By Cyprian Orina Nyamwamu
Today, March 24, 2009 is Impunity Day in Kenya – the Human Rights Defenders Day.
It was the 24th day of March in 1996, when Daniel arap Moi’s State assassinated our dear Karimi Nduthu.
Karimi Nduthu had just finalized an investigative report into the state sponsored ethnic clashes of 1992 and 1993 which targeted targeting ethnic populations of the Gikuyu, Kisii, Luo and Luyha in Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western and Coast Provinces. During these two years Kenya witnessed the deaths of over 1,000 Kenyans and the uprooting of nearly half a million Kenyans from their homes- this Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) phenomenon is not new after all! The victims were mainly from ethnic communities were considered sympathizers of the opposition FORD Kenya, FORD Asili and the Democratic Party and therefore were considered Madoa doa (ugly spot or blemishes) in Daniel arap Moi’s so called KANU strong holds of Rift valley and Coast Provinces.
In the run-up to the multi-party general elections of 1992, KANU was convinced that Western and Nyanza Provinces had already fallen to FORD- Kenya and FORD- Asili waves, whereas Central and Nairobi had gone to FORD-Asili, FORD- Kenya and Democratic Party waves and KANU was fast running out of Provinces.
Divide and Rule
It is thought that KANU wanted to secure Eastern, North Eastern Province, Coast and Rift valley provinces and then divide Nyanza’s people – the Luo and Kisii to see if the Kisii with the Kuria could vote for Moi and possibly allow Moi the 25% he required. KANU was sure it would get 25% in Western Kenya. The violence of 1992 -1993 and 1997-1998 totally destroyed the economy. Tourism and agriculture were affected and the character of the Kenyan Republic was totally disfigured. Citizenship and Rights, Democracy and Dignity all were trumped on the altar of political careers.
Investigations but No Punishment
The Kenya Human Rights Commission later published a report titled “Burning the vote” that detailed the political economy of ethnic clashes and how it benefited the corrupt and criminal KANU state. The report was ignored by the Government. A subsequent Commission of Inquiry by Justice Akiwumi and a Parliamentary Investigation headed by Kennedy Kiliku, MP, which detailed the names of the persons bearing the greatest responsibility for the murder and dislocation were also never implemented. This impunity for high ranking officials of Daniel Arap Moi’s government remains in place to this day – 13 years after Karimi Nduthu was murdered. It looks as if the intention is to ensure that those named in the Waki Commission of Enquiry Report of October 15th 2008 as bearing the greatest responsibility for organizing, financing and perpetrating the massive crimes committed as post election violence in 2007 and 2008, are also being shielded from punishment. They are enjoying state supported impunity. The murders of thousands of Kenyans under the policy of extra judicial killings and those who killed GPO Oulu and Oscar Kingara are similarly enjoying state supported impunity as it becomes clear that the Kenya Police will never investigate itself or prosecute its own, even as all international investigative offers of assistance are summarily rejected, and even United Nations Rapporteurs are abused and their statements binned. State supported impunity is the policy of the Government of Kenya.
Slaves to the Monster
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka cautioned Kenyans to go slow on the Waki report saying that the Waki report had the potential to ruin people’s political careers. How sad that a Christian Brother believes that human beings are not as important as political careers. Kalonzo Musyoka was a long serving and hawkish Minister in Daniel Arap Moi’s government during the ethnic clashes and knows very well what happened. But, Kenyans do not like to learn from the past; We do not like the Truth; we want to go back to sleep when the cobra is still between our blankets! We have become a nation of zombies and brainwashed masses. We have been dismembered and have become slaves to the monster which is killing us viciously. We suffer from Stokholm syndrome which makes us sympathetic to our captors and fearful, or even hateful, towards those who tell us we are enslaved. This is why Karimi died and why many since have been killed as the Kenyan people look the other way.
IN MEMORY OF KARIM NDUTHU I WOULD LIKE TO STATE AS FOLLOWS:
Why Karimi Died and the Release of Political Prisoners
Karimi Nduthu had freshly been released from Jail where he had been for 5 years (some one should correct me for any inaccuracies because I was in lower primary when this was happening). He had been in Kamiti but mainly in Naivasha Maximum Prison allegedly for being a member of the Mwakenya Movement. The Movement that pressurized the Moi State to release Karimi and his 50 other colleagues was Release of Political Prisoners (RPP) Pressure Group that had been founded in London by among others the likes of the Late Dr. Wanjiku Kihoro and her Husband Wanyiri Kihoro, Ngugu Wa Thiongo among many others as the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners.
Back at home the mothers and families of the Political Prisoners organized themselves and descended on All Saints Cathedral and Freedom Corner where they pressurized for the release of the sons. Moi broke up with monumental violence and brutal force the mothers’ protests that had lasted many weeks on end. The relentless mothers and sisters of the struggle never gave up until their children were released. All except Apiny Adhiambo were released in 1992. As the RPP had already been formed in 1991, almost all joined the pressure group to push for constitutional reforms and the restoration of democracy.
RPP working closely with the KHRC, ICJ, LSK, NCCK and Other Bishops and Muslim Prelates which later gave Birth to 4Cs and NCEC. Karimi was an active participant in these initiatives. NCEC was formally launched at Limuru exactly one year after Karimi had been buried. Mureu Kariuki was elected Secretary General of RPP to succeed Karimi. Together with Muthoni Kamau (as Chair of RPP) and Tirop Kitur (as Coordinator) they led the RPP forward, courageously and with clarity. I was elected Secretary General of RPP in 2000 to succeed Mureu and continued to participate in the intellectual development of the organization. RPP was the most visible actor in the NCA-NCEC during these times until donors began to pull the rag from under the feet of the progressive and radical organization. In 2002 NCEC was denied funding for conducting civic education “because it was considered to be a highly political national organization that we think is not capable of delivering civic education”. This position was adopted even with the knowledge that the Gurus of civic education like Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Rev. Njoya, Dr. Mutunga and Kepta Ombati were the leaders of NCEC. Nevertheless the NCEC survives and continues to educate Kenyans on the need for, and means of achieving, a new constitutional order in Kenya in which the protection and preservation of the rights and freedoms of the individual are the first duty of the State and all its institutions, rather than the current order which makes Kings of the institutions and the citizens employed by Kenyans to serve them.
Hijacked Constitutional reforms
It is very saddening to see that these days, constitutional reforms have been reduced to a mere academic discussion on what are the contentious issues and what are not. The struggle for democracy and freedom is something that is a life and death issue. It is not a domain subject of conservatives and turncoats like the ones currently directly the direction and nature of constitutional reforms. Freedom and democracy are values that some Kenyan heroes and sheroes have given everything- including their lives to secure and the struggle still rages on. Constitutional review has been bastardized and hijacked by the most conservative forces, political entrepreneurs and the harlots of the status quo and it has been reduced into a mere game for the ruling elite to satisfy their egos with!
Ideologically clear Leaders
Karimi was pursuing his Engineering Degree at the University of Nairobi when he was arrested. He was a leader, a conscious thinker, and organizer and worked together with his comrades Tirop Kitur, Kangethe Mungai, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Onyango Oloo, Gupta Ng’anga Thiong’o, Njeri Kabeberi, Oduor Ongw’wen, Wafula Buke, and Paddy Onyango among many others. These men and women worked with other courageous and gallant soldiers of Kenya’s liberation such as Wangari Maathai, Moseti Anyona, Njeru Kathangu, Koigi Wa Wamwere, James Orengo, Raila Odinga, Willy Mutunga, Prof. Mazrui, Micere Mugo, Prof. Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Prof. Maina Kinyatti, Prof. Edward Oyugi most of whom, at the University taught these emerging, promising young ideologically clear Leaders of our struggle and nation; Leaders who loved life more than anything else- leaders who wanted a just, equitable and prosperous Kenya where democracy meant that every Kenyan had a right to a life of dignity and peaceful co-existence. These leaders had revolutionary chaplains like Rev. Timothy Njoya, Manasses Kuria, Alexander Muge and many Muslim Imams and Sheikhs to look up to! And they had a revolutionary in Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere to run to at the southern border of our mother land. Nyerere proved decisive in the struggles for democratization in Kenya and Africa. Like him, all these young and courageous leaders were Pan Africanists who never recognized ethnic and other parochial dichotomies but were inspired by the Philosophy of Utu, Ubuntu, Solidarity to do good and uphold life; not profits.
Objects of the Market
The touch stone of the youth movements, the women movements, the workers movements, the students movements, the peasant movements and middle class movements these days is the crave for profits and material wealth. Even poor university students are these days seen lining up to help the government auction Safaricom. We no longer know who we are and we have become objects of the market.
“Not yet Uhuru!”- Kenya was not yet free!
Karimi Nduthu knew that an engineering degree in a society where he was merely going to be a new generation of a colonial subject- a native without rights and without constitutional guarantees; in a surrogate economy presided over by Moi, Kenyatta and Kibaki on behalf of the neo-colonial and imperialist powers was worthless; it was akin to giving a prisoner clean linen to continue living in prison. Karimi wanted to be free but more importantly he wanted Kenya to become truly independent. To merely graduate from slavery to a new form of slavery was not enticing to Karimi- he was not for vanity but prosperity in justice and peace. Karimi was in solidarity with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in his declaration “Not yet Uhuru!”- Kenya was not yet free!
I knew Karimi when I was a first year student at Kenya Polytechnic in 1995. I met Karimi only three times before he was bludgeoned to death by the state assassins. The CID came up with a Kiraithe-Mutua-Ali-like theory- that Karimi had been killed due to a love affair gone sour. When you see some of us scoffing at the instant and pre-meditated theories that come from Kiraithe and his boss do not think that we are merely acting emotional. It is because we can see through the propaganda. We know how these thugs do their thing! Karimi was working with several International Human Rights organizations in conducting thorough and damning research. They wanted to silence Karimi from telling the Truth about who organized and killed thousands of Kenyans across the country in the name of ethnic cleansing. Did they really silence Karimi? I doubt that they did.
The Month was March.
Karimi was investigating and had a report on Killings by state agents.
He was killed brutally and the state wanted to deface him. They wanted to kill his character after assassinating him. The Kenyan state not only kills Human rights defenders, it also works to kill them in their death. The state wants to delegitimize the Human Rights Movement, because it is the only defense that stands between the evil ruling class and their ambition of consuming all little material things the people have and hope for. This imperialist, criminal state, like the vampire feeds on blood and souls of the people. They work to kill human beings through famine, poverty, unemployment, clashes, assassinations, privatization, laying off workers, stealing pension funds and auctioning of the nation to foreigners.
Mambo ni Yale Yale!
That is why Oscar Kingara and GPO Oulu’s assassination is not going to be explained away just like that. We know that when Pio Gama Pinto was headed to Parliament to release a report on Jomo Kenyatta’s corruption, he was assassinated; JM Kariuki was assassinated for speaking of the necessary revolution, Karimi Nduthu, Fr. John Anthony Kaiser, Oscar and GPO; Dedan Kimathi before them, Muthoni Nyanjiru in 1922 at the central police station when she mobilized our people to demand the release of Harry Thuku; the list goes on. Mambo ni yale Yale! Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose!
Only the label keeps changing; from slavery, to imperialism, to colonialism, to neo-colonialism and now globalization; but something fundamental has not changed- the character of the states that engender these evil systems is the same; these are states that are established to destroy lives in the interests of profit, greed and primitive accumulation;
Freedom and dignity for all
So Karimi died and was buried in Githima, Molo. His parents’ home has been torched in every bout of ethnic clashes when a President had to rig an election to keep himself in power. But we promised Karimi that his death was never to be in vain. And it shall never be in vain. We promised the Moi state that for every Karimi they assassinated, 1,000 Karimis would rise! And for every GPO and Oscar Kingara they assassinate there shall be 10,000 GPOs to carry on with the work of our heroes. From 1920 until we liberate our country we shall never stop at nothing but freedom and dignity for all.
From Dedan Kimathi, from Waiyaki Wa Hinga, Arap Samoei, Me Katilili Wa Menza to GPO and Kamau Kingara Oscar; the people shall arise; they shall learn and expose these criminals in suits and overthrow their rule. The people shall get their land back from the home guards led by Kibaki, Uhuru, Moi and their clique. This is a Promise!
If they call poor unemployed Kikuyu young men Mungiki so that they can kill them and keep the land they grabbed from the grandfathers of the displaced Kenyans, that shall be for a short while but the people shall know the propaganda and reject- revolt against the Kenyattas and Mois of this world.
Stand up and Live – Be alive
You, the young Kenyan professionals and activists; Stand up and be alive. Do not be corpses who died at 18 years and are waiting to be buried at 70years! Why can’t we be like Dedan Kimathi Waciuri- who declared that “it is better to die standing on my feet than to live on my knees?”
My generation of Kenyans is people who make me want to cry; they can’t see that we are leading a worse life than that of our parents and that our children will lead a worse life than the one we are leading today. We have betrayed the nation and we shall be cursed by our ancestors who died for our freedom and nation; we are going to perish because we have joined the government in using taxes- the sweat of our mothers and fathers- to kill young Kenyans because they are poor and unemployed. We are the ones who are guilty-not the home guards in power. The home guards in power are cowards who can not – unlike Nyerere- entertain a debate; they can not debate; they can only kill those who have a different view; those who stand on the side of the masses; and our generation has gone along with this murderous regime-condemning the Partnership for Change and NCCK for calling for elections.
I wonder why then we have eyes yet we are blind; and the physically blind can actually see more clearly than all of us together.
We have ears but we can not hear the cry of Kenyans who are killed by the state through commission and omission and the command from God our creator when he says “For I your God will hold your right hand; I am the Lord who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!” Isaiah 41:13. We never hear any of what is being told to us. Like Mugabe we can not any longer understand the meaning stewardship. We are killing the people who have been entrusted to us by stealing the medicines of their children and the maize for their porridge. The UNICEF says and not a single Government officer or newspaper editor weeps that over 480 children die in Kenya every day because their parents are too poor to access medicine to cure treatable disease. Polio is back. Tuberculosis is back. Cholera is back. 20 children die every hour of every day because their parents are too poor and the government is not giving them medicine. It’s hard to cry these days.
We have mouths but we can not speak for the masses who educated us. As their markets, and land, and hotels, schools and now universities are being privatized- being stolen, we are indifferent. It is not our business we say.
We have brains for pleasure and gratification not to think for our greatness as a country
We are religious yet we can not sacrifice for this nation; we do the rituals but can not live the calling of Islam or Christianity which is this: “Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed; rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” Psalms 82: 3-4
We have money that we had better lose at the Nairobi Stock Exchange and in the Pyramid schemes than to fund the development of our neighbours through cooperative societies and movements. We think we are better off with our millions than to share with those wretched Kikuyu or Kamba or Giriama neighbour. We are so wrong.
Moral death and moral bankruptcy
We are amoral we have no conscience. We have entered into moral death and moral bankruptcy with gusto and as the Americans descend into the pit we are overtaking them as we go down; yet they have been to the top and built a civilization that we worship uncritically. We act like children of a lesser god. Not children of GOD.
We have become the haters of our risk takers- the Human rights activists and lovers of our killers. There is more love for Michuki in Kenya than Mwalimu Mati or Tirop (some are asking who the hell that is). We call our risk takers- our human rights defenders masqueraders out to capture donor money; but we are out in the jua kali to be the statistics in the next Kibaki, or Odinga; Karua or Kenyatta; Daniel or Gideon Moi rally;
We do not see the Grand coalition as the enemy of progress but see the poor youths (“so not like us”) us as the enemy that must be exterminated.
We hate those who say the truth and rush to prostrate before the known economic saboteurs and criminals who have killed your mothers and relatives seven times over!
Men and women of little faith we are!
We are happier listening to 7 minutes of Akinyi and Wanjala on TV than to the report on how the state is killing our fellow citizens in Samburu, in Mandera, in Sabaot, in Kisii, in Moyale; we have become a failed state.
We have privatized university education and secured that money to buy phony cargo ships at Kshs. 4.4 billion by labeling them navy ships, and import second hand Russian tanks rather than drilling rigs for the military to build dykes and dams and boreholes! We allow the President to have 149 cars and the fire stations around urban areas to have no vehicles.
Day of Human Rights defenders – Day of Impunity is a Day to be Happy
But I remain happy, that on March 24; the day of Human Rights defenders; the day Karimi Nduthu was assassinated; the month that GPO and Oscar Kamau Kingara were assassinated together with Godwin Ogato Gisairo; I can declare that this is the hour to strike- not to retreat; for the belly and bowels of the beast have decomposed and we must now open the bowels; the darkest hour is near dawn it was said; and that dawn is now at hand;
Five steps to break with the past
I suggest 5 steps towards moving Kenya from a failed, corrupt and dictatorial state to a democratic just and developmental state; Five steps to break with the past and begin the process of building a new democratic and developmental state and republic
1. PASS AN INTERIM CONSTITUTION IMMEDIATELY TO OFFER THE BASIS OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE.
a new constitution outlined as principles to govern the country for three years. This is an interim constitution the South African way. The CKRC draft of 2002 should form a basis of the Interim constitution.
an interim constitution: because the current government is not a legitimate authority and has hijacked the process and made it a parliamentary process instead of referring a Kenya people’s process for a democratic and popular.
should be involved in making and passing of the interim constitution: the Interim constitution should be negotiated by a multi-sectoral forum using the current Experts committee approved by parliament. It should be passed in Parliament as an interim constitution by amending section three of the constitution to donate limited constituent powers to Parliament.
the said interim constitution is made immediately by convening the Multi-sectoral forum in April 2009 and the interim constitution be passed in parliament in May 2009.
the committee of experts to be mandated to outline the principles of the new constitution of Kenya that shall be passed by the Multi-sectoral forum and then presented to the National Assembly as the interim constitution for adoption as the interim constitution of Kenya
the current Raila-Kibaki led Grand coalition wants to hijack the right of Kenyans to make the constitution the people want. They want to make a constitution that will not solve our governance crisis. The ruling class wants to get a constitution that will not create a new order as regards exercise of power, separation of powers, independence of constitutional institutions, land reforms etc. they want to use the constitution as a succession tool to accommodate many more ethnic warlords and secure votes. This must be rejected. The people must restore their constituent power to themselves-WE THE PEOPLE!
2. A COMPETENT ELECTORAL BODY (IIEC) IS ESTABLISHED WITH UNITED NATIONS (UN) BACKING AT THE CONSTITUENCY LEVEL TO FACILITATE THE CONDUCT OF CREDIBLE, ACCOUNTABLE, FAIR AND TRANSPARENT ELECTION IMMEDIATELY.
3. BAR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN NAMED IN ALL THE REPORTS FROM AKIWUMI, GOLDENBERG, ANGLO LEASING, NDUNG’U LAND REPORT, PAC AND PIC REPORTS, WAKI & KRIEGLER
4. CONDUCT A FRESH ELECTION TO ELECT A CLEAR GOVERNMENT THAT WILL BE:
government devoid of individuals who have pillaged the nation since independence
enough TO ENSURE that taxation burden is reduced; the national budget is transformed to a 40% recurrent expenditure and 60% development budget policy. This is the only public services can be restored to the people.
government that shall deliver reforms, reconstruction and reconciliation as per the schedule under the National Accord.
to the people where impunity and corruption is at zero tolerance
to the plight, needs and aspirations of the people of Kenya and their national values
5. THE NEW GOVERNMENT TO CARRY OUT THE FOLLOWING
all IDCs – internally displaced Citizens
security and defense to all Kenyans by cutting down on crime while observing the rule of law and by ensuring that Kenya’s territorial integrity is assured.
human rights and freedoms to all Kenyans
the Waki report in full
the Kriegler report in full
the TJRC and address all past injustices
and run a CLEAR government
Agenda number 4
all institutions of governance to the highest internationally established standards of governance
Kenya’s education system to make national values and aspirations the touch stone of the education content and management
Complete constitutional reforms by negotiating an enduring democratic constitution based on the Interim constitution.
Deal with the food crises in Kenya in far reaching manner
Fix regional inequality and poverty
Fix the land problem in Kenya
Deliver national healing and cohesion
Deliver disaster preparedness and capacity to secure the rights of Kenyans under hostile conditions.
Prepare and facilitate the conduct of a fresh election after five years
This is what the Human Rights day of March 2009 should resolve to undertake on behalf of the people Kenya. As Frantz Fanon as said and I paraphrase; Our generation Must identify its mission and decide to fulfill it or betray it. This is our historical mission- to save the nation from being destroyed by the evil forces of greed, tribalism and ineptness.
If we did this;
Muthoni Nyanjiru will never die
Me Katilili Wa Menza will never die
Moraa will never die
Koitalel Samoie will never die
Musambwa will never die
Dedan Kimathi Wa Ciuri will never die
Pio Gama Pinto will never die
JM Kariuki will Never die
Tito Adungosi will never die
Karimi Nduthu will never die
Fr. John Antony Kaiser will never die
Wanjiku Kihoro will never die
Oscar Kamau Kingara will never die
GPO Oulu will never die!
The people who have died in the hands of state terrorism and neglect shall all arise; a new heaven on earth shall blossom. We will become the greatest nation on earth.
Our march to victory; the people’s march to victory is unstoppable
We shall over come! Amen
Ndugu Cyprian Orina Nyamwamu
(These are my personal views not those of the NCA/NCEC, Partnership for Change or RPP Trust all of which I am a member of)