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A Call for Reason in Our Country Kenya
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A call for reason in our country
This is an open letter, sent to individuals of Kenya as a call for reason in relation to the current happenings in our country.
First and foremost I must confess some things that might cause some of you not to proceed with this letter. But I hope that you shall overcome your prejudices and kindly beg that you may read through up to the end even though you may encounter sections in the letter that you may not entirely agree with. It is my hope that just as nationally Raila and Kibaki have agreed to dialogue, we to as citizens will engage in a debate that will draw useful conclusions that will end all this madness and chart a way forward to bring justice, peace and reconciliation.
The first confession: I am Kikuyu.
For some of you, this means enemy but I must state that just as other Kenyans are shocked by all that has happening, I too am just as shocked. To clarify my stand, I have been pro opposition on the basic fact there are a number of constitutional changes that need to be put in place for this country too function well and to avoid dictatorships in the future. The most important of the constitutional changes is the reduction of the powers of the president and a constitution that allows for the independence of the judiciary, legislature and the civil service from the executive. I have vowed to be opposition until I see those changes taking place because only then can we have a secure future. I am also anti current seating M.P until I see politicians focusing on issues and not on personalities. If it will take me all my life to vote out M.Ps until I see political maturity then I will do so. I dream of a Kenya where when it will come to electioneering time, I will choose the politician on things like attractiveness and eloquence because everything else will be functioning well. Sounds like a contradiction, but to explain what I mean, As a voter, staying in Karen I choose Raila as M.P because of his ability to expose issues and for his strong character in parliament and not because he will bring water, roads etc to my neighborhood. Those things are already there in Karen and we, Karen residents, operate independently of our M.P. More so we understand that that task lies with the city council and when it fails, we repair roads for ourselves. Why? Because the government (the civil service) has created an enabling environment for us to do business from which we earn from and therefore out of the profits we can dig a borehole- if there is no water from the council. I therefore dream of a Kenya without politics as the engine to life. I dream of a Kenya where people have enough wealth so as to make the role of politics almost irrelevant. The only way to achieve that is to vote opposition until politics becomes issue based and all systems are put in place to ensure government (the civil service) runs independent of the executive. This will allow unbiased and prompt service delivery to enable me run my activities without interference for prosperity. So as I speak am in the opposition of the current government and even if Raila today were president, I would be in the opposition and vote him out if he failed to bring the changes I have mentioned above and would immediately after elections be in the opposition of the new president until genuine change takes place.
The second confession: In this election I did not vote
I guess this second statement will make you close this email since I have no basis to comment on politics but again, I kindly ask that you may read on to the end of this letter. It is not a waste of time just read on. I did not vote for two reasons.
1. The nature of politics that was portrayed before the elections.
We had three strong candidates: President Kibaki, who had an excellent economic score card but a questionable reputation on graft and democracy in reference to the constitutional debate, Raila, who had an excellent track record on democratic reforms but a questionable legacy on his quest for power and on his ability to bring about wealth creation, finally Kalonzo, who seemed to have everything sound on paper in terms of policy, economic prosperity and political reforms but lacked the political clout that made it doubtful that he would be able to implement his policies. As they campaigned, I being pro opposition (for the reasons stated above) continued to support Raila for presidency while keeping a watchful tab on Kalonzoâs political strategies. I changed my stand to support Raila when he mentioned the word majimbo or utaguzi because Kenya is to fragile to adopt such a system. When he refused to reveal the contents of the M.O.U signed with the Muslims, I became a bit apprehensive until things became clear. I was also not going to vote for Kibaki because I was pro opposition in principle and voting for him would be considered a tribal vote to which am totally against. My last option was Kalonzo with whom I had no issues with. The only problem was I stupidly reasoned that my vote for him would be a drop in the ocean. Also for me to vote meant I would not be on duty (work) the next day and I considered the fact that while I was to jeopardize my future voting for the person I wanted. They, the politician would earn Ksh 800,000 monthly for my sacrifice (strangely despite the political violence they again agreed to open parliament and appoint the speaker and be put on the pay roll). I choose to look for my food as well.
2. The stronger reason on why I did not vote was the fact that I was unable to get any of the respective party manifestos so as to critically evaluate the right party to vote for based on an objective evaluation of the personalities and party policies. I had decided prior to the elections to draw a list of factors that I would use to determine my presidential candidate. On my list I was to evaluate the candidates and party policies on education, health, environment, infrastructure, economics etc. against their personal attributes like experience, track record, believability, capacity of team members to implement policy, practicability etc. to determine the most credible candidate. When I was not able to obtain the documents, I personally felt that my vote for any one of the candidates will be based on my personal feelings and opinions of others and thus will not be objective in my voting. By this time the voting had now became pro kikuyu and anti kikuyu and thus I choose to abstain for there was going to be no way I was to participate in such an election. I think as a honest Kenyan it was going to be wrong to participate in an election in which tribal chieftains formed voting blocks and rallied support on tribal lines without any respect for policy and issues. It was very sad to see that not even one real political party participated in the election and thus it was very hard to establish the partiesâ ideologies and manifestos. They had all been reduced to tribal alliance parties with the tribal blocks as the main determinant for political positions within the party structures.
A summary of the current events
So off I went on assignment to Kilifi and watched the proceedings of the election results. If fact is to be told then I will state it. As some media stations presented the results, Raila Odinga seemed to be on the lead and well on his way to become Kenyaâs next president. The thought that the opposition had triumphed for me was a good thing even though I did not expressly support Odinga because of reasons stated above. I soon started to text my friends who were extremist P.N.U supporters to start to accept the reality of Odinga as president. I even called one friend who I once told that in 1992 I had predicted that Kibaki will be president of Kenya and in 2001Raila would be president of Kenya. He responded that he had started to accept the reality though he was sad. I then continued to watch the elections keenly because I knew (and had stated to my friends) that the final tally would have a gap of only 200,000. when I saw ODM lead in Rift Valley, then in Western, then in South Nyanza and finally Coast, I knew that it was Raila that was going to win with a minimum gap of 200,000 votes (it was now likely to be a gap of even 400,000 votes because the strategy that PNU had intended to use was to get the whole G.E.M.A vote on one side plus one other significant region of the country to win the election. It was now evident that the one other region was not existent) the events that followed shocked my eyes and ears since all over a sudden Kibaki narrowed a lead of 1 million votes with less than 15 constituencies with 11 more remaining ( I donât depute the fact that these constituencies were each expected to bring 80,000 plus votes, all that shocked me was that they could reduce a 1 million plus lead to 30,000) something fishy was going on especially with all the delays in the announcement of presidential results, disputes on some parliamentary results among other things. The most shocking event was the manner in which Kivitu announced the final results and the swearing in of Kibaki as president of Kenya. I know that the military were ready at Uhuru park to pledge allegiance to the new president. I cannot simply just understand why if Kibaki won the elections fair and square, why no dignitary attended the occasion, why there were no women groups singing and all the other pomp and parade that usually graces such occasions. Finally why there was a huge presence of GSU personnel in the major towns. I guess we might have to wait for 30 yrs to know the truth on this matter. All I know is ever since there has been no peace and constantly ask if things would be the way they are if the election process was allowed to finish its course without interference.
Today all we hear of evictions, death and outright tribalism. The Majimbo that I feared before the elections is now taking place in the country with the Kikuyu and other tribes being told to go back to their homes. Now this is my main concernâŚâŚ the ethnic cleansing.
You could say that I am concerned because I am Kikuyu but what makes you think that in the future it will not be the Luo, or Luhya, or Kalejin, or Giriama, or Kamba, or Kisii or any other tribe to be treated in the same manner. Just as Mordecai told Esther in the bible âdo not think that because you are in the Kingâs house you alone of all the Jews will escape.â (Esther 4:13) I tell you to do think that just because you are another tribe or someone rich living in Nairobi, you are not affected. We are all Kenyans and all the death around us could happen to any one of us. Just because it is not your tribes mate affected or family member does not mean you turn a blind eye. Whatâs happening is wrong and cannot be justified anywhere. For the record I must state that all international donors and other media sources have stated that there were irregularities in the elections, but that does not mean you kill me as your neighbor who we have shared with tea, salt, meals just because am kikuyu and probably voted for Kibaki. I do not see the relationship between my freedom to choose the person I want in elections which is a human right and according to ODM, the so called rigging of the presidential vote and swearing in of Kibaki as president. Are Kenyans trying to say it was wrong to vote Kibaki as my preferred presidential candidate or because I voted then, I helped Kibaki appoint himself as president? Whatâs the relationship?
Truth be told in a democratic society everyone has a right to their own opinion. If I chose to vote for a party, person etc even a frog for that matter (or not to vote as I did) I have the freedom to make that choice and its my constitutional right. You have no permission to punish me for my views and doing so is one of the first signs of a dictatorship. Secondly, you have no right to take my life, property or anything else on the basis of my beliefs or persuasion. This is called intolerance and it is wrong. Killing me is actually a violation of another human right which is the right to life. This is basically to say that the current ethnic cleansing going on in Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa by both ODM and PNU Supporters can be in no way justified as a acceptable response to the âirregularâ election results. It is a very sad reaction and for the rest of all Kenyans including people like me who would want to uphold democracy to see all that is happening. So sad that, it was impossible for me to join the peaceful demonstrations been organized by ODM concerning the flawed election process because in doing so I would get myself killed. It is very wrong to pre suppose that because I may have voted for Kibaki in elections, I support the manner in which he was sworn in as president. It is also very wrong to think because Kibaki is Kikuyu then all Kikuyus support Kibaki. Therefore when you turn on my personal property, that stops been a national issue and now it becomes a personal issue. I will fight and protect it at whatever cost! lets not personalize things and take the law into our own hands.
Two wrongs do not make a right now we see the third wrong
When someone for example takes something that is rightfully yours, there are mainly ways of dealing with it. You can decide to fight over it or simply go look for another one somewhere else. In the case of a country, it cannot be that simply put but the basic principle still apply. This is not the first time that there has been an election dispute. In 1992 Matiba claimed that Moi rigged him out but there was no war. In 1997 Kibaki went to court with 91 counts of election fraud, but again no war occurred, instead Kibaki together with the other opposition leaders promised to come up with a strategy for 2002 elections that would not fail. Why is there post election violence this time, is it really about the elections or a deeper hatred? Looking at the bible, two great examples stand out of people who have been robbed of their rightful belongings. The first person was Jacob. Jacob built three wells, but what the people of the land came and fought over the ownership of the wells. Jacob just moved on twice digging a fresh well until he dug the third well whose water was sweeter and purer than the other wells. The moral of the storyâŚ well if I know that I can start something from scratch and build it to completion and you come and claim its yours. I will just move to build a new one because I know I have the skill to build it. The thief steals basically because he canât build it and chances are he cannot maintain it, so when I leave I know the thief shall collapse with what I have built and die with it. I just move onâŚ
The second story is when King Solomon was presented with a case of two ladies fighting over the ownership of a child. Solomon decreed that the child be cut into have and the real mother knowing that that meant death to the child and both of them loosing, she decided let the fake mother have it. Moral of the story if two people are in a fight say for a seat and in the process of the fight you realize that you might fight and destroy the very thing you are fighting for then its preferable for one party to have the thing than both of you loose it because someone with reason will ask; then why did you fight in the first place if what you are fighting for ceases to exist.
Since the country of Kenya is much more complex than the two examples above, we as the populace, who are now killing one another as Kibaki and Raila hold talks with the rest of the M.Ps earn their salaries, need to find a hybrid solution to the problem. In deed if the elections were rigged, then the solution is not to kill the Kikuyu. That does not solve the problem that the elections were rigged. Two wrongs donât make a right! worse still if I as a kikuyu get my family member killed, it does not now mean I get a Luo, Luhya, Kisii or any other tribe and kill them. That does not solve the problem that my family member was killed. Three wrongs donât make a right! We are all annoyed for one reason or another one the election was rigged and my brother was killed but we must control our anger
We have overcome the political meltdown lets now prevent the social meltdown thatâs taking place
We must stop sending letters of eviction to our tenants and neighbors. Good friends from various tribes are now avoiding one another. Death threats are been spread by various persons. We must go against this grain. Let us control our anger! Look at Kisumu. The Luo burnt down everything in their anger of the âriggedâ elections and now have no food and other basic commodities. They are now begging for assistance. Anyone who starts a fight historically always looses in the long run so let us not retaliate. Let the Law take its course and imprison all those who killed your kinsmen. Donât bare the hatred because Very clearly the biggest losers of this retaliation will be the kikuyu retaliators themselves. Why? Firstly, you have already been chased out of your home and investment which you may have accumulated over a period of 20 yrs. Secondly you are the current targets of the violence with everyone else targeting to kill you. The fact is that you are innocent and as long as things remain that way, when the rest of the country comes back to its senses they will ask for forgiveness and restore you back even offering to help you get your business and land back. everyone knows that the problem lies with the politicians and not the general populace and truth will always prevail. When you retaliate this what happens. You loose your innocence thus justice cannot fight on your behalf. You breed the real tribal hatred which will not be based on a flawed election process but on real individual issues. The open hand that you had received over the years to invest and partner with other tribes will never exist again and thus you will loose opportunities to invest; confined to central province only where land is limited. Eventually even though it will take 50 yrs someone else will take control of the political seat, that person will execute a real genocide. Let us learn from Rwanda. My solution, remember the story of Jacob, you have the skill to build another well just build it. We did the same in 1990,1991,1993,1997 during the tribal clashes and we can do it again. Chances are the old well will collapse under mismanagement and you will be re-invited to repair the well so donât fear. If you asked me this is what I genuinely think. The elections should have been allowed to take place without interference. If Raila won, he should have been let to take control of the presidency. Chances are what is happening today (ethnic cleansing) would not happen as its happening today and even though it would happen, the kikuyu would have the public sympathy. Look at History. The Ugandans chased out the Asians and the economy collapsed, today President Museveni is going out of his way to attract them back by offering huge tracks of gazetted forest land and even military escorts to entice them to invest in the country. Look at Zimbabwe, they chased the whites and the economy has collapsed. When President Mugabe gets back to his senses he will invite the whites back offering even bigger favors than any other country would. Back home in Kenya President Moi during his regime took away many businesses from the Kikuyu and tried to kill their economic power but eventually started to partner with them and in fact looking at Eldoret town composition before elections, Moi allowed the Kikuyu to thrive even more. The situation that we have now is temporary and that for sure even though Raila would have been president. The Kikuyu would still thrive because the bible says a man reaps what you sow. Most Kikuyus are hard working and cease and create opportunities even where they donât exist. That can never be taken away from them! We do not need the seat of the presidency to thrive because we thrived even during the Moi regime.
A message for the rest of Kenyans (sorry to go tribal here but its necessary for illustration take it as such not prejudices) learn from history
During world war two the Germans and the Japanese decided the only way they could change the world social order was through war. Hilter wanted to rule the world so as to gain control of the worldâs economic resources. He was very displeased with the way the partition of Africa had gone with Britain and France taking almost everything while Germany with only a few colonies. Moreover Germany at the time was under the hands of the Jews so to change things, he declared the war. Initially all went well but when Russia and the U.S joined in things started to look bad. Japan tried its best in destroying the U.S but one must remember that in every war the people who have the economic resource prior to the war always win eventually, Britain and the U.S together with Russia (an unlikely ally) overcame the Germans. For over 30 yrs Germany was under the direct rule of foreigners with its country split into two. As for Japan, it was in smoke but listen to this âŚâŚ everyone else (a tip for life the rest of Kenya, a secret to live by) Listen to thisâŚ.. Japan vowed never again to fight a military war and disbanded its army. Instead it vowed to overtake the U.S economically and started to work extremely hard. They collected everything American and started to imitate them making it cheaper and later better. Today Toyota motor company is the second largest Car Company (the hallmark of U.S Industry) in the U.S and the biggest in the world. Thatâs what I am talking about! Germany devoted themselves to science and technology and are today the world leaders in the field of medicine and engineering making the best car brands in the world (the Americans stuck to their ugly looking metallic box like fuel guzzlers and thrive on trade embargoes to sell their cars of which Toyota is going to change that). Not only is Germany a leader in medicine and engineering, their economy is larger the economy of Britain and France combined! Amazing! So back to Kenya, the way forward to bring economic growth to the other tribes in Kenya is not by killing the Kikuyus and chasing them out. Thatâs primitive and leads to nowhere. The way is to make a commitment to work twice as hard and invent and create and sell and overtake economically the kikuyu that you so hate! (rhetoric). We must admit, that because the Kikuyu seem to have more business prowess than anyone else in the country, they are not superior. All they are is more exposed due to their adventurous spirit and richer due to some historical facts outlined later in this letter. This does not mean the rest of the country cannot catch up. This does not mean that for example the Kamba who are normally referred to as dumb or the Luhya normally referred to as watchmen or the Maasai or any other tribe are truly incapable of catching up. These are just tribal lies and every person in this country is as capable as any other. Every Kenyan has the right to invest anywhere and be as prosperous as any other. Thatâs why I was very pleasantly surprised to find a Boran woman, having invested heavily in Sekenani, a small town at one of the gates of Maasai Mara by the same name becoming the richest person in that town! Already the Kenyan Germans (as I refer to them)- the Luo are the best in the area of medicine and motor repair, they need to work even harder to become far better in every other area like engineering, accounts etc. anything where systems, order, precision and attention to detail exist. I am yet to know who the Kenyan Japanese are; and advise the rest of the tribes not to be jealous of the Kikuyu and think killing them will make them gain the economic resource. Instead they should learn, imitate, reproduce and make cheaper what the kikuyu do just like the Kisii did in the matatu industry. Lets be smart here. The Kisii know to speak kikuyu but the kikiyu donât know kisii, whoâs smarter should I go onâŚ. Understand this, the white person came to Africa to colonize and brought in new and mysterious technology, the Asians being the closest to the Whites watched, learnt and imitated the whites and soon became like the white man (in fact today they are less than 100,000 of them in Kenya but they control over 60% of the economy) the Kikuyu, whose homeland was next to the white mans capital watched and learned (by sending their children to British universities in 1920s) and imitated the whites (by making the home made gun and speaking English in the same accent as the white man) and today, they are like the white man. Any other smart person would do the same and send their kids to school work harder, imitate and also become like the white man! Having the economic resource like the land, buildings etc does not mean prosperity look at the Maasai and all the land they have what have they done with it! You need to be able to manage that resource and that where Zimbabwe have failed. They thought by taking over the white mans farm, the milk and crop would naturally yield itself. They thought that the dollars in export will continue to flow, Wrong you need to manage the resource not just own it and to do so you must go to school, learn from others, imitate, and where you donât have the skill partner to make the resource yield a profit! I would love to see a Kenya where people compete in business, politics etc using skill and not might so that we can build a better Kenya imagine how fast Kenya would develop! Bravo to Raila for competing and outwitting the PNU camp in the elections campaigns. All I ask for is let the game be fair if you loose, accept defeat no need to grab anything by force! Be it in business or politics. This is the progressive Kenya I see. One unified, with great internal competition in industry and trade such that the country grows so fast to overtake the rest of the world! Thatâs the Kenya I want. Where we compete and if I loose, I accept defeat and learn from my mistake and compete again, improving every stepâŚ Twaweza Kenya, Yes Kenya we can! we were just steps away from a super burst creativity, growth and innovation before the elections and before our two political leaders decided to fight over the presidency. What happened to all that! Today, all we see is one camp clinging to the seat and another camp fighting for it; in the process, we the people- the grass killing one another. What happened to reason? To all Kenyans I ask what happened to reason!
Now I make this call â A call for reason for our country Kenya
Kenya is much better off as a single unified country under a dictator than a country at war. Ask Somalia.
Those who start war (or any other injustice) normally hope that a temporary state of violence is will be effective in bringing about change. But even the experienced military strategic planners do know, at times things do go wrong and out of hand. Take the case of U.S invasion of Iraq. They planned to be out of Iraq in six months and now years have passed on and they still donât know what to do about the situation. Any Somali citizen will tell you the days under Said Barre were far better than now. People take the basic freedoms for granted like the freedom of movement, the freedom of association and right to life which in Kenya are protected by the government represented by the coat of arms and not the presidency. We must understand that the government is a system in which various under which organs serve. The military and the police, the legislature, the judiciary, the civil service all serve to protect the coat of arms and therefore we cannot let one arm of government cause a total meltdown. People donât simply know that when the flag of Kenya stops to fly up high and the coat of arms ceases to exist signifying a collapse of government, your ID or identification as a person ceases to exist and your status and rights become similar to a goat which, cannot decide for itself its own destiny nor seek protection. Under a state of war, there are no human beings, just wild animals seeking for survival. There is no law and the devil, the leviathan reins. There is utter destruction, desolation, absolute disorder and death whose blood is offered up to its ruler the devil who grins with pleasure at the incense of blood and pours out that blood back to the people to drink it and bath themselves in it. Thereafter, the devil vomits out fire and hell signaling the end to create zilch. Thatâs why in war people eat each others flesh and cut open the wombs of pregnant women to eat up the baby. So bad is a state of war that civilized countries have even tried to create law in a state of lawlessness and pass conventions on the conduct of war to try bring order in such circumstances. Even a court in Hague has been set up to try victors and losers of war and to bring about a punishment for those who violate war conventions. No man in this right state of mind wants war.
If Kenyans could only realize the power of numbers
Firstly Kenyaâs population is made up of 37 million persons. Of this number slightly more than 10 million voted which is 30% of the people. This political madness and acts of violence are been caused by persons not numbering more than 200,000 persons. It is strange thus that people not numbering more than 200,000 people one side can cause all the madness we are seeing and shape the destiny for the over 37 million people.
Lets change the tide because we have the numbers.
Firstly, I think the media is totally wrong to focus on the groups of 200-300 youths under the journalistic principle that news that sells is sensational, bad or unusual and instead focus on acts of kindness and love. A good start point would be to show the suffering of the displaced persons so as to draw empathy. A real hot news story in such times and by any journalistic standard would be to show persons going against the grain. For example âA kikuyu lady feeds and shelters a Luo injured man in Kiberaâ. or âGoing against the odds - Kiprono fights off raiders to shelter Lucy Njeri a 12 year old girl in Eldoretâ. We know that these stories are there and the media is simply not looking for them. Such stories are likely to sell the station far much more than the repetitive stories of âFive men hacked to deathâ and â10 families rendered homelessâ. What such stories have done is helped build the tribal hatred and caused a sense of fear and panic in the populace. At one point I had enough of these stories and took a holiday to Tanzania just to get out of the madness and think from out side the box. My experience in Tanzania was opened my mind to see the bigger picture. I learnt that while Kenya is fighting, Tanzania is growing at 10% and probably 15% this year as Kenyans and investors in Kenya relocate to the country. Soon Tanzania will be a bigger economy and at the current trend I too might be headed there, not as a highly valued visitor but as a mkimbizi (refugee) unwanted and undeserving.
The second thing that we, the 30 plus million people can do is go out of our way to talk to the few killers and victims and preach peace. I know that each one of us irrespective of tribe is less than five telephone calls away from the Kalenjin raiders who are killing the kikuyu and the Kikuyu men who are taking revenge for the killings and the landlords who are posting eviction orders. We are all less than five calls away from the Luo in kisumu and in kibera who are striking and destroying property. All the people involved in this madness are within our reach and we can contact them if we try. How? Simply go through your phone book and you will see you have a number of a friend from the concerned tribes. That friend or their friends will definitely know someone involved in the madness. You can talk to your friend to talk to them or take courage and overcome your fear and talk to them yourself. You can show love by inviting you close friend from the concerned tribes for tea or breakfast and pick not the most arrogant of them but the ones who you are so close to and you will always trust you. By showing love to them they to will stand up to tell the killers that I still know one good Luo or Kikuyu or Kalenjin. And not all of them deserve to die. We can cause a change and stop the Social Meltdown thatâs taking place. You may say that you donât have the power to but I now that anyone who receives this email has in one way or another an economic or social influence on the people involved in the violence. Even in the areas where little communication exists, you have the opportunity to visit your relatives back home and speak to them to stop the violence. Maybe you were not convinced before but by now I hope the information above has convinced you to take a step. Make that step to not sleep another day make the step now.
Over and above just speaking to them make a point to visit or invite to your house a person from another tribe and especially the concerned tribes. I since the elections have not changed any of my friends irrespective of their tribes. More so I have even made the point to particular visit a very good friend of mine, a Luo who I had not seen fro two months prior to the elections. I have also met a Kalenjin friend who has just arrived from Eldoret where all the death is taking place and she is as affected as I am by the madness. I am now contacting another Luo friend who lives in Kibera and hope that we can meet in town. Not to discuss politics and say who is wrong or right but to share the friendship that we have always had and possibly pray together for our country. I hope that as we meet I will be able to find a way in which I can help and to understand the real issues. I will then take him to Kikuyu friends of mine who know him and see their reaction try re-establish the friendship where possible. I know that if only 100,000 of us could do the same so much would change. If we could refuse to tolerate the hate speech been passed by our friends and family and instead make friends with the opposite camp then things would change. Please for heavens sake realize that Kibaki and Raila are not enemies and they even share business together. It doesnât make sense for us to hate each other for their sake.
Once we start to interact with each other, I hope that we shall begin to understand the real issues in this violence. Strangely, like in any other fight, the real issue is never what starts the fight- in this case the elections. All through last year I traveled all over the country and since am involved in community work I have interacted with the people deep in the interior. I may not know all the issues but I can point out some that are making the Kikuyu to be the targets of not only the Luo but everyone else. I will explain this historically from the rest of Kenyaâs stand point.
In 1800s the white man came to Africa in three groups, the missionaries, the explorers and then the imperialists. You might ask the relevance of this but please read onâŚ. They looked independent but in Europe all had been pre-planned. The European knew that if they came to Conquer Africa while the Africans were still primitive they would have to fight so much and face massive opposition. Secondly, since they came to find a source of raw materials for their industries and a market for the same industries. They knew that they needed to educate the Africans so that they could later buy their goods after robbing the raw materials from them. So to educate them, they needed first to tame them from their animalistic tendencies where war was a hobby ( I guess also it was natures way of family planning). By introducing Christianity, they would be able to do the following. Educate the African on the value of European goods under the pretence of helping the African read the bible. They would also be able to make the African turn from their traditional culture by branding it evil and thus make him adopt the European way of life. Hence the Christian names and the wearing of clothes in this extremely hot climate. Finally they would pacify the militant behavior of the African making it easy to conquer them in the future. Its interesting to note that the Missionaries and the Explorers were at many times the same people hence my suspicions that they could have been sent to come before the imperialists to make the way smooth.(since they were preaching the gospel it was easy for them to penetrate the people and view the wealth of the land) after they were sure that they had converted the Africans to Christianity, the Europeans then started to partner by signing treaties with the Africans a good example is the one with Lenana, the Maasai leader. The Africans trusted the Europeans and thought they knew to read and write they barely understood the contents of the treaties. Later when they saw the Europeans come and dig their land and chase them off due to a piece of paper, the Africans decided to fight. The first tribe to realize this game was the Kikuyu due to their closeness to the city. They had been previously so amazed by this white person that they even sent their children to go learn in the white mans land. The first to arrive back to Kenya realized the game and before they good influence their people to fight against the Europeans they got involved in the first and second world wars. After the war, two camps were formed the Kenyatta camp that believed in peaceful means to get the land back and the Mau Mau camp that believed in war. The Kenyatta camp was the more educated camp that realized that it was impossible to fight against the might of the Europeans so decided to become better than the Europeans in what they did and get the land back. They also realized that despite the fact that the Europeans had taken the African Land, there were some useful things that Europeans had brought to the Africans. The Mau Mau Camp were less educated and since they were x- soldiers and had learned to make the gun they wanted to kill all the white men and rid them off the country. Am not too sure which camp truly led to the independence though both camps were effective in their own way.(the Mau Mau were only effective because they only killed 30 Europeans but each one of the Europeans were influential and at the core of the problem, the colonial regime. Kenyatta was effective because he used the media and allies from the European camp to fight for the cause of the African. Which I think was more effective). In the end, I think the Europeans knew that they had the power to destroy all Africans. But they asked themselves what they would gain from that especially in terms of a market for their goods. They knew eventually, Africa would rule it self and opted to give political independence to the Africans but maintain economic independence which is what originally brought them to Africa. Today, Kenya claims to be a sovereign state but totally economically dependent on the west. Today the White man is out but a new colonial force has emerged in the eyes of the rest of Kenyans- the Kikuyu (rhetoric). To illustrate this, I continue with my historical narrative. At independence the white man was ready to give back the property to the African but wanted to ensure that the African that he gave the property to would be able to manage the land and resources in a similar fashion to the European; not like the âsalvagesâ did in the early 1900s. Kenyatta on the other hand needed to give the land to Africans who could manage the white property in a way that would continue the advancement of the African person. Unfortunately at independence most of the African elite were the Kikuyu and thus they ended up taking most of the land and businesses that the whites left (in some cases the Whites offered to sell the property and the ones who could afford to buy the property were former African students from European universities again, mainly Kikuyu). In cases where the Africans were unlikely to manage, the whites stayed on and later transferred their assets to the government, which, by the 1970s was mainly run by the kikuyu elite. Also since the kikuyu land was also taken by the Europeans and now the kikuyu are not enough to fit in their original pre colonial land due to their increase of their population, they were resettled on idle land now owned by the government, in other parts of the country commonly referred to as settlement schemes. In the view of the Kikuyu it was a rightful reward for fighting for Uhuru hence the name Matunda ya Uhuru. Unfortunately it was used as an excuse for the elite at the time to amass land and wealth for themselves. The actual Mau Mau fighters did not get any land. The kikuyu were also not the only people involved in the fight for independence, the Kalenjin, the giriama and many others were involved too. Its also strange that I have not yet had of other settlement schemes which were awarded to other tribes. If they are please enlighten me.
This was the start of the new social order.
Today the same story continues to take place. For illustration purposes I give the story below.
A rich kikuyu man, (let us call him Mike) goes to Kitengela to buy a piece of land. Mike meet the owners of the land who are mainly uneducated old Maasai men drinking in a bar. Mike decides to join the Maasai old men who happen to be very friendly and acquaintances from the livestock trade where the Maasai sell their cattle to the slaughter house owned by Mike. They drink and drink and drink all the more. Soon these old Maasai men are very happy and ask Mike what he wants. Mike replies that he has come to buy land. âHow much many do you haveâ the Maasai men ask. â100,000 kshâ Mike replies. Since for the Maasai 100,000 is a lot of money and now they are great friends of Mike. They agree to meet the next morning to meet and start at point A and walk until where they will get tired and all the land in between will be worth the 100,000. For the Maasai old man that land is only less than an eighth of the land he owns and since he is âsellingâ the land to a friend it doesnât matter; his cows can always graze on that land. Later Mike goes with the Maasai men before the chief to confirm that the land is now his. Since where Mike comes from you must have a title deed he obtains one from ministry of lands. The Land now actually now measures over 100 acres. What a bargain! much more than Mike expected and since itâs a willing buyer willing seller agreement there is nothing wrong. Mike seats down and asks himself what he can do with this land. After a meeting with a few friends they decide to form a land buying company and sell the land at 40,000 an acre to members of the company. Soon houses start coming up on the land and the Maasai man starts wondering what is happening. Well he is not too worried since his cows can still graze on the empty sections but soon later every where is built up cutting his land into half and reducing his grazing land. Worse still when his cows âstrayâ into one of the compounds to eat the green and manicured grass, he gets arrested. Soon a drought comes and he begs for food from his new neighbors who hardly know him and treat him like a vagabond. Hungry and annoyed he asks himself how his friend to whom he gave land to could invite these monsters on his land (since to him he never sold the land originally but only gave in exchange of a gift) with dead cattle and no food and thankless âinvadersâ on his land he picks up his arrow to fight of the invaders.
The same story is true in most parts of the country. The kikuyu have now became the new colonial masters taking advantage of the ignorance of the local communities on law and business to gain control of their land, business, food, schools and hospitals and almost everything. âBut thatâs okay we can tolerate that and we have for a number of years. But now you want to take even political control from us. Thatâs too much for us to take. We must fight.â The rest of Kenya has resolved. The election was the last straw to a âwrongâ that has started at independence, the last nail to the coffin. Unfortunately most of us are too polarized to see the truth in this issue and thus solve it. On one side the kikuyu their say it is just business. The Europeans do the same to the Asians, the Asians do the same to the Africans, and the Africans do the same to their fellow Africans. It is just capitalism. Thatâs the new social order- capitalism.( this is not to deny that most kikuyu businessmen who have become wealthy out of genuine non exploitive business) On the other side the rest of Kenya are saying âbut look this is exploitation of the ignorant for self gain. Its not fair and must change and we want to change it by force by preaching the anti kikuyu gospelâ. Is any camp right? I wonder, especially if the two camps cannot see things from the other persons point of view and are been led by persons who have not intermarried, had friends with, schooled in, traveled to and thus having limited and skewed exposure to people of the other camp
I think the solution to this problem is very difficult to find. To solve some things means changing the whole ideology that governs modern life. Some are pro capitalism and others are pro socialism. Today we have other experiments that mix the two systems have not worked e.g Christian democrats, social democrats, labor movements, green parties and the rest. This is because man himself is naturally selfish and looks into his own interest first before another. Man will also look for any reason to thus differentiate himself from another and thus justify why he should gain first before his friend.(thatâs why Somalia is made up of one tribe yet they are still killing one another) the only solution to the problem is to live by a religious principle of loving another as you love yourself. More practically in Kenya, we must stop looking for reasons to divide ourselves into camps because even families will be cut into half. We must look for reasons to unify ourselves under the national flag of Kenya, the coat of arms and the National anthem and think about the interests of another. In order to achieve this I have the following suggestions
Since the current fighting has been caused by a fight of economic resources and how to share them I think that we need to change all the institutions that have caused the imbalance. I think the political stalemate creates a very suitable environment to create an interim government that would last for 6 months and open the door to start a constitutional debate that will solve all the historical problems and chart a way forward. Those who participate in this constitutional debate must not look into their own current interest but think beyond their life span which is not more than 50 yrs, and into the future generations. Like in the U.S in the 1770s the founders of America thought about America and not who would become what or gain what. This constitutional debate should include the seating members of parliament and other representatives as appointed by a 150 M.P majority vote from special interest groups. Once these officials are appointed, they should then start with a truth session in which all the historical problems of the country will be brought to the surface and noted down. They would then discuss ideas on how to solve the problems and their after vote with the same 75% vote to pass their recommendations into law. After they finish the discussions they would then call for a fresh election under new laws as set by the team.
Members of the public should also be allowed to vote on each section of the new constitution clause by clause with the team making amendments to the clauses until it is acceptable to the public. The public should be free to air their suggestions for things to be included
Firstly, I would recommend that the powers of the president be reduced and especially on the areas of the appointment of the chief justice, the Attorney general, the chairman of the electoral commission, the head of the civil service, the military generals and head of the police and the speaker of the national assembly. Since all this departments are meant to be different arms of the government then the appointment should be made by the elected representatives of the public who are the M.Ps on the first week of parliament. These institutions would then be given their independence to operate except for the military who should be under the president. I would then call for a separate post for the head of the executive whose role would be to appoint ministers and run the executive. This will ensure all the heads of government arms will be independent of each other and thus act as checks on each other.
Another important reform that I would mention for now is on electoral conduct. I would recommend that from now on two major parties be formed with strong manifestos and with different ideologies. The current M.Ps should then be asked to join these two parties based on their ideologies (its expected that this two camps will have arisen from the constitutional debate prior to the elections and thus each camp would want to enter power to make amendments to the constitution passed prior to the elections. These two parties will be enshrined in the constitution and room for the creation of other parties should be allowed. These two parties other than having separate ideology must also have actual representation from all parts of the country including the creation of special seats for various interest parties e.g In its leadership it must have its chairman from this part of the country and its deputy another part each having a country wide support of at least 100 persons from each ward in the country. The same principle would apply for all senior elective posts. The law should also make it criminal for all political aspirants to use their tribal base as the main block to win seats in the two parties. Also the law should make it criminal for aspirants to make any form of references to their opponents on tribal lines and get automatic disqualification if any of their supporters up to the ward level makes any tribal remark about their opponents. I would also make it illegal for all persons in the country to use their tribal language in any public place for any purpose. And strengthen the use of English and Swahili as the two languages of communication in any public place. I would then recommend an election code of conduct be set
In respect to land, I would enshrine the fact that any Kenyan should be free to live and invest in any part of the country and draw up the basis for any land transaction to take place based on valuation done by a committee to determine the right price of land all over the country.
In respect to business, I would set up rules of trade and business registration and ensure that any business with three or more partners should not have its members from the same tribe and must have one member from the local community who should own a minimum of 20% of the business (this is the same case for foreign investors seeking to invest in Kenya). I would also ensure that more than 50% of all employees in any business in any part of the country should be local inhabitants which by definition meaning having a lineage of over five generations inhabiting the land. The same rule would apply for senior management posts. Why do I think this law is important? Well, today there are many able persons all over the country who can manage any business concern unlike at independence where such a law would require the investor to look for unqualified persons to join the management. This is one way of ensuring equitable resource sharing just like Kenya does on an international level. The government can then continue to increase the funds that go directly to constituencies like the CDF to bring about uniform development.
On a Final remark I must state the in order to open a kiosk, plant some vegetables etc no political leader is needed to help you, All that is needed is the creation of an enabling environment. No politician will come and save you and lead you out of poverty. You must work hard and earn from your sweat which is a natural law. Donât ever expect to reap where you have not sown. I always get annoyed to see very productive land lying idle waiting for the politician to develop it. That will never happen. It has not happened since independence and will not happen ever! Most people think because the Kikuyu have had the presidency they have all greatly advanced but that not true. They each work very hard exploiting business opportunities. When they see and empty land they buy it and plough it and later sell the produce. Thatâs hard work and not politics. I think the idea of passing a law on idle land would be good to teach Kenyans to use their land usefully.
Remember it is easier for the politician to convince his populace to vote for him when they are poor and ignorant. He can disappear for 4 yrs and come with 10million shillings to buy out his constituents. Thatâs a lot of money for rural folk! Let us mature and get out of that game that the politicians play on us, using us as pawns for their own selfish gains. Lets learn to work hard, use every resource we have positively (starting with the empty land back in ingo), come together into groups (Saccos, land buying companies, investment clubs, women groups etc) to discuss development and not politics and build this nation
As Kenyans I truly believe that we can stop these mad, unwarranted killings and forgive one another and forge together to build a one unified country. We can overcome the social meltdown currently taking place and work and live together as we have always done. Kenya is much bigger than any of us. We can be the agents of change. Twaweza Kenya, Yes we can!
I look forward to joining other groups that share the same vision for Kenya. I also look forward to your comments not matter how subjective they might be. Thatâs part of the healing process. You can also share your experiences on all that has happened since the announcement of the results and your hopes and dreams about Kenya. Lets share the information we have and restore the dignity of our country as I close with the words of the national anthem.
Oh God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty
May plenty be found within our borders.
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cheche: 12th Feb 2008 - 12:47 GMT
good reasoning just stop praising your tribe and talk about equal opportunities even for those Kenyans in north western who are still digging their land with sticks after over 40 years of independence.
magu nguru: 20th Feb 2008 - 13:27 GMT
well i have a website that aims to focus on development issues for the country and to inspire growth and the like well for cheche do you have any ideas on how to improve the whole of the north western region?
walter nyoike: 15th Apr 2008 - 09:53 GMT
You really inspired me with your wise,well thought and encouraging words which have made me to realise that my childhood thinking and dream is also shared by an intelligent kenyan out there.Am 22 and newly employed accountant and I know in less than 6,yrs I will not only be competing with my employer in his area of business,but also with those who introduced him to his business.I have a dream that one day I will create opportunities in finance,real estate,agriculture etc.Its a matter of capitalising on opportunities and learning from those successful.
magu nguru: 30th Apr 2008 - 11:39 GMT
hi walter and others
my objective of writing this article was to form a network of people who are interested in making a real difference in Kenya either socially or on a business front
pandaranol: 21st Jun 2011 - 20:11 GMT
Balustrer de vingt-cinq ou trente sous, ou bien en bon office des accusés, de tenue intelligible et de la villa pandaranol fécond propriétaire. Dévorer bien ce qu'elle fait, et il cultiver les voix argot car au fond cet individualité était que, dans ses manuterge blancs.
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