I read with consternation an untitled statement (‘statement’ is not a title) from an organization pretending to be Gema Cultural Association – GCA, published in the Saturday Nation of 16th April 2016. What initially caught my attention is the fact that Gema – (Acronym for Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association) – is a tribal organization founded by the hawkish political elite from Mt. Kenya in the late 60’s. It’s purpose was to pursue non-patriotic, sectarian and ethnically laced political and economic interests of the group. A casual reading of its history from Wikipedia throws up such names as Njenga Karume, Kihika Kimani, Njoroge Mungai, Mbiyu Koinange, Jeremiah Nyaga, Jackson Angaine etc. Notably, Jomo Kenyatta is said to have put pressure on a reluctant Charles Njonjo to register the organization. Moi banned it in 1980. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gikuyu,_Embu,_and_Meru_Association
The authors of the statement have added “Cultural Association” to Gema to sanitize the ethnic bigoted roots of their origins and interests. I do not know whether Gema remains in the list of banned organizations since that could explain the addition of the frivolous “Cultural Association”. The attempt at disguise does not work because the disguise is not intelligently done. For example, if the article came from GCA, the cultural association and not Gema the tribal outfit, how come the acronym GCA does not appear anywhere in the article and the word Gema appears nine times inside the article? Multiple references to Gema clearly identifies who the authors are, whose perspective is being fronted and how they would like to be identified. Let them drop the pretense to belong a cultural association of any kind. They cannot escape their tribal roots and non-patriotic hegemonic interests.
Now to the substance of the statement, substance that reeks of intellectual bankruptcy and ethnic bigotry reminiscent of the origins of the outfit. I will analyse the statement paragraph by paragraph.
Unless they were listening to different proceedings, the case against the Deputy President was not dismissed on the basis of “steadfast presentations”. They may want to refresh their memories here Ruto and Sang case: Statement, ICC Spokesperson, 5 April 2016. Gema should stop trying to rewrite history. A divided panel decided 2-1 to vacate the case. The Chief Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji declared a mistrial due to a “troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling”. We rarely hear of the third judge, Olga Venecia Herrera Carbuccia of the Dominican Republic who dissented, finding that the prosecution case had not broken down and that there was sufficient evidence on which if accepted, a reasonable trial chamber could convict the accused. None of the judges vacated the case on the basis of “steadfast presentations”as claimed by Gema.
Additionally, there was no question of “subjecting our nation and nationals to proceedings in International Tribunal”. The nation was not on trial. Only individuals were on trial in what they called a “personal challenge”. It was not an ‘International Tribunal’ Gema people, it was the ICC – International Crimes Court, formed by the Rome Statute, which Kenya is a signatory. It is the same Deputy President who rejected a local tribunal and joined the chorus of those who were saying let’s not be vague, let’s go to the Hague. I remember him saying that if the cases go to the Hague, they will drag until 2090. It is often said, be careful what you wish for. He got what he wished for. When it was clear that the case will not drag until 2090, witnesses started suffering amnesia and others started recovering from amnesia. Others disappeared. The case was pronounced a mistrial. Jubilee god works in mysterious ways.
I find the statement “in its quest for national cohesion and unity, Gema…” curious. Is it just me or is this sentence an oxymoron. How can a tribal organization, formed to promote the interests of a tribal elite, lay any claim to “national cohesion and unity?” Look whose talking!
This paragraph represents an implicit admission by the tribal outfit that the much touted notion that jubilee has achieved or was supposed to achieve “national cohesion and harmony” is a mirage. There hasn’t been any meaningful dialogue towards partial “reconciliation and healing” much less a “total” one. This is one argument I have never understood. Can the jubilee mandarins and this Gema cheering squad explain to me this: How does the coming together of 2 tribal kingpins from Central and Rift Valley amount to “national cohesion and harmony” in a country of 42 tribes and several other tribal kingpins with whom the jubilee duo do not see eye to eye? How stupid does jubilee think Kenyans are? Making the issue of cohesion one of their top PR mantra shows that jubilee is aware that national cohesion and harmony is one of the greatest challenges facing Kenya today. Being mired in ethnic politics and devoid of any ideas beyond the tribe, jubilee offers tribalism as a cure for the tribalism. This is a marker of absolute intellectual emptiness on the part of jubilee. How can they claim they are uniting the country when they cannot sit down with their equally tribal counterparts in CORD to agree on something as simple as prayers? Concerted effort indeed…to divide and destroy the country.
This paragraph is laughable. The first politicians to balkanize the country along tribal lines are Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, the same people the statement is glorifying. The next group of hopeless tribalists is the CORD brigade. Scholars and civil society have no capacity to balkanize this country in any fashion near what jubilee and CORD politicians have done. I have said and I will not tire of saying, Kenyans are not tribal. It is only that tribalism is the ONLY narrative of the political class. Kenyans have no choice. They either accept the tribalism of jubilee, like Gema or accept the tribalism of CORD. Unfortunately, in their warped understanding of reality, Gema only sees CORD’s tribalism, not jubilee’s. If they were honest to themselves and to Kenyans, the paragraph should have read like this:
Gema notes with concern the systematic attempt by CORD and Jubilee tribal warlords a.k.a KANU stalwarts to balkanize the country along tribal lines. We note of an existing well-choreographed campaign by the leading tribal tin-gods and their sycophants to set Kenyan communities against each other. We call upon the jubilee government to lead by example and stop the 2 tribe hegemony that is primitive, exclusionary and divisive. All Kenyans deserve to live in one peaceful united country as brothers and sisters.
Anything short of this is a whitewash of jubilee’s tribal jingoism and Gema’s own.
This paragraph expresses contradictory positions on corruption. It pretends to ask Uhuru to escalate the war on corruption. I have, in several articles, explained why Uhuru can’t and won’t fight corruption. See Five reasons why Uhuru can’t and won’t do what needs to be done to redeem his floundering presidency and Uhuru, it is your ‘system ya majambazi’: Because you can’t tame its appetite for corruption, our only responsibility as the people is to vote you out!
Jubilee mandarins have told us that Uhuru cannot fight corruption because there are independent institutions that are supposed to do that. You only need to read the reactions of jubilee defenders in the comments of the two articles referenced above. Gema says that Uhuru should escalate the war to all levels of government (whatever this means), and then says war on corruption will not be worn by government alone. So where does the buck stop? This ambiguity is meant to exonerate the jubilee government. I have said and I still maintain that the kind of corruption that leads to lack of services and impoverishment of millions of Kenyans is systemic, government perpetrated and sanctioned. Only government can stop it. Uhuru is the head of government, a fact he often likes to remind us by his annoying “my government” phrase. It is therefore his responsibility to deal with corruption in “his” government. I have said that if he does not, excuses and tribal support like this one of Gema will not help him in 2017. Kenyans should and will vote him out. This position has infuriated jubilee supporters some of whom were calling me a disguised Ochieng (as if there is anything wrong in being Ochieng). (See comments on the articles above) My response to them is simple, borrowed from Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart, “An old-woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a tale”.
I read of “double-standards” by politicians in this paragraph. Gema says that politicians are “blaming others, at the same time sanctioning and defending corruption in their own ranks”. This one I will grant it to them. They have hit the nail on the head. I agree. That it is politicians who are sanctioning and defending corruption. I will also remind them that we were warned that there are only two politicians in the jubilee government. If you want to know who is sanctioning and defending corruption, just identify the two politicians. If you don’t know them read this article: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000183929/president-uhuru-kenyatta-beats-retreat-on-nomination-of-politicians-to-the-jubilee-cabinet
I am not sure where these guys live. Can they show us “tremendous progress in the areas of infrastructural development and health”? Hopefully the ones they did with the alleged missing Eurobond billions? But one issue that I categorically disagree with is that there has been “tremendous progress in the areas of…support for youth…programs”. These guys are delusional. Jubilee gave crumbs and left-overs to the youth and then stole it! Just like the blood-soaked coalition government before them did. They gave money for kazi kwa vijana and then stole it. The youth under this regime remain the most socially, economically and politically disenfranchised segment of the population. To borrow Pierre Proudhon’s description of government, the Kenya youth have been lied to at every operation and transaction, denied registration, taxed, admonished, prevented, forbidden, punished, drilled in corrupt police recruitments, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, they are repressed, fined, vilified for being ‘radicalized’, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, sacrificed, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked as drug and sex addicts, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured, harassed, oppressed and stolen from by this regime and others before it.
What makes this regime the worst in its treatment of the youth is the digital promise it had come in with. It made the youth believe they would be its principal beneficiaries. They were wrong. They are its most extorted victims. More importantly, Mt. Kenya youth are among the most disenfranchised politically and economically of all the youth in this country. What makes their situation even worse is the perception that they belong to the tribe that has ‘eaten’. They have eaten nothing! Is this all the Gema elite have to offer the Kenyan youth in the 21st Century. A hollow tribal outfit meant to ensure that the wealth they have amassed to the exclusion of everyone else including ‘their own’ is protected?
Uhuru’s so called war against alcoholic drinks was illegal, shambolic, un-coordinated, un-sustainable, un-scalable, un-replicatable, a failure and a fruitless political posturing. I do not know what they are congratulating him about. The fact that it was concentrated in Central Kenya tells us how shallow the jubilee government is. Failure has become their obvious signature. War on this, war on that, war on the other, and none is won convincingly. Nothing is completed to the satisfaction of the people. If anything is completed, it is because of the opportunities it offers the politicians for theft and corruption and mileage in the next election.
Gema seems to share in this shallowness when it only mentions coffee in relation to collapsed industries. Coffee is a Central Kenya concern. Industries have collapsed everywhere in Kenya, sugar, pyrethrum, cotton, sisal, fluorspar etc. It does seem the authors are only concerned about the coffee industry because it is a Central Kenya affair. They are congratulating the president for forming a task-force to address the coffee problems in Central Kenya. I think the gratitudes are premature. Task forces are the things that government forms when it does not intend to do anything tangible about a problem. You’ve been had!
In conclusion, this statement must be seen in the light of what happens when an ethnic hegemony like jubilee draws support from the people not because they have a viable national agenda but because the leaders are from a certain tribe. The people cede their duty to think and to assess and are willing to whitewash a failed regime on the basis of tribal affiliation. I have said before that Kenya is in the grip of tribal tin-gods and they expect everyone from their tribes to prostrate themselves in front of them. This cartoon demonstrates graphically what the country has been reduced to by the tribal kingpins.
This statement is Gema’s obeisance to their tribal kingpin. If Uhuru is the ‘patriotic’ unifying leader he claims to be, he should publicly distance himself from the Gema statement and from the group in general. But I doubt he will. The statement adopts jubilees posturing of preaching patriotism by words and dividing the country along ethnic lines by action.
It is therefore the solemn duty of all patriotic Kenyans to reject this ethnic sycophancy as expressed in the Gema statement. We owe it to ourselves, our country and posterity. Let it be said that when the tribal tin-gods traversed the land demanding obeisance, blind loyalty and praise, a brave new generation told them, “No”!