With recent political happenings in mind, many leading political analysts believe that there is now the very real danger of reforms in Kenya being derailed and the beautiful new Kenyan constitution ending up still-born after all. This is a view that yours truly also holds. Alert Kenyans are wary of reforms being choked even at this eleventh hour by the political class and those who stand to lose the most with a new order of things. Our local press has captured the mood perfectly by creating screaming headlines and alarmed TV news reports every time there is a tiny little obstacle to progress in the implementation of the new constitution within the set timetable.
Precedents are not the preserve of lawyers and courtrooms only and so I went out and looked for the most similar recent situation to that of Kenya and the one that is naturally nearest home. I quickly zeroed in on South Africa and how the evil apartheid system was finally defeated. Many of the phenomenal changes that have taken place in that country are today taken for granted. Little regard is given to the insurmountable hurdles that had to be scaled before a new South Africa could be born. But what surprised me even more were the secret talks that took place behind the scenes initiated by some far-sighted white folks from the business community who could clearly see that the country was disintegrating rapidly. Read details about that HERE.
In this case I was lucky enough to come across a movie detailing the whole secret talks and the key role they played in the whole process, called Endgame. See details about the movie here
The thing about watching a movie about a research subject is that you get drawn into all the very real emotions of the situation and this brings about a much deeper understanding than relying only on reading material.
For instance radicals on both sides of the divide went to great lengths to frustrate and even sabotage the peace talks. These extremists on both sides felt terribly betrayed that there should be any talks at all.
Can Kenyans learn something from Nelson Mandela’s South Africa? Can the masses negotiate with the evil political class who must survive the reforms that we have already instigated at all costs? Will this save lives and help Kenya get to where she is going much quicker?
As far fetched as this may seem at first sight let us dare to delve deeper and start throwing in some names of the kind of people who should have representation on the table for such negotiations. Mwai Kibaki and family, The Moi family, Nicholas Biwott, The Kenyatta family, Njoroge Mungai (former powerful cabinet minister and aide of President Kenyatta credited with being behind the most major political assassinations executed during Kenyatta’s watch), surviving members of the Kiambu Mafia that surrounded President Kenyatta. Perhaps we should also add families of those who were so brutally assassinated mostly under the guise of national security? Families of dead Kenyans like Tom Mboya. JM Kariuki, Pio Gama Pinto, Robert Ouko etc.
When you really think about it, we are worse off than the South Africans were because at some point we will need to get tribal representatives and dive into some serious tribal talks. The idea will be to reach that place where we can start forgiving each other for past sins whilst speaking out openly about the things that antagonize us most about some of our Kenyan communities. For instance the sheer arrogance of members of the house of Mumbi in the Kikuyunization of everything wherever in the world they settle. And worse still, the habit of speaking their vernacular in the presence of others who do not understand the language. Interestingly we will need to tell our Luo brothers that they too have the habit of speaking Dholuo in public in the presence of other precious Kenyans who do not understand their dialect. This is provocative in a unified multi-tribal nation like Kenya. We will also tell them that we do not appreciate their carrying stones inside briefcases to soccer matches and political meetings. WE will also not fail to have a word with our Kalenjin brethren to protest their ruthlessness in their violent ways and their love for war mongering against the rest of us who are their very brothers and sisters and fellow Kenyans at that.
And after the heated exchanges and “short-circuits” that are to be expected as folks lose their tempers at this initial session, we shall take a lunch break for everybody to enjoy the wide array of delicious traditional foods and then return to a session where participants will list the things they appreciate most about each other. I would start with the industrious almost natural entrepreneurial ability of our Kikuyu brothers and sisters which has helped Kenya make great strides in commerce and trade. We will then wholeheartedly thank out Luo brethren for endowing the motherland with some of the best medical doctors on the continent (I know at least one world-class one who is a world authority in his field based in the US, but I am sure there are many other world class doctors who hail from this Kenyan community). With tears of patriotic joy in our eyes we shall thank our Kalenjin comrades for bringing such glory to Kenya for long and middle distance races to the extent where there is now talk that the Kenyan race (3,000 metres steeplechase) soon being discontinued because there is little point in holding an international competition where the contest for the top honours is exclusively between compatriots of a single country with the rest of the competitors being reduced to mere spectators. There is of course a lot more to appreciate fro many other Kenyan communities.
During the secret talks that led to the defeat of apartheid, the Afrikaans (who invented apartheid in the first place) were utterly taken aback by the reconciliatory nature of the long suffering ANC even with all the injustices committed against them over the years. The ANC were also shocked that the Afrikaans had through the long years braced themselves for the day of retribution from those they killed and maimed for so many years. They saw this as inevitable and did not expect mercy when that day came. In the same way when we Kenyans sit down with each other for some serious talk, we will be amazed at how easy it will be to be endeared to tribes that we may think very negatively of at the moment.
I dare add that we cannot fail to find lovable things about the murderers and selfish land grabbers who are stinking rich today and have the blood of many Kenyans on their hands.
Kenya belongs to all of us and even as we burn with anger and thirst for revenge for past evils committed, it may be more realistic to negotiate with the very evil forces fighting against change. We need to understand the position of these thieves and murderers better so that we can fully ensure that what happened will never happen again.
This may be a very bitter pill to swallow but what if it is the only way Kenya can be saved?
See older explosive Kumekucha post: Political assassinations in Kenya TJ
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