Why were second liberation heroes quiet on their big day?

Friday July 10 2020

Protestors during Saba Saba demonstrations in Nairobi on July 7, 2020. The Saba Saba “revolution” is unfinished. PHOTO |JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Kenyans marked the 30th anniversary of the Saba Saba protests this week. It wasn’t the most memorable, as those who were responsible for the remembrance of this day were absent without apology.

In an age where breaking news gets to our phones faster than government services, it was surprising that most of the leading second liberation figures kept quiet on Saba Saba Day; you would be forgiven for thinking their advancement in years had sent them back to living in prehistoric caves where they are still awaiting a smoke signal.

We understand that our second liberation heroes aren’t immortal. No matter how much they eat healthy and drink long life milk, they cannot regain the energy they had 30 years ago. But losing their voice on a critical day like this shows that something is responsible for their silence... and it isn’t a court order asking them to stop discussing police shootings in the media.


We all want this country to prosper. While we might have won back constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms, there is still a lot of ground to cover in keeping vigil, and our second liberation heroes are crucial in forming a revolutionary firewall whenever the police hack into the homes of human rights defenders and threaten them with bad things.

Those protestors who turned up for Saba Saba did not need money to go to the streets to meet the police halfway.


All they needed was a pep talk from our second liberation heroes to reassure them that they were on the right side of history, and if police brutality symptoms persisted they were free to call their nearest second liberation doctor for medical advice on how to survive inside a police cell.

For a long time, the youth of this country have been accused of being lazy and waiting for manna to drop like John Waluke’s hubris after being slapped with a fine more expensive than the oxygen he breathes.

However, when the youths decide to take action, our second liberation heroes do like ostriches; they put their heads in the sand instead of sending the young ones a shout-out in the media.


While we fully understand that the political mergers and acquisitions currently happening in this country do not allow our leaders to speak with their mouths full as it will amount to bad table manners, nothing prevented them from chewing gum and scaling their vehicle sunroofs at the same time to show their fists in solidarity with the protestors on Saba Saba Day.

There is need to keep the Saba Saba fire burning – not because we have signed a coalition deal with fire, but because the nature of Kenyan politics is so unpredictable; today you’re fine-dining at the government table; tomorrow, you’re being kicked and clobbered by the police as you wail at the top of your voice while looking like a burnt offering.

While everyone appreciates the calming environment brought about by the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his brother from another mother, nowhere in the gentleman’s agreement was there a warning to those who support the handshake that if they asked for accountability in government they would see what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego saw inside that stone age microwave when they told King Nebuchadnezzar to go hug a cactus.

This government will only perform optimally when kept on toes by authority voices within and outside government, because we all want a habitable country to bequeath to our grandchildren whether they were born of blue blood or by short relatives.

No one will run with the police on the streets forever. Even those who derive their pay from winning marathons will one day have their joints run out of grease and not even their mechanic can convince God to lend them tools from Heaven’s garage for a fix.


Kenyans are fully cognisant of the blood, sweat and tears our pro-democracy heroes went through to get us to where we are, and for that we are eternally grateful. Only they know the pain they went through fighting for a thankless country which prides itself in neglecting its true liberation heroes while giving medals to random voters for eating boiled cereals out of a banned substance.

Nothing lasts forever, and neither will the handshake. Kenyans need our second liberation heroes to work with our young revolutionaries, as it is the only way we can sustain our democratic gains without the police kneeling on our necks as if someone told them we are church pews.

If we wanted our taxes to be used to kill us, we would have asked the Kenya Revenue Authority to move their headquarters to the Stoni Athi shooting range and ask taxpayers to line up while filing their tax returns.

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