By: Richard Mutungi
Dear Kamba Community,
The 2013 presidential election is over and the new president is in place as the Supreme Court ruled out the winner, letâ€™s appreciate the country wide peace that Kenyans enjoyed during the election whether one won or lost and despite the shortcomings that were experienced.
I take this opportunity to congratulate you Kamba community for your solidarity in voting in unity and expressing your political voice democratically. I applaud brilliant diligence (statesmanship) of Wiper leadership of Mr. Kalonzo, Muthama and the rest of the steering committee for their wise advice and uniting Kamba community.
The massage was simple and clear, that the time is over and long gone are the days when Kamba people used to be divided and used against each other. Personally I canâ€™t resist the urge of happiness of seeing Kamba people stand together against the odds. Kamba community should not regret for loosing the election but rejoice for making the right decision and standing together for what you believed in. And so are other communities.
Let not worry about the political defects or deviants because that is what democracy is all about. It is time to stand up, regroup, pull each other together, keep walking tall and keep your political dream alive. This is not time for finger pointing or chest thumbing but time for recollection.
It is in record that for a long time, Kamba community has been loyal and provided unwavering support to the previous regimes holding power, from Kenyatta the senior to Moi for 24 good years and lastly Kibaki 8 years in power. Several occasions Kamba were even abused and attacked for voting and supporting a certain presidential candidate of your choice.
In the past you Kamba community displayed a sense of liberalism, political nationalism and unselfishness by voting other presidential candidates outside your community to power. In fact you should know that there are some communities that have never voted for other communities outside their own since independence. That being the case and trend why should anyone dare question your political stand?
The fact that a party looses election does not mean it should be disbanded or did not have the right political ideological vision and will. In sports if a team looses to the opponent team that does not mean is the end of it. It goes back to the drawing table to prepare for the next tournament.
In a democratic government there is always the Right and Left wing or opposition side. Periodically power changes hands among Democratic, Republicans, Conservative and liberal parties. That is the norm. After the elections the party members stick to their respective parties they do not abandon their party whenever they loose. The behavior of jumping from one party to another is not only disrespect to the supporters but an indication of lack of political stance, bearing and philosophy.
Any candidate behaving in such manner cannot be trusted and has no peoples interest but his own. This kind of behavior demonstrates a total display of lack of party loyalty and commitment. Supporters who are influenced by such a candidate need political education. Under the circumstances both the candidate and the supports should work hard to strengthen their party. The party members should not follow such traitors and political nomads (projects) blindly but should disown them.
In the contemporary politics the party leaders should know better that during such a time the party is vulnerable and the external forces exploit the situation by targeting the cheap and weak links (leaders) to lure them with goodies to dismantle the party. In Kamba metaphor (kwikiwâ€™a mbemba makatoma OR kukwatwâ€™a na mata ta ndaa). The leaders are accountable to the party members and should consult them before defecting.
In due respect, the party leaders should listen to the voices, feelings and wishes of the supporters before making certain political pronouncement. The party members are very important political components that form the party and should not be ignored. Party supporters are educated on their political rights and constitutional participation. The instructions and information flow should be dual/two way but not one way or one sided.
In 2013, you Kamba community made your own choice based on your political philosophy and stance. As you have done it in the past, please try to reach out to other communities as you seek second political and economic liberation. It is not possible to enter in partnership with other communities unless yourselves are organized and united. It is time to spread the gospel of peace and unity in Ukambani. In my opinion Kamba community should stick to Wiper and CORD Alliance since it embraces a wide spectrum of communities. As the saying goes â€œ better the devil you know.â€
Kamba community has a political history like any other community. Some of the known and prominent Kamba leaders who fought colonialism /resistance were: Syokimau, Syotune wa Kathukye, Muindi Mbingu, and later Paul Ngei, JD Kali, and Malu of Kilungu. Ngei and Kali were imprisoned by the colonial government for their anti-colonial protests. Syotune wa Kathukye led a peaceful protest to recover cattle confiscated by the British colonial government during one of their raiding expeditions on the local populations.
Muindi Mbingu was arrested for leading another protest march to recover stolen land and cattle around the Mua Hills in Masaku district, which the British settlers eventually appropriated for themselves. JD Kali, along with Paul Ngei, joined the Mau Mau movement to recover Kenya for the Kenyan people. He was imprisoned in Kapenguria during the fighting between the then government and the freedom fighters. In honour of these forefathers and to carry the political cross, the present Kamba leaders should emulate them and avoid being political sycophants.
As I search my soul, trying to understanding which political direction Kenya is heading to, it reminds me of Plato the Greek philosopher. Plato described what we called TMOCRATIC form of government as a notch below the high idealistic form of aristocracy and comes into existence chiefly due to the failure of the government to develop individuals who have souls of gold. This degeneration gives rise to a leader who has the ideals of an aristocrat but is also aware of the nature of power he has inherited. Plato theorizes that the Timocratic man is the son of the aristocratic philosopher king, having the education and learning of his father, but wanting to expand his power by way of war and conquest. I quote.
Aristocracy according to Plato is of the opinion that such aristocratic system works as a benevolent government, seeking out the traits of these different classes of people and educating and training them in a way which is suitable for their future positions in life. I quote.
Does this situation sound familiar in Kenya? Does the present Kenya political structure bear the above characteristics? During the last presidential campaigns, this situation was the key note of the campaigning and dominated the presidential debates. It was repeated over and over until the public was cautioned about it.
Likewise, Kenya has to be careful not to create a form of government that consists of rule by an elite group who rule in their own interests, especially the accumulation of wealth and privilege. Only certain members of society have a valid voice in the government.
Further, Kenya should strive to avoid establishing a constitutional monarchal government in likeness of Philippine under Ferdinand Marcos, Lesotho, Swaziland and Libya under Muammar Qaddafi and the sons. For 42 years Libya was under political siege. Winnipeg Sun of April 15, 2013 page 9 reads, â€œIn dadâ€™s footsteps: Africa is filled with ruling dynasties, each more unpleasant than the previous one.â€
In a critical note and in view of the political outlook of Kenyan politics, one starts to wonder whether Kenya is becoming a dynasty/monarch republic/country. Monarchal government is perceived as an institution that harbors monopoly of political power. That is why the public feel that way? This is in view of Kenyan political history since independence that speaks for itself. The structure of Kenya population is not homogeneous but heterogeneous ethnic mixture of 43 components that makes it politically complicated. In order to operate efficiently and achieve surmountable success, the 43 components should work harmoniously.
To solve and to stop this political malignant structure, the Philippine came up with what is described as â€œBreaking the Political Dynasty Pattern in the Philippinesâ€
Years before, Sen. Flavier has authored Senate Bill 12 which defines and prohibits political dynasties. It defines political dynasty as â€œthe concentration, consolidation, or perpetuation, of public office and political powers by persons related to one another.â€ Persons holding office and related within the third civil degree of consanguinity or affinity â€“ including their spouses and the spouses of their brother-in-law and sister-in-law â€“ will already be deemed to be in a political dynasty relationship. It didnâ€™t prosper.
In the House of the Representatives, a related bill is also sleeping. It was filed by Rep. Emilio C. Macias II â€“ House Bill 44 which seeks to ban local officials from occupying the next higher position which they had previously occupied and for which they had served for three consecutive terms. At present it lies pending in the House Committee on Local Government.
Once again I salute you Kamba community for your resilient and tolerant culture. In order to make political progress, you have to avoid internal political wrangling and work as team to establish your party flag bearer. I congratulate â€œKENYA MPYAâ€ under â€œI CHOOSE LIFE_AFRICAâ€ organization for its commendable work in initiating and setting up vetting system in Machakos county. The system worked very well during the last 2013 election. Before the election, several forums were organized in different locations in Machakos to educate people about election issues and candidates. The vying candidates were also given opportunity to express themselves. It was a fair and effective platform that gave candidates an opportunity to exhibit their political and leadership assets/qualities. That is the way to go. My dear brothers and sisters let not your humility be misconstrued to naivety.
Similarly to avoid replicate of Philippine or Libya ,Lesotho and Swaziland monarchal governments, we need to come to our senses and learn from the other regimeâ€™s mistakes. The question remains whether this application is possible and practical in Kenya ?
The answer is â€œ YESâ€. In 2013 election, Nyanza people rejected and categorically refused to vote for family members or relatives of Raila Odiga because of the dynasty issue described as â€œOdingaismâ€ . News papers carried out headlines such as â€œRAILA FACES CRISIS OVER OBURU NOMINATION. VOTERS in Nyanza have revolted against Prime Minister Raila Odinga by rejecting most of his allies in the ODM nominationsâ€. Railaâ€™s brother,sister and cousin amongest others were some of the aspirants affected by this new move.
Despite Odiga political dominance in Nyanza, we all know that Raila is astute self-made politician who has contributed immensely to current political liberty and constitution in Kenya. He has earned his political position but not handpicked. At the same time, the other communities have also something to learn from Nyanza in congruent to modern political era.
The reason for writing this letter is therefore to express my sincere heartfelt and love for Kenya and to share my views with party members and especially kamba community on political direction the community intents to take. In the name of our ancestors and for the sake of our children I plead with Kamba to remain united. In the blessings of the new constitution that guarantees all Kenyans freedom of expression, Kenyans should be able to discuss freely matters pertaining to their political, social, and economic engagement without fear or intimidation.
Consequently, Political history of any country or community has to be written as it happens.
The country does not make history on its own but those in power do it. It is therefore the responsibility of each one to educate each other on political and economic implications of certain government systems. Kamba community need to be careful in choosing their political destiny as they position themselves in the big picture. It is on this perception I urge all Kamba to seal all cracks that may open up for the political predators entrance. Kamba have their political history and they will continue on making history that should be written as it happens. Who is then supposed to write Kamba history?