Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ruminations on the Balance of Power in Kenya Today

I am currently reading two books simultaneously-

Michela Wrong's

In The Footsteps of Mr Kurtz and

Fillippo Sabetti's

The Search for Good Government:Understanding the Paradox of Italian Democracy.

The first work is a journalistic first person account of the last days of

Mobutu Sese Seko and the unravelling of his odious kleptocracy; the second is a scholarly study of contemporary Italian politics by a Montreal-based Italian Canadian professor at McGill University.

Ms. Wrong has had a distinguished career as a correspondent for Reuters, the BBC and other Western media agencies. Her book-I am somewhere in the middle- is by turns amusing, insightful and very critical of the neo-colonial rot in the DRC- she does not spare the complicit regimes of the West in propping up one of Africa's most notorious "Big Men". At the end of the day, she still comes across as a Western journalist writing a book on Africa for a primarily White audience. Still the book gives us a glimpse of the fallout from years of blatant state organized theft, debauchery and political hooliganism.

There are many chapters in Prof. Sabetti's book that I find fascinating. At the moment I am rivetted to the two chapters of Part Three dealing, respectively with " The Mafia and the Antimafia" and "The Political Economy of Crime and Punishment". One of the eye-openers for me is the realization that in fact, there is NO SUCH THING as the "Mafia" as this all powerful criminal global octopus with tentacles all over the world:

...Also by 1991, a big question mark hovered over the view of the Sicilian mafia as a single unitary organization and a synonym for organized crime itself...What was emerging was somewhat of a consensus that the world of organized crime was made up of different and rivalrous groups- mafia,'ndrangheta and camorra in Sicily, Calabria and Campania, respectively- and that these groups were, in varying degrees, inseparable from most illegal markets in the business of protection and ordinary(i.e., legitimate) industries...People in such groups formed the core underworld population..(Sabetti,2000).

There is also this very interesting nugget on page 172 of the same book:

Clientelism refers to a social and political grouping of individuals who, while occupying unequal positions, are tied to one another(hence the idea of patron-client relationship) based on personal loyalty, obligation, and the exchange of unequal goods and services(i.e, clients trade votes, while patrons trade tangible benefits they have at their disposal, often as holders of legal positions of authority). Machine politics, patronage appointments, and the spoil system characterize North American clientelism, suggesting how widespread the phenomenon is beyond the Mediterrranean....

I am still chewing the 313-page Sabetti book so I will comment no further.

For some odd reason that I cannot quite fathom, the Wrong and Sabetti's texts have somehow switched on a couple of flood-lights for me as I peruse the Kenyan daily newspapers(and their overseas equivalents in Britain and elsewhere) informing me that

Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley, scion of the Delamare white settler clan, one of Kenya's most notorious land-grabbing families was set free by a court in supposedly independent Kenya after murder charges against him were dramatically dropped. In fact, let us go to the old white settler London-based conservative rag that used to reserve its purified venom for the Mau Mau to see how the "good news" is playing in the right wing press in the UK:

Maasai anger erupts as Happy Valley murder case is dropped
By Mike Pflanz in Nakuru for the Daily Telegraph
(Filed: 18/05/2005)

The Hon Thomas Cholmondeley, son of the fifth Baron Delamere and sole heir to one of Kenya's largest landowning dynasties, was sensationally cleared yesterday of murdering a game warden on his father's ranch.

His wife, Sally, gasped as the prosecution admitted in Nakuru's packed high court that it had insufficient evidence to prove her husband shot dead a Kenya Wildlife Service ranger in April.

His father, 75-year-old Lord Delamere, appeared to suppress a quick grin when he heard that his son had been cleared.

Mr Cholmondeley, 36, the father of two sons, could have faced the death penalty if convicted.

The charges were thrown out on the orders of Kenya's attorney general, Amos Wako, who instead ordered a public inquest into the death of the warden, Samson ole Sisina, 44, a member of the Masai tribe.

The case has opened old wounds among the Masai, who blame the Delamere family for grabbing huge tracts of Kenya's Rift Valley from their ancestors during colonial times.

Mr Cholmondeley's barrister, Fred Ojiambo, said: "We are gratified that the state law office has acted not to please mass hysteria but in accordance with the law.

"There were some very wrong impressions created related to this matter . . . we were at all times of the view that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge of murder."

The inquest, to be held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, would give Mr Cholmondeley the chance to "demonstrate to the whole world what really happened", Mr Ojiambo said.

UPDATE: It turns out that

Tom Cholmondeley actually CONFESSED to shooting Sisina!)

The Kenya Democracy Project would like to express its support and solidarity with the Kenya Human Rights Commission and Katiba ya Wananchi who put together the quick demonstration to protest the outrageous acquittal.

In the same breath we DENOUNCE the Kibaki-NARC government for sending its riot goons on Thursday, May 19th to

silence the peaceful protestors
. Shame on Amos Wako, Kiraitu Murungi, Mirugi Kariuki and all those so called reformists for defending Delamare and attacking innocent Kenyans!
And there is a possibility that the Delamare ranch may be raided by irate protestors very soon...

A lot of Kenyan pundits online have concentrated on the colour of the brazen killer's skin and his national origins in Europe.

Perhaps a better place to start looking for the key to his acquittal is this newspaper article by Otsieno Namwaya on Who Owns Kenya.

The Kibaki regime is a perpetuation of the Moi regime which followed the nyayos of the Kenyatta regime. All three KANU governments are neo-colonial outfits controlled by local land grabbers managing the Kenya plantation on behalf of their imperialist masters.

Look at this way, it makes perfect sense why a major landowner like Lord Delamare will naturally seek protection from the landowners led by Mwai Kibaki. After all the neo-colonial government is not a government of the Maasais, by the Maasais and for the Maasais, but on the contrary, a government of the Delamares, Kenyattas, Mois, Kibakis etc for the Delamares, Kenyattas, Mois, Kibakis etc.

The acquittal of the murderous criminal known as Thomas What's His Face was to be EXPECTED so please fellow Kenyans stop the gnashing of teeth and the wailing already.

The same way Sunkuli was set free after raping his underage relative; the same way Biwott is openly campaigning for a cabinet slot after being publicly fingered as the killer of Ouko; the same way Murungaru and Mwiraria are still in the NARC cabinet after being implicated in grand graft and the same way Lucy Kibaki still has the audacity to complain and demand explanations after committing grievious assault on national television; the same way Norman Nyagah is still the Chief Whip after being identified as the possible mastermind behind the Mbai assassination is the same way the Delamare descendant is today in a position to leisurely copulate with his wife Sally knowing that NOTHING will happen to him after killing an innocent employee of the Kenyan government whose only crime was to do his job.

One of the beautiful advantages of embracing a class analysis is that it clarifies things. Applying this framework to the two headline grabbing crime waves by Kenya's Rich and Famous-the Delamare/Lucy incidents-one sees clearly that there are at least two systems of"justice"in Kenya- the rich get acquitted; they get "public inquests" while the poor do time and hang by their innocent necks for crimes they did not commit.

Beyond this, when one examines the Kibaki Kitchen Cabinet one sees that it is actually, in very literal terms, a MAFIA, and I am not referring to its ethnic composition, but its CRIMINAL tendencies.

Here is a cabal which Does Not Give A F.... about the Rule of the Law and only invokes "law and order" when it comes to unleashing repression to quell dissent. The waivers between the Mwirarias and the Ndwigas; the sinecures granted between Kiraitu and his former law partners- Ringera and Kamau Kuria; the openly compromised patronage appointments, the total and wilful disregard for the wananchi's demand to enact the Supreme Law of the land, aka a new democratic constitution should tell all of us that we are being misruled by UNCONVICTED BRIGANDS and SHAMELESS FELONS.

The best way to describe the people who are calling the shots in Kenya today, the folks around Kibaki is to call them by their real names:


Speaking personally, I have been doing fhis for almost two years now, as can be seen in this digital essay I penned in early August 2003.

These political gangsters have deep roots in KANU-Kibaki was a founder member of that party and has been privy to ALL the crimes that the Kenyan state has perpetrated against its citizens since 1963.

He may not have pulled any triggers personally, but it was not for nothing that he was Kenyatta's trusted Finance minister and together with Njonjo, Daniel arap Moi's trusted sidekick when the Man from Sacho ascended to power in 1978. Kenyans can rest assured that as long as Kibaki is President, none of the Goldenberg Big Guns-Moi, Biwott, Saitoti etc- will ever have to worry about being held accountable for their fraud and their looting of state coffers.

Unfortunately, we, the Kenyan people, actually ELECTED these thugs to power in December 2002 and today we watch aghast as they emerge in their full-blown criminal colours.

What is DEEPLY DISTURBING however, is that the present political gang in power is even lurching more and more towards tribalizing their political dominance by pandering to some of the lowest ethnic fears, slurs and stereotypes as they notch up the hysteria and paranoia even as they slothfully degenerate and wallow in unbelievable daily incompetence at guiding the precarious ship of state to the expected democratic destination.

What am I talking about?

A week and a half ago, a certain Kenyan woman living somewhere in North America (she happens to be a Luo woman from a middle class background) was plying me with wild RUMOURS of how the Agikuyu were busy collecting funds from the GEMA communities in the diaspora to prop up the tottering Kibaki government. At that time, I impatiently dismissed this yada yada telling her that when I was in prison in the early 1980s a certain jailed Luo MP tried to scare me off from my co-political prisoners who happened to be from Central Kenya by mongering a tall tale of "oathing ceremonies behind bars."

But do sit up and listen for just a sec, ndugu and dada msomaji.

Yesterday when I logged on to the Mashada forum, I found what I can best tag as a "weird" posting by a Nairobi netter called "Kamale". Now people from that forum know that I have openly accused "Kamale" of being a Special Branch operative. He is certainly one of the most ardent, strident and consistent defenders of the NAK regime and the Kibaki family in particular. He seems to relish rattling sabres with Onyango Oloo, Adongo Ogony, Okoth Osewe and Miguna Miguna(who is not as active in the cyber debates as he once was).

I am stating the above to contexualize my more than mild surprise when I read the following posting from Kamale:

...Being an alleged Kibaki apologist and NAK sympathiser, I will for a while break away from the expectations, and suggest that LDP will perhaps come out stronger at the end of this self inflicted crisis. But it will also be a more humble LDP that we shall have hence my suggestion.

One thing that is clear is that for the time being, NAK has outmanouvred and outflanked LDP in the political chess game, and I could not help notice the gloating by some NAK MPs recently in Meru. Unfortunately for NAK, they have a serious problem of being able to manage their success, and I am willing to bet that they will very soon squander their success. Someone should teach them on how to build on their successes - seriously!!

Take for instance the current plan to revive Gema. Meetings are being held in the city, and I understand that Gema will actually be divided into several units representing the Gikuyu (murang'a, nyeri and Kiambu), Merus and the Embus. The unit leaders will then form the council to run Gema. This action had been premised on the apparent marginalisation of the gema people in the political dispensation, and had not counted on the self destruction of LDP.

But instead of capitalising on the present problems in LDP, and consolidating the support they have from Ford-K and Kanu, they are still insisting on going forward with the Gema plans.

It is such moves that will hurt the NAK group in the long run.


Compare this with this newspaper account.

If there is ANY credence to what Kamale posted above, then the unfolding political scenario is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS for the future of this country.

Why do I say this?

Because we find a very unpopular cabal around Mwai Kibaki resorting to that most odious card in the Siasa pack- UKABILA to try and shore up a support base having alienated VIRTUALLY ALL OF ITS FORMER SUPPORTERS- the millions of voters, their LDP coalition partners, the raft of civil society organizations and individuals and even former ideologues- it now wants to use that old " we are being finished" ethnic hot button to create a tribal mass of frightened storm troopers for what they reckon is a looming confrontation in the national horizon.

The sad thing is that the ordinary people of Nyeri, Muranga, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru and elsewhere HAVE NOT BENEFITED ONE BIT from the fact that Kibaki is President, and Murungaru, Kiraitu, Michuki, Mwiraria, Kimunya so and so forth ministers- not one bit. We all remember Kibaki's haughty demeanour when responding to the plight of his own Othaya constituents. Lucy Kibaki has been denounced in her home district- a clear pointer that none of the constituent nationalities who are resident in the Mount Kenya area identify with the lawlessness, the arrogance, the grand graft and the plain selfishness of the criminals in power.

It is sickening to see the desperation of the discredited back room boys resort to such chicanery-forgetting how innocent members of the Agikuyu community lost their lives in politically motivated clashes in the 1990s. It is beyond scandalous that the Njenga Karumes, John Michukis, Chris Murungarus and yes Mwai Kibakis would risk unleashing a Congolese style genocidal bloodbath that would most certainly claim millions of innocent KENYAN lives that will not distinguish between Luo and Gikuyu, Kamba and Meru, Embu and Kalenjin, Luhyia and Maasai and so on.

I think that Kenyans from the Mount Kenya region should start telling the Kibakites loud and clear:


Not in our names the betrayal of Kenyan national aspirations

Not in our names the lawlessness of the Lucy Kibakis

Not in our names the shamelessness of the Murungaru and Mwiraria power trips
Not in our names the swaggering tribal supremacist fear mongering of the Njenga Karumes
Not in our names the homungati throwback policies of John Michuki
Not in our names the Kiraitu flip flopping on constitutional reforms and human rights

Not in our names the Mwiraria waivers to the Ndwigas

Not in our names the Ringera witchhunts against Charity Ngilu

Not in our names!


Stop abusing the names of the Agikuyu, Meru, Embu and affiliated communities in your undemocratic about turns

The above poem, is of course, a very humble suggestion from a Kenyan whose son has a Meru grandmother; it is a sincere entreaty from a Kenyan whose fiancée is from Kirinyaga; it is a simple call from a Kenyan who has three first cousins married to the daughters from the Slopes; this is a jeremiad from a Kenyan who believes in the unity of Central and Western, Northern and Southern, Eastern and North Eastern Kenyans.

Today when we look at the balance of power of Kenya, this is what we notice:

A tiny cabal; a deviously tiny, corrupt cabal, intoxicated with tribal arrogance have monopolized the state apparatus and are busy taking what they can from it.

Meanwhile the vast majority of Kenyans( including people from Central and Eastern provinces) still wallow in poverty, still hanker for freedom and justice and equality, still groan under the yoke of imperialism and neo-colonialism.

Let us all listen again to the patriotic entreaty of the wazalendo hip hop griots in Sinpare exhorting us to Jivunie Ukenya!!

Who will rule Kenya?

The alienated few or the marginalized majority?

The answer to that question will be determined by the inevitable political confrontation that is destined to explode in Kenya over the next few months.

One hopes, for Kenya's sake, that we do not end up like Somalia, Rwanda or the Congo, but more like South Africa in April 1994.

This hope is not a nebulous one-we must work in unity to ensure that we achieve a DEMOCRATIC solution to the growing national crisis that Kibaki and his back room boys have unleashed on Kenyans since coming to power in December 2002.

How to do this?

Yesterday I suggested a framework.

Please check it out via this link...

Onyango Oloo

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* Publisher: New Africa Press (November 1, 2007)
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