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Monday, February 17, 2014

Real Reason Bonface Mwangi Quit Politics

Why as Kenyans make fun of a true Kenyan hero of our time, Kumekucha is NOT laughing
Boniface Mwangi on twitter this morning;Boniface Mwangi; @bonifacemwangi : I'm no longer willing to die for my country, l will live for it because my kids need a father. 1 hour ago
@bonifacemwangi : "I can do a better job outside the grave" in a response to his exile - Ngugi wa Thiongo 1 hour ago @bonifacemwangi : Two of the most outspoken politicians in Kenya's history Tom Mboya & J.M Kariuki were killed by the state. Kenyans moved on. 1 hour ago

As you read this I am still struggling to write one of the most important articles I have ever written. And I am not struggling because I do not have the information or too little to say. Indeed I have too much to say but have no clue where to start.

What article is this you are trying to write? I hear you ask.

It is an article about 30 year old activist Boniface Mwangi who announced a few hours ago that he has "retired" from political activism.

This is the man who was mentioned in the controversial USAid letter as one of the people "being financed by the Americans to cause trouble" and was one of the leaders of the Feb 13th Uhuru Park demonstration.

Mwangi is also the same man whose life was changed so dramatically by the still unresolved 2008 Post election violence. It caused him to leave his job as a photojournalist in an effort to recover from the sheer trauma of taking the photographs.

This news is really discouraging to me because Mwangi was one of the few people on the forefront of Kenyan politics who carried enough clout to DE-tribalize our politics. We have sunk so low in Kenya today that you cannot talk about corruption (e.g. the railway project) without people asking you what tribe you are. If you are a Kikuyu you will be called confused which is better than being called a sour election loser if you are any other tribe but the Kalenjin. The compartments are SO NEAT!!

In case I never get round to writing this article let me at least share with you the false starts I have had so far. All too angry and too emotional I guess.

1st attempt
It is famously said that gallant Tom Mboya was once told off by his illiterate dad who was a sisal picker in Kilimambogo (where Tom was born in a grass thatched house). His dad was angry at his efforts to fight the colonialists;

"Do you think you can compete with the white man who make aircrafts that fly in the air and win...?"

Actually Tom ended up winning that particular battle and emphatically at that. But if Mboya's father was able to see the future this should have been his warning;

"Do you think you can compete with the African (and NOT mzungu) government of Kenya with all its' power and state machinery?

This was the battle that brilliant Mboya was not able to win and many other "reckless" Kenyans as well.

And so I feel Bonface Mwangi, he is not a coward but a smart and practical Kenyan... And the history of our banana republic fully backs him.

My second attempt was even more disastrous...
Kenya is filled with many highly educated souls. Albeit many of them naive, gullible PhDs. Some of them have no qualms about slapping women violently in on public television and others are so tribal that they deserve a lecture from my 5 year old son... where do they get these PhDs anyway? some factory somewhere???

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Anonymous said...

Great Kenyan, one day he will be recognized.

Anonymous said...

As long as we have same names struggling for the same thing,it will take the hand of God to change things.Some of the names are suffering from "sins of our fathers."Kenyans are a very weird lot of people.They tend to be ignorant about everything[blame it on the cramming method and a shallow history syllabus].Including what they saw in the news yesterday.Also once somebody starts to speak out,you are looked at like a HIV victim.Another thing is,most people worship their "tribal leaders."It's really hard for them to think individually.They actually feel safe in their tribal gangs.Finally its really hard for an ordinary invidual to convince Kenyans,unless the guy is a politician e.g.the Dock Workers pointed out the China Roads and Bridges Co as a fraud before Alfred Keter[google it]In short Kenyans are escapists.

Anonymous said...

There are some of us who have been wondering if the urban and rural crowds are disappointed - perhaps some of the riot police too?

What really took place behind the scenes that caused Mr. Mustard Seed aka Mr. Yeast of demonstrations against the corruption, injustice and impunity in the country to through in the towel at such an early age?

Did Mwangi decide to chicken out and quit before the going gets tough, rough and brutal on him in many ways as warned or threatened by the agents of the dark political forces?

Or was he bought out with a fifty-million handshake and guaranteed an deputy ambassadorial appointment in one of those Asian countries?

What really shocked him into a premature retirement?

Anonymous said...

Kenya is filled with many highly educated souls. Albeit many of them naïve, gullible PhDs.

The highly educated Kenyans - smart brains in our midst - are part of a society that resembles the ancient empire of Rome more closely than it does the nation of Kenya - a country that was highly expected to be more democratic, free and inclusive after December 12th, 1963 and especially after the new constitution was promulgated - expressing in its policies and budget the values of social and economic inequalities, and political violence.

Someone once said, If a person is highly educated and at the same time well adjusted in a sick society, corrupting is the only the path to wholeness.

Hence the powers that be will do anything and everything geared at helping such persons to adjust or be balanced to fit into a socio-politically sick society like Kenya has been in the last five decades.

For the highly educated members of Kenyan society, all that matters to them is the realm of their guaranteed bottom line regardless of how despotic and tyrannical the government of the day becomes, let alone the number of bodies - fodder - that end up in the urban streets and rural areas of country after public demonstrations or the usual political agitation.

No wonder the likes of Major Boniface Mwangi have managed to see the light after having looked beyond the sociopolitical horizon and painfully realized that, the greatest obstacle when it comes to achieving real democratic change in Kenya, is not the MPigs and their political godfathers and tribal foot soldiers.

Nor are they the diehard legions of corrupt civil servants who have insidiously perfected the art of hemorrhaging public coffers and precious resources through fraudulent procurement practices, and a very bloated payroll that still supports hundreds of thousands of ghost workers.

But, a serious impediment to real change continues to be the highly educated population within the country, one that has always been engaged in self-serving political, social and economic - wannabe elitist - endeavors at the expense of the general population.

A mentally colonized people can never afford to liberate themselves from the dangerous and deadly culture of 'business as usual' that is better known as kazi endelee kama kawaida au zamani za kale.

Anonymous said...


Contrary to the often idealized and recited resume of political activism under Mwangi's belt, the cloud that will always hang over his head and body of work, is the question, why did he really quit in the manner and time in which he did.

Was it a deadly case of a vulture is a patient, I'll get you for this?

You've got it coming, consider yourself dead [in] just a matter of time?

What's better than money [when]you have yourself a deal [without] a hole in the head?

This is for real, figure it out for yourself, [if you] want to stay alive [for the rest of your life in Kenya]?

[Cease and desist or else you will be subjected to a a very heavy dose of] shock treatment [if you continue to] hit them [the powers that be] where it hurts?

Or did he get cold feet and become very afraid after a scary strange voice suddenly reminded him of the fact that, you're lonely when you're dead in the same way likes Melitus Mugabe Were, Oscar Kingara, Paul Ouko, et al, ended up when the hit-men came calling?

Anonymous said...

Many elders who are still well, alive and enjoying their sunset years in my father's former village of Ukingoni, have never stopped reminding several younger generations about how leaven can be a blessing in disguise if handled by the right hands for the public good, or it can be fatal if left in the wrong places or wrong hands.

Only a small portion - like a mustard seed - is needed to leaven flour that would be used to make bread and other baked goodies to sustain the whole community when it matters most.

As is often the norm, young activists like Mwangi are always expected to remain fully engaged in the policies or actions of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political, economic and social change within the country, for the next ten, twenty, thirty and even forty years.

Unfortunately, a lot that had been expected from young patriotic Kenyans like Mwangi may begin to dwindle given the resurgence of a fifty-year old underhanded political culture - and crude mechanism - of targeting, harassing, beating up and at times eliminating political activists, human rights advocates, environmental activists, cultural advocates, et al.

The political attempts to silence the aforementioned persons have been subtle but insidious and seriously affecting the ability of so many young and not-so-young patriots who dare lend their voices to various causes, or are willing to stand up and be counted in defense of basic human rights as well as constitutional rights.

Young activists like Mwangi, among others, must be constantly encouraged and reminded of the fact that they are the modern day leaven and mustard seed that are needed to sustain the country and wananchi from all walks of life.

Anonymous said...

Why is Mwangi no longer willing to - really - die fighting for his beloved country, let alone stand up for a better future where his children and other people's children will be able to live in real freedom?

With all due respect to the photojournalist and now retired political activist, has he already gone from a regular guy and seasoned political activist to a corporate sellout?

Or has he been induced in one way or another to cross over to the other side of the fence that he has been protesting and demonstrating against in the past years?

Why did he quit, why now, and who arm twisted his into having a drastic change of heart?

What kind of future awaits him, now that he will no longer be trusted by people, groups, institutions and certain entrenched entities on both sides of the political divide?

Anonymous said...

Mwangi and other agents of change should stay the course and soldier on to the point where more Kenyans become a pervasive influence that modifies or transforms many pressing issues for the better.

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