Sunday, August 13, 2017

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 flag of fear. The child in the photo below is bleeding. He only raises his hand to protect him from the baton of a uniformed officer. 

Most are distressed by events in Kenya, after the 2017 elections and release of presidential results. Tension heightened and there is history of such situations resulting in endless violence. We need many voices to call out action for reason in unison. We are still hurting from 2007 and even before. Why then do we lose focus?

United in grief, for the deaths and brutal attacks by police after the presidential election result pro Kenyatta was announced, the people of Mathare and Kibera that is the greater part of Nairobi statistically, are inconsolable. They experienced brutal force on the night that the presidential election results were declared and they blame the local media for not covering their pain. They suffered in dark. Literally.

Part of Mathare was out of electricity as bullets rang through the night. That must be very scary not just for children but for all. We must all raise our concerns and ask that issues be addressed. 

The law of Kenya provides for that no ballots are destroyed after an election. Judging from the depth of the sense of betrayal, we must focus on options that can bring us back to normality.

Those who were told they lost are undivided in their disappointment and certainty that their president, president of the poor, Raila Odinga had the victory and that the server of the Election Commission was hacked. No serious IT professionals, who are neutral have been asked to look into this matter. 

Where as both sides in support of Uhuru and Raila - knew about the possibility of losing votes- nobody expected to lose even one child to bullets. Not that many had not imagined the worst. Politics has been played with a negative ethnicity card for many years now. We have failed in honesty at many levels. Credibility in election processes is lost.

Greed, corruption and a hunger for power that never halts, talking cheaply against other ethnic groups and arrogance of whole populations once their own is in power, especially those who hold public office. 

The tussle for winning the vote is a big one. The talk about fighting  all corruption comes after winning by any means possible and while that is not always peculiar to one side, the team that runs state machinery can do it to a deadly success. Fear of violence is therefore always lurking around elections. 

Insecure, some parents started taking children from schools and away to the countryside weeks before the elections. But those could afford it. People who live in what we call slums, normally do not have such luxury. They stay through thick and thin. They are united in hope for change. 

They stay put, they have the historical almost forgotten issues not lurking in the background but staring at them in the foreground.

An unacceptable trait: Kenya does not answer causes of the deaths of  people who are critical and adamant to see change. Different governments have not moved on that and they are couched in a people that forget what hurts the neighbor easily. We say it quite clearly that before we look at such issues of the neighbor, we must be fed first, we must have cooked our own posho. So that we can sell our dead? 

Beat this. I read that we even had disgusting ads this year, 2017, that made fun of the people who died in post -election violence of 2008.The ad would show them sitting up in... and more on International raw server Most certainly, justice and truth do not embrace here.

The displaced 600 000. Other silent figures of previous elections, struggle to keep things together to the next election, to sell calves to take children to university. The internally displaced did not begin in 2007. That was seen from the outside. Inside out, many suffered for years, displaced too by desperate want. They have nothing to lose and would face a hail of bullets and blood will flow. The Government Of Kenya must stop shooting its own people and allow demonstrations for self expression.

Did we think it would all go away quietly and leave everyone on sweet dreams mattresses? Regional injustice in Africa is lethal, anywhere else people try to address it early for history has shown it is time bomb.

You cannot speak much from the 'outside', if you have never worked in an organisation in Kenya, and found that the staff was riven down the middle on a tribal basis. Then you learned some things you wished you never knew. 

Then you knew how tribalism eats its way through development and is a big resource waster, both human and material. You do not know how in the past, scholarships are cast into bins because there is nobody from "Our tribe" to take it and that is all. Not a care for the nation's tomorrow. Not a worry for the welfare of the whole country.

The making of minions

Joy is broken and grief as well. In between only some voices of hope. This is violence against one ethnic group. Which one? The one that is not in power of course? But we have world history to learn from and surely we have not forgotten Rwanda, 1994 and never should.

It is hard to watch the poor family of this little girl who was shot on the balcony as a family member takes out her little dress from a bucket..And we should not have to if they could trust the police with the evidence. Instead, they complain of receiving a call from a policeman who does not tell them exactly what he wants. Mr Orengo sorted that out. It should be the police doing that. 

And that cannot but remind one that there must be fear too that the case of Msando, the IEBC, IT expert who was assassinated will also be in dragging in the aftermath. His family had already complained before the elections that there was much lethargy.

The father of Moraa points at the bullet hole at the back of her dress.Were children to die in election 2017, in order to frighten parents into submission? How crass is that?

 Outside the house and in the whole of Mathare, it is now history. A mammoth crowd could drown any celebration by election winners anywhere.  But bad things keep escaping the eye of the local press which is on the other hand, also getting its arms curbed either by loss of equipment or from police interference.

Something has to change. Fear will fill the air and fear is not a good component for anything. It is dark.

Could wisdom have saved us from this?

After a blog post in which I expressed the fact that no matter what kind of constitution we have, as individuals we must try to see how to heal the rifts between the two main ethnic blocks, the Luo and the Kikuyu, it seemed I made no sense. But ethnic hatred exploded on social media. It never stopped spewing since the last election of 2013. But can one advise some people to keep off seeking for power? It seems not. Many called it naive to look into what one man's election might mean to an entire ethnic group in years to come. But numbers seemed to speak several languages leaving us split into two. IT in electronic voting may have succeeded but doubts cast in 2017 were not addressed. But going back to background wisdom...

How could a rich business person not vie on and on, despite his ethnic group having led thrice since independence, with only one other president, Moi, having come from then, what the Kikuyu, saw a small ethnic group? 

We have not forgotten how the Kikuyu supremacists then referred to Moi's government. It was a passing cloud, the government of a young fledgling, man. He was lucky not to be called a boy. He, unlike Raila comes from the Kalenjin group where initiation of men is similar to that of the Kikuyu. It seems easier to tolerate then. The measure must be just to be Kenyan for voting and otherwise just human, always human.

When we take our reason right back to defining ourselves by numbers, customs, power and tongue, there, clearly, constitutions, numbers do not, cannot heal us because the rifts and killings were caused by the same. Numbers, customs, power and tongues. Wisdom must come in. Risks must be taken so that other groups in their elected leader can see their weaknesses and strengths.

In a flash, Uhuru Kenyatta's presidency has been that of Moi and KANU, which Moi said would rule for the next 100 years.

Back to Nairobi in this moment. Any time there is chaos in Mathare in Nairobi, and Kibera, if only just one of them, Nairobi does not function. It cannot. The two townships outnumber the rest of Nairobi, being bigger and more powerful in if not votes, voice. 

The residents of this area bear the brunt of it when police go out shooting and that for them is often. Many an evening young men have been done away with just like that. At such times the rich areas of Nairobi, the safer areas, do not stop to ask. They do not shed a tear and if visitors come to Nairobi, the poor are ordered back to the slums. You see clean flags and gardens as is to be expected. No red carpets in Mathare and Kibera. Only bloodsheds
They said, if one asked often that human rights activists who know nothing about defending the nation were the real problem in Kenya. Human rights must be upheld and that they are complex
especially when they are also economic rights on the verge of breakage daily in an environment where what should be security is a permanent risk. Few leaders can stand up in Mathare and Kibera and speak the way Raila does. But he is an old hand at it.
There was a new born child named after Raila Odinga years back, because he was born when Raila Odinga jetted back into the Kenyan airport and was driven straight to a burning and troubled Mathare.

But a little girl is dead. She was shot from the back when playing on a balcony soon after the presidential results were announced. 

Raila, lost to the incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, for the second time, the last being in 2013. But he had already 'lost' in 2007 to Kibaki whom Raila supported on his way up, only to be swindled on something they called The Memorandum of Understanding.

And today, this child, is only represented by a distraught family, phone calls to Muthaiga police Station. Her bullet ridden little dress and her slippers are in a plastic bucket. We are shocked by a reality that escapes figures, words and history and that is all the time passed on in ways none can understand. Genocide is not about big numbers.

Flash back to a museum in Rwanda. I read the words of a little child just before the genocide recently. He said, just before he died. "UNAMIR will come to our rescue." He wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. Perhaps that bullet that killed Moraa in Mathare just snatched from us, a future president. We are always thinking only 'we' can.

UNAMIR did not go to their rescue, Koffi Annan did not make it. The church that had impacted the country did not seem to have seen it coming and got deeply involved in the negative side of things. Of course many were innocent too but who would have expected even one nun or priest to be so blind to the evil of ethnic division. 

So that the determination that Kenya should succeed as a nation is always on paper and in business heads that do the math way beyond their own family businesses in years to come.

This point as well as historical injuries, which are blatant when it comes again to wrongs of the Luo and the Kikuyu so called dynasties. Old Kenyatta and Raila's father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. 

This is reality that has found no heart where a society is all about material gains and greed is under every carpet and above it. The head wallows in darkness while still trying to prove that everything will be fine, if we just follow the rules, the constitution. Uphold it with the limbs of the people intact. Not with museums of the dead.

My hope has always been that at some stage someone will understand that having a majority vote from certain blocks of the country will not mean managing to unite this beautiful country especially when, the one trying to do so, has not managed to know where the barefoot of the poor pinches. Here we cannot talk about the shoe pinching because very often the foot is bare.

Even before 2017, unrest in Mathare could paralyze Nairobi, but now the child is dead. Unrest in Mathare will be. Many young people have been shot dead in Mathare for years, and nobody 

Moraa was just playing on the balcony. Other people thought they were just working out an election, announcing results and listening to observers. For half an hour, imagine you are Moraa, all in silence. Nine and lying in the morgue. Save this nation. Look critically at the grievances of those aggrieved. They cannot be dismissed with an angry gesture and gunfire.

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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...