Thursday, January 03, 2008

There's only one thing right - Peace.

We must find our way back to daily activities and economic viability. Kenya must go on.

It's not that Raila won, or Kibaki won. Who really cares about this? Who can prove any of the vote counting wrong doings being discussed and alleged everywhere, and prove that they would have given Raila a win; as of yet? A lot has to go into the validating of allegations from both ends. Keeping in mind that these rigging reports are heavy from both sides of PNU and ODM. Quite frankly, given the bloody situation on the ground, how is it that people still really care for yesterday's results? Can we start where we are now? Which is in a besieged country, and start working towards peace? Can't we decide that both are wrong, or both are right, just so that we can find some common ground where we can start dialogue? The one focus we all must have is ahead! We must look forward. We can't go back. And where we are at is at a crossroads between peace and war. We must choose the right path.

I read my pre election posts, and those of many other bloggers. The one thing that was common was that there were many calls for peace during the election period and the election process. Which made me wonder why we are all so shocked, moved and actually very very alarmed at the current situation. If we were potentially expecting it, it indicates that history has taugt us that we get here sometimes. What is so different this time?

I think the freedom of expression of ideas is key here. Bloggers for sure have had a lot to say and many people have had a lot to read and argue or agree with. As much, despite the much publicized and condemned media blackout, the newspapers have carried content that they never before would have been able to without risking themselves a visit to the nyayo cells, or whatever the detention centers used to be called. Freedom of speech may actually be allowing us to see exactly who we are. It may be that we as a nation really are uncontrolled. And perhaps it is how those who argue for dictators arrive at their conclusions.

I am not in any way saying that we need a dictator. I am addressing the fact that too much freedom with no direction on how to handle it could easily be a factor in what has easily become the scariest violence Kenya has ever seen since independence. Everyone has a voice now. And if we can't all learn how to co-exist within the frameworks of self expression, what is happening now could easily become our common experience.

We must now more than ever educate people on analytical controlled approach to living, thinking and speaking. Freedom of speech is a huger responsibility than it is a freedom. Words can hurt and words can change a nation. Just ask Rwanda.

People keep saying to me that we are falling apart as a nation. Perhaps this is a wrong assessment. I dare to say that we are actually coming together as a nation. These may just be birth pains.

Kenya has always been, with the exception of major cities and towns a country of tribal people living together. What happened in one smaller city was rarely likely to influence other cities. Recall the Molo clashes? The carnage was much much higher than experienced now. And we didn't flinch half as much as we are right now. What we might be experiencing is the coming together of Kenya.

We are being reborn. Being forced out of our tribal shells. Being forced to come together as a common people. We are being forced to trust people we have never in our cultures been taught to trust. We are being forced to abandon stereotypes and embrace change. We are being forced to stop being our tribes and start being Kenyans. It is a sign of our future. We must however stop now and address that we are here, take a deep breath and proceed with caution. Change is always scary, painful and met with resistance.

The kicking out of various tribes from various towns is a good form of resisting change. Insisting on wanting to remain as tribal towns and cities. But this won't do for development. We might have become the first African country to become developed enough to face this situation. Let us embark on writing a good history for other African countries to follow.

Why would I think these things? Because Kenya is different. Because even CNN describes Kenya differently now. So does BBC. Has anyone heard what they speak of Kenya now as they describe the chaos? No one is citing accuracy in their reports. Just that their description of that country is a far cry from what it used to be.

So is the honest expression of the newspapers and the average Kenyans.

We are at a turning point. It would also explain the cut right down the middle in presidential hopeful support.

If we are going to have effective dialogue, let's know what it is we are going to address in the dialogues. These dialogues must be done for this current situation and that of the future.

We must become a nation with many tribes, not many tribes forming a nation as we have previously been.

Kenyans must feel safe in Kenya. Not in various provinces depending on their ethnic backgrounds.

This dialogue is going to be very important for the future of Kenya.

And it needs to be done soon.

It must address change. How to prepare citizens for change, how the government must invest in helping people understand these changes and take advantage of them and how we all must be taught to love our cultures, embrace our differences but to first and foremost understand that we are human beings first, then Kenyans and that our tribal differences come after that. And that our common ground (humanity and citizenship) must be the basis for all our policies and laws; as well as outlook and attitudes going forward so that we can continue this surge ahead we have been on.

All is not lost in Kenya. Far from it.

People are more aware now. Better informed. They just need to be educated on what to do with that knowledge. How to handle it.

We must be done with these skirmishes. And get to convincing investors that they can trust us again as an economy.

The dialogue cannot happen soon enough.

Stop arguing about who is right or wrong. Start fighting for dialogue. And one that addresses our actual reality. One that after which, a platform for Kenya will have been built, that will allow us all to feel safe and welcome at home.

Kenyan refugees in Uganda? Could I read anything more heartbreaking? Kenyan refugees? Kenya hosts refugees. Not the other way round. Anyone need any other wake up call?

It way past that time. Dialogue. And address the real key issues. I'm personally done with the macho games. I want a bigger man now. Anyone who chooses Kenya first will do. Because if neither Raila nor Kibaki can see the need to save our country, how has either one earned the right to lead it? Dialogue. Face each other like men. Argue, disagree, scream, talk, think. Just come out of there with a solution that screams of peace for all and a prosperous future for Kenya.

It's a simple request to any presidential hopeful. What else did you think your work entailed?

There is only one outcome right from the elections, and that is PEACE. At all costs. Egos included.

7 comments:

Thomas said...

I understand that you believe that neither Kibaki nor the election has a role to play in this madness. As far as you are concerned peace can return to Kenya without resolving the shenanigans of the election. I think peace is a pipe-dream if these issues are not addressed. While you may be right I don't have the data to show Raila won, I am just relying on educated guesses. Most people who know the events and facts leading to the election will agree that Raila more likely than won the election(which of course is irrelevant to you). To believe otherwise is being in serious denial.

It is not true that this was a close election. Odinga won in 6 provinces out of 8. He won handsomely in Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western, Coast. He won convincingly in Nairobi and North Eastern. Kibaki won in Central and Eastern. While you might claim Central and Eastern are so populous as to offset this imbalance, Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western by themselves more than hold their own against them. It is not a figment of imagination to conclude Raila had this election bagged. If the ECK was not coerced to announce fraudulent results, we would not be at this tragic point. Millions of Kenyans went to the polls, some waking up as early as 3 a.m. to line up only for their efforts to be rubbished and turned into a charade by Kibaki and his gang. Up to now there is no credible evidence of Raila or ODM having tampered with any votes. Indeed the only people with access to these ballots have been ECK officials and other government agents. So bringing up the issue that ODM strongholds also experienced rigging does not legitimize Kibaki's presidency.

A starting point in resolving the war is recognition of the aforementioned fact. All else is meaningless suggestions and merely postponing the problem and the solution. We cannot just move on. Ethnic violence notwithstanding, this election is at the core of this unfolding tragedy. There is no getting away from that fact. Dialogue for the sake of dialogue or to circumvent this fact wont do. So your suggestion that we forget about this election is really running from the solution. Kibaki is holding Kenya hostage to this violence with his intransigence and meanigless statements in light of these facts. Raila is merely refusing to recognize him as the the legitimate President, which is a reasonable position. In other words the blame does not equally fall on Kibaki and Raila.

On to your comments:

Freedom or too much of it is not the cause of the current strife in Kenya. On the contrary oppression and misrule by a few underlies the reason why Kenyans have reacted the way they have. Divide and rule tactics have been used by oppressive regimes to cement their hold on power. These were crafted by Kenyatta, perfected by Moi and surprisingly enhanced by Kibaki! The culture of tribal elites "eating" led to other tribes elites' yearning for their turn at the trough. The problem is Kenya(and parts of Africa) is that these elites were happy to be seen to be the manifestation of their entire tribes and hence the perception that a certain tribe was eating while others waited.

In a system with proper checks and balances, transparency and accountability are the result. We don't need a dictator or a muzzled press. On the contrary muzzling the press has only resulted in people increasingly relying on rumors some of them very dangerous. It is far-fetched to suggest that broadcast stations in Kenya were broadcasting anything comparable to Radio Milles Collines in Rwanda. Most Kenyans would not tolerate that and there are laws in place against that. The only reason they have muzzled the press is because there are some unacceptable things they want to do that go unreported. They are doing this in order to facilitate their imposition of a dictatorship on Kenyans. Saying freedom of speech is the cause of the current conflagration is a lame excuse for their attempts to suppress the expressions of outrage that followed the just ended charade of an election. It has nothing to do with protecting the nation. It has everything to do with protecting their illegally acquired power.

What is happening are not the birth pains of a nation. It is the result of 44 years of unbridled corruption and misrule by a few, triggered by an incompetently handled rigging exercise.

However we all hope that Kenya will be a better place for all and that this be resolved ASAP. Raila has already shown mature statesmanship by showing a willingness to hold talks with Kibaki on the way forward. So far he has held talks with Desmond Tutu and another mediator(whose name I forget). Both of these people have been met with intransigence by the Kibaki administration which is determined to pretend it is business as usual. So far this government appears to be a very reluctant part of the solution. The statements coming from the "ministers"(weren't they all voted out) Tuju, Awori spokesman Alfred Mutua, Amos Kimunya are not statements of people who even think there is a problem let alone the need for a solution. The biggest impediment to peace in Kenya I am afraid is the government, totally oblivious of the role it has played in this crisis, of Emilio Mwai Kibaki.

Mimmz said...

Thomas, You have a lot of opinions, not necessarily related to the post. Perhaps you should consider posting? However, I hear your opinion, but I hope you agree that I don't have to agree with it. And that's why I say that we need to move on. A whole lot of issues being adressed as causes of strife are matters of opinion.


It's also important to note that I don't hold Raila nor Kibaki responsible for the strife in Kenya any longer. That blame lies solely on the people propagating violence. They could stand before me and attempt in many ways to justify why they set out to kill or maim fellow Kenyans and I would still insist that they had a choice.

If Raila or Kibaki had told any of them to jump off a cliff, they would have thought about it some I'm sure.

Not Raila neither Kibaki has been seen throwing a stone or perambulating streets with a machete.

People must start to take responsibility for their own actions. Human weaknesses cannot be acceptable as the reasons for killing innocent lives. The sheep (mob) mentality has to end. People must start to view themselves as murderers where they've killed, and arsonists where they have set buildings and vehicles on fire.

If Raila and Kibaki never reach a compromise, would that justify the continued death of innocent victims? In my opinion, not.

So forget them. And everything else. And choose peace. If everyone did that, there would actually be peace because there would be no one waging war.

However, I do believe that Raila and Kibaki can play a strong role in inciting violence. As much as they can play a role in bringing about peace. They shouldn't have to though. People should be able to think for themselves.

We need to stop providing people with excuses to kill or maim others, or to destroy property.

That strong desire to be right or wrong is what I don't think matters anymore. We now need to charter a desire to be effective.

Thomas said...

You are in serious denial mimmz. The only thing we can agree on seems to be that shit is hitting the fan. On where the shit came we might as well be from different planets. I am saying we seal the leaking toilet since it is the source, you are saying we just clean fan and move on.

Ms K said...

Mimmz, I have followed your posts for a while without speaking up.

Right now, i must ask you, when you say "People must start to take responsibility for their own actions", how can you ignore the rigging of the election. How can you pretend that its ok, as long as Kibaki is the president?

Do you not realise that our democracy, which thousands died fighting for, has been f*cked sideways, all while you urge us all to move on?

Do you not realise that this could very well be repeated in the 2012 you keep telling Raila to wait for?

How can you reconcile yourself with that?

HASH said...

Hi Mimmz,

I've been working with some other Kenyans to create a site where people can report incidents of violence in Kenya (http://www.ushahidi.com). Consider adding one of the buttons found on the "about" page to your blog.

Please call, text and email your friends and family in Kenya about Ushahidi. You can now SMS an incident report in to +447624802635 or email tips to tips@ushahidi.com.

Hash

Mimmz said...

ms K: I'm quite sure I didn't say Kenyans should take responsibility for their actions because Kibaki won. That was about kenyans, out with machetes hacking people, those Kenyans are murderers. So are those who set ablaze a church with people in it. responsibility for actions is about what each individual does.

About because Kibaki won, I'm quite sure I didn't say that. I said there is only one thing right, peace. And if Raila had been declared the winner, the facts would remain the same.

There is no patriot who so loved Kenya that he/she went out and murdered other Kenyans to prove it. That's BS!

There are processes and procedures to be followed should there exist an election dispute. Anyone interested in maintaining peace should pursue those options, so as to both save lives by avoiding street confrontations with people who have murder on their minds and so as to restore a progressive atmosphere to the country.

Patriotism is about love for country, not selfish interests. This is said as a fact, grounded in truth, which makes it unchangeable regardless of winning candidiates; and the fact that I supported Kibaki does not negate facts. Frankly, if Kibaki winning means I lose kenya as I have always known it, I don't want it. And this is why I don't understand the other shennanigans. It's all a hoax.

I don't in any way any longer believe this is election violence. I believe this is a cleansing of sorts. So I won't be commenting on elections or elections violence any longer.

Thomas said...

I noticed you did not include the policemen shooting unarmed civilians demonstrating against the "government" in your murderers' list? Did you just forget or do you think that its okay to shoot a protesting civilian?

I also assume that you consider Mungiki on your list of murderers. Correct me if I am wrong.

I tend to agree with you that there may be acts of ethnic cleansing with different communities being evicted or threatened in different parts of the country.