Archive for May, 2009

A Personal political journey

May 15, 2009

I am privileged to have interacted intensively with members of various ethnic communities in Kenya both in my formative years as well as an adult. These interactions have largely shaped my world view as far as ethnic differences are concerned. The experience has also been instrumental in the diagnosis of the problems ailing the country as due to tribal politics rather than hatred between and among individual members of different communities.

I spent my lower primary years in central province (Nyandarua district) where I was born. During those years (early 80s) the only political news of importance I could glean was the kind that could not wake up a ‘light- sleeper’. For example, Kibaki getting his ass fired as VP and being replaced with another Kikuyu, Karanja. This kind of minus- one- plus -one- maths news was calculated to rival Piriton in effect. This served us (Kikuyu) just fine.

During my upper primary years, my family up and moved ,with me in tow, to Bungoma. This was in the late 80s and early 90s. Politically speaking, Kenyans were living in ‘interesting times’: what with all the clamor for multi party democracy and a dose of ethnic clashes! The news reaching me from the battle front, i.e. the border with Rift Valley was scary. The news which were a collection of rumors, innuendos, exaggerations and a sprinkling of truths, nevertheless succeeded in painting in our young minds a portrait of a Kalenjin with horns, blacker than me (impossible!) and with a tail.

In 1992, we moved again to the other side of the country; Eastern province (Kitui).This is where I attended my secondary school education. In these sides too, we had a healthy dose of the national politics I recall a tag of war between the late Mr. Ngilu(charity Ngilu’s husband ) schools’s BOG chairman and a Mr. Ndoto, a KANU activist (basically between KANU and DP).

During the 1997 clashes I joined University of Nairobi for a Bachelors degree. You can imagine my shock on learning that my two roommates would be Kalenjin! How on earth was I supposed to muster enough courage to sleep in the same room with- not one, but two Kalenjin ‘warriors’? I didn’t have enough money to afford board outside the University so I just braced myself for the worst. Needless to say I didn’t sleep a wink for quite afew days until I was absolutely certain that they didn’t posses any ‘weapons of mass destruction’ such as bows, arrows and spears.

Anytime I remember this episode, I feel pretty flabbergasted; I cannot imagine my political naivety. Those two guys turned out, in the one semester we were roommates to be the best roommates I ever had the whole of my university life. I was shocked to realize that they were more disgusted by the clashes than I was. Well, as they say, experience owns a pretty high- cost school.

I learnt two lessons viz.; always carry a pinch of salt to all political rallies, and that when we condemn a whole community as killers we are actually throwing out the baby with the bathwater, since only a handful of people engage in these stupid killings and destruction.

2002 general elections found me in Ruiru and you can bet your last 50 cent that it was the grandmother of all confusions for the Kikuyus in the area. To illustrate, imagine Njenga Karume defecting to KANU from DP at a time when a DP ticket in Central was basically a guaranteed parliamentary seat! This was the most enjoyable political event in my life. Having been in the opposition politics for so long I naturally gravitated towards Kibaki while all around me were chants of “Kamwana”(young person), as Ruiru used to be in Kiambu district, Uhuru’s home tuff.

After the MOU saga, I was finally cured of all passion in Kenyan politics. I just stood by and watched the circus that was Bomas and the fight to the death over nothing more than fruits -of course by fruitcakes- which finally culminated in the theater of the absurd masquerading as campaigns. I was in Tala during the 2005 referendum and couldn’t help being astonished at the kind of hostility coming from my Kamba brothers and sisters just because I was from Kibaki’s community (banana) while they were supporting orange.

I am back in politics, not because I have suddenly realized the fun I am missing in it, but because it has become too painful to stand aside and watch as intelligent Kenyans allow political fools to destroy the country, and lives too.

excuses for post-election violence

May 4, 2009

All manner of factors (read excuses) have been cited as the causes of post_ election violence including land issues,youth unemployment,rise in cost of living, and you could add another 101 excuses!

In 2002 General elections, where were all those issues. Or you want to tell me they just spontaneously cropped_up in 2007?! For those of us who have selective amnesia, there were NO tribal clashes in 2002!

Those citing the disputed presidential elections as the cause should have their heads examined! Remember the Bush_Al Gore saga involving stolen elections? How many Americans were killed over that ‘rigging’?!

By the bye, should we expect a major post_ election violence episode in the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, akin to the kenyan one? I mean, rate of unemployment in the US is only rivaled by the rate of inflation in Zimbabwe!