First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
– Martin Niemöller –
It clear for everyone who cares to see that we are living a bold-faced lie of unity. There is no denying the fact that we have one of the most progressive constitutions in the world today. However, it is sad that the implementation of the constitution is yet to kick off slightly over two years since its enactment. Apart from the formation of constitutional bodies which exist to draw salaries from the exchequer, for the rest of the country, it is still business as usual under the old order. At a time when the government is cheating us that we are on a recovery path to peace holding national conferences on peaceful elections, stability and inclusiveness courtesy of the many laws that seek to unite the people of this republic, going by the recent happenings, nothing has changed on the ground.
The same constitution which gives us so much by the right hand takes away too much by the left hand. When Osama bin Laden was ambushed and killed in Abottabad, Pakistan in May, 2011 by US Seals, the whole world rejoiced. America had killed its prime target. He was not given the due process benefit, the same fate befell Fazul Abdulla and it is expected that the same strategy will be applied by America to eliminate all those it considers terrorists at home and abroad. The US cannot allow any other country to go to such lengths, it will demand accountability and respect for human rights from the concerned country. This is because it is the prefect of the world, it dictates what the world must do as it says, not as it does because it is not bound by its rules and answers to none but itself. Our constitution under Article 49(h) guarantees the right of an accused person “to be released on bond or bail, on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial, unless there are compelling reasons not to be released. So while America securely locks up its terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, we are supposed to let our A Shabab and Al Qaeda suspects roam our streets in the name of implementing the constitution.
In Tana River, neighbours have turned against each other, a massacre was committed right under the nose of the very government which is supposed to serve and protect its citizens. We saw the government descend there after the event, closing the stable after the horse had bolted and shed crocodile tears as usual promising not to leave any stone unturned. I really do not know why the prime minister, the vice president and ministers like heading to disaster sites and make (lie) proclamations which the do not believe in. While parliament is busy enacting laws to force people to live in cohesion and the government is busy spending money on peace meetings in five-star hotels, nothing is being done to inculcate a culture of tolerance and love for each other. The government should spread resources to the people; educate our people (not that phony civic education the government pays the bureaucrats to deliver) because gainfully employed and engaged people have no time to torch their neighbours houses while killing people and livestock. This is due to the fact that you cannot legislate love. Love is unconditional and it is upon the people now to see that violence will not make their lives better, but worse or even end them. Those inciting them live in secluded and protected centers of exclusivity. They only stop over in the hoods when they need a favour from the people.
Youths being used to cause mayhem have always been a problem in Kenya. We have seen scenes in Nakuru, Kisumu and Mombasa where Miguna Miguna was assaulted by louts who do not believe in the message of reason is reminiscent of Moi’s early and mid 1990’s Kenya. I thought such acts of thuggery and hooliganism ended with Fred Gumo and his goons of Jeshi la Mzee, (a picture of Rev. Timothy Njoya getting a beating of his life comes to mind) but it turns out I was wrong. I cannot believe that the Kenya Police is powerless when faced by these goons. We entrust it with our security and we expect it to spare no effort or force in the protection of innocent people against criminals. I know the Kenya Police are up to the task at hand. Let us the people give them all the help they need to execute their duties. All those involved in the attacks against JaNyando must be brought to book if indeed we claim to be fighting impunity.
If it was illegal under Moi’s government to attack innocent Kenyans is still illegal under the current government. The argument that Miguna must read the mood of the people is utter balderdash. Raila himself is not fighting Miguna, why would any nincompoop busybody think that he can fight for Jakom with all the state resources at his disposal?. Raila lives in Karen, Miguna in Runda, possibly the thugs live in slums like me, Raila may even dress in Brioni suits while Miguna can afford Savile Row’s bespoke the thugs,struggling to make ends meet just like me can only afford Chinese made suits or Gor Mahia t-shirts. We are worlds apart from the big shots, and we should not spend any second thinking that we are fighting for them.
We must rise above petty and retrogressive ideas and raise our voices in unison wherever and whenever we see the rights of people being trampled upon for we never know when our rights may be infringed upon. Former madrassa teacher and Muslim cleric Sheikh Aboud Rogo prominently linked to Somalia’s Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda groups by both Kenyan and US authorities has been a very prominent face in the news since 2002 attempting downing of an Israel plane and Kikambala bombing. He has been in and out of court severally fighting terror related and possession of illegal weapons charges. On 27th August, 2012, unknown gunmen sprayed a vehicle he was travelling in with some members of his family with bullets killing him on the spot.
The aftermath was devastating. A man was stoned to death by irate and marauding protesting mentally inept youths who attacked everyone and everything in their sight. Pastor Lai’s Jesus Celebration Centre, Maina Nga’nga’s Neno Evangelism Centre were looted, Ziwani SDA Church was vandalized and Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church in Buxton was petrol bombed. You would be forgiven for thinking that the churches are the ones which had killed Sheikh Aboud Rogo. The state agencies should move with haste and precision to find out who murdered Rogo for to fail to do so is to accept the reign of jungle law. I know how it will be hard for Rogo’s eight year old daughter who saw his father killed in cold blood, the trauma will never leave her and I pray that she may just find peace in this world to overcome.
A religious war is a war that can never be won by any mortal, because it is a war premised on nothing but stupidity. You fight for a non-existent thing. Way back in the year 2000 in Nairobi’s South B area, Islam and Christianity clashed and exposed the soft underbelly that is our religious tolerance. A catholic church was razed to the ground and a mosque suffered a similar fate. The leaders from the two religions intervened and averted a flare up of religious based violence. But it seems the spark of hatred is just bubbling under the surface. All those religious zealots and fanatics should know that religion is a drug to lull them into inaction and indolence of the mind. A good question would be what would have happened in Mombasa had Christians been the ones who looted and petrol bombed a mosque? We will never know but I ask that the state agencies do their investigations and arrest and prosecute each and everyone who was involved.
We must speak with one voice against violence in all its forms if we want to live in harmony. Let us not rely on the government to teach us how to live at peace with our neighbours but let us take the initiative ourselves. Afghanistan, Iraq, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan are always on the edge for the ever-present danger of religious based violence. We are one people and should not let it happen here but choose the way of religious tolerance if we indeed must have religion. Religion divides, humanity unites. Let us behave as people like people in a pub, they do not care the hell what religion their fellow drinkers belong to they enjoy and live life.