Kenya has fallen into the trap of playing 'diplomatic nyapara' in Haiti

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Developments in Haiti indicate the rise of global 'nyapara' system in which weak countries become proxies for advancing interests of master states in other countries.

In the Russian/Ukraine theatre, white people kill each other due to neighbourly misunderstanding, misbehaviour and external geopolitical prodding in global power competition.

In Haiti, black people kill each other for internal and external reasons. Internally, they disagree violently on who should run the state and externally they receive encouragement from neo-colonial forces.

The killings in Haiti are primarily about poverty becoming a culture of the oppressed to serve racialised ends that call for a ‘nyapara’ system. Post-colonial ‘masters’ impose nyapara system on small states and stay in the background watching nyaparas keep order in the global plantations.

As in the colonial days, however, keeping the order of the master in the plantation is difficult because natives keep on exhibiting rebellious traits that are hard to contain despite the 'masters’ having overwhelming powers.

This rebelliousness is happening in the Sahel region where natives are overthrowing the nyapara system that serves the interests of former colonial powers rather than the people. That rebelliousness is also evident in Haiti as armed militia control both city streets and rural terrain, thereby make the nyapara (foreman) governing system irrelevant. The attempt to restore the discredited governing system using the United Nations to authorise other countries to do ‘the deed’ amounts to practising nyapara diplomacy.

Kenya has probably fallen into the trap of playing ‘diplomatic nyapara’ in Haiti. Kenya’s self-inflicted agony in Haiti increases daily as the reality dawns on what the long-term implications are. Rebellious Haitian leaders such as Jimmy Barbecue Cherizer, controlling about 20,000 heavily armed militias, dares the 1,000 Kenyan police officers to show up.

There also are new voices that question the common sense in Dr Ruto’s decision. They point to the irrationality of sending police to Haiti when such parts of Kenya like Nyanza, Lamu, and Mandera repeatedly suffer insecurity.

Parliament has also come into focus for failure to raise public concern over an intended foreign adventure whose likely benefits to Kenya are foggy. The fogginess is there whether the purported benefits are financial and material or not. Accused of being a proxy to American schemes in Haiti, Kenya suffers the insult of playing ‘diplomatic nyapara’.

The realisation that Kenya might sink deep into a nyapara ditch probably produced internal blame games as to who is responsible for the mess. Committing to go to Haiti without public participation or the involvement of Parliament or consulting neighbouring countries, erodes President Ruto’s desired image of leader of Africans.

He probably ignored sound advice from Kenyans on the follies of jumping into the Haiti fray partly because the United States, with its promises of limited logistical support amounting to $100 million, praised him. Subsequently, it is clear that Dr Ruto is not the global ‘hero’ and leader of Africa that he initially expected to become. This might explain the Cabinet reshuffle, taking Alfred Mutua to Tourism and Wildlife while giving Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi the substantive Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The reshuffle has ramifications for Kenya’s political chess game. While it seemingly dims Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Mutua’s ambitions, it strengthens Musalia with the crucial foreign affairs docket to build himself. Gachagua’s ambition is to achieve recognition as nyapara of the Mountain. Since Musalia has recognition as nyapara of the Mulembe, he faces two interrelated challenges.

First is to make Ruto look good internationally. Second is to extricate Kenya from the Haiti fiasco honourably and downplay Kenya’s emerging nyapara image. Failure to do so will also dim his presidential ambition by appearing to be unable to deliver.