Today I was shocked and appalled to see that Pambazuka News included an article by Oloo Onyango lambasting the “Save Our Country” campaign fronted by the country’s major media houses.
I offer that Kenya’s media has learnt lessons from the Rwandan genocide and has chosen an admirable path to advocate for the needs of the common citizen, needs that the politicians and their hard-line supporters such as Mr. Onyango have been unwilling to consider.
While the prominent face of the ongoing Peace Campaign has been the media houses (understandably), poor Kenyans from all ethnic groups are the major stakeholders of this growing campaign. It is these poor Kenyans that Mr. Onyango is now betraying by calling for further violence.
I am willing to bet that Mr. Onyango wrote his essay from the comfort of an up-market suburb in the City. He does not make his home, or earn his daily bread in any one of the slums that have been looted and burnt beyond recognition and is now patrolled by youth wielding clubs tipped by protruding rusty nails.
Even as Mr. Onyango is belittling the peace campaign his wife and daughter are not among the scores of both Kikuyu and Luo women who have been gang raped in the midst of the ongoing violence. He is not kept awake by the eerie chorus of the screams of hundreds of slum dwellers punctuated by gunshots. Mungiki and the Taliban are not knocking down his door to sodomize him and his son.
The progressive left needs to be very careful how it recycles its slogans. For example, Mr. Onyango is keen to use the slogan “No Justice No Peace”. Yes, Justice has been denied to all Kenyans in a rigged election, but Mr. Onyango and his ilk have to admit that the only people with no peace in Kenya are the poor. The wealthy and well off and continue peacefully shopping at Westgate, Prestige, Karen and other wealthy watering holes. Why is it that poor Kenyans should suffer ‘No Peace’ while both the pentagon members and the PNU hardliners continue to travel in their massive SUV’s and take refuge at five star hotels at the slightest bit of teargas in the air?
If he will not be part of the solution, Mr. Onyango needs to step out of the way and stop being part of the hard-line problem. Surely, is the ongoing rape, forced circumcisions and burning of people alive in churches the “No Peace” that he is advocating? In what way is this kind of violence progressive?
How does working to end the terror unleashed on Kenya’s poor lock them out of the democratic process? What is the violence accomplishing for Kenya’s democracy?