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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Will Kikwete Support Kibaki At This Trying Hour?

Kumekucha’s stand on violence and muzzling of the press in Kenya

Quote of the week from comments made in this blog;
Anonymous said...
To all KIBAKI SPIES;

This website is not anti-PNU or pro-ODM.

IT IS PRO-DEMOCRACY!!!

The fact is simple and any pinhead can understand it.

-------------------------
Update: President of Ghana and current AU chair John Kufuor is expected in Nairobi this week to lead Intenational mediation efforts. Strangely, foreign affairs assitant minister Moses Wetangula was hurriedly flown to Ghana to brief him of the situation in Kenya before he arrives.

At the same time the latest strategy of the govenmnt is to seek support from other African countries other than Uganda (which so far is the only country on the planet that has congratulated Kibaki on his "re-election." Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete who has his own massive domestic problems and has lost a lot of popularity in recent times with accusations of grand corruption, is being courted.

ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga has called for meetings countrywide including 5 in Nairobi set for Tuesday.
-------------------

Am I my brother’s keeper?

A few days ago, I had a discussion with a friend who works for a well known media house. Since I would not whole heartedly agree with his view that the current situation pertaining in the country was attributable specifically to one side of the political divide, I was left in no doubt that I should be considered a traitor to my own. That’s ethnic, not, political persuasion.

And that’s the rub. How do we even begin to bridge the ethnic divide, because it does exist, when to reach out to the other side may well lead to alienation from your own ethnic community?

Is this situation unique to myself? I think not.

Kenya is walking wounded. The 2007 general election has exposed the deep ethnic hatred that has simmered for many years in this country. Kenyans, in their own unique way, have perfected the art of doublespeak. That we are a united nation, and proud of our patriotism yet we remain deeply divided along ethnic lines as the outcome of this election has clearly shown.

Isn’t it time that as Kenyans we come out once and for all and admit that all is not well in ‘our house’? What are we so afraid of, that we would rather find a quick solution to the current crisis and return to our ‘fake’ lives only to wait for the next implosion of ethnic killing.

In todays nation, Gitau Warigi said, ‘Yet the mere resolution of the presidential election dispute is not going to erase the ugly ethnic hatred that has finally been exposed. Dialogue is the first step but, inevitably, some lasting constitutional or other pact must be worked out to ensure everybody will forever feel safe. And, ‘the facade of a peaceful Kenya has always been intended to obscure from view the deep fissures in the country’.

It’s clear that many of us recognize the deception we are living. More so, another opinion article in the same paper today notes, ‘It gets even more tragic for Kenya that in this day and age, corruption and ethnic chauvinism remain the biggest challenges’.

So its clear to all who want to see. Tribalism or ethnic chauvinism to a large extent is the driving force behind our politics and hence the flawed elections and its aftermath.

It is clear to me that corruption and tribalism go hand in hand. There is a viscous circle containing in it, tribalism, corruption and politics. The three combining in various lethal doses to fuel the next.

In my own sphere of influence I have often argued that the first in line in this sad mix is tribalism which then fuels political interests to convert Kenyans to support and vote one of their own ethnic community or a friendly ‘one’ to get as close to executive power as possible. Hence if ones ethnic group have a candidate for the presidency then the obligation is to support him or her regardless of their capacity, reputation, or leadership qualities. In addition, the community should then support as many next tier candidates as possible so as to attain the largest spread of ethnic command of Government.

So the prize then is Government and the Executive power that goes with it.

Why? This is where the corruption element rears its ugly head. So that the community may firstly protect itself (read those who have already been implicated in past corruption related offences) and then go on to acquire more wealth through manipulation of selected Government processes. Those not directly in the ethnic political elite then strive to acquire ‘Godfathers’ who will facilitate the same. The rationale being, ‘it’s our turn now’, and ‘if we don’t do it someone else will’.

This unfortunately unravels back to the Kikuyu elite of the 1960’s when the first post independence government was formed. Kenyans have thus adopted the misguided notion that the best way to negate the corrupt gains made by this community is to get one of their own into power and reverse the trend to their own favour.

Despite our claim to being a mostly Christian and for that matter Muslim nation, the concept of forgiveness is surprisingly absent.

Yet as we become more sophisticated as a nation we must cloak our raw unbridled greed, tribalism, in ever more sophisticated camouflage. Hence, NARC and now ODM and PNU. At the heart of each you will find the same principle at work.

Its either direct, as in, we need power to sort out our issues and redistribute income or the previous Government neglected (or threatened) us so we will join with another power seeking group to remedy the situation and punish them in the same vein. This would explain the coming together of Luo, Kalenjin and other tribal groups against the Kikuyu under the guise of democracy. The majority of Kikuyu for one do not believe this.

Please do not (deliberately) or otherwise misinterpret this as an attempt to justify tribal/ethnic groupings or any one communities desire for political power including my own.

I have always seen myself as a Kenyan first and a Luo second and in that sense I believe it is easier for me to temper my own tribal inclinations (which exist).

Indeed I see that we have far more to gain by seeing ourselves as one, as Kenyans than letting our ethnic order get the better of us.

Further, there is absolutely NO WAY that a division of Kenya along those lines into separate states will make life any better for even the most economically endowed ethnic group. So what’s the point of thinking in that way in the first place?

Our strength as Kenya and our future is in us setting aside those tribal passions and working together to make Kenya what is should be. This will require forgiveness, understanding, compromise and humility. There is no other way and what we have witnessed in the last 10 days is not an option.

A ‘Truth and Justice Commission’ is a priority. Those old wounds have not healed no matter how much we pretend they have. We have to deal with our past to ensure our future and the sooner the better. Otherwise Kenya will continue to exist as the dysfunctional house it is where, gains today can be reduced to nothing in hours, each time ethnicity takes centre stage.

If combined with genuine patriotism, wealth and power will improve the lot of the common man as those who have attained them will understand that fate plays just as much a role in their lives as their own strivings.

There is something that I have thought of often but have never been able to find the correct words to express. I found the words almost exactly as I had envisioned my thoughts in today’s nation editorial.

‘Kenya practices a brutal, inhuman brand of capitalism which encourages fierce competition for survival, wealth and power. Those who can’t compete successfully are allowed to live like animals in slums. The country is choking with millions of young, able-bodied people who haven’t a hope of amounting to anything and who are susceptible to the seduction of false promises’.

To this group the Political class plays master puppeteer with the consequences we have already seen.

I put it to you that the solution to Kenya’s problems lie in a quiet and distinct revolution in the minds of the middle class who may not control the wealth but are most certainly the only real buffer this country has to true and bloody revolution.

So where does this leave us?

Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes. Yes I am. I must be.

Guest post by Lucas Mboya.

18 comments:

John Kew said...

It is reported that buses are being stopped in Naivasha and some people are being marched out and beheaded.

Should the government not be impartial and offer all buses police support to protect these people?

Silaha said...

@John: Unless these are new reports I investigated similar reports yesterday and was told that they were not true. Check your sources.

Lukie:

I'm glad to see you're well and back at the top of your game yet again.

I completely agree with you that tribalism, corruption and politics are the ingredients that have fueled our current mayhem. In fact, in the post Independence era there have been ethnic riots in 1969, 1992, 1997 and now 2007. Each of these has been an election year. I am sure some will say but there have been other election years other than those. Yes, but between 1969 and 1992 we were a one party state and the 2002 Narc wave was a unique event, and, well, the incumbent was not running.

So the question is this, is our nation stricken by true ethnic schisms or are these eruptions of barbarism cruelly promoted by politicians who have a selfish interest? I firmly believe it is the latter. There are numerous reports of how Kenya (particularly in urban areas) had become very cosmopolitan in the sixties and tribe was receding as a defining trait. But with our winner take all (literally, unfortunately) politics and the patronage surrounding it, our primative sentiments have been stoked. So what it is that politicians are receiving once in office that could make them be so evil and determined to get elected? There is but one answer: Corruption.

If you accept the foregoing then you will see why I believe that if we address the two evils of corruption and absolute political power the issue of tribalism will recede. It is after this that we can truly benefit from a "Truth and Justice/Reconciliation Commission" prior to that we'll just be changing the pieces on the board and not the game.

-Silaha

Anonymous said...

Leakey says: "They think white, they think black, they think Muslim, they think Christian, they think Kikuyu, they think Masai. They don't think Kenyan. That is the challenge for the future."

Anonymous said...

"We are going to have to transcend our tribes without losing our roots, transcend our religions without losing our faith". Ben Okri

tnk said...

Silaha.

good points on tribalism and corruption. in fact if Kenya beefs up the institutions charged with providing good governance and public service and free of executive interference we'll be almost home and dry.

politics and ethnic chauvinism/hatred is slightly different and think a solution lies mostly in the logistics or perceptions. Currently the flare up is based on traitors in "our midst". A traitor is someone that "eats" with you then "sells you out". If s/he lives elsewhere and eats elsewhere most can live with whatever their choice right or wrong. But we do not want a situation where a group in a community is smothered or democratic rights stifled so as not to be seen as traitors. Regretably as the events of the past 10 days have shown we have not matured enough to guarantee their safety so maybe the ECK (I hope we get a new body with a different name) can create provisions so that people or groups living outside of their "home" interest can return to home districts to cast their vote or setup special moderate centers known for accomodating divergent views. That way "inflated" figures will not be blamed on outsiders and hence avoid the wrath of the damu supporters.

solutions/suggestions by some kenyan scholars to current crisis in the 2nd link below

http://canadiancoalition.com/forum/messages/27693.shtml

http://canadiancoalition.com/forum/messages/27694.shtml

kenyaone said...

Silaha John. I cant quite put my finger on it but from what you have said its clear that tribalism, corruption, politics and the strengthening of institutions must be addressed. My question is how exactly and where can we start. I would ideally like a number opf people consulting to come up with a blueprint on the way forward. As in an exhaustive working document that can then be presented to Government and the subsequent formatioon of a lobby group to pressure for its implementation. Im sure that we here at kumekucha can set the ball rolling. But i think its really important that we examine our society and once and for all come up with a formula that once in place will make it all but impossible for thsi kind of chaos to cccur again. What I would like to see somewhere in the whole working document would be a truth and reconcilliation commission and of course the re-constitution of the ECK.

Vikii said...

Thanks Lucas. What you have said is nothing but the truth. I agree the most important step towards resolving the mess that Kenya has turned out to be is empowering institutions. The institution that should get first priority is of course the constitution and then parliament.

Our parliament today is a rubber stamp of political party leaders' minds. These fellows happen to have very narrow agendas and they are the ones that set the tempo in there. Empowering parliament should be proportionate to reducing the powers of the president.

The reason tribalism is so rife in our society is "the-winner takes-all" mentality. Every community feels they have to support one of their own because that is the surest way of bagging government appointments. The president will first look into his community when appointing parastatal heads who subsequently consider their tribesmen first when hiring suppport staff. At the end of the day, we are only raising the stakes for 'communities'.

When the members of parliament are sworn in, the most important bill they neeed to pass is one that gives parliament powers to veto all major appointments by the president. There is no other way of getting rid of the imperial presidency. Do not for a minute buy the crap that executive power should be split just between the president and a prime minister, no, it should be shared between the president and the institution called parliament. Parliament will be able to veto the appointment of the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, the chairman of the electoral commmission, the police commissioner,all parastatal heads and all permanent secreataries. This will ensure no single community will pollute any sector of government. Once that is done my dear brothers, the hype that the presidency attracts will die. People will start supporting political parties purely on the basis of ideology without looking at the ethnicity of the party's presidential torch bearer.

I am one of those who have categorically refused to be lied to that the violence the country is currently caught in has any basis in the fight for democracy or justice. These are the results of cummulative tribal animosities which are boiling over. Let's empower parliament and every community will feel part of government. Only when that happens, will the presidency which is the root cause of all suspicion will lose meaning and we will focuss our energies elsewhere.

kenyaone said...

I agree vickii. But parliament having the veto power is only one part of it. I am grappling more with the psychological aspect of our leaders. For instance. How many who are going to bunge are really there to look at how to make kenya a better country as opposed to just toi line their pockets. The lure of parliament is tremendous. about 60 million in 5 years, not to mention other business and corrupt opportunities. What can be done to change the way of thinking of our leaders? What i fear is that in the process of changing l;aws and empowering institutions endorsements must come from parliament. If we have a horde of leaders who are bent on money first then its just as easy to 'bribe' them to pervert the good cause. is there any way we can guard agaisnt this. But i do agree that thats the way to go. Apparently Kibaki and Raila are going to make some kind of negotiated settlement so lets see what happens. I suppose they will create a position of prime minister elected by parliament and that goes to ODM? but will this then be the end? How can we ensure that it will not merely be a cosmetic change that will fall apart at the next election. How can we ensure that the issue of tribalism is comprehensively dealt with and the institutions that need to be overhauled identified. Its going to take the long haul, to work this out.

komora27 said...

KIBAKI IS A FAILURE

kibaki is a FAILURE. like it or not he has failed u too. he is the worst mistake kenya ever made. anyone backing him is either a fool or an ignorant (very ignorant) kikuyu. and that means you-yes wewee..


this is about a nation whose promise has been shattered by someone too scared to leave the

Voice of Reason said...

Gitau Warigi said, ‘Yet the mere resolution of the presidential election dispute is not going to erase the ugly ethnic hatred that has finally been exposed. Dialogue is the first step but, inevitably, some lasting constitutional or other pact must be worked out to ensure everybody will forever feel safe. And, ‘the facade of a peaceful Kenya has always been intended to obscure from view the deep fissures in the country’.

This is a very patent observation and I propose the following:
-Given that Kenya is now so ethnically divided and every issue is assessed thro' the tribal prism
-Given that the Kenyan psych is that the tribe benefits when their own is the president
-Given that political parties in Kenya are not ideologically-based but rather, mere "vehicles" to political power

I propose that:
1. We divide the country's population into ethnic blocks such as GEMA, KAMATUSA, LUHYA (icluding Kisiis),Luos (including Suba), Miji Kenda (including Swahilis and Somalis (including Borans and those other NE tribes).This list is not exhaustive.
2. We then allow each of these groups to present presidential candidates in turns, in an order determined through tossing of a coin (i.e randomly). If you noticed, the first time Kenya actually had the least tribalised election year was 2002 when the two leading contenders were both from GEMA, i.e Kibaki and Uhuru. Kalenjins voted for Uhuru and Luos voted for Kibaki etc.
3. For a start, the GEMA and KAMATUSA will be excluded from the random selections since they have already "eaten."
4. By the time all the groups will have gotten their turn, Kenya will have been so de-tribalised that it will no longer matter who becomes president thereafter.

Is there anyone out there who supports my proposal?

toiyoi said...

@voice of..
I kind of agree, but better yet, i think we should have weak central government, and strong regional ones, so that those aspiring to be kings can be kings in their region, and they do not have to wait so long

Voice of Reason said...

Toiyoi @ 9:52. Once you talk of regions, some communities think "majimbo" and they will fight tooth and nail not to allow this. Secondly, I believe every ethnic group would like to "eat" the same way others have eaten.

Vikii said...

Lucas, I agree strengthening of parliament may only be good in theory because of the prospects of these guys being bought by the president to endorse all his wishes. But then again, the effectiveness of parliament is not something we can achieve in a day. When you think of it, Kenyan leaders are only as immoral as their subjects. We have to change our ways as a society. I think it was Kalonzo who said you cannot legislate honesty. Once we have a society that values honesty, that will disseminate into all areas of leadership. Perrhaps Ndingi, Njue, Nzimbi, all the sheikhs and all religious leaders need to double their energies in spreading the word of God. The general society, Lucas, is the pool where we draw our leaders. Once the society changes, we will have good leaders who then can be in charge of strong institutions. That way now there will be no loopholes for people to go astray. But I agree, it is complex.

tnk said...

these piece-meal solutions or suggestion can be quite dangerous. its a simplistic mash-up of "solutions" to our current quagmire, and then somehow being projected as long term solutions. In order to come up with effective long term solutions we need to start from the bigger picture then break it down to the individual components i.e where do we see our country in 2010, 2020, 2030 etc in relation to our East African Neighbors, Africa and the world. How do we want to be distinguished or identified as. Then start translating those goals into individual tasks, the institutions, the key players and how to ensure the collective creation of opportunity permeates through all sectors and regions. This includes understanding the economic, social and natural resources requirements amongst other factors and then determine how to best harness the grassroot resources to build up to all this and without exploitation, marginalisation, discrimination and with due and just reward coomensurate with efforts. This its our turn to "eat", devolution etc means nothing if we dont have a collective vision, structure and all encompassing policy and drive. Our biggest obstacles are poor, inept and corrupt leadership compounded with hero worship of the very same by the masses. I simply cannot see how people mentioned in the Kroll report can still own political party or post in Kenya and also continue to conduct business with the very same people they've stolen from.

I just hope somewhere along the line, Kibaki will correct this very same impression that has been created of his presidency so that we can all shape the future of this country.

papa plus said...

Damn Vikii,

Am so surprised at your erudite analysis on the parliamentary veto power that I almost choked on my $7.00 mocha soi bean latte !!!

I have never interacted with you because I found your posts too subjective and banal. But allow me to offer my apoligies for that assumption.

I agree that empowering parliament would be beneficial in checking the powers of the executive. I'd like to add that what we need is also a lower house much like the house of representatives in the US, that would have to consent to such presidential appointments.

cheers!

Papa Plus said...

In addition,

While it is true that we are exteremely tribal, I think that we can not run away from our tribes as a source of identity and culture. What we can do is glorify the positives from each culture. Kenyans by and large are very peaceful until election time when the embers of hate are funned leading to killings and violence.

One way to do this is have a lower house of parliament with representatives from each community or region. This lower house would ensure that the smaller tribes and communities have a voice and say in the running of the country. For a long time we have used ministerial posts are rewards for loyalty by the president which is absolutely wrong.

Lastly, we need to hire consultants from far and wide to help review the constitution. Even during the Orange/Banana referundum, I never quite understood what changes specifically were being advocated other than power sharing and additional government posts of PM, vice PM etc. These to me were stupid changes to the constitution. We have to look at having an impertial or at least strong judiciary that the public can trust. We also have to arm the ECK with real powers to over see the elections ASAP. Kivuitu's crew has proved to be a toothless dog.

Lastly, we have to check our patriotism and examine what we can do to educate the next generation on what it means to be Kenyan. I have to be honest that I have met other Africans like Nigerians, folks from Guinea, Ethopia who show a lot more pride in their country than I've seen in Kenyans. The first question a Kenyan will ask is where are you from or more directly; what is your tribe!

A sad commentary to our nationhood

kenya said...

RAILA ! TEN REASONS WHY YOU MUST NOT GIVE UP.
1. You won the elections. Six provinces, 99 constitutuencies.
2. Anyone who despises his birthright is despised and judged harshly. 9 million Kenyans voted. Kikuyus, Luos, grandmothers, their children, the disabled, the sick, the rich, the poor, all used the common denominator – their vote. A birth right. They said that Amollo should be the president.
3. You have the following of the majority. Remember God uses the will of the majority. The devil uses the rejects. A democratically chosen president should be sworn in the light of the public.
4. For the purposes of continuity. The future generations need to believe in the only democratic process that is best for change. Last year we chose the ballot over the bullet. Right now we know who has the bullets. We voted with ink. They were craving for our blood. In a democracy, ink is thicker than blood. In DEMON CRAZY, it’s the other way round.
5. The rest of Africa is watching. Rigging may have occurred in America, in Zambia, it may even have occurred in Kenya in the past. Come 2012,they will impose to us their choice. We will be THE example that proves that this should never be allowed to continue. You have a chance to lead the first ORANGE REVOLUTION in Africa.
6. The large population in Kenya did not only vote for you. They voted for a change they believed in. They voted out the old regime to break away from the yolk of oppression. You are rich, yet most of the ones who voted are poor. You are a Luo, yet many asked who can vote for a Luo.
7. Many of us, children, mothers, grandfathers, widows, handicaps, bank managers, army personnel, engineers, prostitutes, hawkers, CEO’s have nothing to lose. We are at loss everyday to the vampires who masquerade as leaders. We are the most heavily taxed state in Africa. We are the most vulnerable in a due to nepotism, we are insecure even in our own homes. We die in hospital. In December last year, we did not vote for peace. We voted for change. After all we have been suffering peacefully.
8. Government or no government, what counts is the semblance of truth. This is what makes The “United States of America and Somali” stand out. This is what gives sanity to a nation – a free and fair election.
9. Your defeat of the incumbent is clear and without a doubt. General Kagwea as he is called continues to lock himself in state house, waiting for speeches written out by his compatriots. Stop relying on foreign solutions for Kenya. Our solutions should be homegrown. Call out the women to join your peaceful matches and demonstrations. WE promise you WE will come. List the business that these DISHONORABLE men and women control and WE promise you we will stop buying, call for vigils and fasting and prayers – WE WILL STAY AWAKE WITH YOU. Ask men and women to walk to work and contribute what they have to your cause, WE SHALL DONATE. Ask us to come bear the brunt of the police rungus, WE SHALL BLEED FOR THIS CAUSE. THIS WAY, WE SHALL FIGHT PEACEFULLY.
10. The sure thing is that in the course of five years millions Kenyans will be born. Many will die. Many will have the right to vote. Few will want to control that vote. With our “VOTE” they will control our lakes, our fish, our minerals, our wildlife, our savings, indeed they will control our dreams or nightmares. Is this what the founding fathers died for. Is this what your Father fought for ? If you give up then God will give us another leader
11. Refer to point number one above

kenya said...

RAILA ! TEN REASONS WHY YOU MUST NOT GIVE UP.
1. You won the elections. Six provinces, 99 constitutuencies.
2. Anyone who despises his birthright is despised and judged harshly. 9 million Kenyans voted. Kikuyus, Luos, grandmothers, their children, the disabled, the sick, the rich, the poor, all used the common denominator – their vote. A birth right. They said that Amollo should be the president.
3. You have the following of the majority. Remember God uses the will of the majority. The devil uses the rejects. A democratically chosen president should be sworn in the light of the public.
4. For the purposes of continuity. The future generations need to believe in the only democratic process that is best for change. Last year we chose the ballot over the bullet. Right now we know who has the bullets. We voted with ink. They were craving for our blood. In a democracy, ink is thicker than blood. In DEMON CRAZY, it’s the other way round.
5. The rest of Africa is watching. Rigging may have occurred in America, in Zambia, it may even have occurred in Kenya in the past. Come 2012,they will impose to us their choice. We will be THE example that proves that this should never be allowed to continue. You have a chance to lead the first ORANGE REVOLUTION in Africa.
6. The large population in Kenya did not only vote for you. They voted for a change they believed in. They voted out the old regime to break away from the yolk of oppression. You are rich, yet most of the ones who voted are poor. You are a Luo, yet many asked who can vote for a Luo.
7. Many of us, children, mothers, grandfathers, widows, handicaps, bank managers, army personnel, engineers, prostitutes, hawkers, CEO’s have nothing to lose. We are at loss everyday to the vampires who masquerade as leaders. We are the most heavily taxed state in Africa. We are the most vulnerable in a due to nepotism, we are insecure even in our own homes. We die in hospital. In December last year, we did not vote for peace. We voted for change. After all we have been suffering peacefully.
8. Government or no government, what counts is the semblance of truth. This is what makes The “United States of America and Somali” stand out. This is what gives sanity to a nation – a free and fair election.
9. Your defeat of the incumbent is clear and without a doubt. General Kagwea as he is called continues to lock himself in state house, waiting for speeches written out by his compatriots. Stop relying on foreign solutions for Kenya. Our solutions should be homegrown. Call out the women to join your peaceful matches and demonstrations. WE promise you WE will come. List the business that these DISHONORABLE men and women control and WE promise you we will stop buying, call for vigils and fasting and prayers – WE WILL STAY AWAKE WITH YOU. Ask men and women to walk to work and contribute what they have to your cause, WE SHALL DONATE. Ask us to come bear the brunt of the police rungus, WE SHALL BLEED FOR THIS CAUSE. THIS WAY, WE SHALL FIGHT PEACEFULLY.
10. The sure thing is that in the course of five years millions Kenyans will be born. Many will die. Many will have the right to vote. Few will want to control that vote. With our “VOTE” they will control our lakes, our fish, our minerals, our wildlife, our savings, indeed they will control our dreams or nightmares. Is this what the founding fathers died for. Is this what your Father fought for ? If you give up then God will give us another leader
11. Refer to point number one above

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