Yesterday (Friday, September 23, 2005) there was a remarkable coincidence in unanimity of opinion as the leader of the YES pack,
President Mwai Kibaki emphatically ruled out any postponement of the November 21st referendum poll- sentiments echoed and reiterated by one of the main spokespersons of the NO posse, Raila Odinga.
The Kenyan head of state and his Roads Minister may be coming from different ends of the mainstream political spectrum but what they say resonates with millions of Kenyans- including this lowly cyberscribe keyboarding these words from southern
This essay is going to suggest that the “Tuhairishe Kura ya Maoni” aficionados are nothing more than closeted Yes supporters who have developed running stomachs in the face of the Hapana avalanche that threatens to bury many of the parliamentary turncoats in humiliating defeating in 2007- if not sooner.
The Gang of 74 led by Zaddock Syongo and Noah Wekesa are foot shuffling, spineless and waffling opportunists who, I suspect only make up their minds after watching which way the upepo is pepetaring the bendera. To me they are actually WORSE than the overt Yes advocates who are so desperate for victory that some of them have invested in gunias of bhangi and lorry loads of brand new pangas to be handed to hooligans targeting NO rallies.
Before I rip into these vibarakala further, let me first pause and express my solidarity and concerns for those Kenyans who are literally in the eye of
Hurricane Rita so to speak.
Earlier in the day I saw this report in the Daily Nation:
Facing the Eye of Hurricane Rita:
A Kenyan's tale of tough choices as deadly Rita approaches
Story by ITUMIA wa CUCU in
: Daily Nation: September 23, 2005 Galveston, Texas
Were it not for CNN, I would have said people are lying about the destruction that Hurricane Rita is supposed to bring. The ocean is calm and the trees are not swaying from side to side as in the movies. I have lived in
Galvestonfor quite a while now, an island about 100 kilometres from Houstonin . It is a nice place, with the evening breeze and romantic walks, and, of course, the beach just three blocks from my apartment. I therefore do not understand why Rita has chosen this island as its path. Bad things are supposed to happen to other people. Texas
It’s Monday and Rita is in the
area. The media are talking about the storm becoming a category two. I immediately start paying attention to this thing. Key West
Having graduated with a history degree from
Egerton University, Njoro, I go back to my books and remember that was wiped out by a hurricane in 1900. Between 6,000 and 12,000 people were killed. In my mind I am thinking, this is not 1900, and man has learnt a few things since then. Galveston
I start thinking about getting ready for Rita. Like a teenager going out on the first date, I do not have a clear understanding of what I should do, although there are a million warnings in
about preparing for hurricanes. Galveston
I put off getting ready today. There is tomorrow. On Monday afternoon the mayor of
holds a meeting and urges people to pack and leave. Galveston
On Tuesday, I go to a police training class. One of the topics for discussion is the approaching storm. The mayor declares an emergency on the island and the Governor of Texas does the same for the state.
It starts to hit me. Maybe I should start doing something about Rita. I plan on getting some petrol and some groceries from my local Walmart.
In the evening, I go by Walmart and the petrol station is swamped. There are long queues. I go in to get some groceries and the same long queues are waiting for me.
I decide to return at night, reasoning that there will be fewer people. At 11pm, I go back to the Walmart and the queues are still there. Many stores have long closed and my options are limited.
I have to get petrol now, so I line up and wait my turn. I then go inside to get groceries and the queues are even longer. The water shelf is empty; all the water has been bought. I pick a few things and line up for about an hour to pay.
On Wednesday, Rita has become a category four storm, with winds of 280 kilometres per hour. I start to become scared, but I tell myself I have been in the Middle East (in a war zone) and other countries, and I have been through Saba Saba in
and, therefore, I should not be scared. Kenya
I start thinking of the Kenyans I know that live in
. There is the quiet lady from western Galveston County that works at the library. There are the two sisters from Kiambu, and there is Joyce, Perris and one or two others that I see now and then. Kenya
I think of the two sisters from Tanzanian who live on the island, and I say a prayer for them. I hope all these people have been evacuated.
To Itumia wa Cucu, the two sisters from Kiambu, Joyce, Perris and all Kenyans, together of course with ALL the residents of the region regardless of nationality, citizenship, race, gender, age, class, age, religion or any another identifier, it is my hope that each and every person makes it out alive, safe and sound. As many of you know, I am not the praying kind. Our bonds of humanity however, make all of reflect on our shared destiny.
The other night, I spent an hour updating my meteorological knowledge thanks to the science heavy panel on Larry King Live, and anyone who has watched
Bill Nye knows why he earned the sobriquet of the “Science Guy”. I was left slightly non-plussed when I felt the pumping adrenaline trickling from the TV set to the living room from where I was watching as an assortment of water drenched CNN Alpha Males talk giddily and exuberantly of their excitement of being assigned to cover natural calamities like Katrina that have left in their terrible wake thousands of deaths and a mounting toll of devastation to entire communities in the Gulf States of the US. Of course it is almost orgiastic for these disaster groupies to cover a hurricane for live cable television when they know that an aircraft will airlift them to suburban safety as soon as the 20 foot watery invaders breach the levees and come slightly too close for News Night with
One of the best moments in that Larry King gab fest came when a caller from
To come back to the shifting sands of the collapsing Yes Nyoomba wa Karata.
It has been amazing to see the diversity of tactics of what I should broadly call the Anti-NO Side, because some of them are already too embarrassed to associate themselves publicly with the Yes side.
I have seen and heard people exhort Kenyans to “boycott” the entire process; I have seen the hand-wringing and of course the pathetic bleating from the Yes- side’s back up choir of cyber supporters.
Incidentally as a socialist, I see nothing wrong with the term propaganda.
I also see nothing wrong with people having overt and explicit political agendas.
What amazes me is the hypocrisy of people who berate others for pushing "propaganda" and "hidden agendas" while simultaneously pushing their own overt propaganda and explicit agenda.
Yesterday I saw a propaganda piece by Peter Mwaura lambasting the propaganda methods of the NO side.
That Daily Nation article that appeared in today's paper has since then been recycled ad infinitum approvingly by open and closeted proponents of the Yes proposition.
In a series of back handed “compliments” Mr Mwaura on the surface “extols” the Orange team for seizing the thunder from their opponents- all the while oozing acerbic comment in every line of every paragraph of his op-ed.
In my opinion, and with all due respect to Peter Mwaura who is one of Kenya’s most distinguished journalists, I think that the writer is being not only disingenuous but actually slightly dishonest when he talks of the NO side’s propaganda while being a propagandist for the Yes side.
Having been a long time media watcher, especially of North American network television I know it is a very old trick to grab a pundit, dress him up as an “objective expert” and have him push this or that argument.
It has been argued for instance that an apparently “objective” feature story is more effective than a paid advertisement. For instance, if you have an African-American single mother of three formerly of the projects write an op-ed in the allegedly liberal leaning (some people think, not me!) Washington Post about how Bush’s tax cuts lifted her into the corporate boar rooms, you have scored a propaganda coup far more lethal than paying a Madison Avenue firm to run all day 30 second Republican commercial spots on CNN and Fox News.
Likewise in the Kenyan context, if you plant an innocent looking YES PROPAGANDA piece by Peter Mwaura in the NAKTION you can parlay the great editor’s international reputation of excellence in the profession as "evidence" that at last someone "objective" is skewering the propaganda tactics of the NO side.
Mr. Mwaura is simply NOT CREDIBLE when he passes over in silence the recent widely reported remarks attributed to Internal Security Minister John Michuki assuring the Agikuyu (even excluding the Meru, Embu, Tharaka, Chuka, Mbeere, Tigania and other affiliated Mount Kenya peoples) that they should sleep soundly because “their President” Mwai Kibaki is taking care of business together with “their minister for Special Projects” Njenga Karume.
Why no mention of the shameless propaganda lie by the Yes side that civil servants and state resources will be marshalled to push for the Wako Draft allegedly because it is a “government document” that was printed by the “government” on “government paper”?
Incidentally, since when did the NAK faction- a fraction of NARC take over the Kenyan government which is still legally a COALITION called the National Rainbow Coalition consisting of the 13 member National Alliance of Kenya and an entity called the Liberal Democratic Party?
What amazes me so much is that sections of the Agikuyu elite are completely and totally oblivious as to how their contemptuous and arrogant statements are playing in the wider Kenyan community. Have Kenyans with origins in the
I have been saying for the last couple of years that the so called “Big Tribes” of
The true import of Auschwitz and
And speaking of Auschwitz, let us pause for a moment of silence in memory of the venerated
Simon Wiesenthal who passed away earlier this week at 96 after more than five decades of pursuing aging Hitler war criminals to the ends of the earth literally. Rest in Peace Mzee Simoni wa Vienna.
Why is Peter Mwaura completely silent on the Kenyan Interhamwesque FM vile talk reported recently by Maina Kiai about a Gikuyu language radio station warning of the “animals from the West”?
Who are these nyamu cia ruguru?
How are they different from the
hundreds of thousands of inyenzi “cockroaches” who were dumped in the river Nyaborongo destined for “
Anyone who thought that the Yes side’s propaganda war is confined to verbal histrionics and rhetorical pyrotechnics should have sobered up after the Nairobi dailies revealed those gleaming brand new
pangas that may or may not have been purchased by hard working tax payers and then handed over to young hoodlums literally bused in from the teeming slums of Nairobi to cause havoc in Thika.
According to press reports
these violent felons were hell bent on making contact with Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, William Ruto, Bonaya Godana, Najib Balala, Musalia Mudavadi and other NO leaders assembled on the dais.
What were they going to do had they succeeded in clambering on to the stage?
Reach out with outstretched hands to say habari zenu wazee?
Let us not forget that the three killers of the Bomas Devolution Chair Dr. Crispin Odhiambo Mbai were also a multi-ethnic tag team recruited from the same desperate neighbourhood to snuff out the life of a man who symbolized the section of the Bomas conference that together with the Executive represented the gravest threat to some of those power hungry NAK mandarins.
It is scary how once completely decent human beings gradually become vicious and ruthless masterminds of political assassinations when the stakes are sufficiently high enough.
In 1997 I was flabbergasted to find out that one of the alleged masterminds of the Likoni massacres was the youthful Hisham Mwidau a KANU parliamentary aspirant.
I was astounded because I remembered Mwidau Junior as a somewhat bashful and bright eyed Form One student at HH The Aga Khan Kenya Secondary School when I was doing my “A” levels in that school in 1979-80.
Who would have thought that this innocent, intelligent, good-natured urbane teenager would grow up to be mixed up with ruthless, state-connected insiders like the late unlamented Karisa Maitha and the Idi Amin era fugitive war criminal Omar Masumbuko and other sinister members of a cabal that was fingered for having coordinated the series of fascist and terrorist attacks on innocent civilians whose only crime was that they could not answer a greeting in any of the Mijikenda tongues?
Much closer to home, these days, whenever I see and read of
Kiraitu Murungi’s increasingly unhinged political pronouncements, I find it very difficult to reconcile to the soft spoken man who helped me get a Kenyan passport in 1994 when the then Kenyan government was shuttling me from office to office; find it difficult to believe that this is the same man who took me to his South C maisonette for lunch where we discussed Kenyan politics avidly when he was then a Ford-Kenya MP; and of course find it difficult to believe that this is the same man who made a point of reconnecting me to Gitobu Imanyara, Wanjiru Kihoro and other political comrades when I emerged from prison in 1987- an event where he was almost singularly responsible as the lead lawyer who kept up the barrage of legal challenges to my continued incarceration after I had completely the required two thirds and was eligible for release on remission of sentence.
The Kiraitu Murungi I see these days is totally drunk with power.
I will not say that I have ever seen any statements attributed publicly to Kiraitu that implicate him directly with overt ethnic chauvinism in the way that the more honest (or reckless, depending on where you sit) Michuki keeps running off his ukabila infested mdomo.
Nevertheless, because he never challenges and denounces these deranged outbursts, I can assume that my former lawyer is complicit; that he endorses these remarks because Kiraitu Murungi, if he so chose, could stand up and contradict these tribalists who speak openly in his presence.
Yet this is the same lawyer who had to flee for his life in July 1990 because of his history of defending the Onyango Oloos, the George Anyonas, the Edward Oyugis and Wanyiri Kihoros.
Strange isn't it?
Related to the yodelling for a referendum deferral is the new found "insight" that the NO side are driven by a blind greedy quest for "power".
Here for instance is what one of my good cyberbuddies Papa F forwarded to a public forum from a Kenyan who did not want to disclose their name-or handle:
--- In email@example.com, "Fulbert Namwamba"
Date: Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:34 pm
Subject: Fwd: A Constitution Scholar's Comments on the NO Tsunami (Fwd)
I am still awaiting to hear from yaya Andrew et al as to the
specific concerns of the orangemen.
A close observation of the NO campaigners, particularly their
rhetoric, clearly points out that their aim is not a new
constitution but to grab power. I am deeply disturbed by statements
that are calling for the replacement of the government in the event
the bananas lose. We are in a deep political crisis.
It is increasingly becoming clearer by each day that the orangemen
are emboldened in their thinking that the massive turnouts in their
rallies mean the Kenyans want a change of government. The question
is: what makes the orangemen think that once this government
collapses the Kibaki people would let them run their government?
What I am witnessing is a sad reality of African politics: we engage
in politics as a zero-sum game. What is going in Kenya is a steady
movement towards what Thomas Hobbes described as a "state of nature"
where every man is against every man, there is no place for
industry, no culture, no arts, no society, there is continual fear,
and violent death... According to Hobbes, this is caused by man's
unrelentless pursuit for power.
I do not know whether the orangemen are thinking this far but my
knowledge of the past tells me that they do not represent the best
hope for the country. As much as I find the proposed constitution
faulty is a number of areas, I still feel that those opposing it do
not have a credible position to kill it. Instead, they might end up
throwing out the birth water with the baby.
Let's pray our nation do not come tumbling down due to senselessness
and a hungering for power.
--- End forwarded message ---
Well, here is my rejoinder to the scholar:
First of all, the English idiomatic cliché (derived from German according to some literary geeks) you are grasping for is,
"throwing out the baby with the BATH water" NOT throwing out the "birth water" with the katoi, ok?
So, Mwalimu, what is the Wako Draft all about?
Isn't it precisely about consolidating MORE powers in the institution of the presidency-even as its proponents exclaim that this is not the case?
So Mwalimu, what is the so called "Government of National Unity" all about?
Is it not precisely a naked strategem to smuggle into the state the very people Kenyans rejected at the polls in 2002?
Why is it that Simeon Nyachae, who adamantly and completely refused to join NARC back in 2002, is today in 2005, the Chair of the Yes campaign?
Why is Njenga Karume, who abandoned Mwai Kibaki for the Uhuru Project today one of the architects that Michuki was assuring the Agikuyu is taking care of the business of protecting their ethnic interests?
Who in the ruling coalition- NAK or the LDP- wants to consolidate power in even fewer hands by expelling cabinet ministers whose only crime is in exercising the very democratic rights for which millions of Kenyans voted out KANU for?
As I have argued elsewhere, the NAK Team has been plotting and executing their civilian coup for over two years now.
Why is the anonymous scholar NOT talking about THAT????
In any case, what is suddenly so wrong about grabbing political power today?
Why did I not hear anybody berate the DP team for plotting to grab political power from KANU in 1997 and 2002?
Why do some people assume that Kenyans are so naive, so simple minded as not to see the sub-textual messages which lurk behind these nameless outpourings?
My main point is NOT to belabour the above.
What I am trying to do is expose the duplicity of those calling for the postponement of the referendum on the spurious and specious grounds that the country is "divided".
This country has been divided for a very very looooooooooong time.
It has been divided between rich and poor; it has been divided between supporters of the dictatorial status quo and pro-democracy activists; since early 2003, ethnic based cleavages have been pushed to the fore as the andu aitu NAK parvenu schemers plotted openly to impose a Mt. Kenya-centric ethnic based civilian dictatorship over millions of the very Kenyans who voted overwhelmingly for Mwai Kibaki and the rest of the National Rainbow Coalition team; since 2004 it has been divided between Kenyans who endorse the democratic consensus achieved at the end of the National Constitutional Conference at Bomas of Kenya and supporters of Mwai Kibaki who want certain ethnic communities to ride roughshod over the rest of the populace; Kenya has been divided between the supporters of political pluralism and Kibakis, Nyachaes, Koechs and Biwotts who would want to revert back to the one party era through the dubious and ILLEGAL "government of national unity".
So what is all this hypocrisy about the referendum campaign "dividing" Kenyans into Yes and No camps?
This cleavage has existed for decades!
Why did we not see the same hand-wringing in 2002 when Kenya was divided between the supporters of the Unbwogable Team and the followers of the Uhuru Project?
Did anybody say then that the election of Mwai Kibaki would "divide and tear the country apart"?
Did anyone call for the Presidential elections to be postponed?
Give us a break already!!
Who are these mealy mouthed charlatans trying to transform themselves into volunteer speed governors attempting to put a brake on the people's forward march to more democracy, more accountability, more transparency and more popular participation?
The kind of selfish and convenient "consensus" building when your side is staring at imminent defeat is really, really quite galling.
After the Zero Draft was passed at Bomas, a self-seeking group miraculously identified some "contentious issues" and started a process to seek "consensus" on these mythical contentious issues. We saw how that shady process led to the subterfuge at Naivasha and the conmanship at Kilifi which culminated in the open bribery during the voting in parliament in the wake of the three mass action days in July.
When Kenyans were cautioning that the referendum was ILLEGAL because there is no provision in the current constitution for it, the Kiraitus and the Wakos pushed through with their mutiliation of our democratic constitutional aspirations and insisted that Kenyans were going to have a referendum tupende tusipende.
Now that it is clear that the YES side cannot prevail and will not prevail at the November 21st date that they set, a section of their yellow bellied supporters have now rebaptized themselves "consensus" builders.
My stomach churns when I see people like Noah Wekesa plead for a postponement.
Wasn't Western Province supposed to a No-GO Yes Zone?
What happened to all those mythical supporters of the Wako Draft?
I am kinda proud that Mwai Kibaki is increasingly exhibiting evidence, at long last, of possessing a political backbone. I am glad that he is sticking to his word.
Perhaps like some people, including my Toronto- area buddy Miguna Miguna have posited, the President is really a closeted supporter of the NO side and cannot wait to divest himself of his arrogant Yes Men.