By Martin Mule
It may make sense for a sick man to pray for health and then take medicine, but I fail to see any sense at all in his praying for health and then drinking poison. In electing Uhuru and Ruto, that is what Kenyans did.
Itâ€™s clear Kenyans are uncomfortable with laws. You hear a lot of ours is a free democratic country and nobody is going to tell us what to do. It may seem that we have lost the the sense of being commanded, that assures us we we are taken serious and living in a society where people feel addressed and summoned for their deeds. Its law that keeps us from returning to the jungle, where the strongest takes what they want. Itâ€™s the law that keeps us human, guiding us to realization that there are greater calling and higher satisfactions in life than constantly looking out for our own self-interest.
Just as the world would be unlivable if we could not count on the reliability of the law of gravity and other laws of chemistry and physics, the world of our national cohesion and relationship would be unlivable if we could not accept certain standards of behavior as being right and necessary even when we do not feel like living up to them, that there are agreed-upon standards of rights and wrong that we can count on and that are not subject to incessant renegotiation.
The moment when the community as a whole claimed for itself the right and responsibility to punish criminals, taking the role away from the injured parties, represent one of the great advances in the history of civilization. Since then, punishment could be administered coolly, objectively, by an outsider who would feel no vindictiveness and take no personal pleasure in its administration. True justice without vengeance. One measure of a civilization’s complexity is the distance between the aggrieved individual and administration of justice. The problem arise, however, when people fear that they cannot depend on society to administer justice, that the courts are slow, corrupt and unreliable or inclined to play favorites or that the law is full of loopholes that let the guilty escape as we always see in Kenya. Then we face the uncomfortable choice between letting a guilty person go free and taking the responsibility for punishment into our hands, with the bitter aftertaste and sense of moral compromise that often entails…This is why ICC is appropriate and if it fails we only condemn Kenya into a paralysis, stagnation or return to the jungle law.
Ever since Uhuru and Ruto were indicted, suspected for crimes against humanity stemming from their involvement in the 2007/08 PEV Genocide, all that they have done is to enhance world suspicion on their guilty.They have subtly bribed, cajoled, intimidated, eliminated witnesses with impunity. They have manipulated their tribes and our corrupt media system to stand with them in their grandstanding with the ICC and International community and more annoying against traditional Kenyan allies. Lately they have managed to manipulate African despots to completely put Kenya into a shameful and contemptuous orbit. Ironically its the same despots they are showering with our wealth who will hand them over to ICC, and the world is dancing hypocritically with them, if the AU useless resolution on ICC is anything to go by.
Its no secret that Uhuru and his deputy Ruto in lobbying for termination of two Kenyan cases without the victims representation, prior, during and after the 21 AU summit is clear evidence of abusing their offices by grandstanding with the International Criminal Court..ICC. If Kenya was really a democratic and progressive judicial democracy, first Uhuru and his deputy would be impeached. Uhuru, Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang have been indicted by the ICC court in connection with 2007-08 post elections violence and their trials commences later this year, either in Kenya,Arusha or den Haag.
We all know its the same government that both Uhuru and Ruto were senior cabinet members which invited ICC intervention on the basis of compromised credibility of Kenya’s judicial system of which they shamelessly compromised further in the just concluded Presidential Petition. But my question has always been do they have to destroy Kenya to defend themselves? Could it be their status is a convinient godsend opportunity for others to rationalize their contempt for law in Kenya? Going by the TJRC report it is not by coincidence Uhuru is the president. Like any other commissionâ€™s report, TJRC is another waste of public fund and time. Why? Because we the people of Kenya, have accepted the lies that have seized and taken us out of ourselves through choreographed collective enthusiasm, in a totalitarian parade of self-righteousness upsurge of tribal loyalty that blots out conscience and absolves every criminal tendency in the name of tribe and class. Yet it is precisely these erzats forms of enthusiasms that are â€œopiumâ€ for the people, deadening their awareness of their deepest and most personal needs, alienating them from their true selves, putting conscience and personality to sleep and turning free reasonable men into passive instruments of the power politicians. But we cannot make these choice with impunity. Causes have effects and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality when we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it.
The TJRC report reinforces ICC case against Uhuru and Ruto and even goes further to implicate his father in land grabbing, political assassinations and author of social injustices in Kenya. So convenient for the others implicated that it will be implemented in toto. Fat chance!
Just imagine where the lie about loyalty to our tribal demigods has brought us to. Successive tribal regimes have dug in a protective system that will every now and then be manipulated by clever cons to their personal interests. That is what Uhuru and Ruto are doing now. Uhuru Kenyatta is so institutionally insulated in an impenetrable tribal human shield.
Kenyans know they are destined for better things and that is why the triumhalistic mentaliy being displayed by some communities is self-defeating. A monkey is monkey because of other monkeys, there cannot be a monkey without other monkeys. We are allowing our souls to be stunted by ignorance.There is no way we can win the war against hate and reviling as long as there are conditions that make people desperate. We cannot be human on our own. We can be human only together. There will never be PEACE without justice and safety only comes when desperation ends. It will end when we have leaders who are willing to take risks not just seeking to satisfy the often extreme feelings of their constituencies as we seeing now in our land.
Consider the National Intelligence Services composition, NIS director Major general Michael Gichangi, Head of civil Serice Francis Kimemia, AG and acting Internal security cabinet secretary AG Githu Muigai pending vetting of Joseph Ole Lenku who is the nominee for the post, AG Githu Muigai, Chief of the Defence Forces Gen Julius W Karangi. The rest of the National Intelligence Services members are just but powerless rubber stamps; Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. But as fromidable as this insulation seems, it will be the trigger of real genocide in Kenya. Slowly Kenyan are realizing what subsequent tribal regimes and mostly Kikuyu tribal elites and mafia have put in place to disadvantage the rest of the communities. The polarity in Kenya which some people are taking for granted, at the end will have no other outlet to vent itself but violence. The kind of fictional thinking that Uhuru and Ruto are using to galvanize tribal emotions is very dangerous as we saw in 2007/08 especially when it operates in the vague, fluid confused and unprincipled opportunism which has been susbstituted for tribal hegemony and platform for opposing imperialism.
This fictional thinking has seized on the fear of freedom, fear of making choices, because the world is too complicated for us. Its hard to understand it. We do not know who to trust, so we are vulnerable to the person who says, â€œ too many decisions? Let me simply life for you. Make one decision, vote â€œjubileeâ€ and you will never have to agonize over choosing between the right and wrong again. Uhuru and Ruto will tell you what is right and we will surround you with a supportive officials in the NIS to reassure you that no matter what the misguided souls of other communities may say you are protected and on the right pathâ€
At its worst, this kind of vulnerability gives us an Adolf Hitler, who strode into the moral decay and economic ruin of Germany in the 1930â€™s and said, â€œ Follow me, never question me, and I will lead you out of thisâ€ We consider ourselves rid of nazism because we abhor its brutality and we did not live in the 1930â€™s Germany. We forget that Nazism was ultimate product of a philosophy which despised the â€˜weakâ€™ and admired the â€˜strongâ€™. In essence Nazism was a doctrine that the â€˜strongâ€™ shall rule over the â€˜weakâ€™ and that the â€˜weakâ€™ are contemptible because they are â€˜weakâ€™
The brutality of Nazism was not just the product of certain historical conditions in Germany. It was also the consequence of perceptions of reality. We are not living in their situations but we practice many of the same norms and evaluations if you consider â€œThe Tyranny of Tribal Powerâ€ Uhuru and Ruto seized upon to galvanize tribal emotions.
We have exiled ourselves from realities into the realm of fiction and we are expending all our efforts in constructing more fictions with which to account for our ethical failures. We cannot pretend anymore not to be aware of the widening gulf between good purposes and bad results, between efforts to make peace and growing likelihood of war.
Ironically its those who come up with elaborate and careful planning and attempts to initiate peace dialogues as we have seen with those who tried to help us reconcile in 2007, end up being objects of contempt and hatred as most Kenyans see Koffi Annan. Where was Museveni then?
The Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission Report TJRC.
Consider what happened in South Africa after the end of apartheid. Faced with thousands of acts of murders and brutality committed by hundreds of soldiers, police and government officials over the decades, the new government realized that trying to bring every guilty party to trial would tie up the courts for years, rekindle bitter feelings and racially divide a country that desperately needed to heal.. So they created a genuine, open and honest Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose purpose was partly to get the perpetrators to confess their crimes and show remorse under a promise of amnesty, but mostly to serve as a forum for victims to tell their stories in public and be listened to.
What victims most commonly seek is vindication. They want public acknowledgement that what happened to them was wrong. They want the burden of shame lifted from their shoulders and placed where it belongs. Yes! The shame they feel is the shame of powerlessness, the inability to protect the integrity of their own bodies. I have spoken to Holocaust survivors, Rwanda Genocide survivors and Apartheid survivors about their experiences, what they remember most vividly is not the cruelty of their tormentors but their own feelings of helplessness. I learned a great truth from them.
When we thirst for revenge, it isnâ€™t really revenge we are after. We are looking to reclaim the sense of power and dignity that was stolen from us. If there were a less morally tainted way of feeling empowered when we confront our adversary, if we could claim power over him without having to hurt him, most of us would be satisfied with that.
I am bothered by the readiness of some of Kenyans to forgive injuries done to someone else. Uninjured themselves, they are telling the world that what happened in 2007/08 was the societyâ€™s fault and that Uhuru and Ruto and others are as much victims as the victims. I reject that view. I am in favor of tracking each and every perpetrator of the PEV and other crimes in Kenya and make them stand trials for their crimes, not because I am a vindictive person, I have no desire to hurt them myself, but because I pay them the compliment of seeing them as human beings who are responsible for the consequences of their acts and behaviors and because I believe with Hamlet that â€œ the time is out of jointâ€ as long as serious crimes go unpunished in Kenya.
Reconciliation cannot avoid confrontation. But when we merely seek to gloss over our differences or metaphorically paper over the cracks as we did after the 2007/08 PEV we must not be surprised that in next to no time we are at it again, hammer and tongs, perhaps more violently than before. True reconciliation is based on forgiveness and forgiveness is based on true confession and confession is based on penitence, on contrition on sorrow for what had been done. Equally confession, forgiveness and reconciliation in the lives of nations and communities are not just airy-fairy religious and spiritual matters, nebulous and unrealistic. They are the stuff of practical politics. Superficial reconciliation can only bring superficial healing.
Kenyans have suffered a lot emotional and physical traumas, prior, during and post independence while in the quest for a semblance of a just and a progressive modern society, however as its known, the texture of suffering is changed when we see it and begin to experience it as being redemptive as not being wasteful, as not being senseless. We human being can tolerate suffering, but we cannot tolerate meaninglessness.
Martin Mule is a freelance journalist based in Cologne, Germany.