Tuesday, May 19, 2009




By Oscar Obonyo

Dear Kaguta,
Kindly accept apologies for my countrymen’s rather raw and crude attack on you over remarks on Migingo Island, last week. Forgive them Your Excellency, for they know not who exactly you are and what you are capable of.

As your neighbour on the Kenyan side of Busia border, I know better. My paternal grandmother, who hails from Samia-Bugwe in your country, understands you even better. Before she died — a couple of years ago — her single most prayer was that one day her family shall be united in one free happy nation.

I am particularly excited about the recent developments and my grandmother, Namude, must be grinning in her grave. But as you embark on executing your "shared dream", I want to advise you on three critical points. First, hit the ground running fast, because time is not on your side.

As you may already be aware, your political buddy President Kibaki has three more years before the end of his second and last term in office, and this scheme, whatever it is, has to be executed before he departs.

Through Dr Bonny Khalwale, the Kenyan MPs have told you as much — "it will not be business as usual" with new leadership in 2012. Remember in 1976, when one of your predecessors, Idi Amin, laid claim to the Kenyan territory stretching all the way to Naivasha. Founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta instantly repulsed him with reverberating verbal threats. Then Mzee warned that he would declare war on Uganda if Amin continued kutuletea nyokonyoko (territorial interference).

And not so long ago, retired President Moi stopped you in your tracks at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium, during a national day anniversary. You were excited by Pokot traditional dancers and attempted small "tribal talk" upon getting a chance to address the nation. You stated you had finally seen "Pokots who steal our cattle in Uganda", but Moi responded firmly that his citizens are not cattle rustlers. Those were no-nonsense Commanders-In-Chief, but this time you are lucky. And for some strange reason Kibaki has a soft spot for you. So make hay while the sun shines.

Secondly, brother M7, it is important that you sustain your divisive antics. Over the years, this has helped you survive. Do not be dissuaded from singling out the "mad Wajaruo", because it will help you appeal to a section of the country. Indeed, my former MP and Vice-President Moody Awori can attest you are a master of divisive antics. When his younger brother, Aggrey Awori, was Samia-Bugwe MP in your country, you plotted to draw a rift between the brothers to humble Aggrey.

"You are a nice man but you have a brother here, who is stubborn and reckless," you told our VP in Uganda in 2004, at a public function.

Finally, as you execute your expansionist plot to win us over into Uganda, you must prepare to uphold democratic principles and accommodate divergent views. Kenyans are allergic to dictatorial traits. They cherish freedom and other democratic ideals.

In the meantime, an inner voice tells me the marauding territorial battle is not what my poor grandmother envisaged. Hers was a regional integration that would allow the border communities to interact beyond artificial borders.

A second voice tells me, brother M7, that helpless as Kenya looks today, soon it will get a President who will fight for its territorial boundaries, and reclaim it (if you run away with any portion) within your lifetime.

Obonyo is a senior political writer, with The Standard, Weekend Editions.