Don't talk about things you don't understand

Thursday September 21 2017

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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There were protests in town because Jubilee disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling, and specifically Chief Justice David Maraga.

The Deputy President, William Ruto, went as far as to say that the Chief Justice was clearly biased – and no, not towards Kenyans, but towards Nasa.

 He said that all that was missing from Maraga's, in my opinion, courageous, speech, were the words ‘tibim’ and ‘tialala’. This must have fuelled and encouraged the furore, because if your Deputy President vindicates you, then reason stops mattering.

The events that occurred on Waiyaki Way and other parts of the country were disheartening, to say the least. A friend of mine who was travelling on that road was WhatsApping on a group chat, with pictures of burnt tires and flames that looked ominous.

The vehicle she was travelling in stopped for about an hour to wait and watch and see if they were in danger. She feared for her life.

That Kenyans can band together over the smallest things like insults from CNN or athletics is always a beautiful thing to experience, but the flip side of that is that it indeed can flip so quickly.

What was telling from my timeline, and has been lately, is not even that these statements could be true. What is more telling, was Kenyans' reactions. Some thought that this should actually be replicated throughout the entire country.

Kenya, throughout this month, since the ruling, has been treading on some very dangerous ground; ground that we are unfamiliar with, but ground that fools would claim is necessary for a better country. If these people knew what they were talking about, they would remain mum.

Secession is not the answer, because Kenya cannot and does not belong to one group of people. Neither is war. No one wants a war except fools and people who have something to gain, like the United States insists on conveniently bringing 'democracy' to the Middle East while looking for oil.

PERCEIVED HARMONY

Kenya the country is not the only one in danger, Kenyans' lives seem to be at risk too. All of a sudden, around election time, people conveniently lose their collective minds and start speaking of 'other' tribes and ' those' people, as if we weren't living and loving as a community before the powers that be divided us.

People act like they ask their mama mbogas what tribe they are before buying a delicious avocado, or refuse to go over to the neighbours’ when they need to ask what that sound was, or who in the other estate was robbed.

Do robbers only rob from 'the other side', or stick to their kinsmen?

It's a ridiculous cycle of amnesia that we let continue every five years. Is it finally time to explore the deeper problem, that our perceived harmony is only skin deep?  Chief Justice Maraga is trying to stop that cycle by conducting the Judiciary's role as it should be conducted; independently. If anyone is at risk, it is him.

In his statement, he said that he has been calling for security from the police, who are ignoring him. If this is true, it is quite simply, deplorable. 

His entire statement, really, was pretty much flipping the bird at what he clearly thinks is a whiny Executive; he stated that the Judiciary is an arm of the government that is just as powerful as the other arms, and is governed by the sovereignty of the people as opposed to by the wishes of the ruling party. It's a brave thing to say, especially in these times.

What are these times, you ask? The times that we have been living in since the myth of divisive tribalism was fed to us decades ago.

DIVISIVE TRIBALISM

All tribes are fed something fearful about the other ones; oh, these ones have had power for too long, oh, these ones will kill you all if they come into power, oh, these ones are too lazy to do anything like lead a country.

These are dangerous narratives. And make no mistake, the leaders – for it was the leaders – who started these narratives, knew exactly what they were doing. Much like America's anti-immigrant propaganda, the stereotypes are perpetuated by those who have something to gain, that something being power.

We have a chance, on the path Chief Justice Maraga has shown us. It is possible to not be swayed by greed. It is possible to have a free and fair election. It is possible to have the Kenya we want.

Think about this when you're watching the news tonight. Who is lying, and who is not? Who has the most to gain from chaos? Is it the same people who have been exchanging political parties and coalitions since Kenya came into being? Or is it the citizens of Kenya who just want justice and peace?

Whose blood is being spilt?

Twitter: @AbigailArunga