Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kenya, Signs of Contradiction 2, No dialogue and 'The elephant will reach the top of the house!"

Photo of Satao, the biggest elephant in the world. Courtesy of Richard Moller in Tasvo.
It has been tough in Kenya. What is going to unite us? Our origins in terms of tongues misguide us or are blamed, therefore we re-invent ethnicism - as my friend likes calling it - to no end. 
The elephant will reach the top of the house is a proverb apparently from Cameroon. I like to think that we must make way for others and let all reach where they want to go. Nature included.

Religion -ties that bind- has been used to divide us further. Class wars are big and the winners seem to be the rich all the time. Children are dismayed and have learned to fear. 


Famine in the North has not taught us to prepare for it as it comes every five years. Who can stand the images of the hunger broken ribs we see in the media when we are allowed to? Yet we pray in national breakfasts which are quite hefty every year. 

Social Media is playing a dynamic role and sometimes I would rather the anger is expressed there, than machetes in homes, but again even in such a space, we cannot find a cool library to share our thoughts or have some fun. Life continues to be more of strife whilst striving to breath fresher air. 

One would think our animals could tell us better stories as they did in traditional times but not even that. The level of poaching in Kenya, especially of the elephant is out of hand. 

In the first instant I am not forgetting the deaths of Kenya's wisest and same track using elephant. This means this elephant, 46, guided scientists to resolve the human-wildlife conflict on use of space.

This is not a blessing to a nation that has lost so much wildlife, not a good omen to the world. Not especially when poaching is also being linked to terror actions in the Kenya by Shabaab. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tORvxhYdUaU

For one thing is clear, nobody can manage to poach animals in Kenya without a string of connections that help one get away with the tusks or other things such as monkey skins. 

An old man once boasted about his exploits from Zaire many years ago. He travelled there for monkey skins. The weak link which everybody knows in Kenya is the police that can be bribed. There are enough roadblocks but those do not stop trafficking of such goods, humans or road accidents.

We have lost many elephants. We are losing ourselves. The din in the nation is at the rooftops. The people are still torn along ethnic and class divisions, political and the Catholic church has joined in by deciding to ask those who are requesting dialogue with Kenyatta to keep quiet and let him rule the nation peacefully. 

On June 14th another elephant was killed. Satao was mourned by all. Sleep was lost by many. Paula Kahumbu wrote. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/africa-wild/2014/jun/13/kenyas-biggest-elephant-killed-by-poachers 

There is a Proverb that goes "An elephant is never unable to carry its own tusks". I wish our politicians would play their roles as mandated.

We all know elephants have a lasting memory. I wish we could get some of it. All these things connect. I think we shall be trying to lie if we whisper that this situation is apolitical. For we know that many more elephants died on the eve of the Kenyan elections. Someone knows how to turn ivory into money fast. 

Kenyan poet Stephen Derwent Partington and many are mourning in hunger for justice and yes, compassion and anger. And we keep singing for the elephants and for this nation and the world. Here is Stephen's poem for Satao and for P. Kahumbu who lost her sleep along with many others when Satao died. 

For‘Satao, 2014’ For Paula Kahumbu 

Cowards, let us sing in dead Elmolo
how the elephants have died.
We thank the cavemen, that they drew them,
that zoologists described them,
for the photos of them herding
which the tourists left behind,
for who would ever, fools, believe us?
Teeth from heaven to the ground!?

I stretch my arm out like a trunk
to palm the graveyard of its cranium;
it’s how, I hear, they mourned.
The brain within worked tools and language.
I have none: a useless pen
(it’s only good for drafting elegies)
and even then, no words.

We once had tuskers. Tell the birds!


How do you sift all this from politics?

Two big political voices in the country approach things in the way of two that fight. Yet I believe that the more powerful one is the more important ears are. In this noise, space is created for poachers, but not only poachers, also terrorists. Kenyans are losing. The saying is that "When two elephants fight, the grass suffers". But we do not even have two elephants we loved and they never fought, but they died. 

The grass was suffering before and after. Are our stories going to succeed in keeping us safe from bloodshed? If you follow Kenya, this has been on the rise and the last is events have been at Mpeketoni Lamu where over 60 people were gunned down in cold blood. 

The perpetrators of this crime have not yet been identified. There has been a sad blame game based on previous disagreements. We are forced to wait to see the end of this. It may not be peaceful.

Many people are mixed up of late. Some of them say that if we only stopped speaking politics things would be cooler but I do not know anybody who can balance nature and this nation the way Satao did. 

There are not two big elephants fighting. No-one is bigger than a country we might say. n the spirit of the Kenyan Constitution every person elected to power is supposed to work with regard for the needs of the nation and to show interest in listening to what others say. 

Lest someone says I am inventing because I did not think that the call to dialogue from Raila Odinga would lead to the tug-of-war.

Chapter 6 on Integrity Chapter 73 binds all public officers.


73. (1) Authority assigned to a State officer—
(a) is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that—
(i) is consistent with the purposes and objects of this Constitution;
(ii) demonstrates respect for the people;
(iii) brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office; and
(iv) promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office; and
(b) vests in the State officer the responsibility to serve the people, rather than the power to rule them.
(2) The guiding principles of leadership and integrity include—
(a) selection on the basis of personal integrity, competence and suitability, or election in free and fair elections;
(b) objectivity and impartiality in decision making, and in ensuring that decisions are not influenced by nepotism, favouritism, other improper motives or corrupt practices;
(c) selfless service based solely on the public interest, demonstrated by—
(i) honesty in the execution of public duties; and
(ii) the declaration of any personal interest that may conflict with public duties;
(d) accountability to the public for decisions and actions; and
(e) discipline and commitment in service to the people.


Kenya aimed high. This is a land that says it cannot stand violence of such things as rallies and dialogues as Raila Odinga and his team called are calling for.  He has been told that he is wrong and does not belong. You see just now the president has reminded him that he should wait for the election contest of 2017. The country is calm and peaceful and he is confused, they say. So mixed up that he ferries people around the country to listen to him in huge rallies. Rally is dead. 

Kenya loves peace and what you saw in 2007, if you noticed was not violence, just love for justice. In the meantime a newspaper The Star reports that machetes are selling pretty well and the reporter is wary of the fact that this happened also in 2007 before the onset of post poll violence.

Some people who are active commentators on Social Media, usually helping a healthy discussion keep going are weary. Long before them some Kenyans began to post that it is better to write about God and such things and to avoid politics. They were tired of the rhetoric they said. Grant them their choice.

 But then what is so deadly in Kenya? When is making some noise the only thing one can do? It is when things are happening so fast and the rim of reason seems to have cracked and fallen into a hot volcano. Such are the times we have built up since for three months. About other statistics you may want that are or seem to be more balanced and to your taste you can find in all government books and in many other sites. He is my story from my viscera. 



Irony in safety

Kenya wants to sell itself as a safe country, developing rapidly especially by selling Euro bonds. The economy is safe. There is no need for travel advisories, in fact many Kenyans are suggesting to Britain and America to issue those to their own unsafe countries where gun men often snip lives of kids in schools and all those other horrors.

If you asked a little more you would hear that the warning should be against the European and other developed countries not because of such things as the Lampedusa happenings where often many Africans die in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe but because in Europe there gay people are not listed for death every now and then.

Europe should be written off for its failed morals and poor ways with regard to religion. 

As for Kenya, the resources in the country including the finding of oil in formally neglected parts of the country such as Turkana in the North and Lamu at the coast is just the icing on the cake on the future of a country whose golden dawn was on the 4th of March 2013 when Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto got the mandate from the people both through the vote and to clear the air also from the High Court. 


There are people for whom absolutely nothing is wrong with Kenya. Only on May 31st they say did some nuisance begin because of one man who returned from abroad with an agenda to introduce an old man called Dialogue whom he said had died.

The elected politicians he wanted to speak to,  in the main the president and his deputy keep on telling him that the old man is not dead. About the elephants there is no argument because even poets have sang.

What they want to hear is that all is well and there is no need for this thing called revival and revival rallies for the rising of this old man called Dialogue who now also reveals that he has a wife who also died called Rally. He has met thousands of people in many rallies to call out the name Rally to see if she lives. 

Bishops of the Catholic Church who profess a lot of faith in ecumenical dialogue, life and life after are not in favor of such a dialogue. Ecumenism is only good for the church. It is a sacred word. In politics people should listen, they seem to say, to one person because this is Kenya. They stand has often been questioned.

Only one Fr. Ambrose Tonui Kimutai http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000126442/Kenya-priest-differs-with-church-s-stand-on-rallies has told them that he will stick out for Old Mr Dialogue as part of the Decalogue. He says they are acting out of turn because as it is, the Bishops are not meant to take sides on this. Many answer him to congratulate but others say that he should know he has bosses. Still more divisions. 

The Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Jacques Pitteloud and one of the authors of a recently launched book Wings of Kenya, the subject being birds of Kenya http://allafrica.com/stories/201406301457.html,  has done what I never see happening in Europe or anywhere else. He has taken sides too. He contradicts himself between this http://goo.gl/4Izrru and this http://goo.gl/6Us5qz or despite the dangers that are real and explosive, anybody who has followed the onset of the call for dialogue knows that it has been exacerbated by the deaf ear that has been given by those in power today. 
Kenyans have not failed to let him note that money is stashed in Swiss banks often from all the wrong investors. 

1 comment:

NG'ANG'A KARIUKI said...

A great article. Kenya is an ailing nation,we cannot run away from that. We desperately need change,no, a complete transformation in the way we conduct ourselves. And the Kenyatta administration has a huge task ahead of it... Is he up to it?