By Seth O
Those claiming Tom Mboya has been forgotten are right. He has. The question is; who should remember Tom Mboya?
Are they the beneficiaries of the Jomo Kenyatta largesse he protected and worshipped or us, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga ‘poor people’?
The repressive state that Tom Mboya anchored; the politics of ethnic conspiracy and winner-takes-all (remember Limuru Conference of 1966) that he engineered and the westernization of the Kenyan state all remain the very ills on which the post-Mboya reform movement is based on.
If you see yourself as a victim of years of dispossession – socially, economically, politically, regionally – then you have no business ‘remembering’ Mboya.
He didn’t believe in the wealth of regions. His ‘high value’ areas to which the resources of those of us in ‘low value’ areas were channelled no longer think they owe us anything.
Instead, the ‘high value’ areas today think others are lazy and that their years of hard work and industry made them wealthy.
Mboya’s Sessional Paper no. 10 of 1965; the hallmark of his narrow-mindedness; has today been found to be the single most disempowering policy legislation that gave rise to the present inequalities, iniquities and politics of economic retribution.
Those calling for whatever ‘consciousness’ are the best examples of how the Mboya state, embedded in politics of patronage, continue to haunt kenyans.
In foreign policy realm; why would anyone want to remember a man who thought Kenya’s development should be ‘only’ about the west; and looked at the east, the guys who are today building our roads and railways as ‘communists’ – which back in the day was like being branded ‘terrorists’ today.
Though often hailed as ‘visionary’, Mboya didn’t see the rise of the Chinese, of Russians, of Asia, as critical to the development of a pretentious ‘non-aligned’ Kenya as those of Europe and America. This is because Mboya saw what Europe and America wanted him to see, heard what Europe and America wanted him to hear and spoke what Europe and America wanted him to speak.
For Luo Nyanza, if the other parts of the country would want to celebrate Mboya for making them more developed than us; why would Luos, of which I belong, ‘remember’ Mboya?
Mboya should be forgotten. The country he envisioned did not come to birth. It killed him instead.
In its place is the ongoing struggle – sometimes bloody – to remove Mboyalites from power. You can’t talk of a fair Kenya, an equal Kenya and an equitable Kenya and talk about Mboya.
He stood for no ‘higher ideal’. His conscience was never pricked that the promise of ‘plenty within our borders’ no longer reached many because his friend Jomo and close associates were using big spoons.
He created the ineffective and corrupt political bureaucracy that continue to deal service delivery a blow till today. It has been 8 months now and his Statue outside archives is still covered in a sack. The corrupt and ineffective state he created can’t even finish doing repairs on his clay monument.
He may have airlifted people to America but there is evidence of those who returned highly educated but hollow; and used access that education offers to public service for primitive accumulation.
His policies impoverished, dispossessed, condemned, robbed, isolated and continue to haunt swathes of Kenya.
Mboya should be forgotten; or, when remembered, should be discoursed as the man who set Kenya on the road to Armageddon!
The man was shortsighted; why lie?
[Some of my friends think of Mboya very highly…out of ignorance]