Bring Back My Country

How about this for Kenyan thriller novel that is later turned into a novel

      A Muslim cleric is killed in the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa. The fifth one in as many months. 72 hours n     later,         Britain      shuts down their consulate in town, citing security concerns. 48 hours, at 50 Kenyans are massacred in a night of murderous orgy by unknown assailants. Are the events connected? The government thinks it is connected to the recent political renaissance of the opposition leader, recently returned from a ‘sabbatical’ in the United States. The opposition dismisses this official position as nonsense. Al-shabab, have claimed responsibility but ther claims are not easy to verify, besides the government just apprehended a young man believed to be behind the false up dates.

Now, the task of unraveling the truth lies on the shoulder of Makmende(Kenya’s own Jackbauer). Will get he get to the bottom of the matter? Will he stay alive? Turn the page.

Uhuru Kenyata is my charismatic and cool President. William Ruto is my astute Deputy President. David Kimayio is my Inspector General of the police. The confidence of my countrymen in his ability to execute his duties has been waning. Joseph Ole Lenku is the  unfortunate man in charge of security. Many Kenyans think that he is not qualified for the job, mostly because he does not cut the figure of a kick-ass dude. And in politics as in many things in life, perception counts. Remember when Michuki would bark and bite?

 

These are the men presently in charge of our security and the country is literally living in fear, for we don’t know where they will strike next. We are in hat state where in a family where the dad is coward and children have to watch over themselves.

 

Raila Odinga is opposition leader with three attempts at presidency, two of which there is considerable consensus that he was cheated out of it. In his renewed drive he is using the similar approach of mobilizing folks who go to the rallies for the entertainment value (don’t we love his vitendawilis and proverbs, some of which a section of MPs from Central Kenya believe were an harbinger of the attack. And Otieno Kajwang while annoying makes up for one funny bugger, doesn’t he?) more than anything else.  He is promising a storm. He did so in the past with phrases such as Tsunamis and okayed two electoral commissions that he later claimed rigged him out of the presidency. Can he be third-time lucky? Certainly, not with the same approach. And Kalonzo does not sound as sincere having served in the government for more than 25 years. Wetangula is another one.

 

I don’t fancy either political side. But we are stuck with them. Where you have Midiwo, you have Duale on the other side. Where you have Khalalwe, you have Ichungwa on the other end. Where you have Moses Kuria, there is a brigade of CORD whose version of patriotism is to paint the others as bad. Kiuk folks have become a little bit self-protective, the narrative being spurn by their top leaders being that they are targeted. Every one now in the country believes that we are about to descend into unprecedented chaos. Now this is not the country I grew up in.

***

 

Recently, I went to the University of Nairobi for some brief consultation. When entering the Gandhi Wing, the security guard frisked me, whereupon he asked me for my student ID. I told him I’m a journalist with an appointment with a lecturer. He asked for my national ID. Exasperated I fished for my torn ID, gave it to him and he let me in. Just two years ago, I was a student leader in the same institution and walked to every office and building as I pleased.

 

During the last year elections, I helped my cousin who was vying for the Makadara Parliamentary seat strategize at the InterContinental hotel. Back then, you were only frisked at the entry to the hotel. I went there recently, and I noticed that you are frisked at the gate and at the entry to the facility.

 

It is no longer funny. Now every other building and government facility is is enmeshed with meaningless security check that we all know cannot stop terrorists if they come the way they came to Westgate or Mpeketoni. No one can park along Harambee Avenue as ropes and chains cordon the government facilities and the police ever so vigilant.

 

Is it just me, or everyone is exasperated by the ongoing restlessness in the country. Recently the government embarked on increasing the NSSF charge promising a prosperous future but life has become too cheap and predictable in Kenya. If you are not dying in avoidable accidents, illicit brew is dispatching you to your maker and the government can only afford you a coffin. When terrorist are not bombing you, thieves and muggers can plant bullets in you or knifing you just but to get a laptop from you. Why should we pay more.

 

The country is polarized. There were days when our polarity was a best security. No more. Ever since Kenyans joined hands to end the 24 year-old tyranny only for the MoU to be broken before even the ink it was signed on dried, things will never be the same. Ever since, the country has not known what peace is. The outcome of the two elections-2007 and 2013-was contested and Kenyans who stood in the queues  for many hours  to vote for ODM and CORD will always feel disgruntled towards the respective regimes. The fervent Facebook and Twitter discontent pretty much brings the fact home.

 

There were days when we were free. Those idyllic days when life went on just fine without disruptions. Then 1998 bombing introduced us to Modern Terrorism 101. The September 2001 attack on American soil will herald fearful days that now punctuate part of our everyday life. When was the last time you went to the American embassy or traveled by air? The security at airports is unnerving and inconveniencing. Yet every next man is a potential terrorist.

 

In the period after 2002, despite the dishonouring of the MoU, we lived in relative calm, bolstered by renewed zeal in the new government and when Mungiki tried something, they were thrashed and we never heard anything from them until, the 2007 post-election violence. After the February peace agreement that benefited those in power than it did for me and you, we had relative calm until piracy in the Indian Ocean started taking toll on our economy directly and indirectly and we had to go there and address the situation. Ever since, they have been on our backyard. I can count up to more than 100 deaths within the last one year that al shabab have claimed responsibility. That is barring the 50 deaths at Mpeketoni that we now have a plot twist.

4 things I know about our present day quagmire

 

Here is what I know. The current morass we are stuck in is an accumulation of the dirty that we have swept under the carpet since the missionaries set foot in Kenya. Now we are running out the carpet to sweep our dirt under. Missionaries came to liberate us savages and inadvertently developed some areas at the cost of others. The Kikuyus were the accidental beneficiaries of the highest number of schools, hospitals and institutions. When you move to Luo Nyanza, Maseno and essentially the Siaya region benefited more ahead of the folks in the South Nyanza. Essentially, areas that received any piece of infrastructure had a head start and that is why some areas such us Turkana and the entire Northern frontier lag in lawlessness and underdevelopment. Future churches could not venture into the areas as the formative missionaries. Yet they have more resources to evangelise and change the way such communities lead their lives.

 

Presently, you would think that devolution was going to address this, but CORD conveniently have forgotten about that achievement and governors are lining their pockets and MCAs bathing in money that should be dedicated to address the economic injustices. Wonder what the rallies will achieve, but let me wait and see.

 

Secondly, through institutionalized corruption and nepotism,  specific individuals have benefited massively by belonging to the politically correct class. The same politicians know a thing or two about the power of divisively politics. For instance, what is the beef of Luo and Kikuyus. Geographically they don’t share a boundary as to compete for resources. Ideologically, the Kikuyus are more given business and entrepreneurship. Luos are more given to white collar jobs and where they have gone into business their interest are not in direct contention with those of the Kikuyus. A poor Kikuyu and a poor Luo are as miserable as the next poor Kenyan. Yet ideally, they work together to make ends meet. A Kikuyu driver (blue collar) probably trusts a Luo mechanic (blue collar) at Grogon and buys his tires from a Kamba (blue collar).

 

It is benumbing being a Kenya. But with leaders such as Duale, Millie Odhiambo, Sonko, Shebesh and Kajwang and their ilk, you wonder if they ever sit down to worry about the future of the country. As long as our politicians get to access the public kitty, sign for tenders and demand kickbacks, we poor folks have no place in their world. We don’t hang out in the same places. We can ill-afford their neighbourhoods. Their kids don’t even go to the schools we attend, mostly they don’t even sit for KCSE and KCPE. Naah, they are above the poor man’s examining council-KNEC.

 

Thirdly, we all aspire to the same things in my life. My aim in life is to go to work, pay taxes to ensure that I travel in decent roads, afford medical care, and live in a secure environment. To that end, I would like to start a business and that relies more on a peaceful and stable country.

 

At a personal level, I would like to enjoy my cold Tusker and nyama choma as I watch Arsenal punish Man U in pub without fear that the terrorists might surprise me. After that I want to go home, enjoy my novel, with luck-get laid-and live to see another day to repeat the same. This is what every law abiding citizen aspires for. Eat, get laid, work, live and wait for a natural death. I don’t think that the rich enjoy sex and food better than the poor man, despite their epicurean options. A poor man enjoys what he puts on the table through his hard work than what an overpaid civil servant does at the end of the day. Ditto every tribe. We all aspire for the same.

 

Fourth, this nonsense that we are one is a really tired cliché. No amount of inter-tribal marriages, sex and preaching of love can surmount the amount of hatred that we harbor towards each other. What is there is for us to understand that we need each other. We are inextricably intertwined in this country; there is nowhere we will run to. We have functioned as a country for more than 100 years, first as British citizens and secondly as Kenyans.

 

If we had enough educated guys, we should ask the government what it does with our taxes. We should demand for a more equitable distribution of what we call the national cake.

 

Lastly, we were taught in school that politics is who gets what, where and when. When other communities complain about the national cake, they basically want to see more home- grown entities such as Equity, Family, Tuskys, Naivas, KEMU, MKU springing in their regions owned by themselves. Or their clansmen. It is a primitive expectation but one that can cure and quell the tension that has our mental state arrested.

 

I just hope, however forlornly, that I will ever have my country back. The fear will be gone. And in the blind hatred to discover the next man’s life is as important as mine and he is entitled to life just like me. And his existence has never deterred me from achieving my ends.

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3 thoughts on “Bring Back My Country

  1. This is what every law abiding citizen aspires for. Eat, get laid, work, live and wait for a natural death. Hahaha,a very articulate article and you have driven the point home

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