Archive | January, 2012


5 Jan

By Javas Bigambo
This year, we are earmarked to fulfill a central tenet of the democracy in which we have come to so strongly believe. This year, in this election, we need to be more informed, more vigilant and more accountable to ourselves to beat any form of pre or post-election violence. The beauty with democracy is that it is not deserved, but earned. Through hard work, commitment to national values and an unyielding willingness to have every citizen believe in them is the only Rubicon to be crossed. This year, 2012, Kenya decides. Whatever the choice that the people of this republic shall make, we only hope it will not destroy Kenya.
Many times I always imagine how terrific our Kenyan democracy would be without the mean appetites of ego-mongering politicians, land grabbers, tribal chieftains and green-eyed power brokers. But majority of African countries have suffered political decay due to the absence of adorable political character from the leaders. These emerging democracies will not survive long without good leaders that can be emulated. In Kenya, heaven knows we are happy to have the constitution of Kenya 2010. From 2012 elections onward, the rogue MPs have had their arbitrary power nipped in the bud.
Truth knows that we each wish for a mint of gold, and I would hold it that the natives of this nation would embrace the constitution as it is, and have it thus fully implemented and incessantly solemnized with honour and the vow of death, with pomp, dance and chance; that with that declaration, like the rest of the world, no other declaration shall be survived among men as ever the greatest than this. The constitution of Kenya is now all we have as the sure instrument to deal the old political culture a death blow.
The 2012 epoch of a defining election, comes at a time when our political discourse has become so sharply polarized along tribal, class and to some reasonable extent, religious lines. The framers of our constitution, that illustrious Committee of Experts were rights to put and state issues as it did. Though pundits bill the execution of the constitution as it is to be a costly affair, I cast my lot with that sacred document. Since the time of our nation’s founding, it has cost us much more than it shall cost us to implement the constitution.
Thus far, the three presidents who have ruled this country have engineered great economic injustices that will remain painful scars in the flesh of our country. They funned tribal warfare for selfish gain, filled national public offices with their childhood friends and village cronies, and they soiled their hands with human blood that they took for political reasons. The successive governments have robbed the people of high quality education, grabbed all public land, weakened institutions with accountability mechanisms and did their best to stall meaningful national reconstruction. The third government was forced by national and generational circumstances to embrace and endorse the new constitution. This is evident from the way they are dragging their feet at implementing the same document, and if they had a magical chance they would make the constitution to disappear from the earth surface.
Kenya is filled with ‘boring’ politicians. So boring are the politicians that most of them have nothing intellectually stimulating to offer the world. Save for a few honourable names like Gitobu Imanyara, Martha Karua, Ababu Namwamba, Mutula Kilonzo, Charles Kilonzo, James Orengo, Farah Maalim, Anyang’ Nyong’o and Bonny Khalwale, the majority of the remaining make complete the diminishing circle of national irrelevance. Imagine the likes of Chris Okemo, Mike Mbuvi (Sonko), Fed Waititu and their ilk who are known much for disgraceful things than not? Am told William Samoei Ruto, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Raila Amollo Odinga, Raphael Tuju, Kingwa Kamencu, Maina Njenga, Mutava Musyimi and some few others all want to be president. They make me very worried.
This country badly needs leaders who can stand by their word, leaders who can deliver speeches that will lift human hearts in dark times, speeches that can give hope in anguish, speeches that will refine the characters of men, inspire brave feats, give courage to the many who are weary, honour the distinguished patriots who have died in the field of battle and duty, and change the course of our national history. If a president cannot inspire a nation and deliver distinguished memorable speeches, such can never be gladly remembered by posterity. These leaders have no style, substance and impact.
Pray, good heavens, some have been in parliament for decades, and yet they remain the agents of apathy even to their own constituents. For instance, Tseikuru, where Kalonzo Musyoka has been a member of Parliament for 30 years, remains poverty-stricken, backward and god-forsaken and yet the “distinguished people’s representative” wants to be president of Kenya. How sorry that ambition is. Then there are those who are known for nothing other than embezzling CDF money. Ah me! Did fate have to be this generous to Kenya with a package of awful leaders? It worries any nation when their leaders doze off in parliament in broad daylight. My South African friend Kyle Steven captures it in excellent graphical terms in his poem In the Night:

In parliament
the god of debate
fails to cross the divide
of rich and poor

In the laager
the god of revenge
flickers around tv screens

In the kraal
the god of small beginnings
shakes itself, begins to stir again

In the night
the god of the ancestors-holds peace.
They meet cheek to cheek, and wonder why.

The Kenyan politicians are much like prostitutes at the political temple and are engulfed in the night. They shift from party to party, swing from one stand-point to the other devoid of any ideological basis. They are there merely to make money by luring the less firm people who are not faithful to national values. This time, in these elections we have a chance to decide, and depart from nebulous political positions. Let us make it an ignominious vote that will relegate the graft-masters and their scions to the backwaters.
In Africa, we know that a man rises on the shoulders of his kinsmen. So if in the end we have corrupt members of parliament, incompetent governors and redundant senators then we have ourselves as kinsmen for culpability. But to hope that we can vote in the same coterie of looters and hope for inspirational leadership require more than Panglossian optimism. Let us come out in sufficient numbers and waste those insignificant fellows who utter dangerous nonsense with total impunity in the name of politics and make sure that for once politicians start talking sense. We must keep our heads above the ethnic waters so as to forge a prosperous and democratic future for Kenya in an economically strategic, albeit impoverished and politically polarized member-state in the East African Community league.
Kenya’s greatest tragedy is having its first successive three presidents who sat on their hands and did nothing to reverse historical injustices and related atrocities committed against Kenyans of average means. Enough of the ecclesiastic patience that Kenyans seem to have ably mustered and it is time for expeditious shifting into progress. The present generation of leaders will be painfully remembered for having handed nothing to posterity except the memories of greed. For once let us abandon armchair revolutions and boardroom politics that culminate in less-eloquent choreographed chest-thumping press conferences. If we do this, we shall eternally shame the politicians who are prostitutes in the temple of politics.