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Saturday, May 31, 2008

That GEMA Get-Together is Not Sawa

It was with great disgust that I learned that the GEMA community 'leaders' recently got together to discuss 'our' political future. We aren't even done mourning those who died, nay, were brutally murdered during the tribally charged post-election violence, or tried the perpetrators, and these people are already at it, including (former) Church leaders?

Much as I respect people's freedom to associate with whomever they choose, I think in this context it does our country more harm than good. I long for that day when we shall be united and divided by our ideologies and opinions as Kenyans, not loyalty to our tribes. I understand it's gonna be a while before we totally divorce ourselves from our history, but my humble opinion is that tribal alliances for political mileage should be disbanded kabisa. As in illegalized. Down to making tribal chiefdoms illegal political tools. Yaani if you are a tribal chief, be one huko kijijini but do not represent your tribe politically huko mbele. The business of tribes voting as blocs stinks and should be done away with. This does not apply to GEMA pekee, as we all know. Remember the way we were mostly in agreement that there should be no special Muslim interests in a political party, or in the constitution? How about making these leaders ashamed of the tribal interests they represent? Where are the Christians that took to the streets then?

Full Disclosure: I'm still proudly Kikuyu, probably will always be. There is precious little I can do about that- just don't ask me to vote as GEMA, or Kikuyu. We are a country of 42 or so micro-nations with diverse backgrounds but we can peacefully, happily and proudly co-exist as one. It can be done people. But most certainly, not by killing all Kikuyus :-)

Disclaimer: This piece shall not be taken as proof of defection or an endorsement of 'other' politicians. My political perspective, if ever I had one, still holds.

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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

pkw

may god bless you abundantly. its even hard to comment about what you've stated because those who care about you certainly cannot put you at risk by supporting you and yet ....

can only pray for God's guidance and divine intervention

UrXlnc

Anonymous said...

This is the start of a new tribal factioning. Soon there will be Abaluhya, Akamba, Luo, Gussi Unions.

The only good thing Moi did was to outlaw this stupidity.

The revival of GEMA will cause sadness in Kenya. Since there is no serious GEMA member to run for presidency they will endorse Kibaki for a 3rd term.

Kenya is a tribal state and soon to be a failed state, if the parliament does not move fast to abolish this craze by law.

Anonymous said...

Pkw,

I have no problem with GEMA alliance or whatever type of alliances that are going to be formed. It is human nature for human beings to gravitate towards their kind. That's why Abraham did not let his son Isaac marry just any girl in Canaan, he sent his servant to go get Isaac's wife from "his people". Thats why Kikuyus vote for their kikuyu leaders, taitas their taita leaders and luhya their luhya leaders, that is probably coz we are comfortable with our own and honestly I dont see any problem with that.

That is also the reason why many black americans and even the whole entire African continent is rallying behind Obama to support him, because he is one of our own. It is also the reason you go to America, Britain, France, everywhere and see this 'clustering thing' where blacks are mainly friends with blacks and the whites keep to their own. Nothing wrong with that, again human nature.

People may shout as to why majority of the Kikuyus did not support ODM and what not but seriously it was their constitutional right to vote for their own, no one should condemn them for that.

I just ask that people do not support ills commited just because they are done by their own, thats all I would like. Sanctioning and endorsing electoral theft was the beginning of the problem, especially when everyone had seen what had happened. Sanctioning other vices because they are being committed by your community is also something our friends from Central need to stop doing.

Pkw, in my opinion, the "unsawa" part of this alliance has more to do with the timing than anything else, just as you mentioned, we haven't even mourned, we haven't healed, yet people are already in electioneering mode again.

They should probably have held off for a while until we are nearing elections again but who knows? Maybe they know we are going to have elections as soon as the Constitution is enacted next year and they want to prepare themselves early.

-Mrembo

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong in organizing people using cultural affinity or geographical proximity to achieve political, social, or economic objectives. Between 2003-2006 Raila used geographical proximity to pull together Luos and Luhyas (and later the Kalenjins) into what he called the Western Alliance. Later in 2007, he used the Western Alliance as the core of ODM to attract other regions and interest groups like the muslims into the party. And that was perfectly alright.

So, I do not see any problem with GEMA using the cultural affinity in conjunction with geographical proximity to organize themselves as long as it is for lawful purposes and the membership is voluntary. When Moi banned these ethnic organizations his main target was GEMA because he feared it could grow stronger and become a source of uncontrollable economic powerhouse which could be used to sabotage or blackmail his govt. Since he hated anything he could not control he banned them out of paranoia and not out of altruistic motives.

Our problem is that, like Moi before us, we allow ourselves to be paranoid by reading too much negative ethnicity in the agenda of other peoples' organizations.

In their Meru get-together, the GEMA leaders deliberately postponed the issue of political succession, and instead concentrated on economic empowerment of the youth and the welfare of the RV IDPs. If they can mobilize the Mt. Kenya communities to tackle such issues, we should cheer them on. The communities should not simply rely on the govt. As a matter of fact, cultural and welfare ethnic organizations exist in almost every major town. They celebrate cultural nights and fund-raise for causes dear to them. If the potential of these organizations can be tapped at the regional level it would be much better. They can even be used to advance peace between communities. For example, at the height of post-election violence, had there been recognizable Kikuyu and Kalenjin community leaders they could have sat down and diffused the problem.

Even if the GEMA were to start a political party, that is okay as long as the membership is voluntary and open to other ethnic groups. The party could start at the regional level and then expand to the national level. In all multi-party democracies even national parties tend to draw more support from some regions than from others.

I know the idea of all GEMA people coming together under one party could appear intimidating to other communities. But from a historical perspective, there is nothing to fear. Even in the best of times not a single party has ever dominated this region at the parliamentary level because internally the people are diverse and independent minded (at least at the parliamentary level).

As they say "ululations begin at home." Let them begin organising themselves from home before going national.

deroo said...

PKW,

ASs sure as day follows nigh, this GEMA move will come a cropper. In fact, this is one of the most illusive dreams the proponents of tribalism have ever forged.

That it worked in the CROSSING RIVER CHANIA mirage, this one will in itself suffer more than tragedy.

The catastrophic surety about this, is that the moment a clever bloke from the other part of the country throws a spanner in the works, the jaggernaut will be grounded.

Heri wenye Ndoto. Moi tried it in the 1990s and even formed a tribaed called KAMATUSA and it flopped.

The death of this one dangles like the SWORD of DAMOCLES

-Derek-

Kimi Raikkonen said...

So Luos and Luhyas can form the so called Western Alliance but the moment the GEMA announce intentions of uniting too everybody has jitters, yet this group bore the brunt of the violence and hatred PRIOR to the general election. Remember the adui remark by none other than the architect of the Western Alliance, Raila Odinga? The GEMA would be fools not to unite otherwise they will be caught napping again in 2012. Unite by all means, i say, but make sure that the GEMA that is the outcome is led by youthful educated people like George Thuo and not buffoons like Karume and other politically ignorant wazees. The GEMA are already isolated by virulent hatred anyway so what do they have to lose?

KN said...

I am not yet willing to give up on the concept of tribe. I am unwilling to grant that colonizers were right in their claims that tribe was a limited concept that had no place in the modern world. I am unwilling to accept their definitions that my history and heritage are small and uninteresting, lacking in depth and complexity, beauty and joy.

I am not yet willing to give up on the concept of tribe.

Tribe lets my friend say, “my name means one born at night,” and my other friend to say, “I belong to the people who shape metal,” and yet another friend to say, “I bring rain in the dry seasons.” Tribe marks the changing of generations, Maina to Irungu, Kamau to Peter.

Tribe celebrates how we have lived, how we have loved, how we have suffered, how we have mourned. We are the descendants of Gatego, the generation riddled with syphilis and Ngige, the generation decimated by locusts. To say these names is to claim that our stories are not yet done. We are not yet done. We are here.

I am unwilling to relinquish tribe.

To say tribe is to recognize the diversity of who we are. To say that women from that ridge discipline their men. Men from that hill are bowlegged. Children from that place run like the wind. To say that people from that place make the best ũcũrũ (porridge), from that other place the best mũratina (an alcoholic drink), from that other place the best mũtura (a dish made from stuffed animal intestines).

To say tribe is to say people from that place talk fast, they sing their language. And people from that other place are tall. And people from that other place are dark. And people from that place like the dark taste of burnt beans. And people from that place like the iron-rich veins of green weeds.

I am unwilling to relinquish tribe.

There’s too much left to discover, too much left to explore, too much potential to be realized. The past remains an untapped ore, myth, a rich vein, the present a fertile, fallow field. Songs remain to be sung, stories written, dramas acted.

We have much creating to do.

Tribe is not simply an inheritance, but untapped potential. It is the material we can work on, work with, transform and translate.

For me, tribe is Wamũyũ, Gikuyu’s tenth daughter, mother of an illegitimate child, founder of a hospitable clan. Wamũyũ, who embodies the mystery, wonder and potential of intimate hospitality. Wamũyũ, whose unnamed and unnameable lover fractures any sense of insularity, Wamũyũ, whose intimate welcome illustrates the best of tribal hospitality, tribal love, tribal openness.

For me, tribe is Wangũ wa Makeri, the leader who dared to dance nude in the moonlight. Wangũ, who let the moon’s rays caress her, her people’s eyes embrace her. Wangũ, who understood that leadership meant being vulnerable and taking risks that might compromise her leadership.

Against all logic, against all sense, I am in love with the concept of tribe.

It is, like all love, fraught with complications and ambivalence. At times I want to scream at what seem to be the limitations of tribal identification, the ways I am called upon to perform tribe: to sing, dance, or act in a certain way. I chafe at the constrictions that ask me to speak my language to gain certain favours. I worry that my positions are taken for granted, that my identity may be said to dictate my politics.

I am often seduced by the invitation to identify myself as national, international, or cosmopolitan. I am tempted by the idea that I can and should transcend tribe. I am compelled by the idea that I would be a better person if my allegiances were less local, less idiosyncratic, less wedded to nine clans that face Mount Kenya. But I believe in this love.

I believe in its potential. I want to see where it leads.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

@ UrXln-I am in no danger-I'm not that significant compared to the rest:-) I can't use this post to create enemies from thin air!

@ Kimi - I suggested we do away with political tribal affiliations. Zote, including the Western Alliance, Kamatusa na kadhalika.

@ Mrembo, Anon 3:50 and 10:26- Ain't dumping my tribe either. I just abhor it's use for political purposes. While it was OK, indeed amazing to have Njambas who had felled the most in among 'rival tribes' installed as leaders, hiyo mambo sasa imepitwa na wakati. Hii mambo ya adui wetu this, Luo that yakome. Seperation of tribe and state is what I'd call it. Otherwise? Siasa or no I'm proudly Kikuyu!

deroo said...

Kimi,

If the people fronting the GEMA re-invention are the Karumes, the Njirus and the independence airheads that have dominated Kiambu politics over the years, I will challenge it to the hilt. The problem is that the savvy Uhuru Kenyatta, Nguyai, Thuo, Peter Kenneth, outcast Kabogo are not fronting this one.

I want a revolutionary GEMA to counter the tribal groupings that meet overnight, remove and replace a MERU party leader, A KIKUYU treasurer to connive amongst themselves to make it a NYANZA ODM, and want to make people believe that RAO is a nationally accepted leader. He is not HAPPY-GO-LUCKY at the very least.

Omingo Magara is treasurer, Nyongo Secretary and Raila Odinga Party Leader. How shameful can it be?

If you read the ODM proponents messages, they have it that very few (read useable) Kikuyus exist. John Githongo, Tony Gachoka, and Alex Chege.

I am for a hype-GEMA that includes A.

-Derek-

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Deroo, by the GEMA, i mean Gikuyu, Embu, Meru and Akamba.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

I always took the A to mean Akamba. Apparently it stood for Association?

Anonymous said...

pkw

it could also mean (a)fter-thought which is what the (a)kamba inclusion into the gema (a)lliance is about. personally methinks the way things are headed we will have a gemba

(yup you guessed right) throw in bantu to increase the spread and reach of the net

and after Tuju converts a few more then we spread the net to somehow differentiate some of those guys at lakeside. phew, talk about divide and rule (conquer)

UrXlnc

Anonymous said...

Its a free country let GEMA do their thing.....As long as at some point it translates to service delivery to kenyans otherwise it will be an exercise in futility....it wil just make them irrelevant to the new kenya. While they have every right to it its a rather pathetic un patriotic and childish thing to do at such a time when kenya is trying to come together as one. I hope they conclude to form central lesotho that would do us all a huge favour.


Sir Alex

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Sir Alex, people like you will only recognise the GEMA right to humanity and to call Kenya their home if GEMA accept to be under the boot and dictatorship of Luos, Luhyas or any other tribe outside GEMA. That is what you mean by cooperating. We know and can see right through you. You think and wish that you can have a "New Kenya" without GEMA, or a Kenya where GEMA lie low and don't so much as squeak, let alone expressing a political opinion.
Unfortunately, that is just wishful and unrealistic thinking, starting with your fabled Central Lesotho remark.
"Lesotho" will not/never happen, precisely because you do not have the capacity to effect it, and because you deliberately disregard the reality that the GEMA have overwhelming numbers you cannot ignore as part and parcel of Kenya.
On the other hand, the GEMA DO have the capacity and ability to implement "Lesotho" on their terms, starting with blockading all routes to and from Western Kenya, effectively isolating that part of the country. As was demonstrated so clearly during the recent mayhem(which you so stupidly and planlessly started, of course)there are no roads to Western Kenya apart from the Nairobi - Kisumu road. An effective blockade of this road would leave Western Kenya completely isolated from the rest of the economically active Kenya, as we all saw. Famine was even about to strike in Kisumu. That is phase one.
That blockade will be followed by phase two which will be the opening up of a corridor to the Mombasa port by force of arms if necessary. It is only about 200kms to Mombasa from the Ukambani border. Who will stand in the way of the GEMA forces? Taitas? Your Mijikenda and Arab ODM allies will be isolated from you in Western Kenya and you will not be able to assist them unless you have an Airforce. All the Airforce fields are in GEMA zones and most of the Airforce personnel are GEMA anyway. In the ensuing assault on Mombasa, the GEMA forces would be too many and too powerful for the Mijikenda and the Arabs. The architect of Lesotho, Najib Balala, would have to leap into a leaking dhow to Yemen or Zanzibar in a hurry, his white robes, Kanzu and beard fluttering in the wind. What then, would you ODM hotheads do?
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Anonymous said...

Kimi,

That is a very good idea. That would, however, mean that we isolate our brothers and sisters the kisiis and kurias. Kisiis and Kurias are good people.

Gema unification is an idea whose time has come. When one is under siege as has been evident in the last one year, only a fool would fail to look for ways to strengthen themselves.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/ … sid=124592

NEWS

Support for VP intact, rebels told

Story by VICTOR NZUMA
Publication Date: 6/3/2008
The decision by some rebel ODM-K MPs to work with the Prime Minister will not affect the VP’s popularity in the region, a party legislator has said.

Mwala MP Daniel Muoki said the move will not shake Mr Musyoka’s support in his community, but would instead backfire against the rebels.

Five MPs, including Charles Kilonzo (Yatta), Kiema Kilonzo (Mutitu), Titus Muoki (Mutomo), Wavinya Ndeti (Kathiani) and Harun Mwau (Kilome) declared their backing for Mr Odinga at the homecoming party for Water minister Charity Ngilu in Kitui Central over the weekend.

They accused Mr Musyoka of having neglected the Kamba community in terms of development.
Mr Muoki, a close ally of the VP, compared the five MPs to a drop of water in the ocean.

Addressing a public rally in his constituency, the MP said that Mr Musyoka enjoyed 99 per cent support from the community and that none of the five MPs could derail the same.

Bury hatchets

However, Mr Muoki said the issue of fighting each other politically in Ukambani had become a nuisance and it was high time the leaders buried their hatchets and forged a united front for the sake of development.

The MP also urged the Government to take urgent measures to avert a looming famine in Mwala and the entire Ukambani region following the failed rains in the region.

Elsewhere, the Ukambani Political Leaders Forum yesterday extended its support to the team opposing the VP.

Addressing the Press in Machakos Town, the forum’s chairman Davis Musau said Mrs Ngilu and Mr Harun Mwau’s group had the vision for their community.

He said as opposed to Mr Kalonzo’s team, which grouped selfish individuals, the team will bring meaningful change and revolution in Ukambani.

“The VP’s team is a hidden Gema project, which will never be acceptable in Ukambani,” he said.

Anonymous said...

Funny how kimi only thinks about war. Its silly to talk about war strattegy in this whole central lesotho thing,may take was that since gema see themselves as superior they should just cede and see if anyone will follow them. trying to forcefully take over the port of mombasa is an act of war, its not your territory.....and its an admission that you need the rest of kenya to survive which is what we have been telling you all along.....war is not as cheap as you may think and nairobi has always been masaai land so forget about it. Even if by luck your able to find a path to the coast you simply cannot fight the arabs there and you know it...ask the amreicans..the somalis are not on your side either....you will need an army of all able bodied kikuyus when the war is over there will be no more kikuyu men left.....central bieng cental means you can be attacked from all sides...your only ally is Museveni but the bigest most deciplined standing army in east africa is Tz and you have already ruffled their feathers with your thuggery.
The kambaas wouln't fight a war they are not sure to win. Its one thing to win a war its another to occupy ask Bush. Both senoir and jnr. Remember black hawk down?
try to occupy the coast and get a taste up your arse of hell.

The rest of kenya are poor so when its all over who shall have lost more? War is a strange thing until it happens don't be to sure of the outcome. Maybe some muslim will get a few nuclear war heads and toss them in central it can be a very short war my friend.....you need a working kenya to continue looting the rest can simply pulverise everything so we all start afresh and see who is the industrious one...

Sir Alex

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