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A ruthless leader who stood against dictator but let EAC collapse

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By Fridah Nkibuga & Agencies

The late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is always mentioned alongside the likes of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania who played a leading role in efforts to set many African countries free from colonial yoke.

Particularly, Mzee Kenyatta is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest men of the 20th century who played a key role in the independence of Kenya and other African nations.

Mzee Kenyatta became the first Prime Minister of self-governing Kenya on June 1 1963 before he became the first president on December 12, 1964.

During his 15 year tenure, Kenya enjoyed political stability, and economic progress. It was during this period that Kenya grew to become a regional economic powerhouse.

It was Mzee Kenyatta, Ugandan Presidents Milton Obote and Mwalimu Nyerere (Tanzania) who established the East African Community (EAC) that collapsed later in 1977.

 

Prof Phillip Mbithi: A scholar cum technocrat who declined EAC top job to become a ‘prophet’

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By EA Trade Review Writer

It was a shocker and unbelievable that Professor Phillip Mbithi had defied President Daniel Arap Moi order to take up new posting as the first secretary general of the revived East African Community (EAC) at Arusha, Tanzania.

Though to many observers the posting was a demotion from the prestigious Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Civil Service, everybody expected the sociology professor to pack and head to Arusha as ordered.

Instead, he packed his bags and headed to his Lisa Ranch home in Konza, some 60 kilometers from Nairobi where he assumed new self-imposed duties as a ‘prophet’. And a prophet he is to this day.

Little is heard of the academician now in his early 70’s for he hardly leaves the extensive ranch where he also does some farming. His biggest assignment, according to those who have spoken to him is to take ‘instructions’ from God and write them down.

“Actually, I speak to God. I’m a prophet and He’s the one who dictated those books to me. I just hear a voice,” explains Mbithi.

Background

 

Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere: A humble leader who admited his failures and mistakes withiout excuses

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By EA Trade Review Reporter

and Agencies

Former Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere is perhaps one of Africa’s most honest leaders. He stood for idealism and principle.

He relinquished power when most other leaders were consolidating it in an effort to remain in power for much longer despite heightened opposition from their citizens.

Mwalimu as he is fondly remembered in Tanzania also goes into history books as a leader who left behind a more cohesive country. Tanzania unlike its neighbor Kenya is the most cohesive society in the East African Community (EAC) thanks to prudent social policies pursued by President Nyerere.

Though he was part of political leadership that drove the EAC to an early death in 1977, Nyerere was also instrument in removing Dictator Idi Amin from Uganda when Tanzanian forces invaded Uganda in 1977.

Before then, Nyerere and Amin had a working relationship. He had helped Amin to import goods into Uganda when the country was facing a major commodity shortage and Kenya’s President Jomo Kenyatta had denied him to use Port of Mombasa.

 

'Sir' Charles Mugane Njonjo: A former powerful attoney who celebrated collapse of EAC

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When the East African Community (EAC) collapsed in 1977, some high ranking officials in President Jomo Kenyatta regime in Kenya celebrated the demise of the community that carried aspirations of millions of people across the region.

One man who recently admitted that they tossed champagne to celebrate the collapse of EAC is Mr Charles Mugane Njonjo, who was then the chief Government legal adviser and close confident of Mzee Kenyatta.

"I celebrated with quite a number of people whom I don't want to name and we tossed champagne because we believed the community was not helping our people," Njonjo told the Kenyan media recently.

It is not a secret that the EAC was facing serious ideological challenges prior to its collapse. Coming into power of Dictator Idi Amin in Uganda in 1971 after overthrowing President Milton Obote worsened the situation.

Amin went ahead to recall all Ugandans who were working in the community, a move that was seen as an attempt to pull out Uganda from the EAC. President Kenyatta had a frosty relation with the dictator who was eventually toppled by rebels supported by Tanzania years later.

Other causes for the collapse included demands by Kenya for more seats than Uganda and Tanzania in decision-making organs, and the disparate economic systems of socialism in Tanzania and capitalism in Kenya.

 

Idi Amin Dada: A dictator with no sense for economic management

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By EA Trade  Review Reporter and Agencies

"I do not want to be controlled by any superpower. I myself consider myself the most powerful figure in the world, and that is why I do not let any superpower control me."
Idi Amin, president of Uganda, as quoted in Thomas and Margaret Melady's Idi Amin Dada: Hitler in Africa, Kansas City, 1977.

For eight years, Idi Amin ruled Uganda with an iron fist. He killed, tortured and maimed tens of thousands of Ugandans. He had no respect for anybody but himself.

Idi Amin contributed massively to the collapse of the East African Community in 1977. Prior to the eventual collapse, the dictator had recalled all Ugandans working in EAC organs and parastatals.

His relationship with then Kenya’s President Jomo Kenyatta was at the lowest ebb. At one time, Kenya government denied him channel to move kerosene he was given as gift by Iran from Mombasa to Kampala.

However, Amin’s role in shaping the East African political landscape will remain the annals of history. To the Ugandans, his rule will remain a constant reminder of how one man can jeopardize the future of an entire population.

 

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