Tuesday, February 05, 2008
KENYA: THERE CAN BE NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE!
Published on February 6, 2008, 12:00 am
By Ken S Muriithi
The debilitating anger consuming the country is due to a build-up of emotions over time.
In 1963 Jaramogi Oginga Odinga stepped back to allow Jomo Kenyatta to become founding president. But a certain community took it as their right to dominate leadership.
Kenyatta dished out massive tracks of fertile land, to select people or ‘politically-correct’ politicians, especially from Central Province in the Rift Valley.
The rest of Kenyans felt being pushed aside.
In 1969 Tom Mboya was assassinated. Right-thinking Kenyans perceived this as a sign that no one should dare to compete for leadership.
A promising leader was lost. People perceived this as another plan to sideline western Kenya.
In 1974, JM Kariuki was assassinated and the Government responded with repercussions if any one dared to blame it. His vision had given hope to the middle class and the poor of the possibility of a better Kenya. Again this chance ended with his death.
The brutal way he was killed again reflected the dictatorial and absolute style of the regime. The country had been taken back once more.
In 1982 the one party regime was introduced. Wananchi felt oppressed and unhappy, many were detained, without trial.
Again freedom of speech, thought as and human rights were denied.
In 1991 Dr Robert Ouko was assassinated. He was a respected and honest leader. There were massive protests. Once again western Kenya felt neglected.
In 1992 and 1997 General Elections were rigged and the population felt deprived of their democratic rights.
Interference of the Government into Judicial matters was the order of the day.
The nation was divided along tribal lines. There were tribal clashes, treated as "events" which have not been addressed.
In 2002, Mwai Kibaki was elected, marking the end of the Moi era. It was Raila Odinga’s campaign and declaration of ‘Kibaki Tosha!’ that did it for the then Democratic Party leader who had ran for the presidency twice (1992 and 1997) and lost. There was hope of Kenya being a successful country, with a new democratic outlook.
After Kibaki assumed power, he changed tact and scandals started rocking his Government — dismissing the MoU, brushing over Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing, poor performance of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission and Artur scam and the raid on the Standard Group premises.
There was no new constitution despite the promise. There was and there is tribal dominance in most public offices, especially the Finance, Security and Provincial Administration ministries.
Under Kibaki the average and below average Kenyan has suffered more than ever with little hope for a better future.
The massive rigging machine, which had been put in place long before the elections, and the subsequent rigging then made people snap with anger. It was the spark next to the dynamite keg. People remember the misgivings over these past 44 years, during which governance has been most wanting, having deprived millions of Kenyans over the years. It is therefore human to respond with anger.
Therefore, the main responsibilities lie with governments whose main objectives have been to rule and stay in power at any cost, rather than serving the citizenry. Equally guilty are the recent poll violators and executors of the rigging.
The election troubles are not a Raila-Kibaki affair it is the injustice done to voters. There must be justice so there can be peace.
Once in power some presidents will do anything to stay in power even if that means having a few hundred of people killed, often for the reason of avoiding being exposed. Their arrogance makes them to think that God come after them. They are a gift to their country and the world at large. If this is not corrected we will always remain at the bottom of the pith.
The writer is based in Kiambu