Friday, 23 November 2012

Of Warlords and Landlords, The Gods Of Kenya

Last week, 42 policemen were led into an ambush where 400 militiamen mowed them down in a hail of bullets. Kenyans reacted in shock; I mean how can 42 policemen be killed by “cattle rustlers”? What didn’t shock Kenyans is how an Asst. Minister and MPs from the region can publicly declare that the “rustlers” responded in self defense.

More surprising news, 3 military men are killed in Garissa, and then Kenya Defense Forces respond with excessive force. Once again, the public is subjected to a fiasco; the Ministry in charge of KDF claims to not know under whose orders KDF responded.  Quietly, that story dies.  KDF apparently does not need orders from the Minister to crush people. 

There is a Kenyan reality that underlies the fabric of our society. Superficially, we assume that we are one nation, under one flag, democratic and governed. But in truth, this is a fractured country, and not just fractured politically along ethnic lines, which is the meme that our political class would rather we believe.
This country surely has warlords. How can 400 militia men be assembled at one place, with sophisticated guns, and military knowledge enough to massacre 42 policemen? This is a display of military might, organization; these were not just cattle rustlers. More to the point are the statements by the political leaders. “They were responding in self defense.” Excuse me for a minute here. When did resisting arrest, assault, and murder of policemen become remotely justifiable in a civilized nation?  

The words of the MPs are not just horrific; they are representative of a new reality in Kenya, a reality where government itself is under attack and from within. Some people in this country have established fiefdoms complete with personal armies and our nation at the moment is really no better than Goma the DRC, only we have far fewer deaths. This is the only possible explanation for the massacres in Tana Delta, Baragoi, and Garissa.

This is a country that has been sectioned up, divided and shared out, and the police and the machinery of government are inconsequential to the greater equation. This is why, your soul as an ordinary citizen is so easy to trade off. We die like flies, just like our policemen died.  Wise young men now refuse to be recruited into the police; a recent recruitment exercise had a very low turnout. 

While we idly indulge in meaningless tribalism and ethnic divisions, our leaders, nay our gods, which we worship, are busy amassing wealth and armies to ensure that we remain mere serfs.  We live on their land, we live in their houses, we pay rent to them, we work for them in their businesses and we also pay taxes to maintain their kitties. To top it off, we vote them into parliament to ensure that they remain in power, perpetually, as our gods. 

Let us pray. That is the first response that people had when an explosion was set off in a bus in Eastleigh, Nairobi. People automatically resort to prayer whenever there is violence, never realizing that the gods they worship called MPs do not answer prayers, nor will they ever turn Kenya into heaven, only hell. I pity a religious republic that refuses to abandon its irrational belief in its oppressors in the name of democracy.
When the Minister for State of Defense says he does not know who gave the order for KDF forces to respond in Garissa, you know then that something that was hidden for years has unfortunately surfaced. A behemoth of frightening proportions wields the power in this country. There are the superficial power positions in Ministries, and then there are the real power wielders, shadowy characters who have at their disposal our nation’s resources for their own convenience, and there is nothing we can do about it.

The coming elections are an ode to our landlords and warlords, whom we love, desperately, even as they subjugate us and deny us peace or justice. I applaud the IEBC for attempting to pretend to register voters; we know very well that they will certainly not be able to register all voters in all constituencies in just one month. No matter, we also know that we don’t need registered voters, or even elections in this country, when obviously who is going to be President are a boardroom decision and not a democratic choice. 

As our beloved Landlords and Warlords share, divide and sign off on our nation, let us never stop praising them for their violent leadership, and remind ourselves how wonderful they are to allow us to live on their land. In fact, let us pray that their partitioning of Kenya is done peacefully during the next elections, let not our gods, chose excessively violent means of political sharing. Hopefully, as they answer our prayers of not sadistically killing off their own serfs, they will also build some roads and some schools for our children, to ensure that they have a continual production of mindless, religious workers for their industries. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

When the Security in Kenya needs Security

This week was just devastating for the Kenya Police Service. We lost 42 policemen in an ambush that can only be described as utter treachery and an attack on our very sovereignty. The fact of the matter is this; Kenya is not a nation at peace. We haven’t had peace in this country since independence because we have communities in this country that make it their livelihood to be cattle rustlers.  Stealing livestock is not just a favorite past time, it’s a way to acquire wealth.

Its incredible to consider how culture can influence one’s world view, such that rather than work hard to acquire property one simply goes out and steals whatever he desires and kills whoever is standing in his way. No wonder we cannot define integrity in this country, even by law, because right in our own homes there is a cow that we are milking that does not rightfully belong to us.

It’s a barbaric culture, frankly, primitive and retrogressive.  The reason why 42 young recruits were so brutally murdered is a herd of cattle that some greedy people refused to return; I mean really, how can we trade the lives of our young men for grazing beasts!

More disturbing is such an ancient culture is openly encouraged and protected by politicians who themselves probably own stolen cattle. Why else would they be so against a military response to an act so brutal and treacherous as to kill our police? Lets face it. They MUST have known what was about to happen, and that it would be a deadly ambush. How sick must an MP be, to know about a killing about to occur and then not even warn the victims so that they can save their lives?

So, here is where a culture that has survived with impunity and protection finally faces up to the reality of consequences. Consequences such as having the military invade and eliminate all perceived threats. Loosely translated, we know the military is going to sweep these cattle rustling people into oblivion. 

Is a ruminant really of such high value that hundreds of people must die? The truth behind the situation in Suguta valley is that this has less to do with cattle, and more to do with electoral votes and power. Its no secret that vested interests in this region and other parts of the country like Tana Delta are intent on furnishing and encouraging skirmishes in order to secure votes and favor from rural people.

We, as a nation, are such a backward lot, steeped in our miniature hatred, suspicion and dislike for other communities and cultures that at the drop of a hat we will slaughter our neighbors’ over an animal. The politicians know this, they understand how horrifically mutilated our social fabric is, how disassociated we are from each other, all they have to do is ignite flames of suspicion and hate every 5 years to stay in power. It’s our own fault we live in such fear and insecurity, no one else’s.

We get the leaders we choose, we get the leaders we listen to and we never listen to rational, level headed or national statesmen. We always listen to petty, vindictive, morally reprehensible and corrupt tribal chieftains’ because that is exactly how we are as a society.  We are primitive and selfish, later on, when so many die, we turn around and blame the government for not acting sooner to save policemen who we ourselves killed, because of cattle.

Isn’t it interesting how we can thus have uproar about how the President is slow to respond to the situations we ourselves create? Such illogical, irrational behavior speaks to our very mental state. Kenyans seem to be out of their minds to some extent, unable to connect action with reaction, unable to link cause and consequence, and always willing to abrogate responsibility for the state of security, justice and peace in our country to government.

In the coming elections, the responsibility for how many people live through a so-called “democratic” process is entirely up to us, not the police, not the Kenya Defense Forces, and certainly not the Judiciary nor the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Its each Kenyan’s choice on whether the elections will be violent or peaceful and it is our own choice if we want to live free from government repression through force. 

Certainly, I don’t find the idea of a military state of emergency appealing in any way. But some of us Kenyans are monsters and as we all know very well, you must crush monsters when they are small or else they will grow and destroy everything.  It’s a damn shame that we can call ourselves a democratic republic when the truth is, we are really people who must be controlled by government, we lack self control or independence, and worst of all lack humanity.  Kenya is a totalitarian state, and we seem to like it that way.

Friday, 9 November 2012

When Judicial Reforms Means Luxury Vehicles

The JSC through Justice Lenaola this week did a very strange thing. They found a way to interpret the purchase of luxury vehicles for Judges as a constitutional right.  Quoting article 160(4) of the constitution which states that the remuneration and benefits payable to, or in respect of, a judge shall not be varied to the disadvantage of the judge, the JSC thus interprets the purchase of expensive guzzlers as a constitutional right of every Judge in Kenya.

Never mind the Kwach report of 1998, this is 2012 and I mean 14 years later. This is a whole new world, where the key economic term for a developing nation such as Kenya is Sustainable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy.  With regards to the development markers of this country what in the world indicates that Kenya is the sort of country that can actually afford such expensive cars for Judges? And how is the lack of an expensive car disadvantageous to a Judge?

Why, Judges in Germany cycle to work! And I assure you that Germany has an economy that is far more capable of purchasing expensive cars for its Judges, in fact that is where those posh Mercedes Benz are made.

What is it about the big man syndrome that is so hard to excise even from seemingly intelligent people like those thronging the JSC? In the 21st Century, the need for polishing bloated legal egos with vehicles whose fuel efficiency makes them not just expensive to run, but also expensive to maintain is really a reflection of how little we have moved from the colonial regressive mindsets of the 1960s.

Talk about undeserving as well. Lest we forget that the total work output of these Judges can barely power a tricycle. I think the most aggravating statement this year from a panel of 5 of our gratuitously esteemed Judges is that they are not convinced how public interest and administration of justice will be harmed if proceedings by sacked Judges are heard. Hold the phone. Those judges were sacked because of their incompetence when handling cases and it is very much in the public interest that they are still allowed to handle cases!

How terrifying for Kenya. That judicial reforms so desperately needed in Kenya is equivalent to Judges receiving posh vehicles. No doubt, even the sacked Judge still sitting on the bench will also get a gorgeous large guzzler to mimic the gluttony of our Judiciary.

Basically, by declaring that it is mandated by our constitution to purchase these luxury vehicles, based on a 14 year old report and global trends verses Kenya’s development be damned, the JSC has proven to us all that not only are Judges immune to common sense, they are also as parasitic as ever, and there is nothing but superficiality perverse in the Judiciary.

No wonder it is a national concern that violence will mar the forth-coming elections. After all, it is mistrust of this very same judiciary that led to the post-election violence of 2007.  In the time since then there have been lots of changes to the appearance of the judiciary, cleaner, refurbished court houses, nice flowing robes, hot new hairdos, and now posh vehicles that set these judges as far apart from the average Kenyan as a monkey on its way to the moon is apart from its fellow monkeys in the forest.

Are these Judges even Kenyans? That is the question we must ask. Are they representative of the citizenry of this nation, or they simply represent stateless elites who now lord it over “subjects”.  Because when you add up all the shenanigans of our over glorified judiciary in the past year, you must admit, that the term “your Lordship” has been taken literally by these ‘learned’ fellows.

For those who have not tallied it up here is a brief run down. A Judge of the high court makes an unconstitutional ruling. A panel of 5 judges thereafter upholds the unconstitutional ruling and declares that the high court has jurisdiction over a constitutional body a matter of questionable interpretation. The same panel of Judges then declares that sacked Judges hearing cases is not detrimental to public interest despite the fact that the judges were sacked because of incompetence. Finally the JSC awards these “lords” with expensive guzzling vehicles, an ode to a colonial past that they claimed to have shaken off as they sport dashing new robes and hairstyles that they think are African.

 When the constitution is called upon to justify replacing an old Mercedes Benz with a new one in the name of not varying a judge’s benefits to the detriment of the Judge, you can tell that the “learned” fellow is not thinking. If other government officials are using Volkswagen Passats, which are just as prestigious as the Mercedes Benz, what makes these judges so special that they must have luxury vehicles? Finally, only a very narrow minded type of reprobate thinks of a name and label as prestigious more than his country and yet is in public service.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

What Judicial Reforms, Mr. Chief Justice?

Dear Dr. Willy Mutunga,

Greetings and salutations from a fellow humble citizen. I won’t waste time on further social niceties, seeing as you are a busy Chief Justice, and I am a busy young lady too.  I just wanted to let you know how incredibly impressed I was during your state of the Judiciary Report Launch, more so with the number of dignitaries attending than anything. My, you have a lot of support it seems. I was equally impressed with the state of the Judiciary report itself, though it was a bit long winded for my taste.

Looks like almost one year after you’ve taken up office, you’ve managed to get the judiciary to catch up with the 21st century in terms of providing courts and making justice more accessible to the general public plus the introduction of new technology means a greater number of people can keep up with judicial law reports.  And while these impressive measures lend a rather superficial feel to the delivery of justice in Kenya, I must admit, that the change of robes and dress code in the corridors of justice make the dearth of actual reliable judicial process rather festive. 

Why, I am sure, when Justice Warsame made his initial unconstitutional ruling against the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board, seeking to suspend their activities, he was dressed in those new robes too, possibly with a swanky haircut to boot. Oh I know, he isn’t as cool as you, doesn’t have an earring to display, but still, you know, that did not stop a high court justice from making a ruling that contravened the very constitution he was sworn to uphold. Actually, Mr. CJ, I was wondering if swearing really is necessary anymore, seeing as the word of a Judge is about as useful as a verbal agreement, that is, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Maybe, we could allow for a freer society if in our court rooms we no longer bind witnesses by making them swear to the truth, we’ll just take their word for it. Oh and that will of course affect perjury laws, but I digress.

Back to the matter of Judges who can’t be trusted. Your own Deputy CJ recently took the prize for being an astute spinner of reality. Truth be told, (pardon the pun) she was right about the selection of Judges for her appeal. It was your selection after all, an indicator of how powerful you really are when it comes to the future of judges, even judges of the Supreme Court, as was your Deputy.

So I find it rather astounding, that though the will of the people as expressed in the constitution of Kenya has been delivered by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board and judges sent packing, The High court can then decide that it has jurisdiction over this constitutional body and bar the sacking of judges, and they can do this, underneath your very nose!

Oh I know, you didn’t hire the Judges, the JSC did that. But then I have to question, what then is your vast power for?  I don’t mean the super powers your earring gives you, you being a man of all faiths. I mean the power of Czar over Kenya, first person of the constitution and Judiciary, surely your office being so powerful as to determine the future of your former Deputy, has the same power to determine the future of obviously corrupt judges.

My deep angst with you is settled upon this one fact, that you do indeed have the power, and are yet to act. What are you waiting for, due process, perhaps? Shall we let this fiasco go all the way to the Supreme Court only for you to pre-select Judges who will find a ruling that is favorable to the Vetting Board? Don’t bother with all the semblances of propriety; superficiality is really your undoing. Go ahead, fire those judges, pap! After all, they won’t bother to disguise their impunity either. 

Well, we knew it was going to be a fight to create actual judicial reforms, and what you need to know is that you are not dealing with gentlemen or gentle ladies. So kindly, Mr. Chief Justice Sir, take off your gloves and get down and dirty. 

With all my support.