Tag Archives: kenya

For Kenya!!!

Here’s something that unites Kenyans this January: the intense philosophical pondering over the doctor’s strike, who’s at fault, who’s not, who should we blame or should we just blame everybody for what’s going on? The doctors, the government, the people, tribalism, corruption, inefficiency, callousness, lack of decency, the sick people who are making our souls sick with all this agonising why in the world don’t they just wait until this crisis is resolved?

 

There has been a lot of debate about whether doctors are more important to a society than other professions are. Some of them think they are and they want to say it. They dearly want to say it but…they can’t, you don’t alienate the public at this time. So I’ll say it for them: medical health professionals are one of the most important people in any society. We need the farmers for food, the doctors so we are well enough to eat that food, the teachers to teach farmers and doctors. That’s my statement on the holy trinity of importance. It keeps going down further and further and not too far down we’ll get to priests, poets and prostitutes. They definitely come before lawyers, accountants and bankers though after builders, cleaners and deliverymen. The existential crisis about whether or not we matter is a deep one. Of course we all matter. But my point is most people would rather live with no lawyers than no prostitutes. You know these things by the fact of how many people have sought the services of the former as opposed to the latter.

 

So that’s how we start January. Philosophical rumbling to accompany that stomach grumbling. On the 4th straight night of noodles there are questions that deserve to be answered. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves? Must every January start in this rut? Must we be broke all the time? Do we have to December so damn hard? What is wrong with us? I told my aunt that I was broke because after my epic trip (which I will write all about after the fogs of memory make it diamond like through the mist) I had to buy gas. She almost burst out laughing:

 

“gas?”

“I’m young, I have young problems.”

 

I do. Ideally Njaanuary should be for parents shouldn’t it? January when you have to buy a new wardrobe of clothes, a new set of books, and manila paper-though now you can buy your lazy children pre-covered exercise books. And for whatever reason public secondary schools make you pay much more for fees in first term than they do the rest of the time. Why that happens is as good your guess as mine.

 

There’s also the pre-Christmas pay which if not a solely Kenyan thing is an African thing. I told a Polish girl about it and she couldn’t believe it. Why in the world pay two salaries in one month?

 

The dots connect. I once joked that Uhuru and Ruto are stealing wad after wad of money in an ingenious attempt to get rid of tribalism. You know, steal so much that the country unites against you. They would be martyrs, killing their political careers for the sake of the country. We wouldn’t remember them as such but they would be saved a special place in heaven where Judas Iscariot awaits. The seat next to the glory for those who do what is necessary and are hated throughout history. Atonement for the hell of having to hate what you do but doing it anyway because there is an idea here that matters more than you do. The idea of the sacrifice. The sacrifice that changes the world.

 

I look for national unity everywhere because we need it. And I find it and dub thee oh month of Njaanuary as another agent of this. This month strives with it’s lack of money, or pretence to lack of money, or smugness at having money, or relief at getting money to make us one. The common Kenyan condition that brings us together once again.

 

So as you drink keg instead of beer. As you drink once a week instead of 3. As you count down to the end of the month with a hope that cannot be contained know that you were not being foolish about how you spent your money in December. No. You my friend, my reader are involved in the great experiment of nation building that is Kenya. Your brokenness or lack of it. The knowledge of other people’s brokenness. Your social winter. Your economic slumber. As you toss and as you turn waiting for February so you can spring back….all of this is for Kenya! Kenya! Kenya! Nchi Yetu!!!!!

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Take back Kenya

He wants to write a love song

An anthem of forgiving

A manual for living with defeat

A cry above the suffering

A sacrifice recovering

But that isn’t what I need him to complete

I want him to be certain

That he doesn’t have a burden

That he doesn’t need a vision

That he only has permission

To do my instant bidding

Which is to say what I have told him to repeat.[i]

 

 

I woke up today listening to these words from the by Leonard Cohen a man who once introduced a song by saying “Even though we have no religion we have an appetite for something which is like religion, so in honour of those deep feelings and those irreplaceable appetites I offer this song”. [ii]It’s written from the perspective of God peering down at the singer trying to compose a hymn to help mankind. And refusing him to do what he wants to do, what he thinks is the right way.

 

I also woke up to the news of the over 40 people dead in Naivasha. A truck carrying inflammable material got in an accident. A huge bomb barrelled out from point zero. In its wake it swallowed a matatu with 14 passengers, it engulfed a police land cruiser and extinguished the lives of over 40 people. This was day 5 of the doctor’s strike of 2016 because death and despair do not await the honouring of collective bargaining agreements and the successful mixing of ingredients of back to work formulas. Disease and accidents and injuries are implacable in the face of whatever us humans do. They move on relentlessly. We do not keep them at bay with marches or with shows of impunity. They do not stop because the doctors made a heartbreaking decision to demand what they had been promised. They do not slow in the face of a government that has broken the heart of every Kenyan over and over again. The agents of fate are not concerned with the petty machinations of human beings. They move on like a melting glacier or a rising sun, we can shield ourselves from them but the fact of who they are is undeniable. This world we live in it needs a cry above the suffering because otherwise this is all we can hear.

 

There is a pain in being here and in being Kenyan while we are here. Those 40 will never live to see what could become of our country, they will never see the promise or the breaking of the covenant that we made 53 years ago when our first president watched a flag of black and red, of white and green unfurl in the middle of the night and blow in the wind. In that moment a country was born. Even before it was born though it had been abused. At this point almost everyone knows that a foetus can be harmed by the toxins taken in by its mother while gestating but back then, in the sixties, these were just myths. And so before Kenya was born it was harmed. “They made us hate ourselves and love they wealth” said a famous poet whose name is  an anagram of our country’s.

 

The child was scarred before it had a chance to draw its breath. When delivered it already needed the doctors we have allowed to go on strike. It needed healers and did not get them. It was delivered to dogs waiting at the gates of the castle, cast down and allowed to suffer some more. It survives despite all this and later in the morning I heard more of Leonard Cohen a song that could be sang to god or to a country or to anything greater than us and to ourselves too. A song that when 40 people die in a flaming inferno in the dark of the night we need to hear:

 

Behold the gates of mercy

In arbitrary space

And none of us deserving

The cruelty or the grace

O solitude of longing

Where love has been confined

Come healing of the body

Come healing of the mind

O see the darkness yielding

That tore the light apart

Come healing of the reason

Come healing of the heart

O troubled dust concealing

An undivided love

The heart beneath

Is teaching to the broken heart above

And let the heavens falter

And let the earth proclaim

Come healing of the altar

Come healing of the name[iii]

 

Kenyans at 53 are sad and twisted, angry and full of hate, divided and we know not why, full of greed, destroyed by want, victims of apathy and base despair, purveyors of violence and putrid passions. We need healing. So does our country and we can heal because the same Kenyans will come together to save a life of a stranger donating money by m-pesa, raising awareness on social networks, extending compassion however we can. This is also a country where I have seen people agonise over the doctor’s strike because they know that it is fatal. They may not know the fatalities but the fact that they will cease to exist has been enough. This is a country bubbling over with warm laughter and true smiles. With shouts of joy, music that can barely contain the happiness of its people. People so forgiving that we will always wipe the slate clean.

 

Yes this is a country where a boy from the Lake can move into the shadow of the Mountain and live unmolested. Political disagreements have never flared into violent confrontations and from my time here I know that everyone, almost everyone, in this country knows that the way things are is not the way they should be. I’ve looked into the blue eyes of elderly Meru people (I don’t know how they got blue but they did) and heard them speak passionately, tiredly, dejectedly, hopefully about the things they want, things that we all want. Justice, happiness, peace. They want the unity of their families and they want what they believe they deserve. I’ve met a girl so beautiful that when she smiles it drives all thought from my mind. From my window I have looked out and seen hills in the distance covered by clouds or shrouded in mist. I have seen them with their bases in shadow and the sun upon their crests looking like a stairway to heaven has been opened up. I have quaffed drinks with a man who implores us all to call him “bloody fuckin” and refused to give any other name. Sat in posh hotels, nice bars, out in the sun, keg joints, holes in the wall, peeing on the street with a Kenyan by my side and not a Kenyan who I knew in childhood. Kenyans who I met in this place 300 kilometres from my real home (I’m sorry Nyanza but Nairobi’s my place.)

 

I have been guarded by an old man who lived in Mombasa from 1964 to 2011. A man who was so concerned about my incessant coughing that he gave me a remedy: take a lemon and squeeze the juice into a cup, take an egg (kienyeji) and crack it uncooked into the lemon juice. Drink this down. I have felt the magic of Kenya as I’m coughing less than I did while I was in high school. From here I have felt close to people through all the technologies that have been brought to help us communicate. I have disagreed with many and argued and argued and yet when I needed their help these disagreements were put away in the dark corner to which they belong. At that point the division of who is who and from where fell away like scales from an eye. I walked with a girl who laughed so loud and shared a matatu with another one who talked so loud that even I noticed. These two grabbed the life given them with both hands. A full moon has shone down on me like a flashlight on a dark and lonely night. Filling the earth with so much white that everything was a silhouette the trees shaking in the wind, the passing stranger, the grass shimmering as the air kissed it. I have heard the sounds of three churches making their entreaties to their deities for intervention, for happiness and for all of us every damn Sunday. Walked amongst trees standing so high they look like giants. Found a mini-valley ringed by these trees so that the sun only shines down it at high noon.

 

If it be your will

If there is a choice

Let the rivers fill

Let the hills rejoice

Let your mercies spill

On all these burning hearts in hell

If it be your will

To make us well

And draw us near

And bind us tight

All your children hear

In their rags of light

In our rags of light

All dressed to kill

And end this night

If it be your will[iv]

 

Leonard Cohen prays this words so passionately that it didn’t matter my religious persuasion I closed my eyes and I prayed with him. We need to have hope because there is more to give us hope than to cause us despair. That’s not even the reason. We need to have hope because if we don’t the night wins. I remember I wondered about that rags of light line. There is a judeo-christian tradition that says Adam and Eve were originally clothed in garments of light, that all we have left are the rags. Despite that we need to put them on and dance and dance until the light comes back. All we have in Kenya are the rags. The torn apart fragments of our love for each other, our similarity, our pain at each other’s suffering, our hope for a better tomorrow, our resolve to do something for it. All we have are the rags of these lights but even with this we can end this night we find ourselves in.

 

It’s either that or this. This thing we have now. This thing that is not working. This thing where the news makes you so sad you want to crawl up in your bed, close up your eyes, and waken when it’s all over. It’s either that or this. And today on the anniversary of the day of our first independence people are marching down the streets in Nairobi. They protest everything wrong with our government: the corruption, the incompetence, the injustice. They endure teargas, the risk and reality of arrest, the risk and reality of physical harm. They do this to try and give us what we all need, let the government falter and let the people proclaim….

 

What God wants Leonard Cohen to repeat and for all of us to hear is a message of hope, hope for here and hope for there:

 

Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore

[i] From the song Going Home.

[ii] Introduction to the song Show me the Place

[iii] From the song Come Healing

[iv] From the song If It Be Your Will

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Theng’a theng’a with Theng’eta: a review of Petals of Blood

Theng’a theng’a with theng’eta. That was the advertising slogan heard through the land. The words that called the culled masses to the bars near and far, the song that culled the imagination and will to revolt of the people. Theng’a theng’a with thenget’a the radios blared and beautiful people in advertisements whispered and the youth sung and the depressed muttered. In another version of Kenya that is really this version they sung theng’a theng’a with theng’eta.

 

Theng’eta is a mythical, though perhaps not, drink of kikuyu lore as captured in Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Petals of Blood. About midway through the book after the first struggle has been introduced and overcome Wanja’s grandmother collects some seed and plants. She sits and brews it according to old codes that have since been lost. She lets it sit and become more potent over weeks and weeks so that it is ready for the harvest time. This Theng’eta is a drink that was outlawed by the colonial imperialists who only allowed the brewing of Muratina after they came and took away our lands all those years ago. It is the real drink, the big brother to the small thing that murats is, and murats ask anyone is not a small thing.

 

You see, theng’eta does not dull, it awakens. It does not make emotions recede but brings them to the fore. It forces you to think, and to remember. It is less an alcoholic drink than it is a hallucinogen. One that forces open third eyes and makes secrets come spilling out, a drink that insists that the truth must be spoken, that it must be seen, that it must be felt. That that is the only way we can ever come to terms with what we have lost and how we rebuild it. This is theng’eta as it is introduced a throwback to a time when the African man and woman knew themselves. Way back when we knew our gods and prayed to them. When the kikuyus faced mount Kenya and prayed to Ngai. When the luo surely face the Lake and prayed to Obongo Nyar Kalaga  for more fish to come their shores. A time when we knew who we were dating back centuries and our own tongues did not trip us and we had our stories and our songs and our gods and our beauty so sure about whom we were that we did not begrudge a little hallucinogenic trip to celebrate a good harvest.

 

And yet even this hallucination is not without its fault lines as human beings conflict when truth is revealed about themselves or other people. Hallucinations are not always rainbows and unicorns sometimes it’s the goat monster under the bed. As the story goes on Theng’eta’s name is appropriated and used to market a brew so dissimilar that it is an insult to what was drunk before. This is kill-me-quick as it was anointed is a liquor used for nothing more than to drown the pain of the world, to stop us facing it. A contender for the title of opium of the masses. This is the arc described in this drink and in this book. The amazing possibility of what we could have become and the horrid reality of what we are: people who are satisfied to theng’a theng’a with thenget’a.

 

The book is about the town of Ilmorog, a fictional town that is nothing but dust and one shop. A shop run by a man named Abdullah who took up this name believing that it was a Christian one. The shop in turn left to him by an Indian who lived there before. It has a bar and to this bar comes Munira the sometimes narrator of our tale. A man who we are introduced to as godly with a bible in his hand even as he is arrested on suspicion of murder. The story goes in flashback with Munira telling us about how things came to pass in Ilmorog. He writes prison notes, a sort of memoir for the inspector who has come to see him. The inspector is a man who believes in the law the way a maths professor believes in equations. He sees his work as reduced to numbers. As necessary for order, as neither evil nor good but just necessary. We also meet Karega a former student of Munira’s who joins him on the teaching staff of the small school in Ilmorog. Karega is a passionate idealist at heart, a man grappling with the questions that post-independence gave us. He tries his best to impart to the students in his care the knowledge he believes they need as much a journey of self-discovery as it is an imparting of knowledge:

 

He made them sing: I live in Ilmorog Division which is in Chiri District; Chiri District which is in the Republic of Kenya; Kenya which is part of East Africa; East Africa which is part of Africa; Africa which is the land of the African peoples; Africa from where other African people were scattered to other corners of the world.

 

Through their lives and ours wanders Wanja.  A beautiful woman who is the only one who comes home to Ilmorog after a fashion. She becomes a bartender in Abdulla’s bar even though there is not enough business but she flashes her smile and says that this is the work of a barmaid to bring more people in or make the people who are inside drink more. The story of Wanja is a pain to behold her ups and downs, her tragedies and comebacks, her histories, secrets, peaks and valleys are enough to leave you shredded, to leave anyone shredded.

This is a book that struggles with the idea of self-hood of who we are. Of who we were, all of us as Africans before the four hundred years of contact with the west left us bereft and them rich. Before it destroyed our cultures and enriched theirs. Before they left and we began to forget who we could have become.

 

All the characters in the book have their secrets and they tell them as time passes by. I remember falling through the trap door in the second chapter or thereabouts. It is my hope that you know about the trapdoor because the trapdoor is something everybody should feel in their lives multiple times. It is that point in the book where it becomes real. A black hole from which you emerge breathless and disoriented looking around the world as if it’s not real. It happened as soon as Munira told us why he came to Ilmorog. Each of the main characters has a story of a journey to this place that they begin to call home and the trip for each of them is heartrending. It is sad when told once and it only becomes sadder as the book moves on as we learn more about them and who they are.

 

There is a  drought in Ilmorog. A massive drought. This is soon after independence and their MP Nderi wa Ireri has not been to their town for a long, long time. He sends them over an invitation for “chai” at Gatundu South which is more an invitation to fund his own affairs there. The people of Ilmorog wonder what they need to go talk to Kenyatta about and they are told that their tribe’s wealth is being threatened by the lake people and those aligned with the Indian Communist who was recently assassinated (there is a special pleasure for a Kenyan or a person with knowledge of Kenyan history to read this book, a jolt of recognition as Pio Gama Pinto and Tom Mboya and J.M Kariuki are assassinated, a pleasure and a pain, a deep pain.) The people of Ilmorog reply:

 

You mean some of you have already made enough wealth while we scratch the earth?

“Is that the wealth they want to steal from you?”

“Good for them if they are as poor as we are.”

 

In response to the drought they make an expedition to Nairobi to petition their leader. The journey to Nairobi itself is epic and then things sour as they are turned away by white men and black men by preachers and former revolutionaries, by all those who in the first years of independence stole afresh the capital of the new nation or held on to the capital stolen by their fathers and grandfathers. Eventually they run into a lawyer. A lawyer who has the gift of seeing what is wrong with the world. He sits down in his library with them to discuss what is going on

 

it is sad, it hurts, at times I am angry, looking at the black zombies, black animated cartoons dancing the master’s dance to perfection…The white ministers seeing defeat , now turned to sneering and jeering at the new priests. Look at these destroyers: we are going, yes, but these people will surely destroy all the canon laws…and we, who were educated in their schools, beat our breasts, we destroyers? We break the canon law? We are as civilised as you, we shall not be the ones to dismantle the monster god, and we shall prove it to you. You’ll be ashamed you once had these doubts about us….the education we got had not prepared me to understand those things: it is meant to obscure racism and other forms of oppression. It was meant to make us accept our inferiority so as to accept their superiority and their rule over us….while our people are dying of hunger, while our people cannot afford decent shelter and decent schools for their children. And we are happy, we are happy that we are called stable and civilised and intelligent.

 

I even remember that I was sitting in a courtroom as I read that particular passage. That I finished reading it and my breathing was heavy and my eyes were blurry. In its fullness it is a thing of glory, a flowering of wrongs not righted and paths trodden too hastily and wrongly. It is one of those centrepieces that a great book has. A passage that speaks a certain truth to you if only you would stop and listen to what is being said.

 

And…. there’s some sex in the book. There’s sex and there’s laughter. And there’s anticipation for sex, I find myself cheering for sex in fiction nowadays, hoping it happens because the world is not just revolution and the struggle to stay awake to the struggle. It is also beauty.

 

then they started slowly, almost uncertainly, groping toward one another, gradually working together in rhythmic search for a lost kingdom, for a lost innocence and hope, exploring deeper and deeper, his whole body aflame and tight with painful desire or of belonging. And she clung to him, she too desiring the memories washed away in the deluge of a new beginning, and he now felt this power in him, power to heal, power over death, power, power…and suddenly she carried him high on ocean waves of new horizons and possibilities in a single moment of lightning illumination, oh the power of united flesh, before exploding and swooning into darkness and sleep without words.

 

There’s also the words Kill-me-Quick which I thought my aunt had coined to described alcoholic drinks of dubious provenance but proven strength. Then there’s that passage where a woman leaves one man for another and they talk about “Coup d’état” “kugeuza serikali.” Yeah that was a Ngugi phrase.

 

And hidden in the folds I saw a character in the book from our history. His name is Chui. Chui was a student at Siriana Secondary School. He was a rebel and a revolutionary. He was the leader of the strikes and rebellions and revolts. He led a strike and was expelled, his strike coming to naught. He was left in the cold far away from all the people he had fought for. He went on exploring the world and his mind as he strayed  in constructive exile. Then there was another strike and this time the white headmaster was sent away. The students of Siriana insisted that there was only one person they could unite behind. Only one name could lead them from then on and that name was Chui. Chui came back and the first thing he did was to cut off at the legs the ones who had led the strike. He told the white teachers who he found there that they had nothing to fear, that he would make sure that the black masses who stayed respected them and their powers. That the troubles that had come before would not be repeated, would not be respected, would instead be razed to the ground along with all those who were its leaders. This Chui promised. And this Chui did, rewarding some with prefectship and the rest with the ultimate punishment. This Chui did. Oppressing the people who called him back , forgetting the blood of those who fought for his rule, forgetting the whole purpose of his rule or his exile of the fight he fought.

 

Ngugi wa Thiong’o who wrote this book that I carried with me everywhere as I read it. Ngugi who is one of our greatest writers has been detained and exiled, he has been tortured and arrested by both Kenyatta and Moi. When Kibaki won the election he came home and we broke into his home, we beat him and we raped his wife Njeri several times, we Kenyans. This man who feels for this country with all his soul, to him we did this. I don’t know what we can do to make up for this perhaps the important thing is to always ask these foulmouthed, tribal-slogan spouting, ethnic-division creating, corruption-condoning, pieces of shit we have as politicians the important question:

 

You mean some of you have already made enough wealth while we scratch the earth?

And then go to the polls geuza serikali over and over until we have a country he would be proud of.

 

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the dread process

I really wish i could have made burger festival in Nairobi. Because burgers are awesome. You get some bread and then you put in the basic: that burger meat. Around this you can build castles and dreams. In the mix is cheese that’s just melting onto the meat so that it soaks through. Then you get another piece of meat and some bacon. More cheeses. More meat. A tomato. Barbeque sauce applied so liberally it’s dripping off your fingers at all times. Chilli sauce, mayonnaise. Then that first bite. You pile in and it slides back. The burger warns you that you are not ready for this shit. You think you are but you are not. So you relax and take another bite. And the burger is so full of promise and so big that you’re sure this will never end. Then it does and you bask in the post-satial glow. Belch. Have a cigarette. Be assured that life really can be this good.

 

There have been all these Mugabe quotes running around the internet. Of course they aren’t quotes by Mugabe but you can imagine Uncle Bob uttering every one of them at a rally. There is a wisdom in them. A truth that only a dictator for life who has seen it all- colonialism, independence, serving as head of government to a head of state that supposedly sodomised people, years of prosperity, the temerity to say that all the white settlers would have to leave his country (and in these Southern African countries the white population was much higher than it had ever been in Kenya. Until 1979 it was Rhodesia for chrissake), the huuuuuuuge inflation, threat of Tvsangirai and still keeps serving as head of state. He won’t see the world the way you and I do.

 

There’s one quote I particularly like “it’s impossible to bewitch African girls nowadays because you cut off their hair for a spell and some poor Brazilian woman goes crazy or a factory in hina catches fire.” As I was having a burger in burger hut with some friends one of them talked about the way people with dreadlocks are warned to be careful because that hair can be cut off and sold. Go into the making of weaves or whatever. This we must say has an awesome bright side. It’s great that we as a race, as a continent, as a country have began to crave hair that we can genetically obtain. The SI unit of beauty is not only long flowing hair but also tightly bound dreadlocks. Hair that grows so black and tight that nothing gets out of it alive. That this theft can become a concern for dreadlocked people is a sign of a racial pride taking root. An acceptance of who we are. Beauty in ourselves and what nature can make for us instead of a constant going out to look for it.

 

I watched the Star Wars movie last year and all through I kept wondering how few black people they hired in make-up or allowed to have a voice concerning what the actors would look like. The stormtrooper was great to see. He had this awesome head of hair when he took off his helmet. A black man’s hair. Compact, neat. Then he had adventure after adventure. He rolled in the mud, he fired lasers, he had a gruelling day and you know what? His hair was still compact, neat. It’s impossible. This hair that we men walk around in wants to be untidy. It wants to grow ridges and bridge off to locks. This is just how it is. There are men who at the end of the day have neat hair. But you have to consider what they have been doing for work. Especially if it’s a full head of hair and not this close to the skin thing that society loves men to do. Black hair cannot be neat at the end of the day for a black man who is involved in a gruelling physically tasking job. And this storm trooper guy had it down and patted the whole adventure through.

 

As I write Madaraka day just passed. It’s been 53 years of internal self-governance and isn’t that awesome? We are just starting to write the story of our nation. Kenya is becoming more and more real. When all this started it was this imaginary line that carted all our states into this one nation. An empire was formed and as long as there was a strong man at the fore there was a semblance of peace. It was a bloody peace though. The kind of peace that is maintained by assassinations and disappearances and torture and fear. The kind of peace that only gives fruits to kin and friends and silences all that would try to be foe. A peace that is slowly waiting to break and break it did over and over. There will always be men who will use the potential for hatred for their own means and for many of the last years there have been men who appealed to our individual state-hood to gain and keep power. The Luo state and the Kikuyu state and the Kamba state and the Luhya state and the Kalenjin state and all the other states and statelings in our country have become and been a very important part of who we are.

 

Things have happened but for a period of history they have happened to us all here together. The national anthem. The death of Pio Gama Pinto and Tom Mboya. The death of Kenyatta abd ascension of Moi. The coup attempt. The death of Ouko. Mulitparty –politics. Interstate wars. The rise of Kibaki and the sweetness of 2002 and the two hand salute of Narc. The horror of the 2007 war. The process of rebuilding and reconciliation. The new constitution. All that happened with the ICC. The death of Jacob Juma. All these things, they happened to a nation. They didn’t happen to any of the states. There is bound to be a pride in where we come from. We are going to care about them more. We are going to think that the other is wrong. But all these horrible things they are all a part of us as Kenyans. Not a part of us as Mijikendas or Boranas. They are all a part of us as Kenyans. Terrorists attack the nation. Elections are held everywhere. Tusker Gold celebrating Injera’s world record tries is sold everywhere.

 

As time passes on there is an identity of Kenyan being shaped by our shared history and told in our shared language. There is a shared culture taking root. These are the things a nation needs to become one. Growing pains suck. They are difficult and living history is writ in blood unfortunately but I have faith in this country. A place where all of us regardless of tribe have chuckled at something Mugabe said. Where we all know what Machozi Monday is and the whereabouts of Afraha Stadium is a place that points towards belonging. It’s a process, every damn thing is a process but on my more hopeful days, on the days when I can see the silver lining behind dreads being stolen I’m pretty sure that Kenya is becoming more and more real.

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write your own hieroglyphs

“Get up out them slave ships/ build your own pyramids/ write your own hieroglyphs”-Kendrick Lamar.

 

A lot has been written about the genius of Kendrick Lamar. He’s one of the few darlings of rap who is equally accepted by the masses and the people who listen to underground. He has a song that in four minutes tells about a beggar asking him for cash. It warps and wefts between what he and the beggar feel , the anger and the fear, the resentment and curiosity, the sense of entitlement and the beginnings of empathy on both sides. One person wondering why he’s not being helped and the other wondering how help can be demanded. It ends with the beggar declaring himself god. A throwback to another great storyteller telling us “whatever you did to the smallest amongst us i say unto you you did to me.”

 

Everywhere you look people are writing their own hieroglyphs. There is a proliferation of black writers and movie makers, there are numerous comic books, countless blogs. For the first time in the history of the world even those who would be considered oppressed are telling their stories or having their stories told for them. And, stories are important. Who tells stories is also important. This was one of the points that Chimamanda Adichie made with what I still consider her best book: Half of a Yellow Sun. Before I read that book I had no idea what Biafra was. At the end I was shaken by the war that split Nigeria. I read more and more about it. It was surprising to find out that Chinua Achebe considered himself Biafran that he ascribed to a nationality that split him from the Nigerian one that his popular persona identified itself as.

 

Let’s make no mistake nationality ascribes a sense of identity. Just as living together on this rock called Africa does. Recently I finished a book called the Fortunes of Africa: a 5,000 year history of wealth, greed and endeavour. The author, Martin Meredtih, had set himself a herculean task. To somehow condense the history of a whole continent into a book. An impossible task that surely called for tough editorial choices as more and more things were culled. It’s impressive that he weaves a coherent story that is almost straight chronological. He takes us from the west to the east and the south to the north and ever forward. Years advance here and there and then he goes back to a region we haven’t visited in a while. He manages to do it in prose so deft that the book never at one time feels like a drag or a text book.

 

My uncle works for a German television company and I asked if he would be covering the IEBC demos and I was told that they don’t stir themselves unless the death toll reaches 200 people. It’s cold but when reporting on a whole continent there has to be a threshold for the news. You can’t go for every riot. You can’t begin explaining what IEBC is and positioning the major players before the evening news. Context is hard to set because Africa is a vast place and when reporting on it you must make decisions such as wait until 200 people die. This is when reporting on the present of Africa when writing a book on its history hundreds, thousands of small conflicts will fall by the wayside. There are countries that don’t feature because of the examples of peace they are. Botswana is mentioned as a place that successfully flirted with multiparty democracies from the beginning of its independence and because nothing happened there (by the standards of the book) we never check in.

 

The history of Africa as the history of any place is a history of bloodshed. It is a history of warfare and greed. It is a history of profit and the blackness of the human soul. It is a history of slavery and lost lives. It is history as history usually is. Even the pax romana depended on a ruthless and abhorrent policy of warfare and slavery and punishment for those who were not roman citizens in order to exist and the History of our continent is not an exception. It is admirable what he manages to do in the book. Piecing together as he does what he does here is no easy task.

 

There’s a reason I put that quote by Kendrick Lamar at the beginning. Martin Meredith is not an African. He’s a Briton and though he seems to write dispassionately about the role of his country’s empire in the suffering of Africa there are parts that seem biased. For a long time he writes in a way to suggest that Britain wanted nothing more than to end slavery in Africa. That it pressed for laws of equality in South African. That it was thwarted by rogue agents. I read this and i was wondering what became of such a benevolent empire that it would eventually go on to have such a brutal reign here. Here in Kenya. A place that saw the heavy hand of the British Empire clamped down on it again and again. There are the King’s African Rifles, Kenyans forced to fight in laws for his majesty. Shipped to die for a country that wasn’t theirs and later in the Second World War to die ostensibly for the freedom from oppression that was represented by concentration camps. Concentration camps that were recreated right here as tens maybe hundreds of thousands of our Kikuyu and Meru and Embu brothers and sisters were denied their freedom, tortured and many killed because of Britain’s imperial ambitions. But perhaps there is not enough space in a 5,000 year history of the continent to include this or to properly explore Britain’s intentions beyond a sentence where Queen Victoria seems very pleased to be reported to a further expansion of her empire. Though that would seem to be contradicted by the number of times we hear about the British Empire fighting the Arabs, Africans, other Europeans to end the slave trade.

 

All empires are evil though. There’s no question of this. As I read through the book this was the lesson that presented itself to me over and over. All empires are evil. An empire after all is not a nation or a state or a tribe or a village. It is a collection of all of these. It is an ever expanding collection of political units brought in by strength or show of strength or need of strength. Borders are expanded by blood and money. At the end of every war there were slaves taken and sold. If you look at the pyramids of Sudan and Egypt you can be sure that they were built with slave labour. The huge numbers of African shipped out of the continent especially in the last thousand years could not have been possible without local collaboration.

 

The history of Africa is also the history of eradication of its religions. It becomes a plausible theory that all gods can be killed by the chance at better weapons. At a better life. At more money. At more power. This is what chiefs and kings were offered. This is what they took in order to convert. The promise that you could pack a bigger punch.

 

Every once in a while the history would be slowed down to examine the actions of an individual and the effects of his life. These were the most touching parts of the books to me. The stories of Africans changing their destiny for whatever reason. An emperor of Abyssinia Mendes Susenyo declared that the state’s religions would no longer be under the Patriarchy of Alexandria but the Papacy of Rome.  His brother , Malka Christos, put together a huge army because of what he perceived as this betrayal of their ancient ways and they clashed. The emperor won and walked the battlefield with his son Fasilidas who said to him:

 

“The men you see lying dead here were neither pagans nor Muslims over whose deaths we would rejoice, but Christians, your subjects and fellow countrymen, and some of them your own kin. It is not victory that we have gained for we have driven our swords into our own bodies….”

 

The emperor abdicated the throne and lived his life in depression and repentance for what he had done.

 

There is another story about the Akan state of Asante. For a long time Akan chiefs had used wooden stools to represent the collective soul of their chiefdoms. In the 1690s a chief called Osei Tutu introduced a Golden Stool in a feat of nation building and public relations that politicians now should pay attention to. He said that this was superior to all the other stools and that it held the souls of all the Akan people. With that symbol of national unity he created an empire where there was so much gold that gold dust was the medium of exchange, “this much dust for a bunch of bananas please”. And here is a gripe i had with the book that i admit may be a function of my bias- it seemed that these great Africans and their kingdoms were only introduced to show how they would eventually be thwarted by the invaders. The story of the golden stool is not a story of who Osei Tutu was or how he got to the point where he did this. It is not a story of how the empire was organised we are just assured it is. It is instead a story of the war of the golden stool as the British demanded it for their queen. It is a story filled with instances of humiliation at the hands of British governors and soldiers, a story of the futility of resistance. This is the end of the story and i wouldn’t’ advocate for the end of the story to be cut out but the end is not the whole story. The beginning and the middle is not a foreword even though it is a prelude to European interference which seems to be the major focus of the book.

 

We visited South Africa a lot. And i could never get myself to care about what was happening down there. The conflicts and struggles of the Boers were never going to evoke any emotional involvement. Especially since the book did not shy away from showing that the Boer’s independence seemed motivated by a desire to oppress the Africans whose land they had stolen. South Africa was declared independent before almost anywhere else in Africa and yet I find it impossible to think of it as other than a country that gained its independence in 1994. This is true for most Kenyans. We cannot think of a time with apartheid as a time when there was independence. The story of the Boers and the British and their wars with each other did not feel to me like a history of Africa, more a history of Africa’s colonialists. This may not be true and it may not be fair but my book about 5,000 years of African history would have spend very little time down there.

 

Or maybe it wouldn’t but the lens of the book would have been focused more, much more on the proud history of what happened before colonialism. The proud rebellions during colonialism. All the European interferers would have played a tiny part. Nothing pivotal. Their lives would never have been studied, not until they came back to Africa and their actions back home would not have warranted numerous paragraphs. I know i would have been interested in a different story and strived to give a different portrayal. Perhaps that’s just it that maybe if I was sure enough of myself I wouldn’t have been struggling to give a portrayal of Africa,  I would have been struggling to understand it in order to explain it to myself and to anyone reading it. This is what Martin Meredith was trying to do, to understand our continent by looking at its history. It’s a noble effort but when not carried out by a person born on this little rock there is something missing.

 

There is something that an African writer would bring to such a project that it is impossible for anybody else to. The innate knowledge that for all our lives we have been Africans. The frustrations of this place was not something that was happening over there but something taking place in our souls and at our feet. Something that has been happening to us. The fact that this is not a place we developed a passion for in high school or university but one from whom we have been bequeathed vast cultural and institutional memory. The things we would see are very different than those anyone else would. The book ends on a very pessimistic note. The last chapters speak about our new wars. The ones a person my age would remember. The rise of Boko Haram, Post election violence in Kenya, the mess in Libya, Egypt’s inability to move past its pharaohs. Yet this is the tone that pervades most of the book. Sadness and fatigue. The quest for the fortunes of Africa corrupting everybody who was born on the continent or happened to come into contact with it.

 

This is a legitimate take on Africa. Exhaustion and wondering if we will ever shed our history of bloodshed. Our history of dependence as the final chapter points to a growing dependence on China. Our history of dependence on people not from here to attempt the epic tasks of writing down 5,000 years of Africa.

 

It’s a book I would recommend anyone to read. Thoroughly researched, well-written, eye-opening. Good. Really good. But here I am hoping that someone like Owaah will undertake such an endeavour one day.

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who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?

Jacob Juma was born. Jacob Juma amassed a ridiculous amount of money in a short time. Jacob Juma, while doing this, gathered a lot of enemies. A few months ago Jacob Juma informed the world of a government plot to kill him. Last week Jacob Juma was assassinated. An unknown number of people stopped Jacob Juma’s car and shot at it. When they realised the windows were bulletproof they took out a blunt object and smashed them. This is our first series of signs that Jacob Juma was assassinated and not just killed. Somehow they stopped the car. They shot at it and when they realised the windows were bulletproof they did not lick their wounds, count their losses and slink away. No. They took out a blunt object and proceeded to hit the windows until they broke. No matter what people whisper snidely or what information they may claim to posses, it was not in the general Kenyan public’s general knowledge that a bullet proof window could be broken with a blunt object. Not until now. But that determination and knowhow existed in the minds and hearts of the people who assassinated Jacob Juma.

 

One of the origins of the word assassin attributes it to al-Hassan ibn-al-Sabbah also known as the old man of the mountain. It is said that he would take young boys and hop them up on hashish. When they awoke they would find themselves in a beautiful garden with music playing in the background, succulent foods, sweet juices and beautiful, willing young women. The boys would enjoy these fruits of paradise for a while believing that was where they were. Then they would receive the rude shock of finding themselves back in the real world. The old man of the mountain would task them with killing a person of his choosing if they wanted to go back to heaven. With this in mind the boys would go out and do whatever they could to kill the target of the old man of the mountain. If this was true do we really think that bulletproof windows would stop these young boys?

 

Jacob Juma seemed to know his life was on the line. With all he had at his disposal he threw the blame at the Jubilee Government and specifically William Ruto. His accusations were as sensational as any accusations warranting an assassination have to be. He said he had proof of who stole our Eurobond billions and how. He said that this money was being used to bribe the judges at the ICC so that they would find a way to drop the case against William Ruto. A few months after making these sensational claims he was assassinated and Ruto’s case had been dropped in the ICC. I was recently reminded of a logical fallacy Post Hoc ergo Proctor Hoc-after it therefore because of it. We tend to think that things happen because of what came before them. We believe in cause and effect just that much. Jacob Juma saying the government would assassinate him and then him being assassinated by somebody does not fall neatly into this bow. However just because he said the government wanted to kill him does not mean the government did kill him. Just because Ruto was let go by the ICC does not mean Jacob Juma’s stories about bribes to the judges there were true.

 

Kings and the priests in their realm have always had a turbulent relationship. The time comes when the priest recognises a higher authority than even that of the king. On November 3oth  1170 King Henry II of England increasingly exasperated by the obstinancy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett turned to his court and said “what sluggards, what cowards I have brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Thanks to the words of the king Thomas Becket did not see the next year. On 23rd August 2000 Father John Kaiser was found dead. He was a catholic priest from America. He decided to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord he believed in. In 1964 the Mill Hill missionaries sent him to Kenya. He was here for almost all the Kenyatta years and almost all the Moi years. After our first multi-party elections there was as tends to happen post-election violence. The Maela refugee camp in Ngong was opened to take in what 3 election cycles later would have been called IDPs and this was his diocese until it was forcibly closed. Father Kaiser believed that the election violence happened because of a land grab by then President Moi and other senior members of his government. He spoke out. He was beaten. In 1998 there was a commission of inquiry known as the Akiwumi commission. Father Kaiser gave his testimony. He pointed his fingers and nothing happened. Later he helped some young girls who had accused Julius Sunkuli the current senator of Narok County of rape. The police took the side of the then minister and the girls were intimidated. The case went nowhere. Then on that night in  August of the two thousandth year of our Lord somebody assassinated Father John Kaiser. We cannot say who it is because there is no proof but there are situations where post hoc ergo proctor hoc is true. This may be one.

 

Jacob Juma was assassinated last week. The product of his assassination was an outpouring of anger and cynicism. Let us look at the cynicism first. A lot of people I have talked to, people whose intelligence is unquestioned and whose opinions I respect have said that he called it on himself. They have pointed to his shady lifestyle and all the people he crossed. They have pointed to the fact that he could not keep his mouth shut. I have been reminded that other billionaires just have their billions and do not feel the need to agitate-those billionaires I am told are still alive to enjoy their billions. The person to blame for Jacob Juma’s assassination in other words is none other than Jacob Juma. I’m a tad liberal so it’s difficult to convince me that a person deserves to die for his sins. Death could be permanent for all we know. Who are we to judge? Who are we to take lives? If we are to judge though, if we are to take lives we should only do it in the most extreme of circumstances. A person who kills. A person who kills many. A person who’s had some shady dealings? I don’t think so. A person who has angered people in power? Surely not. A person who has spoken out of turn about the way things are in the government? Isn’t that all of us.

 

In the last eight years or so warfare has changed forever. This happens every once in a while. When men smelted bronze and made spears. When bows that could shoot further and faster were introduced. When horses first took to the field. The advent of the gun. The tank. The plane. Every step of the way took us to where we stand in the age of the drone. War can now be waged from thousands of miles away by a person completely safe from any of its physical effects. America in its great Second War against the World (that of terror) has quickly put aside most of the other weapons in its arsenal. Obama as president has made it normal for children in Pakistan and Yemen to hear drones buzzing above their heads. It’s normal but not something you can get used to. This incessant sound that can rain down death on you and yours. With drones thousands and thousands of terrorist targets have been assassinated. It’s being written that no president has ever waged war by killing enemies one by one, targeting them individually for execution, wherever they are.  This is the world we live in. A world where a man that most of us believe is a moral man looks at lists of people and decides whether they should die. Decides more than that, he decides whether their death is so important to his nation’s safety that those around them can die. Not even the legendary old man of the mountain wielded such power.

 

It’s a possibility that Jacob Juma was killed by our Government. These things, let us not kid ourselves are always possible. I would not be so irresponsible as to say that its truth but we all know it’s possible. It’s possible that he was killed by any number of people that he wronged on the way to his billions. All those shady deals can turn around on you. What is clear though is that whoever wanted to kill Jacob Juma wanted to send a message. The target of the message may have been you and I as Kenyans. The target of the message may be one person somewhere who was playing the same game as Jacob Juma was and will now clean up his act. Julius Caesar, incidentally a victim of a political assassination, divorced his wife on the mere suspicion that she had committed infidelity. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. We don’t seem to hold our government to the same high standards as Caesar held his wife. Our government is not above suspicion. All of us have thought privately and written on encrypted whatsapp that chances are Jacob Juma was killed by the government. Perhaps we have chased this thought away but with great difficulty. This is the government we have. The people we chose to lead us. We have so little faith in them that a man would shout from the rooftops that the government plans to kill him for what he’s seen and for what he’s known. And when that man then dies in suspicious circumstances-circumstances that say he crossed powerful people- despite the inoculation against state sanctioned murder that the accusation was we believe almost immediately that it was the government. This place where we trust our government just that little is our home. If that doesn’t make you angry what the hell will?

 

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being kenyan for me meant one thing this weekend

The Kenya Sevens team recently won the Singapore Sevens title. Now, the rugby team is good. In Kenya only 3 sports have ever taken an international stage and as a result captured the national imagination. Cricket, rugby and athletics. Cricket has been slowly creaking off it, in fact the glory days of this sport are so far back I only know about it from stories. Athletics is something we are great at. Our runners win the gold, the bronze and the silver with such regularity you would think someone was rigging the races. Rugby has always been a middling child. We’ve been good. We’ve been almost great but the giants of the sport England and France, New Zealand and Australia, Fiji and South Africa have kept us at bay. Until in what is already being described in superlatives( “the greatest sports upset of the year” is one phrase I’ve seen bandied) the rugby team won the Singapore Sevens title.

 

Sports is a unifying and glorifying field. Feats of physical strength speed and endurance put us in mind of the gods. They elevate us. Our association no matter how tenuous with a person who would throw, run, bash, strategise, shoot so much better than we can will always fill us with glory by association. Look at all the people who are over the moon about a Manchester United or an Arsenal win. These are sports teams with absolutely no connection to who we are or what we do. The Kenyan rugby team though is essentially who we are. A team with less resources than the other teams. Players who can’t give this pursuit their all because of the pressures of living in a third world country. People drawn from amongst us who despite all the pressures to settle and be average that life in a place like Kenya gives have the temerity and determination to rise above all that, to compete with the best at every turn and to do it so well that they win. This is surely something to be proud of.

 

Yet, none of the euphoria touched me. I saw the celebrations online. I was forwarded all the memes and pictures on whatsapp. There was a revelling in being Kenyan on Sunday. Happiness abounded. We did it. We beat the world. Still it refused to be anything more to me than just another sports team winning yet another tournament. Where was my pride to be Kenyan at this moment of national unity?

 

The day before there was another celebration in Kenya. There was thanksgiving and ulululation of the sort that our rugby team cannot expect to be showered with. The people being feted were Kenyans known by the now-famous moniker the Ocampo Six. Kenya had beat the world before Sunday. We had beat the justice system by gaming it, by rigging it, by using it for political means, by corrupting a court that in itself held some of the highest ideals that the world aspired towards.

 

The ICC is a direct descendant of the Nuremberg trials. It is the physical manifestation of the world banding together to say never again to crimes against humanity. The result of wars so horrible and losses of lives so callous that those who perpetrated them could not be called merely criminals. Their crimes were not against one person but against the whole of humanity. Any person who had committed the crimes that the formation of the ICC contemplated was a scar on the conscience of the human race. This is what the Rome Treaty said. This is what brought it about to bring to justice the ones who no one nation could contain.

 

A horrible thing happened in 2007 in Kenya. Our country slipped slowly and softly towards civil war. Hate was pushed into the air like mustard gas. It infected all of us. It affected many of us more than it did others. It was horrible that people rose up the way they did. That machetes were stained with blood. Not just blood but the blood of brothers and sisters the screams of mothers and daughters the end of fathers and sons. The two people who stood to gain the most from the violence that was unleashed did what powerful people who stand to gain from violence always do, nothing. Nothing to stop it, nothing to contain it, nothing to contradict it. For weeks it went on. We heard about massacres and murders. There were fires driven by fury and our country was never the same again. In such a short time we were derailed from the path towards real nationhood and splintered into tribal affiliations. Those were crimes against all the people of Kenya, those were crimes against humanity and somebody needed to be held responsible and the ICC swung into action.

 

When I say swung I mean it in the least swinging way possible. I mean that there were investigations. There were attempts to have a local tribunal formed. There was all the anticipation of finding out who the Ocampo six were and we were finally told six years ago. The legal process does not swing as much as it creaks on rusted hinges of due process and judicial deliberation. To know the truth of this all you have to realise is that it took 6 years for the Court to say that there was no case for Deputy President Ruto and future political aspirant Joshua arap Sang to answer. Would it have been another three years before the cases were concluded if they were carried to their end? Maybe more? The systems of justice we put in place to control our worst impulses rely on the cooling of minds. Revenge, they say is a dish best served cold maybe because cooled off revenge is actually justice. Maybe because it’s really forgiveness.

 

Kenya was divided. As we came to the conclusion of these proceedings the refrain could be heard “locking people up will not bring back the dead anyway.” I wonder if people believe this. The literal truth of this statement is undeniable but the deeper truth always lies behind the lines of such poetry. The deeper truth of this is that justice as we serve it on each other has no place in our society. Forget about anyone who ever did you wrong, it will never right the wrong. Once you have been sinned against there is nothing that can be done to put you back in the place where you have not been sinned against therefore “accept and move on.”

 

This is a statement that lies in complete opposition to the statement “never again.” The argument that is put forward is that peace must be considered. We need to reconcile with each other because we live in this country together. I won’t argue against that but I’ll point out that no process of reconciliation was ever carried out in the form that was seen in Rwanda or South Africa. Instead we had a process of reconciliation was carried out in a manner reminiscent of the chief sending his daughter to marry the chief of the other tribe. A marriage of convenience that hopefully would put a stop to anything else. Did it work? It seems to have on cursory examination of the nation. The tribes most affected by the post-election violence banded together to give a victory to the people accused of causing it. This is the very definition of revenge served ice-cold following the adage that if the gods would punish us they give us what we ask for.

 

But I still couldn’t feel the euphoria of a Kenyan win. That’s the moment we all remember that we are Kenyans. This is the greatness of artists and sportsmen. By entertaining us they can make us one but still I felt ice.

 

The day before the rugby win the Ocampo six paraded themselves and their freedom. The last vestiges of colonial influence over us were being torn away. We are after all a country that thrives best on local solutions by local people. Kenya had beaten the world. The ICC admitted its ineffectuality and impotence when it was unable to convict even one of the people named in what perhaps is its most high profile case. There was something wrong with the process by which we sought justice or by which the ICC attempted to deliver justice. Somewhere in the pipeline something went horribly wrong. The investigations were bungled and the wrong people were charged. Or the right people where charged  but the lawyers prosecuting them were incompetent. Or the right witnesses were found but they were cajoled and intimidated and disappeared until they couldn’t give any kind of testimony. Or the wrong witnesses were found and the justice system rooted them out as conscience began to speak to them. Or the right people were charged and they had at their disposal an arsenal of diplomatic, financial and political weapons. Or the wrong people were charged and the 6 million Kenyans who placed their trust in them knew this all along, took it on faith that these men they had never met were innocent of any charge levied against them and had their faith vindicated by the facts of the world.

 

The people who were charged may not have been guilty, we may never know. What we do know is that there was a correct combination to open the safe. The correct numbers existed to punish the people who made us suffer so much. Someone somewhere dropped the ball and this is the history we have to live with now. The history that was celebrated on Saturday. The Ocampo six were so pleased that the ICC process failed that they forgot it failed not only us but them too. The ICC process failed humanity.

 

There is a hope of justice that faded farther and farther away over the last nine years. All the political manoeuvring even before Ocampo first forayed into Kenya told us that impunity existed. That it was there and that it stood in all readiness to mock us. Perhaps the system was corrupted from the get-go. Perhaps it rotted as it went along. No matter what the truth of this is by the end it couldn’t cover us or anyone else.

 

Being Kenyan for me meant one thing this weekend. It meant that nobody would be held to account for all those deaths. That this book was closed. So when the rugby team pulled off their amazing feat and it was time to be proud to be Kenyan I couldn’t do it.

 

 

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