Day 114 (Panga Puff Girls, Sad Politics and the Awakening of Identities)

Tonight Smriti was on NTV, Janet was on Citizen and Anne was on KTN, all of whom were looking as lovely as ever. Then I remembered that Panga Puff Girls Play I watched recently and how some men were battered by their wives for drooling at Linda Oguttu who often reads news for NTV.

The play itself was refreshing in many respects, original in some respects and for the most part, worth the ticket price. I particularly enjoyed the parallelism between the abusive father looking for 2 million signatures to alter the vows of marriage and the process of constitutional amendment through bargaining, negotiation, compromise and public participation.
However the sad irony of it all was that here we all were laughing unashamedly at the ignorance and retrogressive behaviour of fellow Kenyans in nearby counties. We all agree that domestic violence is wrong irrespective of the perpetrator’s gender. We all agree that ethnic and social stereotyping is backward and has no place in a modern Kenyan society. We all understand that the Kenyan nation is greater than any singular individual and we shall all strive to build a more cohesive, progressive society.

So in essence, the play seemed to me to be another case of preaching to the converted. I kept wishing the actors could be paid to go to other counties around the country. To entertain and educate the masses on some of the important issues raised in the play. To shock audiences. To provoke thought. And hopefully, leave them with a different view of their surroundings.

Moving along….

Prof. Ole Kiyapi is a man I was first introduced to through ‘S’. She was a ranger then and he was the PS of Environment and she went to pay him a courtesy call and spoke of his suggestive and pervy ways (let’s not judge.) Anywhoo, now Ki’yappy’ as ‘D’ calls him announced that he’s resigning from Government to run for office. What surprised me the most is the lukewarm reception he’s received. I have previously blogged about Tuju, another presidential aspirant who saw it fit to quit government and focus on his campaign. Both Kiyapi and Tuju should be admired and emulated for demonstrating integrity, faith in their leadership abilities not to mention a strong sense of civic duty and calling to serve the people of Kenya in the highest office of the land.

But Kenyans couldn’t be bothered. They would rather focus their attention on individuals who have already been given a chance to lead and have done nothing but enrich themselves off the very people they took an oath to serve. Individuals who have repeatedly been implicated in corruption, misappropriation of funds, electoral malpractices and international crimes. Individuals who have made names for themselves at the expense of others and have proved over and over again that they owe allegiance to none by themselves. Individuals that draw huge crowds by dishing out money and empty promises.

If this race continues being about personalities and popularity, then candidates like Kiyapi and Tuju should never expect to lead this country as President.

Finally, let me just say that Kenya is witnessing what can only be described as an ‘awakening of identities’. Even the drafters of the Constitution of Kenya understood that certain groups of people in Kenya have suffered injustices, prejudices and abuses through systematic marginalisation and discrimination and thus these historic inequalities can only be addressed by creating mechanisms and policies geared toward restoring balance. I have still not forgotten Justice Majanja’s unfortunate ruling in Constitutional Petition 243 of 2011 challenging the appointment of the Chairperson of the Gender and Equality Commission. This was a clear case of ethnic and social profiling that was committed by the Executive, rubber-stamped by Parliament and then sanctioned by the Judiciary. Sweeping under the carpet these complex issues of identities within ethnicity and social background will not make them go away.

And so when I look at MRC, I see the same problem arising. The MRC continue to feel marginalised in Constitutional Kenya. They feel voiceless. Their grievances and concerns have been ignored. They feel removed from the nerve centre of power. They feel marginalised. So now, they want to secede. I believe if the question of the MRC is looked at in the proper light, it will emerge that this is a group whose followers fervently believe that there have been previous historical injustices and other wrongs committed dating back to independence. Land is always top of the list and when one considers that the Kenyatta family owns so much of the land over there, while generations of residents live in poverty, it’s no wonder they are some disgruntled elements that begin agitating for justice.
I could be wrong about the MRC but branding them a proscribed group is going a bit too far since they have not committed any acts of violence and are only asserting their right to self-determination and identity.

| now playing: Big K.R.I.T. – “The Vent” |

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