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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Making the Reconciliation work for all

Mr Kibaki has a way of reinventing himself; at least we think he forced himself into history books against the backdrop of a stolen election. By turning up in parliament to debate and vote for the crucial bill meant to legalize his peace deal with Mr Raila Odinga, he became the first president to do it in Kenya. But that symbolically was not enough. The president literally sat in parliament to await the final document to entrench the deal into the constitution and before he retired to State House, he had signed it into law. That is vintage Kibaki, the man Kenya has not known for five years.

There was more. While contributing to the bill, Mr Kibaki joked about letting James Orengo single-handedly write the constitution. All these things that we have been saying, he knows them and he can write a new constitution, he quipped. As expected, the house went baaah with laughter. It is good that ends well. But where did it begin?

While the powerful men and women endorsed the entrenchment of the peace deal in the constitution by 200 votes to nil, other Kenyans are counting loses. The peace deal has to hold, it must never fail. Kenya should not be allowed to go that way again, ever. In order to prevent the recurrence of the slaughter of innocent lives and destruction of property, Kenyans have the best opportunity in our lives to step back and reexamine ourselves. Why did it begin in the first place? Why did we see the level of bestiality that we witnessed? Because we have lived a big lie for a whole half a century. It was bound to come; thank God it came during this generation.

Now back to the reconciliation and national healing. Kenyans hurt each other; lives were maimed and disfigured while livelong investments were reduced to ashes. Nothing is more painful than the over 2000 lives lost in gory death rituals at the hands of militia and the trigger-happy police. So, while the smiling MPs kiss and hug and high-five to celebrate the success of the Kofi Annan miracle for Kenya, we should look back at the pile of earths jutting out of countless homes.

Those raw earths mark a very unfortunate entry into 2008 for countless Kenyan families whose loved ones are buried therein. They paid the ultimate price. From Onyango to Kipkoech to Wasike to Karanja to Omar, Kenyans of all tribes were felled by fellow Kenyans either taking the law into their own hands or acting at the behest of shadowy power barons and financiers with stakes in government power. To the funding warlords, only one thing made sense to them, propping the illegal regime in power to serve as a conduit to intimidation and award of government tenders and contracts. They care less, and did not even show up at the funerals of the dead youth and women. To them, dead combatants are a statistic.

An election was stolen. Start with the cabinet strong men and women, beginning with Saitoti whose reelection in Kajiado North was contested against the backdrop of allegations of importation of premarked ballots. Talk of Maina Kamanda, croco-coward Mungatana, Koinange street client Mwakwere and the thief in chief Kibaki. The ECK was complacent and complicit in that heist of the electoral victory. Karua, Me Chuki, Kimunya and premier Warlord Uhuru are culpable. So are Murungi and the blood thirsty church that went on leave while Kenyans slaughtered each other.

We foresee that the powermen and women will negotiate a way out of their guilt with blackmail and other tools in their arsenal. What happens to the displaced Kenyans, suppressed to a PR figure of half a million? What happens to the lost time, which was not spent tending the crop and animals. What happens to their children who went to school without fees because the parents were rendered jobless and their savings destroyed. What happens to the broken families, forced to separate from their loved ones simply because they had dared experiment with cross-cultural, inter-tribal marriages?

If this reconciliation is to make sense to the mourning homes and agonising villages, amnesty must be sought for all the incarcerated youth and women. They must be set free and let to reunite with their families. There is simply no justification why Saitoti should contemplate judging anybody when he himself is tainted and guilty. The police lack the moral authority to prosecute crime, they are criminals, worse than the arsonists. Martha Karua's courts cannot proffer charges against convicts because the CJ presided over an illegality by participating and presiding over a twilight swearing-in of bandits. A criminal like the CJ cannot prosecute and judge other alleged criminals. There ought to be no two standards to the law. It must apply ruthlessly and without prejudice to the law-breaker.

If we need the reconciliation to be celebrated by all Kenyans, address the land question now. We have published a borrowed expose here on how Kibaki, Moi and other operatives own Kenya. This must be reversed. A productive country is measured on how well it utilizes her natural resources. Moi's and Kibaki's land acquisition, together with those of the Kenyatta families provided this country with breeding grounds for pests and snakes. They are under-utilized by people whose only land is actually a 3-by-6, their graves. Why do they need land the size of Nyanza province when they cannot take it anywhere? If they got it through the right channels it may be another story. But these people used their exalted positions to benefit from the state largesse. This must be reversed and there is no better time to do that than now.

The villager who is nursing gunshot wounds, the family whose father was felled by a gunshot, the woman who was raped by goons, and the elder who was forcefully circumcised and infected with HIV must be included in the reconciliation. There must be recompense for the maimed, the imprisoned, the dead and the prime beneficiaries of the peace deal. If Kenyans had accepted the heist and said live and let live, the world was not going to bother. The truth be told. It is only after the world witnessed the bestial way in which goons were chasing and cornering harmless Kenyans that they were jerked to a catastrophe in the making. Only when the police were got on camera dousing homes and mowing down armless youth did the world wake up to a Kenya that was sinking to the abyss. Kofi Annan did not come to Kenya because he liked what the peoples' president Raila was saying. Certainly it is not what Disinformationsmeister Mutua was saying.

The world, from Washington to Westminster to Berlin and Paris was shocked by the level of deaths in Kenya. Those who paid the ultimate price are the ones who drove the urgency into an arrogant world that had let Rwanda sink only a decade earlier. We cannot afford to let the departed be forgotten. While we think of resettling the displaced, let us spare a moment for those who are forever displaced. While we compensate the living for their lost businesses, we ought to compensate for the death of the true heroes of our third liberation.

We must build a tablet reminder with a vow never to allow vote theft in Kenya ever again. We must honor our departed with a suitable plaque on which must be embossed their names and the reason they died:

These people died after Mr Samuel Kivuitu participated in an illegality by agreeing to issue a victory certificate to a petty election thief called Mwai Kibaki. They died to free this country from election thieves and corruption. By paying the ultimate price, they forced Kenyans to reexamine cheating in national elections, national exams and land as well as national resource allocations. They died to inspire the rewriting of a new people-friendly constitution. After their deaths, many more children were born to a safe and fair country and this country looks back at that period to draw lessons never again to let it repeated.

That is the message we would like to see embossed on all the plaques in the country declaring the travesty of 2007 a turning point and a governance watershed in Kenya.

This message must live for generations, in each of the burnt-out business, church, home and street. Kenyans must use this as a repugnant reminder never to let it happen again.

Reconciliation must trickle down to the homestead, for when the trauma of a lost son and a miscarried foetus is overcome shall we join and sing together the beautiful words of our national anthem. Before that is done, the tune and the words are irritating noise and a nuisance to Kenyans.

Kenya must move forward, but we must not forget to immortalise the travesty that was committed in December 2007. By keeping the memory alive, we will be spurred to avoid a repeat of those scenes of butchery that we witnessed. Kenya must never allow cowards like Kivuitu to claim to burn and die with us for we know for sure that he is unshaken by the consequence of his cowardize and betrayal. Nor should we ever condone the impunity of power barons.