President William Ruto’s recent speech in South Africa, where he advocated against the age-old situation in which African leaders and their respective countries have been repeatedly bullied by their more powerful global partners, brings into perspective the emergent generation of leaders who are aware of the reality of changing trends within the international political order.
Ruto, just like his counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, as well as other leaders from the BRICS countries, are intent on ensuring that they are on the right side of the divide once the debris from the war in Ukraine settles down.
To any keen observer, it is clear that the world is on the verge of ushering in a new order of conducting business.
While this has been in the offing for the last three decades since the fall of Communism and the Soviet Union, it is more practically true now. Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine has laid bare the realities on the ground. The war itself has indicated that powers that once were feared do not particularly evoke the same kind of respect they once did.
Neither the United States nor Europe, has been able to stop Iran from developing its nuclear capability. Iran derived the courage when North Korea developed their own despite threats and sanctions.
The defeat of the US in Afghanistan, where they were replaced by the same Taliban they had fought for two decades, echoed its defeat in Vietnam when communists did finally take over Saigon in 1975. Everyone has been watching on the sidelines and taking notes.
Misguided cult of personality
Putin’s daring courage to invade a neighbouring sovereign nation did not just come from a misguided cult of personality. He had assessed a developing weakness in the western block and thus saw the perfect opportunity to advance his desire to rebuild the Soviet Union.
That said, the war in Ukraine has established the roadmap to a new world order, that, unlike the post-second World War era, does not comprise of a bipolar reality of capitalism versus communism. Rather, it is more of a multi-polar world order of nations that want to neither completely associate with the two major world powers of the day — China and the US. It is the new version of the Non-Aligned Movement of the Cold War era. Everyone wants to be their own man without a big brother dictating the terms of their freedom.
President William Ruto seems intent on not allowing Kenya to be left behind in an increasingly outdated world order. He wants Kenya to become a leader in the establishment of a more progressive status quo. Ruto has perceived an opportunity and is determined to be amongst the new wave of non-aligned world leaders.
How this will actually play out, only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, the jigsaw puzzle is taking on a new twist.
Raymond Mugure, Nairbobi