DRAFT Programme of the Communist Party of Kenya
The following draft programme of the Kenya Communist Party is the outcome of an ongoing process of discussion, debate and reflection which has often elicited feisty, robust and frank comradely fisticuffs among a group of Kenyans who are united by their vision of a new Kenya that is more just, egalitarian, equitable and politically progressive. They do not share ideological beliefs on each and every subject under the sun. On the contrary some of deep theoretical and ideological cleaves rise to the surface from time. The glue that binds this core group of the revamped Kenya Communist Party is their abhorrence for the twin evils of sectarianism and unprincipled populist opportunism and demagoguery.
In its present form, the draft itself will no doubt become a locus for collective reflection and struggle as the Kenya Communist Party endeavours to forge a common vision for all its militants, cadres and followers.
The following draft takes as its starting point that the ideological identity of the Kenya Communist Party of Kenya must be anchored in an unequivocal identification and embrace of the socialist path. This is by no means a view that is unanimous. There are valuable members and veteran allies of the KCP who are of the firm belief that any flirtations with “socialism” is inherently adventuristic, anarchical and political dangerous. A counterpoint to this position is the proposition by some of the more radical and militant elements within the KCP who aver that the MINIMUM basis of unity is a commitment to socialism.
It is our hope that the vuta-nikuvute between these two apparent poles will be determined DEMOCRATICALLY through collective study, debate, reflection and discussion.
Some cautionary words froma world-renowned revolutionary about the challenges of compiling a history of a revolutionary movement: Here is the Italian Marxist-Leninist leader Antonio Gramsci writing in the Prison Notebooks eons ago:
To write the history of a political party, it is necessary in reality to confront a whole series of problems... In what will the history of a party consist of? Will it be a simple narrative of the internal life of a political organization? How it comes into existence, the first groups which constitute it, the ideological controversies through which its programme and its conception of the world and of life are formed? In such a case, one would merely have the history of certain intellectual groups, or even sometimes the political biography of a single personality. The study will therefore have to have a vaster and more comprehensive framework.
The history will have to be written of a particular mass of men who have followed the founders of the party, sustained them with their trust, loyalty and discipline or criticised them realistically by dispersing or remaining passive before certain initiatives. The history of a party, in other words, can only be the history of a particular social group. But this group is not isolated; it has friends, kindred groups, opponents, enemies. The history of any given party can only emerge from the complex portrayal of the totality of society and State (often with international ramifications too). Hence it may be said that to write the history of a party means nothing less than to write the general history of a country from a monographic viewpoint, in order to highlight a particular aspect of it. A party will have greater or less significance and weight precisely to the extent to which its particular activity has been more or less decisive in determining a country’s history.
We may thus see that from the way in which the history of a party is written there emerges the author’s conception of what a party is and should be. The sectarian will become excited over petty internal matters, which will have esoteric significance for him, and fill him with mystical enthusiasm. The historian, though giving everything its due importance in the overall picture, will emphasise above all the real effectiveness of the party, its determining force, positive and negative, in having contributed to bringing certain events about and in having prevented other events from taking place.
In keeping with the above Gramcian observations, although the underground political formations and movements had diverse ideological orientation and tendencies, and certainly less successful in Kenya; the history of these formations was not only intricately interlinked with the history of the rise of an authoritarian neo-colonial state in Kenya, but also with broader ideological and intellectual currents of resistance during the Cold War era.
Kenya Communist Party INTERIM MEMBER
Thursday, August 3, 2017
1.0. Introduction: What is the Kenyan Communist Party?
1.1. This programme reflects the concentrated experience and insights of Kenyan social democrats who have been part and parcel of the ongoing national struggles for democracy, social justice and national sovereignty. Since its formation in 1996, the KCP has evolved from a convenient electoral vehicle for mainstream politicians seeking parliamentary and civic seats into a small but principled entity which foregrounds issue based politics and fights for the rights of Kenyan workers, small farmers, women, youth, pastoralists and cultural, religious and ethnic minorities, small business people, patriotic and progressive intellectuals and all other marginalized and disenfranchised people in Kenya.
1.2. The KCP sees itself as contributing to the historic traditions of yesteryear’s Kenyan wazalendo like Mbaruk al Amin Mazrui who led a year long uprising against British imperialist incursion in 1895-96; Mwangeka who led the Dawida people to resist foreign domination around the same period; Waiyaki wa Hinga who was buried alive because of his resolution opposition to colonial rule; Koitalel arap Samoei who provided visionary and unwavering stewardship during the 10 year Nandi War against British imperialism; Me Katilili and Manje who led the peasants of Kilifi and Giriama land in saying to forced labour and compulsory taxation in 1913-14; the tens of thousands of Kenyan youth who refused to help build the railway and later bolted from conscription during World War One; Moraa wa Ngiti, Mary Muthoni Nyanjiru, Syotuna and other Kenyan patriotic women who galvanized entire communities in resisting British colonialism; Muindi Mbingu, James Beuttah and Harry Thuku; Makhan Singh, Chege Kibacia and Fred Kubai and their visionary leadership in helping to lay the foundations of the Kenyan trade union movement from the early 1930s reaching a peak with the heightened political militancy of Kenyan workers in the 1950s; Pio da Gama Pinto, Anubhai Patel, the Vidyarthi family, Jeevanjee, Fitz De Souza and a host of radical Kenyans of South Asian descent; the Kiama Cia Muingi and their able leaders like Dedan Kimathi wa Waciuri, General Muthoni, Karari Njama, General Tanganyika, Bamuinge and other sterling “sons and daughters of the soil” who contribute life and limb during the gallant Mau Mau War for National Independence; Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Achieng’ Oneko, Paul Ngei, Kungu Karumba, J.D. Kali and all other Kenyan political prisoners of the 1950s; Argwings Kodhek, Ronald Ngala, John Keen, Martin Shikuku, TM Chokwe, Arthur Ochwada and other stalwarts of the early 1960s. In lauding the patriotic efforts of several of the above names, the KCP is also keenly conscious that some later on turned out to be opportunistic turn coats who reneged on their earlier proclamations, sold out the aspirations of the Kenyan wananchi and actually sold out to the very imperialists who had imprisoned and persecuted them earlier in their political lives. The KCP seeks solace in the fact that the toiling and struggling wananchi have been remarkably consistent in fighting for national independence and deepening of democracy throughout
’s modern history. The KCP
particularly feels connected to the legacy of the anti-imperialist
revolutionary nationalists like Jaramogi
Oginga Odinga, Mzee Bildad Kaggia, the socialist martyr Pio gama Pinto, the progressive writers
Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Micere Mugo, radical parliamentarians
like JM Kariuki, Chelagat Mutai, George
Anyona, Jean Marie-Seroney, Mark Mwithaga, Mwashengu wa Mwachofi and his six
other “ Bearded Sisters”. The KCP
cannot forget the roles of principled and fearless journalists like Salim and Patricia Lone; Mrs. And Mrs. Nyamora-the founders and
editors of Society magazine; Gitobu Imanyara-democratic lawyer and
the publisher of Nairobi Law Monthly
not to forget the many unheralded reporters, correspondents and columnists who
unreservedly spoke truth to power, exposed cases of grand graft, dastardly
political plots, human rights abuses and terrible working conditions. Nor can
the KCP ignore the valiant role of generations of militant and patriotic
students and youths who demonstrated and remonstrations against a host of
societal ills-despite the police truncheons and canisters of tear gas. The KCP
has also been made richer ideologically from the lived collective experiences
of a series of underground movements and
clandestine groups that organized,
using covert and overt methods, against the calumny of the KANU one party state- beginning during
the Kenyatta era with groups such as the
2nd of March Movement
(formed after the grisly state slaying
of the populist parliamentarian JM
Kariuki in March 1975) to the
collective that produced the anti-imperialist manuscript Cheche Kenya in 1981 before they
fearlessly launched the underground cyclostyled pamphlet Pambana! as the organ of the banned December Twelve Movement; to the DTM which emerged after the
post-1982 coup attempt crackdown before morphing into the controversial Mwakenya Movement which co-existed with
other Marxist oriented clandestine groups such as the Kenya Anti-Imperialist Front, the Me Katilili Revolutionary Movement
and Harakati ya Kupambania Demokrasia Kenya during the 1980s and early 1980s. Kenyans abroad have
also played a very big part in the struggle for a New Kenya-dating back to Jomo Kenyatta’s Pan Africanist salad
days in the 1920s and 1930s to the solidarity campaigns of Joseph Murumbi in the 1950s and the formation of the Committee for
the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya by among others- the late Wanjiru Kihoro, Abdul Latif
Abdalla, Micere Mugo, Yusuf Hassan, Shadrack Gutto, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Wangui wa
Goro and others-in 1982. Many of the
founder members and current leadership of the KCP were on the very frontlines
of the struggles to entrench political pluralism in Kenya from the late 1980s and among
the core of the movement for a new democratic constitution which has gained
strength from its origins in the 1990s. Here we must single out stalwarts of what has
become known in Kenyan parlance as the “Second Liberation”- names like George Anyona, Raila Odinga, Wamalwa
Kijana, James Orengo, George Kapten, Katama Mkangi, Kenneth Matiba- although
names of Leftists like Oduor Ongwen, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Kariuki Gathitu, Wahu Kaara, Chitechi
Osundwa, Kishushe Mzirai,Omondi K’abir, Njeri Kabeberi, Zarina Patel, Zahid
Rajan and others are frequently omitted when that history is recounted.The
downfall of the 39 year old rule of the KANU despotic kleptocracy could not
have happened in 2002 without the active participation and strategic leadership
of many who now call the KCP home. Kenya
1.3. The Kenya Communist Party is a political party that has made a decisive break with the motley crew of other so called “parties” that are little more than convenient and ephemeral electoral vehicles” for mainstream politicians seeking a ticket to parliament where they seek to entrench themselves either by joining the government of the day as a cabinet member/assistant minister OR by horse-trading, in cahoots with other MPs for salary hikes and other perks- all borne by the long-suffering Kenyan taxpayers. The KCP is a political party that seeks its mandate, guidance and membership from ordinary members of the Kenyan people, especially from the working class.
The Kenya Communist Party seeks to widen the meaning of democracy to include its economic, social, cultural, gendered and technological elements and aspects which prioritizes the right to decent, affordable and healthy food; adequate and affordable shelter; the right to decent work- all this forming a basket of inalienable civil, political, economic, social, cultural and other rights that should be guaranteed to every Kenyan citizen and resident.
The Kenya Communist Party, unlike its mainstream Kenyan political party counterparts, sees political power in dramatically different terms.
Political power is not a greedy quest for an individual politician to be the next tenant of State House-before embarking on an orgy of self-aggrandizement, looting and offering plum positions to close relatives and hangers on, while plundering of state coffers continues unabated.
Rather, to the KCP, political power is first and foremost about empowering the wananchi to collectively take proactive action to transform Kenyan society in a sustained and democratic fashion.
That is why the principal task of the KCP is to sensitize, mobilize and organize the Kenyan wananchi to eventually take control of state power in order to liberate
destroying neo-colonial relations and transforming Kenyan society by undergoing
a national democratic revolution whose ultimate goal is socialism. Kenya
In leading the fight for a new society, the Kenyan Communist Party is acutely cognizant of the fact that the major enemies of the Kenyan people are NOT individual and transitory political figure heads like Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki or Uhuru Kenyatta, but on the contrary, the nefarious forces of international finance capital, multilateral institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO that are unleashing neo-liberal policies and other pillars of imperialist globalization. The KCP understands that the Kenyattas, Mois, Kibakis, Uhurus and Rutos are at best, nyaparas and plantation managers overseeing the running of the Kenyan neo-colonial state on behalf of their imperialist bosses. This realization compels the KCP to look at the ills of Kenyan society from a wider prism that incorporates what is happening to other countries in the Global South. We therefore hold that we can not separate our struggles in
from other struggles in other African countries and other global fights taking
place in Asia, the Middle East, the
Caribbean and Latin
America. Nor can we ignore the plight of other victims of
corporate capital like for instance
workers, immigrants, women, youth and other marginalized social groups
in the “South in the North” all over the
United States, Canada, Britain,
Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Australia and other capitals of capital. We know that there is a “North in the South”
which is part of the motive forces of world monopoly capitalism. We are watching
keenly the unfolding transmogrification of China
as it peddles its “market socialism” variant studying its thirst for oil and other energy and natural resources
before we decide which side of the fence the
so called “ People’s Republic” lies. Therefore, our political and
ideological alliances will traverse and transcend national boundaries and will
go deeper than superficial personal hatred against this or that individual
Kenyan politician merely because they are, have been or wannabe the head of the
1.4. The Kenya Communist Party has risen to the historic challenge of spearheading the fight for a New Kenya: a new Kenya with a new democratic constitution; a new Kenya which recognizes its responsibilities in Africa; a new Kenya that stands up to imperialism; a new Kenya that carries out far reaching agrarian, economic, social, cultural and political reforms geared towards bringing the humble Mwananchi to the foreground our national development process; a new Kenya that recognizes and works for the equality of women and men; a new Kenya that redresses the decades-old litany of historical injustices, including bringing to book the notorious political assassins, land grabbers and looters of state coffers; a new Kenya that works boldly with other Southern countries to fight against the IMF, the World Bank and the imperialist domination of structures and processes like the WTO; a new Kenya that elevates the working people, the poor and marginalized people of this country to take control of state power and use such power to transform our nation; in short, a new Kenya that makes a radical, decisive break with the trajectory Kenya has been on for over one hundred years. That is the historic mission the KCP has set for itself- that is the task we are confident we shall achieve with the support and involvement of the wananchi of
Nature of the State and Analysis of Classes and Social Contradictions Kenya
2.1. What Kind of State Do We Have in
There is considerable confusion about the nature of the state in
The first source of confusion is a semantic one.
There are those who use the words “government”, “nation” and “state” interchangeably as if they mean the same thing.
Then they are those who refer to
Kenya as an “independent”
state; while some call
“failed state” or a “stable democratic government” or “peaceful nation” etc.
Within Kenya these semantic and conceptual confusions are compounded by the fact that in Kiswahili it is near impossible to distinguish between “government” and “state” because one word-“serikali”-is used to describe both.
Yet there is a crucial and fundamental difference between the “government” and the “state”.
Here is a concrete example:
Since December 12, 1963, there have been several governments in Kenya-the first Uhuru government headed by President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and his deputy; the post 1966 KANU-KADU government headed by Kenyatta with Daniel arap Moi as his deputy; the 1979-1984 government with Moi, Njonjo and Kibaki as leading figures; the 1984-1988 government of Moi with Kibaki remaining as vice president and new figures brought in; the 1988-1991 Moi government with its changing musical chairs; the 1992-1997 Moi-KANU regime with a multi-party opposition; the 1997-2002 sunset years of the Moi-KANU dictatorship; the 2002-2004 NARC ruling coalition and the post 2004 so called “Government of National Unity” featuring elements of the former DP, the nascent NARC-Kenya, elements of the Raila Odinga led Liberal Democratic Party a big chunk of FORD-People and FORD-Kenya not forgetting Charity Ngilu’s NPK. Of course in 2013,a tribal coalition known as Jubilee brought to power Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
On the other hand, there has been ONLY ONE STATE in
since December 12, 1963- the
neo-colonial state that segued from the British administered colonial state
which lasted from approximately 1895 to 1963. Kenya
In other words, “government” refers to those structures that publicly administers the state while the term “state” itself refers to the instruments of coercion like the armed forces, the laws of the land, the public administration system, the courts, the prisons, the organs of propaganda and other means through which the ruling clique/dominant classes in Kenya ensure that they rule over the wananchi.
If one understands the crucial distinctions between these two concepts, it then becomes easier to grasp why, for instance, former President Moi is collaborating very closely with the man who humiliated him at the 2002 polls- current President Mwai Kibaki. It will also help to explain why Charles Njonjo, the alleged “Duke of Kabeteshire” who was hounded out of high political office in the mid 1980s by Daniel arap Moi remained a very close business associate of the former President throughout the 1990s and into the first years of the 21st Century or why cabinet minister and billionaire businessman Simeon Nyachae is still a partner of Moi and works in tandem with his alleged nemesis, the late Nicholas Biwott in defending the current ruling clique around Mwai Kibaki. Since they all belong to the same comprador bourgeois stratum they have a vested class interest in defending the current Kenyan neo-colonial state because they will be directly materially threatened should that state be overthrown or transformed into something else.
On the other side of the coin, we saw disparate (if not exactly desperate) elements within the ODM cluster clinging to each other like sardines in a can despite their earlier acrimonious history because they have reached a broad rapprochement and consensus in forming another government WITHOUT transforming or destroying the existing neo-colonial state-primarily to defend their collective comprador/petit bourgeois class interests and aspirations within the rubric of the status quo.
Why do we say that
“neo-colonial state”? Kenya
Is this an attempt at being politically cute and bombastic?
Whatever else one may say about the Kenyan state, there are certain things that it is NOT.
First of all, it is NOT an “independent” state.
Most, if not all, of the major policy decisions in Kenya- be they about politics, economics or even culture- are informed by diktats that come from the capitals of capital-Washington, London, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo etc- either directly or indirectly. The IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO regularly arm twist whatever excuse of a “government” prevailing in
One of the most spectacular manifestations of these was the IMF snake oil prescription for “structural adjustment” in the 1980s and their dire and devastating consequences in terms of health, education and employment since then.
Another one is the imperious demand for “privatization” of the public sector of the economy and the resultant retrenchments of tens of thousands of Kenyan workers.
Related to that are the neo-liberal strictures to allow blatant repatriation of transnational profits in
and the accompanying tax holidays and lowering of the existing abysmal labour
standards that gave rise to slave like conditions in the EPZs for example. Kenya
Over the last forty years NATO powers have arrogantly abrogated themselves the luxury of setting up military bases in
Kenya without bothering to consult with the people
of Kenya and going further
to use entire regions like northern as zones for intermittent
military exercises. Cases of mass rape by British soldiers of Samburu women for
instance have continued with impunity. In 1976 Israeli commandos used Kenyan territory
to plan their invasion of a sovereign neighbouring African country-Uganda. In
2003 the allegedly “independent” Kenyan government collaborated with a battery
of CIA, MOSSAD and Turkish
intelligence and special forces to abduct PKK
Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from the sanctuary of the Greek embassy in the heart of Kenya . In the post 911
paranoid atmosphere where every Muslim is a potential Al Qaeda cell member, the Kenyan government has looked the other
way as FBI and other American agents sneak into Nairobi and abduct Kenyan youth from
the Muslim communities at the Coast, North Eastern and elsewhere for secret
interrogations where claims of torture have been made. And with the 2011
invasion of neighbouring Somalia, we
have witnessed the atrocities of the Jihadist terrorist formation of Al-Shabaab. Kenya
A casual glance at the fare offered on Kenyan TV, including the state run KBC, confirms that our “preferred” cultural “entertainment” consists of discarded and cancelled programs from the ancient vaults of American and British media networks. The foul mouthed pornographic recycled and unoriginal musical trash blared from a hundred thousand matatus every day confirms that US led cultural imperialism has captured the souls of even the youngest Kenyan.
In the sphere of higher education “our own government” gleefully trumpets the benefits of seeking expensive university education overseas while ignoring the parlous conditions at the public universities within the country.
When it comes to health care our heads of state either make a fetish of retaining private and foreign doctors or hop on to the next European flight heading for the most expensive clinic every time they catch a cold.
In regard to textiles , the allegedly “independent” Kenyan government prefers to encourage its subjects to don previously loved hand me downs from Toronto, Dallas, Prague, New York, Melbourne and Frankfurt with the further mitumbanization of Kenyan commerce and industry rather than revive the collapsed indigenous textile industry- that is when the more upscale members of society are busy rummaging through Harrods, Phat Farm, Sears, H& M and other mega department stores and fashion outlets overseas.
Secondly, despite its loud proclamations to the contrary, the current Kenyan state is NOT democratic.
It is true that every five years there are indeed, elections for parliamentarians and for the presidency. It is also true that
boasts a vibrant press and
that unlike the days of yore, Kenyans are quite vocal and fearless in
expressing themselves. There are over sixty registered political parties. One
could cite other manifestations of formal “democracy” in Kenya . Kenya
The reality check seeps in when one examines how the Kenyan state has intervened over the years in undermining all these fundamental and constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.
In the recent past, there have been outrageous attacks on the media. Two incidents will suffice to illustrate this point.
In 2005 First Lady Lucy Kibaki raided the Nation Centre-the headquarters of
media house- in the wee hours of the night to unleash an unhinged rampage
culminating in a torrent of abuse and slapping of the journalists present with
the whole spectacle recorded for posterity by live television cameras. The
Attorney General later blocked the prosecution of the president’s wife. Kenya
In March 2006, hooded guns who turned out to be a phalanx of police commandoes commanded by a duo of mysterious European mercenaries invaded the downtown offices of the Standard Group- the second largest media house- beating and confining security guards, damaging equipment, shutting down the independent television station run by the Standard Group and finally taking that day’s newspapers and incinerating it in a wild bonfire- again with the whole ordeal carried live by the other media houses. A few days later the country’s Internal Security minister arrogantly admitted that it was the government which had organized the attack because the media house had “rattled a snake”. Attacks on Kenyan journalists by state goons and confiscation of cameras, video tape and note book has been a regular feature of state/media relations.
Over the last four years the ruling clique has come under severe criticism by its opponents as the government of the day poaches individual opposition MPs while flagrantly bypassing the party structures on whose tickets the MPs were elected.
In the run up to the 2007 elections there have been other indicators that the fragile multi-party experiment is under severe attack as the state supervises or condones the registration of pro-government factions to take over the leadership of the official parliamentary opposition party. The involvement of forces allied to former President Moi in propping up the ruling Kibaki regime are seen as pointers of an attempt to reintroduce the discredited one party rule under which both presidents thrived for decades before the 2002 elections.
The Kenyan state is notorious for using live bullets, police batons, tear gas, water pipes and other methods to violently break up peaceful pro-democracy protestors and dissenters.
It has forcibly destroyed the homes of forest dwellers, urban workers and other communities.
Slum residents have borne the brunt of state troops whenever they organize against the sordid living conditions.
EPZ wage slaves have confronted the naked terror of the state whenever they have dared to strike against poor pay and rampant exploitation.
Small farmers opposed to the paltry compensation packages of the Tiomin mining corporation have found themselves at wrath of the high court which have countenanced state take over of their land and forcible eviction from their ancestral homes.
Pastoralists and minorities, especially those subsisting in the historically marginalized and systemically ignored northern reaches have endured decades of special state led military and police operations that have often led to massacres, rapes and destruction of entire villages.
Urban based hawkers and small traders are treated as vicious criminals for having the temerity to attempt earning an honest living.
Historically, the Kenyan state has been indicted by history for its blood-stained record of torturing, imprisoning and even killing its political honest with the case of the Nyayo House survivors one of the most recent chapters.
The numerous cases of state-organized fascism have historical roots planted during the colonial era. There are undemocratic and repressive laws which remain on the statute books today in the 21st Century from their promulgation over half a century ago.
It is partly because of these colonial holdovers that many observers and analysts refer to the state as a NEO-COLONIAL state.
The term neo-colonialism was coined to describe the phenomenon whereby formal colonialism was ended by the former imperialist powers to usher in a new era where imperialist rule survived albeit via the local management of the state by a coterie of pro-imperialist collaborators who mouthed nationalist platitudes even as they supervised the opening up of the country to OTHER imperialist powers to perpetuate foreign domination of the supposedly newly “independent” state.
In Kenya’s case, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, a former Pan Africanist icon and nationalist hero who sold out to the British during his stint in prison led a bunch of Black former colonial functionaries, home guards and sell outs to take over the administration of the newly set up neo-colonial state while banishing and silencing patriotic stalwarts like Makhan Singh, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Bildad Kaggia and Pio da Gama Pinto. Among the key architects of the first neo-colonial regime were the youthful CIA backed trade unionist and right wing nationalist Tom Mboya and pro-Western conservative politicians like Njoroge Mungai, Mbiyu Koinange, Paul Ngei, Daniel arap Moi and Ronald Ngala-not to speak of actual former homungati and colonial era policemen, soldiers and prison warders.
More fundamentally, US led imperialism made a significant foray into
sucking the country into the smouldering ideological cold war, ghost writing
the infamous Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 and restructuring those aspects of
the state that would serve their interests. Other Western powers followed suit
some more subtly through their corporations (e.g. Italy’s Agip, Canada’s Bata,
Netherlands’ Royal Shell and the German
and Japanese automobile and electronic firms like Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Honda,
Mitsubishi, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Sanyo, Siemens, Grundig, Aiwa and Nintendo) while Western satellites like Israel took over the training of special
forces like the GSU and the country’s dreaded secret police. Kenya
Bilateral agreements between the fledgling neo-colonial local underlings and Western states-including the social democratic ones from
the first seeds of what later became the huge debt burden.
Western controlled multilateral agencies like the IMF and the World Bank began their chequered history of dictating to Kenyans what our “development priorities” were-damn the social and economic consequences.
At the United Nations and other world bodies, representatives of the Kenyan neo-colonial state continue to vote (more often than not) as
Washington and instructs. Whitehall
Whatever semblance of democratic credentials the Kenyan state possesses almost exclusively emanate from the accumulated struggles of the Kenyan people over the last half century.
The above ground Kenyan reform movement which arose in the late 1980s evolved from the clandestine mobilizations of the mid 1970s and early 1980s.
Together, these covert and overt fight backs forced the neo-colonial ruling clique crystallized in the KANU one party dictatorship to concede to certain limited reforms like the repeal of Section 2A of the constitution in December 1991 that paved the way for the reintroduction of multi-party politics the following year and the 1997 IPPG deal that slightly widened the democratic space on the one hand while curtailing even more radical democratic proposals championed by the NCEC-NCA movement.
There was an important and historic break-through in 2002 when nation-wide mobilization led to the downfall of the 39 year-old KANU dictatorship and the ushering in of the NARC coalition which was elected on a popular mandate to spearhead sweeping reforms including the promulgamation of a new constitution, the setting up of a truth and justice commission and implementation of poverty eradication strategies.
The new Kibaki-led NARC regime quickly reneged on these pledges and it was not long before it consolidated power along elitist and ethnic lines and quickly became a virtual clone of its KANU predecessor.
The decades-long quest for a new democratic constitution culminated in the year-long national constitutional conference at the Bomas of Kenya between 2003 and 2004.
The true character of the Kenyan neo-colonial state reared its ugly head again when the newly minted local managers of the state led by Mwai Kibaki rebuffed and rejected the new draft constitution that had been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Bomas delegate thus throwing back the country into a political stand-off that reached a dramatic climax when Kenyans rejected the Wako Draft prepared by the present ruling cabal during the November 2005 Referendum.
In the context of the character traits of the Kenyan neo-colonial state sketched in the preceding paragraphs, it is ironic and mystifying to hear of the same state sometimes being dubbed a “failed state”.
The whole notion of “failed states” is horribly unscientific and terribly ahistorical.
It misses by a thousand kilometres the true meaning of the term “state”-understood in historical, political and ideological terms.
The classic definition of the state clarifies that it is an INSTRUMENT of COERCION through which one class (or cluster of classes and strata) impose its political will over the rest of society.
Among the components of the state are things like the armed forces, the prisons, the police, the public administration and other arms of the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the battery of laws, the propaganda arsenal including the print and electronic media and so on and so forth.
Given the amount of state terror unleashed on the Kenyan people and the roughshod tactics of an increasingly arrogant and detached ruling clique, it would take a very big stretch of the imagination to identify the Kenyan neo-colonial state as a “failed state”.
In Kenya, the state has NOT “failed” to bolster the rule of the present governing clique; it has NOT failed to advance the interests of imperialism when it comes to privatization, spiralling debt, exploitation of workers, displacement of pastoralists and minorities; protection of foreign corporations; marginalization of women and youth, suppression of the opposition and criminalization of dissent.
On the contrary, the present Kenyan state has very much “succeeded” in living up to the job description of a neo-colonial state.
What is ALSO true is that the Kenyan neo-colonial state HAS failed the Kenyan people by thwarting our democratic aspirations, failing to complete the struggle for national independence and failing to build a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious democratic nation built on the tenets and precepts of social justice and progressive ideals.
It is for this reason that the Kenyan Communist Party of Kenya has resolved to lead the popular fight for a different kind of state in Kenya.
A state that is the very anti-thesis of the repressive, elitist and undemocratic neo-colonial state that currently lords over millions of Kenyans.
Such a state, in our present historical circumstances can only be a national democratic state that is oriented towards constructing socialism in
2.2. Class Formation and Class Struggles in Kenya
The condition of the working class
Because of its history of orthodox colonialism and neo-colonialism meant that we do not have a sizable proletariat- in the classic industrial working class meaning of the term. Colonialism confined Kenya as a tea estate, coffee plantarion and agriculture based peripheral conduit serving the British metropolitan economy. Such activities as diary farming, ranching, wheat and maize production were there for the capitalist market Things like flower farming and horticulture helped as an adjunct to the export economy. With the onset of neo-colonialism, there was a gradual shift to import substitution. Most of the ruling members of the regime over the last fifty years made a big deal of the informal “jua kali” economy which confined Kenyans to low paying wage occupations.
With the austerity measures fostered by the IMF and World Bank, there was a plethora of export processing zones which further marginalized Kenyan workers. What was considered the “industrial areas” in urban centres like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret,and Kisumu consisted of factories manufacturing blankets, iron sheets and house hold products.
Despite its incredible militant history which produced leaders like Makhan Singh and the Labour Trade Union of Kenya and later the East African Trade Union Congress, the onslaught of imperialist agents like Tom Mboya who did the bidding of the CIA and ICFTU meant the anti-communist hysteria led to the decimation of the indepependence of the trade unions especially when Mboya became the powerful Secretary General of the ruling KANU party and one of the chief ideological architects of the economic blueprints of the post-colonial government known cynically as Sessional Paper Number 10 on African Socialism- which laid out in conjunction with a right wing US professor a road map for capitalism in Kenya. The fact that Tom Mboya achieved instant martyr when President Jomo Kenyatta had an assassin murder him at the tender age of 39 obscured his CIA and imperialist connections including his role in recruiting the late Jonas Savimbi of UNITA and Angola into the pay of US imperialists along with the active help of Errol Brown and the AFL-CIO. Ironically, one of the people that Tom Mboya airlifted to the United States in the early sixties- the father of the former US President Barrack Hussein Obama-who was the original owner of the name popularized by his famous son published and early critique of African Socialism from a Marxist perspective called Problems With Our Socialism published as a monograph in 1965.
Without taking into account social classes and their relationships, power dynamics and contradictions, it is IMPOSSIBLE to fathom the many complex issues that affect our nation of
Of course, there are those who would rubbish the very concept and existence of social classes in
as a “foreign
Eurocentric notion” that has no relevance or application in our country. Kenya
Let us look at the stubborn realities in
Whether one lives in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Limuru, Garissa, Malindi or any of the major urban areas of Kenya, it would be difficult to deny the fact that not all Kenyans are the “same”. And here, one is NOT referring to variegated ethnic backgrounds or diverse religious callings.
At the most simplistic level there is a clear demarcation between Kenyans who are rich and Kenyans who are poor.
The First Family does not live in Korogocho-they reside in the posh gated enclvaves of upper-middle class Nairobi. Indeed if one contrasts the ramshackle structures of Korogocho, Kaiyaba, Kibera, Mathare and Huruma to the plush digs of Muthaiga, Mountain View, Lavington, Kitisuru and Runda, one gets the impression that there are indeed two, if not more Kenyas. The same applies to Chaani and Nyali in
Kondele and Milimani in Kisumu and
so on. Mombasa
Sometimes these social distinctions are spread out regionally-for instance the conditions prevailing in most of northern
as compared to other areas of the country. Kenya
Many observers have simply divided
into two- the “haves” and the “have nots”. Kenya
While appealing, the binary depiction is way too basic.
Often one finds white collar senior clerks and young lawyers lumped together with the Manu Chandarias, Simeon Nyachaes, Dalmas Otienos, Chris Kirubis, Bayusufs and Biwotts merely because the white collar worker and fresh faced lawyer happen to live in a rented three bedroomed flat as opposed to subsisting in a slum dwelling. Indeed, the phenomenon of high unemployment of
has led to a section of the jobless viewing poorly paid fellow workers as
“privileged”. In the countryside, poor agricultural workers and peasants will
sometimes view the local headmaster or the neighbourhood pastor as “rich” because the headmaster or
pastor drives around in an old beaten up VW from the 1960s which he parks
outside his mabati roofed brick house.
Sometimes the indicators of wealth in these rural contexts may include the fact
that one household can afford to drink chai
na maziwa pamoja na blueband kwa mkate . There are cases where nephews have
raided and violently attacked their uncles because the former received a 1,000
shilling hand out from an urban-based offspring. Kenya
It is important therefore, to interrogate the notions and perceptions behind “rich” and “poor”. This forces us to look beyond the superficial attributes that often leads to very skewed notions about the so called “haves” and “have nots”.
Since the advent of capitalism a few centuries ago, societies around the world have been divided into social classes.
There are those pundits who would use income as the indicator of class.
Thus you will find them talking about the “upper class” “middle class” and “lower class” with salary/wages and remuneration levels as the major demarcator.
Using this yard stick, an unemployed secondary school leaver who still lives with his parents in Karen will be considered less privileged than a watchman who earns 8,000 shillings a month guarding the palatial digs next door.
Obviously, the above notion is totally off-base.
Vladimir Lenin’s classic definition of social classes has passed the litmus test of time:
Paraphrased, Lenin emphasizes that classes are large groups of people who are distinguished from each other primarily by the relationship and positions vis a vis a historically determined mode of production. In other words, you do not define classes by looking at incomes, but rather by looking at HOW people PRIMARILY earn their living within a certain economy.
For instance, a shop-keeper is distinguished from a worker in the sense that the former is a petty proprietor and the latter exists by selling his or her labour power to an owner of capital. Of course, things are not so cut and dried: many workers run small dukas on the side.
In the age of imperialism the inner logic of capitalist development has ensured that the major classes in society are capitalists on the one hand and workers on the hand. Between these poles, there are a number of intermediate classes and strata of classes. Some classes which used to be huge in earlier historical epochs like the peasantry for instance are disintegrating with certain elements forming components of the rural petit-bourgeoisie; others the rural and agricultural workers and others becoming part of the lumpenized elements déclassé.
The situation becomes even more complex when one applies that class analysis for neo-colonies like
Is there, for instance a real INDIGENOUS capitalist or bourgeois class in
Are the workers of
proletariat that Marx, Engels and Lenin wrote about in their works of the
19th and early 20th century? Kenya
The answer to this question is buried in our history.
When the British imperialists colonized
, they rudely interrupted the
course of our internal growth and development yanking most Kenyan communities
which were in the communal and semi-feudal stage of development into the
capitalist vortex. Given the logic of monopoly capitalism at that time, Kenya was
assigned a peripheral role as a supplier of raw material and potential market
for capitalist goods. In our specific situation, our political economy was
dominated by the demands of the European settler farmers who grabbed chunks of
Kenyan land. Kenya
These led to a gross distortion in our economy which was subordinated to serving the interests of the British bourgeoisie in the
and the local settler community in . Firms like Brooke-Bond were
more concerned with harvesting Kenyan grown tea for overseas market than
ensuring real economic growth within Kenya . Kenya
The existing colonial laws expressly prohibited the growth of an indigenous capitalist class which would have gone against the diktats of world monopoly capitalism at the time.
Thus what emerged over time and was consolidated in the years immediately following formal flag independence were not capitalists as such but local agents of transnational corporations. This was an experience which had been first observed in pre-revolutionary
Today the term still applies to local agents of imperialism who by themselves cannot develop into a proper bourgeois. Many of them are from the petit-bourgeois elements of society. Their chief conduit to economic prosperity and personal wealth is the neo-colonial STATE which mediates the interests of world monopoly capitalism via the agency of the comprador bourgeoisie.
It is no wonder that most of the prominent business tycoons are more often than not past or present cabinet ministers, politicians or senior civil servants.
Is it a mystery why Nominated Senator Beth Mugo is the second richest woman in Kenya after Mama Ngina Kenyatta? Is it a mystery why Uhuru Kenyatta and his siblings have extensive holdings in land, real estate and the dairy industry? Is it a mystery why Simeon Nyachae is both a powerful cabinet minister and very prosperous business magnate?
On November 16, 2003, the NATION,
largest selling weekly profiled the twenty wealthiest families of the country.
The following extract from that story will serve to illuminate the nexus
between the neo-colonial state and the core of the Kenyan comprador
..1. The Ndegwa family-key players Andrew and James Ndegwa. Ruth and Alison Ndegwa; flagships: First Chartered Securities and Lion Place; interests: insurance, real estate development and marketing; manufacturing; shipping, banking; agriculture, horticulture, international investments;
2. The Kenyatta family- key players Muhoho and Uhuru Kenyatta. Flagships: Enke Management; prominent investments: Heritage Hotel and
3. The Moi family- key players: Daniel arap Moi and Gideon Moi; Joshua Kulei. Interests: banking, insurance, large-scale farming, real estate, tourism, ranching, communications, aviation, international investments;
4. The Nyachae family. Key players: Simeon Nyachae, Charles Nyachae and Lee Nyachae. Flagship: Sansora Group through which family has substantial interests in banking, insurance, large scale wheat farming, food processing, transport, printing, real estate, construction, aviation, coffee and tea farming, horticulture, etc; most prominent business partner: Daniel arap Moi;
5. Chris Kirubi. Flagship- International Life House. Most prominent business partner: President Mwai Kibaki. Interests: real estate, manufacturing, agro-chem, pharmaceuticals, supermarkets, insurance, investment, banking, international courier service, media etc;
6. The Njonjo family. Business interests: banking insurance, real estate, manufacturing, communications, tourism, agriculture, horticulture, motor industry, aviation etc; key players: Charles Njonjo and his wife Margaret Nisbet; Key partners: Daniel arap Moi, Joshua Kulei, Jeremiah Kiereini, the Philip Ndegwa family, PK Jani and the late Bruce McKenzie;
7. James Kanyotu. Interests: tourism and hotel industry, large-scale coffee and tea farming, real estate, banking, insurance, manufacturing, motor industry etc; key partners: Daniel arap Moi, Charles Njonjo, Jeremiah Kiereini, GK Kareithi, Naushad Merali, the Kenyatta family and Kamlesh Pattni;
8. Nicholas Biwott. Interests:”Biwott is a secretive in his business operations as he has been in his politics. He is reputed to be one of the wealthiest Kenyans with substantial interests in petroleum, real estate, insurance, banking, manufacturing, agriculture etc. Biwott’s interests are said to spread in the region and abroad. Friends in high places: Daniel arap Moi";
9. George Saitoti. Interests: like Biwott, equally secretive. Among richest Kenyans with interests in horticulture, manufacturing, mining, real estate, agriculture, etc. Substantial investments outside the country;
10. Dick Evans: interests: through Homegrown, Dick Evans is the leading Kenyan player in the horticulture business.
11. Allesandro Torriani: interests-Swiss born,
12. Joe Wanjui. Interests: insurance, supermarkets, banking and manufacturing, real estate, large-scale agriculture and ranching, horticulture, energy etc; Flagship: UAP Provincial Insurance; Close friend: President Mwai Kibaki.
13. Manu Chandaria. Interests: manufacturing, banking, insurance; Companies: Comcraft Group operates in six continents as holding company for almost 100 other companies like Mabati Rolling Mills, Galsheet Kenya and Kaluworks;
14. Naushad Merali. Business empire: The Sameer Group with interests in manufacturing, banking, insurance, construction, heavy steel manufacturing, motor assembly, large-scale coffee and tea farming, ranching, real estate, telecommunications, IT, overseas investments etc. Latest acquisitions- Kencell Communications. Partners: Daniel arap Moi, James Kanyotu, the Kenyatta family, the Ndegwa family, Horacious Da Gama Rose etc;
15. The Bayusuf Family. The brothers M.O. and A.M. Bayusuf have one of the largest heavy commercial transportation fleets in East and
16. Rashid Sajjad. Interests: owns Milly Grain Millers, Milly Glass Works, Milly Fruit Processors, import company Fehmi, a tannery in Athi River and prime properties in Mombasa and Nairobi. Biggest strength: high level political connections during the KANU regime.
17. The Zubedis. The brothers Mohamed (MP, East African Legislative Assembly) and Hakim own Gulf Electronics, a major importer of leading electronic brands like Samsung, LG and Aristo. Headquartered in
18. The Bawazirs. Interests: used to be a partner of Rashid Sajjad. Mohamed Bawazir keeps a low profile. Involved in the international commodity trade and has substantial investments in prime properties and land.
19. John Harun Mwau. Interests: many but shrouded in mystery but included the fast expanding Nakumatt Holdings, Wines of the World, Green Corner Restaurant Ltd and the Pepe container freight station.
20. Njenga Karume. Interests: tourism and hotels, transport, large-scale coffee and tea farming, real estate. Friend in high places: President Mwai Kibaki.
(Source: Sunday Nation, November 16, 2003)
Over the last two decades, a newly rich clique of parvenu comprador elements has burst on the Kenyan scene. Prominent names among them include Eddy Njoroge, Margaret Wambui and the principals of the Transcentury Group. The one thing they share in common is their proximity to former President Mwai Kibaki and his kitchen cabinet. In fact some of them, like the first two, werre part of that very kitchen cabinet.
The Kenyan neo-colonial state is the ladder as well the milk cow for those who wants to scale their heights of wealth accumulation in
. That helps to explain why so
many business people delve into politics and why so many politicians have such
vast business interests. At our present conjecture it also serves to explain
why so many tycoons burn the mid-night oil to conserve the status quo because
they do know that if the neo-colonial state is smashed, their vast economic
interests would be at peril. When one looks at former President Moi’s public re-entry into the political
controversies of the day, one gets an inkling at the motivating force that
compels and propels him to do so: he is
a comprador bourgeois who would be doomed if neo-colonialism was
vanquished in Kenya. Kenya
In the age of globalization, the comprador bourgeois elements of
live a various precarious
existence. A slight change in the global capitalist economy can mean sudden and
devastating ruin. One good example which did not have totally devastating
consequences was the 2002 rapprochement between South African Breweries and East
African Breweries which signified an end of the over-hyped beer wars
between the Guinness controlled products like Tusker and SAB owned Castle label.
In a flash hundreds of Kenyan workers at the Thika Castle plant were out of a job and local tycoon the late Njenga Karume gawking at an investment
gone terribly wrong. Of course Karume was able to recoup his losses after he
was catapulted from the opposition benches into cabinet from where he was able
to resume his history of state connected wealth accumulation. Kenya
On the other side of the class divide, Kenya was never able to reproduce an industrial working class such as exists in Canada, Germany, Japan, Belgium, the United States, Ireland, Italy and so on simply because once again, it was NEVER a priority of the British colonialists to launch a people centred, sustained industrialization of Kenya.
What emerged was thus directly linked to the demands of British colonialism and the interests of the local settler community. It is not an accident that the railways, ports, the post office, the police, the army, the prisons, the provincial administration, local government, the major agricultural plantations, the white suburban homes and farms were among the largest employers of local Kenyan labour. Because of the “Colour Bar” (equivalent to the racist Jim Crow laws of the
the work place was also segregated along racial, religious and ethnic lines
which persisted for decades after formal flag independence. Thus the working
class which emerged in United States
during colonialism and neo-colonialism are directly connected to our history of
foreign domination at the hands of imperialists and their local comprador
The disintegration of the Kenyan peasantry has followed the hallowed “laws” of social development. That peasantry has split up into a rural petit-bourgeoisie, an agricultural component of the working class, a core of small farmers and a motley crew of lumpenized elements déclassé.
Petit bourgeois elements in
range from small business people to members of the professional and academic
elite who are NOT to be confused with the more heeled comprador stratum- unless
one is well connected to the powers that be. Kenya
There are times when some observers list the “youth” and “women” as a separate “class” category.
This is not the case.
Young people are to be found in all the major social classes- so are women- notwithstanding the unique experiences and challenges of these two groups in society.
Often at public forums we hear gender activists say:
women show the way because the Kenyan men have failed!” Kenya
That is when we are not hearing youth activists scream:
“Let the Uhuru Generation lead because the old guard has become political deadwood!”
Unfortunately they are both wrong.
Simply women and youth in
are not monolithic. Kenya
Women and youth belong to various social strata (layers) and classes in
not have identical interests across these class cleavages. Kenya
A very wealthy Kenyan businesswoman living in Runda or
very little in common with her live-in housemaid apart from the fact that they
are both women and sharing the same roof, to give an obvious example. Mountain View
A rich Kenyan brat lazing around in Loresho is a world apart from a ghetto youth struggling to stay afloat in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, to give another obvious example.
But having said the above, it would be a reductionism if we completely discounted the impact of gender and generational divides in Kenyan society.
Often the word “gender” is equated with women. This comes from a gross misreading of the meaning of the term itself. A very useful and lucid understanding of gender has been provided by the African National Congress of South Africa in one of their seminal policy documents:
…1. Sex Roles and Gender Roles
In understanding triple oppression, it is first important to situate the debate within an understanding of how gender is constructed. In other words, gender is not a natural phenomenon, but is created by societies to order the roles of men and women, and it is bound up with political and economic objectives.
There is a difference between sex and gender. Sex identifies the biological make up and difference between the male and the female.
Gender is constructed socially and identifies the relationship between men and women in the context of power relations. Gender is not natural or god-given, but is created by society through socialization using institutions such as the family, the church and religion, school and education and the state and laws. Gender relations can therefore be changed by the very society that created them.
Gender roles exist in all spheres of society starting with the division of labour in the family. For example, in the family, women are allocated the role of being child rearers and are given the duties of cleaning and cooking. In fact, women are allocated the tasks of domestic chores as if it were natural for them to have to do this. This work is hidden and not paid for. It is not registered as work within the tools that we use to analyse the working of the economy such as in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures. What this hidden, unpaid labour serves to do is prop up the capitalist economy. Workers can be paid less if they do not themselves have to pay for domestic work. For most women in this country, domestic chores are additional to the work that they do outside the house. This means that women have very little spare time. This is known as the "double bind".
These socially determined roles for men and women are culturally or socially created and are given the status of being natural and normal as if they "have always been" and "will always be". From these gender roles, certain characteristics are expected of men that are a reflection of what it means to be male or to be masculine while other characteristics are attributed to women as a reflection of their femininity. The notions of masculinity and femininity define how men and women must behave and how they must look. They refer to physical appearance, psychological states, sexual orientations, intellectual capability and emotional states. For example, men are supposed to be natural leaders, decision makers and providers in society beginning within the family while women are the caregivers, supporters and followers of men.
2. Gender Relations
Gender and gender roles define the way women and men behave in society and in relation to each other, the way in which they perceive themselves and their attitudes. Gender relations affect the unequal power relations in society. The essence of unequal power relations is the domination of men and the subordination of women. These gender relations shape the ideas, knowledge, values, culture, attitudes, the structure of society and, in essence, social life itself. Gender roles and the stereotypes that structure the roles of men and women are reinforced in books, history, stories, songs and the media.
Patriarchy is the system of male domination and control at all levels of society based on these socially constructed notions of gender, gender roles and gender relations that we have discussed above.
Not all patriarchal societies are the same and the oppression of women in various formations differs based on the economic and political differences of those societies. For example, patriarchy will manifest differently in advanced capitalist societies to traditional rural societies where economies are structured differently. Patriarchy has not always existed, and can also be dismantled. In addition, patriarchal control is linked up with the type of economy, political system and cultural objectives of particular societies.
Patriarchy is reproduced through a web of laws and private and public institutions such as the family, religious and traditional beliefs, practices and norms. It is also reproduced through ideological apparatuses such as the school, education in general and the media. Violence against women is an expression of an extreme form of reinforcing patriarchal control of women.
SOURCE: Towards a Gendered Perspective, ANC policy document
In the Kenyan context we know that over 52% of
is female. And most Kenyan women and girls are based in rural communities. The
bulk of food production in the country is due to the labour of women. Women in Kenya are
confined to menial, low paying occupations-not just in agriculture but in the EPZs, domestic work and service
industry. In addition women bear the brunt when it comes to child care and
raising of families. Because of patriarchy, it is women who do the bulk of the
house work which remains additional unpaid labour in addition to whatever else women do inside and outside
the home economically. All Kenyan communities are permeated through and through
with conservative and traditionalist notions on the role of women in society.
Capitalism itself has reinforced these traditionalist sexist notions and
ensured women in Kenya
are still paid less than their male counterparts while being exposed to the
daily outrages and occupational hazards of sexual harassment, rape and other
forms of gender discrimination and violence. Kenya
Apart from gender,
stratified along generational lines. One striking fact about Kenyan society is
that the vast majority of the population is under 30 years of age. The youth in
suffers from high unemployment, lack of involvement in major political
processes and almost complete marginalization when it comes to sharing
resources and controlling the economy. It is important to stress that one has
to bring in again the question of class which means that depending on one’s
socio-economic background there will be important distinctions between a young
person from a wealthy background and another one from a poor family. Kenya
Even after we have factored in class, gender and age, we must also cite the fact that ability/disability helps determine one’s status in Kenyan society because it is a powerful barrier. People with disabilities are treated differently from their able bodied compatriots.
Because of the legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism, there are very powerful regional disparities in Kenya-the most obvious being the condition of the minority and pastoralist communities of northern Kenya who still wallow in pre-colonial conditions of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalization in Marsabit, Garissa, Turkana, Pokot and Wajir.
Increasingly, there is another social phenomenon that is creating even further cleavages in Kenyan society. This is the process of lumpenization. Without going into too much technical detail this is where people are alienated from the mode of production to the extent that they become what the French refer to as elements déclassé or “ declassed elements”. For instance if one surveys a big chunk of the inhabitants of Nairobi’s 199 slums and informal settlements, one notices that apart from the workers and semi-proletarians, there are those Kenyans who do not have a formal connection to the political economy. One is referring to the beggars, the street children, the prostitutes, the petty criminals, the idle youth who are often recruited by politicians, gang members and the neo-colonial state itself to wreak havoc within these very communities. Components of the informal settlements like the hawkers and matatus touts for instance straddle the fence in the sense that they often find themselves as semi-proletarian lumpen elements who eke out a difficult existence wallowing in poverty but determined to stay out of the criminal demimonde that they are often forced into because of dire economic circumstances.
Due to their often conflicting interests and aspirations, the various Kenyan classes, strata and sections of society are in a state of perpetual tension, strife and struggle.
There is a fundamental divide between the rich and the poor in broad terms.
there is a fundamental contradiction between those classes and strata that
BENEFIT from imperialism and neo-colonialism and those that are exploited and
dominated by the same forces of international finance and monopoly capitalism. Kenya
The majority of Kenyans are dominated by imperialism and neo-colonialism. And here we are referring to the vast majority of Kenyans who are workers, small farmers, poor women, pastoralists, minorities, people with disabilities and the lumpenized sections of society.
The petit-bourgeoisie are in a dilemma. On the one hand their socio-economic status make them want to aspire to join the rarefied ranks of the Kenyan comprador bourgeoisie as they struggle to buy property in the suburbs, grab land in the countryside and acquire material wealth all over Kenya. At the same time the forces of imperialism and sub-imperialism work daily to take over or destroy their small businesses reducing them to minor cogs in the world monopoly capitalist machines. That is why we see that petit bourgeois elements vacillate between the pro-imperialist and anti-imperialist camps all the time. A very vivid manifestation of this petit- bourgeois wavering is the shameless opportunism of Kenyan mainstream politicians who say one thing today and do the complete opposite the next day. For this reason, it is quite dangerous for the Kenyan people to pin their hopes of political salvation and national liberations on the shifty petit bourgeois elements who often arrogate themselves the roles of “natural leaders”.
Turning to the youth, the first point to be made is that this is a multi-class, multi-racial and multi-ethnic category which includes females and males and people with different sexual identities and orientations. There is also the question of ability/disability, region and religion. This obvious point has to be made in the light of the dangerous assumption that the “Kenyan youth” is entirely composed of twenty-something African heterosexual males. Likewise politically and ideologically the Kenyan youth are diverse.
When it comes to the question of tribe and ethnicity, it is also time to shatter a few myths and shibboleths. This is largely a colonial created social construct. Contrary the mainstream perception that Kenya consists of “42 tribes”, the reality is more complex because this omits “super minorities” like the Ogiek, Awer, Ilchamus, Nubians, Suba and others bringing the grand total to at least EIGHTY TWO. The recent inclusion of so called “Indians” as the 44th tribe has been resisted by been resisted by members of Kenyan South Asian community on many grounds including collapsing Goans, Sikhs, Hindus, Bohras, Memons and other distinct groups into one reductionist melting pot and overlooking the fact that they are KENYANS and not “Indians”. Similarly, the fact that they are Kenyans of Somali ethnicity has often led to state pogroms targeting people from Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia and even those who have become citizens of Canada, the USA, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Muslims-be they Sunnia, Shia, Ahmaddiya are discriminated against despite the fact that they are at least twenty per cent of the population- especially in the wake of the recent so called “ war on terror” focusing on Al Shabaab.
The question of sexual orientation and identity is a touchy one. The Kenyan Left has been notorious in its homophobia despite the active presence of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people in its activist ranks.
3.0. Ideological Lessons for the Kenyan Left
Some of us, in touch with Communist comrades from India, Sudan,Egypt, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Ghana and elsewhere are frequently confronted with the challenge:
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE KENYAN ANTI-IMPERIALIST STRUUGGLE?
They are of course familiar with the Mau Mau War for National Independence, the efforts of Makhan Singh, Cege Kibacia and others in building a vibrant trade union movement, the nationalist strivings of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Bildad Kaggia and Joseph Murumbi and the struggles of Ngugi, the December Twelve Movement and Mwakenya.
One persistent question they nag us with is this:
How come the Kenyan progressives have not yet formed a Communist Party?
This is a question which leaves some of us embarrassed. Sometime we point to the SDP, DTM or Mwakenya as formative attempts to do precisely that.
But on the whole, this challenge leaves us tongue tied.
A few of us have lately decided, in a spirit of ruthless self-criticism to look at the history of the so called “Kenyan Left”.
The one big anomaly we find is that is that there have been virtually NO ORGANIZING among the Kenyan working class- this despite the history of Makhan Singh, Cege Kibacia, Fred Kubai, Bildad Kaggia and other stalwarts from the trade union who also contributed to the patriotic nationalist struggle.
From the 1980s at least, Kenyans who consider themselves “Left” have been confined to the universities and other sections of the middle-strata. They have been basically recruiting among themselves- the petit bourgeoisie,
Secondly, the fact that many of them, especially the early leaders of the movement came of age politically during the cold war period characterized by the Sino-Soviet schisms and the US led anti-communist red baiting coloured their ideological perspectives. Because many of them learned their Marxism from North American, European and Chinese sources affected the way they looked at Kenya.
The Kenyan Left suffered because of Maoist delusions largely influenced by the Mau Mau armed struggle which some romanticized and lionized.
Related to this is the national reality of ethnic, regional and religious identities. Some of have witnessed comrades who swear that the only way Kenyan progressives can unite is if all males were circumcised! Others have reduced their tribes into classes by quoting Colin Leys to justify why for instance, Luos are the proletariat arraigned against the Agikuyu. Muslims have justified their support for Khomeini because they are convinced that what happened in Iran was a revolution.
Another factor was the relationship between African and South Asian comrades with some of the racial and class stereotypes coming into play.
But the elephant in the room for the Kenyan Left has been patriarchy, sexism and misogyny. Largely because the movement has been male led, some men have abused their privileges to mistreat women. In the underground years of the 1980s,it was SISTERS who kept the clandestine fires burning when their brothers were incarcerated. Yet, what some comrades got was ABUSE. One woman commented that what Kenyan women got from the struggle was a series of cancer.
4.0. Of Financialization, Monopilization and Globalization
Imperialism or international capitalism, has undergone a lot of permutations in the course of its tortured evolution.
Looking at the world today in the year 2017, we see that the capitalism we have is very different from what was the case in the 19th century during the heydays of industrial capitalism or even later, at the time of the Berlin Conference and the European Scramble for Africa which led to orthodox colonialism. It is qualitatively different from the situation which prevailed after the Second World War, the cold war period when the USA was asserting itself as the world’s policeman. Things have changed since the collapse of the Soviet era in the 1990s and the series of “colour revolutions” in the 1990s and the wave of Third Way experiments of coming with an “acceptable” face of capitalism in Eastern and Central Europe, Asia and Africa at the beginning of this millennium. There were hopeful developments in Latin America in countries like Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia but events over the last few years have seen reversals especially with the death of Hugo Chavez and unwelcome developments in Brazil. The whole BRICS experiment has not removed countries like India and South Africa from the vortex of capitalism.
In China despite its rapid economic development where it has emerged in the last decade to become the second most powerful economy in the world, problems remain. Despite the dominance of the Chinese Communist Party, there is an open question whether China remains committed to socialism, especially with the emergence of Made in China overnight billionaires. Africans in particular are concerned about the emerging tendencies when it comes to the trade and economic policies of the Chinese government. In Kenya we are seeing the repressive Jubilee regime take some of its top functionaries to Beijing to be trained on improving their methods of political coercion even as the Chinese authorities benefit unduly from usurious loans and vanity projects like the Standard Gauge Railway which has
saddled millions of Kenyans with debts in excess of one trillion Kenyan shillings. In the run up to the 2017 elections, there are credible reports of the massive importation of heavy duty riot gear and police equipment from China to stave off democratic protests.
When we talk of imperialism today, the watch words are financialisation, monopolisation and globalisation.
This has affected Kenyans greatly.
In the global division of labour the Kenyan neo-colonial economy has been assigned then role of a minor sub-imperialist cog with some control over the East and Central African corner holding sway over countries like Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda- although these neighbouring states-especially Rwanda and Tanzania are increasingly assertive in affirming independent positions. The power of Kenya pales in comparison to South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia in the continental plane.
We frequently hear that we all live in a “global village”.
We are told that we must accept globalization because it is an inevitable and irreversible trend. We hear exhortations to adjust to global realities.
Often these are euphemisms brainwashing us to accept the domination of our economy by transnational corporations and the diktat of multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO that often coerce our leaders to lower labour standards, open our public sector to privatization and force our small farmers to accept unfair conditions of international trade. Even as the proponents of globalization trumpet the benefits of surfing the internet, the ignore deliberately the reality of the digital divide where the vast majority of Kenyans cannot afford to own computers or maintain regular access to the internet.
Globalization has forced a significant percentage of the most highly trained Kenyan brains to emigrate from the country in search of greener pastures in
New Zealand, Canada, the United
Italy, Spain, France,
Sweden, Denmark, Norway,
Germany, Austria, India,
and elsewhere. South Africa
And it is not only the academics and professionals, but young workers and increasingly talented athletes who have been regularly “defecting” to the oil rich sheikdoms of the Middle East like
Qatar and . There
is currently a crisis in the nursing profession as many of its members flee to
the Bahrain UK and North
America because the Kenyan government cannot afford to pay them a
James Petras has provided perhaps one of the most incisive overviews about the imperialist underpinnings of globalization:
…Globalization at a minimum involves the creation of a world economy that is not merely the sum of its national economies, but rather a powerful independent reality, created by the international division of labour and the world market which, in the present epoch, predominates over national markets. Large scale, long term flows of capital, commodities, technology and labor across national boundaries define the process of globalization…Contemporary globalization retains many of the key features of the earlier phases of globalization: the driving forces are centred in the imperial state and the multi-national corporation and banks, backed by the international financial institutions. What is significantly different are the scale, scope and speed of the circulation of capital and commodities, particularly financial flows between deregulated economies. The technological changes, especially in communications (computers, fax, etc.), have been a prime factor in shaping the high velocity of movements of capital.
The scope and scale of movement of capital and commodities however, are due less to technological than to political changes.
A historical analysis of the phases of globalization allows one to refute some of the ideological claims of its proponents. A retrospective analysis reveals that globalization has been cyclical in world historical development. There were periods of high globalization, moments of crises and periods in which economic flows turned inward. There is no universal inevitable tendency toward globalization. Inter-imperial wars resulting from global competition, internal crises of overproduction and more important social and political revolutions have all affected the trajectory of globalist nations and classes. The cyclical nature of globalization allows analysts to identify the internal/external weaknesses of the globalist project and identify the alternative strategies that emerged from the crises of global projects in earlier times.
The very idea of globalization as a historical necessity is questioned by its cyclical history. The notion that we enter a new period is also dubious: foreign trade and overseas income were a greater percentage of GNP in
The globalization idea is itself suspect. In its most widely expressed usage, it argues for a universal incorporation to the world marketplace and the spread of benefits throughout the world. The empirical reality is neither universal incorporation nor the spread of benefits: there are wealthy creditors and bankrupt debtors, super-rich speculators and impoverished unemployed workers, imperial states that direct international financial institutions and subordinate states that submit to their dictates.
All the imperial powers throughout history were never globalized; they became globalizers (imperialists) precisely through the development of the home market. Globalization was an instrument to expand and deepen the home market and develop the forces of production. Globalization was given a universal, virtuous character in each epoch of outward expansion, either in terms of moral values (extending Western civilization) or as an opportunity (to become modem). To the degree that contemporary globalization leads to the internal exploitation of labour and state resources within the imperial centres, it has awakened a labour opposition that creates an objective and subjective basis for internationalist working-class action.
The history of globalization is fraught with inter-imperial rivalries that struggle to displace competitors and impose the rule of particular national multi-nationals and state rule. The selective anti-imperialism of local clients facilitates the entry of imperial latecomers. The reconstruction of the Left cannot be rooted in becoming the plaything of rivalries between ascending and declining imperial powers. In the present context, there are several issues: the
The temptation among some Leftists is to defend "state-centred capitalism against" neo-liberalism; for others, the alternative is to accept the harsh prescriptions of adjustment from the IMF in exchange for employment, etc…
The basic facts are that capitalism cannot sustain growth and rising income levels: that welfare and capitalism are a product of a special balance of class forces that no longer exists. The existence of a revolutionary socialist alternative was the basic reason forcing capital to make reformist concessions in Europe and
Only the re-emergence of credible revolutionary alternatives might allow reformist and state-centred technocrats to negotiate concessions. As matters stand today, the real choices are between a capitalism that strips labour of all its social attributes, monopolizes public revenues and appropriate public enterprises and minerals and the socialist alternative--that needs to be reconstructed….
Crucial to the task of constructing the socialist alternative is to recognize the globalization parabola in the current period: the ascendancy in the seventies, its consolidation in the eighties and early nineties and its decline over the last several years, beginning in Asia, Latin America and spreading to North America and Western Europe. The second-biggest capitalist economy,
Globalization works in reverse. The extraordinary profits based on capitals appropriation of speculative returns no longer fuel the American and European stock market and giant financial monopolies. The worldwide bankruptcy of capitalism--its inability to reproduce itself-poses a major opportunity to argue for a socialist transformation and against strategies focused on adaptation and merely defensive struggles. Adaptation to austerity leads to new, regressive policies. The argument for one more adjustment is an unending melody. There is only more pain, not prosperity, in this never-ending tunnel. Defensive struggles, while necessary for sustaining elementary living conditions in the face of the economic collapse, provide short-term victories yet prepare strategic defeats, given the non-viability of the historic capital-labor partnership under present circumstances.
SOURCE: James Petras, Globalization: A Socialist Perspective, 1999
From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that globalization is neither inevitable or irreversible.
Kenyans need not succumb to the diktat that condemns us to the mitumbanization of the Kenyan economy; we need not mindlessly endorse the orgy of privatizations and other neo-liberal interventions that lead to the further impoverishment of the wananchi. We need not kow tow the pressure to introduce GMOs into our Uchumis and Nakumatts nor must we agree to the further growth of EPZs in this country.
Kenyans can take hope and seek courage in the fact that all over the world, the agenda of globalization is being vigorously fought and opposed. In Africa we can trace these anti-globalization struggles to the so called “IMF riots” in Sudan and other African countries from the late 1970s and early 1980s; on a world scale, the massive mobilization symbolized by Seattle in 1999, Quebec in 2001 and Genoa a few years later point to an ideological tectonic shift. The upsurge of left wing politics in places like Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and especially Venezuela point to an emerging ideological counterpoint to imperialist globalization, the Washington Consensus and other proponents of neo-liberal policies.
Sad to say but the reality that in
It is no accident therefore that while the ruling clique trumpets an often contested 5.8% growth rate, brand new Kenyan children come into the world with a debt burden of at least 33,000
shillings each. It is no surprise therefore that as the ruling clique of
the day boasts of its promotion of East African unity, Kenya Kenya is used by the United
States and her allies to undermine the internal stability
of neighbouring states like
using spurious “war on terror” excuses. Somalia
The challenge for Kenyans, especially those of a progressive mien is to come together to counter the global imperialist project by pushing for true international and global solidarity based on the principles of peace, international friendship, respect for national sovereignty and equality at the world level.
The Kenya Communist Party will continue to expose the true agenda of imperialist globalization even as it forges genuine South to South cooperation, true bilateral relations between North and South and lasting bonds among
her African neighbours. Kenya
When Uhuru-Ruto and Jubilee came to power, the economy took on a more blatant nature. There has been a spate of overnight billionaires- some of them former hairdressers- who cashed in corruption, tribalism and temderpreneurship- taking their queue from William Ruto, Anne Waiguru, Chris Okemo and Gichuru and massive, open looting by individuals close to Jubilee- including blood relatives of Uhuru Kenyatta and other top government officials.
4.0. Climate change and the environment
Unlike benighted Donald Trump, the Kenyan Communist Party knows about the painful reality of global warming and other devastating consequences on the environment. We are committed to the sentiments captured in the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, agreements reached at Rio de Janiero and other international gatherings.
5.0. The National and Democratic Tasks of the Kenyan Communist Party of
Millions of Kenyans continue to live in a beautiful but tortured that is weighed down by crippling debts, ravaged by poverty, terrorized by rampant crime and insecurity, sapped by endemic corruption, torn asunder by state-sponsored tribalism, tainted by regional disparities, hamstrung by technological backwardness, haunted by environmental degradation and beholden to the agendas of the World Bank and the IMF and the machinations from the capitals of capital.
These political, social, economic, cultural, technological, environmental ills and misfortune are neither divine visitations nor innate to our country because of its African identity as observers often claim in their idle flights of fancy.
Kenya, like many other African and Third World nations can trace the origins of their national woes to specific moments in historical time like the Transatlantic (and East African) Slave Trade, the 1884 Berlin Conference and the ensuing kinyanganyiro for Africa and her resources; the scourge of orthodox colonialism and the pestilence of ongoing neo-colonialism and the emerging trends of recolonization.
This is NOT to take off the hook the home-grown kleptocrats like Mobutu, Moi and other African tin pot dictators. Nor is it to sweep under the rug the local king pins who plan and execute the Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and other graft scandals.
What we are trying to say is that there is a history of poverty, crime, corruption and general underdevelopment in
Without understanding this history, it will be near impossible to craft lasting
solutions to our national malaise. Kenya
We therefore have the unfinished business of winning true national independence.
The fact that Kenyans STILL DO NOT have a national democratic constitution means that
can not yet be described as a
true democratic society even within the African context of emerging
The KCP has therefore the additional task of consummating the national democratic tasks in
It is important to recognize that the BIGGEST OBSTACLE standing before Kenyans and true independence, genuine democracy and the onset of ongoing social liberations remains the NEO-COLONIAL STATE and its local comprador bourgeois nyapara caretakers.
Flowing from the above, Kenyans must somehow SMASH the existing neo-colonial state and set up a NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC STATE in this particular country in
This will take a major shift in class, social and political relations in
because it will entail a
situation where the vast majority of the wananchi turn the tables on the
comprador bourgeois clique. Kenya
Speaking simply and bluntly, Kenyans need a REVOLUTION of a NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC character to achieve our objective of national independence, national democracy and national and social liberation.
Now, it is understandable that the mere mention of the “R” word-i.e. “revolution”- will immediately propel some Kenyans into paroxysms of panic, pandemonium and paranoia.
One way of calming these frazzled ideological nerves is to soberly deconstruct the meaning of the word “revolution”.
We are fighting for a National Democratic Revolution in
Now don’t get scared now, even if you are liberal parliamentary
Each word is chosen for a purpose.
The “National” obviously refers to the fact that we can not fight for the liberation of Turkanaland, Masaailand, Luoland, Gikuyuland and Gusiiland separately in isolation and to the exclusion of other parts of
Neither can we fight for the tribal or regional hegemony of one part of Kenyan
society to the exclusion of other parts. We are fighting Kenya
for the whole of
for the whole of
The “Democratic” aspect defines the main content of our struggles. We are deepening the spaces to be occupied by the popular social actors and here we mean the social forces: the workers, the small farmers, the poor, the women, the youth and all the wananchi who have been so far marginalized from the political mainstream.
The “Revolution” aspect underscores the need to go beyond PIECEMEAL REFORMS. We need a fundamental shift and reorganization of Kenyan society.
Not ALL revolutions are VIOLENT.
A revolution is simply a moment or process in time and space where one group of rulers (not individuals but social groups and/or classes) are replaced in terms of political power by another, previously marginalized social group/ class/alliances of various classes who then proceed to undertake a fundamental restructuring of that society.
It flows from this definition that a revolution is not an elitist conspiracy but a dramatic moment in history when millions and millions of ordinary wananchi are galvanized by a well-organized political and social movement with a strong leadership achieve ownership and immediate agency in enacting new pathways to the future.
So, yes, we in the Kenyan Communist Party are talking about a National Democratic Revolution in
By its very nature, given the fact that we have defined the main obstacle as the neo-liberal universe of international finance capital, our national democratic revolution in Kenya will have both a patriotic and an anti-imperialist character and will be an ongoing process that deepens and ripens over time.
It will be in this context, a “Left oriented” National Democratic Revolution with an orientation towards scientific socialism.
5.1. Steps to Be Taken By the KCP to Realize the National Democratic Revolution in
Mapinduzi sio ngoma ya lelemama…-Swahili saying.
Fundamental political changes and lasting social transformation does not come about by happenstance.
Seizing state power is never a spontaneous stroke of luck.
In the Kenyan milieu those who want to preserve the neo-colonial status quo will never deign to give up their privileges without a vicious tussle.
They will lie, they will cajole, they will cut deals, they will bribe, they will twist arms, they will blackmail, they will threaten and intimidate, they will hurt and maim, they will kill and destroy.
As was evidenced in Salvador Allende’s
the forces that backed the late unlamented General
Pinochet to seize power were not going to allow even an unmistakable
electoral victory and clear democratic mandate to wipe away their class
privilege and class power. Chile
That is why there is a difference between being elected into office and seizing political power to unleash radical, pro-poor policy interventions that lead to a rapid transformations in social relations, economic dynamics and political interactions in a given society.
It is for this reason that the Kenya Communist Party while recognizing the importance of elections and democratic reforms, stays focused on the larger picture: how to harness the patriotic and revolutionary energies of the Kenyan wananchi to build a new society, a new
Kenyans should NOT be looking for a would be messiah, a Joshua to lead them to Canaan.
It is true that without outstanding leaders there can be very little political headway.
These leaders however must rise to the historical occasion and exhibit leadership in the very way they facilitate or do not facilitate the development of courageous, militant, patriotic and revolutionary organizers and social justice architects from the very ranks and depths of the wananchi.
“... A revolution is not a coup d’etat; it is not the outcome of plots. It is the work of the masses. Hence, the mobilization and rallying of the mass forces... is a fundamental and decisive problem. This task must be approached in a vigorous and sustained way both throughout the period when a revolutionary situation has not yet appeared and the period when such a situation has arisen and matured. To realize this task, one must mingle and be active with the masses in everyday life, even within enemy organizations. One must keep abreast of the situation in the enemy’s camp as well as ours, correctly appraise all schemes, moves and capabilities of the enemy, accurately assess all changes developing in his ranks, and at the same time be fully aware of the state of mind, wishes and potential power of the masses. In this way one can put forward appropriately incisive and timely slogans which will arouse the broad masses to action, direct them from lower to higher forms of struggle, ceaselessly heighten their political consciousness and help expand the army of the revolution both in scope and in depth. On the road to the seizure of power, the only weapon available to the revolutionary masses is ORGANIZATION. The hallmark of the revolutionary movement...is its high organizational standards....”
- Le Duan, The Vietnamese Revolution: Fundamental Problems and Essential Tasks, New World Paperbacks,
“.....Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle-cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language....”
Karl Marx: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
“...The more powerful enemy can be conquered only by exerting the utmost effort, and by necessarily, thoroughly, carefully, attentively and skilfully taking advantage of any, even the smallest, ‘rift’ among the enemies...by taking advantage of every, even the smallest, opportunity of gaining a mass ally, even though this ally be temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable and conditional...”
- Vladimir Lenin, Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder, International Publishers,
“... Far from pinning our hopes on antagonisms within the ranks of the enemy, we are fully aware that the development of these contradictions and the extent to which they be capitalized upon are in the last analysis determined by the strength of the revolution. The experience of all genuine popular revolutions shows that the stronger the revolutionary forces become and the higher the revolutionary tide rises, the more the enemy’s ranks are torn by contradictions and are likely to split Ultimately the time comes when these conflicts have grown so exacerbated as to render impossible all compromise between the various enemy factions. This constitutes one of the unmistakable signs of the maturity of the revolutionary situation. The revolution then breaks out and the enemy’s rule is overthrown in decisive battles....The victory of the revolution depends primarily on a correct determination of the general orientation and strategic objective, as well as the specific orientation and objective for each period. But just as important as defining the orientation and objective is the problem of how to carry them into effect once such decisions are made. What road should be followed? What forms should be adopted? What measures should be used? Experience has shown that a revolutionary movement may mark time, or even fail, not for lack of clearly defined orientations and objectives, but essentially because there have been no appropriate principles and methods of revolutionary action. Methods of revolutionary action are devised to defeat the enemy of the revolution, and in the most advantageous way, so that the revolution may attain its ends as quickly as possible. Here one also needs wisdom as well as courage; it is not only a science, but also an art. Decisions over methods of revolutionary action require, more than in any other field, that the revolutionary maintain the highest creative spirit. Revolution is creation; it cannot succeed without imagination and ingenuity. There has never been nor will there ever be a unique formula for making a revolution that is suited to all situations. One given method may be adaptable to a certain country but unsuitable in another. A correct method in certain times and circumstances may be erroneous in other situations. Everything depends on the concrete historical conditions..... It is a matter of principle that either in the daily policies or in the practice of revolutionary struggle... a revolutionary should never lose sight of the final goal. If one considers the fight for small daily gains and immediate targets as ‘everything’ and views the final goal as ‘nothing’... then one displays the worst kind of opportunism which can only result in keeping the popular masses in eternal servitude. However, it is by no means sufficient to comprehend only the final objective. While keeping in mind the revolutionary goal, the art of revolutionary leadership lies in knowing how to win judiciously step by step. Revolution is the work of millions of popular masses standing up to overthrow the ruling classes, which command powerful means of violence together with other material and spiritual forces. That is why a revolution is always a long-term process. From the initial steps to the final victory, a revolution necessarily goes through many difficult and complex stages of struggle full of twists and bends, clearing one obstacle after another and gradually changing the relation of forces between the revolution and the counter-revolution until overwhelming superiority is achieved over the ruling classes...”
Le Duan, The Vietnamese Revolution: Fundamental Problems and Essential Tasks, New World Paperbacks,
If we accept the thesis that the task at hand for the Kenyan Communist Party in Kenya is spearhead the process leading up to the realization of a national democratic revolution in Kenya, it therefore follows that the KCP cannot do this on its own.
The task implies a national, patriotic constellation of democratic forces.
It should be underscored that this IS NOT synonymous with cobbling a coalition of INDIVIDUAL POLITICIANS lumped together solely to create a patchwork quilt sewn together by the flimsy fabric of ethnic arithmetic.
What we are talking about is a national mseto of PROGRESSIVE and PATRIOTIC social forces led primarily by the working people of the country and revolutionary democrats drawn from the petit-bourgeoisie and the middle strata.
In other words the main organizational form that will galvanize the wananchi is the United Democratic Front. The KCP has the unique historic opportunity of creating the momentum and providing the impetus that will bring progressive and patriotic Kenyans who may NOT necessarily share ideological ideas on each and every aspect and facet of politics, economics, social policies and cultural ideas.
For instance it is obvious that today in
a widespread pro-social democratic current sweeping the nation. At the same
time it is equally clear that not all social democrats, not all revolutionary
democrats, not all progressive nationalists and not all left-leaning liberals
are confined to the one party. In fact a few are to be found scattered among the
mainstream electoral vehicles like ODM,
Wiper, Amani, FORD-Kenya, Chama Cha Mashinani Jubilee and even KANU. The task of the Kenya Communist Party is to lead from
the front in a flexible, non-dogmatic,
non sectarian fashion that will persuade all these “homeless” social
democrats and progressive forces to gravitate towards the KCP led Kenyan United Democratic Front. Kenya
The Kenyan Communist Party can do this by being the most articulate, the most consistent and the most resolute advocate for national and social democratic concerns in all spheres of Kenyan life. It must be the first to denounce retrogressive domestic and foreign policies. It must be the unchallenged champion of squatters, oppressed communities and marginalized ethnic and cultural minorities. It must be at the forefront of shunning and denouncing Big Tribe Chauvinism and the first to defend workers facing retrenchment and arbitrary sackings. The KCP must be the recognized voice of small farmers, youth, the exploited and underpaid academics and the fledgling small business people threatened by the machinations and encroachments of transnational corporations. The KCP must be at the frontline of peace campaigns and conflict transformation processes. The KCP must advance the most progressive positions of Pan Africanism, South to South solidarity and internationalism.
By being persistently and courageously on the trenches of democratic struggles and social justice mobilizations, the KCP will without doubt gradually become the political party with most integrity and the most respected political force in the country even if it does not form the next government in
The KCP’s main strategy will be to first win
HEGEMONIC leadership over the wananchi and let this gradually evolve into an unstoppable momentum for
wresting the levers of state power from the mainstream comprador political
charlatans who masquerade as the “governments in waiting”. Kenya
Section 6: Regional and Internationalist Tasks
6.0 Commitment to Human Rights and Social Justice
Many of our members achieved prominence as activists fighting exploitation, police brutality, violence against women, corruption, tribalism, homophobia, ableism, environmental degradation and other socio-economic and cultural ills. The Kenyan Communist Party is firmly wedded to these ideals.
Section 7: Regional and Internationalist Tasks
Away from the FAKE “Pan-African” rhetoric of the Jubilee regime, the Kenyan Communist Party is committed to a consistent internationalist policy that binds Kenya to first of all other African countries as well as other parts of the South like Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia without forgetting that North America and Europe are part of the world atlas.
In this connection we must go on the record as also condemning in the strongest possible terms the recent decision by NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga who was accompanied by none other than Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju on a trip sponsored visit to Western Sahara at the invitation of the King of Morocco who has annexed this country when the African Union and most nation-states on the continent recognize POLISARIO as the genuine representative of the Sahrawi people. The Kenyan Communist Party also denounces the visit by the NASA flag bearer to Apartheid Israel on the very day he was named the opposition flag bearer as a slap in the face of the suffering Palestinian people.
Speaking of Kenyans, we are aware that tens of thousands of Kenyans live and work in Euope, North America, the Middle East, Asia, other parts of Africa and the rest of the world and we view these as members of the wider Kenyan Diaspora an active citizens of the country.
8.0. A Look at 2017 Electoral Realities
Talking of the exact moment, in the run up to the August 8th, 2017 elections,
The Kenyan Communist Party, in the context of struggling for a national democratic state believes that we must avoid any temptation at some holier-than-thou sectarian sentiments.
We must unite with the massive democratic outrage against the discredited, corrupt, tribalistic, lying and pro-imperialist Jubilee ruling clique.
This means that the Kenyan Communist Party must stand up to be counted.
We consider ourselves part and parcel of the millions of Kenyans-inside and outside the country-who are patriotic, peace loving and democratic who have said NO! to tribalism, the discredited “ tryranny of numbers” and the “digital” dictatorship of Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and Jubilee who, if left unchecked will drive Kenya further and deeper into neo-colonialism.
NASA is not a “socialist” project. We do not believe that Raila Odinga is Kenya’s answer to Fidel Castro. We are painfully aware of the historical and ideological limitations of Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula and Isaac Ruto-mainstream politicians who cut their political teeth in Moi’s KANU.
But we are convinced that at this moment in time NASA and its leadership constitute the most viable instrument to break the shackles of Jubilee led oppression, repression and dictatorship and wanton criminal acts such as the recent callous murder of Chris Musando and Ms. Anne Wanjiru.
We are therefore ENDORSING without any reservation, NASA to win the 2017 Kenyan elections.
Post a Comment