Posts Tagged Kalonzo
To sin by silence, when we should protest, Makes cowards out of men.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Kenyans, they say we are the most optimistic people in the world, maybe so, because even I thought we had learnt from PEV and never again wasn’t just another cliche. I was very optimistic about 2017, not anymore. Now I sit here wondering whether it will be best to be near the Uganda border immediately after voting.
Going by what I saw yesterday, our uniformed forces clobbering civilians senseless and even shooting protesters in the back (as happened in Kisumu and in slums in 2007/8) is clearly something that can happen again and that if nothing changes we should brace for.
I have heard all the arguments to justify both the protests and the conduct of the police, and I have come to one conclusion: on which side the law and right falls depends on which tribe the person commenting belongs to most of the time.
Thugs who infiltrated a lawful protest are being described as CORD supporters by Jubilee supporters, outlaw rogue police who waded into crowds with “jembe” stumps and bludgeoned everyone in sight are being defended as acting with reasonable restraint by government supporters; in the meantime pockets of CORD supporters saw it fit to attend a peaceful protest armed with stones and other projectiles, some of them saw it fit to try and uproot a railway line later on in the evening. All worryingly reminiscent of the spontaneous chaos nine years ago.
We are in trouble. I don’t think the country has ever been this divided and most people this blind to their own prejudices, or perhaps everyone is fully aware of the chasm and are choosing to deliberately walk on the edge of this blade.
In the meantime, our names continue to betray us.
“with the police doing all the killing, who do we call when our hero’s are the villain”
― O.S. Hickman
“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
― Thomas Jefferson
The loud cacophony of the campaigns is a distant memory, the razzmatazz of the manifesto launches all but forgotten, the vitriol and name-calling of the rallies no longer daily fare, and finally we are getting back to our senses as long-time friends who could not see eye to eye over their tribal kingpins start to text each other with requests for that MPesa soft loan required to cover the deficits brought on by our food and alcohol binging in either celebration of “victory” or anger at a perceived injustice of a “loss”.
Well the election results were announced, the ensuing court proceedings have been concluded, and the verdict was read out in about five minutes.
I can only hope we, both those that think they won something and those that feel they lost something, can come to a realization that we are nothing but mere pawns without any real choice in the matter of who wields executive power in this country. You do not choose your leaders, they choose you; they choose you when they need you and that just happens to be at election time, then we are back to the daily struggle for subsistence, that holds true for the vast majority of voters.
Those of us who live in slums and supported Uhuru are still in the same hovels with bloated egos and empty stomachs, our names will not give us entry to the house on the hill. Those of us who supported Raila and live in far flung dirt poor villages are still in the same hamlets nursing our bruised egos while facing the constant threat of hunger, if a retirement package is signed into law for the former PM we shall not be getting a slice of it. Both UK and RAO get to get chauffeured home in luxury limousines, dine on gourmet meals, lie on silk bedsheets, and prance around on cashmere rugs. Their children will go to prep schools and Ivy league colleges. Yours will not.
Nothing will change for you. Nothing ever does for the majority of us when the wealthy are playing their Game of Thrones.
So rather than worrying about power at a grand scale that you really have no control over, sit back and think, think, think; and instead occupy yourself with: things that are within your purview, things that appear small and insignificant, things that can change the attitude of or educate just one single bigoted friend. And let the children know there is hope.
In the words of an American scribe who inspires me and from an article of his I read recently: “Do what you can within reach of your arm, because anything you touch is part of a tapestry that reaches far and wide, even unto the highest and mightiest seats of power. Do what is possible within reach of your arm, make the weak mighty and give the voiceless a clarion call right where you are, where you live and breathe, within reach of that strong, sure arm. Do what you can, always.”
“Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.”
― Alice Walker
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu
The joke is on us:
So Kibunja (Mzalendo indeed!) has cautioned politicians against discussing historical injustices as the campaigns heat up; saying “Such statements are tantamount to incitement”
Is that so? Should all those people who fought against past injustices and triumphed have followed your narrow thinking where would we be? Should Moses not have questioned the servitude of Israelites to Pharaoh? Should Abraham Lincoln have closed his eyes to the brutal history of slavery? Should Martin Luther King not have brought up the injustice of institutionalized racism? Should Mandela have never endured those three decades behind bars because his statements prior to his sentencing were “tantamount to incitement”?
Would you, Mzalendo, have this job had not courageous men and women such as Maathai, Muite, Leakey, Raila, Imanyara, Murungi, Orengo, Matiba, Rubia, Shikuku, Muliro, Karua, etc, not questioned the past injustices of the KANU one party system under Moi?
PS. For the record, anyone who thinks they have a share in one wealthy individual’s property because he happens to be from the same ethnic stock as them should slap themselves in the face.
When I question how Raila acquired the molasses plant, I’m not questioning all Luos.
When I well up with anger at Moi continuing to process tea at Kaptagich in the middle of the Mau forest, I don’t hold all Kalenjins responsible for this destruction of our ecosystem, I do not for a minute believe profits from this factory have been enjoyed beyond the immediate family of the owner.
When I am baffled at how the Kenyattas came to, allegedy, own so much land, I’m not counting the half an acre my friend Mborogonyo toiled to buy in Molo as being part of the Kenyatta’s holdings, I do not think Mama Ngina has listed Mborogonyo in her will just because he was born in Gatundu.
For how long will poor people fight each other over things they don’t own? Why do you allow yourself to be provoked by questions that have been asked of an individual who, by dint of accident, just so happens to share a language with you and nothing more? Do you see the folly that you would even make enemies of lifelong friends for the sake of a wealthy ruling class? One that doesn’t know you personally and wouldn’t lose any sleep if you and your family were swallowed by a hole in the ground.
Open your eyes.
A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man.
E. E. Cummings
Who would have guessed it: special interest groups such as minorities, the disabled, the marginalised, etc, are yet again the recepients of a royal rimming from the politicians we intend to put into office this coming March. The list of persons to be nominated to parliament has been released and, as expected, it is just another instance of the plutocracy flipping us the bird and waving a middle finger right next to our faces… It’s not like there’s anything we can do about it anyway, other than elect the same people to high office of course.
Some of the most disgusting nominations, those informed by the most base of reasons -that of self-preservation at the expense of self-respect, include:
1. Mudavadi and Kioni, the UDF presidential candidate and his running mate, for National Assembly.
2. Beth Mugo, who retired on health grounds and is aunt to Uhuru Kenyatta, for Senate via TNA
3. Ongoro and Margaret Wanjiru, one who stepped down for the other and who is herself on the ballot for Nairobi Senate, for senate via ODM
4. Henry Kosgey and Oburu Odinga, one who is running, another who is a brother to Raila, for National assembly via ODM
Full list below:
UDF National Assembly Nominees
Kassim Sawa Ali
TNA Senate Nominees
TNA National Assembly Nominees
ODM Senate Nominees
Dr Sally Kosgei,
ODM National Assembly Nominees
Dr. Oburu Oginga
Prof Colleta Suda
URP National Assembly Nominees
Adan Noor Ali
One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.
I’m not about to just join the Peter Kenneth hype train and here’s why:
1. I’m not buying that: “supporting PK is a move away from tribal politics” claptrap. Just because PK is biracial and has no indigenous sounding name doesn’t mean he has no tribal roots; otherwise then why would he have represented only Gatanga and not anywhere else? If we really want to move away from tribe how about a minority like a Njemp or even a Shakeel. In fact it might seem like a good idea now to be “Kenneth” but let PK look around and he’ll notice Esther Passaris was forced to use “Muthoni” (and I understand Shebesh is also going the same route calling herself Wambui), to try and connect with a “core” constituency that doesn’t appreciate abstract association. Let the self-appointed social media aficionados in Kenya fool PK that resonating with their deceptive online personas counts for much, but I can tell him for free it does not.
2. I want to know what PK is worth. It is not clear to me how he made his money, money which seems to be of a quantity not to be sneezed at if running a secretariat, constant TV ads and two helicopters is anything to go by. If this money is being given to him by some wealthy benefactors then I would like to know what interest they have in him winning the presidency; the wealthy do not get wealthy by giving away free money.
3. I am very interested in knowing what happened at Kenya Re and in fact the means by which PK came to be at its helm, and what difference this made to the corporations value in comparison to PK’s wealth when he walked away from the smouldering ruins.
4. I want to understand what kind of relationship PK had with a certain former Head of the Civil Service and what was in it for both, especially considering their age difference. You see many years ago, while loitering the roads of my boondocks, I happened to see PK personally driving his grey 4.6HSE in the direction of the Civil head’s home, and that was way before he was MP and I only recognized him due to his role at KFF.
5. Speaking of KFF, where were PK’s fabled management skills during his tenure there? Looking far far back I only see that complete ineptitude has been the hallmark of Kenyan football management since siku za jadi, so much so that our KPL was recently voted the worst league on earth.
6. Then regarding the agitation for multi-party democracy: Where was PK when the bearded sisters, young turks, Wangari Maathai, Muites, Raila, Imanyara, Shikuku, Matiba, Rubia, Jaramogi, Karua, Orengo, Muliro, etc were fighting against the one party KANU regime? This absence alone makes me find it hard to stomach the likes of Kalonzo, Ruto and Jirongo who were in bed with KANU while the protagonists of the second liberation dug in in the trenches and fox holes facing the brutal ancien regime. How will PK own a liberation he was absent from and perhaps cowered from supporting?
7. Managing a CDF fund well, while a good thing, hardly begins to scratch the surface when it comes to executive power as wielded by a president. In fact does managing a CDF exceptionally prove one’s credentials to manage an entire country? a position that calls for more than initiating cattle dip programmes etc and forces one to dive into the deep end of such matters like: dealing with internal security matters like the Baragoi rustlers, Mt. Elgon secessionists, Al Shabab, External threats, international criminals, cartels, exploitative powerful countries, terrorism, a tanking global economy and its attendant issues, a budget that doesn’t match the revenue from an already overtaxed populations, a growing poor majority ravaged with disease, hunger and illiteracy? a position that along with the power of being commander in chief makes one the de facto chief negotiator, thick skinned scapegoat, whipping boy, model parent, and the first responder to the ubiquitous and uncongenial cliché “Naomba serikali”?…
Remember that: “If a politician isn’t doing it to his wife , then he’s doing it to his country.”
In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one. – Plato
Kenyans can guarantee you of two things: the memory of a warthog, and kufuata bendera kama upepo. After the smoke settles in about a weeks time, no one will remember Peter Kenneth’s pitch, a few superficial girls might still have Andrew’s photo as their avatar but that will be it, Kenneth will fade away as have many others before him.
We can run around mouthing our progressive credentials but deep down we are beholden to tribe and dynastic moneyed families; this race, whether we want to admit it or not, is going to be decided between Jaramogi’s son and Kenyatta’s son, other influential cast members will be Moses Mudavadi’s scion, Wamalwa’s brother, and Moi’s adoptive KANU boys Ruto and Kalonzo. Everyone else is wasting their time.
The middle class might identify with Tuju, or Kenneth, or Karua, but unfortunately they have no say in who gets elected, they are just a snobbish minority that a crafty politician pays no heed to, that’s why Sonko and Waititu usually beat to a pulp and then wipe the floor with the likes of Mbaru and Passaris; the real votes, the numbers, are in Kayole, Mathare, Mukuru, Dandora, etc not in South C, or Lang’ata, or Parklands, or Westy.
Voters in slums and hovels do not care for nor identify with Kenneth’s crisp shirts or his scion’s pretty boy swag. They however identify with Waititu being dragged to filthy police cells after having joined them in physically assaulting a wealthy land grabber; they identify with Sonko’s non-conformist attitude and shabby dressing. They also remember who Moses, Jaramogi and Jomo were; they assume their sons are natural born leaders (even though one, even maybe two, of them never held a job in their life)
That is the sad truth my countrymen
“Fortune raises up and fortune brings low both the man who fares well and the one who fares badly; and there is no prophet of the future for mortal men.”
I generally try to steer clear of any debates that touch on matters of personal faith and which are peppered by religious belief. This is a decision I came to consciously after seeing the futility of such undertakings and the passion and irrational heat, sans illumination, they generate that does no one any good.
However in the wake of the Helicopter crash that took the lives of Saitoti, Ojode and four others, a lot of pronouncements have been made and many have been clothed in religious garb that to me was of a dubious nature.
Naturally a lot of “prophesies” are made in hindsight when tragedies strike, and they always take on the same form and pattern, which is to declare that we, godless Kenyans, brought this on ourselves by din of our iniquity, and that prayer and not greater attention to safety and maintenance is what would avert such tragedies. Of course I am looked at with shock when I scoff at this sort of line of thought.
Now normally, like I have already stated, I simply keep it moving when I come across this sort of thing, but it does take on a different significance when our poor excuses for national papers, in their desperate need for sensationalism and in a show of journalistic barrenness, decide to trumpet these so called prophecies. And do it incessantly at that.
I thus took my time to read today’s edition of the paper that is published from a building sitting on a road reserve along Mombasa Road. My focus being on this newly famous “prophetess” and her pronouncements in this story
Among her prophesies were these gems:
- “Kenya would lose prominent people this year and many more unless the leadership turned truly to God, as well as all citizens of this nation.” ~
I think this is something that is very general and which can be said of any year in my opinion, but they tell me it is a prophecy because God has been mentioned in it.
- “She had predicted that she had seen who would most likely lead this country after the next general election. she had prophesied that the person would have a very rough time and stiff opposition. This leader she prophesied is one who realises his mistake and turns around quickly just like King David in the Bible – he retracts unfavourable statements fast leaving people confused often what his real stand is yet in this lies his strength according to the prophetess. Friends will run away from him and he will remain as if his standing alone but he just has to do one thing – pray hard and turn to God because the leadership is being handed to him,”
Now in all honesty, how much more vague can this get?
- “She also tells of a government which does not know how to keep secrets and this could be a great undoing as State secrets spill over to the wrong people. She says that the she saw a vision whereby people sell government secrets for money.”
Why does a government chosen by God’s hand need to keep secrets in the first place? Do we have a secret nuclear program wikileaks hasn’t heard of or what?
- “Baffling in her list of prophesies is one business that has grown and is leading to more deaths – the making of coffins for display. She says that God is faithful and gives what people ask for, Therefore if people make coffins as seen in every street corner, then people are asking God to let others die so that they can get business and so God brings death.”
This last one would be funny if it were not said of such a sombre subject and at such a time of mourning. But it makes me wonder whether this is all an elaborate joke or not, are we now saying that God is calling his children to be with him solely because there are empty coffins that have been made and are not occupied? So were we to build empty banking halls wouldn’t that compel God to fill them with money, or am I getting this line of thought wrongly?
Anyway, when it is all said and done, we shall each carry our own crosses when we meet our maker, it is in that regard that I hasten to add that if I appear to be rubbishing what are genuine prophecies for anybody else, then you have my apologies, I just don’t have the same unwavering belief as you in what appear to be generalities, intelligent and mostly not so intelligent guesses.