Sunday, March 15, 2015

The real Kenyan marathon versus a nation of electoral self- destruction, Reflections on Pio Gama Pinto, the stone that builder refused, as Gitu of Mau Mau and others pass on the baton

Young Kenyans commemorate J.M. Kariuki and Pio Gama Pinto in 2014 and call out for justice. These are people with sense and who sacrifice to speak out often on empty stomachs. Why would anybody hound them down and silence them? Why would the National Intelligence not hear their own quest in this? 
Well, where I have lived and voted , even tried to position for a voice in politics, a thing I now would not do, elections whether big or small divide deeply. General Elections have come with a trail of deaths and displacements of persons in big and small numbers. 

The push for power rocks the ground so much that a by-election for instance in Maasai land in Kenya this week has the country on tenterhooks. When you read the details of how a former leader in the area was wooed to government and appointed then you see clearly why sharp divisions arise. Look at this photo and see the spirit that takes over and how a slight misstep could lead to much more.

Politics is interesting and not to be wished away. Perhaps some systems need to be thoroughly questioned and examined with regard to where they left Africa and whom they benefit. The interests colonial powers had in the region did not go away because flags changed. But 

Kenya's election of 2007/2008 was one that left many deaths, rapes, environmental destruction and deep rifts between different people on the course of justice. In my life it left some red ink in my pen. I always wrote before. During the actual violence I was not able to write save for a few articles like this one.

The 11th Parliament did not allow for the trial of suspects locally. Later on especially visible in the election of 2013, many active civil society people went into politics. Their voices are missing at another level. The level of the struggle for justice for all and the cohesion of the nation since running it in cantons of different ethnic groups is not productive and the borders were made by those who had other interests from Europe. But there is something special about Kenya's desire to be one in the hearts of many of its lovers and fighters for justice and that did not begin the other day. It is the very root of the formation of Kenya. Dedan Kimaathi spoke about it and he was seen as a terrorist by the colonial powers as were all Mau Mau. 

Mau Mau fighters are still alive in Kenya. They have stayed in the spirit of many who died for freedom to always tell the story of what it means to be free. It does not mean to win an election, to have an election or even to lose one. It means to love and stay awake and vigilant with an undivided spirit. Gitu wa Kehengeri in a video below tells of his times in Mau Mau and the birth of a Kenya that is not yet here. Not yet. And this is important for the world and for Afrika.

And as for those historians and experts of all sorts who say some Mau Mau fighters such as Kahengeri were not determined because they were from Kiambu and not Nyeri, let them stop that. This is something some historians, would defend. I have heard one 'historian' because he lived this history on the side of the Coloniser say it to me. I know it is justified by others. But I have met with Mau Mau fighters in Kiambu and Muran'ga. 

My father was among the Kiambu ones and they without fear pointed out people who got into power who were homeguards or betrayers from Kiambu. There are and history had better make that clear Mau Mau fighters in Kiambu. People who fought for the country and with all ethnic groups in mind without betraying. The division of Nyeri vs Kiambu fighters suited the coloniser. 

It still does suit the governments that were put in place. It does not suit the government today. What those who believe in freedom say is that Kenya was not freed for the benefit of one class or one group of peoples but for all. They embrace the freedom that lasts beyond death. The freedom Kimaathi, Pinto, J.M. Kariuki and Tom Mboya believed in and which made those in power feel threatened. 

If interested contrast what Dr. Willy Mutunga says in 2015 Pinto commemoration video posted below and what Muthoni Kamau says about the young and the love of a nation united, that is the struggle, the middle class and many are absent. They are either too taken by the opium of the poor to see that even then, there are obligations to face up to or left to fend on their own. And this in a country where Human Rights Defenders have been treated to a kind of inquisition. The huge question remains on my mind.

Why is it that the voices of those who ask the right but painful questions must be silenced? Why? Why do innocent people who love good have to be the ones who carry the burden of suspicion and worse still deaths and disappearances. If this question remains alive and stings so shall we as nation. But if it is hidden then shall we indeed stink. 

A bid by some MPs, including Martha Karua, then minister for Justice and many others to do so, was defeated at Parliament. The legislators then opted for the Hague. Don't be vague many said, go to the Hague. That was heard in Kenya so frequently. Time has passed and Kenyans have had strong voices at AU and at the UN and around the world in a strong way, wanting to make the Hague vague, or actually disappear it.

The fact that Kenya did not like Ivory Coast face its failures and look for justice at home has been a weight that Kenyans cannot pride themselves in having lifted. 

Simone Bagbo of Ivory Coast was sentenced for 20 years for her involvement in violence in the country's 2010 election.  Laurent Bagbo, former president awaits his case and judgement at the ICC. 

I have not read of efforts by Ivory Coast to leave the Rome Statute as Kenya has tried to influence African nations to. Actually, the Ivory Coast did not join Kenya on the latest efforts in Addis Ababa for that and other nations did not follow the path Kenya had wanted. But Kenyans are good.

Kenyans are good at self-introspection but almost always after it is too late. There are questions there that the Kenyan system of justice should ask itself for years, and not only them but also the two arms of government. The Executive and the Legislature. Why are there so many vacuums with regard to answers on injustices that hit the headlines? Matters regarding assassinations are particularly outstanding. 

In the first quarter of the month, there are Kenyans who remember and ask questions on when justice will be served for Pio Gama Pinto, J.M Kariuki, Robert Ouko and Dedan Kimaathi. This is March 2015 and a wonderful documentary was launched dealing with these questions at length.

Writing this, I was searching for the link above, when I found another documentary for March 2014 for the same commemoration. This is Kenya's real marathon.  I was very surprised. I did not see it for a year... hm! Those who know will know why the hm! And this is an important one... for me. 

 It is easy for some to imagine when traveling Kenya whether mentally or physically that Kenyans will fail the marathon of national cohesion and stop running. No, there are Kenyans whose spirit does not die. They keep running the real marathon, in their sleep, in their writings and dreams and so often have they done it without any trainers beside them or even on their feet. Barefoot. 

They have run but also into the muck have they been flung and there, they have swam. Staying there so long and having their faces covered as if in burial will not stop them from again walking the streets barefoot. The paths of the villages welcome them.

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