museveni. He stepped into the huge shoes of Nyerere and Mandela, no less.

The Democratic Republic of Congo seems quieter than for many a year. Rwanda too. In Tanzania mercifully President Ben Mkapa’s health is on the mend and before long he should leave his Switzerland clinic for home.

Perhaps the great man might opt for more rigorous exercise, supervised by a personal trainer?

And he is not the only one! Kenya is going through an occasionally chuckle-inducing spell, but with a serious background of bickering within its government coalition. But even then we can sleep easy, knowing that relations with its neighbours have not been better for a quarter of a century. In short, we would not be crackers to hope for a miracle in our region, that of working closely and at peace with each other over a colossal expanse of ground. And a miracle which did not come about by fluke, but by serious application and planning. Pass the bottle!

* * *
Elsewhere, a couple of flying hours to the east of Nairobi (that’s how close it is) in Israel school kids are attempting to change the political temperature of their country.

Being under the rabid atmosphere of the Sharon government, they are paying heavily for their gumption. Nearly 1,000 of them have signed a proclamation refusing to serve in the army against Palestinians.

It isn’t the first time this has been done, but previously those doing so might be pulled in for a day or two and released. This time a learned judge has sentenced some in the first batches to be taken to court to 18 months in jail, branding them “a danger to the State of Israel”.

What if their lawyer had asked the judge who was the real danger to Israel, the young people with their conscience for Palestinians oppressed in their own land, or Sharon driving his country into a certain cul-de-sac by his daily actions against Palestine. The kids went as far as to say that they were beginning to understand the policy of suicide bombing against Israel. Besides, these young people were battle hardened soldiers and pilots who have refused to continue bombing civilian targets on the pretext that terrorists lurk there. Israelis like this are a source of pride to right-minded people throughout the world. Furthermore they are the only real bridge between their country and its neighbours. Let 2004 see their numbers go up tenfold and beyond.
* * *
I would have liked to tell fellow pig farmers about a maize bran supplier near Natete whose rotten stuff killed 10 of my pigs. I shall do it with pleasure next week. I will also express my repugnance with Mr Bageya’s abuse of a national hero, Eriya Kategaya. Last week, I thought I had neatly left Robin White’s head on the cutting floor. Not a bit of it. Yesterday I received this e-mail from him: "Hullo John.

Far from assigning you to the cutting room floor, you starred in Focus on Africa on December 23. Best wishes for the new year from the fairest journalist you’ll ever meet, apart from yourself, of course." Cut off one head, he grows another! Enjoy a happy retirement Robin White.
Ends

Peace on the horizon

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