Tuesday, October 20, 2009



October 19 2009

So what’s there to celebrate? We mark a day appropriated for the personal aggrandisement of one man. Kenyatta Day was established to perpetuate President Kenyatta’s mythical role in the armed struggle for independence.

As it turned out, as aptly captured in Bildad Kaggia’s Roots of Freedom, Kenyatta was nowhere near the top of Mau Mau high command. He was not even Mau Mau in strict sense of the term, but merely tolerated as the political symbol of the struggle.

Well, he went on to become the founding Father of the Nation, and once safely installed in office, did everything he possibly could to erase the history of Mau Mau.

The freedom fighters who had been robbed of their land became non-persons, and those who had collaborated with the colonial occupiers to put down their own people became the new landed gentry, the wenyenchi.

Kenyatta also put in place the national philosophy of a small elite exploiting its position of power and authority to grab the national wealth for itself, dismissing the poor, hungry, dispossessed masses as lazy and foolish.

He passed on the baton to Daniel Moi, who accelerated the wanton plunder, and in turn passed the mantle to another worthy successor, Mwai Kibaki.

Now that is the real enigma. Once in power, President Kibaki honoured the leader and symbol of the Mau Mau rebellion, Dedan Kimathi, with a bronze statue on Kimathi Street. That was it.

He also allowed otherwise forgotten Mau Mau remnants to grace national day celebrations, to the seeming discomfort of the perfumed classes who flinched at being seated on the dais next to some rustic villagers. That was it.

The Kibaki whose own brother was one of the victims of the infamous Hola Massacre, when nearly a dozen Mau Mau detainees were bludgeoned to death by colonial forces, had no room beyond the token recognition to do anything serious about redressing the injustices crafted by his predecessors.

I’m not here talking about merely giving Mau Mau survivors some land, a stipend, or medals, but about righting some basic wrongs in this dysfunctional society that are ultimately responsible for our national crisis.

In his comfortable zone at State House surrounded by flunkies and an entire security battalion, President Kibaki, like Moi and Kenyatta before him, is simply incapable of understanding that Kenya, as pronounced by Chinese premier Chou en Lai so many years ago, is a country ripe for revolution.

Kibaki is happy to preside over a country where the gap between rich and poor is about the highest in the world.

HE IS INCAPABLE OF REALISING the edifice he helped build is a ticking time bomb he sits astride. We can grapple with security problems wrought by Kalenjin warriors, Mungiki, Baghdad Boys, Sungu Sungu and so on, but no Luis Moreno-Ocampo nor army on earth will resolve the issue of desperate, hungry, hopeless, youth pouring out of every pore.

The conditions for ethnic-political violence exist in this country because of the millions of idle, jobless youth ready to do the bidding of politicians in exchange for some paltry handouts.

It is also the hopeless and desperate who are most vulnerable to the brainwashing and propaganda spewed by the criminals that are our political leaders.

You are hungry? Jobless? Landless? That other fellow is the problem. His people took our land, took all the jobs and got all the education. We must teach them a lesson and reclaim our rights. Kill them! Chase them out of this locality! It is our turn to own the big farms and houses and to drive the big cars they have been showing off with.

Those are the socio-economic conditions government by a small, ignorant, arrogant elite can never begin to comprehend and address.

Occasionally they will throw some small morsels like those infamous scams called youth funds or women’s funds, or Kazi kwa Vijana, but often they are just political slush funds, and at best amount to treating a gaping, cancerous wound with elastoplast.

The landed classes who run this country can celebrate Kenyatta Day, hopeful they have everything in control and that the country will soon recover from the descent into post-election barbarism.

A power-sharing agreement, however, is not even a single step towards repairing the deep schisms in society.

We may craft temporary ethnic alliances that buy us a little time, but the next implosion might be based not the interests of competing ethnic chieftains, but on the class divide.

When the downtrodden masses rise up in revolt, there will be no ethnic chief to strike a deal with. By refusing to address the real concerns of poverty and the class divide, President Kibaki is helping Chou en Lai’s prophecy come true.


Submitted by jiwadove
Posted October 20, 2009 06:13

ogweny,Imagine white people ocupying Luoland in Kisumu. Where would you guys go as a community? The lake would be out of bound for you. Mau Mau realized that if the white man can be chased out of the land, freedom can be granted. Palestinians are fighting for their land. There is no freedom without land. Every human being realize this apart from some Kenyans. Your argument is wanting. Kikuyus fought for land and in the process freedom was granted. The freedom you are enjoying right now was gotten on Kikuyus blood. Take it or leave it.

Submitted by pish!
Posted October 20, 2009 03:00 PM

Well said! This is a great article! Kenyatta Day should be done away with. It simply reminds us how those fought for freedom were treated like dirt by the black colonialists who took over from their british counterparts. I refuse to celebrate 'self aggrandisement' Mwalimu peter

Submitted by thanairobian
Posted October 20, 2009 02:48 PM

Great article. Is there hope for Kenya to have a peaceful transition? Once the public realize its not tribe that is holding them back but a manipulating elite that just uses them maybe they will rise up.

Submitted by Tribeless
Posted October 20, 2009 09:13 AM

Good point there macharia. What is needed, apart from redressing those wrongs u have articulated, is to dissolve Kenyatta, Noi and Madaraka days and replace them with a heroes day that celebrates the true heroes of our freedom, both pre and post independence. In the process we will also stop wasting time on useless national days and go some ways to addressing the causes of hunger and poverty

Submitted by Issamtume
Posted October 20, 2009 08:16 AM

The problem with our so called "leaders" is that they are a bunch of hungry hyenas posing as democrats. when left out of the ating table they will scream democracy at the top of their voices and fight as hard to get on to the eating table. That explains the current state where Moi's fierest critics are now in power and Kenyans are almost worse off than before.

Submitted by mutuwa123
Posted October 20, 2009 08:14 AM

Kenyatta was never part of the Mau Mau and like Moi had to re-write history,created a work of fiction and challengers to both their authority began disappearing. Kibaki has not gotten there yet. Raila is the one I feel will get the revolution after 2012. After convincing other tribes that the kikuyu were the problem in 2007, whom will he blame then? Remember he has justified anarchy when someone steals your right, God help him. Be careful what you wish for Mr. Raila you are about to inherit the last straw of kenyan patience.

Submitted by Linda415
Posted October 20, 2009 07:05 AM

Gaitho, for the years I have read you commentary, it’s all about CRITICISM. Arrogating yourself right to criticise other people’s initiatives and anything not initiated by you is quite simple and anyone talented in English can do what you do. But can you set an example and tell us initiatives you have initiated and have been successful so that we listen to you when you look for all manner of mistakes in other people and what they do. You are professional in whining!

Submitted by Sang2000
Posted October 20, 2009 04:56 AM

Mr. Gaitho's extremely well articulated argument dovetails to Mr. Ngunyi's "Ahoi" and "Athomi" divide he alluded to yesterday. Sadly this divide exists in all Kenyan communities. In the RVP, the Moi hegemony duped the people for so long until they were bundled out in 07. Kenyans all over need to revolt with their jembes and pittchforks and demand their country back. The American and the French constitutions were born thru such revolts.

Submitted by johns
Posted October 20, 2009 02:32 AM

Kenyatta as we know today conned his way into the presidency and once installed the ruination of a country began the day he swore himself in. Kenyans deserve the kind of problems we face today. How is it possible that we tolerated Moi and then Kibaki and still expect to be respected internationally? A dysfunctional system begets a sick nation. It is time we rise above tribalism and speak truth to whoever seek our votes irrespective of their ethnicity.

Submitted by NaturalSceptic
Posted October 20, 2009 01:34 AM

Thought Tom Mboya himself choose the name in a snub to the colonialists after they said Kenyatta would never lead Kenya? Obama himself said he used to tell his Hawaii classmates he was Kenyatta's son. Capitalize on our heritage for cultural tourism - all of it. Lions are plenty in Florida's disney safari park, but the Kenyan culture is only a sprinkling.

Submitted by ogweny
Posted October 20, 2009 01:06 AM

But what did the mau maus do apart from terrorising felow africans. who killed chief waruhiuo, who carried the Lari massacre. they were not fighting for the liberation of kenya; they were fighting selfishly for land in central kenya.

Submitted by lucifer
Posted October 19, 2009 11:07 PM

Today I was discussing with my bro if there is need to celebrate such days.. They infact should be changed. Moi day should be a day for the hungry where fellow kenyans can soend a day to feed their hungry neighbours, and kenyatta day a day for the kids or the mothers of struggle who up to date struggle to bring up kids. Or is it that our problem is our nature of inhumanity as Kenyans? Can't Kenyans boycott these days. I call on Kenyans not to go to any meetings of such calibre since there is nothing to celebrate