My position has consistently been that NASA and Jubilee are, to quote a former British politician, “two cheeks of the same arse”. I have maintained that both are equally tribal, equally corrupt and equally mediocre. Many of my readers accept the observation and have taken either of two positions.
The first is that they know both are evil but based on their ethnicity they are willing to select the “lesser evil”. Based on some of the responses I have seen, I also call this the “devil I know” option. Ethnicity largely determines the “devil” and the “knowing”.
My reply to this group has always been that if your only choice is between the lesser of two evils, all you will get is the evil of two lessers. They should expect the evil of the two lessers – NASA and Jubilee – in August. Citing the massive corruption and national debt under Jubilee, this is a favorite argument of some NASA enthusiasts who say that theirs will be the “lesser evil” but an evil all the same. These folks call to mind the Polish poet writing after the defeat of the polish resistance army in Warsaw in the Fall of 1944. When the equally evil Russian Red army entered Poland to “rescue” the Polish from the equally evil Nazi army, he wrote: “we await you red plague, to deliver us from the black death”. NASA supporters who subscribe to this philosophy are waiting for the red plague – NASA tribal kingpins and their sycophant cronies – to deliver them from the black death – Jubilee tribal kingpins, and their sycophant cronies. I have adamantly, consistently and unwaveringly said our choice cannot and is not between the two.
The other group knows both to be vision-less even evil. Their challenge is “who else”? My answer to this group has always been “we the people”. We are the change that we have been waiting for. We urgently need a new non-ethnic alternative political narrative to mobilize and inspire the country differently. I have consistently warned that without it, the tribalists in NASA or Jubilee will win, the evil continues.
Then comes in the third group who are the topic of this article. My answer to the second group grates them. They are incapable of imagining a world which is not divided into NASA and Jubilee and they call my commitment to a new non-ethnic political narrative naive and insincere. They are closet tribalists. My contention is that you cannot claim to be looking for change, and in the same breath try to convince anyone that change will come from the degenerate and predatory political class in NASA and/or Jubilee. Their formula is even much more ridiculous. They ask those who seek for change not to think outside the NASA/Jubilee spurious duality. That while agreeing that these are not the best solutions for Kenya because they are equally tribal, corrupt and mediocre, they claim that imagining of an alternative outside these two is refusing to face “reality”.
They belong to what is called the “reality based community” which believes that solutions emerge from the judicious study of observable reality. They go as far as saying that I, and those who seek an alternative non-ethnic political narrative are dreamers or worse still closet tribalists (notice the mirroring here) who are supporters of Jubilee and the status quo. They claim that an alternative reality from Jubilee and NASA is illusory, idealist, utopian and worst of all insincere. Their pathetic advice is, “join either of the degenerates in Jubilee and NASA and change from within”. They claim that the change that we seek from outside these two deplorables is impossible.
I disagree. Completely.
For avoidance of doubt, I consider the label “dreamer” a compliment and not an insult. Where would this world be without dreamers? The very fact that I am able to communicate with you now is because someone dreamt. Someone dreamt of a computer, another dreamt of how to make it widely available, another one dreamt of MS WORD, WordPress and Internet and I am therefore able to write and reach you. And of course another one dreamt of Facebook! All progress in the world is made by dreamers. When I am called one, I humbly accept the honor.
What these detractors are telling us is that since in their experience the dream of heaven is “impossible” to grasp, we should all seek to go to hell and convert the devil.
The devil is not evil because he does not know there is heaven. The devil is evil because that is his nature. He simply cannot be anything else and therefore the effort to convert him is misguided even silly. Our political class in NASA and Jubilee is not accidentally or unknowingly tribal, corrupt and mediocre. They are deliberately, decidedly and committedly tribal, corrupt and mediocre. They can’t and will not be changed because that is their nature.
The political class in Kenya is headed by tribal kingpins, by design. They come with all the makings of warlords. With strongholds, briefcase tribal parties and coalitions that they open and shut down at will, men-in-black, private militia, sycophants, court poets, looted billions and locked in tribal constituencies that they use to outdo each other in the political market place where, to be admitted, you have to prove your worth as a tribal kingpin. Whoever joins them MUST engage on this basis and no other. If you do not believe me, try running in Luo Nyanza on a PNU ticket or run in Kiambu on an ODM ticket! Or better still talk to Isaac Mwaura.
The ethnic kingship is itself a ticket to impunity. The tribal kingpins do and say anything in the name of “my people” and get away with it. They subscribe to no other law than the law of untouchable tribal tingods, entitled to all forms of lies, conniving, debauchery, extortion, hate speech, theft, bribery and cronyism without any fear of retribution. With impunity assured by ethnicity, they have turned to plunder the Country. In the The Physiology of plunder we are told:
“When plunder becomes a way of life for men living together, they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it”.
In Kenya you are guilty until proven rich. The tribal kingpins have created a society that glorifies thieves. They have lined them up to run for office in August.
It is this political class that we are being told to abandon our search for an alternative to join and change from inside.
Either somebody is being too naive about this whole thing or taking us for fools. We have examples of those who tried to join them, and instead of changing them they were changed unrecognizably. If you listen to some of those intellectuals who joined the “devil” in the last 25 years or so, you cannot believe they were ever sane people. If you do not believe me, go to YouTube and look for footage of the current Senator for Elgeyo Marakwet before he “joined them” and then look for some of his recent videos. That is what “joining them” does to a rather sane brain. Like I have said elsewhere, the Kenyan political graveyard is littered with the bones of well-meaning intellectuals. You do not change “hell”, it swallows you and claims you for its own!
It is important as we prosecute this argument to ask ourselves, how do societies change?
Societies do not change because the purveyors and beneficiaries of the old order suddenly or gradually see the light and the need to change, out of their own magnanimity or out of convincing by good people who “join them”. In fact, the opposite is always true. The more regimes persist, the worse they become, not better. Frank Herbert warned us that:
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
After 54 years, leadership in Kenya has become exactly what Fran Herbert warned, a spurious NASA and Jubilee duality, a hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires and entrenched bureaucracies. They have absolutely no capacity to change or to be changed.
Societies change because a new generation that sees things in a different way pushes the old ideas and worldviews out and institutes a new dispensation based on new modern ideas and new ways of doing things. This is why the join-them-to-change-them purveyors are wrong. You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change things, you must build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. If you do not believe me, ask your 10 year old child what a “landline” is. A new reality made the old one obsolete! Or ask a 30 year old South African what the experience of apartheid is. They don’t know, it is obsolete. This is a simple Fullerian philosophy that rings true for our situation.
I can understand when a regular moderately educated or uneducated Kenyan feels harangued and boxed in by the tribal political class to the extent that he/she sees no option outside the nonsensical and spurious NASA/Jubilee duality. I can even understand if they told me to “join them” in order to change them. I have always said that when the country is in the grip of a single political narrative, it leaves the people feeling trapped. Understandably.
I am however concerned when the “you-are-either-in-NASA-or-Jubilee-and-no-other-alternative-exists” argument is made by fairly educated and exposed fellows, even in “respected” newspapers columns in the mainstream media. They hide behind their education and sophistication to tell us that there are no options. When they respond to my writing in particular, theirs is thinly veiled tribal jingoism. They cannot deal with the fact that a Kikuyu can oppose both NASA and Jubilee. For them, when a Kikuyu says he does not support either NASA or Jubilee, their tribal minds read that he is a closet supporter of Jubilee. My response to this has always been that we do not see the world as it is. We see it as we are. The problem with this argument is with the observer and not with me and therefore I have nothing to defend.
The second problem with these closet tribalist columnists is subtler and more dangerous. When some “educated fellows” make this argument, there is the danger of “dignifying” it with some intellectual premium. It shouldn’t. This is because these fellows believe that their own intellectual and imaginative limitations are the measure of all limitations. They believe that we should not be able to think things they cannot think of or to imagine things they cannot imagine of because they consider themselves to be the ultimate measure of intellectual imagination. This is the extent of the intellectual vanity and arrogance of some of these closeted educated tribalist folks and columnists.
It is naive and vain for anyone to imagine that their own limitations, intellectual or otherwise is the measure of all limitations. The fact that they see only a NASA/ Jubilee duality is not because these are the only options that exist in fact. They have chosen to limit themselves to these two and imagine that all of us should. They are wrong. I have argued that the extent of the choices that we have is not limited to or by the tribalists in NASA and Jubilee. It is only limited by our own imagination. I agree with Marc Gafni when he says:
The greatest crisis of our lives is neither economic, intellectual nor even what we call religious. Its a crisis of imagination. We get stuck on our paths because we are unable to reimagine 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.
Do not listen to these “educated” columnists telling us that we are limited to anything, much less to the useless and totally bankrupt NASA/Jubilee duality. Worse still, let them not tell us that their own intellectual and imaginative myopia that limits them to the duality should be ours. Theirs is a problem of imagination, and they want us to believe that as imaginatively and intellectually challenged as they are, their limitations are the measure of all limitations.
They are not!
Is an alternative leadership dispensation based on a new non-ethnic political narrative in Kenya possible?
Yes it is.
This is true regardless of what even I think. It would be true even if I believed it to be impossible. My advice to the (educated) columnists who have limited themselves for fundamentally tribal reasons to the NASA/Jubilee duality is that things do not become possible because they believe them to be possible. Things are possible independent of what they think. All Kenyans are seeking a different Country where all citizens will have equal opportunities, where our youth will dream big dreams and a dignified life will be within grasp for all. We may not currently know where this “heaven” is going to come from. But, almost all of us are agreed that it will not come from the degenerate and predatory political class in both NASA and Jubilee.
And therefore, I stick to the argument that I have made in this blog all along. NASA and Jubilee are not and can never be the answers to the challenges that face this Country. We the people must claim our Country back from them and give it a new vision. This will start with imagining a new non-ethnic political narrative that will inspire the Country differently. You can call me a lone-ranger, and my argument, ignorant, pretentious, arm-chair, hollow, defeatist, naive, fence -sitting, idealist, Utopian, unrealistic, confusing, hypocritical, or worse still “Jubillated”. The truth of the matter is that a new non-ethnic political narrative is the only option we have outside the NASA/Jubilee spurious duality to change this country. And yes, THIS IS MY FINAL ANSWER!
And to be sure, I will NEVER “join them” because, yes, we are dreamers searching for a heaven, since going to hell to convert the devil is not a smarter option.