Sunday, June 16, 2024

When shall we learn that we can only defeat our enemies as a united Kenya?

Our self-proclaimed divas and socialites of so much bum and little brain in the past week provided a welcome diversion from our myriad self-inflicted scourges ranging from mad bombers and shooters to madder politicians.

One of the most interesting reactions to my column in this space last week came from a caller who claimed to be in Canada. The girl was hopping mad that I would write with so much scorn and disrespect about the likes of Vera Sidika, who, she said, are just trying to make an honest living.

The caller, who flatly refused to reveal her identity, went on to assert that the girls I was “hating on” have every right to be “socialists”.

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Huh? Despite all my prompting, she insisted that Vera is indeed a “socialist” and must not be subjected to vilification simply because she is on top of her game. I was lost for words. Socialite, socialist… well I admit this language came by boat.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, she upbraided me for writing negatively on “socialists” and promised to revenge by writing something bad about me. I told her I look forward to her missive.

Meanwhile, as we await a titillating instalment from my “socialist” Canadian correspondent, we have to face up to the grim realities of mad terrorists and even madder political leaders.

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The Sunday night attack in the hamlet of Mpeketoni in Lamu County is a sobering reminder that Kenya is under siege.

That terrorists — be they Al-Shabaab infiltrators from Somalia or home-grown adherents — have made anyone in Kenya fair game and should disabuse us of the notion that only high-value targets such as Western embassies, hotels and shopping malls frequented by foreigners, and strategic installations are at risk.


We are all at risk in our homes, clubs, places of work, villages, markets, streets, and every place that offers a soft target and maximum casualties for the gratification of deranged, blood-thirsty terrorists.

Yet, instead of closing ranks against this common threat, we resort to stupid politics of ethnic and partisan blame games. The merchants of terror, death, and destruction thrive on causing maximum confusion and division and, therefore, the current sterile political noises must sound like sweet music to their ears.

Al-Shabaab does not give a hoot about Jubilee or Cord. To them President Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga are birds of the same feather.

The terrorists care even less about our foolish ethnic divisions and political rivalries of the Luo, Kikuyu, Kalenjin, or any other groups.

Let there be no doubt about this: We will only defeat our common enemy when we confront the scourge as one united, indivisible people.

Listening to our sorry excuses for political leaders and their mindless support groups all over the place, the enemy is not the terrorist group, but every other Kenyan who does not subscribe to “my” ethnic and political affiliation.

Cordistans are busy blaming the Government. The Jubilants are busy pointing fingers at the Opposition. There is no way we will prevail against the common enemy if we are busy taking potshots at each other.

To that extent, some of the early statements from Cord leaders in the aftermath of the Mpeketoni attack are highly insensitive and irresponsible. They reveal a mindset hungry to milk political capital out of the blood of innocent Kenyans.

Mr Odinga’s minions, with their mindless threats and political sabre-rattling, are doing their best to justify Jubilee paranoia about their demands for national dialogue.


The government statement from the sorry Interior minister, Mr Joseph ole Lenku, is even worse. There are few places in the world I can think of where the government responds to serious national security issues with cheap political threats against the opposition.

The statement echoes propaganda already broadcast all over Jubilee strongholds that it is Mr Odinga and his Western friends, not Al-Shabaab, who is responsible for terrorism and all the challenges facing the Jubilee Government.

When the minister responsible for national security seeks to validate the violent rhetoric and threats against the opposition spewed by the Jubilee social media hirelings, that is indeed scaring.

On social media in the past few weeks, a dominant narrative has been that Mr Odinga represents a real and present danger to the Jubilee administration.

Jubilee activists have gone into overdrive with propaganda on both social media and across population groups in their political strongholds that virtually everything that troubles the government — terrorist attacks, British and American travel advisories, the ICC trials, student unrest, industrial strife, toxic alcohol, ad infinitum—emanates from the opposition leader.

Scare stories abound on the intentions of Mr Odinga’s demands for a national dialogue and the series of political rallies leading up to Saba Saba, 7 July.

It is almost being taken at face value that it is all a plot backed by Western nations aimed at overthrowing the Uhuru Kenyatta-William Ruto administration in much the same way the “Arab Spring” toppled dictatorships, and wrought instability and turmoil, in Libya and Egypt, with Syria also in the line of fire.

The conclusion and consensus from the Jubilee social media brigades that is echoed across churches, homes, markets, and bars across much of Central Kenya and the Rift Valley is that Mr Odinga must be “dealt with”.

The Mpeketoni attack, as well as the earlier terrorist strikes at Gikomba market, Thika highway, and a bus in Mombasa, provided further fodder for that school of thought.

Jubilee activists have been suggesting on Facebook and Twitter that President Kenyatta ought to take off the gloves and deal decisively with Mr Odinga, one even suggesting that it is time detention camps were re-opened and Ngong Forest (a euphemism for political assassination) be made available for troublemakers.


This is the warped thinking that the Interior minister, on behalf of the national security apparatus after a meeting with the President, seems to be advancing.

Of course Mr Odinga does himself no favours with the political adventure launched on his return from a sabbatical in the United States.

What was initially couched as an earnest plea for dialogue on pressing national issues has transmogrified into what looks like a sinister political manoeuvre.

The threats and violent rhetoric coming out of his political rallies suggest not just a quest for dialogue, but a deliberate plan to replicate the mass action campaigns of the early 1990s that forced former president Daniel arap Moi’s Kanu to accede to demands for an end to one-party dictatorship.

The choice of Saba Saba as a launching pad for the campaign is probably deliberate because of the symbolism of the 7 July, 1990 protests that forced Mr Moi’s hand.

What is coming out of the Cord rallies now (well after attainment of multi-partyism and a new Constitution) is helping fuel the Jubilee paranoia and the incendiary propaganda being spread across the coalition strongholds.

It seems political leaders on both sides are deliberately priming their loyalists for conflict, but paying little regard to the complications wrought by the terrorist threat that strikes all without discrimination.

If the Jubilee supporters really do believe that Mr Odinga is responsible for the attacks, Cord supporters would equally be justified in the belief that the culprits will be found in President Kenyatta’s national security organs to solidify the siege mentality already being inculcated in their support bases.

In the meantime, Al-Shabaab will be throwing itself a grand party as our leaders prepare their mindless followers to take up arms against one another.

mg***** Twitter: @MachariaGaitho.

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