Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Where Are the Muindi Mbingus of 2004?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SEPTEMPBER 29TH DUNIA SHOW: Can arsenic cure cancer? Who is the Brad Pitt of Bollywood?Who is the Diva of Beijing? Xtreme Weather and Xtreme Media Hype; Jimmy Carter on the Florida Debacle and the upcoming US elections; Profiling a Hong Kong Film Star; The magic of Teresa Salguiero and Portuguese Super Group Madredeus; The Former Cat Stevens Pens an Op-Ed for the LA Times talking of his Ordeal... And a celebration of women's music from around the world featuring Virginia Rodriguez(Brazil) Angelique Kidjo(Benin) Misia(Portugal) Maria Alice(Cabo Verde), Grace Jones(Jamaica) Blossom Dearie, Erykah Badu(USA)....

A Look Back at One of Kenya's Unfinished Struggles...

By Onyango Oloo

1.0.‭ ‬Some‭ ‬Kenyan Cops Have Another Side They Often Hide...

Today I want to talk about a very famous Kenyan cop...

No, I am NOT talking about this one

Rather, I am talking of ANOTHER famous Kenyan policeman who fought for our freedom and for‭ ‬community-based land and property rights.‭ ‬He even has a very busy street in Nairobi named after him.

So let me start by praising Kenyan cops-‭ ‬and everyone knows how virulently opposed I am to police atrocities whether perpetrated by cops in Montreal,‭ ‬New York,‭ ‬Los Angeles,‭ ‬Toronto,‭ ‬Durban,‭ ‬Nablus,‭ ‬Falluja,‭ ‬Kabul,‭ ‬Jinja or Nairobi...

As we speak,‭ ‬one of my Kenyan friends in Toronto is painfully recovering from a‭ ‬severe beaing by three racist cops last month and he is just getting ready to seek redress....

Who says that‭ ‬Kenyan cops‭ ‬cannot and will not stand up for what is right‭?

Who says that all Kenyan cops are brutal and that brutality is all what all cops know‭?

Who says that all Kenyan cops do not have‭ ‬a democratic conscience‭?

Who says that‭ ‬all cops,‭ ‬Kenyan and their counterparts elsewhere-‭ ‬will always tolerate and participate in racism and other forms of discrimination‭?

Certainly not me‭!

Do you see the guy in the picture below

If he looks like an African-American cop it is because ‬HE IS an African-American cop.

But not just any African American cop.

Look at where ‬I found him and read more about them‭

I want to talk about a Kenyan policeman who still lives at our National Archives in downtown Nairobi-‭ ‬not literally of course.

So you think you know it all,‭ ‬and can find it all,‭ ‬with a flick of the all powerful wrist through a cursory all out‭ ‬web hunt‭?

So you think it is all there on the internet and‭ ‬you can find it all with the help of all‭ ‬powerful mouse and an ever ready dialogue box on the home page of one of those all in one,‭ ‬one in all search engine heavyweights‭?

Well,‭ ‬try looking for Muindi Mbingu online.

Good luck‭!

It is NOT AS IF I did not go that route...

735‭ ‬google entries.‭ ‬572‭ ‬teoma returns.‭ ‬453‭ ‬altavista offerings.

And all you get is the STREET not the MAN.

2.0.‭ ‬Rediscovering Muindi Mbingu in the‭ ‬21st Century

So who was Muindi Mbingu,‭ ‬I hear you ask sheepishly,‭ ‬having landed exactly where‭ ‬some of us landed already.

Well stay tuned.

I am going to share the little that I know.

But not now.

Wanna take one of my annoying strolls away from the topic at hand-‭ ‬seemingly.

Wanna see some pictures‭?

C'mon,‭ ‬they are cool pics.

Here-‭ ‬take a look:

Do you notice anything in common‭?

Well,‭ ‬if you are Kenyan and have ever ventured east of Nairobi along the Mombasa‭ ‬road,‭ ‬you will quickly recognize scenes from Athi River and Machakos.

But why Athi River and why Machakos ‬(or more properly,‭ ‬Masaku's‭)?

No-‭ ‬it has nothing to do with the fact that I‭ ‬became very familiar with both urban areas when I used to visit my dad there in‭ ‬1968‭ ‬from my auntie's place(Apt.‭ ‬#1748,‭ ‬Block K‭) ‬at the Mariakani Flats in Nairobi South‭ "‬B‭" ‬when he was the officer in charge of Machakos Prison.

It is because this essay will have a lot to do with Kaos and their cows-‭ ‬pun intended.

Yes we know that the KMC plant closed down in‭ ‬1987‭ ‬because of a number of factors

Here‭ ‬are some stories on‭ ‬the‭


the legal wrangles
around it,‭ ‬a business plan of some entrepreneurs who see
KMC as their main rival
a paper on how to boost the livestock
sector in a liberalized economy
; ‬there is this speech

Peter Kyalo Kaindi
area MP pleading with Kibaki to restore the KMC plant

Diagonistic Study on Animal Based Food Industry in Kenya‭

and just in case you are TIRED of plain old BEEF,‭ ‬a look into the ‬8th Annual Camel Forum,‭ ‬a special meeting FOCUSING ON

3.0.‭ ‬A Tale of Two Masaku Lives

You know how you can grow up in the very same neighbourhood as someone else,‭ ‬and yet have a totally different‭ ‬upbringing from them‭?

I am thinking of the‭ ‬Carr-Hartleys and comparing them to the Muindi Mbingus of Machakos District.

Many Kenyans recognize the Carr-Hartley name from Safaris and Big Game Hunting-‭ ‬in the same way the remember that other kaburu mlowezi from Taita Taveta,‭ ‬Basil Criticos from Safari rallies.

I managed to unearth an online autobiographical sketch penned by Brian, one of the most high profile members of‭ the Carr-Hartleys who has since moved back to the South Africa where his kaburu mother was born.‭ ‬Here is a link to‭ their family website
click here and you find yourself in

an online gallery

of one of the photographer scions of the same brood ‬and check out details of this‭

heart warming‭ ‬1957‭ ‬television series featuring‭ Michael Carr-Hartley as the 'Jungle Boy'

Here is how the series was publicized back then in the‭ ‬1950s:

Take a‭ ‬13-year-old white boy and a cheetah,‭ ‬the fast living creature
on four legs,‭ ‬and turn them loose in the African bush.‭ ‬Let them play
together,‭ ‬and become involved in the day-to-day problems of survival
in the Jungle.
The very idea is fantastic‭! ‬Many people would never believe that it
could happen.‭ ‬Yet this is what had to happen before Jungle Boy could be
brought to television audiences.‭ ‬Perhaps the most extraordinary thing
about this series of‭ ‬13‭ ‬half-hour films is the fact that all the animal
shots are genuine.
Only one boy in the entire world could have starred in Jungle Boy‭ ‬-
Michael Carr Hartley.‭ ‬The star of this series had to be a teenage
white boy,‭ ‬with acting ability and outstanding personality.‭ ‬He must
know East Africa,‭ ‬its people and its customs.‭ ‬But above all,‭ ‬he must
know how to gain the confidence and respect of the animals‭ ‬-‭ ‬from
pythons to elephants‭ ‬-‭ ‬and work with them without fear.
Michael has these outstanding qualifications.‭ ‬The other star is
‭'‬Cheetah‭'‬,‭ ‬the devoted friend of Jungle Boy.‭ ‬Without them both,‭ ‬this

amazing series could not possibly have been made.‭ ‬Michael is the son
of a famous animal-handler.‭ ‬He learned from babyhood to gain the
confidence of all wild creatures.‭ ‬Viewers will look in vain for
‭'‬tricks‭' ‬as Michael plays safely with animals normally considered
dangerous.‭ ‬There are no such‭ '‬tricks‭' ‬because Michael enjoys the
complete trust of his animal friends.
Jungle Boy is quite unspolied by any‭ '‬trick‭' ‬shots.‭ ‬All its scenes
are real and have been filmed on the spot in East Africa.‭ ‬There has
never a series like it before.‭ ‬It is doubtful whether there will ever
be a series like it again.‭ ‬A bold claim but once you have seen
‭'‬Adventures of a Jungle Boy‭' ‬you will know it to be true...

Here is a
video clip

from that"historic" colonial Kenyan series..


of the Carr-Hartleys is
a citizen of Botswana

Here is an old still taken from the Carr-Hartley farm in 1958:

There is actually a website called which is self explanatory...

Well after that illuminating slice of Kenyan kaburu life,‭ ‬I think it is time for a digital musical break:

For some reason the‭ ‬first song that jumped into my head as soon as I finished reading up on the Carr-Hartleys of Kenya and South Africa was‭
Mabepari (The Capitalists)the underground sizzler from Nairobi's anti-imperialist hip‭ ‬hop crew,‭ ‬Sinpare.

And as soon as I was done with that,‭ ‬I ‬craved Poxi Presha's‭
Vita Kwaliti‭ ‬put out only a few months AFTER Kibaki came to power and already in mid‭ ‬2003,‭ ‬expressing disappointment at the NARC regime.This being the first year anniversary of the POLITICAL ASSASSINATION of Dr Crispin Odhiambo Mbai the song‭
Roho Juu by the
equally militant group Do Klan Revolution who also composed the youth anthem called Vijana Kwa Vijana...

Muindi Mbingu DID NOT lead the CHARMED life of any of the Carr-Hartleys.‭ ‬Towards the second half of his life he spent a stint in Lamu as a guest of the colonial state,‭ ‬an internal exile,‭ ‬banished in another corner of his country because he was agitating in another one.

Muindi Mbingu did not,‭ ‬like the Carr-Hartleys,‭ ‬arrive in Kenya as a‭ ‬foreign settler to grab Kenyan land.‭ ‬He was BORN in Kenya and was one of those patriots who fought for Kenyans to control their land,‭ ‬their livestock and their livelihoods.

The guy was a Kao who was a karau okay- ‬oops‭! ‬that means that Muindi Mbingu was a Kenyan cop born of the Akamba ethnic group,‭ ‬in other words a Kamba speaking uniformed policeman-‭ ‬this translation from classic Sheng to plain English is for the mababi and washake‭ (‬hey‭ ‬I do not mean it,‭ ‬so do NOT stab me with a njora,my shangazis and wajomba from the gicagi‭; ‬do not ‬dust me with a simi my slightly unhip rural cousins,‭ ‬that is just the city slicker in me‭) ‬in the digital auditorium...

And he was educated up to Standard‭ ‬Three in the‭ ‬Thirties.‭ ‬But like my old man used to tell me,‭ ‬a primary school education back in the day counted for something.‭ ‬Look at the calibre of writing from this primary school graduate in this‭ ‬letter that Muindi Mbingu wrote to the Standard‭( ‬August‭ ‬3,‭ ‬1938‭ ‬edition‭)‬:

For centuries,‭ ‬we have regarded cattle as the most valuable form of wealth,‭ ‬and now it is a little difficult for us to agree with the sudden and unexpected policy of the Government that destocking sales are‭ ‬in our own interests.‭ ‬More so,‭ ‬when we remember that the best part of our land has landed in the laps of foreigners who have their‭ ‬farms adjoining the reserves.

There are some readers who will not have a CLUE about what Muindi Mbingu‭( ‬then going by his‭ ‬Christian moniker,‭ ‬Samuel‭) ‬was going on about.

And that gives me an excuse to reopen some pages of Kenya's history...

4.0.‭ ‬Euro-Centric,‭ ‬Afro-Centric,‭ ‬Romantic Revisionist or Authentic People's History‭?

For a couple of decades-‭ ‬the‭ ‬1960s and‭ ‬1970s-‭ ‬there was a fierce debate within Kenyan scholarly circles as to how Kenyan history was written.‭ ‬Initially of course,‭ ‬the colonialists largely echoed‭ ‬racists like C.G.‭ ‬Seligman and H.‭ ‬Trevor Roper in denying‭ ‬indigenous Africans their history and even a presence in‭ ‬the contours of global developments.‭ ‬Then we had the liberal nationalists like my uncle BA Ogot and his colleagues like‭ ‬Prof.‭ ‬Muriuki and the late G.S.‭ ‬Were who swung the pendulum almost the other way in arguing vociferously for an Afrocentric reading and rendering of our past-‭ ‬before they too were surpassed by militant Pan-‭ ‬Africanist and anti-imperialists histriographers like Maina wa Kinyatti et al.

Sometimes what got lost in these academic debates‭ ‬was the actual factual narrative and the role played by ordinary Kenyan men and women in shaping the‭ ‬contemporary developments of the nation that we are now part of.

Between the‭ ‬Eurocentric quest for the Noble Savage and the Afrocentric dream of‭ ‬our‭ ‬lost kingdoms we struggled to remember events as recent as the‭ ‬Mau Mau war for national liberation.

Without mentioning particular names,‭ ‬I must say that even those intellectual comrades who were inspired by Marxism-‭ ‬Leninism,‭ ‬fell into some kind of strange‭ ‬romantic trap in‭ ‬which they basically FICTIONALIZED and‭ ‬REMYTHOLOGIZED events like the struggles of Eliud Mutonyi,‭ ‬Isaac Gathanju,‭ ‬Fred Kubai,‭ ‬Bildad Kaggia,‭ ‬Stanley Mathenge,‭ ‬Domenico Ngatu,‭ ‬Mwangi Macharia,‭ ‬Dedan Kimathi and‭ ‬other members of‭ ‬Anake a‭ ‬40‭ ‬and future Kiama Kia Muingi stalwarts.

In as much as I recognize Kimathi wa Waciuri as a genuine anti-imperialist‭ ‬hero,‭ ‬I think it is intellectually dishonest and ideologically misleading to portray the Field Marshall as if he was some very clear headed‭ ‬revolutionary with‭ ‬Marxist-Leninist ideals whereas he was in fact a militant a far sighted revolutionary NATIONALIST.‭ ‬Likewise it is dangerous to reconfigure the KLFA as‭ ‬some kind of proto-communist outfit when we all know that the Mau Mau structures were fairly solid structures built along‭ ‬NATIONALIST lines.

Those of us who are Africans from the continent living in North America have often found ourselves having to gently chide and correct our earnest,‭ ‬well-meaning,‭ ‬dreamy,‭ ‬totally zonked out Diasporic‭ ‬brethren and sistren who romanticize Africa.‭ ‬This phenomenon prompted me to compose this‭ ‬poem about the Africa that‭ ‬I knew rather than‭ ‬the one that many of her lost children dream of:

Close your eyes
think about Africa
With your eyes closed
What do you see‭?
With your eyes closed
Can you see‭?
With your eyes
Could you see‭?

Close your minds and
think about Africa
Tell me
what do you see‭?
With your
minds closed
What can you see‭?

Do you see
wars and droughts
Do you see
hunger and starvation
Tell me,
what do you see
with your minds closed‭?

Do you see
grinding poverty and
stifling backwardness
Do you see
millions of
black hands
begging for
yellow cattle fodder maize

Close your minds
think about Africa
Tell me my brothers,
what do you see‭?
My sisters,
what could you see
with a closed mind

What do you see
you close your minds
my friends‭?

Do you see
Do you see
with spears
feasting on
Do you see
sweating and
being boiled
for supper
in big

When you
close your minds
look at Africa
What do you see‭?
Do you see
the aristocratic
Caucasian Tarzans
ruling over a
pygmy infested
Do you see
running wild
in the
an Africa filled
with animals
denuded of people

My friends,
my brothers,
my sisters
If this is
the Africa
that you see

If this is the
only Africa that
you know

they have
And I know
you know
who they are
If that is
the Africa
you see
that is
only Africa
they want
to see

No wonder
my brothers

So many of us
So many of us
Are ashamed
of our
good looks
No wonder so
many of us
cover up our
No wonder so
many of us
our African ancestry
Even as
our own
thick lips,
flat noses
and kinky hair
Mock us even
as we disfigure them
with the help of
plastic surgeons,
skin lightening creams
dangerous fluids to
the texture of
blond hair?.
I want you
to doze off
dream about Africa
When you
close your eyes
about Africa
My brothers,
my sisters,
my friends
When you dream
about Africa
what is
the content of
your hallucinations
In that continent
that has
so many
wobbly images
fleeting mirages
do you encounter‭?

In your fantasy,
is every
single African
you know
Of high nobility born‭?
Is every Ebony
Cocoa Brown
and Black Coffee sister
Actually a
Nubian Princess
in disguise‭?
Is every
and Tutsi brother
a forgotten Monarch
waiting patiently
to reclaim
his rightful Throne‭?

Tell me
my friends
what strange images
have your
vivid imaginations
conjured up‭?

My sisters and brothers
As long as
you have your blinkers

and blindfolds on
You will never
and enjoy
The real Africa,
the true Africa,
the living Africa

is there for you to know
If you want
to see Africa
please open your eyes
Please open your eyes
Please open your eyes
If you want
to know
the True Africa
please free your minds
Please free your minds

Free your minds
like the reggae prophet
and poet suggested
Emancipate yourself
from mental slavery
as the visionary
told us in song
those so many years ago

Forget about
Tarzan’s Africa
Forget about
Lion King
Forget about
the mass media’s
Forget about
the racist
Which is
better known
as European

my sisters,
Let us
to Africa
my brothers,
Accompany me
on a new journey to Africa

I am talking
about the true Africa
The living Africa
I am talking about the

and fighting Africa

I am talking about
The Africa
of the Mau Mau
The Africa
of the Umkhonto we Sizwe
The Africa
of Kwame Nkrumah
The Africa
of Patrice Lumumba
and Queen Nzinga
The Africa
of Graca Machel
and General Muthoni
I am talking
about the Africa
of comrade Thomas Sankara

The Africa
I am talking about is
A valiant continent
where millions of workers
have said NO
to Coca Cola,‭ ‬Pepsi Cola,
General Motors
Unilever and De Beers
The Africa
I am talking
about is an arena
of heroic battles
between peasants
and IMF supported
neocolonial dictatorships
The Africa
I am speaking about
is a place where
hundreds of thousands
of patriotic youth and
democratic students
go to jail,
and even die
standing up for their rights

The Africa
I am talking about
is a land where
multitudes of
African women
are striking blows
against sexism
and patriarchy

my brothers and sisters
My comrades and friends,
I invite you
to open your eyes
and expand your minds
To embrace contemporary Africa,
Africa live and direct,
Africa in the flesh
Open your eyes
and experience
the living,
and ever changing Africa
The Africa
that is at the doorstep
of its own century
An Africa
that needs your solidarity
Not tomorrow
or next week

But right about now‭!!

(Spoken Word piece performed by Onyango Oloo in a west end Toronto cafe during an Open Mic session,‭ ‬Toronto,‭ ‬June‭ ‬27,‭ ‬1999‭)

The above sentiments concerning Africa's realities‭ ‬later on helped to inspire fragments from this other poem‭ ‬in a somehow different and specific Kenyan national context‭ ‬:

To Our Mother Kenya on Her‭ ‬37th Birthday

who remembers bamuinge
who remembers makhan singh
who remembers moraa
who remembers syotuna
who remembers muindi mbingu
who remembers mary nyanjiru
who remembers me katilili
who remembers mwangeka
who remembers koitalel
who remembers pio gama pinto
who remembers wasonga sijeyo

why is an avenue in mombasa
named after moi
rather than abdilatif abdalla
why is a street in nairobi
named after banda
rather than bildad kaggia

when is cege kibacia
going to come alive
in our history classrooms
when is micere and ngugi
going to come back to our theatres
who is to reassign alamin mazrui's
kilio cha haki
and kinyatti's
thunder from the mountains
into our national curriculum again

ten thousand mau mau fighters
refused to emerge from the forest
after the con trick of december sixty three
and soon kenyatta's white air force bomber pilots
were flushing out the klfa stalwarts
from their bushy and mountainous strongholds

oginga odinga
spat out not yet uhuru
and murumbi following in his wake
could only stomach
the stench of official corruption
for a few months
before retreating into private obscurity

a national mythology
has grown around the fake
baba wa taifa
who squandered a powerful legacy
as a cherished pan africanist
to head one of africa's
most avaricious looting families
mortgaging our nation to the west
in the process
the grey iron fisted charismatic
who pledged
to forgive his colonial jailers
and forget the settler atrocities
soon bested the governor
in lording over state house

kenyatta and kanu at one time
showed so much promise
a promise of patriotic glory
a promise of a young nation
a promise of a land of freedom and justice
kenyatta and kanu
ushered in misery
inspiring ngugi wa thiongo
to chronicle the tribulations
of the disenchanted children
of a misbegotten uhuru
kenyatta and kanu
killed the dream
of uhuru na kazi

umoja ni nguvu
sisi kwa sisi
prompting nyerere
to denounce kenya
as a man eat man society

between sixty three and seventy eight
kenyatta and his kanu/kadu cabinet
of thieves,‭ ‬murderers and liars
presided over a growing nightmare
as jm kariuki decried
the sad,‭ ‬mad reality
of a nation of ten millionaires
and ten million beggars

in the seventies and eighties
the chelagat mutais
the marie seroneys
the moseti anyonas
the mwachengu wa mwachofis
the lawrence sifunas
the chibule wa tsumas
the james orengos
the koigi wa wamweres
tried to keep alive
the voice of militant protest
in the silenced house of parliament

while the njonjos and the omamos
the oloitiptips and the mudavadis
the sharrif nassirs and the letichs

warned the wachache wasiotosheka
to watch out
silent torturers from
nyati house and nyayo house
went on
with their mundane
and macabre duties
hounding patriots
into dungeons and into exile

the benign fascism
of the old man
and his coterie
of corrupt thugs
a culture of silence and fear
that forced
dissent underground
and gave rise to
the cheche kenyas
the december twelve movements
the kenya anti-imperialist fronts
the mwakenyas
the ukenyas
the uwakes
the mdks and the hdks
the kenya revolutionary movements
and the me katilili revolutionary movements

neocolonial fascism
led to a flowering
of socialist clandestine organizing

that paved the way
for the rubias
the matibas
the imanyaras
the muites
and all the other
not so young turks
of the late eighties
and early nineties

even though
all these latter day saints
of the kenyan pro-democracy movement
claimed credit
for creating
kenya's second liberation
those of us
who had spent years
discussing and agitating for
national democracy
social justice
genuine freedom
true independence
for years and years
under the hostile gaze
of the secret police
and under the very nose
of the murderous warders
even though
the johnny come latelys
of the reform movement
were thumping their chests
only hours
after they had decamped
from top positions in kanu
those of us
who had opposed
the one party dictatorship
kibaki was still vice-president
and matiba still a minister
those of us
who remembered the
embarassing court poetry
of oloo aringo
and the virulent
the pathetic grovelings
of john keen
those of us who remembered
the mahihus
the nyachaes
the mathenges
the yusuf hajis
and the otieno osares
those of us
who remembered
the brutality
of the provincial administration
and the pettiness
of the local sub-chiefs
those of us
of wananchi
who had borne the brunt
of the one party state for decades
merely chuckled
as we marveled
at the political gymnastics
of the newly minted anti-moi opposition

in this last decade
we have been through
two charades
as multi-party elections
in this last decade
we have seen
bankrupt opportunists
with a passion
for megalomania
golden opportunities
of ridding
our tortured nation
of the blight of the
moi-kanu one party dictatorship
we watch
with growing horror and disgust
as the railas and imanyaras of yesteryear
the ex-detainees
and ex-‭ ‬targets
of state terrorism of days still fresh
we watch with growing disgust and horror
as our heroes from ninety-two
in an insane competition
to verify
once for all
is the most depraved
from the former
pro-democracy camp

for the future
of our children
and the prosperity
of our nation
we have refused
to wallow
in the tempting luxury
of cynicism

in the face
of the growing poverty
still we hope and hanker
for a new kenya
in the face
of fetid and putrid
still we fight
for a new kenya
in the face
of growing repression
and rampant injustice
still we sing
the fiery songs
of freedom and protest
in the face
of the devastating AIDS calamity
still we hold tight
for a healthier
new kenya
in the face
of growing violence
against women
still we work for
gender equality
in a new kenya

we have refused to give up
on the mau mau fighters
who sacrificed life,‭ ‬liberty and property
we have refused to give up
on the patriotic and progressive intelligentsia
who defiantly spoke the truth
we have refused to give up
on the militant and determined students and youth
we have refused to give up
on the tortured and harassed prisoners and exiles of
state repression

as kenya
to celebrate
her thirty seventh birthday
in neo-colonial captivity
we rededicate ourselves
to the struggle

we refresh
our commitment
by reminding ourselves
of what ngugi told us
all those years ago:

there is no night
so long
that does not
end with
the break of dawn

‭(‬onyango oloo,‭ ‬toronto,‭ ‬4:16‭ ‬am eastern standard time monday,‭ ‬december‭ ‬11,‭ ‬2000‭)

5.0.‭ ‬From The Pages of Kenya's History:‭ ‬Muindi Mbingu and the Great Akamba March of‭ ‬1938

I am now going to revert to a seminal text I referred to in my previous essay.‭ ‬The book,‭ ‬The Myth of the Mau Mau:‭ ‬Nationalism in Kenya by Carl Rosberg‭ & ‬John Nottingham‭(‬Meridian,‭ ‬1970‭) ‬is to my mind one of the better‭ ‬history books written by non-Kenyans and compares very favourably with later progressive‭ ‬treatments by patriotic Kenyan historians.

Since they write very lucidly,‭ ‬I will just shamelessly reproduce entire chunks without comment.‭

Here goes:

Fragment the First:

...That the Kamba,‭ ‬the tribe from which so many members of the King's African Rifles and Police recruits had been drawn,‭ ‬and which was renowned for its cheerfulness and loyalty,‭ ‬should become a center of resistance is an ironic commentary on the side effects of the Kikuyu-European land dispute that had in large part led to the‭ ‬appointment of the Kenya Land Commission.‭ ‬The Commissioners,‭ ‬failing to‭ ‬recognize the paradox‭ ‬in reducing the cattle stock in supposedly economic and self-sufficient Reserves,‭ ‬recommended in Machakos the introduction of a‭ ‬policy of active destocking combined with a scheme for reconditioning areas that had been destroyed by erosion.‭ ‬In late‭ ‬1937‭ ‬the(Colonial‭) ‬Government‭ ‬confidently introduced a policy of compulsory destocking...the action was vigorously opposed,‭ ‬the protest culminating in the following summer,‭ ‬when some‭ ‬2,000‭ ‬Kamba,‭ ‬including women and children,‭ ‬trekked forty miles to Nairobi,‭ ‬where they demanded an audience with the Governor,‭ ‬Sir Robert Brooke-‭ ‬Popham,‭ ‬dramatically challenging the‭ "‬final solution‭" ‬of Kenya's land problems at the very moment that some of the new legislation it necessitated was under debate in the Colony's Legislative Council....

Fragment‭ ‬the Second:

...The huge ranches alienated to the Europeans along the railway line between Nairobi and Kibwezi,‭ ‬originally planned as a buffer area between the Maasai and the Kamba,‭ ‬border the Kamba Reserve.‭ ‬From the increasingly eroded land on his side of the fence the Kamba herdsman cast covetous eyes on the lush grazing land on the other,‭ ‬especially on certain unoccupied ranches.‭ ‬Before the‭ ‬Europeans had been given their frontier lands,‭ ‬the Kamba had developed a mixed economy,‭ ‬primarily based on cattle and admirably suited to the geography and ecology of their country.‭ ‬The greater portion of this was dry grazing land studded with massive hill lumps,‭ ‬usually well watered,‭ ‬on which sustained agriculture was possible.‭ ‬Traditionally,‭ ‬if there were not sufficient grass for the herds the Kamba would take their chance and march over their borders into the various no-man's lands with which they were surrounded.‭ ‬Sometimes they would be successful,‭ ‬sometimes not.‭ ‬But European settlement and closer administration gradually removed even this outlet from them at the same time as modern veterinary skills were preserving their herds from diseases that had previously carried out some natural destocking.‭ ‬The zeal for eradicating stock disease also meant that‭ '‬most of the native reserves having been kept in perpetual quarantine.‭' ‬and therefore the sale of cattle outside the Reserve was‭ ‬drastically restricted.‭ ‬No Kamba would willingly take his cows onto eroded land if there were good grass available.‭ ‬But as modern medicines increased the numbers of both his people and his herds,‭ ‬and British rule confined him within a Reserve,‭ ‬he was forced to‭; ‬and red hillsides,‭ ‬deeply scarred by erosion,‭ ‬became prominent features of the landscape of Ukambani.‭ ‬And unsigned article in the East African Agricultural Journal in July‭ ‬1935‭ ‬argued t‭ " ‬as the overstocking problem is the direct result of British rule,‭ ‬there is an obligation upon Government to devise adequate remedies.‭" ‬The author commented that the‭ "‬optimum carrying capacity of the native reserves was probably reached in‭ ‬1920‭" ‬since then the cattle population has doubled.‭"

Fragment the‭ ‬Third:

The local European farmers quickly realized that the contrast in conditions between their land and that of the Reserve might have‭ ‬dangerous consequences,‭ ‬and as early as‭ ‬1924‭ ‬the Ulu Settlers Association had lecturers had demanded immediate action‭ ‬on the problem from the‭ (‬Colonial‭) ‬Government.‭ ‬The‭ ‬Government claimed it had tried as early as‭ ‬1919‭ ‬to establish a meat factory.‭ ‬In‭ ‬1928‭ ‬the Governor appointed a Committee to enquire into overstocking.Sir Daniel Hall,‭ ‬Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Ministry of Agriculture,‭ ‬visited the district,‭ ‬saw people‭ "‬beginning to starve by reason of erosion,‭" ‬and prescribed compulsory limitation of stock and the building of a meat factory for its disposal.‭ ‬In‭ ‬1930‭ ‬in a debate on overstocking in the Legislative Council,Lord Francis Scott‭ (‬who was to succeed Lord Delamere as the settlers‭' ‬leader‭) ‬called for‭ ‬70‭ ‬per cent of the stock inthe district to be culled.‭ ‬In‭ ‬1934‭ ‬the Kenya Land Commission recommended that a special committee be set up to deal with the problem and the compulsion be used to reduce herds‭ “‬in areas in which the land is being devastated by overstocking.

Fragment the Fourth:

Another unsigned article in The East African Agricultural Journal,‭ ‬in January‭ ‬1936,‭ ‬pleaded for the use of‭ "‬compulsory measures‭" ‬in the interests of‭ "‬the generations to follow.‭" ‬In‭ ‬1937‭ ‬Colin Maher,‭ ‬the dynamic officer in charge of the Kenya Soil Conservation Service,‭ ‬considered the moment had come for an all-out assault on Machakos,‭ ‬whose increasing population and dearth of overspill areas,‭ ‬even in tsetse
regions,‭ ‬made the problem far more serious than in the other Kamba district of Kitui.‭ ‬Maher commented that‭ "‬every phase of misuse of land is vividly and poignantly displayed in this reserve,‭ ‬the inhabitants of which are rapidly drifting to a state of hopeless and miserable poverty and their land to a parching desert of rock,‭ ‬stones and sand.‭" ‬The‭ "‬end result of forty years of British administration is that the Reserve stands as a cruelly self-evident indictment of the Kenya policy of modified indirect rule.‭" ‬Maher stated that‭ "‬the only way out of the vicious circle of overstocking and decreased carrying capacity‭" ‬was‭ "‬systematic culling and destruction of the unwanted animals by Government,‭ ‬with or without compensation to the owners,‭" ‬at a rate of‭ ‬100,000‭ ‬within four years.‭ ‬He also recommended the extermination of all goats‭ (‬estimated at‭ ‬269,000‭ ‬in Machakos in‭ ‬1928‭) ‬within three years,and the closing of‭ ‬100,000‭ ‬acres a year to human beings and animals so that the vegetation could regenerate.‭ ‬The population would be resettled in uninhabited parts of the district then dominated by the tsetse fly.‭ ‬These would be cleared and fly-belts established.‭ ‬His views were generally supported by Sir Frank Stockdale,‭ ‬Agricultural Advisor to the Colonial Office,‭ ‬in a further report made on a visit to East Africa early in‭ ‬1937.The Kenya Land Commission had recommended that what was called the B2‭ ‬section of the Yatta Plateau,‭ ‬an area of some‭ ‬300‭ ‬square miles between the Athi and Mwita Syano rivers to the east of Machakos,‭ ‬should be added to‭ ‬the Kamba Reserve on condition that its use was tied into a general reconditioning scheme for the Reserve.‭ ‬One aspect of the scheme was the use of machines to recondition the hillsides‭; ‬the other was to find some outlet for the surplus stock.‭ ‬In August‭ ‬1936,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬negotiations were be with Liebig's,‭ ‬a commercial meat-canning firm that as early as‭ ‬1922‭ ‬had sent two representatives to Kenya.‭ ‬The negotiations resulted in their building a factory,‭ ‬which was opened by the Governor in March‭ ‬1938,‭ ‬at Athi River on the edge the Kamba Reserve.‭ ‬It would be unlikely that they would have committed themselves this deeply without some indication from the Government that they could expect a steady flow of cattle.‭ ‬In fact,‭ ‬they were promised‭ ‬100,000‭ ‬annually and an immediate supply of‭ ‬30,000‭ ‬head at the prices they mentioned.‭ ‬Such a factory would undoubtedly also have the effect of enhancing the value of the Machakos European ranches.

Fragment the‭ ‬Fifth:

On July‭ ‬14,‭ ‬1937,‭ ‬at a baraza at Machakos the Governor announced that action was imminent and that Government would be‭ "‬prepared to meet resistance.‭" ‬At the beginning of‭ ‬1938,‭ ‬with a‭ ‬£23,000‭ ‬loan to the Machakos Local Native Council from the Colonial Development Fund,‭ ‬new‭ ‬staff was drafted in‭ "‬to destock the reserve by compulsory sales.‭” ‬A free grant of‭ ‬£10,000‭ ‬was also made‭ "‬for the comprehensive treatment of‭ ‬100,000‭ ‬acres.‭ ‬ ascertain what can done to save these Reserves in Kenya from absolute destitution.‭"‬A.‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Bailward,‭ ‬the Machakos District Commissioner estimated that he had‭ ‬250,000‭ ‬cows in his District,‭ ‬and that at least‭ ‬100,000‭ ‬would have to be removed to bring the numbers down to the carrying capacity of the land.‭ ‬He decided on the following plan to accomplish this within two years.‭ ‬Each sub-location would have an estimated quota,‭ ‬and six elected elders would decide how that quota would be divided among individuals.‭ ‬This would form the basis of‭ "‬a kind of Doomsday book,‭" ‬All stock would then be brought to a central point,‭ ‬and those over the quota would be disposed of,‭ ‬while those within it would be given a special local brand.

Fragment the Sixth:

In early‭ ‬1938‭ ‬the plan was put into operation.‭ ‬Many former administrators had tried to carry out a destocking program among the Kamba,‭ ‬but none had been very successful,‭ ‬Bailward,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬meant business,‭ ‬Machakos was to be a pilot scheme for other disaster areas in the country,‭ ‬and there were considerable funds invested in it.‭ ‬But opposition kept pace with the program.‭ ‬Soon after the campaign began,‭ ‬some of the Kamba leaders made contact with the KCA in Nairobi,‭ ‬and on March‭ ‬1‭ ‬they sent a telegram to the Governor.‭ ‬By April they were sufficiently organized to draft and send a petition to the Secretary of State,‭ ‬a copy of which Jomo Kenyatta‭ ‬also received in London.‭ ‬He wrote the first of five letters on that subject that he was to send to the Manchester Guardian in the next four months.‭ ‬The petition was dated May‭ ‬2,‭ ‬1938,‭ ‬and signed by Isaac Mwalonzi Elijah Kavulu,‭ ‬and Samuel Muindi,‭ ‬It read:‭” ‬Recently a European firm and Company has erected a canning of beef and other meat products,‭ ‬on land adjoining the Athi River Station.‭ ‬It seems that,‭ ‬as a result,‭ ‬efforts are being made by the administration to ensure a steady supply of cattle for slaughter at the factory.‭ ‬The said factory adjoins European owned farms where cattle are stocked.‭ ‬Whether because there are no,‭ ‬or not enough European owned cattle to keep the factory going,‭ ‬pressure is being brought to bear on our tribe to dispose of our stock.‭” ‬The signatories represented a new phenomenon in Kamba politics-the rise of an educated nontraditional leadership.‭ ‬All three had primary education and all three had lived and worked in Nairobi.‭ ‬Mwalonzi had been a teacher,‭ ‬Kavulu a clerk in government service,‭ ‬and Samuel Muindi‭ (‬also known as Muindi Mbingu‭) ‬a policeman.‭ ‬It was Muindi who was to prove the most forceful and resililient leader in the tense months that lay ahead.‭ ‬He used the columns of Muigwithania and the East African Standard to state the Kamba case.‭

Fragment the‭ ‬Seventh:

By mid-August Bailward had disposed of‭ ‬20,000‭ ‬head prices that he accepted were‭ "‬below the value placed by the natives on their stock and less than they have been getting.‭” ‬In fact,‭ ‬some animals went for as little as five shillings,‭ ‬while calves were fetching one shilling or two.‭ ‬Bailward admitted that it was not possible in an auction dealing with‭ ‬3,000‭ ‬head of cattle to sell each one individually.‭ ‬The animals‭ ‬were roughly graded in three or four pools,‭ ‬and the average price in each pool was paid to the owners.‭ ‬In many ways,‭ ‬what land is to the Kikuyu,‭ ‬cattle are the Kamba.‭ "‬They are a means of livelihood and the tradititional symbol of wealth and honour and are of the utmost importance in almost every transaction in tribal affairs.‭" ‬In May and June in part of sub-headman Nzau's sub-location‭ (‬Ngelani‭) ‬of Iveti,‭ ‬the opposition to the Government grew and the people decided not to cooperate.‭ ‬Ngelani is the area nearest to the fertile Mua Hills whence Kamba families had been evicted to make room for European settlers in the early‭ ‬years of the century.‭ ‬Bailward called in police reinforcements from Thika and Nairobi.‭ ‬On July‭ ‬7,‭ ‬2,500‭ ‬head of cattle were seized‭ (‬from an area of‭ ‬11,000‭ ‬acres estimated to have a carrying capacity of‭ ‬500‭ ‬head‭) ‬by a force of some‭ ‬116‭ ‬Kenya‭ ‬and Tribal Police armed with rifles.‭ "‬This action was taken because the natives concerned had adopted an attitude of passive resistance.‭"

The three leaders decided to create an organization called the Ukamba Members Association(‬UMA‭)‬.‭ ‬From the start the UMA had close links with the KCA and was also greatly helped and supported by Isher Dass,‭ ‬then a Member of the Legislative Council.‭ ‬Vigorously and vociferously they protested‭ ‬.‭ ‬to their headmen,‭ ‬chiefs,‭ ‬and the District Commissioner,‭ ‬none of whom took much notice.‭ ‬Money was collected and meetings were held in Nairobi among the Kamba in the KAR and the Police,‭ ‬Other collections were made in Mombasa,‭ ‬from among the Kikuyu,‭ ‬the Kamba,‭ ‬and other tribes.Protest continued,‭ ‬and the Kamba involved took a general oath of unity,‭ ‬swearing‭ "‬to refuse any form of co-operation with the administration.‭"‬There was a‭ "‬formal cursing‭" ‬of certain individuals prepared to cooperate with the government.

Fragment the‭ ‬Eighth:

Then on July‭ ‬28,‭ ‬about‭ ‬2,000‭ ‬Kamba men,‭ ‬women,‭ ‬and children marched to Nairobi to see the Governor.‭ ‬Within the first week,‭ ‬two babies were born in the‭ "‬Protest Camp,‭"
as their bivouac near the Racecourse was christened,‭ "‬Every night they shivered in their tents,‭ ‬every day vainly sought an audience with the Governor.‭" ‬Isher Dass and the KCA leaders strengthened their resolve and helped them with supplies.‭ ‬Isher Dass himself acted as liaison between the‭ "‬Protest Camp‭" ‬and the Chief Native Commissioner.‭ ‬The Governor persisted in his refusal to see them,‭ ‬while they refused to move out of Nairobi until he did..On August‭ ‬3‭ ‬a letter appeared from Samuel Muindi in the East African Standard:‭ "‬For centuries,‭ ‬we have regarded cattle as the most valuable form of wealth,‭ ‬and now it is a little difficult for us to agree with the sudden and unexpected policy of the Government that destocking sales are in our own interests.‭ ‬More so,‭ ‬when we remember that the best part of our land has landed in the laps of foreigners who have their farms adjoining the reserves.‭ ‬During August protest meetings and demonstrations against Government officials occurred at several places in the Machakos Reserve.‭ ‬Eventually a compromise was reached.‭ ‬On August‭ ‬17‭ ‬the Chief Native Commissioner announced in a Legislative Council Debate in which Dass strongly pleaded the Kamba case that the Governor would hold a baraza at Machakos on August‭ ‬25,‭ ‬when on his way to Kitui and the coast.‭ ‬The aChief Native Commissioner added that no other country had dared to strike at the root of the evil‭ (‬overstocking‭)‬,‭ ‬and that the Government was determined to carry it through.‭ ‬The news of the Governor's baraza was conveyed to the‭ "‬Protest Camp,‭" ‬which closed down on Friday,‭ ‬August‭ ‬19,‭ ‬concluding the campaign of passive resistance.‭ ‬At the baraza‭ ‬10,000‭ ‬Kamba listened to a sermon in which the Governor delivered a paternal rebuke,‭ ‬Describing the Kamba as the children of their officers,‭ ‬he attacked their leaders as agitators who‭ "‬came in without their head-men‭; ‬they never put up any complaint or petition through their officers,‭"

Fragment the‭ ‬Ninth:

The leaders of the UMA then presented a memorandum in which they said that they were not opposed the principle of destocking but protested that the pace was too fast for the ordinary man to comprehend.‭ ‬People with only one cow had been deprived even of it.‭ ‬With respect to the Local Native Councils,‭ ‬they were‭ "‬a farce as far as effective representation by the people is concerned.‭" ‬The Governor,‭ ‬in announcing the end of the forced sale of cattle auction and the reintroduction of voluntary sales,‭ ‬had already conceded the victory to the‭ "‬Protest Camp,‭" ‬although on September‭ ‬29,‭ ‬Samuel Muindi was arrested under the Deportation Ordinance and on October‭ ‬4‭ ‬he was sent to Lamu.‭ ‬By late November the Governor had reconsidered policy of forcible destocking,‭ ‬and he wrote that‭ "‬the whole work is being carried out for the benefit of the Akamba and their children.‭ ‬We shall not have achieved this object if we ave to enforce orders with bayonets and machine guns,‭ ‬nor will it be possible to carry out a programme of soil restoration without the full cooperation of those concerned.‭" ‬On December‭ ‬1,‭ ‬the Governor decided to call off the compulsory cuIIing campaign and return unconditionally to their owners the‭ ‬2,500‭ ‬cattle from Ngelani stilI held by the Government.‭ ‬The adoption of an alternative proposal for‭ "‬encouraging enclosure of individual holdings,‭" ‬shut the door on this particular episode of Government policy.

Fragment the‭ ‬Tenth:

The epilogue came softly,‭ ‬in the Report of a Committee set up by the Government in‭ ‬1939‭ ‬to,‭ ‬study methods of destocking.‭ ‬Two of its settler members resigned as soon as the Committee rejected compulsion.‭ ‬The Committee,‭ ‬its problems eased by large-scale war-time buying of slaughter livestock for the Army,‭ ‬suggested that improved marketing would be the most practicable solution.

In the areas of low rainfall and poor soil in much of Ukambani,‭ ‬cattle played an essential economic role.‭ ‬But the intense emotion with which the Kamba have always viewed destocking proposals can only be understood in terms of the additional importance of cattle as a social asset and as an integral part of Kamba culture.‭ ‬The‭ ‬1938‭ ‬controversy with brought forth a group of politicians among the Kamba,much as the female circumcision crisis had among the Kikuyu.‭ ‬Muindi had also clearly seen the artificial nature of the problem,‭ ‬created in part by the land alienation policies of the Government.‭ ‬The Mua HiIIs,‭ ‬a fertile area from which Kamba families had early been moved to make room for Europeans,‭ ‬remained as much a bone of contention as the grazing in the Yatta plateau.‭ ‬Both were natural expansion areas for the tribe,‭ ‬the Mua Hills being especially coveted by the people from the locations whose inhabitants were most involved in the‭ "‬Protest Camp.‭" ‬In its destocking‭ ‬proposals the Government exceeded the limits of interference with the ideas and values that cemented the Kamba social structure.‭ ‬The problem of the Kamba cattle could not be handled in isolation as a purely economic question.‭ ‬In the months before the war the Government anxiously watched the growing liaison between the Kikuyu and the Kamba politicians..‭ ‬The Administration felt that this alliance had been assisted because administratively the two tribes were in the same Province.‭ ‬After the war,‭ ‬as the bonds grew closer,‭ ‬the Government became sufficiently worried to excise the two Kamba districts from the Central Province.This occurred on August I,‭ ‬1953‭; ‬the Kamba now joined.‭ ‬their ancient rivals for grazing lands,‭ ‬the Masai,‭ ‬to form a new Southern Province.‭ ‬In many ways the Kamba episode in‭ ‬1938‭ ‬was a precursor of the development of nationalist politics in Central Province after the war,‭ ‬when in so many districts the movement initially took the form of local incidents of passive resistance to Government policies aimed at agricultural betterment.‭ ‬This resistance,‭ ‬though often against the economic interests of the people,‭ ‬was justified in terms of the national struggle.‭

‭7.0.The Land Issue Will Unleash A Revolution in Kenya Within A Few Years

‭That extended look into aspects of the historical background which fostered the evolution of the Kenya Meat Commission should, we hope lead to a greater appreciation of some of the pitfalls of the reckless neo-liberal policies being pursued by the neoliberal Talibans of Nairobi. Desperate for Western support and approval, the Anyang Nyongos, the David Mwirarias, Amos Kimunyas, Raila Odingas and Kalonzo Musyokas and Mukhisa Kituyis are falling over each other vying to prove that so and so is the most vicious cost cutter; the most ruthless privatizer and the most shameless appeasers of the transnationals, the G-8 states and the coterie of multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.

‭I have made my case elsewhere against mindless foreign direct investment which takes a slightly different take to the issue than this
case study on privatization in Kenya

‭It has been quite shocking to see how someone like

Amos Kimunya has been reacting to the concerns expressed by the Maasai about their long standing land claims.

The ARREST of John Ole Letai, the Chair of Osiligi evokes for some of some of the fascist thuggery of the Moi-KANU era.

‭Needless to say, I of course poked my long nose into Amos Kimunya's

background and this paragraph practically jumped at me:

‭Some feel that Mr Kimunya's prominence on the golf and country club circuit – he is a past chairman of the Muthaiga Golf Club – where he rubs shoulders with the DP's movers and shakers might present him an advantage. How to translate that advantage to voters, majority of who hardly know him, is the big issue for him.

‭When I read that I went:

‭No Wada I was Wadaring Kreari this smug and pampered Mheshimiwa can not appreciate that the question of the ahois and the tai tai homungatis of the twenty first century will make the Morans the new Mau Mau fighters of Kenya!

‭Seriously, what will blow up things in Kenya is not the simmering feud within NARC over the MOU- it is the REFUSAL of successful neo-colonial governments- Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki regime to deal with the Land question or even contemplate progressive reform is the firewood that will ignite the coming conflagration in this country.

‭But how could any of these guys- the Kenyatta, the Kibakis, the Mois and MOST if NOT ALL of their ministers touch the burning land issue?

‭After all


‭If there are any Kenyan security intelligence agents, government officials or their offspring, bed-room companions, golf-partners or hangers on reading this, I would like them to open their eyes as wide as saucers and take notice of the following concluding paragraph from yours truly:

‭I notice that you keep sending policemen and women and other security officials to crack down on peaceful and unarmed Kenyans just asking for what rightfully belongs to them.

‭Remember that these askaris and karaus are Kenyans too. They come from specific families. Some of them are the sons and daughters of the squatters of, some ofn them are the nieces and nephews of those activists you send them to arrest. How long do you think they will be lifting their rungus to hit their own cousins?

‭Remember Muindi Mbingu.

‭He was a Kenyan policeman.

‭Remember too, our soldiers are the same Kenyans who want a new constitution; who are tired of the arrogance of the powers that be. What makes you think that you will be bribing them with cheap AFCO Tusker, White Cap and Pilsner forever?

‭One day they will wake up and KICK YOUR ASS.

‭If in doubt, check out the following images and ask yourself:

‭Who were those people and why did they decided to walk on the path of armed struggle towards political liberation:

photo essay on Jerry Rawlings

Onyango Oloo

Friday, September 24, 2004

Who Really Will Rule Kenya After Kibaki?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO SEPTEMBER 22 DUNIA SHOW:An emerging mutual funds scandal in Canada; spoken word pieces by Last Poets icon Sekou Sundiata; a conversation with Ottawa based Katherine McDonald on population and family planning polices in the context of defending reproductive and sexuality rights;a piece by Brad Will on the "guerrilla gardens" of New York City;a poem by the late Canadian artist Ian Stephens; Latino music FROM HAWAII; anti-capitalist lyrics from Nairobi based underground hip hop group Sinpare...

Trying on My Prophetic Robes Again

Onyango Oloo Speculates from Montreal.

1.0. OK! I Cave In! Here is the Summary You Always Bug and Nag Me To Unleash!

Happy Now?

Read on...

Mwaka juzi, Kibaki alitosha.

Mwaka huu Kibaki ametuchosha na sasa anatuchekesha.

Kibaki ameisha.

Kwa sababu Kibaki hana maisha-kisiasa amefilisika kabisa

Rough Translation:

"The year before last, Kibaki was the guy. This year we are fed up with him and he is laughable. Kibaki is finished. Because he has no more life-politically he is completely bankrupt."

I hope I am being very clear.

I do not want to divert attention by repeating my infamous observation that Kibaki's goose was cooked a long time ago and that his non-renewable lease on this life is about to expire.

I will do that on November 3, 2004, exactly one year after I first penned that controversial prediction. I have not yet revised my timetable by the way...

Today I want to give my take on the reason why people like Danson Mungatana and Beth Mugo are suffering from political dysentry.

I also want to reveal the class basis behind the shocking spinelessness of the Ufangamano Initiative and their desperate opportunistic proposals.

In addition I want to demonstrate why Raila Odinga, more than any other mainstream Kenyan politician seemed to have most accurately read the mood of the wananchi across the country more than any of his political rivals.

Lastly, I want to map out a possible scenario of how Kenyan progressive and democratic forces can emerge victorious- irrespective of whoever becomes President.

2.0. The Pettiness of the Kenyan Petit-Bourgeoisie Redux: The Ananchronism Known as the Ufungamano Posse

The other day the Ufungamano Initiative crew remounted their onslaught against the Bomas constitutional process by proposing their own that is not imprisoned by that old tyrant, Father Time. If they have their way, Kenya will have a constitution by the year 2006- exactly THREE years after NARC's much vaunted promises.

My friend Adongo has analysed the proposals from Ufungamano elsewhere on this blog and I do not need to rehash his arguments.

I just want to point out the class aspects of the Ufungumano Initiative. To my mind the latest proposals from Ufungamano represents the desperate last grasps and gasps of a certain section of the Kenyan petit-bourgeoisie which has seen itself progressively marginalized by other Kenyan social contingents.

For a long time the superstars of Ufungamano occupied centre stage-at one point some of them were seriously considered to be bona fide compromise Presidential candidates. Many of them made huge personal sacrifices that helped to bring down the Moi-KANU regime.

For their own class(and to a certain extent, ethnic, religious and regional) reasons, they hitched their wagon firmly to the DP dominated, Kibaki led NAK faction of the ruling bloc in the country that they quite mistakenly identified to be the "reformist" wing of NARC. On the contrary, NAK has proved to be nothing less than blood curdling and blood thirsty social leeches and vicious tarantulas not above resorting to shameless duplicity and state repression to entrench themselves in power. Within the space of a mere year and a half, the NAK back room boys have managed to alienate almost ALL of their allies-from their LDP coalition partners to many of their most ardent civil society defenders from yesteryear.

The Ufungamano posse completely misread the motives of the charlatans gathered around the andu aitu inner circle variously referred to as the 6 Ms or the so called Mount Kenya Mafia.

Unfortunately, since many of the leading lights of the Ufungamano Initiative share similar ethnic backgrounds as quite a few of the NAK top dogs, it has not been that easy to shake off the perception that at least a section of the Ufungamano bunch are inspired by parochial TRIBAL interests when they jump to the defence of Kibaki and the demonization of Raila for example.

It has also not helped that these Ufungamano guys and gals have been sucked into the American Christian Fundamentalist crusade against Islam- as evidenced by their rabid campaign against the Kadhi's courts and their alacrity in signing up for the so called war on terrorism(which is a code word for targeting Muslims more often than not).

At one level, the reconstruction of the Ufungamano Katiba cul de sac is a recognition that the often maligned and derided Bomas delegates who, despite all their presumed cacophonious rural and diverse ethnic glory and lack of cosmopolitan finesse have become a closer representative of the teeming masses and their aspirations compared to the prim and dandified members of the predominantly urban-based middle class civil society actors.

The fact that some of gurus of Ufungamano have been openly contemptuous of delegates they consider to be agents of the KANU old guard has clouded their judgment and prevented them from feeling the seething rage of hundreds of thousands of wananchi feeling gravely abused, short-changed and betrayed by an indifferent government they catapulted into power barely a year and a half ago.

One of the things that the Kenyan petit-bourgeoisie coalesced around Ufungamano should realize is that the ranks of the mass democratic forces were widened to include ordinary wananchi many of whom have never seen the inside of an NGO office. Unfortunately for our Ufungamano friends(some of whom were well poised, had they so chose, to capture this popular ferment in their role as clergy serving the congregations from all sections of Kenyan society) the wananchi have not looked to the civil society actors with their mantras of good governance, accountability and transparency. Instead their raging fires were lit by the POPULIST politicians who had the gift of the gab, the common touch, the ready anecdote, the humourous proverb; the man or woman who could mix it up on the mugithi joints, eat nyoyo with them at Chiro Mbero or order a kube of achwaka in Ndere, Kiboswa or Kipkelion. Now some of these politicians are not necessarily left wing or particularly progressive; but they know about the plight of the Turkana pastoralists and know why the Maasai moran is nungunikaring; they can comfort a mother in Kibwezi whose son died of AIDS and reassure the sugar cane farmer in Mumias that their cultivation has not all been in vain; they can go, like a certain Maragoli MP I saw, to Bomas and demonstrate how the eucalyptus tree "is drinking all the water"; they can attend an Anglican church fundraiser in Werugha in the hilly Wundanyi country and make teenagers whistle as their uncles dance a jig because the local mbunge has donated three footballs for the local soccer league; they are close to that women's group in Wajir that has started a goat rearing collective and can relate to the displaced people of Molo because they were once among the displaced; they know exactly what to do about increasing the productivity of bananas in Nyamira district and have devised a strategy how the eco-tourism can be jump started in Kwale...

These leaders are found in NAK, they are found in LDP, they are found in FORD Kenya;they are found in KANU; they are found in FORD People and they are also found in fourth generation civil society groups such as the Kimathi Movement, People Against Torture and other organizations that you never see in the newspapers because they are based in Isiolo, Kajiado and Buret.

To the wananchi, an MP, even if he or she was in KANU two years ago who speaks out against retrenchments and structural adjustment programs is more credible than an NGO that pledges to work closely with the World Bank on their Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. To the wananchi, a councillor or an imam who rails against draconian legislation criminalizing every other Muslim youth as a potential terrorist is more of a hero than someone who is elected international jurist of the year or the recipient of a best practices award from an American based philanthropic foundation.

One of the lessons that is bypassing our good friends at Ufungamano that they are in a sense being victimized by their own very successful assaults against autocracy, kleptocracy and apathy- they unleashed a democratic flood that is unmercifully sweeping them away; seasoned consultants know that you have done your work when it gets to the point where your former clients no longer need your services....

Instead of riding on the crest of the popular waves unleashed by the Unbwogable Spirit of 2002, the heroes and sheroes of '92, '94, '96, '98, '00, '01 and '02 want to pretend that the 130,000 people who came out to welcome Kibaki home disappeared in thin air; they forgot who filled those stadia and who coined those reverberating chants and anthems that galvanized Kenyans from Lamu to Malaba to turf out the Moi ancien regime.

Look at them: they prefer to huddle with the parvenu upstarts who were anonymous pharmacists and obscure ambulance chasers; they prefer to hobnob with arrogant deputy ministers who follow Marie Antoniette in urging the starving populace to clobber rodents into fatal submission if they are looking for their next source of protein; they feel more accountable to the palmtop wielding paper pushers from Bretton Woods; in their arrogance they call for the summary sackings of those they have baptized as being strangers to the Kenyan Reformist Church....

They laugh when they see simple Maasai villagers demanding a return of their ancestral lands and dismiss the rumblings of distant thunder coming from the sisal plantations of Mwatate. There is a gathering storm, but they feel safe, clutching their gaggle of imported umbrellas... The boat passed them a long, long time ago but they do not even know that they missed it.

Instead of being enraged by the Don Quixotes of Ufungamano, I am filled with pity, with sadness and bewilderment at how they can be so blind not to see how they are burying themselves in their own irrelevance.

What these Ufungamano folks remind me of most vividly is the South Korean middle class after 1987. This social stratum in that divided nation could not comprehend the upsurge of the workers and the students-especially the former- when these other democratic forces coalesced into the autonomous Chunminryun movement( National Democratic Alliance of Korea) formed after the Kwangju Uprising in 1980; after the Great Workers' Struggle of June 1987; after Roh Tae Woo was forced to concede to direct presidential elections- at the very instance when the south Korean middle class forces thought they would at last seize centre stage and impose their own wishy washy liberal leadership, the worker-led alliance of democratic forces said, NO! wait a minute! We have our own leaders-and they do not work in NGO offices. From the early 1990s up to now, there has been a steady growth and expansion of the democratic forces. The current President who was briefly impeached earlier this year is a man of the Left, not the right- a very remarkable achievement when one considers how many decades South Korea has been a neo-colonial puppet of Uncle Sam.

For more information on the struggles in South Korea click here and


Last year I examined the Korean national democratic movement in detail in this essay and once again referred to the same country in this other digital

3.0. Rewinding the Mental Video Tape of Kenya's History

Get this:

I picked up a very important history book on Kenya for one half of one dollar at a garage sale here in the good old city of Montreal earlier this summer.

I am staring at the book cover as I type this- featuring a clean shaven, Afro donning African man clutching a spear with his mouth firmly shut. The title of the book:

The Myth of 'Mau Mau': Nationalism in Kenya by Carl G. Rosberg and John Nottingham. This paper back version was published by Meridian Books ( New York and Cleveland) in 1970, even though the original Praeger hard cover came out in 1966. The book is 426 pages long and it is dedicated to Elizabeth and Muthoni( no, not that Muthoni, her MOM was a little chokora when the authors were going to press).

I just wanted to quote some excerpts:

Specimen One

... the period immediately before the British arrival in Kenya was marked by a significant decline in the power of the Maasai, a rise in Nandi influence, and an increased assertiveness on the part of the Kikuyu. In the north the Somali, pushing the Gala before them, were thrusting ever deeper toward Meru, the Laikipia Maasai, and the people of Mt. Kenya. Clusters of agricultural groups were surrounded by vast areas under the control of pastoralists, some of whom were becoming agriculturalists. As these groups collided in the competition for limited resources, the history of the region acquired a restless quality. It was into this environment that European interests first extended themselves....

Specimen Two:

...The resistance by many African peoples to the intrusion of British power at the end of the nineteenth century was the earliest expression, in history and myth, of nationalism in Kenya. The resistance intensified as British agents, first of the Imperial British East Africa Company( IBEAC) and later of the Foreign Office, sought to consolidate their influence beyond the immediate neighbourhood of a handful of forts spread across the country. These first attempts by African societies to preserve their integrity, and the nature of the European penetration, had significant consequences for the later development of nationalism in Kenya. African opposition to colonization was widespread; there were few sections of the country that did not experience some violent confrontation with European-led expeditions against them. Moreover, since many of the most severe encounters took place in the early years of this(20th) century, they fell within the memory of some participants in the later era of militant nationalism. Whether exploited in myth or simply recalled in conversation, these events had a powerful effect; they marked a distinct turning point in the lives of individuals and in the history of tribes throughout Kenya.....

Specimen Three:

....other pastoral and nomadic tribes strongly opposed British rule. In the north there was vigorous resistance by the Somali for several years and in the northeast the Turkana proved to be formidable fighters. Military patrols were conducted during the First World War and military administration continued until 1926. To control the frontier with Ethiopia, forts or posts were established and were maintained by the King's African Rifles until 1942, when the Kenya Police assumed the responsibility during the War. ....

Specimen Four:

The Kalenjin group proved among the most difficult for the British to deal with. The Nandi in particular were incensed at the new railway that thrust through their traditional grazing grounds in the Nyando Valley. In spite of their small numbers, their military reputation was such that the original caravan route...had been greatly lengthened to avoid contact with them. Between 1895 and 1905 five military expeditions were sent to deal with them. Their resistance lasted until 1905, when the Nandi Field Force, the largest "punitive expedition" ever assembled in Kenya, was mounted against them. At a meeting arranged for negotiations their politico-religious leader(orkoiyot) Koitalel (arap Samoei) was shot by an Army officer [Colonel R. Meinertzhagen]....Koitalel's death was always regarded as a dishonorable breach of a truce. In 1907 the (Colonial) Government still found it necessary to deport some of Koitalel's closest associates...In 1902 and 1905 expeditions were also sent against the Kipsigis. In 1911 another was dispatched against the Elgeyo and Marakwet, following a series of clashes over cattle and land with the Boer settlers in the Uasin Gishu plateau, which had culminated in the murder of one settler. As late as 1919 another expedition was sent against the Elgeyo, while in 1923 there were reports of grave unrest among the Nandi, led by Parserion, Koitalel's successor as senior orkoiyot.

Specimen Five:

The more settled and much larger agricultural groups also refused to submit passively to the alien authority, although they found mobilization more difficult than the pastoralists. For twenty years in the east of the country sporadic and uncoordinated opposition was shown by sections of the Kamba, who had once controlled the main trade routes from the coast the Highlands...

Specimen Six:

In the far west of the country Mumia, a master of clan politics, was expanding Wanga hegemony in association with armed Swahili slavers, such as Abdullah bin Hamid of Mombasa and "fat" Sudi from Pangani also making effective use of the Uasin Gishu Maasai as mercenaries. His stronghold( known as Mumia's), opposite a strategic ford on the Nzoia River, was located on the vital caravan route between Baringo and Buganda and the threshold of a major ivory producing area. By the 1890s it had become an important base for the British. Mumia himself found many advantages in a loose alliance with them as he advanced his influence and power over wider areas. Mumia's remained the headquarters of the British presence in western Kenya until with the coming of the railway, this was transferred to Kisumu in July 1899. Mumia's authority was to be signficant for the next two decades.

Specimen Seven:

Early contact with the Luo was indirect and sporadic; it increased only when the completion of the railway had confirmed British intentions and largely removed the need for alliances. in 1896 a punitive expedition was mounted in support of Mumia in Ugenya against the Kager clan led by Gero and 200 were quickly killed by a Maxim gun. In 1899 C. W. Hobley led an expedition against Sakwa, Seme and Uyoma Locations in which 2,500 cattle and some 10,000 sheep and goats were captured. By 1900 Odera was providing 1,500 porters for an expedition against the Nandi....

Specimen Eight:

...But others in Nyanza became restive as the Europeans with their Wanga agents slowly extended their administrative control. Large military expeditions, reinforced by auxillaries from Mumia and other client chiefs, were sent out against the Vugusu(Kitosh) on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in 1895, 1907 and 1908, while there were also five campaigns against various other Luhya people in Nyanza between 1895 and 1907. Two battles were fought at Lumboga and Chetambe in 1895 in which C.W. Hobley initially subdued the Vugusu have played a significant role in the traditions of Vugusu nationalism and the Dini ya Msambwa.

Specimen Nine:

In the southwestern highlands of Kenya there were sizable expeditions against the Gusii in 1904-5 and 1908. In 1905, according to a British police officer who was there, several hundred Gusii warriors were killed by machine guns in a "massacre". In 1908 a King's African Rifles column entered Kisii, burning huts, destroying standing crops, and capturing all livestock within their reach. Over 100 Gusii were killed, and 5,636 cattle and 3,281 sheep and goats were seized.

Specimen Ten:

On and near the coast there was a similar pattern of violent resistance. In 1890 in Taita there was a fierce action between a punitive expedition under a Captain Nelson and the local inhabitants in which Mwangeka, Chief of Mwanda and many of his followers were killed, and in 1898 there was further resistance in the Mgange and Irisi areas of the district owing to the "constant and exigent" demand for porters for the Uganda road.

Specimen Eleven:

In 1914 on the coast the Giriama, a small group occupying a land of desolate scrub behind the hills between Mombasa and the Sabaki River, plunged into full scale revolt. The (Colonial) Government had made little effort to penetrate the area until 1912, when it first tried to collect tax there in the hope that in order to pay, the Giriama would have to enter the labour market. In late 1913 administrators, intending to open up 100, 000 acres of land for European plantations, tried forcibly to remove all the Giriama from the north banks of the Sabaki River, whey had cultivated extensive shambas. The Giriam "bound themselves by oath to live or die there." An armed patrol was sent to the area, a £100 fine levied, and two of the leaders, Me Katilili, a woman and Wanje Madori, an old man, were deported to Kisii. But the effect was only temporary. A year later the (Colonial) Government tried to conscript 1,000 porters for military purposes. On August 17, 1914, the Giriama attacked the Assistant District Commissioner and his party, killing a policeman. Within a few days resistance was widespread throughout the District, both the northern and southern groups combining in a "concerted act of the whole tribe" whose popular doctrine was clearly Giriama for the Wa Giriama. An administrator noted that " a state of passive resistance is likely to continue indefinitely." This situation was complicated by the outbreak of war with Germany and attempts by agents of the exiled Mazrui family to involve the dissident Giriama in a grander anti-British design( a short lived rebellion led by Mbarak bin Rashid- the Mzrui leder- in 1895 had ended in the spring of 1896 after the arrival of an Indian infantry regiment, a navela brigade and Zanzibar soldiers. The Mazrui family and their followers fled to German East Africa..). Strong measures were called for and carried out. In September 1914 an expedition ruthlessly crushed the revolt, and the District was placed under martial law. In the ensuing operation, some 400 Giriama were killed, hundreds of homesteads burnt, and thousands of goats captured. The (Colonial) Government's peace terms demanded the handing over of the Giriama leaders, the complete evacuation of the area north of the Sabaki River, the provision of 1,000 recruits for the Government's Carrier Corps(origin of the word Kariakor-Oloo) and a fine of some £7,500. This fine was recovered in full within a year by seizing goats, crops and ivory....

Specimen Twelve:

...In 1890 Captain Frederick Lugard(later Lord) of IBEAC established a fortified depot at Dagoretti...but before the buildings were complete he had to leave for Uganda. He left behind a civilian, George Wilson, with a weakened garrison. For reasons that even then were not wholly clear, the Kikuyu turned against Wilson and began a virtual siege of his post. Wilson soon abandoned the site and fought his way through the forest to Machakos. The following year Captain Eric Smith established a new post at Fort Smith, a few miles away. Thus began a process that was to alter fundamentally Kikuyu history. Although there had been a brief period of neighborliness, the agents of the undercapitalized Company...had for some time been under pressure to make the new depot self-sufficient. This had disastrous effects on the cooperative relationship developed by Lugard with the southern Kikuyu in the early years of contact. Within a few months the local leader, Waiyaki, who have might have consolidated an alliance as mutually advantageous as that of Mumia...was deported to the coast. On the morning after the return of a major punitive expedition against the " Waguruguru" section of the Kikuyu, Waiyaki had visited Fort Smith, possibly to remonstrate against the action. While there, he allegedly tried to assassinate a Company official, one Purkiss in his room. Waiyaki died, it is said by his own hand, at Kibwezi, on the way to exile....Following Waiyaki's death, Purkiss was besieged for 6 days. After the Protectorate was established and the IBEAC had handed over its responsibilities to the Foreign Office, in June 1895, further "punitive" expeditions, made up of regular troops of the King's African Rifles and Masai levies, we sent out with the administrators as they penetrated the areas which became the districts of Kiambu, Fort Hall, Nyeri(first called South Nyeri) Embu and Meru. Francis Hall, one of these administrators, has vividly described part of this "pacification" of Kikuyu country. In one expedition in 1894 four men from his column( which included 100 Swahilis with Snider rifles, 120 Masai, and 65 friendly Kikuyu) had died of cold on the approach march to the disaffected area. Despite this setback, Hall decided to carry out the original plan to punish the area."We soon set to work, lit up a kraal and got the men warm again...we made a mess of all their villages and, as the other column was working along about two miles off, the natives had a warm time, but they wouldn't stand, so I had no chance of trying my war- rockets. The Major(Smith) with his one arm carried a shot gun and bagged a brace in the first kraal but I had no fun for a long time... We brought in 1,100 goats and loads of grain... but we didn't manage to do much execution as the brutes wouldn't stand." These years saw a series of more or less serious clashes occur in Hall's area, with casualties reaching 90 dead in one encounter and with heavy confiscations of goat and cattle. Though the Kikuyu at no time suffered more than local defeats, some of these were shattering. Hall's account of a later "pacification" episode in southern Fort Hall District in January and February 1899 will illustrate this. His column this time had 150 rifles and 500 "friendly natives". They approached the selected area through the bamboo forest: " As usual the natives had deserted their villages and bolted with all their livestock. However we scoured the forest and collected a good deal and proceeded to march quietly through the country, sending columns out to burn the villages and collect goats etc. We rarely saw any of the people; and when we did, they were at very long ranges, so we did not have much fun, but we destroyed a tremendous number of villages and, after fourteen days, emerged on the plains to the eastward, having gone straight from one end to the other of the disaffected districts. We captured altogether some 10,000 goats and a few cattle, and this on top of the previous expedition, must have been a pretty severe blow to them." The number of villages destroyed, in reality individual homesteads, was in the hundreds. Five years later, further north, Col. R. Meinertzhagen( the same fascist who shot Koitalel-Oloo) notes that in ten days in February and March 1904 his column, one of three in the Iriaini (Nyeri-Embu border country) expedition, killed 796 Kikuyu and captured 782 cattle and 2,150 sheep and goats. There was another expedition to quell a revolt of the Embu in 1906...

4.0. Fast Forward to Some Contemporary Headlines:


this picture and this story about the Maasai You may have missed this one that I found tucked away in a South African website
How about this one about the Kipsigis on land struggles and Brooke Bond, Unilever and James Finlay? this next oneor this other one along the same lines?

Interesting things are happening in Kwale as we speak even as we empathize with our fellow wananchi in Kilifi who risk food poisoning by rummaging for maize in rubbish dumps and we nod our heads vigorously as we hear Patrick Ochieng of the Ujamaa Centre utter sentences we concur with completely. I shared a beer with Jonathan Manyindo, the Nation's youthful correspondent in Taita Taveta somewhere in Wundanyi town last fall and I was pleased to see this story he filed for Coastweek of w recently. More background can be seen in this earlier piece that appeared in the Standard in August Meanwhile a well known Christian relief charity continues to hover like a vulture over the starving torsos of Turkana villagers in northern Kenya even as I wonder how many people know what the workers at the Del Monte farm in Thika are going through in spite of this mushy PR makeover attempt done by the Nation in 2002 which in turn, did NOT stop me from unearthing something closer to the truth published by same paper in 2000.

If you want to find out WHERE I got the following paragraph:

"According to a Kenyan legislator who knows the Kenyatta family well, the land on which Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta Universities are built initially belonged to Basil Criticos. The government bought the land from him under the above scheme, but transferred it to Kenyatta on the same day Criticos transferred it to the government in 1972. It was through such fraudulent processes that Kenyatta family and close associates acquired much of the prime land in the country. The land owned by the Kenyatta family includes Taita Taveta farm (74, 000 acres), Kahawa Sukari farm (29, 000 acres), Gatundu farm, Thika farm, Brookside farm, Muthaita farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu farm in Juja, Kasarani farm (9, 000 acres), Nakuru farm in Rongai near Moi’s home, a quarry in Dandora, Naivasha Ranch and several farms in Nairobi. Government sources say that KPLC is currently under pressure to buy the family’s Karen farm at Ksh. 350 million to add to Uhuru’s campaign kitty. The combined acreage of all the land owned by the Kenyatta family is equal to Nyanza province, sources at the Lands Ministry say. Close associates of Kenyatta such as Mbiyu Koinange, Kihika Kimani, Isaiah Mathenge, Eliud Mahihu, Jackson Angaine, Paul Ngei, Daniel Arap Moi, Njoroge Mungai, Charles Njonjo, Mwai Kibaki, Njenga Karume among other power brokers of the time, were encouraged to acquire, and did acquire, as much land.The Moi government has more or less followed similar policies. The political clique around Moi, for example, is known to own huge chunks of land round the country, much of which is lying fallow while the production that it is meant for has ceased. In the North Eastern Province, for example, the current crop of politicians in government owns chunks of land that, according to official sources, they do not even know the location. The land is used for collateral mortgage for bank loans."

You have a very simple task. Just take any of the sentences, put them in quotation marks feed them in the dialogue box of a search engine and voila!, you should get the original web context.

So what is Oloo trying to say?

Utajijazia Mwenyewe!

5.0. Who Will Rule Kenya After Kibaki?

Notice I did NOT ask, who will be the President of Kenya after Kibaki or even who will be the Prime Minister after Kibaki. That is so obvious that I am going to spend only THREE SENTENCES on it. Whoever the LDP runs as their Presidential candidate will romp home to victory, if present trends obtain and that party maintains its popularity across the country. If we have the Bomas constitution by then, Raila Odinga will be Prime Minister. I am not making this "discovery" today. In fact I boldly predicted this OVER TWO YEARS AGO in this essay that appeared on August 9, 2002 on the Mashada discussion forum.

Check out some of the findings from the Steadman polling fun from June 2004

I am more interested in who will rule Kenya. Hopefully it is NOT the President or the Prime Minister.


Yes you can huh again and again.

Or simply bear with me.

I am writing as a Kenyan socialist. I think we have a vested interest in ruling Kenya too.

Panic. Trembles. Shock. Horror. Oloo is calling for a Marxist Revolution in Kenya- ati.

In your dreams jackass.

Did not say that.

Go back to my sentence.

Kenyan socialists have a vested interest in ruling Kenya too.

How do we do that?

By NOT running for President or Prime Minister.


You can what me again.

It is at this point that I should do my miracle act and revive Antonio Gramsci.

Is Oloo crazy?

Oloo himself thinks HE is demented, so there is no debate there- we are on CONSENSUS on that one.

Antonio Gramsci was a rather famous Italian Marxist( insert bogus liberal yaaawwwwwnnnns here) who bequeathed to revolutionaries the idea of winning power through the patient build up of ideological hegemony. My task this morning is NOT to dissect Gramcian ideological musings, but rather share with you PRACTICAL examples where these ideas have been applied.

Guess who is the new Premier of South Africa's North West Province? And why is the South African Communist Party praising the provincial government of Mpumalanga?

Check out this statement on Cooperatives and the Financial Sector from Blade Nzimande, the General Secretary of the South African Communists and this document about setting up a party school in Kwa Zulu Natal. Drink in some more red analytical wine from Madiba country please before you chew in the deeper significance of the ANC/ SACP/COSATU 2004 electoral victory at both NATIONAL and PROVINCIAL levels

Do you know WHERE Kerala state is?

Well I will show you. Look below:

Yes it is in India.

This is its government Kerala has the DISTINCTION of providing the world with what many consider to be its FIRST DEMOCRATICALLY elected Communist government and even today, Kerala is considered India's most LEFT WING STATE and it is not for NOTHING that socialists and communists have been elected and reelected in this progressive Indian state as you can see from this article on how Kerala's development record compares to the rest of India. Here is more information about Indian Communists that you can use comfortably in Isiolo, Nanyuki or Runyenjes. Did you know that Communists have ruled

ANOTHER Indian state,

West Bengal, WITHOUT INTERRUPTION from 1977? In fact some people argue that it is NOT Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh or Castro who is the MOST SUCCESSFUL Communist leader in history, but

this person

I could cite examples of how Communists have controlled municipal governments in various Italian cities, or point out that the mayor of

London is not exactly a conservative but I think you have grasped the point I am trying to put across.

6.0. How To Rule Kenya Without Becoming President or Prime Minister

I am not into the kabilastanization of Kenya as I pointed in an essay I penned OVER FOUR YEARS AGO. Still I am very excited about political devolution, especially when I think of two countries- South Africa and India.

So how do get to rule Kenya without being President or Prime Minister?

Ai! Yawa! Omera wiyi rach? You think I am going to ansha that kweson after writing the year AD pato opuk?

That, obviously is a SEPARATE DIGITAL ESSAY, ama?

Onyango Oloo