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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Monsters Under The House


At the end of my first term in high school, I watched a screening of Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist, the tale of an ordinary family unknowingly living in a house built over a graveyard without the bother of moving the bodies. Of course, this does not go down well with the spirits of the dead, who make their displeasure known by slowly torturing the family into madness. In one of the scenes, a man stares in horror at a mirror as fingers tear away at his reflection’s decomposing face till it falls into the bathroom sink. Needless to say, I have never looked at bathroom mirrors in quite the same way since.

Last week, it was Kenya’s turn to look into the mirror. Elections provide opportunities for national self-examination and renewal, for the country to take a long, hard look at itself, assess it achievements, reorient its priorities. However, like I have done too many times since I watched that movie, we chose to turn away, afraid of what we might see.

Fear can make people do strange things.

We had already normalized the abnormal, making it seem perfectly acceptable to have two ICC-indicted politicians on the ballot. At the first presidential debate, moderator Linus Kaikai had been more concerned with how Uhuru Kenyatta would “govern if elected president and at the same time attend trial as a crimes against humanity subject” and not whether he should be running at all. Any suggestion of consequences for Uhuru’s and William Ruto’s candidature had been rebuffed with allegations of neo-colonialism, interference and an implied racism. People who had spent their adult lives fighting for Kenyans’ justice and human rights were vilified as stooges for the imperialistic West for suggesting that the duo should first clear their names before running for the highest office in the land.

As the elections approached we were assailed with unceasing calls for peace and appeals to a nationalism we knew to be to all too elusive. We voted and celebrated our patience and patriotism, brandishing purple fingers as medals for enduring the long queues. And we heaved a collective sigh of relief when it was all over. We afterwards wore our devotion to Kenya on our sleeves and on our Facebook pages and Twitter icons even as we were presented with the evidence of our parochial and tribal voting patterns which fulfilled Mutahi Ngunyi’s now prophetic Tyranny of Numbers.

By now, a compact had developed between the media and the public. Kenya would have a peaceful and credible poll no matter what. The narrative would be propagated by a few privileged voices and it would countenance no challenge. The media would sooth our dangerous passions with 24-hour entertainment shows masquerading as election coverage. We would laugh the uncomfortable laughs, and plead and pray that politicians would not awaken the monster we recognised in each other. Let sleeping ogres lie, seemed to be the national motto. Meanwhile, those who could stocked up on canned food and filled up the fridges and stayed away from work. As food prices quadrupled we desperately clung to the belief that all would be well if we kept our end of the bargain and didn’t ask uncomfortable questions.

When nearly all the measures the IEBC deployed to ensure transparency during the election failed, this was not allowed to intrude into the reverie. Instead the media continued to put on a show and we applauded them for it. Uncomfortable moments were photoshopped out of the familial picture. Foreign correspondents who dared to question our commitment to peace were publicly humiliated and had their integrity impugned. I played my part in this. When the New York Times dared to suggest that if Raila Odinga contested the outcome “many fear [it] could lead to the...violence that erupted in 2007,” it didn't take long for the reactions to come. “Foreign press haven’t given up [on the possibility of violence],” I tweeted. Others quickly joined in, some suggesting that the writer was stuck in 2007.

However, if we are honest, it is us who were stuck in the narratives born of the last five years. It was not, as suggested by the NYT in a later piece, a renewed self confidence that drove us. Quite the opposite. It was a fear, a terror, a recognition that we were not as mature as we were claiming to be; that underneath our veneer of civility lay an unspeakable horror just waiting to break out and devour our children. We were afraid to look into the mirror lest our face fall in the sink.

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. In this case the war was internal, hidden from all prying eyes. Who cares about the veracity of the poll result? So what if not all votes were counted? We had peace. “The peace lobotomy,” one tweet called it. “Disconnect brain, don't ask questions, don't criticize. Just nod quietly.”

Yet we should care. Our terror and the frantic attempts to mask it were a terrible indictment. As another tweet put it, it “reveals how hollow the transformation wrought by the new constitution.” Instead of being a moment for national introspection, the election had become something to be endured. The IEBC was expected to provide a quick fix to help us through it but was never meant to expose the deeper malady of fear, violence and mistrust which we have spent five years trying to paper over with our constitutions and coalitions and MoUs and codes of conduct. The fact is we do not believe the words in those documents, the narratives inscribed on paper but not in our hearts.  And this is why we do not care whether an election springing from them documents is itself a credible exercise.

What maturity is this that trembles at the first sign of disagreement or challenge? What peace lives in the perpetual shadow of a self-annihilating violence?

Cowards die many times before their deaths and we have been granted a new lease of life. However, if we carry on as we have done over the last five years, if we continue to lack the courage to exhume the bodies and clean out the foundations of our nationhood, we shouldn’t be surprised if in 2017 we are still terrified of the monsters under the house.

73 comments:

Asterix said...

I really do not like commenting on political issues neither blogging on that.Lakini, I.would have sworn I wrote this. The other ogre is on anointing and foreskins. Ditto

Anonymous said...

Nice honest piece, but i guess our immaturity would not allow us to dig up the bodies under the house without causing ourselves massive injuries not to mention ending up buried in the same pits...the legal system will stand the test, it will dig up the bodies and dispose of them in the right manner, or now lets have a piece of peace as we await the digging up...

Anonymous said...

im constantly being reminded about the Noam chomsky 's Manufacturing consent.

Eunice Kilonzo said...

Just how I would have said it. As the swahili saying goes: Zimwi likujualo halikukuli likakumaliza...we have a monster that we cover up, it feeds and grows on us...again true, in war...truth is the first out of the window...

Anonymous said...

We choose war criminals at the end it was peace that won

Anonymous said...

When we hid the skeletons and put in this fear into ourselves by taking these guys to the hague alone and especially for taking guys like Muthaura who should in all honesty not have been there. The focus we have placed in the four accused with the full knowledge that the bigger ogres still live among us and still hold positions of influence scare us the most.

Anonymous said...

Am not one to comment on personal blogs but I feel some sincerity in your exploration of the 'Kenyan Soul...' I want to address the issue of the ICC, and I realize am a contrarian on this. The genesis of the problem is deeply rooted in the land question; from the colonial period, and then made worse by post-independence decisions. The ICC does not help us address that issue in anyway. Indeed just like you talk of the elections it is a quick fix solution. If you have a taste for history, you would know that in one cold winter after the World War 1, a treaty was hushed up that severely punished Germany, to ensure that they "never again" visited on the world such a catastrophe again. We now know the seeds of the 2nd world war had been planted in that treaty. I realize the victims need justice and we should be clever enough to enable them get it, in a way that conclusively resolves this challenge. For me, the image on Kenya at having its indicted president and deputy, and cosmetic and bourgeoisie. The real mortar and brick issues have to do with addressing the poverty dynamics in our society and the structures that enhance it.

Resson Kantai said...

Best article I've read so far. Speaks the words of my forced silence. Sharing widely.

Anonymous said...

Very intelligently written..i identify myself with international community on some of the issues.being a diasporian gives me the chance to look at kenya in a very different perspective but whatcha say...nothing...just optimism

Anonymous said...

well written ... someone once said an election where you dont have to rigg is not worth running for. in kenya, we have seen that a sizable number of votes, a good amount of money and a fear factor is the perfect mix for winning unchallenged..

Anonymous said...

As said before elections are not decided by the voters but those talling and counting the cast votes.This has surely humbled many. The press turned to peace preaching and hopefully will come back to their core business and scrutinize the Elect team to perform and equally scrutinize the allegations from the loosing team.No fear or worry for 2017 if this two are in check. MI

Anonymous said...

Gathara, a thorough piece of brutally honest writing. I agree with every single bit of your article.

Anonymous said...

You have the greatest foreskin you fearful who was only circumcised after thorough assurances. we faced the real knife and am for Raila. we ni Omusinde (Kihii). come for the real Ekileng (Knife)....and talk to real MEN

Anonymous said...

Totally agree....we basically smashed every mirror that attempted to reflect what we did not like....and went ahead and preached 'peace', i guess to help ourselves sleep at night.
Personally, i have decided to deal wih my 'demons' the best way i know how. I am more aware of my tribe now, more than i was, before the elections. This is a big problem...considering the number of people around me going thru the same predicament...We need to face the facts and stop running and burying them...

Anonymous said...

As Kenyans, we have perfected the art of not dealing with the fundamental concerns but rather glossing over them or assigning the responsibility of making hard decisions to another. For example, the High Court when confronted with the question of whether Uhuru/Ruto qualified to contest for the Presidency chose to avoid dealing with the issue on ground that it had no jurisdiction. It should have considered the matter on its merits and either uphold the petition or dismiss it; those dissatisfied with the decision always have recourse to appeal. Similar shirking of responsibility was demonstrated when the High Court was confronted with the question of tallying that seemed to indicated the possibility of irregularities; the court was not being asked to adjudicate an election petition but rather to rule on the validity of the exercise and if indeed there was merit, halt the exercise altogether. It is rather sad that we have chosen to sacrifice truth at the altar of convenience and we usually treat those who shout the loudest as being right. This sad state of affairs is more obvious on the debate on ICC and neo-colonialism; as a community of nations, we are under an obligation to fulfill our commitments to the international community; importantly, if we respect the constitution as much as we claim to, then we must live the national values contained therein and measure our leaders against the provisions of chapter six of the same constitution. Our collective failure to make difficult decisions is itself unconstitutional and clear demonstration of how we pussy-foot around matters that are of grave concern to us, so that we do not upset our neighbors. Great nations were never built by not making difficult decisions; if anything, great leaders are those who rise to the occasion, and bite the bullet, political consequences notwithstanding

Anonymous said...

We are all going to close our eyes, pretend Raila and Kibaki are not as guilty (or innocent) as Uhuruto. Then we will write blogs and send tweets condemning those who voted for Uhuruto, not because they did not vote for Dida and the other six losers, but because they did not vote for Raila.

We are so smart.

Anonymous said...

Great piece, captured my sentiments. Truth trumps all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon 2.08 for pointing out the one fact of the case that seems to slip the mind of those against Uhuru and Ruto. The only reason they are the two who were put on trial is because there is fear Raila's indictment would have elicited chaos from Kibra and Nyamira. Otherwise, none of the three are innocent of the chaos of 2007; especially Raila.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your article. We as Kenyans allowed ourselves to be inundated by messages of peace instead of practicality. Every candidate who ran in this election and has been in government in one form of the other, without a positive track record, and with criminal record to their name ICC or elsewhere, should not have even considered running. But they did because we allowed it. Now we have a President who will cooperate with the ICC, whatever that means. Yes, we are too scared to upset the delicate balance for fear of losing our comforts. We are a great nation; full of ostriches who bury our heads in the sand waiting for someone else to bring democracy.

Anonymous said...

Agreed 100%. Raila and Kibaki should be at the top of the list. I hate the fact that people are ignoring this issue. Proud to be Kenyan but we are cowards and sheepwhich is why our leaders get away with murder...literally.

Anonymous said...

This is well written and a true reflection of the reality. However for some perspective, we should also take a moment to look outside of ourselves and compare with other African countries that have gone through much worse. Having lived in South Africa for several years, I can see that they are a society still recovering from the effects of apartheid-erased almost 20 years ago now. Racial divisions are evident to this day. Or if we look at Rwanda, who went through hell on earth in the space of 100 days - it cannot even begin to be described and I won't try. They are still recovering to this day also, and they are ruled by an iron thumb. Today you can be imprisoned for littering in Rwanda. So you see, every nation that goes through a major trauma, cannot expect that all will be well soon. In fact, our habit of hiding the monster under the stairs, denial and cover-up, will probably ensure that we need at least another decade or so to try and right the wrongs. But the wonderful thing is, we are trying. Individually, community, corporately, there are Kenyans working towards these solutions. It gives me hope that, independent of our leaders, we are still human beings and we can show compassion and solidarity, independently of how our leaders act. They were not the ones who brought our country back together in 07. The media played a massive role in that; and at some point, Kenyans themselves said enough. So.I feel that what we are currently going through is natural. No we are not healed, and no, there is no shame in that. But the fact that so many of us are aware of this encourages me that we will eventually look forward with the full maturity and unity that we aspire to.

Anonymous said...

The problem is......like a mentally unstable person who refuses to go for therapy....lest they discover the true nature of their affliction......we, as you have mentioned, are afraid of our own 'reactions' to things we don't like. It would seem, to me, that the only 'cure' for this is to confront our 'monster' by letting it truly run it's course until we no longer, like Rwanda, see the point or sense in it!! The more we turn away from it....the bigger it grows.......something has GOT to give eventually.

jimkeya said...

Gathara thank you very much for an outstanding write up on the collective fear that we Kenyans have shown these past few days, prior to and after the general elections. To me your article reminds us that we despised any censure of the media, any critics of the IEBC, any censure of the matters pending in agenda IV─although the President elect used agenda as one of his driving chants.

But let me help those who did not understand the import of your article by quoting the part which I believe summarizes the significance…

“It was a fear, a terror, a recognition that we were not as mature as we were claiming to be; that underneath our veneer of civility lay an unspeakable horror just waiting to break out and devour our children. We were afraid to look into the mirror lest our face fall in the sink.
It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. In this case the war was internal, hidden from all prying eyes. Who cares about the veracity of the poll result? So what if not all votes were counted? We had peace. “The peace lobotomy,” one tweet called it. “Disconnect brain, don't ask questions, don't criticize. Just nod quietly….Yet we should care. Our terror and the frantic attempts to mask it were a terrible indictment”

If not I will have to recommend some people go back to school and re learn English comprehension…

Ciao

Anonymous said...

Gathara thank you very much for an outstanding write up on the collective fear that we Kenyans have shown these past few days, prior to and after the general elections. To me your article reminds us that we despised any censure of the media, any critics of the IEBC, any censure of the matters pending in agenda IV─although the President elect used agenda as one of his driving chants.

But let me help those who did not understand the import of your article by quoting the part which I believe summarizes the significance…

“It was a fear, a terror, a recognition that we were not as mature as we were claiming to be; that underneath our veneer of civility lay an unspeakable horror just waiting to break out and devour our children. We were afraid to look into the mirror lest our face fall in the sink.
It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. In this case the war was internal, hidden from all prying eyes. Who cares about the veracity of the poll result? So what if not all votes were counted? We had peace. “The peace lobotomy,” one tweet called it. “Disconnect brain, don't ask questions, don't criticize. Just nod quietly….Yet we should care. Our terror and the frantic attempts to mask it were a terrible indictment”

If not I will have to recommend some people go back to school and re learn English comprehension…

Ciao

Anonymous said...

Gathara thank you very much for an outstanding write up on the collective fear that we Kenyans have shown these past few days, prior to and after the general elections. To me your article reminds us that we despised any censure of the media, any critics of the IEBC, any censure of the matters pending in agenda IV─although the President elect used agenda as one of his driving chants.

But let me help those who did not understand the import of your article by quoting the part which I believe summarizes the significance…

“It was a fear, a terror, a recognition that we were not as mature as we were claiming to be; that underneath our veneer of civility lay an unspeakable horror just waiting to break out and devour our children. We were afraid to look into the mirror lest our face fall in the sink.
It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. In this case the war was internal, hidden from all prying eyes. Who cares about the veracity of the poll result? So what if not all votes were counted? We had peace. “The peace lobotomy,” one tweet called it. “Disconnect brain, don't ask questions, don't criticize. Just nod quietly….Yet we should care. Our terror and the frantic attempts to mask it were a terrible indictment”

If not I will have to recommend some people go back to school and re learn English comprehension…

Ciao

Marie said...

I completely agree. As a foreign journalist living in Kenya since several years, I watched in disbelief how local media opted to refrain from ANY criticism when everything was going very wrong.When the electronic transmission system collapsed. When the rejected votes were inflating and then deflating. When the observers could not observe anything as they were excluded from the tallying room. When the totals didn't match. When the votes cast were superior to the number of registered voters. This election raises many questions and I am very happy that you Kenyans are asking them. Well done for overcoming your understandable fears !

savvy said...

We should not mistake silence for peace.

Anonymous said...

It cant be said better and yet still if all the hope is pegged on the judiciary at the moment, incase the judiciary doesn't deliver what stops us in 2017 from going to war this peace litanny will definately not hold it is just a calm before a storm!

Adrian Zag said...

Many points here are well made - but Kenyans need to start giving themselves a break.

2007/8 was a seismic event in our history, which affected us all, to a lesser, or if we were unlucky, greater, extent.

This election was always going to be about getting over the last one, about getting past this hurdle without re-opening the sores that still remain.
And if that means bending over backwards to keep the peace - I, for one, say WONDERFUL. Not one person has yet lost his or her life as a direct result of this last election (Changamwe is an MRC issue) and I thank God for that.

Sometimes in life we need to redress the balance, to over-extend, before some equilibrium returns.

Yes, so far we have glossed over IEBC's woeful performance. Yes, the media became a tame bunny for this last week - and yes, sadly, we are more aware of our tribes than ever before.

But these things will correct themselves in time. If this last election was about getting over 2007/8, it is 2017 that will see us truly mature as a democracy - and that is because we have survived 2013's test.

By keeping the peace.

Great times are ahead. Have confidence and faith.

Agatha said...

Brilliance, shear brilliance ! We are a ticking time bomb, nodding and pretending that its all going to be all right if we don't talk about it. We want to ignore the repeated disenfranchisement of the western brothers, and assume they will always just sit pretty and accept there place in society. I love love loved this, it said everything I have been thinking.

Anonymous said...

Just incase you missed it, F Muthaura has been acquited.

Anonymous said...

And yet the economy and jobs collapsed in the last 5 years. Could this a be factor in voting? And could the "40 against 2" campaign was just as important as "you the voter are under siege" in explaining the 'tribal' voting patterns? http://gathara.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-monsters-under-house.html?m=1

Denis said...

Gathara, you deserve major kudos for bringing to the fore what many have thought and felt over a week amidst the chaos.

But like Adrian Zag who just commented, I really believe that optimism is CRUCIAL for our healing. We need to appreciate and take stock of *trajectory* than taking a snapshot of how we have dealt with the overall tribalism/land monster in this election. As inauthentic as the "peace" may have been, it still trumps bloodletting and hate running loose on our dear nation. Anyday.

I also believe peace, like love, is a fruit of the spirit - it is not a "feeling" - it comes forth from action, from focus, from choice. It is not a binary state of being. It evolves as a consequence of choices and actions. I sense for media, this election was a clear choice and action - no more bloodletting, whatever the cost. On the part of the citizenry however - I agree that fear may have gotten the most of us. The result of this is not peace, but a deferred problem.

This was not yet the election for full healing. It was the election for validating structure and environment for healing (iiec,constitution, iebc, judiciary, police, land commission).

No one is saying don't ask questions about the process - but there is TIME to ask questions. Again, back to trajectory - in contrast to 2007/8 - the IEBC pulled off a herculean task, did it humbly, taking full responsibility of success and failures, only wanting to finish off the job.

Elections will never satisfy everyone as fully fair, free, open and democratic. They involve human beings. Who make mistakes and have agendas. They key is to have a robust mechanism to examine those mistakes, after the job is done. This is not the medias job. This is not your job as a spectator. This is the judiciary's. Lets respect that and be glad that again, relative to 2007/8, we are in a better place.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. We"western journalists" do not wish ill for Kenya, contrary to last week's narrative.
Most of us do our jobs because we actually want things to be better and we want to hold government (and sometimes individuals) accountable for jeopardizing peace and stability. There were indeed many poor examples of journalism during this vote (as there are during many big news events) but there were some honest, raw truths exposed as well -- and those reporters were personally attacked for daring to address them, despite it being actual Kenyans who provided the quotes and information that supported the analysis then put into print.

We outsiders do have responsibilities here too, both historical and to ensure peace on the ground in the places we now work in... and many of us have acknowledged so. But accepting one's own internal truths is the first step to true stability and progress for a country clearly facing ongoing concerns.

And by the way, last week's frenzy was further enabled by the pile-on of western academics who revel in undermining journalists for their own name recognition; it is sad that many #KOTs did not see through what I would call a more blatant manipulation than the journalists supposedly undertook.

Anonymous said...

Kenya just took a leap back 30 years in time! If this presidency as declared by the IEBC stands till the swearing in, not only will we have thrown our new constitution in the dustbin, we will also have erased the gains of democracy and numerous basic freedoms many before us fought and died for. So this will be Kenya in its true colours. Where one individual of questionable competence and character but with a lot of money can win the favour of about 25% of Kenyans mostly from his tribe, then BUY the media and the IEBC and the security forces to control all the rest and elect himself president at a cost of 90billion shillings. What fools we are to have stood long hours in lines in a digital age when vote counts can be created and made to disappear by computer technology! Next time we can do better, and go back to our jobs peacefully even before stopping to go vote or wait for tallying. Why waste a day or two if you can throw away half a century? The constitution bars this candidate (and majority of the other 6) from running, and all social reforms and empowerment to the people that it would have brought would go against his personal comfort and that of his family. How can Kenya propose to equitably distribute the resources that must belong to him and his family only? On whose land are we planning to devolve government and create development projects? He must have his way with everyone. Enjoy it. Sit back, be peaceful and endure the next 50 years as best as you can. And don't forget to teach your grandchildren to worship money that they are not entitled to and will never have, and therefore sell their soul to their devil for posters, t-shirts and red caps. Wajinga waliuwawa. Our chance at real change was so close yet so far. True to the tv education clips with a touch of humour, we have chosen to live in slums in human waste for the next 50 yrs so that a select few who held key offices that delivered can ride in brand new cars. This has truly been spectacular! The media and journalists from the West should retreat yes, and instead send in their hollywood teams for this blockbuster comedy, title: REDYKYULASS!

Anonymous said...

Most of the people commenting here are just bitter that Raila didn't win.He orchestrated the ICC case thinking he would get a smooth ride to State House.Guess what?The Hague didn't vote.Predicting doom just cause Uhuruto won is futile.I know beyond reasonable doubt that our economy will thrive; I am so glad that my country won't turn into another Kibera because of fanatical cult following of a leader who is portrayed like a lamb without blemish by his fanatics while we know his closet is full of skeletons that are greater than the ICC indictment

Anonymous said...

Thanks for raising this issue. Truth be said, the people of Kenya are only silent and if the perceived skeletons which are hidden in the closets are not brought out in the open and aired then I can only see a bleak future. Kenya is sitting on a time bomb and the sooner we realize that the better. One thing I have noticed since the presidential results were announced is that there are a lot of people who have accepted the results with silence only because they were threatened into it by the presence of GSU officers at their door steps the day the results were announced. Call it a botched democracy!

Anonymous said...

Great article Gathara!!! Thank you brother for your love!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you lived in kenya for many year? Incase you did not notice it the last time the media took sides. They did what they did to ensure calm was maintained.Do you think kenyans are stupid and did not know what was going on? I am happy the media acted the way they did i value peace more than anything. If you have not a relative to post election violence you would not know the trauma.

Anonymous said...

I am humbled.

Anonymous said...

we haven't trembled at the first thought of disagreement/challenge as you put it...we encouraged the aggrieved party to use the judicial system to find justice. I think our maturity as Kenyans is genuine and we have grown from the ethnic hatred we displayed 2007. You are just like the foreign journalists who thrive and are inspired to write only when there is chaos. We had a rather peaceful election in most areas unlike in 2007.

Asterix said...

Anonymous 11:35 completely missed my point. What I was alluding to is our idiosyncrasies when it comes to voting based on foreskin or lack thereof. The irrational become rational and abnormal is normalised. We collapse courage, character and all those admirable virtues into something as banal as foreskin.
What we term as peaceful election is only so because we had FFU guys stationed in most corners. Militarization of our elections has become a necessity - quotidian as the wachi in the estate.

babaamor said...

Very well said, Sir(?) I am glad many Kenyans are seeing through this superficial 'peace' campaigns. We want true peace, after our concerns have actually been addressed, not glossed over.

Anonymous said...

A powerful piece which I am sure resonates with the many silenced Kenyans, who are invisibly duck taped to a silence not because we or they don't want to scream, but because we advocated peace, we didn't want the international media to win, so we are silenced by our poor choices, our lack of logic and our inability to subjectively analyze just how we came to our choices enough to reason with them. I do believe many of us want to scream yet dare not to because the outsiders will win. Great piece, I love your depictions, the connection between the reality of the day and horror thrilling fiction.

Anonymous said...

I am sad for you my friend...to take this stance in response to above article is to miss the point by a whole continent. Broaden your mind to issues beyond the candidates and you will get at least a glimpse of the underlying issues the piece is pointing at.

Anonymous said...

comment at 11.59 directed at anonymous 2.08am.

Anonymous said...

One hell of a good read! WOW!
It's a classic Kenyan scenario of convenient truth vs uncomfortable truths. Many might take offence with the fact that as a patriotic Kenyan I choose not to vote;a difficult choice based solely on our society's moral decadence since the election was going to be determined by tribal arithmetic. So I didn't have a purple medal to flaunt to the chagrin of my immediate 'brothers'.

I love your citation of 'peace must prevail no matter what' I also look at the 'ICC elephant' as a necessary evil we must endure as I deeply believe it did save lives and lots of lives at that.As the 2 antagonists in this 'movie' treaded carefully so as not to 'upset' the BigBrother who was keenly watching.
The big question is what happens in 2017/18 when the 'bromance' being exhibited by the winning pair has fizzled out and ICC isnt an elephant anymore but a rat in the room.

Anonymous said...

Well said Gathara. However, a slightly different perspective is perhaps in order .. and I draw a parallel from the medical world. When a patient is visited with severe trauma it is often necessary for a significant sacrifice (say the amputation of a limb)to save the entire being. In much the same way, Kenya has never recovered from 2007, and the silent fear that we all harbour is a recurrence of the madness that manifested back then .. all the causative factors are still very much alive and well! And if that means getting the media to black out the political talking heads .. then so be it. This country sorely needed this election to pass without the attendant violence that such polarised contest inevitably draws if for no other reason than to convince ourselves that we haven't been totally damned to follow the ways of wild animals.

As regards the perceived election anomalies, I personally think it is a very familiar case of politicians crying 'wolf' when the game doesn't go their way. Yes the process left a lot to be desired .. but I commend the IEBC for refusing to be bullied a'la Kivuitu. Certain camps tried .. and came up against a brick wall. It is my contention that if they were allowed to pursue the course of shouting in the Bomas hall, in full view of the media machinery conveying their shenanigans to their supporters, we'd be sitting on a whole different, infinitely less desirable outcome. Every game has rules, and perhaps our national psyche is so innured to breaking the rules that observers see this as the IEBC playing unfair! There are avenues for redress at every step of the process, a fact that the Commission repeated severally. All parties were privy to the results (and actually signed all returns from the consittuency polling stations!)and had access to an administrative forum at which they could (and hopefully did) raise any grievances. In the end analysis, there's still recourse to be found in the Courts, and that makes all result-related commentary rather irrelevant .. let it take its course and let all and sundry see exactly what the 'beef' is with the commission and its processes .. and thereafter let's judge the veracity of the claims of foul play.

Inasfar as 2017 goes, I strongly believe that this election has helped cast out some of the demons by showing Kenyans the possibility of an election that does not 'naturally' morph into our own rendition of 'The killing fields' .. oh, and also the little fact that RAO will probably not be in that race helps a fair bit. His brand of win-or-win politics will not be missed.

Levi Wataka said...

There is a lot of 'truth' in this article and in the comments attached. The kind of honest dishonesty that comes from academic types who think putting things in writing is the final solution to any problem. The fact that such articles are being read and praised around elections is sad, as it seems the writers and readers present themselves as more aware of our problems than the next guy. If indeed they were, it is simply clear that refraining from emotional blubber is wise and more importantly, starting to do something differently in our everyday life is the solution. Most article writers will then go home to a nice comfortable apartment near Sarit centre with running water, many books and a designated parking slot. Too afraid to be the beginning of change, by affecting in anyway the comfort of our own ways. We have an 'askari' to open the gate who we pay a little over ksh 5,000 a month, who we give a small christmas hamper once a year and assist with school fees sometimes as long as he does not make it a habbit to ask. Then we retreat to our houses and write an article about education, security or the standard of living. We are the problem and thankfully, we are also the solution. I hope no one replies to this and goes on to do something real right away.

Anonymous said...

Quite thoughtful and brutally honest....the Kenya election fiasco is a fraud that sends a chill down my spine but for some unknown reason I feel gagged inside and horrified at the thought of speaking up because I will be branded a war monger. I am trembling with anger and I think at some point I will explode!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a very sober post, no one should be condemned for speaking their mind. As much as you may want to come across as doer, your input is more priggish than those you highlight above. It is reading widely that makes people question the fundamental faults mentioned in the post.

Moss said...

True! True! We can't keep playing the game the same way and expect different results..

Anonymous said...

agreed

Anonymous said...

Well said Gathara, I watched in disbelief as one presenter went on and on about how Kenyans were voting on issues when the numbers at the bottom of the screen told a different story. I don't know how many times I had heard the phrase " I am more aware of my tribe" this week.
There is a volcano rumbling beneath the "peace" surface; it may not erupt any time soon - it may actually dissipate into the depths of the earth's belly - only if the zombies snap out of it and give the disappointed masses (the 49%) an outlet....

Anonymous said...

I am yet to read such a well blog post. Gathara I pay God's blessing on that which He has given you.

David Indeje said...

True, Kenyans hate the truth always, we live in fear of the outcome that will be known even when we have not tried. good example, when you are caught by a police officer, whether on the wrong or right, the first thing one does is inquire how much the police would want rather than asking why you are being arrested or agree to go to court to know the out come. We do that then we live with fear always hidden within us. A voice that needs liberation.

lightwaxx said...

_i haven't bothered to read the other comments, but you're spot on. we're quite clean outside but deep inside nothing has changed. we hate the truth . we're still stuck in the past, tribal, loving our own and don't want to her the truth. as you said it, 'the abnormal has become normal'. soon we'll stand in the mirror and our faces will fall to the sink. actually peace never won, for peace is only found after justice is served. amani haipatikani ila kwa ncha ya upanga

Anonymous said...

Was the death of 1300 worth the journalistic liberties?

Why should our children's blood be spilled fighting for rigged elections? Maturity you speak of takes time. Just as industrialization has not happened in the last 50 years.. Always choose life

Anonymous said...

while this is beautifully written, a Kenyan 'Arab spring' will take more than well worded articles and tweets. Just like the media, we sit, watch, read-passively- until the next broadcast or blog post. point is..ok, now what?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:54 PM. Your comment - this individual was elected by 25% of Kenyans mostly from his tribe with a lot of money to buy the media and IBEC and security forces - Is this supported by facts or just the ranting of a sore loser? The elections were conducted fairly and if that's not the case, then the courts will sort it out. Just don't go ranting because its the in-thing to do.By the way I also voted and I know which way it went.

Anonymous said...

I find your article a tad untrue.

Let me clarify that i am a Kenyan living in Kenya and in a stronghold opposite to my ethnic background (i feel have to clarify this in line with your article)

The media houses did a peace campaign which i found fitting, necessary and helpful. Results were announced, dissatisfied parties have gone to court.

You say we are hiding ghosts, i disagree. We may not have reached the true peace index we want but you know what? There is a place for forgiveness and moving on. Listening to conversation from both TNA & CORD sides by ordinary mwananchi, the office workers, the watchmen, the mama mboga, the feeling is that we voted, someone won, someone lost. Live with the results and continue building the nation.
MOst of these articles are done by people behind computers and largely drawing from the Twitterati and Facebook users. I challenge you to speak to your house help, your watchman, people in offices, supermarkets. And hear them.
Do not mislead people.

Ray Makau said...

I could have sworn you took the words out of my mouth. I know that the foreign press was anxious about how we would conduct ourselves. But isn't it strange that the only writer who questioned the IEBC's readiness was a Caucasian columnist at The Star. Anyone who dared suggest the notorious multiplication of spoiled votes and technological transmission failures amounted to a total mess was deemed 'alarmist'. Even as we exchange comments, if one openly suggests CORD may win the petition for a re-run, you'll be termed alarmist. I had faith in the IEBC, they did a wonderful job (as IIEC) in the referendum. But this was a mess and everyone knows it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! As a journalist, I feel purged by this piece... As people have been saying that leaders are chosen by God, I've been thinking we journalists are going to hell... for withholding the truth is the same as lying. God knows we've done a lot of that in that past few months leading to the elections and after the elections... Maybe one day we'll have the guts to go beyond agreements by our bosses to 'preach peace' the work of laymen and do our jobs... inform people. For what we forget is that the previous post election violence, however we look at it was majorly organized. The reaction to the elections was ridding on what was already happening in Rift Valley. Ask the IDPs and I spent quite some time with them... many were evicted from their homes way before the results were announced... many were threatened way before the elections period. We are not brave for we fear for our daily bread. And being called alarmists. You are brave for telling us what we refuse to tell ourselves as we bury our heads in the sand. You are brave because in writing this... as you can see you will get accused of being partisan by many who miss the point... that it's not about who won or lost but what happened. People still have a right to know what happened? And let 'the God who chooses leaders', give them the wisdom on how to act.

cheriyot said...

They might not have looked at the mirror, but at least a lot was prevented. not a sole sank .....N THE DUE COURSE IS BEING PURSUED>>THE PETITION
wud call it a win win

Anonymous said...

He was not acquited the case was dropped due to the main witness recanting his testimony.

Anthony Kamunyi said...

Well said Garth !!!! Well said.....so help us God !

Kangethe Mbugua said...

There is nothing more dangerous to would be absolutists and dictators than an individual who uses their capacity for free and independent thought.

Your article is so refreshing precisely because you challenge a majority held position with legitimate thoughts that few dared express for fear of going against the grain.

More power to you.

Anonymous said...

Finally I read some unbiased comments!

Anonymous said...

I love this article because it gives me hope that although msny hsve been fooled into believing all is well in Kenya some of us can see clearly that there is a major problem with the recent elections. Those in support of the article give their views clearly however those who sre not in support of the article they focus on sbusing the writer and blaming international journalist what these indicates is that they hate the truth to the core.

Roofing in Vancouver said...

Have just encountered your page and I guess you should be complimented for this piece. More power to you!

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Unicolours said...

I just hope the new leaders will change the image people have about them by making changes that Kibaki didn't accomplish.UHURUTO will have a hard time since they have to deal with the Hague issue before settling and addressing other issues like the economy.Despite all this if they have what it takes and choose to serve Kenyans they can still perform.Major task hill is uniting Kenyans then other things can follow