Monday, 28 August 2017

We shall eat meat as you salivate. Deal with it!

Mũndũ a vaa nĩ atige kwania ngai nda! (stop boasting to your god how full your stomach is).
You may have heard recently a man boasting that it was his turn to eat meat and the turn of others to salivate. Well, the hubris from one who feels he has ‘arrived’ is not new.
Sometimes back in the African Reserve of Kagaari North, it is said that there was a man who grew extremely rich. I mean, the fellow owned and ran a hotel!  A hotel where the menu-on-the-wall had six items; chai, mandaci, kafu, ndumbuiya, cavaci, tosti-mafuta. In comparison, the other two “hotels” in shopping centre, and all the others in neighbouring shopping centres, had two-item menus. Chai, mandaci. Now at Independence things were not exactly rosy in these parts. The populace had been uprooted from their farms and transferred to a village so that the colonialist could isolate the Mau-mau belligerents.  Once the war ended, the government had another headache - How to encourage people to go back to the shambas! An idea was mooted to reward the African who would resettle in the shambas, ‘fastest with the mostest’ i.e. build and relocate into the best house. People started building in earnest. The country side sparkled with iron sheets replacing thatched roofs on huts, mĩthonge, leading the neighbouring community, mbeti, to remark, “ĩĩ mwembu arumia mũcũngũ agũtumirwa nyomba ya ĩcaa, arũme!” (meaning after beating up the white man, the white man has built for the Embu’s iron sheet roofed houses). But our rich man had the means. In a jiffy he had built a timber house (actually they were offcuts) with a red concrete floor! He won the best house contest worth sh4000 and thus grew event richer.  The government mandarins stole less those days so when his reward money was released they dully stole half of it and gave him the rest. He received a whooping sh2000. Now that is what is called kuinuliwa. In his celebratory mood he is reported to have declared; “I have left poverty behind me by seven corners”. If you have run a cross country race you would appreciate what it means to be seven bends away from the next fellow in the race. For example from GPO to Yaya centre there is only 5 corners and GPO to Westlands is only 3 corners.
Though poverty never quite caught up with him, it did give him a run for his money.

What am I going on about?

Jukistopia tells me it is foolhardy for anyone to think that the country has left dictatorship, despotism and tyranny hehind ‘by seven corners’. We passed the 2010 constitution in a bid to entrench human rights and equity, to end tribalism and cronyism, to eradicate corruption and curtail abuse of executive power.  While all these maladies might never catch-up with us again, we can slip back to them. It is quite evident that the level of inter-ethnic intolerance is increasing and those wielding state power feel obliged to unleash it upon those they perceive as posing a threat to their monopoly of state resources.
It becomes all too easy to cheer when you are not on the receiving end of the music. But when the tables turn, the dance is not all that delightful. Therefore although one might not agree with what those being tear gassed stand for, let them be.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Six Pillars of Raila Election Petition - 2017

It seems Jaromogi’s son does not live around here. Jukistopia that is. People have shrugged off serious stuff and casually walked out of court and you bother taking them there with hearsay. People who take impunity for breakfast and who can swallow a whole school compound, pap, and not belch require hard evidence not ati “polling lines were not gazetted”. Gazeti is for wrapping meat. These people do sh9.2 billion computer-typing errors and you insult them by saying that they added themselves a miserable 200 votes. Surely!

Long after the form 34s were fed into the IEBC servers and the final tally declared the vote count is still increasing on the IEBC database like a Nairobi Water meter that counts upwards daily whether there is water or not and all you can say is that there was a queue with more than the 500 people stipulated in law. Haven't you heard of aspirations or is it that you don't understand our Kenyan humour? Some laws are just aspirations, okey? Okay. Some laws are for, as reggae DJ would say, "to nice up the show". In country where you a meeting called for 9:00 a.m. starts at 12:00 noon, surely 500, 700 and 990 is the same number so stop splitting hairs.

The threshold of integrity is so low in this country that all the grounds the son of Bondo mentions can be termed frivolous and an abuse of the (supreme) court process. These are matters that can, intra vires,  be decided on by a Karengerere (village court presided by Headman). A first year ligation student can wade through them.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Declaration of Guilt

Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran minister, started off as a supporter of the Third Reich in the build up to Nazi Germany. It was easy. It was understandable. It was acceptable. Germany, and the rest of Europe, was emerging for the ravages of the Great War (later called First Word Wwar). They were difficult years, those, and the people were crying out for peace. Any kind of peace. The Bolsheviks (read socialist) and then later Jews became easy scapegoats. Antisemitism reached fever peak pitch in the mid thirties. When the Gestapo started night raids and banning of groups and individuals the people tacitly approved. Martin Niemöller was one of them.

Was he sailing too close to the wind? He would soon find out. By and by the regime started Nazification of the churches and Niemöller among other pastors protested but by then it was too little too late. For their effort
Himmler threw them into concentration camps among the same socialist, Jews and other minorities. He did seven years.
It is said that God works in mysterious ways. After the seven years and in an effort to pacify the guilt gnawing away at their souls, the pastors made this self-indicting Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt:
“Through us infinite wrong was brought over many peoples and countries. That which we often testified to in our communities, we express now in the name of the whole church: We did fight for long years in the name of Jesus Christ against the mentality that found its awful expression in the National Socialist regime of violence; but we accuse ourselves for not standing to our beliefs more courageously, for not praying more faithfully, for not believing more joyously, and for not loving more ardently.”

But Niemöller is mostly remembered for this lamentation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

What about you? Is there an ill you are condoning just because it is perpetrated on your perceived enemy? Do you approve of the regime subjugating other communities because they are not “your people”? It may appear right for the regime to bend the law slightly to suit a situation, your situation, but bit by bit of bending the law will eventually break. And once the law breaks you will not have a law to lean on when your turn to be down-pressed comes.

Take care of little injustices and the big injustices will take care of themselves