WELCOME UHURUTO REGIME; WE HOPE FOR THE BEST
We have come full circle and today, the Jubilee government will be inaugurated. Being the last day of Kibaki’s regime, it is not bad to look ahead and splash our wish lists. I know there are many wish lists being thrown left and right and most of them are interest vested lists. For them whose time it is to eat or continue eating, we wish them all the best. However, life is short and the beauty of life is neither in getting time to eat but just being a live to witness it all. We are glad we are alive and we shall bear witness. They say that in every problem are the seed for its resolution and every tyranny has in itself seeds of self destruction. Therefore, I trust that the challenges the Jubilee government is likely to face are the issues that can make that regime the best thing to have happened to Kenya. It is our moral duty to MOVE ON not because Jubilee and State Mandarins want us to MOVE ON but because it is good and proper for our own health that we move on. Therefore, move on I will and trust that beyond human manipulations, we have a God up there or down here somewhere who knows the cry for justice in our hearts.
As we move on, lest it is forgotten, here are some reasons why I did not vote for JUBILEE
a. Family Background
UHURU represents the kind of Kenyans who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. He was born a prince and lived as a prince being afforded the best that Kenya could offer. Does Uhuru understand what sleeping without food mean? Does he understand what lacking school fees, walking around with a short that has torches at the buttocks mean? I had reservations to the extent Uhuru would understand the common Mwananchi’s real problems. Intellectually he may appreciate those issue but you need one who has been there and has the pain of those children in his heart to know how to address them.
b. Institutional Opaqueness
Kenyan institutions have let Kenyans down in a big way. When you look at crucial institutions in Kenya, they are perceived to be controlled by given state mandarins. There is a group of those who believe they can tyrannize others by compromising institutions, system manipulation and expect others to stomach it and move on, but for how long? It is unfortunate, but the neat circle that has perpetuated impunity in Kenya is associated with Kiambu Mafia, Mount Kenya Mafia and in the recent times the names of Gichangi, Muhoro and Kimemia have surfaced consistently as faces of those ready to scuttle anything that would compromise the status quo. While Mudavadi was seen as a statehouse project, in actual sense many of us failed that he was a decoy to shelf Uhuru from being seen as statehouse project. In all these, for example in the coalition government, only Raila’s objections on the basis of not having been consulted seemed to correct the forces of impunity.
c. Historical Injustices
The end of colonialism in Kenya marked a transfer of power from the white elite to the African elites. At independence there were two political parties in Kenya: the Kenya African National Union (KANU) and Kenya Africa Democratic Union (KADU). In 1964 the only opposition party at that time, Kenya Africa Democratic Union (KADU) dissolved itself and joined the ruling party Kenya African National Union (KANU). The result was that Kenya became a de facto one-party state, and provided the opportunity for the presidency to start amassing enormous powers and creating a personality cult.
As a de facto one party state, law did not prohibit other parties but Kenyatta dealt harshly with anyone who tried to form another party that would oppose him. The likes of Oginga, who tried were arrested and detained without trial. When Odinga formed Kenya Peoples union (KPU), he was arrested and detained for it. When he got released, conditions that would bar him from being elected in the only party KANU were put in place. The people who became the post-independence ruling class were the few learned Kenyans, who just continued from where the colonialist had left. The African elite took over from the colonialists and perpetuated ethno-supremacy. During Kenyatta's presidency, small Kikuyu elite, the so-called Kiambu Mafia, from Kenyatta’s home district, dominated the political realm. This group undermined, alienating other ethnic groups, as well as many non-conforming Kikuyu. In the end, Kenyatta created an empire for himself and his close allies that their sons and daughters came to inherit. The Kiambu Mafia is entrenched; they are the movers and shakers in the Kenyan economy. Many atrocities were committed during the Kenyatta Regime, and my worry is, how would a son of such a system see the ills of his father and correct them?
d. Political Patronage
President Moi was like a demi-god in Kenya. The Moi regime is known to have committed enough atrocities e.g. infamous Nyayo House Torture. Moi directly benefited his henchmen by allocating them resources across Kenya. While Ruto claims to be a hustler, the truth is that he is just another beneficiary of political patronage. Upon retirement, Moi saw a safe pair of hands in Uhuru. Is there any chance that the two will go against Moi? Will they address any mistakes by the Moi regime e.g. irregular allocation of land? How will they deal with the Mau restoration issue now that it is Moi who subdivided the Mau Forest among his lieutenants?
We hail Kibaki for the freedom he has entrenched in Kenya. Kenya is now more democratic than it was ten years ago. Kibaki is credited with many things but he also failed in uniting Kenya. How did he fail? Kibaki, being the economist he is, focussed on economic fundamentals and did not in a transparent way engage all Kenyans. Under siege, he chose to be a captain of a few cronies that came to be known as Mt. Kenya Mafia. The same Mt. Kenya Mafia has been left behind in the form of state machinery or state officers. These are people who were more pro-Uhuru than anyone else in the last election. Will Uhuru have the courage to bite the hand that has propped him? When the opposition is strong and his policies are not popular, will he fall back to a group of cronies who care not and give no damn as long as status quo is maintained?
I have many Kikuyu friends and I hope they will not be offended when I say that the house of Mumbi holds the key to ending tribalism in Kenya. Their history of Mau Mau struggles and then having first president as Kikuyu gave them an advantage. The colonialist struggles enhanced their fighting spirit while the Kenyatta snr government emboldened and facilitated them. That said and done, I have this feeling that Kikuyu are their own worst enemy. There is a group of Kenyans who feel the Kikuyu have become obnoxious and arrogant in the way they handle other Kenyans. They are the special ones and it seems only them know anything and can do anything in Kenya. It is for this reason that virtually every commission in Kenya is headed by Kikuyu. All key parastatals and government agencies are headed by Kikuyu. Lists have been floated around and it is clear that Key offices in Kenya are held by Kikuyu. The question some of us in all humility ask is, Is it only the house of Mumbi that has sons and daughters who are capable of doing anything? It is not magic, Political power goes hand in hand with economic power. Uhuruto have come to power through the tyranny of numbers, it is interesting to know how they deal with tribalism.
g. Capital Greed
Kenyatta Snr failed and he failed terribly in putting this country on a path to development. How did he fail? It is captured in Mwalimu Nyerere’s comments about Kenya.... under Kenyatta Kenya was a man eat man society. The first thing that Kenyatta did was to nationalize the economy. How? Businesses were transferred from Asians and lands transferred from white settlers to Kenyans. Loans were procured and land bought from settlers but instead of businesses and land being transferred to majority Kenyans, Kenyatta and the Kiambu Mafia were the greatest beneficiaries. It is for these reason that majority Kikuyu elites own huge tracts of land on which they have coffee, tea and other cash crop farms. In the early 80s there was what is famously known as the Kenyan debate. There was excitement that the growth of a few local elites would translate into development as the elites invest and benefits accrued trickle down to the common mwananchi. Well, the elites continued to grow and now their sons like Uhuru are among the richest in Kenya. However, the gap between the rich and the poor is astronomical. The quality of life for majority Kenyans is nothing to write home about. No wonder, the likes of Waititu find a lot of mileage just by pretending to be disorganized hustlers. Will Uhuru continue the capital accumulation quest and trust that by few elites like him taking over every sector of the economy, Kenya will have developed? Some of us think that economic empire building by a few is a mistake. If that should happen, we expect more vicious gangs like the Mungiki targeting elites.... a sorry state that none should contemplate.
h. The ICC and International relations
While I am not privy to what actually happened in the post election violence, there is likelihood that the ICC case crumples. The only worry is that, hopefully by the time it crumples, the UHURUTO regime will not have antagonized the international community too much as to warrant loss of gains witnessed since President Moi Retired. We had hoped that UHURUTO would be saying Kenya is bigger than the nation; we shall sort our ICC issues and come back home to pursue our political interests. Instead, they chose to hold the country at ransom and made the ICC issue a really divisive issue. In Raila they found a worthy target; now that he is out of the way, I hope the case dies a natural death. But there is the likely scenario of Uhuru Case crumpling while the Ruto and Sang case remains intact. If that be another of the Tyranny machinations, then I really fear for Kenya. The worst that can happen to Kenya is Kalenjins and Kikuyus falling apart. Jaluos only throw stones, Luhyas are Mulembe (peace) people but Kales and Kikuyus have proved again and again that swords and arrows are always handy.
i. Land Issue
At independence, Kenyans who had fought for land did not get their land back. The white settlers were asked to sell the land to natives and the only natives that had capacity to buy were those close to the seat of power. In areas where the landless asked for rights, Kenyatta acted brutally. It is alleged that J.M. Kariuki was murdered because his cry that the landless be settled was making him popular among the many Kikuyu that were helpless and voiceless. Kenyatta was keen on amassing wealth and he did very little for the poor in Kenya. Instead of resettling squatters in the coast, he took over their land and handed whatsoever that remained to Kikuyus. In the rift valley, is it a coincidence that only Kikuyu had capacity to form land buying companies or groups? One talks of willing buyer and willing seller but if the buyer was a former head of state or government official, the circumstances of sale are very critical. While there are many squatters in Kenya today, the Kenyatta family owns one of the largest tracts of land owned by a Kenyan. It is interesting how the son of Kenyatta will deal with perceived wrongs by his father; does he have the courage to implement the Ndung’u land commission? In our own days, there are IDPs and it seems only Kikuyus are IDPs in Kenya. While the government is buying this IDPs lands all over, it has escaped the government that from those areas are young people working day and night to have capacity to afford just 1/8 of an acre. In the coming days as former communities of IDPs multiply and begin to contribute to tyranny of numbers, how shall clashes be avoided?
j. Devolution and Democracy
Increasingly, there is frustration among Kenyans due to political processes at the national level. Through devolution, people would have a consolation prize i.e. having a governor that assures them of processes and their own efforts contributing to development in their area. President Kenyatta Snr quickly killed the opposition and consolidated power through centralization. The state as currently perceived is anti-devolution in the strict sense. We hope that these retrogressive forces will not succeed.
Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for a new constitution. We trust that the constitution will form basis for great governance. However, it does not escape our memory that Ruto opposed the new constitution. We hope he only did that for political contest and trust that he will be the last to want to mutilate the new constitution.
The judiciary has a vital role to play in the new dispensation. The election petition ruling has left a sour taste in many mouths. Well, justice is a double edged sword. We hope that the judiciary will find a way of gaining the trust of some Kenyans like me who are waiting for its detailed ruling to know whether it stands for justice or expedience.
We are likely to have a robust opposition in parliament. I hope the small parties realize that Kenya can only move forward when not all are sucking up to the new regime. Even as you seek to consolidate power, we hope the regime will not seek petty political supremacy contest over the bigger picture of national good. As for the likes of Amani coalition, joining government only means our suspicions were true enough; you were Good projects, help in uniting Kenyans. The civil societies were somehow anti-Uhuru due to integrity questions. Will that make the regime adversarial towards civil societies? I hope the little voice of reason of the humming bird is not silenced.
All said and done, a new regime always comes with good tidings. While recognizing that Western is silent, Nyanza is silent, Coast is silent, Much of Eastern is silent, Much of North Eastern is Silent, Some pockets of the Rift Valley are silent and Much of Nairobi is Silent, I trust that the youthful President and Deputy president may just be the best thing to have happened to Kenya. We have to give them a benefit of doubt; at least they deserve that.