Thursday, January 22, 2015

Langata Road Primary School teargassed, Ndlovu and Hector of South Africa memories, but for sure Malala is a force!

When they went to school on Monday 21st, January 2015, the students went to class as usual but at break time, they occupied their playground. It was time to play and chat, and have a bite. But they knew their land had been fenced off and a perimeter wall erected. They went in there as a matter of asserting their right to the land of their school. Months had passed since the land was stolen and nobody was moving a finger. Not the land minister, not the National Land Commission. 
A perimeter fence is the last sign one sees when such a piece of land is to be developed! The next thing would be a huge construction that rises with the speed of smoke for some of these buildings are also channels for money laundering. 
The children were well prepared to confront an evil that ails Kenya. 
Greed. Insatiable hunger for land by politicians mainly and the rich, so shameless cruel that it has spread its tentacles to public spaces, including police stations, i was to learn. Yet the police...
Sadly and in an unprecedented case in Kenya, police who had been stationed on the road near the school from as early as 6am in the morning teargassed them and other activists who were involved in the #Occupyschoolplayground. I laud those activists, Boniface Mwangi foremost who were there. There is so much to be done in the world why do some want to look away when another is active?
For many Kenyans it seemed to come as a surprise that children of a public primary school whose land was grabbed by a senior politician would come out with speakers and banners chanting: Haki yetu! Haki yetu! Words in Kiswahili whose beat and meaning every Kenyan can drum or march to! Our right! Our right!
The children were teargassed and injured by the police who stood on guard from 6 am before. Parents, teachers and pupils were in shock but so was Kenya and the world. 

Lucy Njeri fell unconscious from gas fumes. Has recovered now
but health problems remain. This man safely took her for treatment
and disappeared much to the joy of Lucy's mother. Daily Nation Newspaper
Photograph Sam Nzima. 1976, Soweto, S. Afrika. From Wikipedia
In no time the news flashed across the world live on the Internet. There was a round condemnation of the heinous act.  The violence of armed police who lobbed teargas canisters and led to much fear and panic among the students. Two activists Boaz Warungu, long standing activist and Irungu H, working in SID, Nairobi on inequalties were arrested.
I could hear and see the tears and cries of Soweto children piercing our sky. They too set out on a peaceful demonstration only that it was in resentment of a language being built on them as a priveleged medium of instruction.  
Recoil in the prospect of a repeat of a Hector Piertersen as I sit in a western capital still counting my days in exile. As I remembered how I we overcame teargas in our days and never imagined that unjustly as it is used most of the time, it will never be directed at children but it was. Kenyans in different parts of the globe followed the story live and it was in the world news channels and awash on Social Media. 
There is no doubt that anybody should expect to herd voiceless minors as it was when Victorian times expected women like 
children to be seen and not heard!
My immediate reaction on seeing the events unfold firstly through Shailja Patel on Fb, was to condemn this base action and to draw parallels with South Africa, the only place where in 1976 children died and Ndlovu and Hector Piertersen are remembered for this, fighting Apartheid oppression. Who is taking Kenyans so far back. It is now clear that the apartheid of Kenya is about land and the rich versus the poor. 
                      I remain with the children.

I looked up Soweto in 1976 and shares of the a very similar photo in South Afrika began to do the rounds. The next day I read that the Cabinet Secretary Information. Dr. Fred Matiang'i was concerned that Kenyans should dare compare Kenya with South Afrika. The hue and cry was that children were used to bring down a wall, which they did do because it was used to take away their land. 

So much for the silence on who grabbed this particular parcel of land and was he the same person who had taken a man's land in 2008 during Post Poll Violence? And why the phobia at comparisons with South Afrika? There was at time when Kenya was 'advanced' in such ethic and was a showcase for South Africa and other lands, and that time is not so far away. 
Why the fear of digital power? Indeed the Secretary went on to say that it is improper to ask the president questions without protocol, so to speak. But he is on Twitter and is Africa's leading political Twiteratti, why now?
Besides, on the children issue, who has not heard of Malala? Children too in the liberation movement of U.S.A?
An article actually comparing Kenyas tribalism which is just the tip that shows on the ownership of land and property in the country had already compared Kenya's system to that of Apartheid.
Some people are in denial of what the children of Langata Road Primary School achieved last week. They want to scare other children from this lesson of claiming their rights. They want silence. They are disturbed each time more by bloggers. But from the mouth of young ones and she is a blogger, this: “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced” 
― Malala YousafzaiI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Tali
"I am Malala" She returns to school after shooting and treatment and goes strong
“We human beings don't realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colours and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no one knows how much power they have in their each and every organ until they lose one.” 
― Malala YousafzaiI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
I am not sure that most African top politicians are doing much good in a world where communication has evened us in terms of access to Social Media your Tweet being as possible as my status on Fb for instance, a world where progress is IT and critical thinking if they keep on holding children and adults down to worrying about school playgrounds and they in power! 
Faith of the vigilant, awake and living beyond death
Those who oppress the mind or try to are everywhere. Those we learn from not to allow that too are here. No age no death for truth. Love that.
Child abuse is rampant. Children with voices determinant.
Children need to speak out more, and to act. It is time for grandmothers and fathers to listen to the wisdom of those who have lent this earth to us, leased it for I too believe we have not inherited this earth but borrowed it from our children who in return must lend it to others as they grow up. 
Malala was shot as most of us know now because a state gone wrong, no matter where it is, has its different formations of gangs. And these prefer wisdom to be found in learning ignored.

The words of Malala to the world have been heard far and wide.
When nations are under critical stress children suffer much. They are not always heard or seen but when Malala was shot it was clear that  children need a hearing. What has followed has not disappointed. It is true that many children were killed and sadly, will die in her country but the message of truth stands.
Children all around the world have recently seen her honored in her courage. Yes, people should not work with only awards in mind but they must be encouraged to voice their grievances. Nutshell has seen many children who were never able to point at their abusers. Silenced they lived and died. The voices of children can change a struggle forever.

Children are not 'children' in all the ways we tend to think particularly in lands or countries that are under socio-political stress. 

Time to Say: No! Edited by Helmuth Niederle and Philo Ikonya is a collection of poems and other responses to the shooting of Malala Yousoufzai in Pakistan. Contributions were sent from all over the world as the call was made online. The youngest entrant was a 7 --year -old from Brazil. 

From Norway a student heard the teacher explain the concept and he sent his entry : "The teacher says we should say yes, so here I go, I say No!"

With children there is only the possibility of a short walk to freedom. Once they have understood their situation they do not sit calculating. 

This is one big ailment in a Kenya which in the past was often categorized as a passive society. In truth, its fame as a country of people who can take a firm stand against an oppressive situation with all its political dimensions taken into account is built on a individuals such as the late Wangari Maathai, Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2003. 

Indeed some activists are now working to recover a piece of land she tried to defend in vain in Nairobi. This time they were rebutted by a gang with crude weapons. Kenya needs to step back from the brink. Wangari taught one should do their little thing, hum if all that is one could do and these children have heard her and should hear her again
Kenyan adults, especially the rich and middle class need to learn. Some students carried posters that questioned their parents:

"Mum and Dad, what do you do to bring about change?" This is not an elite school which nobody would grab anyway. So the children are asking for our voices, dare we say no? 

To do this one must divest themselves of the inclination to act or look at poor governance and approve it just because one voted for that person or that person comes from their ethnic group. This is a challenge in Kenya.

After the reclaiming of the play ground, which is now part of the school again and during the whole thing, the person who has stolen this land would not take responsibility and speak out. In the end only some people would use the information also found online to point out who this is. He is a powerful person in Government who had used an intermediary. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Politics of ethnicism? Difference in the foreskin: If we are not weeping with our souls bring on cutting words!

Dead but rapped in flags these are not dead but others d
ie all the time"Death is no parenthesis"
The hate speak our traditional orature has turned into in Kenya!

Is this the asante ya punda ni teke, the thanks of a donkey is a kick that we can give back to our ancestors?

I guess in away it is not us. It is the oppression that adds to us the need to kick back and not just the allowance for kickbacks! This comes to us from a calculated hold on power. To keep the people running around in circles for something they may never catch. But all the same, let us take it form the middle level, as I call it, where we can stop it first since from the top level it can only be toppled by leadership. In terms of roots, forget blaming it on the West. The time to change is now.

Search your soul, find, peel and delete. It is out of place. Constantly on circumcision, demeaning whole nations and peoples but justice only fighting back fast for strange things such as demeaning a local leader when he is questioned on governance. Worse still if it is done on Social Media. He feels more ashamed.

What is it that drives the politics of circumcision in Kenya? The constant reference to our this and their that? Diversity is about interplay? It is great to be different but why is it overriding cohesion and dividing with anger, fear and oppression? 

Ours is like this, theirs is like that! And not only in that ritual. Also I heard they bury like this, asi, we bury like that, asa. We eat omena and mbuta (this changed) and they eat githeri (that changed) but sadly I heard some learned people not so long ago add "When did these ones learn to eat their 'gith' with our omena?" 

And some people editing the constitution on devolution once in Kisauni colleagues and taking a walk to shop... my friends, they told a man from inland (waBara) who was asking them to buy some more so that he could get fare to go home... they asked him almost kindly, the way betrayal comes with a kiss... What part are we playing to make the politics of cutting, shredding worse?

"Home, eh, where do you come from?" The women's voices rose.
"From Embu..." He went on happily with hard earned cash in his hands. But the countenances of the women were changing.
"You go back to your home!" They told him, brashly.. "This is not your place. Go and sell your stuff at home!" 

They were thinking more Majimbo style not devolution. They were cruel. Even devolution was still then in draft form. They bedeviled him and he never understood... kwanini kiliumana? Walimtwika mzigo usio wake. They loaded him with a burden which was not his. At home he could go and ask..

"Why are we so hated?" ""By who?" His wife would have to ask... and the children listening are getting armed with words.

When you put the burden of a nation on one person's shoulders, you break your own. Your own soul. Tribalism is cruel, no matter its political heads, which should go first, before the people are hurt. Those were intellectuals at work on a poor hawker, worse than cops. Politicians cannot do it alone. There is cross -pollination. Look at other institutions and without forgetting to keep training sights on them, see how tribalism eats into education. 

You think that you are so far from it... so far.. no. Here in this drama you see it. You become. You are carried away and still in your own world but suddenly the Serbs and the Croats are on each others throats, no, blood since it is fire and fire and sounds real. What they called the Roma they call again. How they they abused everyone on ethnic basis is all there... you hear it. 

I watched Damned Be The Traitor of His Homeland. And suddenly your evil confronts you. Tssssse tsseee! You should leave. Walk out and scream outside for if you have been in gunfire you can already smell it. And then all the actors come and ... they stand there sobbing and you sob. And then.. and then.. and finally the message is home forever!

"Damned Be ends in a direct address to the audience demanding an equally engaged reaction. Because of the burden of a traumatic past that has scarred our way of interrelating, we are incapable of engaging in this dialogue of radical honesty without stirring up irrational, violent reactions, without chewing on our own wounds. Mladinsko embraces this inevitable result. The performers engage in the exorcizing of unleashed violence, spitting it out from themselves in tears and injuries, spitting it out at each other, cursing and yelling at audiences, and spitting on flags. They show extreme vulnerability standing naked in front of us, crying, encouraging us to laugh at them, and revealing their dark sides—their own racisms, anger, and jealousies. They create a space for dialogue between people who cannot talk nicely with each other because they have been abused by history, and have been abusing each other for as long as they remember."

What you say in the 'silence' of your bedrooms about the other tribe. What did you sssssthem in words. Say it. This matters more than the public fora you are punishing, the bloggers you are hunting. This is only the tip of the ice-berg. I did not say have Hate Speech. I said examine deeply. Examine what is closest to you. You. And this is what watching this drama did to us.

Still missing are politicians who will truly engage our African nations in changing power, wealth and possibilities for the well-connected into possibility for one and all. This has been done before. It can be done today. We need to divest power of greed. Power of hate, power of disconnect, lack of dialogue, now we are in you are out!

It is possible to move nations to wealth, to where education is affordable by everyone. Today in Kenya the rift between what some can get for education and others is as wide as that between the poorest and the richest. These rifts have to be bridged.

Damned be The Traitor of His Motherland! Oliver Frljc #Naked without a leaf on foreskin#KenyainDenial! my take Producer Oliver Friljc

The world said Povertyend2015? World without end....

And I asked: Why are you so afraid of the nakedness of Truth?
Pity answered: I Hate The Truth. It is about us. All of us.

When in a country, region, a people hate one another, are xenophobic,
because of being overpowered by power, they need to know one thing. It never ends. It is about resources but you end up tied with acrimony, calling one another names, completely engaged in the wrong game. Weapons come out. Machetes, guns, knives but first always the tongues. A non-forgiving game. Nobody survives a broken nation to succeed. In the end, the betrayer is betrayed and all are eaten up. There is no safety in evil. Only in confronting it. This is drama like I never saw it before.

Never again will I see human beings as they against us, pushed a little we all become what you cannot even name. It does not matter that they are. Take care! Chunga maisha. Once you kill one, yours is on the line. The dry wood above laughs at the one in the fire... Ciitara cithekaga ciiriko!

The setting is historical and ahistorical in a sense. Croats and Serbians. Yogoslavia... Balkans. For they had killed and killed in the Balkans. Killed in words and shed blood. Ethnicism had taken over. Still the scars. And now... on stage this was drama for reconciliation or total severance from your ideas. Disconcerting in order to concert.  It rammed in you the message. Betray today for your people, all yours will be betrayed tomorrow. Killed. Stop it! Still your senses. See yourself naked and cry. See your own genitals mutilated and stop. Sober up. How did a part of Nairobi come to be named Kosovo? or Nahau... Kosofo...Mpesa. Poverty is not about lack of money, also in the settlements there is money. It is about how ideas are organised to oppress or liberate.

 Invited to the Mladinsko Theatre in Lubljana, nothing could have prepared my mind for what was coming. It was a morning special show for writers from various countries under the ICORN programme. I was happy to attend the annual meeting again. I enjoyed my train ride to Lubljana via Vienna. I posted a photo of the rails to Fb. But the drama post on my mind remains. Drama that refuses to be unfelt by the  amnesia poured in the world. The answer you will hear more often now when you point out issues is that weak and defeated 'it happens everyhere..' and a shrug of shoulders like your country is nowhere.

So then, on a seemingly happy morning we sat outside in a lovely garden. Celebs, unknown, just people as others joined and people tend to gather naturally without class and roots and differences, until power decides no. In works of writers, this is how it should be. We will gather - even if only heaven knows how. We had breakfast and were cautioned that the play was strong. On needed to be braced oneself up for it. We were busy chatting to cross bridges of isolation. We heard that Theatre travels to many parts of the world but that in some people are unable to watch it because there are scenes so powerful, they fled the halls. In reality there is no line between cast and audience. You do not know how it happens. I stayed. 

Still I thought it could not be worse than what made over half a million Internally Displaced Persons flee in Kenya and why 1 333 maybe more died. Why millions in Syria, Iraq and Iran leave their homes. Why I feel that no part of the world is that safe and that material wealth is meeting a pure lack of values and critical thinking where it is to be found. Did you know you must leave your comfort zone in yourself, that hedge that a poetry character called Wacũ, in some poetry posts I made is always cutting, the place where you do not care for values and where you abuse, kill and punish in private before you are out in public? Dialogue. Search. Sheha rugiri rwaku. Cut that hedge and speak to it truth in your Mother Tongue. Languages are not meant for division.

Still we writers sat and heard and looked at books around us displayed in the garden outside the Theatre. We went to the door of the theater and got earplugs. I do not thinking about surgeons, the way we were getting prepared had a streak of something of an operation atmosphere, some sterilisation of equipment? Wires looked like stethoscopes. Internal sounds? Auscultation? Breathing? Hearbeats to check? Who was to think beyond that. Why? We got cushions. Some of us thought these people really care for writers. Cushions sometimes precede terrible repercussions!

We got settled in our seats and sweet music began. It was now clear to me. We in the world are steeped, most of us, in incredible hig doses of anaesthesia. Ears are blocked by power. We dance to the same news day in day out. We do not hear. We have earplugs on most of the time listening to music. The more the world is troubled, the more my neighbor, the more I shield myself and talk to myself on public transport, especially in Europe and America?

Gunfire, Explosions and people cry

And long before our layers of thoughts, poetic inspiration, vanities could peel off, long before we fell out of the philosophical tea before still cobwebs in the mind, the gunfire exploded, so loud and even smelt so real, the first writer left the theatre. He comes from Somalia. It smelt real he said later. And he cried. Others are crying too. Somalia borders Kenya. I stayed on. But those 'shot' dead in the audience and on stage were still alive. They stood up. They came back on stage. One by one standing in a slight crescent curve to the inner stage, they stood in silence.

They started with the eldest. A man in his 60s, I think. Next was the youngest. Also woman. They tell me this is typical of drama here but I know its effect is meant to be atypical. Each part of his clothing he took off as if it was a holy garment. All clothes were taken off. In utter silence. Naked he stood there. Like Jesus on the cross? Kenyans would have even had the chance to check on Foreskin! But No! Before you condemn nakedness. By itself it never harmed anyone. More writers left. They felt their religion was injured. But had we not come to watch a play? The drama had a soul-peeling effect. And the cathartic effect leaves you ready to see yourself but you have only just began.

Roles are reversed. Your clothes were also being taken off in the realm of your imagination. Your soul. Were you ready to see it? How often have you called another name for their color, tongue or religion. Anyway you did not have to have called names... just felt that they were 'the other'? You could sweat with all your pores, sweat blood but the cast was not over on stage. The Agony in the Garden? The Place of Skulls, Rwanda? It included you. Swept you right in and not in the way you are used to it...

Some were already  weeping in the audience. I was one. The light is suddenly turned on you, a pistol ... fire! Why are you there weeping? you hear. A man in the audience is the focus now. He cannot move. He hears how he raped a woman. How he removed her clothes.. how you .. how you... how you... How he... He is shot again and naked words of the four letter words are the compliments to those who had gone to the Theater to cry. You fools! Someone else leaves from the audience. It is best to be alone. Conscience is disturbed and disturbing.

"And you... you C....t! Why are you crying? It is always easier to be on the side of the ones who weep... like around the cross they stood weeping... and you hear again...and now you are no longer a part of a 'holy' crowd.

"You? Where were you when they were slaughtered.. " Now you think they know your name and your address. They are relentless. Some more people walk out. The details on how many actors and authors committed suicide after being in that theatre acting were enough were they not? Is there any acting to be done in a country that kills and kills and hosts the virus of greed and tribalism without reserve. The viruses for which none must wear a mask?

When a country, a people hate one another because of being overpowered by power, they need to know one thing. It never ends. It is about resources but you end up tied with acrimony, calling one another names, completely engaged in the wrong game. A non-forgiving game. Nobody survives a broken nation to succeed. In the end, the betrayer is betrayed and all are eaten up. There is no safety in evil. Only in confronting it. This is drama like I never saw it before. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Kenyan Bloggers say...STOP Cover UP! Step up pressure for girl who was raped by a Member of the County Assembly in Kiambu

In a NutsHell, Justice in this reported case is denied because of obstruction and corruption.  
Pressure. The case is reported. The girl is in danger.

The ones close to the case are frustrated by the powerful. The County Representative is an elected person. @WMutunga
    There is need for a strong push is one responsible man has spent time on Social Media trying to stop this paedophile from stopping GIRLS! Ruining them!
            It is not just about undressing them...It is more... 
Thinking more about it User Actions
Actually, this is not just about dress. It's deeper. It's political. It's social. It's cultural. It's patriarchy.

+Kaari Betty Murungi +BBC News +BBC Africa +Al Jazeera English +FIDA Kenya +UN Women Evaluation Office +Unoma Azuah 

Hi Ikonya, could you be having a way we can push for the prosecution of the Kiambu MCA who defiled a minor and impregnated her??? That huy is roaming freely despite this dispeakable act that has ruined the life of a brilliant young girl?? Let me know if you have friends back here who can help.

The MCA is for Sgna Ward in Kikuyu Sub~County. He was elected on a XXX Party ticket. Now, he met the needy girl in April 2013 while she was on holidays and the girl who lives with her grandmother had gone to look for bursary. He defiled her, gave her 500bob and promised that he would send the fees direct to the school(Gachoire Girls). The girl became pregnant and was sent home on 1/10/2013(see attachments) He never even sent the fees as he had promised and the girl was abandoned and dropped out of school at form two. This girls Birth Certificate indicates she was born in July. That ultimately shows she was 17yrs 4months when the act happened (she was a minor). The child is now 11months old. This issue came up in May last year but died a natural death since XZZ interfered and bought the story. The newspapers never highlighted it since it was killed untill last week i took up the matter again with my blogger friends. Mugo, Pauline, Wahome and I posted it on facebook and twitter asking people to pile pressure on DPP to prosecute the culprit. Nothing has been done yet. The child is a carbon copy of this MCA and the evidence is undeletable. We must do something. I will send you all the documents and we can even seek anyother. The MCA has contacted the girl and her gurdians seeking to settle this oitside the court. He knows very well he will be convicted if taken to court. Dont forget, in the same county we have another MCa who has been fined ksh 150,000 by TNA for impregnating his first cousine. these mca must be cut to size. we must reclaim the glory of Kiambu county especially respect for women. plz do what you can to help push for the prosecution of this paedophile. the sad thing is that he has been reported to the childrens office by two other women for child support. this is a paesophile on the loose.

Apply pressure ... this is the only way. The abusers are rich and powerful. 

In this sad story of a man in power who has abused a girl who has since dropped out of school due to pregnancy, I am a messenger.

I say that early because Kenya has become strange and there are traps laid all over for bloggers to be sued and silenced.

But the story is painful and we cannot let it go. CRADLE Kenya
has this information 
Action please 

This morning some people from Kiambu County reached me with this message: "Could you help us...the guy is roaming freely despite this despicable act.... 

Hi Ikonya, could you be having a way we can push for the prosecution of the Kiambu MCA who defiled a minor and impregnated her??? That huy is roaming freely despite this dispeakable act that has ruined the life of a brilliant young girl?? Let me know if you have friends back here who can help.

Actually, this is not just about dress. It's deeper. It's political. It's social. It's cultural. It's patriarchy.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Raila's demonisation in Kenya, and its root in Islamophobia? Exploitation of ethno-religious factors

In 2014, I had before promised to write something about the demonisation as we call it, of Raila Amollo Odinga who has attempted to be president of Kenya in 2007 and in 2013 and lost the election in both cases. The results of these two elections were contested in different ways. 

Of course there are Kenyans who support Raila Odinga beyond and far beyond his ethnic base. It is not true that no Kikuyus support him. Things are not that simple. But there is a huge wave of tribalism these days that has mainly tended to blind all. 

President Jomo Kenyatta  was a Kenyan Kikuyu, Jaramogi Odinga the father of Raila Odinga are Kenyan Luos. Jaramogi gave way for Kenyatta to become the first Prime Minister of Kenya. Kenyatta I did not work with him much. Instead his assistant was assassinated, that is Pio Gama Pinto, a Kenyan of Goan descent. This happened in 1964. 

"In Nairobi, on February 25, 1965, Pinto was shot at very close range on the driveway while waiting for the gate to open. He was with his daughter in his car at the time of his killing. Kisilu Mutua was arrested for the killing. Kenyans widely believe that he was killed by Kiambu mafia. Pinto became the first Kenyan politician to be assassinated after Independence. At the time of his assassination, Pinto was 38. He was survived by his wife, Emma and his three daughters Linda, Malusha ...

Jomo Kenyatta is the father of Uhuru Kenyatta who is the president of Kenya since 2013 March 04. In Kenyatta's time Tom Mboya was assassinated on July 5 1969. He was a Kenyan Luo. J.M. Kariuki who was a Kikuyu Kenyan was also assassinated during the reign of Kenyatta I. Sadly, there were other losses of lives. The death of Tom Mboya brought became a deep wound and rift between the Luo and the Kikuyu. 

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga remained in politics until his death in 1994. He served as Kenya's Vice President in the sixties but upon disagreeing with Kenyatta politically, left and together with Tom Mboya formed Kenya Peoples Party, leaving Kenyatta and others in KANU.

 Raila Odinga has been a foremost national politician representing a Nairobi constituency made up of all ethnic groups in the past as a Member of Parliament. The area is called Kibra. Sometimes one hears Kenyans today tell him to back to Kibra. In 2013 under the new constitution vying for the office of the president excluded one from trying for Parliament. 

A loss in vote count means one is left without a political position in the Legislature or government. However, one can remain as chair of their political party and Oginga is the Chair of the Orange Democractic Party.  

Raila Odinga is a versatile and vibrant politician who not only gives color to Kenyan politics but also substance. In Moi  president from 1978 to 2002, Raila Odinga was detained and escaped to live in exile in Norway and Germany for a number of years.

He has great admirers for his contribution to democracy in Kenya. His enemies often point out that Kibra is a poor slum, the largest in Afrika and that he should have transformed it by now. 

I worked with young people in Central Province who did not care about ethnicity and supported the Social Democratic Party basing their arguments on issues, nor ethnic groups or persons. At the time, James Orengo was a low profile presidential candidate for this party in 2002. What the different peoples of Kenya think of the politicians from other groups, mainly depends on what the president and the top leaders say and think, how they treat them. 

There has been historical tension often in politics between the Kikuyu and the Luo since the British also divided them. That is not to say that leaders did not count on one another. Harry Thuku, in 1922 believed and wrote about the need for all Kenyan ethnic groups to work together and he went deep into Nyanza to seek support against British rule. We drop points from here and there in history as it is not a linear thing.

What has lacked is profound and sincere consideration of one another as people who can work together for the country putting political expediency in the background. For it is hard to lead a country of 41 Million people or more all of them with a diversities in languages, education, religion and customs. Much wisdom is called for. 

There is no time for insults and jokes in bad taste, an almost playful game that harms and harms endlessly. AND of course opportunities must be shared equally. There are nascent institutions such as the Constitution 2010 that protect all. What is  needed is hard work to implement these. But apparently thinking that way is strange. Politicians will skip along.

In 2002 when Raila Odinga supported Kibaki for president in Kenya, Kibaki being a Kikuyu, I enjoyed very much the kind of unity that was in the air. It was people power. It was a time that victory over Moi in 2002,  made one believe that tribalism, corruption and lacks of certain freedoms which Moi had come to epitomise were all being kicked out. At the time Kibaki won, Uhuru Kenyatta lost. He was Moi's project, the people said. And they were right.

I captured some reactions to Raila's work with Kibaki, which only lasted a few weeks. The two visited Murang'a. A mechanic from there told me in great joy, "We love Raila. If he wanted to be president right now, we would support him, elect him. He has done a great job! He is a real njamba... we love him". 

This joy both against corruption and for unity along tribal lines died an early death. Politicians concentrated on opposing each other on the writing of the new constitution which was an important thing after Moi's departure. He had allowed it only unwillingly. 

At the political level Kibaki He had promised to work with Raila Odinga in a  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was eschewed after Kibaki won. Then more than ever one heard of Raila as a boy, immature and easy to cheat. But Raila has succeeded at many levels and contributed to Kenya's growth unstintingly. He was a voice for change when many did not dare speak.

Raila was defined for the Gikuyu and other groups of Kenya who practice male circumcision as a boy because he is not 'cut'. The means he is supposed to be immature and not a leader. This is the lowest rung anyone can go to but it swings the thinking of local people. Raila has taken  a lot of flak but this has not helped Kenya. We are fragmented. This is a place politicians must leave and fast. 
Many decry the current hatred fostered along ethnic lines as deeply ingrained and hard to get rid of. There is no leadership against it from most politicians. But we have always cared for one another in the past. We cannot allow everything to divide us and religious and cultural fissures most not be widened. It is most dangerous. 

I received one call I will always remember. It was from Ida Odinga, Raila's wife. She was weeping. She could hardly speak. She was crying after she saw mutilated bodies in morgues after the election of 2007/2008. Some will remember that she announced in those days that she would tour the affected areas and see for herself. She spoke to me about her experience months later, as I stood on Kijabe Street with a friend for almost 15 minutes. All were too silent on the matter. Hers was an outburst of anguish. The cries of a mother and leader.

She did not normally phoned me, but I rang her particularly in December 2008 when activists were arrested in big numbers. On the occassion of her long call, I told my friend I was puzzled not by the call but by the way she emptied her heart. How she wept  and even said her husband should speak out more because she felt that the victims of the violence of 2007/2008 were alone. 

 She was overburdened by the pain of loss and deaths of innocent people. That was in 2009. Luo males were killed and circumcised in death when Kenya went into violence. I am not saying that there were no other deaths. I am just saying that to keep on referring to Raila as a boy in this way is way below a simple dislike for insults. 

By the way, if you follow news from Kenya, I am not writing this because today 04. 01. 2015,  Raila Odinga's first born son Fidel Castro Odinga, 41 has been found dead in mysterious circumstances. Kenya is grieving and feeling tried. Kenya is continuously exhibiting deep seated tribal divisions among the people and the tenor of dealings is getting poorer by the day. Some have used even this event to show hatred but I am sure they are not in the majority. We are wounded and fear that an event like the death of Rwandese politicians in a crash in 1994 could precipitate violence as we continue weakening our ties.

One can read about Raila in many places including in daily Kenyan news, in history books, in the history of detentions in Kenya and exile. There is a book titled Raila Odinga An Enigma in Kenya's Politics, and lately in Flames of Freedom. 

There is also a book written by one of his former employees after losing his job in Raila's office. Peeling Back the Mask published by Gilgamesh Publishers. Here, I will only share what I know and this is not from research but from experience and interactions with others in Kenya.  Raila has taken criticism also from the Gilgamesh Publication well. I have also criticised him in the past.

Long before Kenyans were as polarised as intensely as they are today, along ethnic lines. Long before it was possible to say that there seems to be a religious angle to terror in Kenya and to ask why. Years before talk of Pwani si Kenya  ( planned secession of Mombasa) and all that for those who follow closely, Raila Amollo Odinga was clearly a politician who was well received in the Northern areas of Kenya, in the coastal ones too, as a possible president of Kenya. These were not easy zones. The people did not mind that he was an atheist and when he became Christian He was not rejected. These zones are home to a good majority of Muslim Kenyans.

Raila's support was obvious from the 1990s up to 2007. Clearly he had support from that quarter, maybe even more than I know. But then Odinga's political enemies exploited this using his weaknesses as well as the religious and ethnic vulnerability evident in Kenya. But he was steadfast and hard working. Many know that indeed there could have been something terribly wrong in the results that were released in the last two General Elections in Kenya, 2007 and 2013.

I go back to his integration and success with people from different backgrounds. In 20062005 I was in Garissa when Imam Shee who was traveling to  the town to speak against FGM and explain that Female Genital Mutilation is not a practice based on the Koran died. He had a car accident just outside the town. It was close to the election of 2007.  When Raila received the news, he flew to Garissa and spent a long time with the people condoling them since the funeral was immediate as befits Islamic ways.  I heard many people distinguish Raila among politicians in Kenya when he sat in the sizzling heat of Garissa and listened to the people. They asked if other politicians did not realise they were deeply bereaved.

From what I observed as I had been there on a project to empower women, those who spoke to Raila Odinga greatly trusted him. They wanted time with him alone and when he left, a crowd stood by as his chopper lifted off the ground to wave him goodbye. Everything had tome to a standstill in the town. 

After the 2007 General Election, there was violence in Kenya. It is normally referred to as PEV, or Post Poll Violence. It was due to those contested votes. Raila was already isolated enough to distrust the Kenyan courts. Perhaps there were other options. Normally you hear him blamed for calling for mass action. But he was no among those the ICC found necessary to accuse of crimes against humanity. Uhuru Kenyatta, president and his deputy were. Now Uhuru's case is dismissed. But let me stick to the Islamic connection to point at what I feel is Islamophobic.  

When things were very uncertain during this spate of violence,  I went to a friend in the only place that was open at this time where I could get access to Internet and share ideas with someone. I found a cleric in a church office. I told him my concerns. He like I was very sad for Kenya. He told me that Kenyan bishops were tribally aligned with power. We noticed that but it was terrible to hear it confirmed by an insider. In a while, he whipped out a paper, I thought it was letter from a drawer. He asked me to look at it quickly.

It was supposed to be a letter that was written by Raila Odinga to pledge that he would deliver money to a Muslim before or at some stage during the election. I thought it was too cheap and shabby to believe. It was not a pact. I told the cleric that this looked to me like something anybody could have made up and written. There was no signature. It was argued that he could not have signed such a thing. But the cleric believed in it and found it dirty in content and powerful. He said he, we,  could not trust Raila for that. He had a right to his opinion but this to me smacked of shallowness and even carelessness. This dirty letter had been intercepted from a messenger they said. I looked at it and I said,

"Sir, do you really think that this dirty paper, this promise for money and that Raila is going to deliver it, this unsigned paper is from Raila to someone?"I felt included in something I did not want to even think about. I felt disturbed because the places I refer to meant that such an opinion was definitely being passed on to the faithful. This is still my conviction.
The cleric in question was so convinced that I had to keep quiet. We cut up some materials I had. I went back home and put on sackcloth and began a certain campaign. One to call people together even if briefly to find solutions. I wanted people from different regions of Kenya to join in and call for us to stop widening our differences.

 As I say, for me Rwanda is ever near again with the 1994 genocide, that was enough for Afrika? It had its shocking involvement of the international community, Catholic priests and nuns. I cannot imagine listening to people asking where they were and why many looked on if it were to happen to Kenya. I know too what some people in the different religions think of the others... as almost non entities. We hardly hear of our African dignity anymore our humane ways. Our holding together despite belief in one God.  

So the cleric's mind still disturbs me. Every cleric like this has a perpetual audience every now and then and what they say is revered by their followers. Did we not take this too far? In other words, he was telling me thank goodness that Raila was not elected because he would have supported Muslims. But yes, there had been a Pact to be signed by anyone who wanted to be president to protect some Muslim interests. 

Raila Odinga made his support public in this which he signed. This means it was not going to be something which  he could not do. I understand the current government also did this but did not fulfill its pledge.  This is not proven.

The cleric's approach seemed to me narrow and horribly disturbing. It was at the same level with a relation and some overly faithful people who said and spread that Raila worshipped a snake. I kept asking them where they had seen that but things had changed.
In 2013, other people claimed that Uhuru Kenyatta was the prince chosen by God and Mary and that there was just no way of insisting that he first cleared his name before the International Criminal Court or even thinking of anybody else as a winner.

Raila's gods were being defined with much fear. Honestly, one person I remember almost put every car accident to Raila's imaginary love for bloodshed. It was irrational but it worked on voters terribly well. He was the demon who wanted blood. This message spread through faith was lethal. People look for someone to hang for all evils.

Raila the Communist.  In his case it seemed communism never died. They did not look at his business ventures. What with a son named Fidel Castro Odinga? May he Rest In Peace.

This meant Raila was still dangerous and would be seen as the color red. This fitted well when it came to being seen as one without faith. In the end he had a public baptism in a swimming pool and associated much with Bishop Margaret Wanjiru who had a great but again vulnerable flock, always ready to support her and her choices. Her ministries were mighty. 

But in 2012 some said that the Gilgamesh Publication was sponsored by Raila's enemies in politics. Most of his ardent supporters left him and went to the side which looked stronger. It became almost the fashion to abandon. Some said he did not listen to others and that his leadership was a dynasty since nobody could make it into politics in rural Nyanza if they went against Raila Odinga. But in Nyanza he is the ker. A chosen leader whose choices are hardly questioned. 

I believe that politics of ethnic or clan enclaves must stop to enslave. The times have changed. Isolation is not the way. We are already isolated in many ways, adding it politically at home is opening the door to attacks and catastrophes we cannot handle. 

1885 and the Scramble for Africa is still hurting us. It was the  British that insisted that we were enemies. The Luo were allowed in Nairobi but not the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru. Operation Anvil April 1954. But we cannot always point there. We have to stop creating our devils. We cannot point fingers forever West.  We had to make our own efforts. I think matters have reached a level where individuals have to take responsibility more seriously. I air my opinions as part of that exercise. 

Floating on River Yala, Body mutilated was that of Jebei Meshack an ICC witness in the Kenyan case

The news that an ICC witness has been found dead, his body mutilated on River Yala in Eldoret County is cause for alarm. But that reminds one that there are those who were never noticed in their disappearance and their bodies will never be found. Besides, this is a taboo and fearful topic all the time in Kenya and more so these days. But let us keep focus.

Jebey Meshack went to take his child for treatment. He left the dispensary to buy something and never returned. He was missing for five days. His family reported the case to casual police reception. 

A text message reached his mother in his Mother Tongue. He said he was well and with Bensouda's people in Uganda. Bensouda is the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands.

Now there is an immediate reaction from people who seem to know more and these include saying that he was on the side of the Government. This is reported in the mainstream media. We are not looking for sides. We are looking at a fact. Those who know say that he was not a protected witness but he was one, no doubt.

Others have fast responded on social media suggesting that this has been done by the ICC or asking if it was not so. Who are they?
Human rights activists already so shredded and disliked are afraid. 

Contradictions of the making of Security Bill in a very insecure House... where Members clothes were torn..

In a nutshell, the word "contradiction" has been common in 2014 Kenyan articles written here in this blog. There is fear of commenting on issues since bloggers have had it rough. Welcome Kenya to 2015. 

Kenyans online were seriously interested in a blogger Wadi who has been jailed for two years. Even before I could reach his posts, I had heard that people were waiting for them as if they were a feast. So the law got him, apparently in Uganda and as people were busy with Christmas and New Year, he was charged. It was fast and furious. He was sentenced on the second day of the year.

It turns out that he pleaded guilty to insulting the president and threatening him. Some say he does not exist as such but then there he was in court. A student at the University, 25 -years -old. After a few minutes with the cops he was begging for forgiveness. Many Kenyans felt he could have hardly been tried justly but there it was. 

Being charged with not praising the president has reminded Kenyans of the Moi era. Torture, deaths, arrests, disappearances, ethnic cleansing for those who did not know how to shut their mouths. There is fear. People keep saying Moi is back in power. The nanogenerian sits at home and speaks out on national issues from time to time on public platforms, a sign that perhaps in private he dedicates quite some time to the governing of Kenya. 

He did prop his candidate Uhuru Kenyatta the current president and supported him in 2002 and onwards. In Kenyan ways, this means the Kalenjins and the Kikuyu plus the ethnic groups who voted his candidate in 2013 are working 'together'. Word has it however, that the Deputy President WS Ruto has not met Moi since he was elected.

The three arms of government... Some distance there is between the Executive and the Judiciary but that is only in some ways. As in for example, the Security Amendment Bill has been stopped by the High Court before the ink of the president's signature could dry on it. Some have hope now that perhaps rulings will reflect the people. Raila Odinga and ODM took the credit for going to court agains this Bill. 

The rushed making of this Bill was supposed to be a sign that the current government is working hard on insecurity. However, its propensity in undermining human rights and gains protected by the Constitution of 2010 has led to its being stopped by the High Court even after the President passed it the day after it was voted in a shameful session. 

Clothes were torn off a member, another one lost a finger and MP Millie Mabona was almost undressed in Bunge, Parliament. The demonstrations against stripping women in Nairobi streets with the excuse that they dress skimpily not withstanding, the deed was done in the House of Parliament. And an MP involved talked brazenly about her underwear! 

The Bill which included the clause against this same act, since it was an amalgamation of amendments for security issues was defeating its own purpose in the first place.
But the worst part of it is that it was also clawing back on freedom of expression. And the open door to the police to allow for journalists to investigate on issues considered too dangerous because of terrorism. And that in a nutshell is complex. 

Very complicated because as the whole world knows C.I.A has been on the spot for not only using torture methods on renditioned suspects but working with other countries such as Kenya to arrest suspects. 

2017, Kenya post- election deadlock is old; who did not see it coming did not want to, and the child is dead

       Mathare Math in voice...for Raila Odinga     His mouth is open with fear. The palms of his hands with fingers open. This is a fla...