Tuesday, March 11, 2008



The Nation (Nairobi)
February 8, 2008
By Cabral Pinto

One of Kenya's heroes is politician Bildad Kaggia. Breaking ranks with Kanu and President Jomo Kenyatta over the party's land policies, Mr Kaggia teamed up with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga to form the Kenya People's Union, the most radical party in Kenya's political history.

Mr Kaggia was not only jailed on trumped-up charges, but, he was subjected to death threats and almost assassinated in Thika because of this heroic move.

In the eyes of Mzee Kenyatta and ethnic chauvinists around him, Mr Kaggia was a traitor to the Kikuyu cause. But he never relented or gave up, and today he remains a role model for subverting negative ethnicity. He taught us never to ethnicise injustice, theft, half-truths and falsehoods, evil, ideology, politics, corruption or poverty. In his opinion, this ethnicisation is precisely what Mzee Kenyatta expected of him.

What ethnic cause has Ms Njeri Kabeberi, Ms Muthoni Wanyeki, Ms Gladwell Otieno, Mr Maina Kiai, Mr David Ndii, Mr Nahashon Gacheke, Mr Ndung'u Wainaina and Mr James Maina betrayed? Is it the same ethnic cause that Mr John Githongo is supposed to have betrayed? Is calling for peace with truth and justice a betrayal of this ethnic cause? Have the interests of the Kikuyu elite become the interests of the Kikuyu community?

As far as it is known, the Kikuyu elite have not shared their economic largesse among the poor Kikuyu. The Kikuyu daughters and sons mentioned above and others are better leaders and representatives of the Kikuyu community than the Kikuyu elite. They have witnessed the community's collective interests in co-existence with other communities without ethnic jingoism, arrogance and chauvinism. They have followed the beaten path that Mr Kaggia boldly followed.

Another of Kenya's heroes is Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The Kenyatta and Moi regimes kept Jaramogi in a cruel political wilderness. Yet he never organised the harassment of Mr William Odongo Omamo, Mr Okiki Amayo, Mr Dalmas Otieno and other Kanu followers in Nyanza who, along with the two presidents, were part of Jaramogi's persecution.

What ethnic causes have Mr David Habil Odongo and Ms Grace Wangui betrayed by getting married and investing in Classic Guest House of Dunga in Kisumu?
WHAT ETHNIC CAUSE DID THE PNU councillors in Migori breach and betray? Why are they on the run for fear for their lives? Who decided that Luos support only Mr Odinga or face the community's wrath? Should the Luo elite decide whom members of the community should marry? Who in Luoland is speaking out against this type of negative ethnicity?

When are we going to hear Mr Dan Okello, Mr Oduor Ong'wen, Mr Edward Oyugi and Prof Anyang' Nyong'o speak out against the negative dictates of the Luo elite in the garb of collective ethnic good? Thankfully, we have heard Mr Onyango Oloo's voice.
In Rift Valley Province, we need to hear the voices of Mr Tirop arap Kitur, Mr Donald Kipkorir, Mr David Koros, Bishop Korir and others against the Kalenjin elite's ethnic jingoism.

President Moi set the ball rolling when he condoned the illegal eviction of non-Kalenjins from the region in 1990, 1991 and 1998. Now the Kalenjin elite are telling the poor Kalenjins that they will get their land back once the non-Kalenjins living in the Rift Valley are ethnically cleansed.

But the Kalenjin elite are saying nothing about the huge tracts of land they and other multiracial and multi-ethnic elite own. The Kalenjin elite are saying nothing about the land in Rift Valley owned by foreign companies and individuals. While land grievances in Kenya, Rift Valley in particular, must be addressed, surely, it is no lasting solution to the matter and no reason for the Kalenjin elite to pit the poor residents against the poor from the other communities by engineering ethnic cleansing.

It is no reason for the Kikuyu elite to sponsor reprisal attacks by poor Kikuyus on poor non-Kikuyus in Rift Valley and other areas.

Kenya needs also to hear more voices of the racial and ethnic minorities in the country. Prof Ali Mazrui has been patriotic in his interventions on this political crisis. Mr Abdulahi Ahmednasir has made useful contributions in press articles. Ms Zarina Patel and Mr Zayid Rajan have taken a patriotic political stand on the crisis. Mr Harun Ndubi has joined other Kenyans in seeking a solution to the turmoil.

It is to the credit of the Kenyan South Asians, the Swahili, the Abagusii and the Somali that all the great Kenyans mentioned above have not been called traitors to the causes of their communities, and their lives have not been threatened. The Kenyan Europeans have their leaders in Mr John Sutton, Mr Robert Shaw, Dr David Western and Dr Richard Leakey, among others. They, too, must speak out as they continue to do great work in various fields among European and African communities.
If we want to save Kenya, we must stop believing that it is only President Kibaki and Mr Odinga who will or must save the count ry. It is about time Kenyans told the leaders what they want before the strong foreign interests in the country decide what is good for our motherland