A Kikuyu commentator offered his observations to a new subscriber to a Kenyan forum in which I am also a member and frequent contributor. The new subscriber, a Kalenjin—by name, anyway, expressed the view, even though new to the forum, he had concluded within the short time he was there that the forum was only for Luos; in fact, that was the title of his topic he posted by way of introduction, which was quite an introduction alright.
The first response to this post was from a non-Luo member, who expressed shock and that he thought he had seen it all, only to find people like this subscriber expressing such views but nonetheless, told him the forum is not dominated by any tribe.
I, too, chipped in, advising the subscriber and, I quote,
“Cherutich’s assertion is not a wonder at all but it’s comically nonsensical because, even if you were to assume [forum] is all Luo, what [the new subscriber] should do–having been accepted to join as a non-Luo, as he obviously has been, he should take the opportunity and educate and inform those Luos who accepted him, the virtues of having a tribal free Kenyan society and the value of having accepting non-Luos, rather than suggesting that they perpetuate the problem of tribalism by merely changing the name of the organization, the latter which makes as much sense as his assertion we can all do without.
Adding, “A number of Kenyans are quick to find problems even where none exists or point out those everyone knows but offer no solutions to same, or refuse to accept solutions offered, if it’s not in their narrow and shallow minded interests to do so.”
Another contributor, a Kikuyu, also chipped in, raising a number of issues, many of which go to the core of what’s at stake in the next elections, which I addressed in my response as follows:
Let me use Nd. N’s earlier post to give my sense on what this forum is about and perhaps with that, you can assess how to contribute, if at all. I have not been in this forum that long, so my response is based on what I have observed thus far and general experience with fora discourse over a number of years, going back almost 20 years.
N says, “You should always remember that in this forum you need to support one individual only.”
My observation has been, people here either support Raila or they don’t. Those who don’t support Raila either have no candidate they support as an alternative or, if they do, they have done a very good job in keeping it a secret. If you push them as to who they support, they will reluctantly but almost convincingly lie in your face that they are still assessing the candidates and that they make up their minds at some indeterminable future date.
The fact is, my friend, very few people in these fora have not made up their minds about who they will vote for in 2012 but none of those include anyone on the record here and elsewhere telling us how much they hate Raila or why Raila should not be elected president.
Nope; not one, and if someone convinces you otherwise, then it will be our pleasure to tell you, when you ultimately find out the truth as you must, that we told you so.
The name of Prof. Kiyiapi has come up here and there as a potential presidential contender but in my view, he still remains an unknown product. If you know anything about him, please share, good or bad.
That’s what these fora are or should be all about. You can make your maiden speech by analyzing whether or not he bears or should bear any responsibility for the Ksh 4.2billion stolen in the Ministry in which he is a Permanent Secretary.
Ruto is also featured in discussions here, but mostly relative to his scandals and ICC. Even those from the Rift Valley who contribute here hardly ever tell you why Ruto will be a better president than Raila. What they will tell you over and over until you get tired and more, is the palpably false claim that Raila screwed Rift Valley after he became prime minister and that therefore Ruto should be elected president.
They will not tell you that prominent leaders from the Rift Valley, including Sally Kosgei and Henry Kosgey, who previously decamped from the Raila train in a dalliance with Ruto, largely on the basis of these same false claims, have seen the truth and are now back now with Raila.
Instead, they will tell you how these leaders are uncouth, unreliable, evil and all other bad things they were not, when they decamped from the Raila train and appeared to support Ruto.
That’s called politics. If you are not used to double speak when people say one thing, only to say the exact opposite when it’s no longer in their interest hold the initial position for which they favorably spoke of, then be prepared to get a good doze of it here.
Contradictions, distortions, embellishments, loose talk and other similar favorites of propagandists of an unpopular cause are a staple among the anti-Raila class here.
N says, “And truly you shall be at peace and indeed a hero [for supporting Raila].”
I hope you are at peace with yourself and with our country as you embark in this discourse.
I know there is still a lot of hurt feelings and suffering in Kenya.
It is my true hope and prayer we can all live in peace and with love or at least respect for one another.
That’s why I sign of the way I do in all my blogs and postings: Peace, Love and Unity.
Having said that, I can tell you, if you are not at peace with yourself and our country, you are not likely to find it here. That requires a more specialized group, one perhaps with professionals trained in the art of psychological counseling.
I know there is at least one or more here but I doubt such counseling will be appropriate here, other than in the sense we can all learn to communicate with each other, bearing in mind the suffering and hurt feelings in others we may not be aware but can imagine, given the history of our country.
If you are only going to find peace here simply by supporting Raila as N suggests, then it’s not peace you are in search of because, by supporting Raila, you are by definition at peace.
Only among those who don’t support Raila can one find those not at peace, for one reason or another and if you are one of them, then N may be on to something in his counsel about finding peace here, albeit not what I think he had in mind, because, if you come here, filled with hate for Raila, engage in the discourse and have a change of heart and start supporting him, then you will certainly at peace.
N says, “You will find postings that will call you wise and critical thinker and not forgetting you will be called progressive [if in support of Raila]. My observation is, if you are not wise or a critical thinker by now, you’ll likely not make your debut as one by supporting Raila here or elsewhere.
I have seen children as young as five years old who are critical thinkers, wisdom coming only with age, so let not how people judge you be a concern but, as all of us in this fora, there is something we can learn or add to make us better thinkers and ultimately men and women of wisdom.
Thus, whether you are judged wise or a critical thinker is totally irrelevant here.
Ditto for being called “progressive.”
Just say your piece and hope its useful in the discourse.
Now, if you misspell words, or misplace or omit commas, or otherwise commit other grammatical errors, you’ll likely be called out by the English Police but, please, let not that deter you from posting whatever you wish to say.
It’s not a judgment about your prowess in English for people know and accept the reality people have no time editing their work or they make simply mistakes—that’s why pencils have erasers.
N says, “I thought too that I am in a forum where the most educated are and opportunity to think beyond a tribal box is quite obvious.” My observation is, we have our work cut-out in ending this malady of tribalism. Some of us, for sure, have never been tribalists all of our lives, so it’s easy to for us to say this is an easy problem to fix.
Experience and reality shows otherwise, especially given the history of our nation. Just when you think we have made a step forward (2002 elections), we make a giant step backwards (2007 elections).
The other day, someone I previously assumed was not a Raila hater shocked me he is a tribalist, which is pretty much the same thing.
Needless to say, tribalism is a curable disease we must make great advances in resolving this election circle, or we are doomed to fail again as a nation. I, too, like N, have the faith, if we are to make a major progress in ending tribalism, it surely must start with our generation and even right here in these fora.
It saddens me greatly to see deep seated tribal and ethnic sentiments expressed here and on the ground but there is hope.
I recently posted elsewhere on my blog that, after heeding to my own advice to others to forgive, even when the offenders have not asked for forgiveness, I decided to forgive Kalonzo Musyoka, the only person I previously could not say I loved, thus my statement variously, “I love all Kenyans except Kalonzo” for I believed and still believe he was the most culpable in almost sinking our country into a civil war post- election 2007.
Having forgiven him, I can proudly now say I love ALL Kenyans!
That does not mean I’ll be voting for Kalonzo for president anytime in the future; far from it and the fact he still thinks he can be elected president after what he did in 2008, is more so the reason I am not here worried that he will be.
My previous statement that, if for some reason he is elected president, I’ll move to a neighboring country until I recover from the shock, still remains notwithstanding my having forgiven him.
N says, “I thought this is forum where debating is welcome and intellectual views are observed as political lab to crystalize healthy political processes of our country.” My observation is, this forum actually presents this very opportunity for all so, don’t hold back any intellectual views or new ideas you might have to contribute.
He also says, “I am in assumption that any Kenyan with ability to think analytically is welcome without being victimized on his view.” This is an interesting observation because an incisive analysis of someone’s views may be viewed as a “victimization” of the originator of the offending views.
My suggestion is, again, just post what you believe in without regard to how others judge it; if you get abused or “victimized,” you can find solace in the fact that truth lies where it lies regardless of what your abuser or “victimizer” says and the reader or recipient is often the better judge of that.
Going further on this, N ponders, “Doesn’t this tell us what would happen if the same people would be given positions in the government by their political god – fathers.” N assumes those who contribute here do so with an eye to serving in the government.
While that may be the case for some, I am sure there are others whose contribution are based solely on their love for, and desire to do their part in making Kenya a better country.
Even taking the position of those who contribute with a view to serve in government, it is, of course, the case that a true leader takes a position and is defined by it regardless of where the chips fall but only ceases to be so, if on account of being opportunistic, they become that what they are otherwise not for the sake of assuming leadership positions in government.
I’ll be more comfortable with the former rather than the latter.
N says, “When you come here support Raila and call Kikuyu dogs and thieves you will receive roses.”
Several things about this assertion: First, supporting Raila is not synonymous with calling Kikuyus dogs and thieves, so it’s unfair and wrong to collapse the two separate issues together.
Second, it’s wrong and unacceptable for anyone to call all Kikuyus “dogs and thieves” or any other derogatory term or terms just as it’s wrong and unacceptable to characterize an entire tribe or community as being any derogatory term of choice.
We really need to understand and agree to rise above this, no matter what temptation there is not to.
Third, it’s quite alright to call a Kikuyu a thief, if he is, in fact, a thief, just as it’s okay to call a Kisii, a thief, if he is, in fact, a thief.
It’s never right to adjudge an entire community as thieves, just because a disproportionate number of thieves come from their community; guilty by tribal association or affiliation, is something that must be done away with totally, if we are to heal as a country.
I say this fully aware there are many a thief walking around free, having either bribed their way out of being charged for clear theft or, after bribing their way out of a conviction upon being charged.
These, we are yet to deal with as a country as part of the campaign against impunity and future practitioners of this vice are on notice.
In sum, condemnation of all Kikuyus as thieves is wrong and unacceptable and anyone engaged in that kind of name calling or similar group condemnations runs the risk of serious consequences under NCIC.
Calling people dogs is, of course, despicable regardless of tribe or ethnicity.
For more about this issue, please read my blog Tribalism, Like All Bad Learned Habits Can Be Unlearned.
N says, “Call to assassinate the Kenya President and you are going to be called a great planner.”
This is of course, not true; you make such a call you are headed to prison and only an idiot will call such a person a “great planner.”
I don’t think there are idiots here, even though you can’t tell sometimes by some of the postings but even those, you give the benefit of doubt and say there is not an idiot here; we all should know better than make such palpably treasonous statements.
Ditto for N saying, “Come with an idea on how all Kikuyu can be exterminated you will be the wisest.” and his saying, “Some have come out here with such ideas and they have been heralded.”
If this has been said here, it must have been before I subscribed, or I simply never saw it.
Again, needless to say, this is wholly wrong and borders on what NCIC will be very interested to pursue and rightly so.
I have my doubts this kind of language has been used here but I assume Nd. N you are trying to make the point there are people who wish ill of the president. This, I assume there are, especially given what happened in the aftermath of the last elections and even other things that have happened since.
My own take on it is, Kibaki has done a good job in redeeming his legacy and have said as much in my Wishing HE President Kibaki Well As He Prepares To Retire blog.
The rest of N’s post was not directed to the subscriber, so I addressed them to him directly:
You say, “Simply be biased to Kikuyu and some Kalenjins, some like Ruto, Kisii and you will have a new name. Some of us are used to such kind of limited and limiting exploration of political views that each scholar or any intelligent Kenyan should have.” I did not get the point here, so I’ll leave it at that.
You say, “Luo, Kisii, Kikuyu, Maasai or Akamba is a Kenyan and is my brother or sister.”
Great! This the least we need from all of us: treat each other as brothers and sisters and I am sure we can all do it, if only we can gather the courage to do so but it shouldn’t take that much.
You say, “But switching political vice to oppose any due to his or her ethnic origin is just very unpatriotic and indeed ingriendient for another blood shed in Kenya.”
I have addressed this above, except I would simply add let’s please not talk about another bloodshed in Kenya. I understand what you are trying to say, but I would put the message differently if only because a person prone to violence is never afraid of violence, so telling him or her to change his or her way, lest you go to war with him or her might actually encourage him or her to brace for the fight.
You say, “One tribe being angels while others are devils, what a confusing way to be direct kenyans? Kenya cannot be a united country until and unless all Kenyans learn to accept the basic altruism we are are all equal before the eyes of our Creator and we please Him by treating each other as we would have others treat us.
You say, “On the same token i still support another ethnic to gain presidency by the fact that there has been presidents coming from central twice.” This is a noble statement from you and one can only hope more of this can be heard and adhered to from our brothers and sisters in Central.
Indeed, I floated an idea with one of my Kikuyu friends and also elsewhere on my blog that, if I were Kikuyu, I would start an an organization or campaign I called something like Kikuyus Against Another Kikuyu President for Kenya or something to that effect, at least for another circle or two and say this not as a tribalist but as a pragmatist.
Your statement vindicates this position and I just wish more people from Central province would be kind enough as to listen to the message it sends regarding what it’ll take to break away from that which has divided us and that’s entrenched tribalism.
You say, “They had not learned that when you are in his fora, you shall not citizen Raila he is holy and absolute.”
I assume you mean “criticize” Raila?
As one who defends Raila from vicious attacks on this and other fora, I can assure you I never have and never will stand for the proposition that Raila should not be criticized; in fact, the opposite is true in that I am all for people criticizing Raila all they can as long as the criticism is based on issues and policy, no personal attacks, misinformation, lies, distortion and innuendo, which have no place in political discourse or execution.
As one of Raila’s defenders on these fora, I would also be the first one to tell you he is neither holy nor absolute, whatever you mean by that.
The fact is, as we are reminded in the book of Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that includes you, me, Raila and everyone else.
Or to put it a different way, no one is perfect; not you; not I, not Raila and not anyone else and neither has Raila presented himself as holier than though.
So, let’s leave perfection and holiness out of this debate and instead answer the following questions:
Raila is relatively cleaner than all those others vying for the presidency, is he not?
He has personally sacrificed for the reforms we are finally starting to experience and need more than everyone running for president, has he not?
He is more compassionate and caring about Kenyans than all those vying for the presidency, is he not?
He stands a better chance to unite the country than those vying for the presidency, does he not?
He has the skills and goodwill necessary to lead our country to a better future than all those vying for president, does he not?
All these qualities and others make Raila as close to the perfect candidate for, and therefore best president we’ll have, if he’s elected than all those running for president, do they not?
Objective and sincere answers to all of these questions can only but provide uniform answers in the affirmative and this is what keeps a lot of people sleepless at night trying to conjure and connive ways to “stop” Raila from ascending to the presidency, other than facing and answering these critical and determinative questions, which hardly any can be answered in their favor.
Their victory will be a loss for the country; their defeat will be victory for Kenya, our beloved country.
You say, “When Raila and his team seeming threatened by the Kalejins who had strongly participated in the political and civil-saga of 2007 led by Ruto, Raila betrayed his relationship and surrounded himself with his tribal team fencing everyone else out.”
I am not sure I understand what you mean by Raila “seeming threatened” or by “strongly participated in the political and civil-saga of 2007” but if by “seeming threatened” you are referring to Ruto’s decision to pursue selfish interests outside of ODM, then the news for you that, in the end, may be a blessing in disguise for the country for if Raila wins despite Ruto’s desperate efforts for a short-cut to power through the old politics of division and rule based on tribalism, the last if not final nail coffin would be hammered into the coffin burying this evil malady.
If by “the Kalejins who had strongly participated in the political and civil-saga of 2007 led by Ruto” you mean PEV and Ruto’s participation in it or lack thereof, the jury is out and the verdict is not in yet, is it?
As to “Raila betrayed his relationship and surrounded himself with his tribal team fencing everyone else out” your statement is so vague as to what you are trying to say, I shouldn’t even bother to respond to it suffice to say, the quality and nature of people any leader surrounds himself with is part and parcel a measure of his overall leadership ability so if your concern is that Raila “surrounded himself with his tribal team” after Ruto embarked on his shenanigans, then even if one were to assume your faulty premise, that cannot be a “betrayal” of any relationship; you do not betray a relationship of one who has left you already; rather, the one who has left you, is the only one who can be said to have betrayed you.
Ruto left Raila and ODM and despite numerous calls for him to return, he has remained stubbornly adamant he is not returning.
Let’s wait and see how brilliant (or dumb) his call is, shall we?
You say, “Ruto did the dirt work Raila got the cream Ruto got hague.”
You are either ignorant of the facts or you have chosen to ignore them as to Ruto and ICC.
Raila did not have Ruto charged and sent to the Hague.
That’s the fact and it will remain so among sound minds and reasonable people not matter how many times you and others continue to perpetuate this lie planted by Ruto that Raila is responsible for his travails with ICC, in efforts to sully Raila’s name in Rift Valley.
This is the kind of truth the expression upende usipende is intended to highlight.
The ICC issue and Ruto is one I have extensively analyzed and if you have not followed the facts and the case, please read my 6-part blog Who Is William Ruto, or as much of it as you can and you’ll have a good, objective understanding of the issue, including my conclusion, after a thorough legal analysis, that Ruto will not be convicted by the ICC.
You say, “Yet, you shall not criticize Raila here.”
I have already addressed this above but let me repeat, anyone is free to criticize Raila as long as that criticism is based on policy and issues but not personal attacks and lies.
You say, “Any leader needs to be analyzed and so that we can have finally a leader whose goals are national not replicatingwhat we seen before since independent.”
I agree with you but qualify to say, not replicate bad things we have seen since Independence.
There are plenty of good things we have seen since Independence that we ought to emulate; there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
You say, “I am sorry, not me I am not a parrot I will stand on what I believe is right for our country.”
Speaking for myself as a blogger, I need not defend against the charge of being a parrot on this for a or anywhere else; that’s a judgment people have to make upon analysis of what others write.
As a reader of other blogs, the only parrots who ceaselessly parrot here and elsewhere are those who rant and rail against Raila day in and day out, singly and sometimes in concert, usually repeating the same lies and distortions planted by Ruto and Co that have long since been exposed and discredited.
These guys have, in fact, parroted themselves to a point of comedy and I am sure we have not heard the last of their rantings and ravings until the polls close on election day, at which point they must take leave and reunite with reality.
Peace, Love and Unity.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.