Accepted: "A leader does not listen to rumors" Ghana
Questioned: "If a leader limps all the others limp"
This is written as a response to so much that Kenyans are sharing on Facebook. It is part of a series that was sparked by a the National Sumptuous Breakfast Prayer Meeting, 2014 at a time when one felt that a fast was better off in Kenya. Therefore the 'Fast 2014. Two proverbs are quoted.
If a leader is limping do I have to limp? Must I limp? Never. If a politician, let us call them their real name as leaders are too sacred and few, should I limp? Never! Things have changed.
These are not the days that Tabu Ley with others, danced with a limp to imitate and please dictator Mobotu Sese Seko of Zaire. Some people are still fostering this limping mentality. The family must vote for them, the clan, the mbari and so on. No room for dissent. In Kenya, electing and siding with the president born in one's home areas is taken for granted.
People are shocked when one who lives near power refuses a job offer or speaks freely and yet...times changed. These are not the days of inventing a limp to fit into power, it is power that should limp like us after they have shot at us, killed and raped the women, taken babies out of wombs.
Remember Kenya in 1997. Pregnant women were shot in case they gave birth to a baby boy. Nothing is new but we want to treat it like it is new. Even then, it was still power perpetuating itself in an evil way. We cannot keep on inviting the same nightmares. We have to find reason. Having to look up to the elders and those elected, usually men is an old trick to keep people from asking basic life questions.
I am not going to be afraid of insight. I am not going to be afraid of finding out what drives us to where we are. A place where reason grows so thin. I know some are afraid of words, poetry. I am not going to be afraid of my pen or mouth. I will use them wisely, like the vote. Memory. I will remember. Elephants have died. The best we have. Our Kenyan national memory is vital. Some only want to pray.
They told me to pray that four men speak. They told me to pray harder. I told them i do not have to say what I do before God but to human beings I owe human language which we share beyond ethnicity. I shall not limp.
When Kenyans in 2007 killed others inside a church, threw them back into a raging fire, children and mothers, men, both the killers and the killed had known about prayer before. Churches had been silent as if already burned to ashes before. Their leaders limped, the people followed. They killed. Yes, pray. But know that reason and action wait and plain language which tells us where we are. Sing all the songs you know. Write all the poems. The Bible and the Koran are full of them too. Speak out. Spit out why we are not able to follow even traditional wisdom.
Critical thinking is a must. Expression too. These go together and the other person's point of view need not kill mine, much less make me lift up a weapon of destruction. Freedom of Expression is normally the first target of a leadership that will not work well. It shows disdain for the other when you do not allow expression. This is one thing I have sworn to defend. It is actually part of the right to living which follows the right to life. For if you have no words with which to borrow water to drink in the desert you will not live for long.
Things as I see them. Look the coming of A New Constitution 2010, A Parliament, A Senate, new laws, more women meant the invitation to more people DIALOGUE. It could never have meant that if a president wins an election these things do not count. That they do not come to being. That human beings lose their tongues and their holy nature of humans, speaking out, not following like mute mules. Even donkeys speak to time and shake their burdens. Now many a times, issues in Kenya have been so hard for us that we are the ones who shoulder this burden.
I have to be clear and say that Uhuru Kenyatta has not understood the spirit of our Constitution 2010. That he has acted out of order many times. And now, the nation is asking him to listen. He instead is listening only to Raila Odinga's voice.
But Kenyans started to complain about insecurity and many other ills and to state that Uhuru and his Jubilee team were not performing for the good of the nation. That election pledges were just that. It is not Raila Odinga's fault. He has a following. He accepted defeat but was still doing his homework of finding out what happened to his votes. Recently, his party intimated that they had found out what happened, but they did not release that report.
He went on a two month visit to the U.S.A and in his absence it seems, and his untoward treatment by the ambassador of Kenya in the U.S.A, Jean Kamau, his image morphed once again into the one who can make demands on Uhuru's government even if he is not in Parliament or in the Senate.
It appears that Uhuru is still at the competitive stage of the politics of the legitimacy of his election. Perhaps the ICC, the fact that he and his Deputy Ruto have to answer for several counts of accusations of crimes against humanity takes all the energy off the attention of how to lead Kenya.
Most people have in a sense gone beyond -even his own die hard supporters except those who are willing to limp along and that includes elders of his ethnic group who see Kenya as Kenyatta - the realisation that he must show results to one Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta should have known that by now. Should have known that Raila represents a big voice and is worth listening to for the cohesion of the nation. There are far too many issues bedeviling Kenya for Uhuru and others to act as if Kenya is their home affair.
What was the need for instance of showing that it costs too much for Uhuru to show deference to another seasoned politician? Is power going to crumble if one eats humble pie? Gestures are important. And we go to the simple negative early signals. The ostentation of power. The public show of this is ours, once we are elected, not yours any more, once you lose. Almost back to kindergarten issues. Raila Odinga yes can be reminded he is an ordinary citizen in many ways but humiliation is not one of the ways.
If Uhuru had met Raila Odinga upon his return from the U.S.A in May 31 2014, for after all, the Kenyan embassy there had shunned him, the high political fever we have now in Kenya would be more constructive.
And earlier? If Uhuru had insisted that Raila be accorded due respect and yes, accepted that he is a seasoned politician worth meeting at an airport instead of immediately allowing his new regime to taunt him at Kenyan airports the gesture would have been read positively.
But did he do that, allow him to be taunted? Yes, because he should have put things in order by showing that he was not going to tolerate this kind of thing so soon after the elections.
Is this important? Such small things? Yes because Kibaki's regime had played the same tricks and this reads not a game between politicians like Berlusconi 'playing cuckoo' with Bill Clinton and Putin in corridors of G8 meetings but as an insult to all Raila's supporters who judging by the close call of the result of the election and the many times Raila led in opinion polls are not only from his ethnic group but from the Kenyan nation.Things began to break into non-dialogue a long time ago.
Substantially because of the affront on Freedom of Expression, worries even on bloggers, free expression on ICC and other matters, not long after March 2013, people began to point out that old was creeping back and that Moi seemed not to be so far away from us after all.
Appointments made by Uhuru leant on one one side of the divide, at it is being called now on Fb, the Great Tribal Divide... reminds of the Great Rift Valley. It is no longer a divide we must not pretend does not exist. The ethnic one. Gender too was not being taken into account often times. The Constitution was clearly not sacred after all.
Now if I was disappointed to see Kibaki inviting his friends first and fast to State House in 2003, making at once an ethnic kitchen cabinet, how much more in a man of the uhuru generation. There was no space being created for new imaginings. Even if we have to live with reality good leadership creates space to breathe and dream of happy possibilities, opportunities for everyone.
The opposite left many with space only for old narratives. These kind of actions and the reaction of fear and intimidation to the suppression of Freedom of Expression left little positive for us to savor. Polygamy would be reinforced by Uhuru's signature later. Defeat was felt. This is an important issue. It was even seen as betrayal by some, thus adding to a sense of despondency. No new dynamics were operating. Corruption and the poaching of wildlife, insecurity were on the rise. Much of what was left for our focus was that history, that Uhuru Kenyatta was and is Moi's project and there is much history and story there.
It does not matter that some who elected Uhuru were still in a cloud of worship, hero worship, the rest said what they felt. Remember Uhuru Kenyatta's roadside announcements on secondary school charges on roads ...so reminiscent of Moi. These were already criticized also in Central Province. Something was stillborn even if Uhuru and Ruto seemed to surge forward energetically many were going back to a place we left.
Such stories such as the rulership of Kenya would never go past River Chania which could have been dead and buried resurrected in all fervor. It was his father who said that. Uhuru Kenyatta was not moving from this kind of background. He became Jomo in leadership. And of course, in the peoples' eyes, Raila Odinga was becoming his father, who was not Jomo Kenyatta's friend in power, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. He who 'allowed' Jomo Kenyatta to become Kenya's first Prime Minister in a way. We wanted to move away from this kind of political contest between giants but the leaders seem to gain more from it.
The Kikuyu Luo dichotomy was facing the nation again, the election had not made it good but now we were refining and defining ourselves ethnically even more clearly. Uhuru Kenyatta could have acted to heal this divide, in many many ways. It takes only a little imagination. Even if he would not have succeeded we would have now different facts to put on the table. We do not.
In the meantime, the ICC was complaining about complete witness intimidation and tampering. Maina Kiai spoke out about threats. This was already clear before. This kind of ruler means much fear for Kikuyu who would speak out. The fact that others did not surface does not mean they do not exist.
Those in Central Province who had in the first place not voted Uhuru Kenyatta were seen as betrayers. People who speak out even worse. There were numbers and tags and some people were eliminated. If you mentioned the ICC you became an enemy with one stroke.
Now in June 2014, beginning and insisting on that speaking out is inciting people is to take many for fools. There has been so much going on that was worse and most inciting. Not 'insighting'! This means we were already having a censored and scary dialogue. In a way the people do not need permission from anyone to have a dialogue. When they ask for it, it is Uhuru Kenyatta's exclusion of his hearing in it that they are pointing out. They are already having it. Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed his kind of dialogue was still going on, no one had stopped it.
He said that it is only Raila Odinga who had refused to join in. But before Raila came back in full gear and expressed his hopes and fears to the many Kenyans who turned out to meet him at Uhuru Park. Nobody bayed for blood. There was peace at Uhuru Park, so much so that the festivity of Madaraka Day on June 1 at Nyayo Stadium reflected on Uhuru Park only in the off-the-cuff remarks. This is one problem for me.
That another politician who no matter what else he has done wrong and whose history borders on that of Independent Kenya's tussle with inequality in representation is treated so casually by Uhuru Kenyatta. He has to show that he understands the history and the feelings the British and his father witnessed and created between ethnic groups. And more... but I remember well that the Uhuru Kenyatta did not talk to Raila Odinga who was not present. He said:
Minute 24:57 of this video clip.
"Na mimi sina shaka kufaulu tutafaulu. Nikimalizia na sikua nataka kusema haya lakini wacha tu niseme... eeeh, ehmm, kuna wakenya ambao walikua wakisema.. na.. nikafurahia... kidogo...
"I have no doubt that succeed we must. While winding up, and I did not want to say this but let me say it...hm..ehmm.. There are some Kenyans who were saying yesterday...."
One would be happier with the tone he uses with business people than with the one he used in the last part of his address to the nation on Madaraka Day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaBNIE9iYxM
His first business partners are the people of Kenya, not a class. And of course, not telling people which are the matters they should speak about because Uhuru Kenyatta has to listen more than he thinks.
Uhuru Kenyatta is constantly defining the content of the dialogue the people want. He is not listening. This taunting tone is unacceptable. Even so with the business class, the chips came down. Minute 3.21 is not what one expects from a national leader of a torn nation and I will not limp after it but it sounds like limping..."IEBC did what they ... DID.. You went to COURT..."
Some people are saying..."
This is so dismissive, cursory and actually in the circumstances insulting. Some people thought it was so positive and open armed embrace. One only needs to read and to know the mood and take on some serious matters in history.
Make what you will of that yourself. But the president of Kenya must not treat peoples' needs as rumors. The president is still saying that it is not Shabaab that attacked Mpeketoni but Raila Odinga and his supporters. The Intelligence had issued a warning before but it was ignored.
Kenyans are faced with the most awkward of situations, tragic. Who is playing who and for what reason? It is not to be forgotten that some feel all terror actions are to be used as a shield against answering to the ICC or presenting himself to the Hague for a probe on crimes against humanity. But we are here at the crossroads now and people have died.
We still have to ask, seeing the state of the nation now, the fears Kenyans have felt when Mpeketoni was attacked, The Somalis of Kenya and of Somalia who have been victims, the deaths in Bungoma not so long ago, the many attacks on Kenyans and the non-stop constant insecurity that makes sleep impossible for many, many a nights.
We are divided into the class of those who can sleep well and those who sleep waking in death. We have to ask ourselves ourselves not what went wrong, we know it. We have to ask ourselves what to do. People are taking positions to go into violence. We have to ask ourselves what to do because this is not the answer, so obviously not.
Well, maybe looking at our past which stares into our eyes again as a present we still need to go back further. There is a grandstanding as if a winner- take-all dialogue is all what the General Election of 2013 gave us in Kenya. Winning then with the slim margins and all, Supreme Courts and all that you know, cases and a lot of apprehension should have led one to do things in a conciliatory manner, to remember that even if elected, these leaders and Kenya with them were walking a very tight rope. Instead we heard speeches that sounded like we have just discovered the meaning of dictatorship.
Winner-take-all was part of the old constitution and does not only apply to votes. We needed to have a president who spoke like he knew his power is limited. This was not so. If we revisit some of our election promises we read more on our toying with justice and the rule of law.
Uhuru Kenyatta dropped his Skype beseeching methods. He had promised to present himself for justice before the International Criminal Court. But instead we spent more tax payers money and galavanted as Kalonzo Musyoka had done before for Kibaki to all lands to ask them to help us run away from trial as we had no time. I must say Ruto presented himself dutifully even as the Rift Valley began to warn him that he was getting used. Our tearing apart began long ago. They stood together, Ruto and Uhuru but the people were expressing other fears. Fear that Ruto would be left standing guilty at the ICC.
Uhuru Kenyatta remarkably became the one who holds us in peace in East Africa. That meant that it was best for him to be with us all the time and not travel to the ICC because if he was away from home we would be attacked by terrorists.
Westgate happened all the same and it was not Raila Odinga who did that was it now? And at this point we could not write everything but there was a pertinent question on my mind. If you become all in East Africa and are protected even from trials or mention of them in our villages because someone will die, people will die. When you become the one the West must have at home are you not pointing a target for Shabaab to hit? Silence on that one.
At this moment, Raila Odinga is blamed for Mpeketoni. And when I take another look, I will talk about my experience with Raila Odinga being sculpted into the the one we must fear. Being demonized. The ambassador of Kenya to the USA the other day ignored his presence in the U.S.A.
Then came to the call#BabawhileYouwereAway. They focused on Raila to listen to all their woes. They said we paid billions for Anglo Leasing under Uhuru Kenyatta... These are matters we must dialogue about.
Uhuru Kenyatta needs to listen. We are not stopping ourselves at the verge of the breakdown of a country we love. We have to... it is a duty of conscience on all of us.