Friday, July 30, 2010

Young Kenyan Women Push the YES Agenda

An Eye Witness Account by Onyango Oloo

Woke up this morning (Friday, July 30th) commuting all the way to Freedom Corner of Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi to attend the Warembo Ni Yes! rally organized by a cross section of women's groups across the country.

The momentum built up gradually throughout the morning.

From a few green clad women lolling around the park at around 9 am, by an hour later, things were revving up.

First a vivacious and confident delegation from the Coast rolled in speaking in animated Kiswahili about the proposed constitution. Next from the direction of Haile Selassie Avenue and the Railway Club there was a convoy of mikokoteni (yes, that's right, hand carts!) hauling young women from Eastlands, resplendent in their Warembo ni YES! green t-shirts and matching head gear. Soon, a big patch of the usually green Uhuru Park was suffused even more by that colour as the tens mushroomed into hundreds and more with women, and several men arriving for the procession.

By eleven, the blare of music from a flatbed truck equally covered in green banners and green women could be heard as it traversed the Nyayo House- Parliament section of Uhuru Highway. A very feisty twentysomething young woman who I was later introduced to as DJ Sasha (real name Benter Wasonga) was very busy exhorting women to come out in huge numbers not just to Warembo Ni YES! rally at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. Volunteers were in the meantime busy handing out flyers listing fourteen reasons why young women should vote YES, apart from handing out stickers supported by the G10 Coalition captioned in Kiswahili "Ili kuhakisha kwamba una haki ya kuishi, piga kura kwa YES" and green plastic bracelets written, " I Vote Yes for Change", not to forget the inevitable Green Cards to counter the Red Cards of the NO campaign.

I was able to collect all these items that I have already started redistributing them to my sisters, female friends and progressive male pals.

The procession which snaked its way down Uhuru Highway, past the Inter-Continental Hotel, down City Hall Way before turning into the open space inside the KICC was a happy one full of vim, vigour and exuberance. Teenage girls were gyrating to dance hall, ragga, genge and other tunes, even as their political mothers were doing energetic ohangla and sukuti moves.

At the rostrum for the distinguished speakers I saw Martha Karua, Esther Passaris and Jayne Kihara to name three high profile Kenyan leaders. Behind the scenes though, people like Zawadi Nyongo,Hakima Abbas,Mumbi (from the Starehe People's Congress) Mary (an activist and former stripper who organizes sex workers, strippers and bar/night club female employees) Sophie Dola and other semi-anonymous grassroots leaders were making sure that the logistics and other necessary coordination was on track.

Unfortunately,I did not stick around for the big speeches which started around mid day because I had another assignment to attend to.

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Veterans of Kenyan Struggle Meet Raila Odinga

An Attempt at Instant Recall by Onyango Oloo

July 26th is a public holiday in Cuba, celebrating the day, almost sixty years ago that Fidel Castro and his comrades made a valiant attempt to remove a fascist dictatorship in their island republic.

July 26, 2010 was a special day for Kenyan former political prisoners, ex-detainees, survivors and victims of police brutality, special branch torture, state terror and neo-colonialism fascist intimidation.

This was the day when about forty of us converged in the palatial digs of another former Kenyan political prisoner and ex-exile.

This was the day we paid a courtesy call to the Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga, the Prime Minister of Kenya at his Karen home.

As some of the readers/viewers/browsers/surfers/clickers of this blog may already know by now, the Co-Principal in the Kenyan Grand Coalition Government has been convalescing following a recent surgery.

The meeting was arranged within a very short time with former exile and present PM advisor Miguna Miguna being in the thick of things in the background.

We were informed over the weekend and were told to converge outside the Nakumatt in Karen by 10 am on that Monday.

Seeing the comrades brought back a flood of memories: Kamonye Manje and Maina Kiongo- among the first Mwakenya suspects to be railroaded to prison; Silvanus Oduor, a veteran of the Naivasha Penitentiary, courtesy of his role in the 1971 coup attempt against Jomo Kenyatta; Chitechi Osundwa, one of the most hard working cadres of the December Twelve Movement which had its hey day in the late seventies and early eighties; Israel Agina, who was jailed at the age of eighteen way back in 1969; Wafula Buke, a militant student leader from the late 1980s along with Dr. Njenga Kaberere and Miguna Miguna; Kangethe Mungai who along with Tirop ara Kitur and the late Karimi Nduthu received very long prison terms for attempting a guerrilla war against the Moi regime in 1986; Florence Nyaguthie who was accused of having a seditious publication in 1990; the two comrades from KPF that we met in Dar es Salaam in late 1988 on their way to military training in Libya; the courageous journalist Paul Amina; the patriotic businessman David Owach; Njuguna Mutahi who was to later found and coordinate the People Against Torture group; Captain Tirop from the Kenya Army tortured at the tail end of the Moi regime; several comrades from the Bungoma based February Eighteenth Revolutionary Army (FERA) who were horribly abused and brutalized by state goons in the mid 1990s; seventies era university radicals like Rumba Kinuthia; some stalwarts from the KPU period; Ongele Pala who along with Oginga Ogego (not present) Onyango Oloo, Muga K'Olale (present) and others spent years together at Kamiti Maximum Prison between 1982 and 1988; Wachira Waheire, a Nyayo House Survivor who is now the National Convener of the National Victims Network; Kimunya Kamana, another victim of state repression who was thrown in to jail because of falling out with the top KANU hierarchy in Nakuru headed by the late unlamented Kariuki Chotara rather than any active involvement in the Mwakenya proscribed organization and others that I was meeting for the first time.

Many of us who first embarked on the struggle in our late teens or early twenties were now spotting sprinkles of salt on our chins and heads, that is if were not displaying expanding bald spots. One could still detect the fierce fire in the eyes and determination in our hearts, but there was no doubt that dictatorship and the economic travails of neo-colonialism had taken a very heavy toll on most of us- weighed down by the lumpenizing effects of being on the margins of society, eking out a difficult existence while latter day johnny come latelys abrogated themselves the roles of the so called "true reformers" and saints of the "second liberation movement".

I was very proud of all of us. We caucused before we had our session with the Prime Minister, deciding to be strategic and focused rather than portraying ourselves as a motley crew of impoverished desperadoes croaking for handouts. We emphasized that the 2008 Agenda Four of the Grand Coalition Government had ALWAYS been our AGENDA ONE for decades; we stressed that at the end of the day our struggles had ultimately crystallized into a struggle for a new national democratic constitutional dispensation and that is why we were all enthusiastically slated to vote an enthusiastic YES! come the August 4th Referendum; some of us felt that dictator Moi belonged in Kamiti rather on the noisy rostrums of the NO campaign; we all agreed with Lands Minister James Orengo who spoke later, that Kenyans should neither forgive or forget Moi's atrocities until he was brought to account for his crimes against the Kenyan people and offer a public apology to the entire nation. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was understandably more conciliatory and forgiving.

At the end of the day, Raila Odinga did NOT need any prodding, lobbying or canvassing from us. After all, he himself had been detained thrice and tried once for treason; his own father Jaramogi had been through hell and as his wife Ida Odinga recounted, his immediate family had been through unspeakable trauma throughout his travails. We applauded when he denounced Amos Wako's rash decision to appeal the recent court victory for 21 Nyayo Torture Chambers survivors; he emphasized the need to document our experiences and saw the August 4th Referendum date as rendezvous with our destiny, perhaps ushering a completely brand new progressive phase of our history.

There is more that I can say about this, but since I am composing this directly onto my blog online in real time, sans spell check, revisions and rewrites, I will save on the shillings I am being charged by this downtown Nairobi cyber cafe and curtail the tale right about now....

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Riposte to the Muungano wa Katiba Kombozi Septet

A Digital Essay by Onyango Oloo

Two weeks to the August 4th Referendum, three separate polls- Strategic Research, Synovate and Info Trak Harris- have put the YES side firmly in the lead with projections of 62%, 58% and 65% of the vote respectively.

This could be an indicator of looming defeat for the NO side.


Don’t tell that to one William Samoei Ruto, the de facto head honcho of the forces dead set against a new constitutional order in Kenya.

First off, here is what the website of the popular Nairobi station is reporting:

Earlier this week, I was in the second floor offices of a certain Nairobi businesswoman who is a very close confidant of the Higher Education minister.

She told me that Ruto told her that he believes that the NO side is definitely headed for victory.

According to the Eldoret North’s own number crunching, his forces will garner 60% of the referendum vote. He gave further regional breakdowns as follows: Rift Valley 90% for NO; Eastern 50%; Central 50%; Coast 50%; North Eastern 50%; Western 50%; Nairobi 50% Nyanza: (i) Luo Nyanza 10%; (ii) Kisii Nyanza 70%.

No wonder if you go to column five, page five of the July 24th edition of the Standard you will read that “the NO team has chosen to ignore the two opinion polls that place them at the tail end of the referendum race.”

Now folks, you need to understand one thing about Onyango Oloo.

Throughout my formal schooling years, I was not particularly adept at Maths, so I will hesitate to call Mheshimiwa Bill Samoei delusional.

I was just passing on something I heard recently in the downtown core of the Kenyan capital.

In any case, that was all by the way.

What I wanted to do today was slightly different.

I have a bone or three to pick with some of my good political friends-Messrs Wanyiri Kihoro, Njeru Kathangu, Okoiti Omtatah, Koigi wa Wamwere and Ms. Jane Njiru- who issued a press statement on Thursday, July 15, 2010.

In all fairness, let me first reproduce that document verbatim before I proceed to tear it apart:

Muungano wa Katiba Kombozi Press Statement

We, the veterans of the Second Liberation assembled here, in conjunction with all those patriotic citizens who share our vision in civil society, in religious organisations, in professional bodies, in private enterprise, and in all walks of life, are here to formally launch our campaign against the Proposed Constitution of Kenya.

For a long time we have fought for the democratisation of this country, and the enactment of a new democratic dispensation, of which a democratic constitution is a major plank. Unfortunately, the proposed constitution is designed to throw Kenyans off course on the journey to our full emancipation as a free and prosperous people.

The Proposed Constitution of Kenya is a betrayal of the principles and purpose of the Second Liberation Movement. The draft Constitution is not what we had in mind when we put our lives on the line to fight for the liberation of this country and the emancipation of the Kenyan people. Though the draft has a sugar-coating made up of some of the things that we fought for, like an expanded Bill of Rights, it has toxic provisions that threaten the very foundation of the Kenyan State and, hence, negate all the good they represent.

Key among these are the threat of disintegration through reckless devolution and land laws that articulate our ethnic differences and not our similarities. No country in history has survived a decision by its political leadership to organise it not on the progressive basis of equality but on the retrogressive basis of special interests and the differences of its citizens.

Why do we want to throw our beloved country into turmoil? Whose idea is it? And whose interests does it serve?

We are also opposed to the way the campaign for the draft is being conducted. It is misplaced for anybody to traverse the country using all manner of negative adjectives to derogate those on the NO side as unpatriotic anti-reformers and do-no-gooder hypocrites. We are left wondering whether the said YES camp have misconstrued the referendum to be a witch-hunt.

The referendum is not a witch execution where we choose between good and bad guys. It is about democratic choice and, hence, it is unacceptable to think that we can use such undemocratic means to midwife a democratic dispensation. The constitution is about current and future citizens of Kenya; it’s not about President Kibaki, Premier Odinga, or the Cabinet. Nobody is boss or subordinate. We are in this as private and equal citizens.

This is not a Government project. The Government’s role is limited to facilitating both sides in the process as an honest broker. If there is reason for one side to use public resources to campaign, the same resources must be availed to the other side in the name of levelling the playing field.

We also strongly object to the deep and partisan involvement of foreign embassies led by the US ambassador Mr. Michael Ranneberger. Their involvement is not just a violation of their mandate, it is an unacceptable attack on our sovereignty and an insult to our intelligence.

From here we are going to hit the ground running to campaign for the rejection of the proposed Constitution in all corners of the Republic of Kenya.


1. Hon. Charles Rubia

2. Hon. Koigi wa Wamwere

3. Hon. Mtumishi Njeru Kathangu

4. Hon. Wanyiri Kihoro

5. Advocate Ms. Jane Njiru (Chief Agent)

6. Advocate Mwaure Waihiga

7. Okiya Omtatah Okoiti

Let me deal with some of their concerns one by one:

“The Proposed Constitution of Kenya is a betrayal of the principles and purpose of the Second Liberation Movement. The draft Constitution is not what we had in mind when we put our lives on the line to fight for the liberation of this country and the emancipation of the Kenyan people. Though the draft has a sugar-coating made up of some of the things that we fought for, like an expanded Bill of Rights, it has toxic provisions that threaten the very foundation of the Kenyan State and, hence, negate all the good they represent.”

In the first place, there was never ever anything called “the Second Liberation Movement”.

Although I am not Mandela’s age mate, I consider myself and people like Micere Mugo, Chitechi Osundwa, Willy Mutunga, Njeri Kabeberi, Alamin Mazrui, Edward Oyugi, Wangui wa Goro, Raila Odinga, Zahid Rajan, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Oduor Ong’wen, Zarina Patel, Adongo Ogony, Omondi K’abir, Sultan Somjee, Kamoji Wachira, Shiraz Durrani, Maina wa Kinyatti, James Orengo, Mwakdua wa Mwachofi, Wafula Buke, Miguna Miguna, Omondi Obanda, Wangari wa Muriuki, Silvanus Oduor and Peter Young Kihara to name but a handful, among those patriots who have been very active in fighting for a new Kenya.

Until the early 1990s the consensus among most of the comrades was that we Kenyans still had an onerous challenge completing the tasks of the FIRST liberation movement. In other words, our generation had to complete the unfinished business left behind by patriots like Dedan Kimathi wa Waciuri and his stalwarts in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army; Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and his stalwarts in the KPU; Makhan Singh and the pioneering progressive leaders of the Kenyan working class movement; Mary Nyanjiru and other political grandmothers like Me Katilili.

In other words we were believers in Jaramogi’s credo of Not Yet Uhuru.

In this context, it was NONSENSICAL to talk about any “Second Liberation” when we had not even removed the neo-colonial shackles in the first place.

What has happened in the intervening years is that the socialists and anti-imperialists who used to be on the frontlines of the anti-dictatorship struggle against the Moi-KANU repressive regime receded to the background to cede ground to the latter day democratic retreads of the early to mid nineties.

That is how people like Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia and even (shudder!) Smith Hempstone became the new lions of the Kenyan democratic struggle. Somebody said that history is always written by the victors. When the heroes and sheroes of the Saba Saba uprising were being feted on the seventh day of the seventh month this year, very few of the names I cited above were mentioned as having played a seminal role in dislodging Moi, Biwott, Okiki Amayo, Mulu Mutisya, Stanley Oloitiptip, Joseph Kamotho, Sharrif Nassir, Rashid Sajjad, Moses Mudavadi, Jackson Angaine and others from their lofty totalitarian perches.

If historically, there was never something called the “Second Liberation” it follows that there was consequently no “movement” to accompany it.

In fact I remember quite distinctly-and here again my comrades Adongo Ogony, Wangari Muriuki, Kathure Kebaara, Atieno Odenyo and Omondi K’abir will bear witness to this-sometime in early 1992 when it was important for the Kenyan Left to consolidate itself and take advantage of the burgeoning democratic upsurge- all of the comrades I just mentioned were at that time members of the underground UWAKE group- a merger of the Me Katilili Revolutionary Movement and the Kenya Anti-Imperialist Front- we were shocked to hear, from our exile lairs in North America and Europe, that our Nairobi-based leaders had abruptly decided, without consulting its clandestine membership in the country and in exile, to DISBAND and LIQUIDATE our movement and instead join as INDIVIDUALS the amorphous broad movement for democracy which was symbolized by FORD. Our colleagues in Mwakenya led by their prominent international spokesperson Ngugi wa Thiong’o on the other hand, took a sectarian position, staying completely aloof from the broad front for the restoration of democracy. It was the same with the other left wing formations which disintegrated one by one, instead of consolidating itself as a staunch united democratic front with revolutionary nationalists at its helm.

Those twin leftist mistakes in the early 1990s-populism on the part of our leaders in UWAKE and sectarianism from the likes of MWAKENYA-allowed opportunists and fake democrats to infiltrate FORD, hijack the democratic struggle and introduce a lot of liberal muddle headedness which was to soon culminate in the defeat of the forces of multi-party democracy at the 1992 and 1997 presidential and general elections.

What is today referred to as the “Second Liberation Movement” is really nothing more than that concerted effort to foster the principles of multi-party democracy in the mid to late nineties here in Kenya.

A national political movement calls for a higher commitment, something that rises way above the periodic attempt to get elected to a parliamentary seat or win the presidency. A movement implies the existence of a focused, visionary and revolutionary leadership harnessing the skills,intellect and energies of a dedicated cadre of militant patriots working in a very disciplined organized national network which in turn mobilizes millions of wananchi to fight for progressive change, democracy, national prosperity and social justice.

It would be delusional on anybody’s part to claim that we had such a movement in Kenya in the nineties.

What we had instead, was a mushrooming of ethnic based and personality cult “political parties” on the one hand and a plethora of seemingly progressive “MONGOS” (as in, My OWN NGO) civil society formations on the other, all claiming to owning mantle of the “reform agenda” in Kenya.

Had we had a real “Second Liberation Movement” in Kenya, the Moi-KANU dictatorship would have fallen much earlier and somebody else, NOT Mwai Kibaki, would have been elected the Third President, perhaps in 1992 or 1997.

The Muungano wa Katiba Kombozi statement continues to rail and wail:

“Key among these are the threat of disintegration through reckless devolution and land laws that articulate our ethnic differences and not our similarities...”

This objection is simply SHOCKING coming from Kenyans of the calibre of Koigi, Kathangu and Kihoro.

What has been our national liberation struggle been about all along?

Has it not been about entrenching democracy, justice and freedom?

Has it not been about removing class oppression, gender injustice, youth marginalization and regional inequalities?

Has it not been about thorough going agrarian reforms and progressive land policies?

If so, then it behooves EVERY person claiming to be a democrat and patriot to agitate, mobilize and clamour for MORE, not less devolution, MORE not less progressive agrarian and land reforms.

Why would any “revolutionary” worth his or her uzalendo salt defend the repressive neo-colonial centralized state with its conduits for Nairobi centric patronage corrupt networks mostly exercised along tribal and nepotistic lines?

It is a sad day when a distinguished democratic patriot, respected land economist and courageous human rights lawyer like Wanyiri Kihoro finds himself on the same side with land grabbers and big landowners like Daniel arap Moi and Chris Foot.

And our comrades on the NO side continue:

“No country in history has survived a decision by its political leadership to organise it not on the progressive basis of equality but on the retrogressive basis of special interests and the differences of its citizens…”

Au contraire marafiki zangu.

I would rephrase the Muungano wa Katiba Kombozi sentence as follows:

“No country has survived a decision by its political leadership to IGNORE the special interests and differences (class, gender, culture, religion, age, ability/disability) of its citizens."

It is a No Brainer that a visionary leadership in Kenya now or in the future, will put in place programs, policies and laws that promote and entrench gender equality, youth empowerment, dignity for people with disabilities and YES, DEVOLUTION, DECENTRALIZATION, REGIONAL AUTONOMY and COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT at the local level.

If you are a Kenyan democratic reformer living and breathing in the 21st Century then you MUST be on the side of those progressive forces who promote national unity in Kenya while recognizing the need for regional autonomy and devolution of power away from the centre.

Here is another snippet from the Muungano wa Katiba Kombozi statement:

“This is not a Government project. The Government’s role is limited to facilitating both sides in the process as an honest broker. If there is reason for one side to use public resources to campaign, the same resources must be availed to the other side in the name of levelling the playing field.”

Actually it is, and SHOULD BE a Government Project 100%.

Remember why we-and yes I am including you comrades Kathangu, Kihoro and Koigi Co. Ltd- lambasted the FIRST Kibaki led NARC regime from 2003 onwards?

It is because that post-KANU regime DID NOT make Katiba a Government Project, instead becoming the most vicious opponents of constitutional reform in Kenya.

When Kibaki wakes up from his decades long political slumber you guys denounce him instead of covering him with garlands.

The Government of Kenya should have been SPEARHEADING the fight for a new constitution right from the time the KANU regime was removed in December 2002.

Thank goodness it is FINALLY doing the RIGHT THING!

More pertinently, the provisions of the National Accord that brought the present Grand Coalition Government into existence on February 28, 2008, commits and BINDs the two principals to PRIORITIZE the passage of a new constitution as part of its formal mandate to the Kenyan people.

Mtumishi Kathangu, what happened to your early 1990s militant comradeship with Raila Amolo Odinga which led to your arrest on July 13, 1990 at Mutugi's Bar in Dagoretti Corner, later to be harassed and tortured along with Raila, Prof. Oyugi and the late George Anyona for being the alleged masterminds of the Saba Saba Day Uprising of 1990?

The following archived news item from the vaults of the Nation newspaper should help to jog your memory:

Mzalendo Wanyiri, I recall you embraced Raila Odinga for President in 2007 when Ugatuzi (read Devolution) was a key plank of his platform. Have your views changed?

Ndugu Koigi, do you remember secretly meeting Agwambo at Arusha, northern Tanzania, in October 1988, to formalize an anti Moi-KANU alliance between your exile based Kenya Patriotic Front and his clandestine Kenya Revolutionary Movement? Were you fighting for the same things- constitutionally speaking that is? You know I knew about that meeting because those of us in the leadership core of the underground Me Katilili Revolutionary Movement based in Dar es Salaam were privy to those plans comrade. Today you are clasped in a gasp inducing embrace with the very man who detained you and even tried to hang you-Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, defending land grabbers, tribalists and human rights abusers.

I was particularly tickled by the following gem from the press statement:

“We also strongly object to the deep and partisan involvement of foreign embassies led by the US ambassador Mr. Michael Ranneberger. Their involvement is not just a violation of their mandate, it is an unacceptable attack on our sovereignty and an insult to our intelligence.”

Let me ask Mr. Charles Rubia (sorry Sir, I cannot claim you as a comrade. I have never even seen you in person, leave alone worked with you) this question:

Back in 1990, why did you NOT “strongly object” to “the deep and partisan involvement” of the then US Ambassador Smith Hempstone who practically convened your media briefings and helped to hide your friends from Moi when they were speaking out about multi-party democracy? Since when did you become a Communist (Marxist-Leninist if you prefer) like Onyango Oloo, objecting to the imperialist designs of Uncle Sam and her G-8 allies? Sir, I put it to YOU that you and co-signers are in fact, shedding crocodile tears on this particular bullet point.

We know that the United States and other Western powers are pushing for the passage of the Proposed Constitution for their own ideological and geopolitical interests.
But so what?

In 1918 Vladimir Illich Ulyanov aka Lenin COLLABORATED with the West to escape the Germans and during the Second World War the Soviet Union collaborated with the Americans and the British to vanquish the German Nazis, Italian Fascists and Japanese Occupiers.

The fundamental antagonistic contradictions between US-led imperialist globalized hegemony and the aspirations of the Kenyan national liberation movement will not be erased simply because a transient, somewhat publicity hungry US ambassador received some NO defectors in a Kenyan backwater during a pit stop rooting for the Proposed Constitution the other day.

As I wrap up let me direct a comment to each of the three other co-signers of the Muungano wa Katiba Kombozi press statement-Advocate Ms. Jane Njiru (Chief Agent), Advocate Mwaure Waihiga and Okiya Omtatah Okoiti-because I also happen to the trio personally to varying degrees.

Advocate Ms. Jane Njiru: I have known you since the 2007 election campaign when you were a youthful aspirant for the Manyatta seat on a Ford-Asili ticket. Remember how you, I (in my capacity then as the Secretary General of the SDP), Alice Wahome and others conspired and rallied to elect a progressive board during the AGM of the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy in 2009? Hopefully we were cobbling together a team of like minded political parties that would fight for a better Kenya. It is unfortunate that we find ourselves today on opposite sides. But like I told you when I ran into you at that oasis (name withheld) near the 680 Hotel, you have a democratic right to be on the losing side of the August 4th Referendum.

My brother Okiya Okoiti Omtatah: It is many hours we have spent in that small room on the sixth floor of that tall building adjacent to the Nairobi Hilton discussing democracy, musing on justice and plotting strategies of combating police fascism which has led to you and patriots like Anne Njogu being tear gassed, baton charged and arrested on several occasions. Having been so resolute and resilient on matters affecting the average Kenyan citizen, why are you campaigning to essentially retain the current repressive status quo?

Advocate David Mwaure Waihiga- ever since I knew you as the leader of the Agano Party three or so years ago, you have been CONSISTENT- in opposing progressive constitutional reforms, so I take off my hat to you sir. You are HONEST and PRINCIPLED in taking your NO stance. I respect your right to hold views contrary to mine- and the majority of Kenyans.

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Evil Nexus Betwixt Moi & The Kenyan Evangelical Right

A Digital Essay by Onyango Oloo in Nairobi

I am definitely voting YES come the August 4th Referendum on the Proposed Constitution for Kenya.

But we may very well lose to the NO side, perhaps by a significant margin, which may shock those Yessers among us who have been snoring soundly because of the positive opinion polls by Synovate, Info Trak et al.


First of all, the YES side does NOT have its complete act together.

YES, we do have our heavy hitters- Prime Minister Raila Odinga, President Mwai Kibaki, the bulk of civil society stalwarts and some very influential media pundits.

But if we rewind just a few days to the just concluded World Cup tourney hosted by South Africa, we know the fate of Messi’s Argentina, Dunga’s Brazil, Klose’s Germany, Van Persie’s Holland, Rooney’s England, Gyan’s Ghana, Forlan’s Uruguay, Ronaldo’s Portugal, Drogba’s Ivory Coast and Et’oo’s Cameroon.

Monster rallies in humungous open air fields are simply not enough to hack it folks.

As someone who straddles both the political party/civil society expanse, I can give first hand testimony of the territorialism, self-seeking and gate keeping that has kept able, capable and available foot soldiers (and I count myself as among these humble and ever ready wanajeshi for change) out of the kitchens and core organizing hubs for the YES camp.

There are people reading this (I am referring to my comrades and friends in ODM AND the civil society YES teams) who can attest to the fact that Onyango Oloo has tried and failed over the last few months, through repeated phone calls, text messages, emails and personal entreaties, to be included in either the political party dominated or the civil society fronted YES secretariats here in Nairobi.

And I know of dozens of people of far greater experience, skills and networks than myself who find themselves in the same doldrums.

Sadly, quite a lot of time and effort has been expended by many well connected individuals both in the major political parties AND civil society circles, on finding a sure niche for themselves and their hand picked associates, to access, for private and personal use and corrupt purposes, some of the millions (or is it actually billions?) raised for the YES campaign.

In the meantime, our determined opponents in the NO campaign have been patiently and steadfastly mobilizing their special teams overtly and covertly.

The NO side’s main success has been infiltrating the YES camp with their nefarious and toxic watermelons led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

By maintaining a dodgy fifth column right in the heart of the YES Secretariat, the NO side is privy to all the secrets, strategies and tactics of those leading the campaign to endorse the proposed new constitution.

In Uhuru Kenyatta the NO side have someone- who, as Finance Minister and also privately as one of Kenya’s wealthiest tycoons- controls a lot of financial and material resources capable of scuttling the YES juggernaut. And let us not forget that he now controls K24 and the People newspaper.

Through Gideon Moi, who is practically the Editorial Director at the Standard Group, the NO schemers have been able to tilt media coverage in favour of their dishonest propaganda.

Viewers of KTN must have noticed by now that clips of YES rallies largely focus on the speakers’ podium as opposed to the huge crowds and are frequently the fourth or fifth items as opposed to the leading stories. In the Standard newspaper, any criticism of NO’s blood stained patriarch, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi are promptly squelched. Two of my friends who contribute columns to this publication have testified of brutal censorship on this score.

Over at the Nation Media Group, the NO schemers who emanate from the other political cartel grouped around one of Africa’s famous mountains have tried with some degree of success to ram the NO message down the throats of their readers, viewers and listeners.

For instance, some deep pockets with old money from the Kenyatta looting era poured a reported four million shillings into the coffers of a well known political scientist cum high profile weekend columnist to trash the proposed constitution.

The only hitch in the plans of the mountainous conspirators against constitutional change is that the guy who actually owns the Nation Media Group- His Highness The Aga Khan- is actually rooting for the YES team.

That is why said columnist has done a mysterious disappearing act and the NMG waffles between YES, NO, and Watermelon.

As the YES team leaders continue to wax and wallow in a very misplaced sense of complacency, their NO antagonists are quietly organizing behind the scenes.

One of their most effective tactics is to harness the passions and emotions of the Kenyan Christian charismatic faithful in railing and rallying against the proposed constitution.

And here those overfed two faced hordes of greedy, materialistic televangelists have done a stellar job in trying to drive a satanic stake through the hearts of democratic minded and justice seeking Kenyans mobilizing for a new constitutional order.

Applying the tried and tested Republican underhanded campaign tactics crafted by their far right religious donors from the United States of America, the rabid Kenyan evangelical NO crusaders against change and social progress have managed to tap into the blind loyalty of those naive church goers who help maintain the lavish lifestyles of the Bishop Wanjirus and Pastor Lais through regular generous donations and ongoing tithes trumpeted most notoriously through the decidedly Un-Christ like so called “Prosperity Gospel”.

A well placed source of mine told me the other day how some of these fake “Bishops” and irreverent and irrelevant “Reverends” desperately approached a certain media house very recently in an attempt to purchase the original video footage from the Uhuru Park bombing scene depicting them exhorting and extorting money (minimum contribution: 1,000 shillings!) from their gullible adherents just around the time the grenades were killing innocent Christians who had come to the park thinking they were attending a prayer crusade as opposed to a NO rally.

While the YES heavyweights have been pitching their messages to the Fortysomething plus generation of voters, the religious storm troopers in the NO campaign have been targeting the younger 18 to 34 age bracket millions of registered voters.

I have interacted with literally THOUSANDS of young Kenyans in person or virtually via Facebook and emailing lists like Mlahoi and Young Professionals-who will either vote NO or abstain altogether.

The vast majority of these young Kenyan naysayers profess to be Born Again Christians.


Me thinketh NOT.

Over the last few months, there has been a carefully calculated propaganda campaign carried online by crafty charismatic religious hate mongers and fear specialists who have done a very good job, using Power Point presentations, chain mails or concocted email “debates” provoking and "flaming" Muslims, in scaring a significant percentage of the young Kenyan Christian faithful into a paranoid state of mind where the majority actually believe that if the proposed constitution passes, Kenya will be transformed into an East African Taliban theocracy ruled by evil Somalis and brutal Waswahili brandishing swords to cut off the heads, limbs and other body parts of Christians hauled before hastily convened Sharia courts headed by President Ahmedinejad Kibaki and Prime Minister Osama Bin Raila.

Believe it or not, unless Pastor Ng’ang’a of Neno performs one of his dubious miracles on television within the next couple of weeks to change their minds, many of these very frightened young Kenyan Christians are either voting NO or staying from the polling booths altogether come August 4, 2010.

Retired dictator Daniel arap Moi has claimed strenuously, stridently and repeatedly that his “NO” against the proposed constitution is a special and unique “NO”-qualitatively different, separate and unique from the “NO” of Kalonzo Musyoka, John Michuki and Uhuru Kenyatta; the “NO” of Cyrus Jirongo, Naomi Shabaan, Samuel Poghisio, Jamleck Kamau and William Ruto; the “NO” of Wanyiri Kihoro, Charles Rubia and Koigi wa Wamwere; the “NO” of Pastor Lai, Pastor Ng’ang’a and Pastor Muiru; the “NO” of Reverend Elijah Wanje (who was my classmate and friend from Form One to Form Four at the Mombasa Baptist High School in the Seventies-and I was the best Christian Religious Education student in that class throughout! If in doubt, verify from “prophet” Elijah himself); the “NO” of John Cardinal Njue, ex-radical Sheikh Khalid Balala, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and Bishop Mark Kariuki.

When the cantankerous KANU strongman old man denies links to his notorious and nefarious “NO” cohorts and sidekicks, he LIES, he FIBS, he utters UNTRUTHS.

What connects Moi to Wanjiru, Lai, Muiru, Ng’ang’a, Kariuki and the rest of the NO evangelical posse?

A man with two names:

Arthur Kitonga.

You see, the contemporary Kenyan multi-millionaires of the charismatic cloth are all spawns of Arthur Kitonga, the doyen of the Gospel Redeemed Church which showed the latter day televangelists how to grab land when he set up shop in the Huruma slums all those years ago.

But Arthur Kitonga is himself a protégé of the late Kamba kingpin Mulu Mutisya, who was in turn a shameless, spineless sycophantic doormat for none other than Daniel arap Moi.
Back in the days when the NCCK was a credible democratic voice for constitutional reforms, Moi sought a religious counterweight to diminish its influence.

Arthur Kitonga and his evangelical sidekicks were used to set up an alternative Protestant lobby group to rival and undercut the influence of the NCCK. A variant of this original “alternative” these rears its sordid head today as the “Kenya Church”- a grouping distancing itself from the other mainstream churches like the Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists etc as it largely clustered around the plethora of Pentecostal leaning charismatic formations- Deliverance this, Gospel that, Redeemed this, Revived that…

And remember Moi is one of the main financial backers of the African Inland Church- where Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka regularly partakes morsels of his spiritual muthokoi.

Together, these Kenyan far right Christian fundamentalists became part of the religious bulwark buttressing the Moi-KANU dictatorship in the 1980s and 1990s.

Dictator Moi rewarded their leaders handsomely.

Pastor So and So, one of the three richest evangelists in Kenya- is he based in Mombasa, Malindi or Makindu, I forget- was irregularly allocated land by Moi and the KANU regime. Other Christian leaders outside the evangelical fringe also fed off this trough. And some of this land is in the Mau water catchment area.

I am reliably informed that one of the reasons why the Catholic top hierarchy is so hell bent on opposing the proposed constitution is because that institution is one of the largest land grabbers in the country. A big percentage of the land that the religious leaders grabbed was transferred to individual, private hands of specific religious leaders, their families or associates.

So what glues the “NO” team together?

Daniel arap Moi.

The leading “NO” leaders hiding in the YES camp- Uhuru Kenyatta and Kalonzo Musyoka-are Moi’s adopted political children.

Cyrus Jirongo and William Ruto-the masterminds of the Youth for KANU ’92, may have differed slightly with Daniel arap Moi over the last three years. But it was Moi who created and sustained their political careers.

Through Arthur Kitonga, there is an unbroken umbilical cord tying the right wing televangelists to their male mother, Daniel arap Moi.

How about Samuel Poghisio?

KANU member.

Naomi Shabaan?

KANU MP, but more importantly a recipient of the corrupt corporate largesse of Uhuru Kenyatta and his billionaire first cousin, Beth Mugo and therefore directly connected to Moi. Naomi Shabaan is the “indigenous mpwani” veneer which helps to camouflage the fact that the Kenyatta family grabbed large tracts of land from the Dawida and Taveta communities at the Coast and is shipping out its rubies and other mineral wealth out of the country with cynical impunity.

Koigi wa Wamwere?

There is something I heard, but since Koigi is a political fellow traveler of mine going back to the 1980s, I will seek him out and ask him directly to his face whether it is true that Moi gave him land not only in Subukia which he represented in parliament, but also Kahawa Sukari where he built his Nairobi residence during his stint as assistant minister for information between 2003 and 2007.

Wanyiri Kihoro???!!

I draw a blank here, quite honestly because Wanyiri is also another very good comrade and friend who ruffled Mount Kenya elite PNU feathers by publicly endorsing Raila Odinga for President in 2007. He clearly has strong sentiments and reasons which makes him uncomfortable with the proposed constitution.

Ironically by default, both Wanyiri and Koigi are today finding themselves in the surreal situation of working with the same individual who almost killed them in detention-Daniel arap Moi.

Coming back to the televangelists who I clearly have very little respect for, I just wanted to add that some of them are thoroughly despicable when you examine their moral fibre.

Take for instance Pastor M or N (I will one day spell out his full names, but not today) who may or may not have been a candidate for a certain high elective office in 2007. Not too long ago he was a preacher doing the Aga Khan Walk beginner’s beat. Then he met a certain lady who is his mother’s age mate. This lady, from the Wairimu stable, had her own church but could not preach her way out of a black plastic bag. So said lady hooks up with fledgling preacher M or N who was articulate, riveting and obviously alluring to said age mate of his mother. He joins her church. Did I mention that he was a married father at the time? Never mind. He abandons his lawfully wedded wife for his mother’s age mate who proceeds to make him fabulously wealthy. When his lawfully wedded wife whimpers about this moral decadence, said Pastor M or N hires brutal thugs who beats up lawfully wedded wife’s relatives/associates so badly that they are left for dead. Word goes around Pastor M or N’s church with a lot of disapproving tongues clucking. Pastor M or N is forced to enter into some kind of unspecified settlement with said lawfully wedded wife. But that is not all. Not too long ago same man of the cloth was forced to pay off some members of the fourth estate astronomical amounts of money when it came to light that three Cameroonian conmen/manufacturers of fake money were operating from said Pastor’s palatial home!

Then there is Bishop V or W who is said to be stashing away her own biological out of wedlock love child away from Kenyan public scrutiny somewhere in Scotland. She is known to have hastily given one hundred thousand good ngiris to a certain intrepid investigative journalist whose last name starts and end with “O” who ran into her, when he was with his “clande” and she was with her secret lover exiting from a certain “slaughter house” in Nairobi where people go for short time underground sexual peccadilloes with their adulterous partners.
God is good, all the time…

Several months ago the award winning KTN crime busting duo of John Alan Namu and Mohammed Ali broke a story on their Jicho Pevu television show about corrupt dealings involving KRA and the Mombasa Port.

But my sources told me that the real story which was suppressed by both Standard and KRA big wigs was that John Alan and Mohammed Ali were on the trail of the biggest fish in the KRA pond itself who it is said, receives millions of shillings every month for his central and crucial role in the illegal importation of SUVS which are older than eight years old. It does not really matter if John Alan got the tip from his own mother and father who both work for the Kenya Revenue Authority.

Do you know who orders these 8, 9 or 10 year old Prados, Explorers and what not?

Some of your holier than thou televangelists.

And I will spare you the details of the macabre rituals, blood curdling superstitious incantations and nocturnal semi-nude dancing some well heeled friends of mine used to eyeball taking place next door almost daily in their leafy suburb in the Kilimani neighbourhood as recently as a few months ago performed by a weird, but rich Kenyan family who are high ranking members of that Made in Nigeria front for drug smuggling- Winners’ Chapel.

Simply disgusting and despicable, makes me want to throw up, I kid you not.

To end where I began:
I am a very worried YES voter.

I hope we win, but I am not as confident as I was two and a half weeks ago.

Will the political big wigs (especially those in ODM) digest and apply the real lessons from South Mugirango and Matuga debacles before it is too late?

We will find out on the morning of August the 5th.

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya