“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. Those are the words uttered by one of the world’s outstanding intellectuals and ideologues, Karl Marx. A classical illustration of Marx’s sentiments cannot be found any further in the Western world other than in Kenya, a country that is suffocating under the yoke of corruption and negative ethnicity.
Under KANU, the Grand Old Party (GOP) of Kenya’s politics, plundering of public resources was the order of the day. In the forty years that the cockerel party graced the country’s politics, the oligarchies of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi had a dubious yet exceptional distinction of not just looting and fashioning tribalism but also curtailing political and personal freedom of their real and perceived enemies.
The repetition of history as a tragedy first took place after Daniel Moi ascended to the presidency with his not-so-clever yet golden philosophy of “following in the footsteps of Jomo Kenyatta”. In following the footsteps of Kenya’s first president, a well-known tribalist and corrupt personality, Moi perfected the art of personalizing the government and the country.
He did this by gagging the political activists, dissenting politicians and even the media. Moi’s word was law a twin semblance to Jomo Kenyatta’s administration. Kibaki’s presidency never overcame the ghosts of corruption and negative ethnicity but at least overshadowed his predecessor’s through remarkable growth of the economy.
The farcical repetition of history has taken place under the administration of Uhuru Kenyatta. In the four years as president, corruption is at its apogee with the plum positions in government being mostly given to members of the Agikuyu and Kalenjin communities, the major political constituencies of the Jubilee Party.
Additionally, it is on record that there have been attempts in the last four and a half years to curtail freedom of the media among other stupid acts of intimidating members of the opposition and other dissenting voices. In fact, it is under the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta that there has been a re-birth of the nuisance of hosting political delegations at State House and the State Lodges akin to Jomo’s and Moi’s eras.
It isn’t a surprise at all bearing in mind that the old man from Baringo and the matriarch of Kenyatta’s family, Mama Ngina Kenyatta are the key behind-the-scenes advisors to Uhuru Kenyatta. Just like the older Kenyatta and Moi, these delegations have turned out to be political orchestras of parading broke political failures seeking to gain some financial windfall and party stalwarts being energized to exercise their sycophancy with a lot of fury.
Former president Daniel Moi, after enduring a series of frustrations by the dissenting voices, publicly stated that KANU will rule the country for 100 years. Likened to a giraffe by the doyen of opposition politics, Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga in his autobiography Not Yet Uhuru, Moi had indeed seen the country’s political future. In the Jubilee Party, I see the reincarnation of KANU famed for legendary corruption with a phenomenal honor of tribalism.
Legislation of the Security Amendment Act in 2015 and the Elections Amendment Act in 2016 without incorporating the participation of legislators from the minority side, illustrate the dead set approach adopted by the Jubilee administration. As a matter of fact, the final motions in the National Assembly to adopt the afore-mentioned laws were preceded by heavy deployment of the police officers.
Selective application and the hell bent interpretation of the law are rife under the era of the Jubilee administration. It is evidentially clear that members and proxies of the opposition who are deemed to have broken the law are treated in a demeaning manner than the surrogates of the Jubilee Party. There are two instances to demonstrate this antiquated political move.
First, peaceful demonstrations by supporters of the opposition are usually marred with violence with the police officers being responsible for instigating the chaos and confusion. This was the case after the announcement of the outcome of the annulled presidential election and most recently, during the short-lived anti-IEBC demonstrations. Protests by Jubilee supporters after the historic ruling by the Supreme Court were peaceful but the police appeared to be acting on instructions from above not to interfere with the fanfare and were even tempted to join the demonstrators in castigating the highest court on the land.
Secondly, the drama surrounding the arrest of Babu Owino, a sophomoric and perhaps an eternally intoxicated politician, following his foul remarks against the president offers some insights on the selective application of the law. Though I do not support Owino’s remarks, the capture and re-capture mechanism employed to ‘teach him a lesson’ should also have been equally used to tame the filthy and incorrigible hate monger, Moses Kuria.
Why does Moses Kuria propagate hate speech yet he seems not to be worried in fact, going to an extent of bragging that the authorities can’t apprehend him? Is it because he represents President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Gatundu South constituency in the National Assembly?
In a video clip doing rounds on social media, the functionally illiterate governor of Nairobi County Mike Sonko, is heard to be uttering obscenities directed at Babu Owino with no action being taken against the former. Double standards by the authorities must fall!
Denigrating attacks against the Supreme Court and the Judiciary, as outlined in a recent article, are reminiscent of the politically warped and perilous thinking during KANU’s regime. We have outlived the era where the Judiciary was an extension of an inept Executive but we are slowly drifting towards the dark past.
A stinking shame and revelation is the party dictatorship that the Jubilee Party seems to be fantasizing with. Still fuming with the majoritarian ruling by the Supreme Court, the threats by the President’s party to check on the powers of the Judiciary seem to be taking shape. The backward and notoriously dangerous legal attempt to allow for any judge of the Supreme Court to swear in the president has no place in modern day Kenya and it will be battled out using a two-pronged approach; through the courts and in the trenches.
Other proposals in the pipeline to amend the current election laws, as proposed by the Jubilee Party, constitute a political travesty. There is lack of proper moral understanding and standing in cementing the country’s democratic gains. Subverting the Constitution based on reckless and wretched short-termism is an exercise in futility.
Cheap thinking by the Executive prompted the withdrawal of the police officers assigned to provide security to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. The flippant and witless remarks by Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Interior Coordination, that the government will not restore the security of the two political bigwigs is outrageously ignorant and arrogant. This extraordinary ignorance and incredible arrogance is typical of the “Kanuism” ideology of yesteryears. The “Kanunization” of Kenya’s current political architecture is not only evil but also selfish. Creation of a police state is surely taking shape.
Police State & Third Liberation
With the establishment of a police state in the offing, the Constitution is set to be watered down through fatuous legislations and amendments as well as unconstitutional acts. Who wants to live in a country in which one’s activities are closely monitored by the state? Is Kenya turning into a ‘Museveni Republic’ or the dreaded days of the feared Special Branch effectively used by Daniel Moi? These acts of paranoia and dogma by those running the affairs of the state are an impediment to Kenya’s progress and eventual politico-economic prosperity.
Frustrations harbored by the oppressed may erupt into an uncontrolled spurt of mass action that will be the genesis of Kenya’s Third Liberation. In any case, the Third Liberation will be a political and historical juncture firmly informed by and founded on the negatives of political exclusivity, political excesses and negative ethnicity.
Occurrence of the Third Liberation will be a struggle against the cumulative ills of the past and present governments whose eventuality would involve hallmark changes to the Constitution with great focus on the total transformation of the electoral and political systems. Perhaps, the sweeping changes of the Third Liberation are needed to restore morals and sanity in the country’s political leadership.
The attempt to institutionalize a police state and a government that embraces the “Kanuism” ideology is totally unacceptable. For the politically upright and astute citizens this is a moment to jealously guard the country’s hard-fought political gains.