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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bravado and Pride of Luos: Fact or Myth and If Fact, Is There Anything Wrong With It?

I read with interest an article yesterday in the East African Standard Online titled, Bravado and Pride, the Key Tenets of the Luo which essentially says or purported to make the case that Luos have a “flamboyant nature and sense of style founded on three tenets, pakruok (self praise), nyadhi (bravado) and sunga (pride).

For the convenience of those pressed with time, the following are excerpts from the article:

“It is not uncommon to find a [Luo soccer] fan putting on a jersey inscribed with the writings reading owad gi agwambo (Agwambo’s brother), Wuod Gem (I hail from Gem) denoting that the wearer is proud of his birth place while wuoyi mosomo (highly educated) indicating the wearer’s high level of education.”

“This is in addition to their polished and eloquence in command of the English language, otherwise known as The Queen’s English.”

“The Luo tribe also brags of many professionals dominant in nearly every area of Kenya’s economic sectors and policy making.”

A man from former Central Province interviewed for the article, said, “”These brothers of ours are the most versatile of our tribes. They pride themselves in being the hardest working and most learned in Kenya. They can be found in large numbers in all social groupings, from the manual labourers in the quarries to university halls the world over, they are found everywhere.”

All this bravado and expression of pride is done in good faith, said another person interviewed for the article, professor Ouma Onyango, a history lecturer at Maseno University.

Another contributor, a psychologist, sees nothing wrong with bravado and expression of pride, if not done in excess.

“There is nothing wrong in praising yourself if you have done something really good. It is praising yourself in front of other people that is wrong, because people might think you are bragging about your achievements and qualities, sort of blowing your own trumpet in front of others, which I guess no one likes,” said the psychologist, Paul Maranga.

Curious after reading this article, I posted it in its entirety a forum with a fair balance of Luos and other tribes and ethnicities, wishing to know what their take on it would be.

First, I was surprised at the dearth of responses; I certainly anticipated this would generate an interesting discussion about tribalism and ethnicity, outside of the usual political prism, even though there is no separating politics from the issue.

Second, the couple of responses I saw were hardly surprising as they were from individuals I assume are Luos, affirming the same concept.

The one non-Luo who contributed in the thread, essentially found fault in my posting the article for discussion, which I could not and still can’t see what that could possibly be.

I have since reflected on the article and have several observations.

To begin with, there is no doubt this is a sensitive subject in as much as it goes to the core of who we are as individuals and in many ways, it forces us to look at both ourselves inwardly but more importantly, it exposes our vulnerabilities both from a practical point of view, and culturally to the point any expression of views on it to others becomes circumscribed for fear of the unknown.

In other words, we cannot express ourselves fully on an issue like this without fear of being branded arrogant tribalists, in the case of a Luo who does so express oneself agrees with the article or a brooding tribalist and hater, in the case of one who so expresses oneself in disagreement.

But this need not be the case.

As the psychologist said in the article, there is nothing wrong to express pride for oneself of one’s community; the problem is if one does it excessively.

What is excessive?

That’s the question but it’s not one which renders itself to a simple answer.

As in such questions, the answer depends on any number of factors and circumstances presented for evaluation.

The soccer fan at Nyayo Stadium with a jersey announcing he is from such and such village, is probably out-of-place.

It’s not villages that are in competition, but groups of villages, as represented by these teams therefore the promotion of one village over the others is in by itself the definition of anti-teamwork, which is necessarily counterintuitive and counterproductive, if displaying such messages intended to express oneness with the team, or support for it.

Ditto for a blogger in a forum, who announces he or she is from such and such village; which village where one comes from, is not relevant in a discussion of national issues but is very relevant in the discussion of regional issues, thus, in a forum, say, dealing with Lake region issues, such pronouncements are appropriate.

Let them try and out-do each other as to who is from which village and why that’s important or something to be emulated, if that’s the purpose for such declarations.

I suppose the reason people find it offensive or unacceptable to make such declarations in either regional or national fora, is it is assumed such declarations are intended to make those from other villages feel less Luo or worthy of mention, if in a regional Luo forum, or less Kenyans and humans for that matter, if in a national forum.

I personally never think so and actually find such declarations almost comical.

Now, on the larger question of bravado and pride, I find it a fascinating subject because it’s both a good thing but equally undesirable.

I come from a family of 10, with one mother, who is still around and we are thankful to God for that.

Our Mzee passed on a few years ago but if there is one thing he left in all of his children starting from our oldest now over 70 and retired to yours truly, who is the youngest, it’s never to chest-thumb or otherwise brag and none of us ever has and doubt ever will, as anyone who knows us will tell you.

There is greatness in being humble, but don’t be average either.

That was the lesson all of us learned from our Mzee who, having retired early as the head of the African Tribunal Court, went on to become a highly respected member of the community, besides becoming a staunch Adventist and elder of our SDA Church to the day he passed on.

I am glad I and my siblings learned this lesson and applied it in our lives as we grew up and hopefully have passed it on to our children (to say we have, is not to be humble so I can’t say we have or have not, or is it?).

But is being the opposite necessarily a bad thing?

In other words, isn’t there some utility in bravado and one proudly expressing oneself?

I think so, but only to some extent.

This, namely bravado and proudly expressing oneself and its appropriateness, in fact, becomes one of degree, but the question, as I posed above becomes, when is such expression excessive?

There are two extremes of this, as in many things, ranging from the most arrogant to the most humble.

Neither end is a desirable position to be, albeit for different reasons I address below.

Here in the US, there is a Radio Talk Show host by the name Rush Limbaugh, who someone once published a book he aptly titled, “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot.”

That book sold like hot cakes and its author, Al Franken, is now a United States Senator.

This Big Fat Idiot, Rush Limbaugh must win hands-down, the title, the World’s Most Arrogant Person, and all you have to do, is to listen to the various ways he introduces himself to know he takes the title hands down:

“Talent on Loan from God,” “Maha-Rushi” (from Maharishi, a great sage);     “Serving humanity just by being here, and it doesn’t matter where here is,” “exuding knowledge and information with half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair” (this from a High School-drop-out), “Doctor of Democracy” and so on.

We all know Idi Amini and the titles he bestowed on himself in his foolish believe that would make him the super military general he was not but for his effort, he must be mentioned alongside this Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh for he must be his runner-up.

These two are representative of the one extreme of self-expression but say what anyone can about the Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh, he has a cult-like following among Republicans and even non-Republican listeners that have for decades made him the #1 Talk Show Host and a position he has maintained unchallenged all those years because he knows how to grab and keep his audience with endless rants and raves about Democrats and hubris.

So much such that when he brags about himself, these mindless listeners believe him and often acknowledge and remind him as much.

On the other end of the scale, there is extreme humbleness, which is a form of weakness and here, the perfect example is Jimmy Carter.

You cannot find in any country’s history, a president more humble than Jimmy Carter, yet, he was deemed a failure, even though he redeemed himself after leaving office to become the most popular president out of office in American history, right up there with the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, FDR and JFK Kennedy, men who in their own time, were humble in their own ways albeit to a much lesser extent than Jimmy Carter.

In between, these two extremes, there is a variety of self-expression and manifestation of assuredness and humility or lack thereof that ranges in degree from the acceptable to the unacceptable.

Where are the Luos in all of that? Is it as the article implied on the Limbaugh end or the Carter end, or neither?

In my view, this is necessarily a mischievous rap on Luos.

Luos have no more bravado and neither are they more openly expressive of their pride than any other tribe in Kenya.

This may be true among the younger generation of Luos but in time, as people move away from their enclaves and interact with others, some of the learned habits are unlearned and a blending of attitudes and mannerisms occur such that it makes no difference where one tribally or ethnically comes from but that does not mean there are not those left with their old habits and manners they are unable to shake.

I therefore reject this notion that bravado and expression of self-pride is the stable of Luos but would readily agree, if it’s a matter of propensity we are talking about, then there is amble anecdotal evidence to suggest its more likely than not a Luo would manifest bravado and more readily and comfortably show his or her pride than similarly situation folk from other tribes but only up-to a certain age.

Talking about pride and arrogance, many a politician or wannabes politicans have again and again been jettisoned from politics because of enlarged egos brought about by too much bravado and arrogance.

To be sure, pride in oneself, self-assuredness and confidence are key and required elements of a successful political career.

However, those same traits must always be put in check, especially as against other politicians.

PLO is being shown the door, not for incompetence in running KACC, in my view, but because he was perceived by the politicians as being arrogant and essentially telegraphing that he believed he had them all in his hand to threaten and abuse at will, which is the height of arrogance but less than the Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh’s because the latter can express it and get away with it but not the former.

To be continued.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Musings, Social

 

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My Response To A Netter Regarding His Mistaken Belief About Luo (Kenya) Politics and Raila

Nd. X. This is what I am hearing you saying:

1. Luos like you and Oduya have broken from “slavery and blindness.

2. People will be shocked and “maybe some will collapse dead [if Raila] is not elected president.

3. If Raila is not elected president this time, he is done with politics.

4. Miguna Miguna has “secrets” you are hoping he “spills.”

5. Tuju is an authority on the Odingas and apparently knows something Kenyans need to know or find out.

6. Given all of these, you therefore conclude and urge the young people (Luos, by inference) to support and vote for Ole Kiyiapi because he is “tribeless, woships true God, does not drink, has passed tests of intergrity and humblessness where he has worked, he is strong willed against evil (you will get a sack if you are not serving meaning zero tolerance to impunity  even if you are his friend)

7. You urge people not to listen to the media because they serve as “stooges for status quo” and act as “saviors.”

8. You then dismiss RAO and HMK as having “negative/oppressive/selfish dictatorial measures”

Here is my take on all of this:

First, you are perpetuating a myth that Luos have been “enslaved” by the Odinga family. While it’s true those who have dared challenge the Odingas have not fared well, this has nothing to do with slavery but has everything to do with the colonial system we inherited from independence whereby you had a local “boss” at the household level, then a hierachy of other “bosses” from there on through Chiefs, area MPs, and all the way to the President.

In every tribe, bar none, there always has been and will continue to be a dominant leader or family; you challenge them at your own peril.

The Luos are therefore no more “enslaved” than any other tribe in Kenya so the point you are trying to make in your charge is lost in this reality.

The question one should ponder and analyze is one, not whether there is a dominant politician or family in any given community–there will always be one, but one whether such politician or family has utilized or is utilizing its power and influence to advance the welfare of its community and the country at large.

On that measure, the Odinga family scores very high and much higher than any similarly situated family anywhere in the country.

Indeed, what endears Raila to most people is, even though he comes from a prominent family, he was was willing to, and in fact, personally sacrificed his life in his stance and fight against the Moi regime and quest for reforms he and his compatriots agitated for and continue to to this day and to the future.

Equally impressive, notwithstanding the abuse and torture he suffered under the Moi regime, Raila shows no bitterness or want mentality on account of his suffering.

Instead, you find in Raila, a humble, easy going and deeply caring person.

This is what endears him to a lot of people and was largely the reason he was elected as president in 2007.

Second, while its true some may be shocked if Raila is not elected, I doubt anyone is going to drop and die over that as you claim.

Raila is a seasoned politician who understands fully well that in politics, anything is possible but would be the first one to tell you he never thought outright stealing of elections as we witnessed in 2007 is possible but Kibaki proved him wrong.

I doubt we’ll ever see a repeat of 2007 style election theft but instead every indication is, we shall for the first time have a fair and transparent elections in 2012.

If in the unlikely event Raila is not elected in a fair and transparent election, like any politician, I am sure he will be disappointed  but that will come to pass.

As the statesman he is, I am confident he will still find ways to help our country reap the benefits of the new constitution, including using his international recognition and influence to bring investment and other benefits to the country.

The money, however, is on Raila being elected president and therefore the concern should be what will happen to those so vehemently opposed to his election, especially his haters.

Those are the people one should be concerned about and hope they’ll recover from their respective shocks and help join hands in rebuilding our country under the leadership of President Raila Amolo Odinga, if he, indeed, gets the nod as expected.

Third, it is not true that, if Raila is not elected president in 2012, he is done politically.

Far from it. at the healthy 66 he is, Raila is going to be a political force in Kenya for a long time to come, regardless of what happens in 2012.

Many a politician have been written off, only to come back and lead their respective nations to greatness.

Raila has already proven he can be a come-back kid and, in fact, has been one in more than one occasion.

In other words, like the cat, Raila has ten political lives.

He is only on his second.

Fourth, you are going to be terribly disappointed, if you are hoping that Miguna Miguna will “spill the beans” on Raila.

That will not happen because there are no beans to spill about Raila, unless concocted or fully made up.

Fifth, I know Tuju and would even say we have been friends.

Tuju is no “authority” of the Odinga family anymore than I or anyone else is therefore there is nothing new he can tell us about Raila or his family that we don’t know as you seem to suggest.

Tuju can’t even tell us anything new about what happens when one becomes disloyal or thinks he is suddenly better than to those who help them get anywhere politically.

We know that very well and that is, you do so at your own peril, including likely political extinction.

Sixth, when you say you want the youth and others to support Ole Kiyiapi because he is “tribeless, woships true God, does not drink, has passed tests of intergrity and humblessness where he has worked, he is strong willed against evil (you will get a sack if you are not serving meaning zero tolerance to impunity  even if you are his friend),” you have not done your man any good because thousands of Kenyans have those exact qualities, yet they are not running for president.

Why?

Because it takes more than that to be elected president not the least of which, is political experience and skills to effectively deal with other politicians.

Good a technocrat Ole Kiyiapi may be, and even as intelligent as he is, he lacks this fundamental quality which is a must have for any president to succeed in governing any country.

In other words, one must prove they know how to work the political class for desired outcome, which only comes from experience gained from holding elective political office or otherwise being actively engaged in party politics.

Lack of this experience alone disqualifies Ole Kiyiapi, in my book.

Seventh, you are simply wrong that the media are “stooges for status quo.”

Remember, all media’s #1 objective as in any business, is making money.

If one is slanted one way in the pursuit of that objective, you’ll be sure to find one slanted the other way for the same reason but on balance, Kenya media is doing a much better job compared to many other countries in trying to be objective, even as they each obviously have their own agenda and preferences.

With the projected increase in Internet access and therefore more sources of information, the media cannot but be more objective, if it’s to continue appealing to broad following, or be markedly biased, if their target is enough to sustain its business objective.

This is the trend everywhere.

Finally, I don’t know what you mean by Raila having “negative/oppressive/selfish dictatorial measures” but the Raila I know is contemplative, accommodating and fair.

Those who characterize him otherwise, simply don’t know him.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Politics

 

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The Meaning of President Kibaki’s Nomination of Prof. Githu Muigai As Attorney General

By nominating Prof. Githu Muigai, President Mwai Kibaki has accomplished something of a rarity for a meek but sleek politician like him: He has flipped the finger on Kenyans; he has flipped the finger on Kikuyu lawyers and while at it, he has flipped the finger on all Kenyan women lawyers.

The position of Kenya’s attorney general was held by the venerable Charles Mugane Njonjo from our country’s independence through 1979, when Amos Wako effectively took over the portfolio in 1991 and clung to it in good times and bad times until this month when he was forced to exit, smiling.

President Kibaki has now nominated Githu Muigai to succeed Wako.

What is wrong with this picture?

First, it’s wrong to have public officers serving this long in any office.

Second, when I implored Kibaki to lead in ending tribalism in Kenya and asked our fellow brothers and sisters from Central to do the same thing, a blogger commented on my efforts as being a waste of time for, according to him, Kibaki is the most tribalist president we have had.

I don’t know about all that that but Kibaki has done nothing but propagate this belief among many, with his nomination of Githu Muigai as AG.

Surely, he could have found an equally, if not more qualified Kenyan from other tribes than returning the portfolio to his fellow Kikuyu.

Again, before I hear this from someone, let me hasten to add there is nothing tribalistic in saying what I am saying.

I will say the same thing, if it was a fellow Kisii doing the same thing.

But, why has the president nominated yet another Kikuyu to the AG position?

It is not as if the president is unaware of what appointing another Kikuyu to the position entails.

He is and in my humble view, he is flipping all of us, the finger.

After all, he is the president and this is the last months of his last term.

In other words, he and his advisers must be telling themselves, “we can do this; what is anybody going to do about it?”

The timid Kenyans we are, we must accept this as reality and move on, so the belief goes.

They may have a point, but change is coming where these will be truly attitudes of the past.

But beyond Kenyans as a whole, the president has flipped an even bigger finger to two specific groups:

The first one, is the rest of his fellow brethren from Central.

After his botched attempt to install Muigai as AG, only to be foiled by Raila, Kibaki should have altogether let go the idea of installing Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin as AG and if he and his advisers this strongly believe he had to have a Kikuyu in the slot, then he should have at least identified and appointed one from among the many other Kikuyu lawyers in the country other than the man he clearly did not have qualifications alone in mind when he tried to recklessly ram him through the process the last time.

Instead, Kibaki has chosen to return to the same man, Githu, which can only mean he has concluded Githu is the only qualified Kikuyu lawyer in the country fit for nomination and appointment to the position of AG.

To those who think otherwise, especially my learned Kikuyu friends, the president is flipping a finger to all of you.

Again, the question they have asked and answered in the negative is, what are you going to do about it?

Kibaki is, after all, the president and is serving the last months of his presidency.

Women have not fared any better in Kibaki’s thinking and calculations.

With the new constitution, which Kibaki does get part credit for helping getting it passed, the role of women in government is greatly encouraged and, in fact, mandated.

Kibaki would have acted in the letter and spirit of the new constitution by appointing a woman as our first woman AG.

Instead, Kibaki has recoiled to appointing yet another man to this important position, which can only mean he has concluded there is no woman qualified to hold the position.

To those who think otherwise, especially my learned female friends, the president is flipping a finger to all of you, too.

What are you going to do about it?

He is, after all, the president and is serving his last months of his presidency.

Sad, but true, I believe.

I know the question running in some of your minds is, where is Raila in all of this? Hasn’t the president made these nominations upon consultation with the PM?

From what I can tell by merely putting two and two together, and not based on any first hand or second hand or even third hand information, Raila has not objected to the appointment of Githu Muigai because he does not have a legal basis to do so.

The PM was successful in thwarting Kibaki’s efforts the last time he attempted to illegally nominate and appoint Muigai and the other allies to the various constitutional offices because Kibaki was clearly acting in violation of the constitution and the public was not going to stand for that flagrant abuse of power, unlike the past.

In this case, however, we are told the president consulted the PM before re-nominating Muigai.

The constitutional consultation requirement has therefore been satisfied, unlike the last time when Kibaki attempted to install Muigai without consulting the PM.

The requisite consultations having occurred, the PM either had to agree with the nomination, or object to it.

Having not objected, one can only conclude the PM did not object because he could only do so based on sound legal ground and one which Kibaki could ignore only at his own peril.

I see none this time around.

Githu is for all I know superbly qualified to be appointed AG.

None of what I say here is legal basis to oppose his appointment, let alone succeed in blocking it.

What I say here, however, is a moral basis to oppose his appointment which would be counterproductive for the PM himself to mount, given the fragile coalition we have and coming to a natural end, as it is.

Besides, if the PM doesn’t really care about the appointment, he can show Muigai the door, once he is elected president, if Kenyans give him the nod as expected, given the AG does not have security of tenure.

In other words, Raila comes out of this the statesman he is; why pick on fights that don’t improve the situation but make it worse?

As Kenney Rogers sings in the Gambler, “you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em.”

There are some battles not worth fighting.

Knowing how some of my readers misread what I say, let me reiterate what I say is merely an expression of an opinion and neither does what I say have anything to do with PM’s thinking or reasoning in all of this for I never know and don’t know what that could be.

Mine is simply an analysis, based on publicly available information.

I say this because many times, we express opinion and people automatically ascribe it to those we support, forgetting or ignoring the fact that the two are not always one and the same.

In sum, Kibaki’s nomination of Githu Muigai goes to confirm what I have been saying all along, and that is, ending tribalism is a tall order but I still have faith we shall slay the ugly animal sooner than later and, yes, I still have faith and believe Kibaki and our brothers and sisters from Central have a big role to play in this effort.

I continue to urge them to do just that.

Peace, Love and Unity

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Politics

 

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My Response to A Luo Non-Raila Supporter Regarding Raila, ODM and Freedom of Speech

The following is my response to an individual I would best characterize as a non-Raila supporter on views he espoused at another forum regarding Raila, ODM and freedom of speech. I so characterize this individual because he is not rabidly anti-anti Raila as some I have seen and responded to in these fora.

Daktari,

You are being unnecessarily alarmist.

So are a number of a few others I have seen start this whole line of alarmist thinking that has no basis in fact.

We almost degenerated into a civil war in 2008 because of unprecedented, blatant and wanton disregard of the rule of law and damnable affront of the will of the people.

I doubt very seriously we’ll ever see anything close in our lifetime, or ever for that matter.

The conditions are just not there and under no circumstances can they arise, given the significant strides we have taken in reforms since those dark days.

There is, after all, a silver lining in everything.

You say, “For a start, why is someone crediting the New Katiba (more so ODM) with the freedom of speech? The one thing one has to give to the Kibaki/NARC Administration is the ‘freedom’ of speech (or was it?), long before the new katiba.

I’ll agree with you there has been a steady progression of improved freedom of speech, even going back to the latter part of the Moi regime but you also must agree with me Kenyans are ever more freer, not just in expression of speech but in all other respects since the promulgation of the new constitution, would you not?

Indeed, at the speed some of these netters and some on the ground are abusing the speech, who shall it surprise if curbs are not at some point placed in place.

Freedom of speech is not open carte blanche.

Even here in the US, which prides itself as the most open society on earth, there are time, place and manner restrictions on speech, ditto for Kenya even under the new constitution, albeit vaguely defined and limited to hate speech.

Although I am personally thick skinned and don’t myself going to court to sue over slander and all manner of libel I am a victim of, at least I know now I can do so with considerable and satisfactory results, if I so choose, unlike in the past where I wouldn’t even bother and this thanks to the new judicial reforms underway.

I urge others to do the same, namely, let not the court be somewhere to rush whenever one feels wronged.

I have lived and practiced law in the most litigious society here in the US and even though that’s nothing necessarily bad for lawyers like myself, I would hate to see our country end up the same.

That’s not to say the slanderous and libel-prone have free rein to be; they are in check and let them be hauled to court as circumstances warrant.

You say, “And btw, did you say ODM is a party which believes in the judicial system? Really? Then why the 2007/08 PEV – why didn’t the party simply go to court?

Daktari, are you seriously posing thins question? I know you know the answer but let me just say this: When I saw and heard my friend Hon. Martha Karua counsel at the beginning of the crisis that Raila and ODM should seek redress in court, all I could tell people I was with, was I knew HMK personally but I didn’t know she could be that shrewdly good!

Of course, to anyone who knew nothing about our then rotten judicial system, that sounded as wise counsel.

For the rest of us, including you, we knew going to court at that time would have been a complete waste of time and total joke as absolutely nothing would have come of it, in terms of getting redress or resolution of the crisis.

You say, “JT you dare add “ODM believes in rule of law’, when even a simple hiring and sacking of Miguna couldn’t be done as per by law established?

Miguna Miguna worked at the PM’s office, not for ODM so his suspension has nothing to do with whether ODM believes in the rule of law, which it does.

In any case, all publicly available information tends to show the suspension of Miguna Miguna was done properly and consistent with the law. He says otherwise and has gone to court to challenge this. Let’s wait and see how the court rules before , shall we?

You say, “Nd. Omwenga, 5 years down the line (if God allows us to live that long), you will agree with me/us. They will have done a Miguna on you.”

Despite my repeatedly and vigorously stating the opposite, which is true, everyone somehow refuses to believe and assumes I strongly defend Raila because I am interested in serving in the Raila government. In fact, when I happened to be in Nairobi on business last week, everyone I know assumed I was there to replace Miguna, when I didn’t even know that he was suspended as I was in transit to Nairobi when that happened.

In fact, if I were interested in being appointed to serve in government, this would have happened a long time ago.

The only position may be interested in serving, is as President, after Raila.  I am therefore not concerned about a Miguna being “done on me!”

You say, “And please don’t brand everyone else who doesn’t see things your way anti-this or anti-that!”

I actually don’t; not everyone who does not support Raila is necessarily anti-Railaist as I use that noun.

You say, “And now Ndugu X has coined a new one: “gunslinger”! I wish you well.

Nd. X  wants to change professions in late life and become a comedian and is practicing by this “gunslinger” coining. We should wish him well.

I have nothing to say about anything Judy says other than to say I am happy to note you disagree with some of her conspiratorial and delusional theories.

You say, “There are those who will go every length to ensure they retain power. In equal measure, there are those who will do anything and everything to ensure they get to that power.

There is nothing wrong with either, as long as its done within and consistent with the rule of law and not in disregard of.

In fact, all politicians bar none are do or would do this.

You say, “Mind not what they will do with that power, if the threats being bandied (and in some cases delivered) are anything to go by. These are both the wrong cadres of people for Kenya – at least not to lead it!”

I don’t know what threats you are referring to so I can’t comment on this.

You say, “This is why I cringe when I see people promote PNU and/or ODM on these spaces. If Kenya ever needed divine intervention, it is NOW!

Kenya will be just fine under the rule of ODM; in fact, it will be far better off than being ruled under any other party.

Peace, Love and Unity

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

[Unedited]

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

My Response To A Kikuyu Netter Regarding Raila’s Prospects In Central Come 2012

The following is my response to a Kikuyu blogger, who took issue with another Kikuyu blogger writing favorably about Raila’s visit to Muranga a few weeks ago and his continued efforts to court the Kikuyu vote. As in many other cases I have had to respond without solicitation in behalf of my preferred candidate, much of what this blogger raises, is based on fiction and innuendo, and not facts.

My response:

You say, “On His Reform CredentialsI do not subscribe to the fact that RAO should be voted for by Kikuyus just because his father supported Kenyatta. This would be purely primitive and unacceptable as we are not in any reward system.

No one is saying, and certainly not Raila that Kikuyus should vote for him simply because his father made it possible for Kenyatta to become president or because he uttered those memorable words, “Kibaki Tosha,” which everyone agrees made it possible for Kibaki to be elected president.

Rather, what people are saying is, in considering who to vote for, Kikuyus (and other tribes for that matter) should seriously consider and try to break away from the habit of voting their own for president, if not completely breaking away from this and vote for someone other than their own and no one fits this bill better than Raila, given his superb qualifications with this historical facts just an added factor why he should be so considered.

You say, “People should only be supported if they can take our good governance yardstick to a higher level but not due to archaic history that existed between their fathers or relatives.

The two are not mutually exclusive; there is no better measure of how a candidate would conduct himself other than what he or she had done in the past, thus, someone like Raila who has demonstrated over and over that he is not only for good governance, which he and others have fought for, and sacrificed tremendously, he is also for uniting the country as his father demonstrated by putting his own ambition aside for the sake of uniting the country under Kenyatta, ditto for Raila’s own Kibaki Tosha declaration.

You say, “In addition, RAO should not lie to Kenyans on the price that he purportedly paid due to the 1982 Coup. He and his cohorts were not in pursuit of any reforms through the coup. It was an adventure of a regime change that was not rooted on any ideals or common purpose, just removing Moi; not pursing constitutional, legal or institutional reforms. It was an insatiable desire for raw power, to remove the authoritarian rule of Moi and replace it with their largesse.

Raila suffered many years of detention and torture because of his unselfish desire to free our people from the Moi regime, which turned out to be worse than even Raila feared from early on.

That’s the fact, and fortunately most Kenyans old enough to know, know that to be the case so being in denial and trying to paint his efforts as anything other than, can only confuse those who were not there or those who have not bothered to read about these struggles that ultimately resulted in (1) the rejection of Moi and his pet project UK in 2002 and (2) the ushering in of the new Constitution and the reforms we are finally realizing.

No one can deny Raila credit for his efforts in all of these, except those who refuse to accept the truth.

You say, At around the same time, many African countries had experienced in excess of 75 military takeovers and more that 200 attempts at abrogation of the written constitution, like in Swaziland. So I do not understand how this be portrayed as a suffering and thus the “price” that he paid should be rewarded? He was pursing entrenched greed for power and self aggrandizement. It was just to be a replacement of Moi’s despotism with Oginda’s autocracy. In any case, his actions then can only be compared with the Egyptian Protesters. They were only united in getting Mubarak out and they seem to have no shared mission and purpose of their new country without Mubarak. So as we talk today, they are still protesting. Their protests were directionless and the only difference with the 1982 coup and even the 1990s call for reforms by some politicians that they only wanted to get Moi out of power but they never at all wanted to bring reforms in the country. This is a position augmented by Timothy Njoya a week ago in the Capital Talk, K24 .Moreso Ngunjiri, RAO has commonly wanted to be identified with his yesteryears “reforms” history.”

You have said a lot here but in the end, you have really said nothing of substance. None of this changes the fact that Raila is a proven reformist and neither does it change the fact that he has paid dearly along the way.

You say, “Today he is in government, not as a sweeper, but a Prime Minister. What reforms have he done? Entrenching cronyism, political patrimonialism and sychophancy? Why does he want to hang on his apparent history, which is actually debatable? His record as a Prime Minister or even the MP Lang’ata is despicable and is a total failure.Peter Kenneth, who was elected in 2002 as a MP had done what the PM has not achieved and I bet he can never achieve.”

From the day he was sworn as PM, Kibaki and his cohorts embarked on a campaign to render Raila irrelevant in the governance of the country.

Because he is a skilled politician, and fortunately so for the country, Raila has still managed to execute the functions of his office and deliver for the country as no one ever could under the circumstances, despite these vicious efforts by the Kibaki cadre to frustrate or altogether prevent him completely from functioning as PM.

This, my friend, is a staggering accomplishment and but one sign that, once re-elected president and free of these shackles, Raila will finally deliver all that he envisions for our country, much to everyone’s delight, including yourself, if you can garner enough courage and forgive yourself for being so hard and wrong about him.

You say, “This “reformist”, according to Ngunjiri started paying taxes recently, by climbing the rooftop of Times Tower in media blitz and yet Kenneth and Muthama have done patriotically without even the new constitution.”

By publicly paying his taxes, Raila led by example. This is what good and effective leaders do.

That Kibaki, Peter Kenneth, and Muthama paid their taxes ahead of him, is equally commendable but irrelevant as to the question of whether the PM led by example, in publicly paying his taxes.

You say, So, what are reforms?? After the death of his father, Ford Kenya, in which he was the Deputy-Director of Elections, held elections in Thika.He unleashed an axe, which was aimed at the Late VP Wamalwa head but was successfully blocked by Wafula Wamunyinyi, the immediate former MP for Kanduyi.Thus to be I think the word reform and impunity deserve a new dictionary review!!!  

No one has any idea what you are talking about here.

You say, “b. The Kikuyu QuestionIn the public arena, a perception has been created that RAO will revenge against the Kikuyu. On this one, I partly disagree. Nevertheless, he has depicted tendencies of asocialist nature and this has actually hurt some kikuyu investors. It’s in record that some tenants both in Kibera and Mathare slums have refused to pay rent to non-luo landlords courtesy of his protection.

Only extreme and die-hard anti-Railaists would buy the nonsense that Raila could even conceivably “protect” tenants who refuse to pay rent on account the landlord is not Luo.

I would give you this much: this is the kind of malicious lies being propagated and spread by Raila’s political enemies that he must counter with truth and this, I am sure he will do.

You say, “RAO is a capitalist, who actually conforms to the primitive accumulation of resources but he spearheads the communist agenda as it’s a sharp wedge tool that enables some part of the poor, lazy masses that believe in free things and hate hard work to vote for him.

Maintaining a permanent, hopeless and dependent underclass of a vast majority of the population was invented by the White Man in Africa, assumed by our first presidents, in our case, Kenyatta, who handed the torch to Moi, and Moi attempted to do the same by handing over to UK but was repulsed by efforts led by Raila who largely made it possible for Kibaki to be elected president.

Rather than taking advantage of this break from the past and lead in a new direction, Kibaki, u nfortunately, returned us to the politics of division and maintenance of a permanent, hopeless and dependent underclass of a vast majority of the population.

Raila is trying to get us back to where we were in 2002, namely, rejection of the old politics of dictatorial rule, corruption and impunity without care about the citizenry and its needs.

You therefore have your analysis upside down about Raila and his economic and social stance viz the people.

You say, “[Raila] is a man of double standards.”

He is not.

You say, “As we head to the 2012, he has realized that he needs Kikuyu votes as the Kalenjin bloc and many others have deserted him.”

The Kalenjin “bloc” has not deserted Raila; those who have “deserted” him in Kale land are people ill-advised by Ruto with his lies, distortions and innuendo for his own selfish political ambitions.

Fortunately, leaders from the area, including Hon. Franklin Bett, Hon. Sally Kosgey, Hon. Magerger, Hon. Litole and many others have put their feet on the ground and told Ruto to take his nonsense elsewhere and so far the response has been very positive from the ordinary folk on the ground, and even among Kale professionals who are quietly advising Ruto to change his abandon the disastrous track his on and find ways to work with Raila.

Although Ruto remains adamant he won’t work with Raila, don’t be surprised to see him come running and begging Raila like a little boy to take him back and Raila being the good leader he is, he will oblige him.

You say, “He is silently driving a wedge between the ordinary Kikuyus and the Kikuyu hegemony.”

This is a concoction of your own imagination, so there is no need to comment on it, other than to say Raila has done no such a thing.

You say, “Factually, not all Kikuyu elite are bad. This is not just a problem in Kikuyus.There are many good Kalenjin and even Luo elite just as bad elites amongst them. However, he is now driving the wedge by telling the poor Kikuyus that if they vote for him and not the others, their life will be better and especially if Kikuyu elite are sent packing.

Again, Raila has done no such a thing and if he has, point to us specifically what, when and where.

You say, “We need leaders who are honest, issue based and not political conmen.

True. Raila is one of them.

You say, “What about the Luo, Pokomo, and Gabbra etc youths? We need a leader who will transform the whole country and this cannot be possible though RAO wedge politics.”

Raila is the answer to what hails the country today and is the leader who will transform the country more than all others vying for the office, and by far.

You say, “it would by far-fetched Ngunjiri to assert that Uhuru must have known the ODM 2007 strategy.ODM metamorphosized to RAO after the referendum. He was ODM and ODM was him.”

The facts speak for themselves.

You say, “Secondly, RAO was surrounded by a coterie of tribesmen and a pentagon of regional tribal lords that insulated him from the rest. In fact, even Joe Nyagah was sometimes excluded in the now defunct pentagon meetings.”

This is another concoction of your own imagination. Pentagon was a very well designed tool to win the presidency, which succeeded in having Raila winning in a landslide only to be thwarted by thieves and cheats at the polls, with the help and direction of Kivuitu.

You say, “POST ELECTION VIOLENCEOn this one, I shudder at how Ngunjiri and his ilk have belittled the matter just in a bid to justify his support for RAO.Ngunjiri, your support for RAO is your constitutional right and you do not have to feel obliged to say sorry or defend it ab initio.In any case, it does not tilt any voting pattern! Your casual glance of the PEV committed against the Kikuyus in the Rift is very alarming.”

What Ngujiri said about PEV and Raila is factually correct.

You say, “RAO assembled a pentagon of tribal lords in the Rift and these were his vehicles of isolating and dictating to us in the Rift that we must vote for RAO or face violence.”

Raila, as any good politician would do, campaigned in all parts of the country and was voted for in a majority, in all areas and regions, except Central where he still managed to get a substantial number of votes, even taking into account the massive rigging there.

Nowhere did Raila say one had to vote for him or face violence. This is yet another concoction of your own imagination.

You say, “We have continually faced violence since 1992, 1997, 1998 but 2007 was abominable. Your “hero”, was the captain of the ship that unleashed terror and brutality on the Kikuyus in the Rift.”

Again, you can imagine and say whatever you wish, but the fact is, Raila had nothing to do with PEV and, if anything, he must be thanked for bending over-backwards and accepting a deal with Kibaki that ended the violence.

You say, “He did absolutely nothing, either in actions or words to calm or stop the violence.”

You obviously were not in Kenya or if you were, you did not have access to radio or television to hear Raila’s calls for peace throughout the crisis. In the past, you would be forever in a state of believing this falsehood but with the proliferation of Internet, I encourage you to go to Youtube and search for Raila press conferences and interviews and you can finally hear for yourself Raila’s messages of peace and end to the violence, if it’s the case you were alone in not hearing what he had to say about ending the violence.

You say, “He cannot hide under the assertion that its “others” who hijacked the electoral debacle to kill Kikuyus.How did he know that they had hijacked the process?”

Raila is hiding from nothing as he was on the right side regarding PEV.

It’s a fact PEV was not just about stolen elections and thus the reason the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was formed.

You say, “As a Captain or their “Arap Mibey”, why did he remain silent conspicuously?”

He never did.

You say, “Why did he make idiotic commentary in BBC concerning Kiambaa burnings?

There was nothing “idiotic” about what Raila said regarding Kiambaa burnings.” You are here really scrapping at the bottom of the barrel, in search of something you can smear Raila with but that’s not working.

You say, “Killings of any form or any Kenyan of whichever tribe is unacceptable, criminal and even if it’s for a price or for free, it does warrant such absurd justification by a man who still wants to be the next president of this country and his supporters.”

You are right killing of any Kenyan is unacceptable and criminal but you are wrong that Raila provided justification for any killing; he never did and never will as he is a man of peace.

You say, “But again, some Kikuyus from the Central Province, which I tend to believe Ngunjiri belongs, have never seen tribal violence and thus are inclined to recklessness and a sheer disregard of its gravity and thus can be court poets to exonerate their “high priest.

One need not be in a zone of violence to understand the nature of violence.

You say, “In any case, having millions of NGO’s “reconciliation” talk shops cannot make one a victim or does not necessarily make one to purport to understand the recurrent tribal clashes in the Rift. It’s purely business!”

Others, if not everyone else would disagree and say reconciliation is the only best way forward.

You say, “On the Hague Process  On this matter, I do not want to lie that I can authoritatively review it. However, politicization of the ICC process is real. I intend to answer it once I finish some valuable readings on how the court is used by some members of the United Nations Security Council to legitimize their political will. It could be possible that RAO support of the local tribunal was genuine. It still could have been a lip service! Before I answer, have this food of thought.

Well said.

You will conclude upon further study of the issue, that Raila had nothing to do with how the process was initiated and neither is he responsible for the charging and sending the Ocampo Six to the Hague.

That’s the truth and fact.

You say, “How does RAO become a “jamba”by dining with political dinosaurs and salvages in Central Province or any other area in the Country? Politics is not that easy or cheap anywhere, even in countries that purport to be mothers of democracy.  In any case, even if Satan was to land in Nairobi today, I guess we would be excited and turn in huge numbers to watch and listen to him.”

Is your argument now that Raila is Satan?

Comparing Raila to Satan only serves to show how deeply you hate and resent the man.

In sum, you are wrong in about everything you have said or believe about Raila and it hopefully, you have seen and accept the truth as I have given it to you and as others can easily verify for you, if you still don’t believe that you are so wrong about all of this.

Peace, Love and Unity

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Politics

 

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The Difference Between Die-Hard Railaists and Die-Hard Anti-Railaists

The difference between die-hard Raila supporters and die-hard anti-Railaists:

Die-hard Raila supporters never say never; they are just confident Raila will be elected president come next general elections.

Die-hard anti-Railaists say Raila will never be elected president.

Die-hard Raila supporters give well reasoned reasons and facts why they believe Raila will be elected next president.

Die-hard anti-Railaists have never given any reason why they say Raila will never be elected.

Die-hard Raila supporters believe a united Kenya is desirable under any experienced and better qualified presidential candidate.

Die-hard anti-Railaists prefer a divided Kenya headed by a mediocre, inexperienced or unqualified person, if that’s the only way to stop Raila from becoming president

Die-hard Raila supporters appreciate the sacrifices Raila has made for the sake of the country and his reformist agenda.

Die-hard anti-Railaists believe Raila has not suffered enough.

Die-hard Raila supporters appreciate Raila’s efforts to defeat the 2005 draft constitution, which was Choice # 1 for anti-reformists.

Die-hard anti-Railaists would have prefered the 2005 draft or no new constitution at all, if attaining one meant credit to Raila.

Die-hard Raila supporters appreciate the the work Raila has done and continues to do for the benefit of the country.

Die-hard anti-Railaists do not appreciate anything Raila has done for the country, even as Prime Minister.

Die-hard Raila supporters, for example, appreciate what Raila did to save the Mau forest.

Die-hard anti-Railaist believed the Mau forest be damned, if saving it meant Raila getting credit.

Die-hard Raila supporters, for another example, appreciate the fact Raila prevented Kibaki from violating the new constitution in his attempted effort to install his cronies in important constitutional office.

Die-hard anti-Railaists could have cared less, if Kibaki’s success meant Raila’s defeat; their quest for Raila’s failure see no limits.

Die-hard Raila supporters will be happy if anyone other than Raila is elected president in a fair and transparent elections.

Die-hard anti-Railaists will be hard put to but some may, as the article below published after the elections reveals:

Dateline: Nairobi, August 27, 2012
Breaking Nairobi News

Former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga was yesterday sworn as the fourth president of the Republic of Kenya in a ceremony marked with great pomp and fanfare.

Unlike five years ago when his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki was hurriedly and secretly sworn at an event witnessed only by close friends and political operatives, President Raila Odinga was sworn in broad day-light at Uhuru Park where hundreds of thousands of supporters and well-wishers thronged to witness the ceremony and reports indicate not one of them has gone home as of press time.

“This is a great day for Kenyans; we finally have a president we have all been longing for,” said David Ochwangi, one of the happy revelers at a party following the swearing in ceremony still ongoing at the Carnival as of going to press.

In his inaugural address to the nation, Mr. Raila Odinga called on Kenyans to forget or at least forgive the past and join hands in rebuilding the country. The president noted he realized this may be difficult for some but urged all Kenyans to reach deeper and find ways to get along with each other as tribalism and negative ethnicity is now a thing of the past, given the overwhelming support he received from across the country.

Mr. Raila Odinga told Kenyans the priority of his presidency is to implement policies envisioned in the new constitution and as an example of how serious he is about this, President Raila Odinga ordered the firing of Attorney General Githu Muigai, saying his appointment was in error as he is not reform minded and he sees no value among Kenyans living in the Diaspora, who the new president believes must be incorporated in the country’s economic development.

Mr. Raila Odinga acknowledged the significance of his election as president, an office his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, declined to assume in favor of the country’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta.

Mr. Raila Odinga took time to especially thank supporters from Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Embu counties, who showed up in large numbers to vote for him, contrary to what many analysts had predicted.

The president urged all those who did not vote for him, to now join the rest of the country in supporting him as he embarks on his mission to transform the country.

In his speech, Mr. Raila Odinga firmly rejected the idea that all politicians are corrupt and that Kenya is incapable of ridding itself of corruption, a notion that is widely believed across the country. Mr. Raila Odinga vowed to “fight corruption and impunity to total submission.”

To his opponents, Mr. Raila Odinga assured them he will not seek revenge for the many years of insults, lies and abuses they accorded him, especially in during the campaign. “I have forgiven each one of you and now ask that you join me in rebuilding our country” Mr. Odinga declared.

“I have no positions for you in my administration, however, but I would not mind if you volunteer to work in my government at any level and in any capacity,” the president added.

Reached by phone, the former MP for Eldoret North said he was happy to hear what the president had to say.

“I am not surprised by what he said,” said Ruto, “I have always known Raila to be a decent, nice and fair gentleman but I had to do what I did because I thought I could beat him,” disclosed Ruto, adding “I was wrong and I can assure you, I’ll be the first one to visit him as soon as the opportunity avails to personally tell him how sorry I am.”

The new president received well wishes from around the world. President Barack Obama called him a “true reformist” who will change the face of Kenya. Former South African President Nelson Mandela called him a “fighter” who has “once again shown, if you believe in your cause, and barring being killed, you can survive anything and live to lead.” German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said of Mr. Raila Odinga, “he is the new hope for Kenya,” and immediately announced that any qualified Kenyan students can now get free education in Germany. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was pleased Mr. Odinga was elected president and looks forward to continued good relations with the country, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he is renaming Champs Elysees “Raila Street’ for the month in celebration of Mr. Odinga’s election.

Mr. Raila Odinga’s comments regarding the outgoing administration drew some criticism, however.

The president said it was wrong for Kibaki to have stolen the presidency from him in 2007 but he thanked him for doing his best to work with him despite relentless efforts by those around the former president to stop Mr. Raila Odinga from ascending to the presidency.

But any criticism of the new president was lost in the pomp and fanfare at Uhuru Park yesterday akin to that seen in 2002 when former president Kibaki was first sworn in as president.

“Let’s hope that the Kenyans finally get what they were expecting in 2002,” said, Isaac Ruto, former MP of Chepalungu, “I wish him well and hope he has forgiven us as he said.”

Elsewhere, the most vocal and avid of anti-Railaists have gone silent but our reporter managed to find one at a rehabilitation facility sponsored by a group known as PK, “I am okay; I am okay,” said one, “I am told I would need a few more days here to completely recover from my Raila phobia,” said the man who did not want his name mentioned because he was once such a die-hard anti-Railaist, he guaranteed on a bet Raila will never be elected president.

After the inaugural ceremony, the presidential motorcade headed to the Carnival where the party is still going on as of press time.

Disclaimer: The foregoing is an imaginary futuristic rendition of what the writer thinks will occur. It is not intended to be taken as an event that actually occurred or will occur.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Politics

 

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My Expression of Support and Views on Formation of the Group “Kikuyus for Change.”

In my previous blogs, I have noted that, if I were a Kikuyu, I would start an organization I have variously described as Kikuyu’s Against Another Kikuyu President –or something to that effect.

I have also previously stated my reasons why and I have made it clear this has nothing to do with being a tribalist or anything close. I was therefore very happy to read Mr. Ngunjiri Wambugu’s article, We Must Get Out of Tribal Cocoons, which essentially takes the same position I have been advocating about this issue.

Mr. Wambugu noted in his article that he is a convenor for a group called Kikuyus for Change, ostensibly advocating the same position.

As I noted elsewhere, I couldn’t have put the case better for this concept, which I hope gathers steam and more progressives, especially those from Central, come on board with it.

In response to Mr. Wambugu’s article, however, another writer makes almost equally compelling case in the opposite, namely, formation of such groups as Kikuyus for Change, is not desirable or necessary.

In this blog, I respond to this writer’s sentiments and views.

My response:

You have written an equally excellent rebuttal of Wambugu’s excellent piece on this topic. However, on balance, and everything considered, Wambugu has the better argument, if anything because you are looking at things from a half-empty glass point of view, when Wambugu is looking at things from the half-full perspective.

I am responding to you because Wambugu’s views closely mirror mine on this issue, which I have been writing about for some time and I have several reasons I side with Wambugu.

First, you say, that the “idea of Kikuyus for Change or Luos for Change sounds great at face value. But it presupposes that the Kikuyus or Luos as communities in their entire-ties have been or are against change.

You have missed the point here. The question is not one of whether our communities are or are not for change; one can assume they are, but only if they know what that change is and in any case, not always.

For example, try to convince Omogusii to do away with amatoke, and instead substitute growing some other high yield, high income crop, you’ll be wasting your time for that’ll never happen.

In this types of cases, we are not even talking about change but something wholly different as in genetic restructuring.

There are certain changes, however, that are less drastic that merely require attitudinal adjustment while others are more fundamental and require more than a change in attitude.

Tribalism and negative ethnicity fall in the latter category: To change the mindset of people how they perceive other tribes, you’ll at the minimum require a complete reorientation of their cultural, societal and individual beliefs, which go beyond mere attitude.

This is a staggering feat to accomplish, but it must be done.

What I hear Wambugu saying, and I agree with him completely, is that tribalism and negative ethnicity is so deeply ingratiated in people’s mind because it’s something learned from childhood, not necessarily by everyone, but a vast majority and thus the reason it thrives to this day.

Wambugu’s prescription for a cure to this disease, is also something I completely agree with, to wit, and I quote him, “It is therefore imperative for Central Kenya to engage Raila Odinga beyond our stereotypes of him, and distinguish facts from perceptions.

This is not to say other tribes do not have the same task or responsibility; they do.

This in essence must be a multi-intertwined reciprocal action and reaction involving all tribes.

My point is and has been the Kikuyus and Kalenjin must take the lead in doing this and if they do, the rest of the country will follow.

The question is therefore not whether change is welcome in our communities, but whether we as progressives are willing, ready and able to lead in bringing it about.

Wambugu’s is answering, “Yes,” with Kikuyu’s for Change.

I would love to start one as “Kisii’s for Change” but this is not necessary because Kisii’s have never voted as a bloc for anyone but instead they always split their vote across the board.

That’s not to say some of them are not die-hard tribalists: like a flu or common cold, tribalism does not discriminate by community; it’s a question of depth and degree. It’s deeply entrenched in some communities, less so in others.

Kisii’s didn’t even vote as a bloc for Simeon Nyachae in 2002, much to his chagrin, but true to their form of independence, they also voted for Kibaki in large numbers–again, to Nyachae’s chagrin.

Luos on the other hand, have voted as a bloc for Kikuyu presidential candidates, so no need for Luos for Change there.

I think you see my point, which goes to my earlier point I have been making and that is, a change in voting patterns is essential primarily among the Kikuyu and Kalenjin.

Once that happens, the rest of the country will follow suit.

Yes, Kalenjin voted as a bloc for Raila in 2007 but it’s precisely for this reason they, too, need to take equal share leadership in ending tribalism and negative ethnicity by spreading their vote according to individual qualities and qualifications, not tribal affiliation.

As a Raila supporter, however, I’d be remiss not to say here and now, let also a majority of these communities vote for Raila in 2012.

Second, you say, Wambugu “further presupposes that the few individuals who come together to form the Kikuyus or Luos for Change are the only progressive and pro-reform members of the respective communities  – the rest of the community being anti-change!

I don’t think this is what Wambugu is trying to say; rather, I hear him saying, let progressives take the lead in bringing about the fundamental attitudinal and cultural changes necessary to end tribalism and negative ethnicity.

In other words, someone has and must take leadership on this issue and, since its obvious elected leaders are reluctant or unwilling to do so, given generally this is not something they consider helpful in election or re-election strategies (wrongly so), groups like Wambugu’s Kikuyu for Change must take the lead.

One need not be elected to effect fundamental change in Kenya.

Third, you say because you believe some of those now championing reform are at the core, anti-reformist, one should be “cautious to claim or to want to be associated with such groups as Kikuyus or Luos for Change because such tads, though high-sounding and appearing progressive at face value, are discriminative, isolationist and driven by a false guilt mentality by people who have bought into the stereotype that all Kikuyus are guilty by virtue of the fact that two of their own have been occupants of State House and allowed themselves to be conduits of exploitation.”

You have collapsed several unrelated issues into one.

The way I understand it, Wambugu’s Kikuyu for Change is advocating for fundamental change in attitudinal and cultural thinking vz tribalism and negative ethnicity, which I concur or state as my position, if he is saying something else.

This is related but separate and apart from political and institutional reform in this sense: ending tribalism and negative ethnicity will certainly fundamentally change the political dynamics of the country, especially in how we elect our presidents.

However, electing a president or leaders in an environment where tribalism and negative ethnicity is not a factor will not by itself automatically lead to a realization of political and institutional reform.

That will be a first but necessary reform.

The second part of that would require electing leaders who are truly committed to the kind of political and institutional reforms we have just embarked on a journey to implement.

A leader who is at the core anti-reformist therefore must not expect and cannot expect to be elected in this new environment where reform is the only agenda, double that if his or her hope is to ride the tribal train, if tribalism is dealt a fetal blow in changed attitudinal and cultural tidal wave.

In other words, the watermelons would not have the opportunity to practice their trade; their option would simply be to either embrace reform or pretend to embrace reform but any pretenses without result will be sniffed out and exposed, leaving them vulnerable and therefore towing the line.

It therefore matters not much whether one is pro-reform as a mission or anti-reform at the core but pretending to be the former.

Your caution about Kikuyu’s for Change possibly including such elements is therefore not something to be concerned about.

Another issue you have collapsed in your argument above, is that groups such as Kikuyu’s for Change are, as you say, “discriminative, isolationist” and driven by “a false guilt mentality by people who have bought into the stereotype that all Kikuyus are guilty by virtue of the fact that two of their own have been occupants of State House and allowed themselves to be conduits of exploitation.”

Taking the first part of this argument to be it is undesirable to have a group that is “discriminative” and “isolationist,” no one would disagree with you.

In fact, we have had such groups before and none more representative of the concept and therefore its undesirability than GEMA.

An organization such as Kikuyus for Change represents the opposite, however: While GEMA was intended to create a permanent ruling class from Central, a group such as Kikuyu for Change is intended to erase and abolish this idea that our president must only come from one particular region.

That being the case, your second part of the argument that an organization such as Kikuyus for Change is “driven by a false guilt mentality by people who have bought into the stereotype that all Kikuyus are guilty by virtue of the fact that two of their own have been occupants of State House and allowed themselves to be conduits of exploitation,” is misplaced for the same reason.

In my blog on this subject titled,The Kikuyu Must Lead In Ending Ending Tribalism In Kenya, Followed By The Kalenjin and The Rest Will Follow, I stated as follows:

Having extensively written on the issue of ending tribalism in Kenya, I must confess even as I write about the subject, I am often resigned in the background this is just but a dream wish for some progressives like myself because the reality of it is, old habits die hard.

Thus, even when I suggest as I have in the past that, if I were a Kikuyu, I would start an organization I have variously described as Kikuyu’s Against Another Kikuyu President –or something to that effect—something in the back of my mind keeps telling me this is simply a utopian dream.

I could be wrong and would obviously be glad to be so.

I have hastened to add that I hold that view—of not another Kikukuyu president; at least not this round or next, anyway—not because I have anything against Kikuyu’s—I don’t—but I do hold this view for the same reasons other progressive Kikuyus hold the same view, and that is, it is just neither fair nor just for an ethnically diverse and vast country such as Kenya to have two of its three presidents since its independence, hailing from the same tribe.

It’s the Clinton Fatigue, if you will, that many believe denied Hilary her official date with destiny at the White House; ditto for the Bush Fatigue whereby Jeb Bush who, better than his brother he might be, or even better than his father for that matter he could be, the United States of America simply can’t take another Bush at the White House; not any time soon, anyway.

And that includes anyone who may not be related but has the same name—just not another BUSH!

Same concept for Kenya—okay, Kenya goes more in that not just another Kenyatta (sorry UK) but not another Kikuyu either.

As noted above, not a shred of tribalism in many of us who say so;  just a fact of life, if we are to be intellectually honest about these things.

All of us as Kenyans were happy to have and accepted Mzee Jomo Kenyatta as our first president and we lived with the fact that he was to be our president to the day he drew his last breath, which was fine; the man, after all, was very instrumental in our country’s gaining independence.

All I am trying to say in all of this is this: Kikuyu’s must take lead in ending tribalism by supporting other than “their” own not because of guilt but as a matter of bringing about unity and love for each other as a nation.

Your contention that an organization such as Kikuyus for Change seeks to shame Kikuyu’s into embracing fundamental attitudinal and cultural change viz how we elect our president is therefore equally misplaced as well.

In fact, this change is already taking place within Central albeit not by much not out of guilt or anything like that, but because people of reason and circumspect, especially those who can separate the chaff from the wheat.

In other words, not all Kikuyus have an issue with voting for someone other than “their own,” and those who don’t necessarily are not driven by guilt but by being just objective according to their own needs and appreciation of the concept of oneness in nationhood.

We need more of these not just in the Kikuyu community, but in all communities.

When I read Wambugu’s piece, I felt as though I was hitch-hiking on the highway and he came along and we are all along for the ride to the promised land of a tribalism free nation.

I’ll urge you and other progressives to join as well.

Third, you say that “I am hesitant to be associated with such groups because they criminalize members of the respective communities by creating the false impression that all Kalenjins participated and benefited from the looting of public resources for their individual good so that a few of them must isolate themselves, brand themselves as Kalenjins for Change to gain acceptance among the rest of the Kenyan people.”

As I have said and it’s clear from above, no one is talking about criminalizing anyone, let alone any community.

And neither is anyone advocating for people to isolate themselves from their respective communities by merely branding themselves as individuals for change to gain acceptance from the rest of the Kenyan people.

We are not even talking about who has benefited from what, as clearly you will find Kikuyus living in abject poverty in Central and elsewhere, just as much as you will find Kalenjin’s living in abject poverty in RV and elsewhere, despite the fact these are the two communities from among where all of our presidents in our country’s history have come from.

Is there a disproportionate per capita wealth accumulation from among members of these two communities owing to the fact that all of our presidents have come from among them?

Of course; but that’s not the issue here.

We are not talking about pay-back time.

Rather, all we are saying, is simply let’s end tribalism as a factor in electing our future presidents and demand that the presidents we henceforth elect and national leadership is fair and just in the distribution of national resources.

Other than perhaps in cases of provable theft or illegal accumulation of wealth and such, the past must be let go.

Fourth, you say, “it is always a class thing and unless such groupings as Kikuyus for Change are made up of victims of political manipulation and the economically marginalized Kikuyus who have to contend with jigger infestation because they are too poor to afford basic sanitation and hygiene, I would advise the founders of Kikuyus for Change to rethink the philosophy of their outfit

I have completely missed the rationale for this argument therefore the best I can do is to simply ask the question, why? Why would an organization like Kikuyus for Change limit itself as such? Would that not be self-defeating as to the objective of moving our country where we are united by our shared common values and not divided by tribe?

When you say, “they must rethink it because had Dedan Kimathi not been for Change, had all the Mau Mau freedom fighters not been for Change (majority of who were Kikuyus), Kenya would not have attained independence as early as it did,” you confuse me. But Kikuyus for Change stands on the same principles as did Dedan Kimathi, except the underlying and driving force is not revenge for exploitation of the House of Mumbi but a desire to spread brotherly and sisterly love or at least unity across the nation?

When you say, “they must rethink the philosophy because my suspicion tells me that the surviving remnants of Mau Mau are not members of the so called Kikuyus for Change, yet they are the pioneers for the Change that we enjoy today,” you confuse me even more. An organization like the Kikuyus for Change stands for the proposition its time progressive Kikuyus to lead the community into the 21st century Kenya where tribalism and negative ethnicity is not a factor in how we live or elect our national leaders.

The surviving remnants of Mau Mau are therefore by definition included by virtue of being Kikuyus, in the Kikuyus for Change or whatever other group for change in the same fashion.

Finally, you say, “Why anybody would form, at this late hour in Kenya’s history of struggle, a group calling itself Luos for Change when their predecessors have immortalized change or become the change in themselves, would be the height of hypocrisy and selfishness only designed to earn oneself a special place one does not deserve.”

I agree with you for the reasons I stated first above.

I hope this moves the needle in your mind toward supporting Wambugu’s group, Kikuyus for Change, which needs all of our support.

Peace, Love and Unity

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

[Unedited]

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Politics

 

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