By N Magaya
A lot has been said about the boycott of Safaricom, Bidco and Brookside. But not much is being said about what a boycott actually means.
If you listen to Hon David Murathe speak, you will understand the thinking of the ethnocracy. David Murathe confidently says “these people are protesting because they have no stake in the economy”.
If you meet your typical ethnic supremacist, that is the narrative they have – we own the economy, you people are just buyers. What they don’t say is that this state of things originated from land acquisition in the 60s and 70s and the redistribution of such land to a specific people.
That is the background. You have a state built on ethnocracy, that looks upon some of its citizens as poor, backward people whose only use is as a market. That is why the cynical and condescending sham of October 26th happened.
So how does a boycott come into this?
A boycott is a strategic move because it can be steered in a way that gives power to the market rather than the supplier. If the declared boycott of Safaricom is followed through with MPs and MCAs leading constituents to Airtel lines to ‘vote’ with their SIM cards, then in a few weeks millions of people can move to Airtel from Safaricom. Then NASA can begin to lead constituents in a similar fashion to MPESA alternatives. The idea is to divorce the people from the economy that the ethnocracy controls.
If it can be demonstrated by example that NASA can actually move people away from a company en masse, then a new respect will emerge among the wealthy for their market. This is a very good outcome.
NASA represents parts of Kenya that have faced marginalization for decades. The Coast has suffered because of historical land injustices.
Luo Nyanza has suffered because opportunities were denied and leaders killed.
Northern Kenya has suffered because the government did not invest in it.
Western has suffered because of deals between Uhuru and Museveni that have killed sugar industry. These and more have made such regions so destitute that they can only function as consumers. Much of Kenya’s industrial and agricultural output is in Central and the Rift Valley – by design. Which makes some regions producers of goods, services and employment, while others are consumers. Because of this, we are expected to kneel before our economy owners/masters or face unemployment and starvation. How is this then a democratic market economy?
Safaricom as a network has been involved in many of the crimes committed against citizens. Bidco’s owners are alleged big donors of both PNU and Jubilee. Brookside has created a dairy monopoly in Kenya and then made deals with Uganda to sell milk there and in return allow Ugandan sugar into Kenya at the expense of Mumias, Sony, Ramisi and the rest.
These are companies that employ Kenyans yes, but must we live under tyranny simply for want of employment? When Kenya is free of Jubilee regime do we not have minds that can run these and even bigger and better companies?
Remember how the colonialists mocked Africans for wanting independence by saying we could not handle it because we could not even manufacture a needle? Are we not independent now and making needles? Will we then continue dying from police bullets, living under fake democracy and suffering ethnic-based marginalization simply because we are afraid of losing jobs? Why are we like this?
Let Safaricom fall if that is what it takes. The post-Jubilee government will make a new Safaricom that does not aid in election fraud. Let Bidco fall if that is what it takes. If every county has its own vegetable oil press that will be more employment and none of the profit will be spent on oathing and militias that are killing people in Kisumu. Let Brookside fall if that is what it takes. Is the science of dairy farming only known to the Kenyattas? Must we buy milk from them? Are our villages and farms unable to have milk processing plants?
Revolution is not eating ice-cream. Resistance is not a romantic holiday. There must be some sacrifice in order for the greater good to be secured for the future. Are we going to sit and complain about little inconveniences when the very constitution that allows us the space to complain and resist was achieved through blood, long prison sentences and torture? Do you think the clamor for multi-partyism was silly people complaining about the coldness of the prison cells?
There cannot be any reform if everyone sits and complains about the process. Every revolution starts somewhere.
The Arab spring began with a single man setting himself on fire in Tunisia. People took action, they did not sit and discuss the brand of fuel the man used.