Friday, August 27, 2004

sina machozi ya mamba

a dry eyed poetic divergence from onyango oloo




no machozi ya mamba
for the hurricane of kaya bombo
no crocodile tears
for the gagula of kaya kambe

there will be no
salty rivulets flowing
from these eyes
there will be no
gushing floods
fleeing from these sockets
no tear drops of regret will explode
on these temples

i must show
the only face i have
a consistent
face
of principle
a steady
face
of commitment
to human rights
a face
that only shows
contempt
and disdain
for killers
and warlords
and that is why
this one face
that i have
will display
no fake emotion
and i will pen
no phony paeans

having said that
at the outset
let me say this
to the innocent bereaved
to the bewildered
and shocked
polygamous family
pining
for their lost one
in mijikenda country
i say mkono wa tanzia
pole na rambi rambi


for twenty four hours
i kept my counsel
preferring to live by the dictum
that if you have
nothing good to say
about a
freshly dead person
then perhaps
it is best
to hold your tongue

and i have held,
and held
and held
my tongue
i have
stifled the urge
to spit out
the angry phlegm of disgust
and i have tried
to ignore
the madcap obituaries
and the formulaic elegies
the mechanical dirges
and verse by numbers tributes
tried so darn hard
to keep a firm lid
on my seething rage

but then
i was looking at jpegs
from santiago de chile
cyberportraits
of the fascist usurper
the butcher of allende
and how he tried
to invent
a mental infirmity
to sneak past
personal accountability
to deny
the survivors
of the disappeared
their moment,
their judicial truth
and hour of reckoning

and as i was
flying high
the banner
of the chilean leftwing fightback movement
that only hours ago
won a historical round
in the ongoing bout
i was forced to look
back and spit
spit at akiwumi
for compiling a report
that is right now
compiling dust
spit at the kiraitus
who promised
kenyans a truth and justice commision
but would now
be more likely
to be summoned
to answer for post 2002 atrocities
if they were ever to appear
before such a body
were it to be ever constituted

and i was mad and angry
at all the biwotts, mois
and sunkulis
running around loose
and i downloaded from memory
my poem about
belling the cats of goldenberg:

what
are we going to do

with all this pain
what are we

going to do
with all this pain

what
are we
going
to do with all this pain

what are we going to do

what
are we
going to do
with all this pain

we have finally started rummaging through the
piles and piles of dirty secrets from our own recent, gory, blood-stained
chapters of shameful, repressive memories
of dictators doing dreadful things on fridays
before strolling to church on sundays
whistling cheerful tunes

like overflowing uji, we see the truth spilling out
from the mouths of long lost house maids
we hear the terrible truths of ministers dragged to their
brutal ends while farm hands boasted of hyenas bleating for mercy

what are we going to do with all this blood
what are we going to do with all this blood
what are we going to do with all this blood

all this blood spilling on to the front pages of our national conscience
what shall we do with all this blood
all this blood splattering the well known pin striped suits

for months we have heard of the robbers in the cabinet
supervised by their god fearing warlord as they stripped
the central bank empty
what shall we do with all that shame
the shame of leaders looting our national coffers

these commissions of inquiry to find out the well known truths
seem to be traveling on well worn paths to familiar obscurity

what shall we do with all these painful truths
what shall we do with all these painful truths
what shall we do with all these painful truths

what shall we do with all these shameful facts
what shall we do with all these shameful facts


we know that moi and saitoti and his sidekicks stole
they grabbed and they looted
they swindled and they confiscated
all in the name of power, in the pursuit of greed
worshipping king avarice and queen arrogance

we have known for a while that nicholas biwott and his shadowy sidekicks were fingered
as the masterminds in all those dastardly crimes
crimes of kidnapping
crimes of torture
crimes of grievous bodily harm
crimes of premeditated colded blooded murder
crimes of cover up
crimes of deceit
they have been fingered
and they have never even bothered to clear their names
in the comfort that power was on their side
and the killers were on their payrolls

today they can try and pin the murders on the murdered ones
and the central bank robberies on the incarcerated ones
pattni will be made to pay because he is the indian scapegoat
as the real goldenberg mafiosi look to the mafia barons in power for salvation

who will bell the cats of goldenberg
the mice of kenya are asking
who will bell the cats of goldenberg

but what are we going to do with all this shame, all this pain
what are we going to do with all these painful truths

it is not the truth we seek, for we have had it for a while
it is not proof we need, for it was all clear as mud
even those crimes committed in the dead of night

what we seek is not truth, but justice
what we seek is not truth, but justice
what we seek is not truth, but justice
it is justice we seek for we know the truth
it is justice we seek for we know the truth
it is justice we seek for we know the truth

what we seek is not closure, but punishment
let the robbers get their day in court
before they start their years in kamiti
let the killers get their day in court
before they start their long sojourn in g block

it is time they exchanged their three piece suits
for the new uniforms of kamiti and manyani
they did the crimes, now it is time to do the time

but who will take the first step of attaching the handcuffs
on those leading suspects
who even as we speak chortle in the back seats
of their tinted limousines

as we write, the country awaits a reshuffle
that will bring the robbers and killers back to centre stage
and that is why i ask
what shall we do with all this pain
what shall we do with all this pain
what shall we do with all this pain

we must do something with all these painful truths
we must do something with all these painful truths
we must do something with all these painful truths
we must do something with all these painful truths

we must do something to wash away all this shameful blood of the innocent

before a gaping wound opens up to consume us all....

who was it
who said and later

said
they did not
say
the following

i”I have been involved in organising youth in the past who have organised operations which the State orders from time to time. These operations were always sanctioned by the DSC [District Security Committee] and PSC [Provincial Security Committee] where money is spent by the State agencies. I wish to elaborate further that sometime in the year 1991 to 1992 during the IPK resurgencies and disturbances at the Coast, I was called to State House in Nairobi where I was engaged to a talk of how the IPK activities would be suppressed within Mombasa and at the Coast. Those who had been given the authority to tell me and who assured me they had the blessing of his Excellency the President was [sic] Mr. Joshua Kulei who is a personal assistant to the President and a Mr. Rashid Sajjad who is a nominated MP...”

and who was it
who added
and later added
that they did not add
the following:

“Mr. Masumbuko usually could visit the State House alone or I would be called to go to Kulei or Mr. Sajjad for payment of any operation needed by the State. The DSC and PSC teams normally could be ordered to give us any help or even get logistic support from them. Despite all of this, I recall that Masumbuko managed to silence the IPK by various operations which included petrol bombing of targeted areas, fighting, invasion of Old Town [a neighborhood in Mombasa] and hijacking of Khalid Balala and others. I wish to state further that after the silencing of the IPK, UMA was disbanded with the instructions from State House, where most of the youths and their leaders were paid or some were employed for the good jobs they had done. I was approached again in the year 1993 where I [was] asked now to reassemble the UMA youth who were now already trained so that they could be ordered to do a further State Operation. When ordered I assembled all the youth leaders and I changed the name from UMA to Coast Protective Group (CPG). I was under the paymaster of Kulei and Sajjad..”

and whose name
do we find over and over
and over again
on pages thirty nine
forty and forty one
of the following
peedee eff dossier

and so my compatriots
tell me because i am curious
i want to know
has the mastermind of
kaya bombo
and kaya bomu
mtopanga
and kijipwa
and makondeni
and mtondia
kaya kambe
and ambuko sokoke
and likoni
have the unsmiling lieutenants
with blood shot eyes
the orchestra conductors
of the state sponsored
mijikenda killer platoons
become the wazalendos
of two thousand and four?
wananchi please tell me
cause i am dying to know
does a heart attack in
the land of kohl and hitler
wash away all those recent crimes
against humanity?
does a ministerial demise
act as a premise for a state
funeral?
will karisa maitha
the chameleonic warlord
get the state funeral
that katama mkangi was deprived?

my fellow kenyans you have to forgive me
i am very sorry
but i will not be joining you
as you don your sack cloth
for forty days and forty nights
weeping crocodile tears
for a killer who should be
lucky he escaped
without a rope
around his neck
i am thinking
of those lives
that were flung down
the latrines
of narc regime indifference
and the limbs that were flung
along the mitaros of kibaki's political amnesia

go ahead and lionize the hurricane of kaya bombo
make sure you pin a medal of valour
on hisham mwidau
and award the burning spear
to omar masumbuko, rashid sajjad
and bwana shakombo of shirikisho..

meanwhile
i will be vomiting
with disgust

Onyango Oloo
Montreal
August 27, 2004
Four Minutes After Four
On This Last Minute Summer Friday
in Quebec...

2 comments:

Mwaganu wa Kaggia said...

Oloo:
What a timely poem. The dictum of not saying bad things about the dead is full of it. Terrible live people do not become righteous people dead- they just become terrible dead people.
Maitha wwas one of those terriblle people alive and now is a terrible dead person.
Yes, there will be crocodile tears,but only from those who do not remember him as a murderous warlord of KANU.And yes an arrogany son of bitch who thought he was actually a warlord- above and beyond man's laws and nature's laws.
Kwenya has lost one terrible person and we should not pretend that we have lost a national hero.
It would be ironic if Maitha receives a state funeral, but Paul Ngei could not.
What does that tell us about our country?

Onyango Oloo said...

Mwaganu:

Thanks for your comments. I enjoy your poems as well. Do you think at some future date we can collaborate on a joint book project on poetry or something like that?

Onyango Oloo
Montreal