It is not like the supporters and cheerleaders of the political class in CORD and jubilee do not know that their side stinks, and that their tribal kingpins have been part and parcel of the current rot in government and politics. They do and have acknowledged as much. The arguments flying revolve around the “lesser evil” and as some sycophants have put it, “the devil you know”. The argument is not who is clean and honest, but the argument is who is more corrupt than the other. The argument is not who is patriotic and nationalist, it is who is more tribal than the other. The argument is not which political parties are efficient and productive, the argument is which ones are more tribal and mediocre than the others. It is never who has integrity and can be trusted. It is about who is the bigger or “acceptable” thief.
Someone said that if your only choice is between the lesser of two evils, all you will get is the evil of two lessers. And that is where, we, good people of Kenya are stuck with the evil of the two lessers, the degenerate, defiled and perverted political class in Jubilee and CORD.
The evil of the two lessers has us in a tribal death-lock, “political ngeta”. What makes this debased situation even more problematic is that we are expected to take sides in this dance of death. And we are expected to join the dance in the side of the warlord who comes from “our” tribes. Today, it is virtually impossible to express an opinion without having to contend with your last name. In fact, if you were to ask Kalonzo Musyoka, he will not even answer questions from people with certain surnames. It is sickening. CORD and jubilee have instituted a form of tribal dictatorship more debased and dangerous than the KANU dictatorship of the 70’s and 80’s. We replaced the single KANU dictator with six tribal warlords and when they rise to froth in the mouth with hate and self-righteous political double-speak we are expected to cheer and cheer loudly and defend “our man”. And those of us who have fallen for the facade do cheer and insult those of us who are urging sobriety and reflection. W. B. Yeats Second Coming describes the situation the country is in when he wrote:
Turning and turning in the widening gyreYes, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Why are we allowing these tribal warlords to beat the drums of war unchallenged? Even Moi at his height, under the old constitution was challenged by brave Kenyans. The tribal kingpins in CORD and Jubilee have constructed a tribal narrative in order to survive in politics. And this is the problem. The political survival of these tribal tin-gods in CORD and jubilee depends on the things that divide us. We have a stark choice ahead of us. Kenya on one side, and the tribal tin-gods on the other. Kenya as a nation cannot survive and the political careers of the tribal warlords survive at the same time. The two are mutually exclusive. You get one at the expense of the other. We have as a people to choose the country over the tribal warlords, and get rid of them. There is no other way. If we do not free ourselves from the tribal warlords, we are finished as a nation. Period.
How will this happen. I have said repeatedly that politics is about narratives. The narrative of tribe as a tool for political mobilization has taken toxic form over the last 15 years courtesy of these Kanunnites, former Moi spanner-boys, fixers and wannabes. It has mutated into the ONLY narrative. Everyone who runs for President will have to contend with the ethnic narrative. Unfortunately contending with also means looking for an alternative narrative. These Moi-men have found it easier to ride the tribal narrative than to challenge it and introduce a new one. I personally believe they are intellectually incapable of imagining alternative narratives. I have heard the argument that this has been tried before and failed. The example quoted is that in the last presidential elections, the “new” presidential candidates, were non-tribal but the people still rejected them.
None of them articulated a compelling non-ethnic counter narrative (Dida tried). They were just running around telling us that tribalism is bad and that government is corrupt, as if we don’t already know that. Someone does not have to be terribly intelligent to tell us that the current political class is tribal, corrupt and mediocre, ni watu wa ukabila, ukora na upuzi. Pretty anyone can do that. The question we need answered is, “what new narrative do we replace their tribal one with?”. The tribal narrative has brought us as far as it can bring us, a nation deeply divided. The tribal warlords have sunk as low as they can sink, they have become as cantankerous and intransigent as can be, buoyed by a sense of tribal “strongholds”. The divisions can only get worse, and the prognosis can only get more dire for the Kenyan nation. A new, well-articulated compelling non-ethnic political narrative is urgently and desperately required. As the country stands dangerously divided, I have argued like Marc Gafni, that our greatest crisis is not one of tribalism, it is one of imagination:
The greatest crisis of our lives is neither economic, intellectual nor even what we call religious [or even triabal]. It’s a crisis of imagination. We get stuck on our paths because we are unable to re-imagine our lives differently from what they are right now. We hold on desperately to the status quo, afraid that if we let go, we will be swept away by the torrential undercurrents of our emptiness. Marc GafniSo, unable to imagine anything outside tribe, each is desperately holding to their tribal warlord. Afraid that if it is not their tribal warlord in power “the devil they know”, it will be the tribal warlord of “the others”, “the devil they don’t know”.
The political class cares nothing apart from their own power. Those with the power want to hold on to it by all means necessary. They have said they will rule for twenty years. Those out of power want it with a sense of urgency and desperation. The only option left for us the people is to rise up against the political class, with equal urgency and desperation. We have been warned that we have to die for some of them to ascend to power, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwZxcWybb_0. We have been warned that those who got power as hustlers against a VP and PM will never loose it,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws8bMN8LGos.
We are at the edge of a cliff. It is said it is better to build a fence at the edge of the cliff, than to build a hospital beneath it. We need to build the fence. The events of this 1st June 2016 confirm to us that the political class is full of divisive passionate intensity ready and willing to throw us over the cliff. We must stop them, we must get the conviction to save ourselves.
Dear Kenyans, it does not matter who is right and it does not matter who is wrong, this is what a divided country looks like and this is how things fall apart. A new non-ethnic political narrative is desperately needed. Any ideas out there?