Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Justice? Whose Justice?

I read the papers finally, after a long hiatus. The same is going on. Nothing has changed. Kenya is still in a delicate state of affairs.

I haven't been reading papers. I have been listening to people's opinions. I have heard from many people. And I must tell you this, if anyone believes this is over with yet, or heading that way, they are very wrong.

I read today that Odinga says that "nothing will deter Kenyans from their quest for justice. I unfortunately think he is right. He may think this is a good thing for him. There I disagree.

Let me state that a lot of what I'm about to write will be deemed as offensive to some, but if you are one of those that feel that way, spend an extra few minutes and allow the truth to sink in. That country is in a real ugly state, the only confusion about that being provided by the facade that has been created through a cloud of shaky order.. Allow yourself to know what others are feeling, thinking and experiencing. Don't be caught by surprise.

I say don't be caught by surprise because many Kenyan kikuyus, now refugees, are expressing great shock at being attacked by their neighbours. They knew there existed resentment against kikuyus but they just didn't think that anyone seriously was that mad at them since after all they had no personal disagreements. These very set of Kenyans, amongst them lie people with long lists. Lists with names of their neighbours. People they saw hack others, throw families into pit latrines and others bury other families alive. Some of these very same people are telling stories of survival that would have any Hollywood director running to get the rights to cover their stories. Those lists are not for decoration. They are for marked men.

These very people were crying for peace, and now they want anything but. They don't want a status quo. They want justice. They want to be avenged. They want their hard earned property back and they also want vengeance for the lives of their family members lost.

Since many of these are kikuyus, some whom escaped home invasions and road blocks narrowly, you might be tempted to think that they are looking to Kibakis government for assistance with this. You would be wrong. Carrying forward that incomplete understanding of the role of a president, they are very peeved that Kibaki has "allowed them to be killed this way." He is no longer considered useful to these aggrieved persons. They intend to help themselves. How is not clear. But be rest assured, they are not sitting back and doing nothing forever. They are weighing their options as we speak.

Let's talk about the so called church. They all should be ashamed as they have taken sides along tribal lines. You'd think they'd be the first call to truth and reconciliation, but they are definitely not going to be it. If these thoughts of vengeance are not intercepted a whole new hoard of innocent blood will be shed. However, these people do need justice. Our judicial systems should be working overtime since many "murderers" can be identified by their own neighbors. the government (whichever one) must lawfully give the people vengeance. Not just ask them to "return home." This interception might be the only way to a blood free permanent end.

I've heard from ODM supporters that elections were rigged and that justifies the madness going on. No, kit doesn't. It cannot justify the death of so many children in the hands of machetes. Elections are allowed to have disputes. That's why the constitution has a process for this exact scenario. If your leader has told you to go about resolving it any other way, you've been wrong to believe him and much worse, you've got blood on your hands for having failed your own human abilities to think for yourself.

Raila is calling for no end with this quest for justice. I hope he is wrong. Because whose justice do we seek? The one who lost a way of living, a home and worse a relative, while being told it was because he came from a certain tribe, or the one who is still running amok on the streets, because he feels he has been cheated via elections?

All actions have consequence. And it is highly possible that we are well past the "peaceful" solution. My opinion is that heads have been buried in the sand about the reality of hatred so much that even the few times I address it via this blog I get attacked for suggesting it exists. well it does. And if you ever had a doubt, visit mashada.com, as far back as many years as you can and then tell me that this is not our reality.

To Raila: Should I read anything into this statement? "We should have seven of the 10parliamentary seats in Kisii, but Kibaki men stole the votes and we only got four. The Kisii are our people. We must not touch them," as quoted by the standard. Does this mean there are those whom you should touch? And exactly how do you touch them?

And as you chant, no schooling, etc, etc...be rest assured that "the universe will still be unfolding as it should' And you are the ones who will wake up 5 years of war later, uneducated and poorer, therefore having lost hope.

The way I see it, two things could end the madness in Kenya. It has nothing to do with who is the current president. That's all over with. The war is now personal to many. We could sit back and let Kenya bleed. Then it would be all over with, when the war ends. The anger, the hurt, the fallacies, the stereotypes, the hatred; all replaced by truth earned through painful losses. Or we can get a dictator who has the heart to lead Kenya to greatness. This one leader will need to be all about Kenya, not a tribe, prioritize resettling all displaced Kenyans back home, exactly where they were before and creating a safe environment for them. I am calling for government interference to the level of soldiers placed at CBDs and neighborhoods deemed to be in danger of attacks. The worst thing that could happen is a dictator with tribal affinities. Basically, the solution is to take a step back away from democracy (which I will argue loudly and clearly that Kenya is not ready for as proven by recent events) or expect fully to go to war. And then pick up and start rebuilding Kenya from scratch a few years from now.

There are no simple choices anymore. The choices that have been made by a few and by many in the past few weeks have eliminated the simplicity of daily life. Human weakness now rules Kenya. Let's all sit back and see what its fruits will be.

May the government of Kenya bear in mind how many people stand to be affected by total chaos in Kenya, both Kenyans and not. May the inciters of Kenya pray to their choice of God for the wisdom to make the right calls to their fickle followers. May the church redeem itself and face themselves to God for direction. And may most importantly, each and every Kenyan develop themselves to a worthwhile citizen of the world, a person worth sharing humanity with.

PS: This has been written with a great deliberate effort to avoid rumor mongering as has become accepted as truth within various communities. However, some things are worth being investigated because some many similar comments from perpetrators of mayhem seem to have been repeated to would have been victims over and over again. So if you wish to comment, don't quote rumors as fact here, I've heard them all... just can't verify them, hence choosing to ignore them.


Daudi said...

Mimmz...nice to have you back.. I won't fight you today coz I agree with you. I no longer care that the elections were a fraud.. I no longer care that Kaleos are angry with Kiuks who are angry with Jangos who are angry with Kiuks who are being targeted by God knows who.. you get the idea..Man don't I long for the days when it didn't even matter who was prezzo coz we were too busy lining up for sugar and unga. There were no gun shots, no pangas, no bows and arrows.. When you thought your Jango neighbor had his head stuck up his ass, and your Kaleo neighbor was just there because of Moi, or your Kiuk neighbor just wanted to swindle you, you can't cheza with your Coasterian neighbors supuu daughter coz he'll dagger your ass, and that Meru mama down in the esto with a temper? And the way we all lied about some Kisii and Kao person who had some juju..and yet.. when it was time for Kanyuaji.. you stood up together.. The suspicion has always been there, the stereotypes have always been and will always be there.. but we've managed.. We've only ever kosanad because AFC and Gor Mahia chezad..or Saints won blackrock and were perembuad by some jamaa from Easich..Now I wonder just like you..What has changed? Can we get back to those simple times? Can we just exchange Kibaki and Raila for Mama Kayai and Ojuang? I'm grasping for some humor, something we can smile about.. What can we do? you got any answers?

Anonymous said...

Your reasoning is not consistent. May be its because you are angry and emotional. If you are, then this is not a good time to write such articles. Wait till you calm down.

You seemed to suggest that those agrieved with outcome of the electoral process should have gone to court for redress, yet on the same breadth you mention that Kikuyus who have been wronged during this process should revenge rather than follow the same court process. Did I miss something. The justice system should apply or not apply to both sets. Choose one.

If Kikuyus have realised that the president can not protect them. What makes you believe that a dictator president can protect them. Dictators are only interested in themselves not the people.

Ultimately the only thing that can ensure security of Kikuyu( and other Kenyans for that matter) is peace. Police force is has already been fully deployed in Nairobi, Eldoret etc, and yet it didnt stop the killings/burning.

In addition police are already getting divided and the army is getting jittery. A sure recipe for disaster.

Be careful what you wish for, Kenya may just get it

Mimmz said...

@anonymous: Read again. I have mentioned those aggrieved are planning to seek their own vengeance. What I have suggested is that the government (whichever one) intervene to give them justice through the same legal and judiciary system.

There are two schools of thoughts going on in the article, the voices on the ground and my opinions. Try to keep them separate.

As for being careful what we wish for... I tried to pass that message a long time ago but it seems that it fell on deafd ears

@daudi:exactly. When I said all that mattered was peace, it's all I meant. It's all I still mean.

Thomas said...

I feel you daudi. But anonymous has a point too. Mimmz, have you for a moment sat down and asked yourself why this is happening now and not last year December 27th? You may be right, those people have had resentments against Kikuyus for since independence. But I will go on a limb and say, on December 27th they had a legitimate way to vent their resentments(against Kikuyus) which was taken away by Kibaki and locked up for presumably another 5 years. You and I know going to courts to protest this election no matter how much merit one has is a waste of time. Experience tells us it is a waste of time. The system itself(Kibaki's appointees) cannot shoot itself in the foot. Yet, it is common knowledge the man who won the elections is not in office right now. What do you do? I know you personally don't care. It could be because Kibaki is back in power and you see no need for remedial action. I am still waiting for some acknowledgment that Kibaki bears a lot of responsibility for the current mess, without the usual similar accusation at Raila whose only fault in this tragedy is refusing to give in to the anti-democratic forces, no matter what cost. But the sad reality is that Kibaki wont budge even if a million Kikuyus died in the process. Do you then pass the blame onto Raila for refusing to back down?

Your acknowledged bias comes through as usual. Why do you think justice does not augur well for Raila? Daudi, those simple times went for good(at least a long time) with the civilian coup and the blame rests with Kibaki.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem facing Kenya at the moment can be delianated into three distinct parts: Unforunately for the Kikuyu community, they are at the center of all 3 issues;

The first problem has to do with Rift Valley land issue. This pits Kalenjin & Maasai on one side and Kikuyu, Kisii and Luhya on the other. To be honest, I empathise with both sides to this issue, or rather, I understand the basis of their arguements. I do not see an easy/quick solution. The only solution I can think of is for the economy to be robust enough to provide other channels for wealth accumulation other than through land. Many Kenyans(especially Kikuyus and Kalenjins) place to much value on land. To reinforce my point, just look at how intra family squables over land has claimed many lives in central(brother against brother, mother against children) and ask why Kalenjins are willing to kill their neighbour for a piece of land.

The second problem is of course ethnic biases as you guys have mentioned. Ethnicity is a comfort zone for nearly 99% of Kenyans. Nearly all Kenyans are guilty of this. If you want to see how polarised Kenyans are, just visit Kenyans abroad and try figure out how they congregate, usually in ethnic groups. If the elite behave this way, our ethnicity problem is indeed much deeper than we publicly acknowledge. Solution will be slow in coming and will take generations. But we must get the message out there that what matters is "content of character" of a person not the tribe. Would you rather you lived with Mungiki or some other outlaw simply because you belong to same ethnic group? Only if you are insane!

The last problem of course is the electoral process that appears to have gone wrong or at least is not credible in the eyes of millions of Kenyans. To me, this is the easiest problem to solve.

Mimmz said...

I hear you all. For a lot of my own opinions on these issues, read the past two posts and my comments as well.

@ Thomas: You and I cannot argue over these issues. You come from the school of thought that elections and their results can at some point justify the killing of innocent Kenyans, and this after you believe this to be the root cause of the mayhem.

I don't in any way see how anyone could justify these acts of insanity. Neither do I believe that election results caused this. I think whichever way, had Raila been in power, the same autracities would have been witnessed.

Hence I don't argue with you on these points. We don't have any common ground. We are very different in how we think.

But to the question about Kibaki's stance "no matter how many kikuyus die", I don't think if say (very unlikely) Kibaki were to step down, the murders would end. No.

Neither do I believe that the only victims will continue to be kikuyus. A thought process I believe is driving the continued subtle or loud calls for continued violence. That's the thing about war, it's not known who wins until its over, and even the winners have such great casualties that I don't personally know how anyone wins.

And Thomas, for the last time, I base my arguments on facts, not opinion. So what I write, remains true to my thoughts regardless of who is in state house. Coz I can honestly say I am fully aware that not Raila, neither Kibaki will do anything for me on a personal note, hence I would give nothing of myself up for their power quests. I guess that's how I differ from many other Kenyans.

It matters to me so little who is at state house that I would hand over Kenya to George W Bush with a 100 year contract, if he would stop the death of innocent people in the hands of crazy humans. That's where my concern lies.

@ anon: Is the solution to land that tribal divide lines should be drawn on where people can buy land, you think? And in that case, are we a nation then or several different states? And if these kalenjins want "their" land back, shouldn't they buy it back? Isn't that what any honest person should do?

Honestly, I am above many of the conversations that the situation in Kenya calls for. I find them both exhausting and lacking in foresight. I am completely clueless as to what it is people are fighting for. How people see options in action paths within some of these issues completely baffles me.

Mimmz said...

@Thomas: I forgot to address the question about justice augering well for Raila, and my bias as you indicate in this statement.

To clarify, Raila's quest for justice carries with it an undertone of continued violence. If you dare to believe this then this was my point exactly on the entire post. Someone will eventually get their justice, if we all keep seeking for it in the streets. But whom? And if it is not ODM supporters, aka not kikuyus, how do the losses that come with that auger with him? Read the post again. It is a simple be careful what you pray for... Not an indication that if Raila gets his justice then it doesn't auger well...

I've said this to you before, quit reading with biased eyes. Then you can see what's written not what you're thinking I might be saying. After all, we really don't think alike... hehe.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to fight for so-called leaders who clearly care nothing about me, the common mwananchi. As we speak, they've already been sworn into parliament, which guarantees that they are on their way to becoming Kenyan millionaires (at our expense). In effect, we the voters, put them in that position, hence giving them the power to walk all over us now and for the next five years. My question is; what are we gonna do about it? What can we do for ourselves?

Many Kenyans have lost their lives or those of their loved ones, their homes and/or properties, their livelihoods, ...., and they continue to suffer as they fight battles for leaders who seem indifferent to their plight. Why should innocent Kenyans, who did their civic (and only) duty by voting peacefully now have to suffer in the name of politics? Politics aside, who will pay for the loss of lives and the damage to private property? Is it all going to be labelled 'collateral damage' in the quest for justice and democracy? It seems very unfair to me and I see no justice in it whatsoever.

We keep hearing about justice, but justice for whom? Everyone is entitled to this justice, regardless of their political (or other) affiliations. I say that we, the wananchi, must stand up and demand justice for ourselves. For those who have incurred losses (physical or material), who will compensate them? If I lost my livelihood or my home as a result of the post-election violence, should I just take it lying down? Why should I have to become a refugee or a beggar in my own country through no fault of my own? If my property or my business was destroyed by hooligans who took advantage of the so-called 'peace rallies', should I just accept that we have to make some sacrifices for democracy? NO! NO! NO! Even football clubs are fined and made to pay for any damage caused by the hooliganism of their fans and this compels the clubs to reign in the destructive actions of their fans. Political parties and their leaders must be held accountable for all the damage and losses caused by their supporters. The government must also be held accountable for the damage and losses caused by the state machinery.

My ideas of peaceful protests against injustice do not include getting killed or maimed by bullets or batons. They would, among other things, involve filing lawsuits against the 'giants' who have put us in the situation we are right now. Many thought that giants like 'Big Tobacco' companies could never be successfully taken on by 'common wananchi'. But it happened. Even colonial powers have been successfully taken on by small communities that were oppressed by them. We Kenyans have to stand up for ourselves if we're ever going to break the pattern of impunity by our so-called leaders. A lot has been said about the inefficiency of our judiciary system but they are not the only courts in the world. Serious crimes against humanity have been committed against Kenyans in the recent past and we would not be short of courts that would be willing to justly hear and try such cases. I'm sure there's a lot that we can do for ourselves but we've got to stop being victims and pawns in a game that we'll always lose in. We've got to start thinking of ways to help ourselves because it's nonsensical to continue dying and suffering for so-called leaders who don't even know (or care) that we exist.

Anonymous said...

On the land issue, I clearly indicated that I empathise with both sides. Depending on which side of you belong to, what you propose may sound like a solution. But I doubt that it will be accepted by either of the parties. With the current Kenyan addiction to land, I am think/believe the Kikuyu want to be compensated adequately for their land. They probaby would then use the money to buy land. Where will this land come from given the numbers of the people displaced? You tell me. And then in doing this, wont we have set a dangerous precedent, the Maasai will definitely want back Kajiado, Narok and may be in years to come, Laikipia/Nyahuru/Naivasha. Should those Kikuyus move now too because they are on Maasai land? The Kalenjin may press on and demand for land surrounding Nakuru, if not claimed by Maasai.

For the Kalenjin and the Maasai, remember historically, these were their land. From their perspective, it was taken away ffrom them, they were never compensted and when independence came, instead of the land being handed over to them, other communities(including Kikuyu) took over the land. Contrary to popular opinion, the Kalenjins do not believe that the Kikuyus etc paid for the land. So if someone has taken your land, should you buy it back from him? If yes, at what price. There was an article yesterday where a Kalenjin suggested that they can pay for the trees but not the land.

Who will bridge the gap between what the Kalenjin wants to pay and what the Kikuyu perceives as Market price? Government?

Next step, most likely will be an internal fight amongst Kalenjins for thr land. I am sure this does not concern you.

The idea of one state is good, but too ideal under the current situation. As a Kenyan, I cant see myself buying land just anywhere. I would be taking unnecessary risk. I came to this conclusion in 1992. My family lived in Kericho then and I say first hand what happened to us, and others. Our thriving business collapsed in a matter of months as cuustomers fled the chaos. 2007 has only reinforced my earlier perception.

I believe that ethnic related riots may be a feature of Kenyan life for many years to come unless we weane people out of the love of or addiction to land.

The reality facing Kenyans is that there is no easy solution. Only a robust economy, weaning from ethnic prejudice will save Kenya. Lets face it, Kenyatta started us in the wrong direction, Moi accelerated our descent into this direction, Kibaki administration has now pushed all to the edge of a cliff.

Contrary to what you say, there will be no winners, all Kenyan communities will lose

Thomas said...


I don't subscribe to the idea that rigged elections can justify the killings going on. Nothing can justify those killings.

As much as I try to dissociate the mayhem thats going on from the events of December 27th, I admittedly come up short. There are must be other underlying causes to the chaos, no doubt. I would be hard pressed however to place the rigged election low-down on the list of immediate causes let alone deny any it a role.

Thomas said...


As far as I know, the recent events do not suggest Kenyans are not ready for democracy. If anything they suggest that people are ready to put their lives on the line for democracy. What they suggest is that Mwai Kibaki is not ready for democracy(Kibaki does not represent Kenyans). I know Kenyans are ready to die for freedom if that is what it takes. You definitely belong to the school that says, better anything but Raila in power. You even pray for a dictator, just so that this mess is not resolved correctly(i.e. Kibaki stepping down and new elections being held). Of course some people wont like the outcome. That is democracy. I belong to the school that says, freedom whatever the cost.

Mimmz said...

@ Thomas: "...to die for freedom..." I told you before we have no common ground.

Thomas said...

I am one of those people who would rather die fighting than live under outright oppression. You can count me in the company of Jaramogi Odinga and freedom fighters in general. I can count you in the company of Emilio Kibaki and a couple of home-guards during the emergency in Kenya. These are all legitimate persons to consider heroes depending on your personality and inclination and whether you are principled or not.