By Dorcas Sarkozy
There is no other way to put it but the country is regressing back to the murderous authoritarian power-at-all-costs years of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi.
In the last two months, the country has witnessed the deaths of Chris Msando, Samantha Pendo and at least 24** mostly supporters of the opposition in deliberate and targeted use of excessive force by forces commanded by the incumbency.
We have also witnessed the deaths of Orenge Nyabicha and Caroline Odinga, the former ruled a “suicide”. As usual, the police have promised to “leave no stone unturned” in their “pursuit to bring the perpetrators to justice” – even a case already ruled, officially, a “suicide”.
And the one thread linking all these deaths together is 2017 General Elections. Msando, Nyabicha and Odinga were all officials with the now-disgraced electoral body IEBC. Six-month-old Samantha and the 24** deaths were all victims of post-election violence at the hands of law enforcement and government security forces.
** – This is Jubilee’s official and highly suspicious number of deaths; a number and ploy very much in keeping with the Peter Andreas/Kelly Greenhill observation that “what is not counted does not count and does not exist” (Sex, Drugs and Body Counts).
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta has also issued veiled threats against Chief Justice David Maraga and the three justices who sided with him (Maraga) in the 4-to-2 decision annulling results of the August 8th presidential election. Ironically, the same president who was supposedly “pained and angered” at the verdict; emotions that, according to his spinmeisters, explained his unpresidential vitriolics, sought to rein back his toadies (from spewing the same vitriol against the Supreme Court) including one Ngunjiri Wambugu – the Nyeri MP who filed a petition questioning CJ David Maraga’s “suitability” – whatever that means.
Similarly, Kenyans are seeing a return of the visits by delegations to the State House replete with pledges of allegiance and parting brown paper-bagged gifts.
Additionally, we now have the unnamed brother of electoral agency official Dr Roselyn Akombe fleeing the country after receiving several threatening messages believed to be targeted at his sister and fellow commissioners.
Before that, in a directive that further signaled an ominous return to Kenyatta Pere/Moi-era-like darkness, Joseph Kinyua, Uhuru Kenyatta’s Chief of Staff and head of Public Service issued a memo banning government officials from travelling outside the country unless “they have express permission from President Kenyatta”. These despotic tactics of Uhuru’s father and political mentor are in addition to reports of oathing and casting away of “demonic spirits” that were very much alive during a similar time of heightened tribal tension precipitated by the assassination of Tom Mboya.
Wrapping up the foregoing sequence of events that portend a disturbing darkness is the president’s gloating that Jubilee “has the numbers” in the National Assembly – ostensibly to push through “their agenda” – and suddenly, Kenyans are witnessing a credible attempt at returning the imperial president.
The “disturbing darkness” alludes to the on-going chatter about impeaching a yet-to-be-elected President Raila Odinga and “fixing CJ Maraga and the Supreme Court”; chatter that evokes memories of the “Change the Constitution” movement of the mid-70s described in the Joseph Karimi/Philip Ochieng collaboration titled “The Kenyatta Succession”.
It should not surprise anyone that RAO accused Jubilee of machinations to “remove presidential term limit as well as the security of tenure enjoyed by judges”.
And juxtaposed against the foregoing reality is the poorly-kept secret that the west, particularly the European Union and the United States, for all their talk about good governance, human rights and democracy, will immediately sacrifice all three ideals on the altar of national and personal self-interests. This hypocrisy is further illustrated by the links between the government of two erstwhile crimes-against-humanity suspects and Tony Blair not to mention Cambridge Analytics – the former responsible for pushing the invasion and removal from power of the duly elected leader of a sovereign state (Iraq) for among other things, crimes against humanity!
Herman Cohen, a 40-year State Department veteran, poses the rather rhetorical question in his book “The Mind of the African Strongman”:
How does America cope with the human rights atrocities committed by its best friends?
The Ronald Reagan and Bush 41 stalwart asks a question whose answer, in my opinion, is a no-brainer i.e. straightforward AFTER America’s “best friend” Arap Moi has (a) been adversely mentioned in the gruesome assassination of Robert Ouko and (b) summarily disbanded the commission investigating the death.
“The Mind of the African Strongman” offers a narration of the Ouko murder and ensuing joke of an investigation that is as flippant as it is revelatory of America’s hypocrisy to the ideals it pontificates about:
That somehow, despite the murderously corrupt despotic kakistocracy, “from the US point of view, Moi could not have been a more loyal friend”!
Kenya is now staring at herself, circa late 70s and late 90s.
It now has one progeny and two mentees of that era in an Uhuru/Ruto duopoly that is willing to channel their role models Jomo and Moi and do whatever it takes to stay in power including use of threats, intimidation and worse.
And as it happened back during the Jomo/Moi eras, government-organized “chaos, once unleashed, is near-impossible to rein in”; this as demonstrated by the proliferations of goon squads, militias, gangs and groups innocuously referred to as “Rescue Teams” that serve the “Big Men” in whatever capacity directed!