Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety aaaaagh (frantically throws the hand in the air) maybe I am just tired of this country. It’s barely a week since the seemingly credible elections were concluded. As is with every election some things didn’t really add up, what with zero spoilt votes in Mombasa and delays at delivering form 34 As?
Overall it was a smooth election, people cast their votes and went about their days without much drama. Most of us and netizens especially rocked our hypocritical ‘we are one’ tags until NASA principals expressed their dissatisfaction with the tallying process.
They immediately called for their supporters to ignore the figures being shared by the media, claimed hacking of the IEBC system by their Jubilee counterparts and even swore to have hard evidence to back their claims. And just like that everything that was ‘we are one’ became ‘sasa wanataka aje’ and ‘tulijua tu wataiba’ as we crept back into the demon that is our tribal cocoons we forgot all the time we spent preaching the gospel of ‘we are all Kenyans.’
Even then we maintained our poker face; at least we gave our online friends Facebook likes, hearts and smileys. “Aaah it will be fine,” I thought, “everything will be ironed out and folks will go back to their half civil, half annoying selves which we can all live with.” I must admit that was naïve on my part, taking into account as soon as the IEBC chair declared the incumbent President and his Deputy as the winners, followed by an immediate rejection of the same by the opposition, my little bubble that was ‘Kenya is bigger than all of us’ was burst.
Why do I insist on giving Kenyans the benefit of my trust and credence? It should have been obvious by now that all they’ll ever do with it is throw it back on my face. It was celebrations seasoned with mockery and contempt on the Jubilee side and pain accompanied by protests and riots by NASA fans. At this point our deceitful masks fell off, there was no more pretence. Tolerance we threw out the window and bile we let spill everywhere. We were back to our default settings, our tribe, my people, mtu wetu.
Looters and plunderers saw this as a chance to make a killing pretending to be fighting for justice and fairness, what a total bag of cowards. Brutes took it upon themselves to attack their neighbours, fight them, make them bleed and pay for ‘their’ choices while the fools hiding behind the keyboard and their ilk with the poisonous strain of using their tongues as swords used words to inflict wounds.
Someone once said ‘Before uttering any word, stop for a moment, think of the effect it will have, and then speak.’ It appears some of us missed the memo. In deed, not all violence involves blood; ask me I know, I have been bleeding the last few days because sometimes words hurt. All these got me wondering, is it in our genes? Could it be that Abduba Dida was on to something when he said if they took blood samples to test sanity they’d find the most bizarre things? Is it in our DNA? Is tribalism and hate against your own normal? Is it Kenyan, and is it human? Is it in our genes? Maybe it is just who we are as a people. I mean we have been taking death even murder of our fellow countrymen as noble.
We saw a number celebrate when Nkaissery died, we watched as others played down the murder of Msando, we saw as people wished the President was dead when his convoy was said to have been involved in an accident somewhere in Kisii, others have openly wished Raila dead. We have heard, read, seen people call for ethnic cleansing of a certain people; we said nothing because it was not our people in question.
It is stupid, to paint hate as a shiny little gemstone that one can rock as a crown. Hate is not beautiful, hate is not noble. It is obtuse to romanticize war; you think being called to mass action is great? The call to go make some widows and orphans is not a smart thing; it doesn’t matter if the one who calls for it is King over all your generations. War is not a catalyst for progress, we don’t rise from the ashes, and there is no beauty in ashes. Memories of a country going up in flames will be burnt into your souls, your children’s’ cry and misery will be etched into your hearts, the struggle to stay alive will be tattooed on your skin with no hopes of a successful laser to remove them. The devil that is the scars that remain will never vacate your brain.
When the enemy that is war comes he doesn’t play games; the death toll, we all but start with a bloody man, which doesn’t bode well for the eventual body count. The devastation of the people, the crippling economy, the physical and psychological trauma, it never gets better and you won’t come out of it the same. Let nobody delude you into imagining that yours is a steel body. Our bodies are all made of tissues. Death knows no name even in a country where our names betray us.
As the cast of ‘We Won’t Forget’ reminds us, seek not to memorize another Post Election Violence, DO NOT FORGET. Do not forget that as you step out to fight for your King as he hides away in his palace an ominous cloud of police brutality hangs over you. The police will rain on you fire, debris and fury without any compunction. You will go on a rant, protest and more blows will come raining and the world will be silent as has been the case the past few days.
It stings to see the police go for a people, follow them around, break down their doors, flush them out of their houses, kill them, terrorize their children as another group watches in silence. Who are we? How did we get here, that our friends need us to speak up for them but we won’t not because we can’t but because we disagreed on our choice of leaders? Where are these leaders when famine and plagues strike? Probably buying a plate of food at a million bob while you struggle to buy unga. Maybe flying to Europe for treatment while you can barely get drugs at your nearest government health facility. Yet here you are silent as those you run to, to fund your trip to India for treatment are being wiped out, it is a travesty of justice to be silent in the face of inhumanity. Your voice should be thunderous enough to call the attention of IPOA and KNHCR to the ongoing killings for at the end of the day people will remember not the words of their enemies but the silence of their friends.
And then there’s this other group of blockheads championing for tribal retaliatory attacks. In the safety that is your ignorant present, you have been hoodwinked a good one if you believe you are exempt from the consuming fire that will be the war whose dying flames you are fanning. Sharing and spreading videos of nut jobs chest thumping and claiming to be ready for war because they have a few weapons is not only a crime, it is immoral. I am not one to act the moral police but on this one history would never forgive me if I sat pretty and mum. Oh you sweet, not so little fools, didn’t they teach you that nobody is really ever ready for war? If that were possible Kim Jong Un would not be alive today, don’t believe me? Consult Goliath.
This fear mongering, hate mongering and scare tactics will take you nowhere but to an early grave, right after you and yours have been raped and stripped off of any ounce of humanity in you. Do not start a fire that you cannot put off, but, please, feel free to showcase your ignorance and idiocy online and everywhere trying to justify or deny the killings. It pays to be an apologist. I must also warn against the spreading of rumours and half truths, downloading pictures from 1900 and using them to agitate tension is reprobate and downright evil. Always verify information before sharing it with the clueless masses.
To the church, clergymen and Christians who are snug and content with giving up the church lectern to leaders and state officers to progress their selfish agendas, we see you. Your silence in times of political turmoil is deafening given the dose of noise you serve us every week. Even more threatening is the hypocrisy every Sunday with peace greetings, tukutendereza hugs and smiles that Christians easily forget once they are outside the Church premises. When did the state and the church become one? When did the clergymen meant to be the shepherds fraternize with the wolves enough to give up their young flock to be slaughtered in exchange for fat pockets? You serpents, you brood of vipers Jesus would be ashamed of you. You and this category of peace ambassadors that only speaks up when it favours them should be embarrassed for yourselves; history will judge you harshly for your quiet.
This post would not make any sense if I didn’t call for our leaders to take a stand. Governors Sonko and Nyong’o, yours being the most affected counties, I among many other Kenyans would like to believe those who voted for you can hearken to your words. We have been waiting in vain for you to appease your followers or at least contain them.
To the right honourable Raila Odinga, you have played a major role in the democracy of this country. I bet seeing all that go up in flames is not exactly the best way to transition into the next phase of your life. This country could do with your call for peace and calm. Last but not least it is has been quite disappointing, sad even to have the President and his Deputy ignore the state of affairs in the country. It’s so heartbreaking Mr President having to wake up every day yearning for a message from you, only for the day to fly by without so much as a word as if nothing is happening. Silence is not always the answer and I quote Martin Luther King when I say “Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.” I shudder at the thought that while you are sleeping, this country will be broken into smithereens. You and other leaders we elected cannot afford the luxury of making any more mistakes at the expense of the citizens, it’s time to right the wrongs, time to mend the mess, you must take a stand and show us the way forward, or at least I hope.
To my fellow Kenyans refuse to kill or be killed for these political fat cats, you will go, we will grieve your death, we might never recover but the King you died for will never know or care, he will get up, come on television or radio and ask your brothers and sisters to go down the same route for him. His children you ask? Oh, princes and princesses do not fight, if they died at war who inherits the kingdom? Before you decide to get yourself killed question “If this guy really is our king, shouldn’t he be a little bloody, too? Is he just letting everyone else fight his battles for him? What King lets his men die as he hides away in his ivory tower?”
The story of our great nation doesn’t end here and certainly not like this. I see a beautiful country and a glorious people rising from this abyss and, in their sweat, fatigue, failure and defeat as they struggle to be great again I see triumphs and victory. I see a grounded country; I see one nation, one people, only this time they come without masks. It may seem pitch black today but lose not hope, dawn is coming, and, at dawn, the sun rises for everyone.
The writer is a law graduate from the University of Nairobi.