I've avoided talking about the Mungiki because I'm terrified of those guys.
Over the past few days I've been thinking about this group of hardworking, industrious and extremely dangerous guys. I've wondered what motivates them, what grievances they have...and what solution could be found to stem the rising insecurity they pause to Central Province and eventually to the country. Like many organizations without a discernible public face, the Mungiki is difficult to figure out. What is clear is that by the gruesome nature of their murderous exploits, they are sending a stern message to us that business will not be as usual until their demands are met.
For starters, it is clear that this group of guys (do they have women in their ranks?) are extremely bitter with a Kenya they feel their forefathers fought for yet they can't even get jobs in. They frown at a government that does not seem to have a solution to their increasing frustrations...where they can't start businesses, can't raise decent families, can't afford the basic necessities of life, yet they see their leaders retire to expansive bungalows in tree-lined streets across the city. Why do we then wonder why they've resorted to tough tactics?
I recently traveled to Nyeri and saw for myself the difficulties some of the youth of that region face. Joblessness. Poverty. Hopelessness. What struck me was the similarity of their plight to what I've often seen in Nyanza, the Rift Valley and Western Kenya. Should I go to Mombasa and other parts of Kenya, I know the story will be the same. In a word, our youth are disillusioned and are ready for a revolution. They are ready to take on the leaders and create a situation where the nation's wealth won't be concentrated in the hands of just a few folks at the expense of everybody else. In fact, what do you expect the Mungiki youth to do when they see the Kenyattas with land the size of Nyanza Province while they coil in squalids? Should they sing Glory Hallelujah? And what should they do when Kibaki used them at the 2007 elections with promises to form the core of the Kenya Army then dumped them? Sing Hail to the Chief? I don't think so.
So what's the way forward?
Me thinks the time has come for the Mungiki to spread its wings across Kenya. I say so because this nation is ready for a revolution and I have seen that the Mungiki has the capability and the zeal to make it happen. What the Mungiki leaders need to do is broaden the scope of their mission to include liberating Kenya from the bondage of elitism and inheritance politics. They must act to keep Kenya from falling into the hands of Uhuru, Gideon, Jimmy and other big-name kids. By so doing, they'll be creating a level playing field for tough girls like Martha Karua and untainted brilliant men who've been kept from running for office by a system that glorifies sycophancy and ridicules penniless courage.
I abhor the murderous tactics of the Mungiki, but I'm also aware that we all take them seriously because of their success at intimidating communities. I hope they can turn their attention to using that success to free this nation.
My word to the Mungiki is...don't kill the small man. The small does not ride in a guzzler Mercedes or Prado. The small man does not live in a gated bungalow. And as sure as the sun rises in the East, the small man does not eat in the Serena and Safari Park. Those are the toys of your enemy!
I know the Mungiki can be the new Mau Mau against the black rulers who've turned out to be even worse than colonial rulers. I personally think it's time to give our brothers from Central Province a chance to kick the hell out of this deaf system. Shake the system by going after the toys.
Go get them, folks!