Monthly Archives: May 2013

Activists : An emerging class of Good Samaritans

#OccupyParliament

#OccupyParliament, Kenya, Parliament, Democracy

Recently in Kenya; during the Labor Day celebration, an activist was mishandled by hired goons, protecting a Man who claims to be the image and representative of the millions of labourers in Kenya.

As in the case of the Good Samaritan; the first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? (Martin Luther King Jr.)

These words of wisdom are normally embedded, knowingly or unknowingly, in the hearts of many activists or civil society movements that advocate for the various rights which may have been directly or indirectly violated by either the ruling government or highly powered individuals. These rights may be first or second generation rights, Animal rights, Conservation rights or right to have rights.

Was the activist justified to express his inner most pain and frustrations of what he and many Kenyans feel but fail to express? Yes he was. Did the government do anything? Yes they did by letting the hired goon mishandle him and later charged him with disruption of a state function. We the ‘priests’ and ‘Levites’ sat comfortably in our living rooms wining and dining while applauding the circus being screened on our flat screens TV’s as the activists were being carried like criminals while others were busy criticizing the activists harshly.

Within a week the same activists made headlines by bringing pigs feeding on bloody filth outside parliament. The pigs were branded with names of Members of parliament who are adversely advocating for the increase of their salaries. The activists were arrested and are being charged with cruelty to animals. I think as a country and especially the newly elected leaders (Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament and Members of the county assembly) we are missing a very critical point that these activists are trying to pass across.

Allow me to give you all a mental flight to the last seen series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and Northern Africa, which came to be known as the Arab Spring/Uprising. These series of phenomenal started in Tunisia when a man decided to set himself on fire which resulted to the escalation of riots and unrest which led to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia. A spill over to other countries such as Algeria, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt which resulted to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak was experienced. The gross but bravery act by the “burning man” in Tunisia as he came to be known was majorly a protest against the high rise of food prices, mistreatment from the authorities, high unemployment and other social injustices that a common man in any part of the world faces.

Having enlightened you and myself on the “Arab Spring” I wish to join this group of young activists and assume the role of a “media activist” meaning I am among the class of the “Priest and the Levites” but undergoing a mental emancipation to become a “good Samaritan”. Our leaders have mastered the art of selective amnesia whereby they choose to remember what is beneficial to them and forget what is not. When they campaigned they knew how much they will earn and none complained. Some even made promises to donate their salaries to the various constituents but now, they have forgotten the promises and their new song is that the Salary and Remuneration commission is plotting to kill them. On the other side, we the Kenyans suffer from “adaptive syndrome”. 

We adapt to any situation we find ourselves in and most of these harsh situations are man made. As a country, we have a large percentage of educated youth who are internet savvy and creative but lack employment. We are faced with food inflation, lack of freedom of speech and extremely poor living conditions. Something needs to be done and if not then we will have a battle of the haves and the have not as we are currently seeing through the Occupy parliament protests. To the Kenyans, the activists are simply saying, if they don’t stop to voice the injustices we face, what will happen to all of us when the “pigs” take all the food. Is there anyone listening?

Article by;

Dennis Mwaniki,

Political Scientist.

 

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“Pontius Pilate Philosophy” On Cabinet Secretary Nominees

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The Uhuruto “Disciples” have been named and to be precise 16 nominated “disciples” (Cabinet Secretaries) awaiting two more. Unlike in the Holy Book where Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit in selecting his 12 disciples, Uhuruto were led by the vast and impeccable credentials of the said nominated “disciples”. Amongst these great men and women who were nominated are the likes of Peter who denied Jesus three times and Judas the Man who betrayed his leader for 30 shillings. Selecting these nominees wasn’t a walk in the park for the two leaders but whichever the case they managed to produce the list and now its time to vet the decision they made of nominating politicians contrary to what they had promised.

When the deputy president announced that the names of the nominated “disciples” will not include any politician, many Kenyans were excited because for the first time in our country, we will experience a historical “deviation” where loyal, corrupt and sycophant colleagues who lost in the general elections will not be rewarded with cabinet positions and hopefully be required to retire from the public lime light. To some of us, it was a very scary statement from the deputy president in lieu of the fact that other two main partners in the jubilee coalition had lost in the just concluded general elections. We were also faced with the stark reality of the existence of the coalition agreement that was deposited at the registrar of political parties.

Before the party ended and the wine had dried up from the wells of public excitements, Uhuruto dropped a bombshell and nominated the two coalition partners as cabinet secretaries one in the Ministry of Mining and the other the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development. The social media was in frenzy, people criticizing the Deputy president of double speak and others saying not only has he taken the role of his predecessor, but also inherited his character. What people didn’t realize is that Uhuruto applied the “Pontius Pilate philosophy”. Allow me to explain this philosophy by quoting the book of Mathew 27:11-24.

11. Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say.” Jesus replied. ……………………….. 15. Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.16. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17). so when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “which one do you want me to release to you; Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18) For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19) While Pilate was sited on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message;” Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”…………24)  When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

I wish not to engage myself in blasphemy as none of these individuals are innocent as Jesus was. One of them has been mentioned adversely in various reports from corruption to economic crimes. As Pilate’s wife tried to caution her husband, I do believe that was the same thing that Hon. Ruto tried to do in the statement of not including any politician as a cabinet secretary. But as we all know the political settings in Kenya were changed as a result of political leaders not honoring the M.O.U’s that they agree amongst themselves. One of the M.O.U that was not honored was one made by the Former president Kibaki and Raila Odinga after the 2002 elections which resulted to Raila Odinga becoming a rebel within the government. Another was between Raila and the Muslim community that resulted to some Muslim’s protesting led by one of the nominated cabinet secretary Hon. Balala claiming Raila is a traitor.

My point is President Uhuru knew that by nominating Both Balala, Ngilu and the other politicians who were not included; as some awaits Ambassadorial positions and other high profile jobs will not go well with the spirit of what he had promised the Kenyan people during Campaign, but for the sake of the coalition agreement and the next elections, he had no choice but to name these fellows who have been adversely named on corruption. For him, what he has done is wash his hands just as Pilate did and handed over the headache to the Parliamentary Committee on appointment and the National Assembly. Whether they approve the nominee of Hon. Balala or Hon. Ngilu for him he has no debt in regards to the coalition agreements. Over to you Parliamentary committee on appointments, now your Job is either to approve the “Barabbas” or demand for a “Jesus” kind of leaders from Uhuruto.

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki

Political Scientist

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