Tracing The Machievellian Thought In East Africa’s Political Socialisation From 1960 – 2015
It is now five decades since most of states in Africa were formed as a result of exit from political colonialism. They were formed with strong feelings of nationalism among the people and the freedom fighters. There was common faith that the social problem of the then African societies was nothing else but colonialism, hence beyond colonialism everything was to be fine to the tune of a political paradebeispiel. In contrast to this pre-independence utopia, political disillusionment, however, did not take long to be realized across the African continent.
Africans are substantially disappointed by their political systems and socialization at home. A condition that fuelled the outcome of Chinua Achebe’s famous book ,Troubles with Nigeria and also Oginga Odinga’s book, Not Yet Uhuru, as well as Nurudin Farah’s two books; the Naked Needle and secondly the Sour Milk. From all the above books, the charm cause of Africa’s political turbulence is inherent in the selfish power reservation mentality of the leadership across the time space of its five decades. This paper thus intends to bring to the surface, evidence of the Machiavellian thought in political socializations of Africa by using cross sectional and historical studies of the experiences in the political socialization in Kenya since 1960 to 2015.
Key words; Machiavellian, Paradebeispiel, political socialization
Definition of Key Concepts
This paper is bench-marked on the earlier studies of Evidence of the Greek Thoughts in African politics by Ali A. Mazrui. Mazrui’s paper was presented as an inaugural lecture at Makerere University in the mid of the last century. Comparatively, this paper has been focused on the selfish political consciousness as expressed through political actions of politicians in east Africa.Machevellian description was adopted as a basis of charging the political actions. Selfish, malicious, prejudicial or actions of bigotry are deemed to be Machievellian. This is derived from explanations of ideal political and power related moves by Nicholo Machiavelli in his books the Prince and the Discourses on Livy. Going logic of extension Ali.
A Mazrui in his book Cultural forces behind World Politics identified two types of Machievellian thoughts in Africa’s political socialization. One is political sadism and another one is political masochism. Political sadism is effecting of political selfishness to the members of one’s own country, while political masochism is using Machievellian political intentions against another country, i.e. Machiavellianism at international level. This paper will look at both political sadism and political masochism as two aspects of Machievellian thought by confining itself to the East African space that is made of Southern Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi since 1960 to 2015.
East African Politics of Machiavelli
The conveniently earliest era time in which I can stage this paper is in the 17th century in Uganda, where there was a tussle for power between the two brothers Kabaka Junju Wandegeya and kabaka Semakookiro Wandegeya. They are both sons of Kabaka Kyabaggu Kabinuli. Junju was the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom in the late 1700.He had four wives and three children. Two daughters and one son.
The traditions had it that leadership was a hereditary Monarchy. The person to inherit the throne was not supposed to be a first born son. But any other son from the blood lineage of the Kabaka. Kabaka Semakookiro was not the Kabaka, but only the prince by this time Junju was the Kabaka. Prince Semakookiro designed a ploy to take his offspring to the throne by strategizing to have sex with last wife of Kabaka Junju. This wife was known as Tebwaaza, daughter of Kasamba, of the Mbogo (Water Buffalo) clan.
On learning this, Kabaka Junju was annoyed. But without contrite prince Semakookiro vowed openly that he must have sex with Tebwaaza. It led to a feud then a fierce war between the militias of Junju and Semakookiro. Semakookiro was sure that he was wrong and he might even win the war, But he employed the first Machiavellian principle that borrow the neighbours weapons when you want to commit public evil but don’t use your own weapons.
He thus hired the Bakenya warriors to capture his brother Kabaka Junju, but instead Bakenya warriors killed Junju and confiscated the spiritual symbol of the monarchy, which was the drum. When Semakookiro heard of these events he pretended to be publicly annoyed by the brutal death of his brother .He then his militia to fight Bakenya warriors. However, his primary objective was to recover the spiritual emblem of the Buganda kingdom, the drum and thence go ahead with the taking over of the throne. Bakenya warriors were scared with the huge number of the militia of Semakookiro; they ran away cross the Essese islands, they maneuvered across the waters of Lake Victoria into the present day Rusinga Island. They ran away with the spiritual Monarchy; the drum of the Buganda kingdom. Thus the Buganda lost their scepter to the Bakenya.
Raila Odinga (2014) in his book, Flame of Freedom, projects that they are these Bakenya warriors who settled at Rusinga Island that are ancestors to Tom Mboya, an illustrious and very Machievellian Kenya Politician. Political anthropologists in east Africa often link the rise of Mboya into Kenya political helmsman-ship to the spiritual influence of the Buganda Kingdom drum which the Bakenya ran away with.
Mboya was consciously Machievellian in his way of doing politics. His Machievellian strategies destroyed Oginga Odinga’s ambitions. Both at community level and also at national level. Just as Nicollo Machiavelli explained cheating and derision as a tool in the game of power in the Prince, Mboya regardless of being half the age of Oginga Odinga, he was always derisive and shrewd in his manner of dealing with Oginga Odinga. This experience was later on shared by Oginga Odinga as an overtone of emotions in his 1967 book Not yet Uhuru.
When dealing with Jomo Kenyatta, Mboya forgot astuteness that has to come with power politics within a cultural framework of tribalism and ethinicity.Truely, he was crafty to an extend that Jomo Kenyatta’s relatives were un-easy and even Jomo Kenyatta himself was towered over by Mboya’s prowess in public assignment. Here Mboya was riding easy on superior intellect as displayed by his authorship of two powerful books, Challenges to Nationhood and speeches which discussed the imperative political agenda’s of the time.
Another book was Freedom and Beyond, a semi-autobiographical work that purposefully aimed to narrate Mboya’s role in Kenya liberation from colonial tyranny.Acutally the Machievellian perspective here is that the prince obviously enjoys strong repute and strength when he publicly displays intellectual prowess and enterprise in duties. This is what Mboya was exactly doing.
Unfortunately, he had not internalized two other important philosophies that guide management of power; never outshine the master by Robert Greene as discussed in the book 48 Rules of Power; and in war prepare for peace and in peace prepare for war by Sun Tzu in his book the Art of War. Mboya openly outshone Jomo Kenyatta in terms of intellect, as at the same time he enjoyed a lot of peace he never comprehended under the political umbrella of Jomo Kenya. Mboya was shot on Nairobi Street, in the mid day in 1969, a political eventuality bringing out clearly a point that Machiavellianism as a science of politics must be applied in observation of other sciences.
I take back to Uganda again my dear reader. Where we are the explore socialization between sir Edward Mutesa the first president of Uganda, Sir Milton Appolo Obote, the prime Minister and Id Amin Dada the military leader. The time of their socialization was between 1960 to 1975.The geographical space of their socialization was Uganda. Mutesa is an extension of the Kabaka Monarchy of Buganda. He became the president when Uganda became independent from the British colonialism in 1961.
This means that when Uganda was set free from colonialism it only reverted back to Monarchical leadership but not republican democracy. Presidency of Kabaka Edward Mutesa was a manifestation of these, though it was good to Buganda as a clan, it was not good to Uganda as a nation. Thus Edward Mutesa became the president through colonial villainy but through democratic national building; an open Machiavellian vice. Mutesa was a graduate of commerce from Makerere University. Obote his prime minister was a trained political scientist, however, he dropped out of the program when he was a third year student at Makerere University.
How he become Dr. Milton Obote is a story of another day.Idi Amin Dada was not educated, he only had Islamic Madrasa education and a lot of experience as a military officer, and he was also gifted with a huge body. Mutesa did not understand the politics as a science being purely a protégé of Machievellian thought. He did not have good arms, good friends, mercenaries or auxiliaries. Unfortunate enough his thoughts were not about weakening the enemy, whether actual or imaginary, but substantially thought about leisure and cosmetic dignity the vicious virtues that must have been inherited from the monarchical culture of the Buganda Kingdom.
Mutesa was dethroned from power after a short stint by Obote through a coup d’état. He ran to England for his safety, but was later-on killed by drinking poison laced beer he took while in a company of some Ugandan ladies in England. Political Analysts pointed out that the ladies were intelligence officers assigned by Obote. This could be nothing else other political sadism by Obote operating on a Machiavellian principle of using the resource of others to achieve public evil. The resource in this juncture was beauty of the ladies.
They were all from western Uganda, brown and beautiful and able to speak fluent Luganda the language of Mutesa. These were the resources Obote did not have, as he could not speak Luganda and ladies from his Langi community are usually dark in complexion and slow in instinct, good as house wives but not flexible to participate in any sophisticated socialization.
Let us now turn to the political socialization Obote and Idi Amin Dada.