Thursday, July 22, 2004

Should Kenyans Overthrow the Kibaki Regime Now?

Ponders Onyango Oloo in Montreal
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

(ps: the earlier version of this essay was written and posted in considerable haste- I was dashing out of the house to head to my third home town of Toronto. which is to say that now that I am in Ontario's financial capital, I have heard a chance to excise the more glaring typos.)


Earlier today I interviewed Omondi K'Abir


Omondi K'Abir interviewing Koigi wa Wamwere in Oslo in 1997 for Tellus 101.1 FM in Norway

who is probably one of my closest comrades, friends and confidants.

Yes, there are still socialists who use the word “comrade” so put that in your kiko and smoke it.

Click on the link below to listen to that interview:


Some Music; Talk About African Languages before the Interview with Omondi K'Abir

Omondi K’Abir, lives in Oslo, Norway where he has been for over a decade after a short stint as an exile in Tanzania following his incarceration at the notorious Kamiti maximum security prison. At the time of his arrest in August 1982, “Demosh” was a 21 year old aircraft technician and serviceman with the defunct Kenya Air Force and he was among hundreds from that armed forces service who were rounded up and taken to martial kangaroo courts before being railroaded to Shimo-la-Tewa, Kodiaga, Naivasha, Kamiti and other prison facilities across the country.

One of the first things we found out as soon as we first met in the place we used to call "Mazabe Dunia ya Saba" was that we had several common origins, mostly revolving around the fact that we were both born in Nakuru and knew each other’s families almost as if these relatives were our own. Unlike me, who grew up all over the Republic, Omondi is a genuine son of the Rift Valley deeply immersed in the multi-ethnic melting pot that is Nakuru. A fluent speaker of the Gikuyu language, he has often described with deep amusement crude attempts to backbite him, often by so called “comrades” who think that by “short-waving” in one of the most widely spoken Kenyan languages that they were speaking an esoteric version of ancient Hebrew.

Ideologically we have both grown and matured together as part of the younger generation of Kenyan Marxist-Leninists who came of age in the 1980s (the “Mwandawiro and Karimi Nduthu Generation”), our politics steeled and tempered by student protests, clandestine prison study groups, underground revolutionary cells within the country and exile chapters of socialist oriented democratic fronts dotted throughout the various political oases of Kenyan communities away from home-London, Uppsala, Harare, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Oslo, New York, Toronto, you name it.

The last twenty years have been very interesting ones for both of us. Starting off as ardent students of some of the greying but still very militant Kenyan revolutionaries of the 1960s and 1970s, we have often been very disillusioned to discover one or two of these former mentors degenerate into all kinds of parochial politics- one former comrade in particular is these days an open ethnic chauvinist- but we will say no more on that score. What has encouraged us are the words of some of the other older comrades at whose feet we still learn-and their resilience, stubborn hope and quiet optimism and continued personal ideological growth has more than helped us stifle any fleeting dalliance with cynicism and apathy.

Ironically, the collapse of the bloated, artificial and bureaucratic caricatures of so called “actually existing socialist states in Eastern Europe” far from making us contemplate a trip to the hardware store to purchase several yards of twine with which to perpetrate the heinous act of hara kiri, on the contrary, made us even more vibrant, enthusiastic and committed to the ideals of COMMUNISM(collective shudder and gasps are in order here, hey you horrified liberal readers).

The other day, when I was “toaring my ushuhuda” of how I ceased to be a Christian, one Kenyan sister on the PPF-K forum- talking about you NSM-that I shall forever respect because she is genuine, generous and compassionate-was convinced that I had more in common with born again Christians than these godless infidels that I embrace because she noted my fealty and fidelity to most if not all of the moral and ethical values that govern her own life as a devout Christian.

I did not say anything at the time, but what I want her and all those sincere Kenyans of faith- be they Muslims, Christians or adherents of other spiritual callings- what I want them to know is that yes, as a matter of fact I DO share many, if NOT ALL of the moral precepts that Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and practitioners of other religions have trade-marked as their own but actually properly belong to the common reservoir of humankind’s vast accumulation of knowledge, world outlooks and experiences.

Even a casual student of the Islamo-Judeo-Christian theologies of the Middle East sees the close parallels in these faiths. More than that, concepts like a sense of justice, fairness, equality, compassion, honesty and other laudable qualities have often been alienated from this global and historical portal of human experience by forces that would benefit from emphasizing the disjunctures and discontinuities of the world’s peoples rather than the far more numerous threads that intertwine us all in this giant tapestry that some people refer to us a “dunia” that is only made a “dunia” not because of its geophysical and natural attributes, but rather because of the accumulated and cumulative fine tuning occasioned by the development of HUMAN societies over time and space.

Because we see these common threads rather than the walls and cleavages, we find it a breeze to work with like minded democratic and patriotic Kenyans who remain steadfast Christians, devout Muslims and highly spiritual Hindus.

Over the years we have convinced our friends of faith to observe the principle of the peaceful coexistence of Kenyans with different outlooks to spirituality and materialism. In other words, we do not expend precious energy trying to debate religious people to death over such chronic and passionate issues relating to the existence or non-existence of a supreme, otherworldly deity floating in a mythical stratosphere somewhere deep in the recesses of collective human creative imagination. Our Christian and Muslim friends know we are Communists- we also respect the paths they have chosen to follow.

2.0. What Does This Have to Overthrowing the Kibaki Government?

Keep your knickers on, dear readers for a few more minutes.

I know that I am perceived by some impatient, but still long suffering readers as something of a very irritating meandering and zig zagging dolt who takes forever to get to the point. I see myself as an often lonely digital crusader taking up my cudgels against the demons of the mind warping Jesse Jacksonian sound bite for the 6 o’clock news. In any case, I long ago invented the brand of "Onyango Oloo, Kenyan long winded digital essayist" who more often than not, rewards his readers’ patience indulgence with some unexpected substance at the end.

As home grown Kenyan socialists, I must say that thoughts of overthrowing the Kenyan government have crossed our young minds more than once in the last twenty years- let us admit that much up front, just in case this essay is embargoed by Philip Murgor(who spent more than a couple of months also tossing and turning in that lice ridden, filthy D block at the Industrial Area Remand home together with me and 66 other students a couple-like Mwakdua wa Mwachofi and David Thumbi are no longer among the living) for a future showcase treason trial.

But we realize that the business of revolution is not about replacing a Kibaki with a Raila, or for tha matter a Mwiraria with a Ruto or a Godana for instance.

Properly speaking,the prospect of revolutionary changein Kenya- at least if we are are talking about the unique and deep going phenomenon that unleashes fundamental changes- is a historic and protracted process involving millions of wananchi working together across the country on a series of very involved democratic and organizational tasks.

Our notion of revolutionary change certainly bares NO RESEMBLANCE to the series of INSANE OUTBURSTS on a certain Kenyan forum-comments NO DOUBT UNLEASHED BY DRUNKEN MANIACS bored out of their skulls after channel flipping their way through the vacuous multi-centennial pseudo-nirvana of la la tvland...

I am referring to puerile calls for the “overthrow” of Kibaki by the united forces of Kenyan hecklers and idlers on the internet- goofs who have NO ORGANIC or PRACTICAL connection to ANY political forces- radical, liberal or conservative. In the case of one special case, these adolescent war whoops come from at least half a dozen handles manufactured by the same attention seeking cyberyodeller.

These catcalls and alcohol induced jeers and jibes against the Kenyan government have been partly spurred on by the escalating diplomatic belligerence and open bullying that Western donor countries have been subjecting the Kibaki regime to for the last few days.

Some of my friends are aghast and genuinely taken aback at see at my apparent “defection” to the so called Mount Kenya Mafia.

Why is Oloo defending the same Kibaki led faction that I have spent the better part of a year excoriating?

Did I get an urgent belated email from my former lawyer promising me a post in the soon to be open vacancies in that regime-if I changed tack and became a status quo hack instead of a fierce thorn in the backside of the venal clique clinging on to precarious power with desperately claws while alternately whipping out their soaked handkerchiefs to wipe away the bullets they are busy sweating copiously with each daily revelation of a previously hidden factoid of the Anglo Fleece Sleaze Marathon?

Hardly, my dear readers, hardly.

My former lawyer is still seething over the bold contents of an email I sent him and cc’d to a gazillion souls on the fading last minutes of 2003.

If I critique the Kibaki-Murungaru-Kiraitu gang for its broken constitutional promises, its venal excesses, its descent into state repressive madness, its extreme economy with the truth, its two faced pussy-footing on corruption- I do so forcefully, militantly and without holding back- but from CONSISTENT DEMOCRATIC AND PATRIOTIC PRINCIPLES.

“DEMOCRATIC” and "PATRIOTIC” principles are overused clich├ęs in many circles.

But these two common words do mean something to some of us who have bothered to study and apply their actual meanings in concrete and practical political contexts in our country and beyond.

When I look at the Kibaki regime, I see a POPULARLY elected, LEGITIMATE regime that has a NATIONAL MANDATE to carry out DEMOCRATIC AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS. It is the FAILURE of Kibaki and his sidekicks to live up to this billing that is the main source of my political ire, angst and insouciance with the Kibaki led NARC regime.

As a Kenyan fighting for FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL CHANGE, I do so from consistent PATRIOTIC sentiments, namely from a conviction and commitment that meaningful change in Kenya can only be spearheaded by Kenyans participating in a NATIONAL (as opposed to parochial, tribal or factional) movement and an ANTI-IMPERIALIST position that knows where to LOCATE the Clays and the Bellamys of the Donor world-in the FINAL ANALYSIS, among the ENEMIES of Kenyan national independence, unity and harmony.

The above remark may come as a shock to those who are made overly delirious, epileptic and giddy by the exuberant references to foot fetishes and human vomit made by certain unrestrained diplomats venturing far beyond the pane of accepted and acceptable international protocols (and doing so with open disdain because after all, to their minds, they are dealing with a Kibaki, a tin pot head of yet another Third World banana republic).

As a Kenyan revolutionary I keep my eyes locked on the BIGGER LONG TERM PICTURE of our people's desire to create a TRUE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT that is built on a serious analysis of the balance of forces in Kenya.

When we draw up a diagram delineating who are the friends and who are the enemies of Kenya’s true freedom we see far beyond the ephemeral headline grabbing comments by balozi fulani wa fulani.

I see comments from the representatives of at LEAST TWO GOVERNMENTS-the USA and the UK that OPENLY BELIEVE in the noxious principle of REGIME CHANGE-a code word for OVERTHROWING SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENTS NOT TO YOUR LIKING.

My detractors often tag me as being a tad too over the top in what they usually see as my sweeping generalizations.

But at the risk of being confined to the solitary confinement of Katiba Watch’s dog house, let ME GO ON THE PUBLIC RECORD AND STATE THE FOLLOWING:

Katiba Watch is veering OFF THE COURSE OF DEMOCRATIC REFORM AND CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE and are keeling dangerously towards embracing the elitist FOREIGN BASED machinations to UNDERMINE the Kibaki regime, which, as INEPT as it is, remains the legitimate, democratic and legal expression of the Kenyan people’s will, even if NARC's chieftains seem so totally drunk with personal power.

I find it INTERESTING that Katiba Watch has PUBLICLY INVITED the Western envoys as special guests to the Mombasa rally-and yet some of the concerns a few of us sent directly to Katiba Watch remain, as of this writing, unadressed.

The participation of the Western envoys at the Mombasa rally will be a very dangerous escalation which will lay bare the TRUE MOTIVES of these imperialist forces. I mean, when an ambassador is posted to Kenya they deal with the Kenyan government as official representatives of their own. I would be shocked for instance, if my former Kamiti prison block mate, Oginga Ogego was seen waving placards at a Toronto rally organized by anti Paul Martin forces. The Canadian government would immediately revoke the credentials of the Kenyan High Commissioner and send him PACKING BACK TO NAIROBI for engaging in conduct incompatible with his diplomatic calling.

That is why I am telling Foreign Minister Ali Mwakwere to recommend to Mwai Kibaki that should ANY of these envoys attend the Katiba Watch rally; should they continue issuing belligerent public statements as if they were part of the Kenyan domestic opposition, then the Kenya government should IMMEDIATELY send an urgent PROTEST NOTE to the British and other Western governments denouncing this RACIST AFFRONT.

And my disappointment with the Katiba Watch officials is rapidly growing.

Can’t they see the DANGEROUS SELL OUT road that they have embarked on?

What is the purpose of inviting these imperialist foreign envoys to the Mombasa meeting?

To seek some neocolonial stamp of approval?

That would be simply pathetic.

I can SAFELY PREDICT that Katiba Watch is going to dwindle into a very much derided rump of political gagulas and jojuogi if it continues riding on the coattails of Edward Clay and William Bellamy.

Let me repeat something I said yesterday, verbatim since I do not want to rewrite the same thing:

(a) Were there any concessions asked of Katiba Watch by Clay or deals proffered or acceded to by Katiba Watch?
(b) How does Katiba Watch view the role of Western donor countries given their collective blood soaked history of colonial conquest, wanton intervention and continued marginalization of countries such as Kenya?
(c) What does Katiba Watch think of Kenyans in the Diaspora who may be in touch with PROGRESSIVE British, American, Canadian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese, Italian and other allies who are much more critical of the foreign policies of their respective governments and can therefore offer Katiba Watch more insight into formulating a more EQUAL and less FAWNING and GROVELLING Uncle Tom and Auntie Jemima type of relationship with the Edward Clays and William Bellamys of this world?
(d) Does Katiba Watch see Kenyan civil society organizations such as Transparency International Kenya, FIDA, KHRC, LSK, NCEC, PAT, RPP, CREDO, Kenya Land Alliance and other civil society formations as ALLIES who should have BEEN CONSULTED and perhaps EVEN INCLUDED in that DELEGATION?
(e) Is Katiba Watch aware that if they get moored off their wananchi’s popular base they could end up being unwitting tools for imperialist subversion in Kenya like the phenomenon that took place in Georgia when NGOs working at the behest of shady characters like Soros practically overthrew a sovereign government?

I am asking all these questions because Katiba Watch seems more intent in consulting with and pleasing Mr Clay and his diplomatic posse rather than the Wanjikus they like talking about.

And by the way, I am NOT TALKING THROUGH MY MATAKO.

I am talking while bearing in mind the experience of Zimbabwe and the role of the British government there not only in demonizing Mugabe (and making this blood soaked dictator a sympathetic figure) but more OMINIOUSLY, virtually TAKING OVER THE POLITICAL DIRECTION of the MOST CREDIBLE opposition force in that country-the MDC. By the time the imperialist were done with it, the MDC was to THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RIGHT of Mugabe and former White racist settlers were among its chief ideologues-all this leading to the disenchantment and disillusionment of the MDC’s popular base.

As repressive as Mugabe was and is; as corrupt as his regime is, many Zimbabweans simply could not stomach aligning themselves with unreconstructed walowezi racists and their patronizing cousins in the UK and elsewhere.

Here is an irrelevant factoid: when it was WHITE Rhodesians flooding Canada in droves, there was NO visa required of Zimbabweans to enter Canada. But as soon as Mugabe’s repression started driving hundreds of young BLACK militants into exile, Canada CLAMPED THE DOOR SHUT by announcing VISA RESTRICTIONS.

Sometimes you have to live in the belly of the beast to see what the beast feasts on.

And my MDC story is NOT an UNSUBSTANTIATED anecdote.

The Irish born South African activist and academic Dr. Patrick Bond wrote about the cooptation of Morgan Tsvangarai and the MDC in a series of essays published in the Monthly Review Press and Z Magazine about two years ago.

Read on:

The Monthly Review Piece


first of two Z magazine articles

Click Here

Interesting Book Review

In my opinion, Katiba Watch could soon be the Kenyan equivalent of the MDC.

And wouldn’t that be such a shame?

By the way, in all the excitement about the 7 demands and conditions imposed by Clay and his imperialist friends, Kenyans should NOT ignore the implications of the demand that the Kenyan government should SELL OFF its parastatals.

Privatization has been the handmaiden of growing immiseration in Kenya.

What benefits have retrenchments brought to Kenyan workers?

About two months ago I wrote the following letter to Charity Ngilu:


Here

Democracy means a government of the wananchi, by the wananchi for the wananchi.

Democracy ALWAYS has an ECONOMIC component.

Does PRIVATIZATION further or hinder ECONOMIC democracy?

Do retrenchments hinder or further ECONOMIC democracy?

Do punitive debt repayment conditions further or hinder ECONOMIC democracy?

Does the introduction of user fees further or hinder ECONOMIC democracy?

Does the sale of a former quasi public corporation to an Anglo Leasing like outfit run by a clutch of shady but politically well-connected local comprador cabals further or hinder ECONOMIC democracy?

An HONEST answer to each these questions should be able to clarify to patriotic Kenyans where the Clays and Bellamys really stand.

I consider them a CLEAR and PRESENT Danger to the Kenyan democratic and reform movement.

If Katiba Watch continues to take it marching orders from Upper Hill, then I will be more inclined to send a sympathy note to the tenant on State House Road.

Enuff Sed.

And to end on an entertainment note:

Here is the first part of the July 21st DUNIA show showcasing the 18th edition of Festival International Nuit D'Afrique staged in Montreal from July 13th to July 25th....

Alpha Blondy, Bembeya Jazz, Kekele, Assoto, King Mensah, Arlus Mabele, Diblo
Dibala and Loketo:


Bonyeza Hapa
Onyango Oloo

Montreal
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
9:55 PM EST


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