By Dikembe (Via Facebook).
I too thought Boniface Mwangi was too childish in his anti-Moses Kuria rant the other day, but do I say!
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t wade into the usual social media brickbats between ‘big time’ bloggers and celebrity activists. Reason being; I long lost taste of getting personal on social media.
Boniface Mwangi’s tiff with Robert Alai is that Alai embraced Moses Kuria during a match between Azam and Gor in Tanzania.
To Mwangi, the presence of Moses Kuria in a Gor match should have been received with murmurs and heckling and probably stones. When this did not happen, Mwangi feels Luos denied him a chance to ‘bash’ them.
See, in Kenya, the image of a Luo youth, more so a Gor Mahia fan, has been that of an incorrigible hooligan ready to visit incomprehensible terror on all imagined ‘enemies’ of Luos.
This image, propelled to national consternation by Kenya’s media houses (not long ago journalists would attend Gor matches to write about the chaos and nothing else) is under threat as Gor Mahia fans are no longer ‘violent’, or even if they are, they do it in style, unlike the barbarism and primitivity recently witnessed in a match between Thika United and AFC Leopards.
Gor fans have turned violent hooliganism to blissful poetry. Some of the greatest music tunes come out Gor Matches…if only they could be recorded!
So it is safe to say Gor Mahia fans (Luo youths) are less violent today then they were not long ago. Or may be, we’ve panel beaten the media to stop their penchant to harangue Gor fans ‘exclusively’. But I digress.
Mwangi is offended because Gor supporters ignored Moses Kuria. He is offended because Moses Kuria did not receive the kind of treatment which would have propelled Kikuyu elders to Uhuru park, like they did days to Saba Saba. He feels deeply infuriated that Moses Kuria did not manage to ‘expose’ the simmering ethnic tensions between Luos and Kikuyus which is the only reason elections get rigged in Kenya.
To Boniface Mwangi; the little Ksh 200,000 that Moses Kuria, on his own volition, donated to Gor Mahia should have been grabbed by Luo youths and torn into pieces – because that’s how Luos behave. So when it didn’t happen, Mwangi vents his frustrations on Alai.
Negative ethnicity is a problem of the Kenyan elites and Kenyan celebrities.
My differences with Mwangi are known. They stem from the fact that he has a shallow understanding of the role of the opposition in post-2010 constitution. Also, Mwangi is a ‘celebrity activist’, the kind of Nyayo era ‘dissenters’ whom Moi could commandeer to go to the streets to demo with police protection to prove to IMF and WB that Kenya is safe and dissent is allowed!
Soon after some 8 youths were arrested for protesting security laws; Mwangi took to Facebook castigating CORD for not paying bails/bond for the arrested ‘Raila supporters’. He didn’t say a thing about the arrest. Whether the youths were within their constitutional rights to picket.
To Mwangi, it was Raila who sent them to the streets and should bail them out.
Some of the arrested youths were personal friends; like Gacheke Gachihiand Ershards Okello (whom we schooled with at Kanga). Gacheke wasn’t on the streets because he was told to do so. Human rights defenders don’t grace street struggles because they are told to do so. Whether they are marchers from Selma to Montgomery or Uhuru Park to Harambee House, people committed to this enduring idea that human rights aren’t just commodities to be tossed by governments risk their freedoms not because some exalted political leader tell them to do so.
People like Mwangi, on the other hand,see these struggles as means to financial ends. A struggle that has no ‘entrepreneurial value’ is not worth it.
See, I don’t have to be politically correct to point these things out. When was the last time Mwangi was on the streets for causes that he couldn’t personally accrue financial gain from?
Today, young people cannot assemble to picket out of shared frustrations because people like Mwangi have sapped the urgency out of them.
For how can you go out there when people like Mwangi warn you in prior that Raila won’t pay your bail/bond?
How can you go out there when activism is today a well paying profession?
So young people in Kenya ‘decide only to be undecided; resolve only to be irresolute’, because common struggles have today been commoditized.
Now, even with my strong ‘dislike’ of Mwangi’s tactics; or philosophies of human struggle, I cannot be so bigoted as to not mention he has done certain things right.
In fact; when he called on collaborators in a new project of ‘profiling’ Kenya’s heroes – I think the initiative is ongoing- I was among the few who emailed him to volunteer on ‘researching’ these heroes’ backgrounds ( so that we don’t come with another Ethiopian guka as the fabled Mau Mau hero).
So, I’m not just hating on the man.
What I disagree with; and contemptuously reject; is this ‘political wisdom’ that Luos and Kikuyus should be constantly at loggerheads. That Robert Alai and Moses Kuria shouldn’t be photographed standing side by side; that Macharia Wa Njoki whom I met at Moi and hooked up with instantly because of our shared passion for politics shouldn’t visit me at Industrial Area because I allegedly said there should only be “one Kiambu”, which was interpreted by shallow kikuyu supremacists as “hate speech”.
The vulture is a very patient bird.
Dikembe is a Pro-CORD political blogger.