RE-IMAGINE PROJECT KENYA: THE VERY HARD QUESTIONS WE MUST FACE

It is true that Kenyan Somali have been victims of collective condemnation, and they still see people who perpetrated extensive evil against them, enjoying the comfort of power in the States’ bosom. It is true that the Luo Nation has had her sons sacrifice more for the journey of Kenya to disproportionate benefits and in certain instances, institutionalized segregation. It is true that the Coast has faced systemic alienation, a fate that befell Central Kenya too when Moi was in power. These are realities acknowledged in the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), which report we are too timid to act on or even adopt.

My classmates, who attended Social Foundations of law lectures by Chege Waitara, must have read with a De Ja Vu feel the article by Dr. David Ndii. In our very first classes, the lecturer painfully opined, just a few months after the promulgation of the Constitution, that Kenya was speedily missing another opportunity.

He outlined the very instances David Ndii outlined in making his case for the divorce of Project Kenya. The first nail on the coffin of nationalism, Mr. Chege stated was when Jomo Kenyatta, declared the sacking of Jaramogi Odinga in the comfort of his ethnic enclave Kiambu, surrounded by his Kinsmen.

The second nail was the lack of the opposition to rally together in the aftermath of the re-instatement of multiparty politics upon the repeal of the infamous Section 2 (A). Instead of ushering in a politically conscious era founded on ideology, politics adopted a rather ethnic definition.

His third instance was the post 2002 facet, when the elite, united by a common threat, the grip of nyaoism, rallied together and rooted out Moi. Still, since the struggle to root out Moi had its foundation on a common enemy pillar, rather than a common vision, the disintegration of the NARC codes, which essentially were the Kenyan codes, was but a natural outcome of a half-planned revolution.

The fourth instance was the post 2010 era. When delving into this discussion, the Constitution was barely 6 months old. I believe however, at this point, President Kibaki had appointed Justice Visram, as the Chief Justice, Prof. Githu Muigai as the AG and Ndegwa Muhoro as the Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation.

Other than the fact that the appointments did not follow the consultation principle with the Prime Minister, enshrined in the transitional clauses of the Constitution, Visram and Muhoro had extensive credibility issues, and as such, this heralded a sad reality that we had a new constitution, without constitutionalism.

These are the very instances David Ndii highlighted, the cardinal difference between the two opinions however, Mr. Chege Waitara saw them as missed opportunities in the quest for a nation Kenya, and Ndii saw them as signs of the failing project Kenya. The two however shared in the frustration of our inability to fashion out a horizontal comradeship that inspires commitment to the idea Kenya.

First, we must ask ourselves whether a considerable population within Kenya are continually feeling oscillating towards a detachment from the idea the answer is yes. We can only conclude otherwise if we are lying to ourselves.

It is true that Kenyan Somali have been victims of collective condemnation, and they still see people who perpetrated extensive evil against them, enjoying the comfort of power in the States’ bosom. It is true that the Luo Nation has had her sons sacrifice more for the journey of Kenya to disproportionate benefits and in certain instances, institutionalized segregation. It is true that the Coast has faced systemic alienation, a fate that befell Central Kenya too when Moi was in power. These are realities acknowledged in the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), which report we are too timid to act on or even adopt.

To call for the arrest of Ndii is to deny deep-seated dissatisfactions that our country must eventually face. I am not prepared, not now, not in the future, to pronounce failure of the project Kenya. That the current and previous generations failed to materialize it, can only mean that it is an obligation of our generation.

History will harshly review any generation that acquiesced to the death of Kenya. In fact, it cannot be a generation’s obligation to obliterate a 50-year journey, which can only be cowardice. However, a worse form of that cowardice would be to continue the journey without meeting the challenges that make it imperfect, for that is agreeing to the certainty of failure.

Re-imagining Kenya must come close to undoing the country’s history, especially political history. Kenya created her political founding on tribes. The firs political organization the Young Kikuyu Association I believe designed to agitate for the affairs of the Kikuyu, and while it rebranded later on, at its core it carried that tribal element.

This culture seems to have grown very strongly and close to a century later, we cannot outlive it. All political parties eventually end up morphing into tribal pockets. The Independence party, KANU now has its chair, secretary general and even the gateman to its headquarters as Kalenjin, The other party that has had a truly national outlook, ODM, has its party leader, chairperson,  secretary of political affairs, Executive Director as Luo’s. All other smaller parties find home in a certain community.

A response to Ndii should not be limited to arguing for unity, justifying it with studies by World Bank and what have you as Hon. Mutava Musyimi stated. Neither can it be based on taking a moral grandstanding, demonizing its proponent. The best response is to agree, that we have created a business worth 2.1 trillion a year, but failed to create a nation.

An ideal response must be re-evaluating our history and re-imagining it. It must be a renewed commitment to erase the growing feeling that the wishes of other communities are subordinate to the tyranny of the tribal marriages that are Jubilee and CORD.

We must be bold enough and say the art of developing a nation goes beyond constructing railways, or just opening up infrastructure, and has to hinge on a genuine understanding that all can share in the promise of citizenship.

A nation only becomes one when every citizen knows they can play their role; realize their ambition and access opportunity with an assuredness. We must ask ourselves genuine questions about why children born in the same boundaries have unequal survival rates just 400 Kilometers from each other.

The mode of government adopted by the new constitution gives us a substantial basis to move towards creating a nation Kenya. Sadly, the Jubilee administration has demonstrated such apathy towards the new constitution.

It has clawed back many steps towards institutionalizing government, and chose the path of investing authority in a single man. The President believes that there is some meaning in telling a nation that its political course is predetermined for the next decade.

Even if not for anything, should democracy, as a means of accessing political power allow for a reevaluation of government after every five years?

I have reached a conclusion that the current political generation is incapable of realizing the Nation Kenya. They were sculptured from the brokenness of our system. They draw their support from the broken pieces of our nation. They will not fix that br

To reimagine this nation, it will require the courage of her citizens. For as long as we remain beholden to our tribal affiliations, we will always be derailed by persistent spasms of disaffection. I hope we can rise up and denounce the incompetence of the current political leadership in its entirety.

I read Dr. Murabula’s response, a measured and well defined response, and while I will agree with many things, he states, in his opinion, the tribe must die, for the nation to grow. I disagree.

We will have to place our diversity at the center of the story of the re-imagined nation. I believe, then, our journey will be richer and stronger. Ethnic identity in itself is not wrong. There are beautiful facets in our individual ways of lives that I am hesitant to sacrifice at the altar of nationalism, yet the two can be accommodated.

One of our problem is our politics. We right our politics, we re-imagine our nation, Kenya will not just be a project, it will be a Nation. What our founding fathers at some point aspired. We must boldly agree that this nation is too great to fail, but too imperfect to continue this way.

God bless Kenya Always!