Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Where Are The Barghoutis of Kenya?

A Digital Challenge By Onyango Oloo in Montreal

1.0. How Sweet the Victorious Loss of Dr. Barghouti!

"We've managed to prove that we are a strong powerful democratic force. We've managed to prove that we represent a huge majority that has been silent so far but that is not silent any more. Which is not part of the existing polarism between Fatah and Islamic fundamentalism and that this huge silent majority wants a representative."-

Mustafa Barghouti

According to PNN, yes, PNN, not CNN:

“Dr. Hana Nasser, the head of the elections committee, announced from Ramallah after 2 pm Monday that Mahmoud Abbas won the presidency. Abbas won with 62.38% of the vote. Moustafa Barghouti came in second with 19.8% of the vote, while Tasir Khalid from the leftist DFLP political party received 3.5% of the vote, and Basam Asalheh of the communist PPP political party received 2.69% of the vote.”

Personally I think this is very good news.

To hear that
Moustafa Barghouti lost, that is.

And I wanted him very much to win since I thought he was by far the best candidate for the Palestinian presidency.

That is exactly what he did.

He won, by actually losing?

Let me start by congratulating Basam Asalheh of the PPP for coming in at number four with 2.69% of the vote, before I extend my shukranis to Tasir Khalid of the DFLP for getting the bronze in the presidential steeplechase by garnering 3.5% of the vote.

But my real pongezis and kudos are reserved for Dr. Moustafa Barghouti for coming in second with 19.8% of the vote.

What a way to lose!

Simply impressive isn’t it?

Incidentally, I am not stoned.

Nor am I on any kind of psychiatric evaluation by a licensed mental health professional, in case you are wondering.

I am actually quite lucid.

The real loser of the Palestinian elections is the man who won it hands down, with a landslide, Abu Mazen, aka Mahmoud Abbas who got a whopping 62.38 %!

He is going down, I tell you.

You should never win elections if you are really that unpopular.

Welcome to the world of contemporary political analysis from a flexible dialectical materialist position with a Kenyan flavour.

Does anyone, including my fellow Marxist-Leninists have a CLUE about what I am talking about?

Bear with me and embrace the following Kiswahili motto as your credo every time you wade into an OO digital essay:

Subira Huvuta Kheri.

2.0. Transcending the Win/Lose Conundrum:A Communist Take on Electoral Contests

Socialists, by their very political nature, are long term strategic beasts.

Since my last essay was on relationships, let me provide what I hope will be an apt analogy.

Whereas your average run of the mill mwanasiasa wants the one night cheap thrill, the one time victory at the polls, your average mwanamapinduzi wants to develop a life long partnership that is preceded with years of courtship, candle-lit dinners, a year long engagement, an elaborate big ass wedding ceremony, a kick ass reception and a memorable, never heard of before honeymoon.

We revolutionaries DO NOT KISS ON THE FIRST DATE.

And we are not discouraged if our future partner tells us that they need “some space” that they want some months to mull over whether they are interested in going out with us in the first place.

Subira is our first name, Patience is our middle sobriquet and Ushindi-Hatimaye is our hyphenated surname.

That is why it is possible to lose an election by winning it and conversely to win an election by actually losing it.

Do you now see why Mahmoud Abbas lost the election and Dr Barghouti won it?

Of course not.

Let me introduce you to one of the essential ingredients of Marxist thought.

It is this concept called “contradiction”.

Now, we communists are a bit deranged linguistically because we use common words in very weird ways.

For example, technically speaking, “contradiction” to a dialectical materialist DOES NOT mean “contradiction” the way “contradiction” is defined in a dictionary.

Good luck trying to figure us out.

When Oloo says “contradiction” he DOES NOT MEAN:

“The act of contradicting.”
“The state of being contradicted.”
“A denial.”
“Inconsistency; discrepancy.”
“Something that contains contradictory elements.”

Well, may be he means a little bit of what is in the last line above.

Still confused?

I certainly hope so because I just LOVE driving my readers absolutely BONKERS!

Rather when we speak of “contradictions” we are speaking in Marxist tongues and we simply mean the following:

“…what is the motive force, the source, of all development? A most important task of materialist dialectics is to answer that question. The starting- point for its answer is the contradictory nature of all reality. Even in ancient times, people noticed that opposed properties, forces and tendencies were clearly evident and played a very important part in the infinite diversity of the external world. They noticed, furthermore, that opposites not only co-existed side by side, but that they were interconnected and that they arose in one and the same object or phenomenon, that they constituted different sides of a single thing or process.

Many philosophers of ancient China, India, Greece, and other countries held that the origin and existence of things could only be explained on understanding what opposites went to form them. In those times, hot and cold, dry and moist, empty and full, being and non-being, etc were thought to be such opposites.

The notion that the collision of opposites was the motive force in change was expressed already in antiquity. Thus, ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, taught that “everything happens through struggle”, that struggle is the source- the “father”- of all things. The ancient dialecticians also noticed that opposites are not something ossified and immutable, that they are relative, they differ from each other only in a certain sense, and that in certain circumstances one passes into the other, and vice versa. These were essentially brilliant conjectures, although often expressed in na├»ve form.

In feudal society, where the Church persecuted all independent study of nature, the idea of the unity and struggle of opposites faded into oblivion. At the time of the emergence of capitalist society the question of opposites again attracted attention… Mechanistic natural science, which prevailed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, did not favour the development of dialectics and, in particular, the doctrine of opposites. However, even at that time penetrating thinkers who observed the events and relations of the pre-revolutionary epoch, which was full of acute conflicts and collusions, voiced far-reaching thoughts about the significance of opposites in social life and history( cf. Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew and Rousseau’s The Origin and Reasons of Inequality).

The significance of opposites attracted the attention of a number of German philosophers at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, while with Hegel it became one of the basic principles of his philosophy. Hegel conceived the process of development as movement from a unity through a disclosure of opposites to a new unity, as the passing of a thing or a phenomenon into its opposite. He called the combination of opposite aspects in a phenomenon its “contradiction”. But being an idealist, he regarded the contradictions of reality as contradictions in the logical development of the absolute idea.

The founders of Marxism, who remodeled Hegel’s dialectics materialistically, preserved the term “contradiction”, but gave it a different, materialist meaning.

By dialectical contradiction Marxism understands the presence in a phenomenon or process of opposite, mutually exclusive aspects which, at the same time, presuppose each other and within the framework of the given phenomenon exist only in mutual connection.

For the ancient dialecticians, the doctrine of opposites and their “coincidence” was no more than a conjecture made on the immediate perception of reality, and thinking about it. For Marxist dialectics it is a conclusion from the facts accumulated by science as the result of investigating all fields of reality.

Indeed, the study of the phenomena of nature, social relations or humankind’s mental activity reveals contradictions, i.e., conflicts of opposed aspects or tendencies.

It stands to reason that so long as we examine a thing at rest, in a static state, we see in it merely different properties and features, and may overlook the “struggle” of opposites and consequently, fail to see any contradictions. But as soon as we try to follow the movement, the modification, the development of a thing, we instantly discover the existence in it of opposed aspects and processes.

For example, when examining a prepared slide of a plant or animal cell under the microscope, we see no more than its structure, i.e., the cell wall, the nucleus, the protoplasm, etc. But if we observe a living cell, we shall see taking place in it the opposed processes of assimilation and dissimilation, the growth and dying away of its component parts.

Opposites and contradictions are encountered in all fields of science. Mathematics deals with the opposed operations of addition and subtraction, differentiation and integration; mechanics with action and reaction, attraction and repulsion; physics with positive and negative electric charges; chemistry with combination and dissociation of atoms; the physiology of the nervous system with excitation and inhibition in the cerebral cortex; and social science with the class struggle and many other opposites and consequently, contradictions.

Human thought and cognition are also governed by the principle of dialectical contradiction. In the process of cognition, for example, we observe continuous conflicts of opposite views, contradictions between old theories and new facts, etc.

The concept of contradiction is of crucial importance in analyzing the process of development. In nature, social life and human thought, development proceeds in such a way that opposite, mutually exclusive sides or tendencies reveal themselves in an object; they enter into a “struggle”, which culminates in the destruction of the old forms and emergence of new ones… It stands to reason that this proposition must not be understood to simplistically. The struggle of opposites in the direct, literal sense of the word occurs chiefly in human society. It is by no means always possible to speak of struggle in its literal sense as regards the organic world. And as regards inorganic nature the term is to be understood still less literally…

..The division of a unity into opposites and the mutual counteraction or “struggle” of these opposites is the most fundamental and universal law of dialectics…

Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, pp 91-94

There is an African connection to this whole saga, this tapestry of a story this history/herstory of dialectics and the related concept of “contradiction.”

Can you say

Ibn Khaldun?

Who was Ibn Khaldun and what is he doing in the middle of the Kenya Democracy Project blog?

His full name was Abu Zayd 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami.

He was born in


Tunisia, which in case you had not noticed, is firmly located in the northern upper reaches of Africa. His exact birthday for all you zodiac junkies out there was May 27, 1332, and he passed away on March 19, 1406.

He anticipated some of the ideas of Karl Marx, Fredrick Engels and Vladimir Lenin by several HUNDREDS of YEARS, believe it or not. Many acclaim him as a forerunner of historiography, sociology and economics.

And with good reason.

Over five hundred years before the senior Marx and his spouse had sired and conceived the young Karl in the second decade of the 19th century, this African thinker and visionary called Ibn Khaldun already had words for skilled labour(al-mifaad al-muqtana minhu ); capitalists (al-mutamawwiluun); capital (ra's al-maal); earnings (al-kasb); profit (ar-ribh); surplus value(al-muktasabaat); value of acquisition(al-qinyah); economic enterprise (al-ictimaar); market fluctuations (hiwaalat al-aswaaq); accumulation (nimaa' al-maal); dead capital (ar-riyaash); capital in kind (al-mutamawwal ); social organization (al-ijtimaac al-bashari) and other terms.

His magnum opus,

Muqadimmah was published in 1377. The overarching concept of Ibn Khaldun’s masterpiece is the term al-cumraan that he coined to capture the idea of social prosperity.

British historian Arnold J. Toynbee called Muqadimmah, “undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place."

Bernard Lewis describes Ibn Khaldun as "the greatest historian of the Arabs and perhaps the greatest historical thinker of the Middle Ages".

Were they perhaps, a little too generous and a tad too enthusiastic with their exuberant praise?

Perhaps, but certainly no one seriously interested in studying the history of dialectical and historical materialism can afford to ignore the philosophical and intellectual contributions of this great African.

For more on Ibn Khaldun, please visit this link and make sure youclick here as well...

So the next time you feel the urge to dismiss dialectical and historical materialism as allegedly a “foreign” “Eurocentric” idea, check yourself and, think of some of its African forbears. This reclaiming of African contributions has already taken place in mathematics, biology, theology so why not economics, political science, sociology and modern philosophy?

The more we learn about the history of world knowledge and the African and the so called Third World (Middle Eastern, South Asian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Caribbean, Pacific Islander, American Indigenous) stellar contributions to the achievements of humankind’s civilization, the more we should stand tall, tusimame wima kama mnazi (let us all stand proud, straight and tall like the coconut tree) as one radical Tanzanian poet once advised.

Anyways, I was NOT YET DONE with “contradictions” OK?

In society, there are two main types of contradictions: antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions-

…Contradictions between social groups or classes whose basic interests are irreconcilable are called antagonistic. Such as the contradictions between oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited. In our time this applies above all to the contradictions between the working class and the capitalists. These will not disappear until after the capitalist class has been abolished as a class by either peaceful or non-peaceful means, i.e., until it has been deprived of its political power and the means of production, and thereby of the very possibility of exploiting working people. This can only take place through a socialist revolution…Non antagonistic contradictions... are the contradictions …in which the basic interests of classes and social groups coincide…Non-antagonistic contradictions will remain after the survival of class distinctions are removed. For contradictions arise in society not only between classes, but also between different aspects of social life, for instance between production and consumption, between different sectors of the economy, between the requirements for development of the productive forces and the existing forms of economic management etc. That is why there is nothing abnormal about the dialectical contradictions that arise in life…The principal place among social contradictions is held by the contradictions between the forces that fight for the new and that defend the old. It is evident that there can be no development without the birth of the new and without its assertion in life, without struggle for the new. The coming into being of some phenomena and the obsolescence of others, contradictions and conflicts between them, and the triumph of the new over the old, are objective, regular features of social development. In the struggle to resolve contradictions, people tear down outmoded institutions and relations, overcome inertia and routine and rise to face news, more complex problems and attain more perfect forms of social life...

Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, pp 97-98.

Of all the Marxist tenets that I have been imbibed over the last twenty five years the concept of dialectal contradictions for me has been THE CENTRAL ONE.

By applying this philosophical concept to concrete reality I have been able to keep a pretty steady finger of the pulse of Kenyan society.

2.0. Apartheid Israel, Occupied Palestine, Zionism and Imperialism

Superficial pundits have reduced the conflict in the Middle East to a simplistic ethno-religious tug of war over a piece of real estate that is variously called Palestine or Israel. We are led to believe that this is a centuries-old fight between the Muslim Arabs and the Jews who practice Judaism. For Africans we get echoes of ukabila na ukoo.

Yet, just like the age-old conflict in Northern Ireland it is not just a sectarian conflict about people who worship differently; like Rwanda it defies the lazy short hand of ethnicity.

What is going on in Palestine cannot be understood without factoring in imperialism, colonialism, systemic racism and land grabbing. And more important, outside a trenchant class analysis any other depiction of this complex reality quickly acquires the character of a very, very crudely drawn comic strip with cardboard s/heroes and vaudeville villains.

Yet just like you cannot make tea without, well, tea leaves, water and fire, one cannot talk about Palestine without taking Arabs, Jews, religion and land. Those are the basic vizingiti, the bare pillars that are there to begin with. But who ever mistook the pillars for the house. We know that the house would not stand without the pillars, yet we are also aware that the pillars are merely part of the entire house.

Fortunately there are tons of resources which do paint this rich picture that I am talking about so at this point I will content myself with directing a few cogent links your way…

Beginning here with the historical ties between imperialism and Zionism which is a mere appetizer preparing you for this in depth primer on Israel and Palestine and moving on to show the apartheid character of the Zionist American subsidized Israeli state this op-ed piece and this

expose posted on this Palestinian site

To understand the complexity of the Palestinian question, one has to dissect Palestinian society itself to see which sides of the fence people are on in terms of class and class interests.

One cannot understand the situation without drinking in the class and ethnic structure of both Israel and occupied Palestine.

Basically the imperialist/colonial nature of the Bush/Sharon Israel axis has its junior partner within the reactionary, pro-imperialist Fatah dominated leadership perching at the apex of the PLO that was for a long time symbolized by the late neo-colonial-comprador bourgeois chieftain, Yasser Arafat who has just been succeeded by his clone Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazen.

The Palestinians are a politically very sophisticated bunch and they have a very strong Left and secular tradition that has been long critical of the shallow pseudo-nationalistic posturing of Arafat and Abu Mazen’s ilk especially since Camp David and the giveaway in Oslo.

Socialists working in solidarity with the Palestinian Cause have critiqued these collaborationist moves that has seen the United States and Israel back the Abu Mazen presidential bid in the just concluded Presidential elections.

But no one has spoken more trenchantly of the imperialist project fronted by the rightwing Fatah comprador-neocolonial misleadership more than progressive and radical Palestinian voices at the frontlines of the second Intifada pointing out the obscenity of holding elections within the context of the building of the apartheid wall.

Western mainstream outlets that are heavily beholden to powerful Zionist lobbies often create this distorted media picture of the Palestinian Resistance as being led by a bunch of wild eyed, amoral religious zealots(yes the juxtaposition is very conscious) willing to sacrifice lives on both sides of the divide for selfish ends.

Yet the same sources will not tell you that Hamas, for instance, was created in the 1980s by the MOSSAD as a tool of destabilizing the secular leadership of the PLO with a rabid Islamist alternative. Even today, there exists an unholy alliance between US Imperialism, Zionism and Islamic Fundamentalism as explained in this
eye opening digital essay by Fawzia Khan
, a progressive Muslim feminist.

For more insights into the region please consult this excellent annotated bibliography.

3.0. Mustafa Barghouti, Mubadara, the PLO and the Contradictions in Occupied Palestine

Hopefully the preceding section painted in broad strokes the parameters of the present struggles going within and across occupied Palestine and serve to contextualize the antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions within Palestine society as these proud, fierce, long suffering people try to cobble together a credible, democratic, progressive sustainable Palestinian alternative to the nightmares unleashed by Ariel Sharon and bankrolled by George Bush and the American monopoly capitalist structures.

I want to resume our analysis of the just concluded Palestinian presidential elections.

This will allow me to make some salient points about the main contradictions in occupied Palestine today.

Eventually, I want to take these lessons and see if we can find any parallels and applications within the current Kenyan political context.

But let us begin with familiarizing ourselves with the various Presidential candidates.

Here is an overview.

Next let us look at an evaluation report about the election campaign itself prepared by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Once again, here are the latest results of the Presidential elections courtesy of the Palestine News Network.

I want to concentrate on the runner up,

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti who garnered close to 20% of the vote.

Here is a biography of Dr. Barghouti, who at one point was among the leadership of the party representing the Palestinian communists,

the PPP before he resigned to help jump start Mubadara.

Please take some time to browse through the Al Mubadara site, perusing some of the articles written by Dr. Barghouti who is a distant cousin to the youthful imprisoned Secretary General of the PLO, Marwan, who is easily the most popular Palestinian leader after the late Yasser Arafat and briefly contemplated running for President and then ruling the Authority from behind bars where he is serving five consecutive life terms.

Al Mubadara is a leading left leaning broad based Palestinian democratic platform.

The reason why I was celebrating the victory in “defeat” of Dr Barghouti is because a 20% showing for an openly left and anti-imperialist candidate running against Abu Mazen backed by the Americans AND the Israelis and the powerful Fatah faction is a very strong showing indeed.

If you combine his 20% share of the vote with the 3.5% for the DFLP candidate and 2.69 for the Communist candidate, you are looking at a 26% share of the Presidential vote going to the Palestinian Left. If you factor in several other factors- the fact that

the most popular Palestinian leader is sitting in an Israeli jail and the complaints of voter intimidation and interference, plus a semi-boycott of the electoral contest by some Palestinian factions, then you begin to see that Abu Mazen, the Israelis, the Fatah and the Americans have got very little to cheer up despite the fact that the pro-imperialist stooge won.

In strategic terms, the “landslide” victory of Mahmoud Abbas is more of a media event, something to show off on CNN rather than a reflection of the real balance of forces on the ground.

And it is here that I want to apply the concept of contradictions.

The principal contradiction in Palestine right now is between the forces of imperialism and apartheid Zionism on the one hand and the forces of the Palestinian intifada and national democratic liberation movement on the other hand.

A secondary, almost antagonistic contradiction is the one between the Palestinian proto-neo-colonial corrupt compradorial upper echelons of the Fatah dominated PLO leadership and the progressive, anti-imperialist Palestinian masses represented by al Mubadara, the DFLP, the PFLP,the PPP, many of the Islamist based resistance groups and even some radical and militant fractions within Fatah itself.

More and more the PLO leadership is being forced to make a choice: whose side are they on:

The side of George Bush and Ariel Sharon or the side of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and exiled within the global Palestinian Diaspora?

The fact that Dubya and General Sharon are backing Abu Muzen to the hilt would indicate that Mahmoud Abbas and the reactionary, rightwing and neo-colonial Fatah dominated leadership have already cast their lot with the forces of international finance capital and the apartheid Israeli occupation forces.

No longer can this corrupt, this venal and quasi repressive elitist Palestinian leadership rely on past historical largesse or try and cash in on the nationalist cache of previous decades where Arafat remained a decaying urban legend even as his comprador bourgeois internal contradictions and historical limitations creeped up on him.

That is why I said that the real winner of the elections is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti even though he got only 20% of the vote to Abu Muzen’s 62%.

Mahmoud Abbas won the temporary electoral battle but lost the long term mass based democratic war for the hearts and minds of the Palestinian wananchi.

One is mollified that the future leadership of the Palestinian national democratic revolution has at its main leaders three Presidential candidates who operate from broad socialist and dare we say, Marxist vantage points.

And who said that communism was dead?

If we look at what is happening in Venezuela, in Cuba, in South Africa and throughout the South where people’s grass roots organizations are taking on their local neocolonial puppet regimes and in the global north where radical left oriented movements join with broad social democratic forces in challenging the corporate agenda in areas ranging from war to racism to reproductive and labour rights to peace and electoral reform, we can clearly see that the strategic initiative has shifted perceptibly to the LEFT in local, regional, hemispheric and global terms.

4.0. What Do The Palestinian Presidential Polls Mean for Kenyan Progressive Forces?

We should be gruntled rather than disgruntled.

This leftward shift is apparent even within that backward morass of vicious infighting known misleadingly as the so called ati “National Rainbow Coalition”.

There are certain indicators, some not without their unconscious humorous side effects.

To start with what we are calling the Ngilu Bill to revamp Kenya’s health care system to allow ordinary wananchi to have something approximating universal insurance coverage. Despite the fact that our neo-con fumbler of a head of state blocked the bill, his “victory” similar to the victory of Mahmoud Abbas. It is very transient in strategic terms. The debate about the bill has had the effect of further crumbling the already disintegrating mish mash assortment of strange bed fellows posing as a functioning government.

Then you see the dramatic impact from a democratic and patriotic standpoint of the awarding of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize to Professor Wangari Maathai. That one gesture has been more than a symbolic blow for gender equality and environmental popular action. And even before the award, we could already see Wangari Maathai shifting away from the tribal elitist cabal who has pitched a tent in Lucy’s jikoni...

You know Mwai Kibaki is in trouble when a vicious attack dog and emergent tribal chauvinist like Koigi wa Wamwere revisits his demagogic and populist past by excoriating General Kiguoya’s regime as an outfit for the Wabenzi- as if he found this out only yesterday after he confirmed that Murungaru, Murungi and Co. were not about to recommend the elevation of the Subukia MP to even waziri mdogo status.

The other comical sideshow is the emergence of Mijikenda social climbers known deceptively as the “Third Progressive Force”. Why are they trying to drive Mzee Ojwang' and Nyambane out of business? Mungatana is a buffoon with blood on his hands as far as I am concerned. Mwaboza’s Kisauni victory is also soaked in innocent wananchi’s blood as far as I am concerned.

How can Mungatana, who was one of the jokers most rabidly opposed to the Bomas process; Mungatana who publicly praised the brutal riot askaris when they clobbered akina Wahu, Mwandawiro and company this last July at Uhuru Park; how can Mungatana today even deign to try on the mantle of progressiveness in Kenya today? Has the Garsen MP lost his wits? Does he have any shame left?

The ethnic longer ranger sulking of Musikari Kombo would be commendable if it were not so dimwitted in its blind parochialism.

Same with all ethnic formulas- whether it is with the Luos of Nyanza or the Kambas of Ukambani each trying to front this or that chieftain to be their tribal torch bearer come 2007.

And please do not let me sneer at Biwott’s quixotic run for the KANU leadership. He is a loser even if he wins.

As for Uhuru Kenyatta, if he wants to be credible to the wananchi at large, he should give back at least 50% of the land his mother Mama Ngina and father Mzee grabbed from the people of Taita Taveta before he can ever hope to become President of Kenya ever.

So who is the winner in all this?

Certainly not the invalid vegetating in the State House for whom I still harbour grave forebodings before this fateful calendar year is out. I am afraid nothing has occurred within the first ten days of this year to make me alter my prognosis. If anything, I would urge my compatriots to order their sack cloth now and begin rehearsing their dirges already…

The Mount Kenya Mafia is no longer a united crime family. The Karume branch is plotting against the Murungaru bandits and who knows what else goes on in that den of iniquity, sloth and devious machinations?

So who is the winner in all this?

Certainly not Raila Odinga who keeps talking from both ends of his mouth or Simeon Nyachae who is apparently not in the best of health according to very reliable sources.

So who is the winner in all this?

Certainly not Ngugi wa Thiongo who could have easily been a father figure of the Kenyan anti-imperialist Left had he not allowed himself to DEGENERATE into a Gikuyu Nationalist Mascot wary of ruffling NARC’s tarred feathers even further. One of my non-Gikuyu friends who went to the trouble of traveling all the way to Limuru to meet the Kenyan writer came back with a slightly bad after taste after being icily snubbed by the once fire breathing literary firebrand, now considerably mellowed as he approaches his seventh decade on planet earth. Given what happened to the Ngugis and the Gikuyuphobic tirades that followed, I have been consciously restraining myself from composing the paragraph I am just concluding with the following full stop.

So who is the winner in al this?

It is the Kenyan Left, but we are NOWHERE to be seen.

We have won the equivalent of the Kenyan Charity Sweepstakes but we are not even sure if we bought the ticket or washed it with our laundry.

Historical and social forces, from global to continental to regional to national right now favour the Kenyan Left very heavily to wrest the political leadership of this country within the next five years, if and it is a BIG IF, if we wake up and get our collective act together.

We can do it?

Do what???? I hear you bark at me.

Well for the last eighteen months I have been doing little else but DETAIL what that WHAT is, and who that WHO is?

So when you ask me to answer my own question:

Who is the Mustafa Barghouti of Kenya I just stare back at you in surprise because there are dozens of Kenyan Barghoutis crawling all over Kenya waiting to be the Barghoutis of Kenya come 2007.

Yes, I seriously believe that the Kenyan Left should not only have their own independent broad based national democratic Mubadara, we should actually identify and field a Born in Kenya, Based in Kenya Mustafa Barghouti to run for President.

Of course he or she is NOT GOING TO WIN.

But that is HARDLY the POINT is it?

The point is to actually win by ensuring that we lose, you see.

Kinda like how the real Dr. Barghouti did it over the weekend in occupied Palestine.

Am I making ANY SENSE by the way?

Or am I talking through my non-existent hat once again, at least according to some people???

Onyango Oloo

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