A Political Mugging

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Milliband has expressed his concerns over the voting “irregularities” noted by EU and other observers, many of whom were manhandled by the GSU earlier today when the KICC was cleared so that Kivuite could furtively declare Kibaki the presidential winner.

While the editorial in Britain’s Times describes the current leadership as a “pampered, self-perpetuating political elite dominated since independence by the Kikuyu tribe”, clearly signalling the UK elite’s exasperation with the shabby events which transpired in Kenya today and in surprisingly strong and emotive language not usually seen in this paper; it does not bode well for Kibaki or for the Kikuyu.

There are Kikuyu who comprise the elite, just as there are Kalenjin, Luo, Luyia and so on. These elites have more in common with each other than with the poor. Similarly, there are millions of Kikuyu who like the rest are impoverished BUT tonight it is the Kikuyu who will be dragged from their homes and killed while Kibaki sits in State House growing more soporific on beer and the whisperings of his advisors who tell him all is well.

Is this what we want? This blot on our national conscience? That reference in the Times to the self-perpetuating elite which slyly slipped in mention of the Kikuyu without drawing attention to the contradiction that for over 20 years Moi, a Kalenjin, stuffed every political post he could with Kalenjins or the fact that others like Odinga, a Luo, became a millionaire businessman is almost an endorsement, an acceptance that Kikuyu blood must be spilled to create this new Republic.

Much rests now on how Odinga carries himself.

Can he lead a genuine Orange Revolution? From where I am sitting, many of Kenya’s middle-class are outraged by the events unfolding and are not going to turn a blind eye to the massacres taking place tonight. I hear from Kumekucha that Kibera is under fire tonight with gunshots being heard there – GSU brutality in action. Those bullets are being fired at Luos.

Odinga can pull this off but how different is he from Kibaki?

It is not only the poor and disenfranchised that are enraged. Every successful revolution of the past has depended on middle-class support.

I do see the logic in what Odinga is doing but I do not see the logic in splitting a country along tribal lines and I fear the ensuing bloodshed will not be healed easily if it becomes tribal warfare, it’s a wound that should never be opened. This is a political battle in that the democratic process was aborted by the blatant vote-rigging it is also, more importantly, an economic one and many have not seen trickle down theories put food on their tables or clothe their kids; it is not a tribal battle and Odinga needs to spell that out to the entire country, especially as nobody else is prepared to do so.

Odinga needs to also spell out where he is planning to take the country, map out the big idea. NOW! If he fails to do this, we’ll just descend into senseless killing and anarchy. If Odinga is a true patriot he must take this moment and clarify his vision, his mission. Make a commitment to reducing poverty straight away. Give a time-table for reducing poverty, explain how it will be done, if you are serious Odinga. Under Kibaki poverty was reduced, people are hungry for a better life and if you want to lead this country Odinga, remember it’s the poor of ALL ethnicities who voted for you yesterday. Addendum: The vote was more anti-Kibaki and the corrupt old guard (the mzees (old men) of Kenyan politics) than pro-opposition. “The president was seen as doing a bad job in terms of ethnic balance.”

Watching the election from the moment that it was clear the ECK were working hand in glove to overturn Odinga’s majority has been like watching a deja-vu nightmare. A friend from Kenya reminded me of Rwanda. Do Kenyans really want to go there? It is the predictability that makes me mad, any 10 year old could have seen this coming and so WHY did Kibaki play along with this madness? Don’t lives and peace count for that “pampered, self-perpetuating elite”?

The following reaction of Muthoni Wanyeki of the Human Rights Commission to the stolen election was relayed to me earlier. She said, “They did it. Through attempts to disenfranchise Luo voters in Nairobi and finally through manipulating figures. We need a detailed, rigorous response, collectively, to express our anger and pain at how voters have been betrayed, and Kenya diminished, shamed before the rest of Africa and the world. Remember how we felt iin 2003? It’s all gone.”

So how to explain the dead-eyed reaction of a US state department official calling Kibaki to congratulate him on his victory and asking Kenyans to accept the decision of the ECK, declaring that it is up to them to investigate claims of vote-rigging. Don’t they realize what has happened? You don’t ask a thief to account for the goods he has stolen.

As my wise Kenyan friend said it’s “a political mugging”.


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