I needed to out this up quick which is why I’m doing this on a day I already have on post up but I feel the longer I wait the less relevant what I have to say becomes. Also I’m not a political scientist or any sort of expert on revolutions and such matters, these are just my thoughts.
Recently, ever since the Tunisia and then Egypt protests and revolts there’s been a lot of chatter on my time-line(Twitter) about whether such a thing can be repeated in Kenya. Today there was even talk of one on 28th February. I don’t know where this one came from but there were a lot of tweets tagged with it in the morning.
I kind of found this laughable because I knew it could never happen, not yet anyway. Why? Well that’s why I’m writing this to explain why I know it could never happen.
We don’t have the balls. We’re way too comfortable to have a citizen-led revolution. We’re too scared to do what it takes. The post-election violence that happened in 2008 has put in us a health fear of such “revolution”. Even today, when the #feb28 tweets were flying around tweets going around begging for calm, that there were more peaceful means to change the piteous state our country’s in. Someone mentioned the new constitutional implementation as a way to change things.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pro-peace but what I need my fellow Kenyan’s to realise is that for change to come, a revolution to take place you have to be ready to make sacrifices, I’m not talking about money but lives. Yes, I’m saying that for change to happen in a revolutionary manner we must be ready to die. Until that day we’re ready to lay down our lives to see change we’ll have to be content with the manner that reforms are being implemented in our country, snail’s-pace and probably a couple of generations out.
I’m not saying that the revolution must necessarily be violent but I am saying that we must be ready to die for it. I say this because the system we’d want to change, the corruption and impunity will not want to change. The people who back it will not want to change, they will fight back and do so violently. We all saw it during the post election violence. They have the power and means to hire and entice people to kill and intimidate anyone who tries to change the system that has given them vast amounts of wealth and power. Case and point the Ocampo six.
These guys have managed simultaneously make their prosecution and tribal and political debate and coerce the government to somehow consider their defence one of national pride and honour, hence pay for it, simply because they’re part of the government. I mean are you fucking serious? Crime cannot be protected simply because it’s committed by the government or members of it.
Also for this country to undergo a revolution the middle class needs to take part in it. We won’t. We’re too selfish. We all only ever think about ourselves and/or our families. Think about it. Sure we’ll complain about the corruption, the sorry state of our judicial systems and poor infrastructure but when it comes down to it we all manage to living with them, quite comfortably I can add. We’re not ready to lose that comfort. I think this still goes back to what I said before.
I’ll leave you all with this short story from the post election violence period:
Kibaki had just been declared president and sworn-in in increase darkness. We saw on TV that Kibera was rioting. Looking out the window you could just make out the smoke in the distance( we stay liked 20 mins walk from Kibera in those days).
Later that night there was talk that Raila had called a rally at Uhuru park, that he was going to swear himself in. My aunt and mum made plans to go. They weren’t going to stand for their election being stolen.
Morning came. They woke up syked, charged. They dress in jeans, t-shirts and running shoes. There was talk of “If there’s no transport, we’ll walk. Even if the police come there we’re prepared to stand our ground.
They left the house and out of our court. I immediately put on the TV to find out what the situation around Uhuru Park was. A ring of police and GSU all round the place, armed to the teeth.
3minutes later the door opens and there are my aunt and mum. Apparently the GSU(General Service Unit, special police unit used in special situation mostly riot control) men had chosen outside of gate to deploy to stop protesters who were trying to make it to Uhuru park on foot and they had been told to return to house immediately. I laughed my head off!
I fear this is what will happen if we ever tried for a revolution, we turn back scared at the very first opposition we meet. I’d like to point out that both relations in Egypt and Tunisia started with death. Also in Egypt, when they had gathered together in Tahrir square they stayed there besides the police harassing and wounding and killing them and today apparently there been pro Mubarak supporters causing havoc and death. That’s all I have to say. As always peace!!!!
PS: I read an interesting post on revolution on Diasporadical today by misternv. I suggest you go check it out. Again peace!!