By: Hon. Koigi Wa Wamwere
Is Raila such a monster that his democratic right to go to court and complain against Uhuruâ€™s victory should be absolutely opposed; yet he said â€œKibaki toshaâ€ and his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga said: without Kenyattaâ€™s freedom and leadership there would be no independence for Kenya, both in favor of Kikuyu presidents.
Either people are completely ignorant of history, democracy and need to defend rights, and therefore need civic education on democracy, or having forgotten the horrors of one party dictatorship, the less informed members of society are hankering for a second dictatorship led by one of their own.
My experiences with dictatorship however taught me that however imperfect democracy is, nothing is worse than dictatorship. I must therefore always stand opposed to it, even if everyone else in Kenya supports it. Dictatorship â€“ even of opinion â€“ has never been and will never be an option for me.
Whatever I think of the merits and demerits of Railaâ€™s petition to court, I must defend his right to go to court because I cannot bear the thought of living in a society where Raila or anybody else is not free to go to court if one wishes. A country that does not legally allow its citizen to go to court or whose society pressurizes anyone not to go to court merely because it disagrees is not a country or society I would like to live in. Even if we think Railaâ€™s petition is too weak to win, he must be free to take and lose it in court.
Though I am Kikuyu and Raila Luo, in defending his right to go to court, I also defend my own right to defend Railaâ€™s right to go to court without anybody labeling me â€œtraitorâ€ or â€œenemyâ€ unless we want to go the Rwanda way. Indeed, I define, claim and defend my Kenyanness by defending Railaâ€™s democratic rights as a Kenyan and human being.
When people are reluctant to support otherâ€™s right to complain against whatever they consider unjust, it reminds me of a story called, â€œmtego wa panya hushika waliokuwemo na wasio kuwemo.â€ A farmer had put a trap in the store to catch a rat. One rat saw it and sought help from a cow, a goat and a cock all who refused to help saying it was none of their business. Ultimately, the trap caught a snake that bit and killed the farmer when he went to check. As people mourned, the cock was slaughtered for them. After the funeral, the goat and the cow were also slaughtered for more mourners, making the ratâ€™s problem, everybodyâ€™s business.
The culture of instilling fear and silencing dissent is creeping back. Those of us who suffered dictatorship in the past must remind others that political intolerance is not something we can allow back without terrible consequences. In his book, â€œThe Man Diedâ€, Wole Soyinka says when we see an injustice and keep quiet, the man in us dies. When somebody tries to silence Raila and we say nothing, we let the man in us die. Individual silence is our collective suicide.