Tuesday

Daniel arap Moi


Daniel arap Moi, the moist-eyed former Kenyan dictator, will "be called before a truth commission to account for crimes allegedly committed during a quarter of a century of misrule", says the Sunday Times of South-Africa. But he won't be going to jail anytime soon for those same crimes. One of the reasons for this is because the present government of Mwai Kibaki feels that Moi left quietly and without a fight.

That is exemplary, isn't it? How many so-called African leaders leave quietly and without a fight? In Lesotho, Leabua Jonathan lost the first post-independence elections and did not step down. I repeat, the first post-independence elections. Instead he suspended the constitution, threw his opponents in jail and went on a torturing and killing spree. The Reign of Madness, I call it.

But is leaving without a fight enough to wipe off years of misrule and embezzlement and other crimes? I think not. Can we say the same thing, or act in the same way, if Mugabe decides to step down after losing the next election and does step down to make way for a real leader? Again, I think not.

I'm happy for the fact that there is at least a truth commission in Kenya. That's what we need in Lesotho. A truth commission to get the reasons for the madness, get neighbours to forgive each other for the madness, punish the ones that cannot possibly be forgiven, and find missing bones. Someone must know where they are.

Perhaps Kenya will turn out to be the third, fully democratic country (after Botswana and South Africa) on a continent with well over fifty countries. I hope they keep up the good work and I hope that we, in Lesotho, will follow suit.