Still On The Late Prof Juma..
By Albert Nyakundi Amenya aka The Banana Peddler
Yesterday, I penned an opinion piece that tore apart the character of the late Professor Calestous Juma and its sponsors. In my piece, I fired some oral bullets at the person of Juma, illuminating how terrible the man failed as a scholar, to use his scholarly authority to extinguish the biting poverty back in his village. Encompassed in the piece also, was the recognition of how Mandela masqueraded as a freedom fighter and enjoyed the fruits of someone’s labour.
As a result, a cold shudder ran through my spine when I read some of the comments especially those on the ‘right of reply’ piece by Silas Nyanchwani. There is no gainsaying that Nyanchwani is one of the few personalities that I esteem in writing industry. He has something that money can’t buy – charisma. People are drawn to him. He genuinely likes people, and it shows. It is the same quality Jack Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States had. Bwana Silas, point taken although I have a few remarks to make.
In your reply bwana Nyanchwani, you took exception to the way I criticized Mandela. You held a clenched fist over my head but I understand you my brother. I know well that to you, Mandela was a secular saint who made did no wrong. You certainly don’t want to hear anything bad about him. I know you detested apartheid more than, say, Castroism or Baathism because it was a simple, well packaged and understandable morality tale.
You forgot to mention in your write up that Mandela bequeathed to South Africa a shaky unity an unenviable political situation and worse still, the absurd regimes of Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki, both obsolete ANC stalwarts who have claimed his mantle. For a man imprisoned for his political beliefs, Mandela had a weakness for those who did the very same thing to their ideological opponents, but were allowed a pass because they supported, for ‘realpolitik’ reasons, the struggle against apartheid. Why was he painfully slow in denouncing the squalid dictatorship of Robert Mugabe? This is the man who was fond of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. This is the same man who openly and regularly referred to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi as “Brother Leader” of the Revolution of Libyan Jamahariya. If you remember well, on his return to visit Robbin Island, President Mandela openly announced with appalling tone deafness that he was going to invite both Qaddafi and Castro to South Africa. I remember in 1997, Mandela unloaded on the Clinton administration when it criticized him for embracing the Libyan dictatorship. “How can they have the arrogance to dictator us where we should go or which countries should be our friends”
Regarding my piece, some of the comments were strikingly discombobulating. Albeit some hurled unexampled oral stones at my person, I must readily countenance that they readily edified me. They taught me that Kenyans hate the truth and love the lies. With such trend, my fear is that we are transiting to nowhere.
That is why I keep saying that this country has certainly become a lame duck. There is no sign of life in it anymore. People have refused to think for themselves and as a result, patronage has become the only idea of governance. Distinguished scholars like the late Professor Juma have cowardly elected to seek asylum abroad. Although academics don’t make good leaders – in my opinion, those left behind have allowed politicians think for them. The environment of doing business is highly intoxicating. The only lucrative business left is that of government. Unless you grab money from government, you will go hungry.
I have said in this space time without number that this country is bleeding from all openings. It is bleeding from the nose. It is bleeding from the mouth. In fact, it is seriously bleeding from the anus. When you saunter around town, you bump into gloomy faces brought by unprecedented poverty and frustration levels. Everyone wants to surround themselves with people who tell them lies. If you say the truth, you are crucified.
A hidden damage already done to Kenya is that nobody aims to engage in productive activities anymore. The unemployed do not desire to do honest work and earn honest salary. Our young people are not are not attracted to blue collar jobs like serving as construction factotums (Watu wa mkono kwa Mjengo). They are not even attracted to farming because they would earn a lot more by being politicians’ thugs, by mugging people or by peddling hard drugs. Others have taken to terrorism, armed robbery and other heinous crimes.
Meanwhile, our public “servants” who swallow more than 70 per cent of the nation’s revenues are almost useless. The only sing-song from our so called leaders has been cutting public expenditure, by sacking public servants yet they lack courage to touch the jumbo pay taken home by politicians who contribute nothing to the nation’s development.
How can some men and women seated in a house called parliament shout “aye and nay” three times a week and 12 times a month take home a staggering 1 million shillings whereas doctors who save lives take home peanuts? All these happening while scholars are quiet? Whatever the signs of a failed state are.
Follow this link to read Albert’s first attack on the late Harvard Prof Juma
(The writer sells Bananas in the streets of Kisii Town)