We have traded peace for justice and lied to ourselves the two can’t co-exist

Friday April 5 2013

By GODWIN MURUNGA

There are two statements I have heard in the recent past that are simply infuriating. The first claims that all Kenyans won in the last election. Well, let’s be clear about this. I did not win anything. They won and I lost. I also feel they don’t care about me or my feelings.

The second refers to calls to keep peace. In Kenya, we have turned the old notice declaring ‘Silence, Meeting in Progress’ into ‘Silence, Peace in Progress.’ Eventually, we have traded peace for justice and absurdly convinced ourselves that the two cannot co-exist. This trade-off also happened five years ago.

Now we are advised to postpone feelings until the full Supreme Court ruling. The court, we are reminded, does not rule on the basis of feelings. Indeed, the court has a mandate to rule only on the basis of the law. It ruled and confirmed my right to be disappointed.

Their ruling fuelled feelings, feeling of victory and loss. I have the right to feel disappointed with their ruling and, in spite of their reasons, express my feelings fully. The same applies to those who feel they won; they are entitled to feel victorious and express those feelings even to the point of mocking me.

Not only have they mocked me, they have also told me that they are guaranteed another 10 years; for, as Prof. Macharia Munene once said of Kibaki, ‘it is bad manners for a sitting President to lose’ an election.

I refuse to suppress feelings, postpone them until I can engage in rational discoursing around the full court ruling. Right now, reasons suck. I will rationalise as an intellectual exercise later. Right now, I want to spit at the tyranny of numbers, dismiss them and remind all that numbers alone never built a nation.

I want feelings to gush like crazy. I want to vent and to simply wonder how come, from my uninformed perspective, the court reached a deeply disappointing verdict. I am not schooled in law and might be completely wrong. I want to feel wrong.

I do not want answers now, answers also suck. I want this to remain a question, with a huge question mark. If I could, I feel the question marks should be posted on the door of the court. But I can’t; they say that even this innocent act is hate speech. Everything now is hate speech.

I want to express feelings, feelings that confirm my vote does not count and will never count any time soon; that elections are simply a ritual every five years, that I have no business ritualising again in five years because the owners of this country have it.

And while they can allow me to vote, they will decide if to count my vote. They claim that God certified the results.

I want feelings that say to me that I am better off taking a job, as Shrek would say, far, far away. I want a country that someone else has already beautified for me. In any case, I am a citizen of the world. Kenya can do without me; after all, I am inconsequential to the wider scheme of things.

Of course, much later, I will wonder why these feelings overwhelm me now when, a few years ago, I packed my bags only two weeks after graduate studies to fly home. I could not wait to make my contribution. I couldn’t even wait for the graduation ceremony.

It is seven years down the line and I have had the feelings of quitting twice, in January 2008 and today. Why do I think that years of struggle are wasted and useless?

When next time the feelings we are being encouraged to bottle up under the pretext moving on explode and consume the country, I should simply stand up and say, I told you. You should have unleashed those feeling then.

Let feelings prevail, we will talk about the ruling much later. After all, the ruling was brief, sharp and final. It left no room for discussion.