Most Kenyans have not yet forgotten the pain of the one child whose last deed on earth was to go to Sunday School on 30 Sept 2012, and die from a grenade blast. Holy Innocents! Maybe Musalia Mudavadi and other Kenyan politicians have forgotten this on their busy campaign trails and media appearances. We shall not forget the pain of this child from forces unknown to such an innocence. We cannot forget the many children and women who have died in Somalia too as we say we rout out Al Shabaab. Who knows the real numbers?
I am watching Mudavadi on HardTalk BBC with Stephen Sackur and that is why I am reacting to him. The presenter is more deeply engaged with the information of the land of the Prime Minister than the politician is. That has become normal to us. That is why we are skeptical about all these people who have been in politics forever and who speak reform but who never sweat or express any passion in their answers. Perhaps it is the perfect thing to do on the world stage. Before him some other politicians expressed arrogance. An attitude of don't tell me we are corrupt because you are too. Another match created instead of hearing the cries of the poor and the dying children. We failed to resettle some those who got displaced in the 2007 General Election. Many were raped, they did not get justice. 1 133 people died. We do not seem to really want to get to the root of things, accept and try to reconcile with justice. The horrors of 2007 will soon be just small scars as politicians jostle again for power. Do we not see how politics played the way it is in Kenya keeps tearing us apart?
The child. We know that this child has not gone alone. There have been many others. Why is it easy to overlook those who have died in Kenya as Kenya sent her military to fight terror? It is simply because they were not Members of Parliament -Who sit on chairs whose cost can build a little Kenyan house and then take home a hefty salary and who are kept safe in all ways- or anyone with big relatives who are in charge in big houses and in power. Kenyans have reasons why they feel so strongly against those who display immense wealth. Or those who have never known what it means not to know where the next meal comes from.
The presenter is asking why the current government is acting in ways which entrench rather than heal radicalisation. The answer Prime Minister Musalia gave to the question about radicalisation is that Kenya is not in any such danger. The issue of Mombasa was pointed out but again, he insisted things are as cool as can be in Kenya and in fact, we are just about to march into full liberation. I want to keep in mind that this child who was killed in Sunday School last Sunday and 14 other persons in July 2012, also in a church do not point to coolness. The way Kenyan politics is running is clearly also the reason for why there has been to much radicalisation. We should not look at that reaction as Islamic or only from Muslims. Fundamentalism not so long ago, expressed itself so clearly in other militias such as Mungiki in Kenya. There have been other militias whose basic argument is a rejection of the status quo. A rejection of a country where the president's son or his first or second wife will want to inherit his Constituency. Families entrenched in power are not a good sign of democracy. Musalia inherited his father's seat in Parliament.
The grenade in the hand. That grenade is not justified. It came from the hand of an angry person no matter Muslim or not and the message was that Kenya has to pay for many years for having gone into Somali as Kenya against Al Shabaab. We were never against African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom some of us rose against the idea of Kenya digging in deep into a neighbouring country saying that we Kenyans were able to fight terror with our formidable Navy and other military forces. We are not. America was not able to do it. Ethiopia failed in Somalia too. We thought we learned from that. We thought we remembered folk wisdom too, that fighting a neighbour is too difficult especially when that neighbour has people who are Kenyan people. Such is the case with Somalia. But Kenya would not listen and when the little child died, and many were injured, many Kenyans were saying that Kismayu was no more and that Al Shabaab had surrendered forever.
It is hard to see how politicians will ever help heal tribal or communal divisions. They cannot. They feed on them. It will take leadership at another level to do this. Stephen Sackur on HardTalk wondered how it can be that a politician who has been accused of being behind violence and is before the International Criminal Court can have a popularity of 30% wanting him in the presidency. Uhuru Kenyatta's core and indestructible support comes from Central Province where Jomo Kenyatta apparently came from. Over theres, Sackur, some people have even written to me to tell me that Kenyatta is chosen by the Almighty, annointed and all that. We are never far away from fundamentalism of one form or another, also tribal. We tend to look at the Islamic fundamentalists in a different way because their names easily proclaims or tells their faith, because of the connection with terror. But looking around, one does not have to scratch much to see that if one went against "their person" one would be an outcast almost. This happens in villages I have stepped it. The support for their person becomes the only question one has to answer to in the positive if they hope for a lower rung of power. It is tragic that we are not moving onto reasoning as to why we support those whom we support. So HardTalk is right to wonder what it is that we are saying to the world when we go and support the very people behind whom we could put, until proven otherwise, thousands of lives that were snuffed out in their prime, hundreds of rape, hundreds of maimed people, hundreds of killed children. It is strange as can be but this is where we are.
And yes, it is hard to see what our politicians represent, not just Musalia Mudavadi. People are looking now at the side on which their bread is buttered. And yet, they have been eating not just buttered but also well jammed bread. It is sad to see young politicians remain unable to support political parties that do not rely on their own ethnic background. They should be the ones showing how to be Kenyan by supporting a party that may not be popular in terms of the tribe of its seniour politicians. Politicians are leaving for the party that is popular at home not the party that might help their people understand issues at a national level. IT is all about "our son" and where he is. Musalia Mudavadi should have answered that he became a politician because his father died and now he wants to go to State House because his people need to get into the house. By the way Kibaki is not on the ballot but he shocked me with how he run State House just like Kenyatta, with a close clique of friends. Just the way one does not go if they are seriously against tribalism and nepotism. Actually even the so called Narc Activist, a woman whom Kibaki declared was not his wife or mistress in huge headline banners, should tell us the real story of how State House business was conducted. This is not a matter we can put aside and say that we love to dig up soapy stories for the media. No. It has a huge national bearing in terms of what kind of trade does and with who and how.
Kenya's politicians have been eating too well to feel any pain. The Prime Minister Mudavadi is not any different. None of them have stood by a cause and fought clearly along ideological lines, therefore it becomes very difficult to see who can take Kenya further but the election is close, March 2013, and Kenya must just try.
Just try to get some good people and to manage and balance the demands of a good new Constittution of August 2010. The Constitution might create some jobs but more must be created elsewhere. Plaguing Kenya as number one are lack of opportunities. What this new Constitution can slay is corruption for no one who ever ate of public goods will go scot free here. The problem is, will they who are called before courts, including the International Criminal Court let it work? It takes the spirits of many, the spirit of the law and not just the laws. As it is, the good Chief Justice gets threatened often.
What is Kenya's biggest shame at the moment is the fact that we are not accepting our mistakes. We are not weeping for the little child that died on Sunday at Sunday School. We do not want to understand that we went wrong in Somalia and even Amisom at some stage said it would not stand by Kenya should there be consequences. We do not want to remember and accept that the 100 people who died at the Tana River last month died just like the 1 333 who died in 2007 because of politics of ethnicity as those four Maa speakers who died when Waititu Ferdinand spoke foul in a Kayole. We do not want to accept that we are living by the politics of death and that we have to completely cut off from our kind of politics today!