Rethinking political sovereignty in globalized times

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to World Food Programme (WFP) is a timely call to re-think the essence of political sovereignty.

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political sovereignty

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) was the most genuine ever. It is a clear testimony that human life cannot only depend on the local or nationalist political views (political sovereignty) but on the need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation. The award lauds WFP for its efforts to combat hunger, its contribution to improving conditions for peace in conflict-ridden areas, and being a driving force for preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

I, therefore, laud the Norwegian Nobel Committee for their timely act to honor the World Food Program (WFP) with a Nobel Peace Prize, and for showing the world that political sovereignty in isolation is an anatomy of universal political failure. Sadly, human nature embraces political selfishness. The untamed passion for political honor has created career politicians who glorify and worship the cult of political locality, commonly described as political sovereignty. Unfortunately, political sovereignty is a fallacious cloak that nations and countries use to skulk the fundamental rights of the powerless; the unarmed, the minorities, and the economically disadvantaged (women, youth, and poor families).

Political sovereignty is an emanation of a snobbery-driven mission to achieve sensual gratification through the occupation of political office. A navel of passion for honor and self-congratulation. Politically sovereign governments have characteristically been known to violate the rights of the powerless. Usually, they get to walk away scot-free or hide behind the crudeness of the system’s impunity – a pedantry and barbarous savagery that ‘the end justifies the means’. They use the unquestionable power of those occupying political offices to execute their draconian and penal decisions. Condemnable are such career politicians from all over the world. Those who have worshipped political sovereignty for ages oblivious to the fact that it’s a defective deity of politics.

If anything, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize winner (WEF) has taught us that any modern state cannot be able to function effectively by hanging on a rotten thread of political sovereignty. It needs all other forms of utilitarian sovereignties; nutritional, technological, geographical, medical, military, economic, industrial, skills and talent, infrastructural, bio-diversity, sexual, demographic, and nonchalance-free intellectual sovereignty. Ergo, any claimed sovereignty missing one or any of the above ingredients of utilitarian sovereignty is technically flawed and hideous.

A living example of such political grandeur is the political-cum-military-sovereignty witnessed in Sudan, which lacks proportionate compensating levels of other utilitarian sovereignties. The politics of grandeur and the social state of Sudan is a flop that has left her people to wriggle under the burdensome weight of a politically instigated starvation of a militia regiment. Truly, were it not for charitable and humanitarian interventions by the World Food Program (WFP), today, Juba and Khartoum would be devoid of ‘human victims’ on which to experiment with their political imaginations.

Extensional logic cannot allow us to have an analysis of political risk inherent to the neglect of the Universalist utilitarian sovereignty to end with Sudan. Uganda also is a classic case. Three decades of Yoweri Museveni’s presidency in Uganda has only achieved Gestapo-like police sovereignty. This over-focusing on achieving police sovereignty has driven Ugandans to seek refuge in countries like Kenya. But due to their undocumented status, most of these Ugandans will end up doing menial jobs and under constant exploitation by Kenyans.

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They become Bodaboda riders, shebeen, and hawkers of cheap perfume, chopped cane, watermelons, and pineapples in Kenya’s streets. It is sorry that Ugandan migrant laborers in Kenya do all these kinds of jobs but they are never paid nearly as well as their Kenyan counterparts. There are mass violations of the labor rights of Ugandans working and living informally in Kenya. They are unable to seek legal assistance to enforce their contractual rights. But it is unfortunate that the political virtue of Gestapo-like police sovereignty in Uganda cannot help Ugandans to overcome the menace of being abused laborers in Kenya. The only reprieve for Ugandans in Kenya is to go back home and fight bad governance.

Believably, it is unfortunate to discern that most of the Ugandan youths in Kenya mistake the gleam of narrow democratic space and economic openings in Kenya to be a solution to their problems at home. They see this to be a refuge to which they run – to hide. These youth are all wrong. Democratic space and economic leeway in Kenya are products of the prolonged second liberation struggle by the youths and the people of Kenya. Hence, the need for Ugandan youth in Kenya go back home and fight for their economic freedom!

This bell does not only ring for the Ugandan youths in Kenya. It also rings for the crippled and disabled street beggars trafficked illegally from Tanzania to Kenya. The message of this article to them is this; Kenyan streets will not give you what you want. You don’t need to be peddled around the streets on wheel-chairs as baits for begging. You will soon drain and exhaust the sympathy of your well-wishers. Go back to your home country and put pressure on your government to come up with inclusive gender and minority policies.

At the macro-economic level, specific political governments working in isolation are not enough. The sovereignty of the Kenyan government or Ugandan government is not enough, but the association of several governments will work well for humanity. I mean inter-governmental organizations can serve our human purpose more than our nationalist sovereignties. The work of the WFP for instance has benefited humankind the world over, rising above the political sovereignty of different countries. This is an endeavor that all countries should be able to endorse and support. I believe Albert Einstein had similar sentiments, just like many other level-headed political thinkers that came after him, like those dressed in the spirit of Francis Fukuyama. The spirit which teaches that a government in isolation cannot withstand the forceful historical tide of the ever decaying democracy of localized political sovereignty.

It is a social-political decay that industrial sovereignty behind the Brexit spirit will not escape. The same way intellectual nonchalance and the prolixity of cultural sovereignty in France did not help to forestall the Charlie Hebdo debacle, nor has it stopped the poor and hungry French men migrating – on foot – to Germany to work (menial jobs) as un-documented foreign workers. Although, the poor French immigrants are superlatively given the quality of EU legislation (by having EU countries compensate on the social and economic weaknesses of each other beyond political skullduggeries) that enchain unschooled civilizations to an anachronism known as ‘we are a sovereign country’.

Political sovereignty is still a widely contested phenomenon in different regimes. Dwelling on its initial formulation, sovereignty entailed absolute authority over a country or a community. However, every country has an obligation to its citizens, to create equality and inclusivity. This act of universality is what the World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, has demonstrated by addressing hunger and promoting food security.


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