Open Letter to the Kenyan Youth

… The real intellectual, The one who voted on 4th March 2013.

originally published by Yakwetu Foundation

also on facebook.com/YakwetuFoundation & Yakwetu Foundation Volunteer Force

It is time.

Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and soul,

If one member is afflicted with pain

Other members uneasy will remain.

Hi !

Peoples of different colors, tastes, languages, customs and traditions have pursued persistently to fulfill their aspirations to build a noble society for a more beautiful life blessed with lasting peace, security and happiness.

I would like to congratulate here, all of you who went out to vote in what will go down as a historic pivotal point in the history of Kenya. Kudos. You have exercised one of your rights under the Constitution of Kenya and just so you can get familiar with your other rights here is a link to the Soft Copy of the constitution kenyalaws.com/index.html. I strongly suggest you study it as I shall endeavor to do so myself, henceforth.

You are done with step one, but hey, as much as you may have loved to, that doesn’t wipe away all of the country’s problems. I’ve realized one thing though, the voice of the youth is loud and vibrant. I mean Kenya really does attempt to achieve perfection in everything. We have had activists risk facing jail time come up with innovative ways of creating awareness of the so called ‘vultures’ of the government. We saw musicians, film makers, comedians and graffiti artists bring their A-game in trying to shape the minds of the masses into having a peaceful ballot this time round. We’ve had groups go out to the streets to talk to Kenyans and some even went to the extent of giving FREE hugs, much to the amusement of other Kenyans; all in the name of peace and selflessness. These are the foot soldiers.

Look at the magnanimity of Kenyans on Twitter who totally killed CNN after their ridiculously scripted display predicting ‘war in kenya’ come election day and how we strongly advised them to ‘up their game’ and ‘try focus on more of positive stories’ including those of tireless and relentless efforts of our soldiers of peace; youthful, energetic and devoted patriots who stood up to make sure we, Kenya, embrace the very key elements of the National anthem and set stage for a peaceful transition into the next government this time around. CNN has sent their apologies TWICE as of today, that tells me a lot man! This coming after #KOT mobilizing youth TWICE, last year, to curb efforts of politicians to enact a bill that would have given them HUGE send off perks all at the expense of the tax-payers money. This time we have done well in rallying each other to vote peacefully and spreading awareness of our democratic rights, mostly on social media (our comfort zone). This is the Kenyan Online Army.

This movement has set stage for a country that is slowly awakening to the injustices it has been subjected to in the past, all in the name of greed and individualism, which has been rampant in the Government of Kenya since we achieved independence in 1963. We are slowly awakening to the realities of the society that is our diverse country and that is why we see all our foot soldiers a.k.a ambassadors of peace a.k.a concerned citizens a.k.a devoted patriots transcend race, creed, religion, gender and class to embrace each other and create awareness of the same, exercising their rights and setting benchmarks for the country in knowing AND enforcing their rights as citizens of this republic, this time as ONE people.

I can summarize here that we are hard workers, as is known world-wide, maybe not perfectionists, BUT really hard workers; So, how about we perfect the art of exercising our rights? Like Tergat, Ndereba, Wanjiru, Kemboi and Rudisha perfected running. Like Wangari Mathai perfected revolution. Like Nameless, Jaguar and Juliani perfected the art of music. Like Manu Chandaria perfected his entrepreneurial skills and mastered the African business market. Like PLO Lumumba perfected the English and Swahili oratory skills. Like Mohamed Amin , Mohamed Ali and John Allan Namu perfected the art of investigative journalism. Like Ngugi Wa Thiong’o perfected the art of story telling… Why don’t we then perfect the art of getting rid of impunity? Why don’t we perfect the art of holding our government responsible for the funds they collect from us (taxes) and the billions borrowed from international financial institutions? Why don’t we perfect holding them accountable and making sure their endeavors in office are transparent? The politicians (notice I have not called them leaders) we have chosen may have had the most intensive PR strategies behind their campaigns costing upto 11 digit figures, convincing masses that they represent CHANGE and DEVELOPMENT, but believe me, these are the same old politicians who have been in power for decades and the only thing that they have changed this time is the face of the so called ‘democracy’.

Ok, we had live presidential debates, SO WHAT! We had 8 candidates to choose from but so what, as far as I am concerned only 1 or 2 candidates stood out in the run up to this election and these are people who you could pick out easily given their stance on issue based politics and having no previous affiliation to ethnic based politics nor the stains of scandals and far-fetched impunity. They were not popular but you could hear the voice of the common Mwananchi resounding in their echoes. I know them, you know them too. We still accommodated people who have been involved in numerous scams while in government and gave them our time of day so they could do what? Cheat us some more? I mean come on GUYS, do we have to actually see them picking someone’s pocket to see that they are nothing but vultures and mwizis? 50 years down the line and our government is still fighting jiggers and teaching children to wash hands? A true leader said recently,”If your football team fails to score, you can’t just change their kit and expect them to score.”

Imagine for a moment…

-Had there not been greedy individuals amongst the founding fathers of this nation when we gained independence in the 60’s,

-Had there not been individuals who had orchestrated massive ethnic divide in the prelude to the 1992 multi-party elections, the very individuals who are today running for top positions in government,

­- Had the drum of ethnic, religious or racial conflicts not been beaten, and if differences had not been used for the purpose of advancing political agendas,

-Had tax payers money and borrowed money (for which we are now indebted) not been diverted into private bank accounts abroad after scandals such as (BRACE YOURSELVES BRETHREN, let’s, once again, go back into time, lest we forget):

1) The construction of the Turkwel Hydroelectric Power Station[1] in Between 1986 and 1991 being riddled with claims of corruption. The dam was eventually built at three times the estimated cost, twice the allocated amount and producing energy significantly below capacity

2) The GoldenBerg Scandal not occurred where smuggled gold was exported out of Kenya in exchange for high government subsidies. It’s one of the largest corruption scandals to date in Kenya. Many officials from the Central Bank, and more than 20 senior judges have also been implicated. As of 2008, only a small handful of people have been charged with a criminal offense, which some see as an example of the continuing problem of corruption and favoritism.

3) A Sh360 million helicopter servicing contract in South Africa not been signed.[2] Military officers had argued that the contract was too extravagant and servicing the helicopters could be done locally. Kenya Air Force (KAF) went ahead to spend Sh108 million as a down payment for servicing the Puma helicopters, whose tail number is logged as 418 at Denel Aviation, a South African firm.

4) Chamanlal Kamani had been involved in a supply contract, as Kamsons Motors.[3] Kampsons tendered for the supply of Mahindra Jeeps to the Police Department in the mid 1990s for close to Sh1 million (US$13,000) each, at a time when showrooms would have charged customers a sixth of the price. Moreover, the vehicles were being bought for a government department and were therefore imported duty free. Few of the more than 1,000 units that were imported over several years are in service today.

5) The Prisons department lost $3 million after contracting Hallmark International, a company associated with Deepak Kamani of Kamsons Motors, for the supply of 30 boilers.[3] Only half of the boilers were delivered – from India and not the United States as had been agreed.

6) The construction of Nexus, a secret military communication centre in Karen, Nairobi.[4] The Government spent Sh2.6 billion (US$36.9 million) to construct the complex. Three years later, military personnel have not moved into the centre. A phantom company, Nedermar BV Technologies, which is said to have its headquarters in Holland, implemented the secret project situated along Karen South Road. Nedermar is linked to businessman Anura Pereira. However, Pereira has denied this. The tendering process for the Nexus project was circumvented as DoD’s Departmental Tender Committee. Funding for the project was made through the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The complex is currently headed by Colonel Philip Kameru. Nexus was first meant to be an ammunition dumpsite before it was turned into a military communication and operations centre. Construction continued without any site visits by either the DoD staff or Ministry of Public Works officials. The Nexus project was implemented during the tenure of General Joseph Kibwana.

7) In 2005 plans to buy a sophisticated £20 million passport equipment system from France.[5][6] Here government wanted to replace its passport printing system. The transaction was originally quoted at 6 million euros from François Charles Oberthur of Paris – the world’s leading supplier of Visa and MasterCards, but was awarded to a British firm, the Anglo-Leasing and Finance Company Limited, at 30 million euros, who would have sub-contracted the same French firm to do the work. Despite the lack of competitive tendering Anglo Leasing was paid a “commitment fee” of more than £600,000. Anglo Leasing’s agent is a Liverpool-based firm, Saagar Associates, owned by a woman whose family has enjoyed close links with senior officials in the Moi regime. Company records show Saagar Associates is owned by Mrs Sudha Ruparell, a 47-year-old Kenyan woman. Ruparell is the daughter of Chamanlal Kamani, the multimillionaire patriarch of a business family that enjoyed close links with senior officials in the Moi regime. Anglo Leasing made a repayment of only euro 956,700 through a telegraphic transfer from Schroeder & Co Bank AG, Switzerland on May 17, 2004.[7]

8) The local chapter of Transparency International and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), a government body released a report in February, 2006, stating that between January 2003 and September 2004, the National Rainbow Coalition government spent about $12-million on cars that were mostly for the personal use of senior government officials.[8] The vehicles included 57 Mercedes-Benz, as well as Land Cruisers, Mitsubishi Pajeros, Range Rovers, Nissan Terranos and Nissan Patrols. The $12-million substantially exceeded what the government spent over the 2003/04 financial year on controlling malaria — “the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Kenya”, says the report.

9) In late February 2006, the leading newspaper The Standard ran a story claiming that president Mwai Kibaki and senior opposition figure Kalonzo Musyoka had been holding secret meetings. On March 2 at 1:00am local time (2200UTc on the 1st), masked gunmen carrying AK-47s raided multiple editorial offices of The Standard, and of its television station KTN. They kicked and beat staff members, forcibly took computers and transmission equipment, burned all the copies of the March 2nd edition of the newspaper, and damaged the presses. At KTN, they shut down the power, putting the station off the air. Initially, the Kenyan information minister claimed no knowledge of the raid, but it has since revealed that Kenyan police were responsible. The Ministry of the Internal Security later stated that the incident was to safeguard state security. “If you rattle a snake you must be prepared to be bitten by it,” John Michuki said. Three journalists at The Standard, arrested after the critical story was printed, are still being held without charge.[9][10] The story now also features the bizarre case of two Armenian businessmen, mocked in the press for their taste for heavy gold chains, watches and rings, referred to as Mercenaries, who the opposition says led the raid and had shady dealings with Kibaki’s government.[11][12][13]

10) In November 2006, the government was accused of failing to act on a banking fraud scam worth $1.5bn involving money laundering and tax evasion, reported by whistle-blowers as early as 2004. Investigators believe sums worth 10% of Kenya’s national income are involved. A recent auditor’s report says the scale of the operations “threatens the stability of the Kenyan economy”.[14]

11)In November 2006, British Foreign Office minister Kim Howells warned, that corruption in Kenya is increasing the UK’s exposure to drug trafficking and terrorism. “People can be bought, right from the person who works at the docks in Mombasa up to the government. (…) This weakness has been recognized by drug-traffickers and probably by terrorists too.” Said Howells for the BBC.[15]

12) On 31 August 2007, The Guardian newspaper featured on its front page a story about more than  1 billionPOUNDS transferred out of Kenya by the family and associates of former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi. The Guardian sourced the information from the Wikileaks article The looting of Kenya under President Moi and its analysis of a leaked investigative document (“the Kroll report”) prepared for the Kibaki government in 2004 in order to try to recover money stolen during Moi’s rule.[16]

13) On 2007-09-06 parliament passed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, restricting investigations by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to offenses committed prior to May 2003, excluding the Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing scandals and other major cases. The move was condemned by anti-corruption campaigners; Mwalimu Mati, former chief executive of the Transparency International Kenya Chapter, declared that “grand corruption has swallowed the government and parliament that Kenyans elected to fight it in 2002″.[17] In response to public outrage generated by the move, President Kibaki announced that he would veto the bill.

14) In September 2007, Wikileaks, released documents exposing a 500 million Kenyan shilling payroll fraud at Egerton University] and subsequent cover up, now the subject of ongoing legal dispute in the High Court.

15) On the 28th of September 2007, Wikileaks released 28 investigative documents] exposing a US$1.5 billion dollar money laundering fraud by Charter House Bank Ltd. Re-reported in the Kenyan Standard newspaper.

16) In June 2008, the Grand Regency Scandal broke, wherein the Central Bank of Kenya is alleged to have secretly sold a luxury hotel in Nairobi to an unidentified group of Libyan investors for more than 4 billion Kenyan Shillings (approx US $60 million) below the appraised market value. Finance Minister Amos Kimunya negotiated the sale, and was censured in a near-unanimous motion by the Kenyan Parliament, though he vehemently denies the charges. This follows on the heels of the Safaricom IPO, overseen by Kimunya, which has been alternatively praised and questioned for possible corruption in the execution of the sale. Safaricom is the largest mobile phone service provider in Kenya, having operated with a near-government monopoly for many years. The government of Kenya sold its 50% stake in Safaricom in the IPO.

17) In January 2009, a scandal became public over the sale of imported maize.

18) The 2009 Triton Oil Scandal regarding the unauthorized releasing of oil by Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) without informing financiers became public in January, 2009.

19)In October 2012, allegations surfaced that top Foreign Affairs ministry officials ignored land offered by Japan that could have saved the country loss of Sh1.1 billion. [18] The scandal led to the resignation of the then Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula.

Did I mention the scandal surrounding the funds for EDUCATION, denying poor children their right to study, tsk tsk…

Guys,

“When we read the newspapers, watch the broadcasts, soak up the stories, we find ourselves repressed, depressed and confused. We find ourselves envious, anxious, tempted, angry and fearful. If we believe all that is circulated by the media we become loyal supporters of the oppressors, passionate haters of the innocents, faithful believers of bull shit and puppets of evil..

Mind management is greater than necessary. I believe it is wise to question all that we are told.

If we give our time to all that is spoon fed to us, we allow our minds to be hooked, hot wired, taken from us, remotelly controlled.” And that is when the problem comes in, when we are enchanted by the people who we view as reformists and ‘leaders’. Who have carefully used various systems boosted by media to condition our thinking from the day we were born. “School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” “The aim of our public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.Our media desensitized us to the suffering of our fellow human beings and the system slowly isolated us until it somehow it feels normal for us to be looted year in year out, off money that could have gone into solving the problem of poverty in the country, literally billions of shillings that could have gone into building the much needed infrastructure in this country, roads, highways, bicycle lanes, working traffic lights, state-of—the-art recreational centers (not bars, pubs and nightclubs), metro stations and bus stations, business parks and all of the things that could have gone into making us a FIRST WORLD COUNTRY, think about it .

We worked hard for the future with our reward always just around the next corner OR just up the next step OR just over that A grade that mummy was looking for in our math test OR just below the 50 KG point on the weighing scale after a heart-wrenching diet. Everything was tomorrow but tomorrow never came. And we might not see it but do we actually live OUR lives? Or are we trying to replicate feelings, stories, moments that we see in filthy music videos and the latest drama movie or series from Hollywood? Bombarded by constant advertisements of alcohol products and cocktails and contraceptives and tempting interest rates from all these money minting banks. Urging us to consume and consume and cheat and complain and cheat again and stay high while they milk us dry.

We accepted it as natural for one to be wealthy whilst another is poor, for us to be partying and drinking the very livers and guts out of us while a family goes hungry not very far from our houses (We jus don’t look). We traded community culture for corporate comfort and our most precious resource, our time, as a commodity.

Cu’mon guys?

The current order in Kenya has certain characteristics, some of which are as follows:

– It is founded on materialism, and that is why it is in no way bound to moral values. We hear this in church and mosques and temples every other day but it goes through one ear and exits through another,

– It has been shaped according to selfishness, deception, hatred and animosity,

– It believes in classification of human beings, humiliation of ‘inferior’ denominations, trampling upon the rights of others and their domination.

-It seeks to expand its domination by spreading discord and conflicts amongst ethnic groups and sects.

– It aims to monopolize power, wealth, science and technology.

My peeps,

-Are we to believe that those who spend hundreds of millions of shillings on election campaigns have the interests of the people of the Kenya at their hearts?

-Despite what big political parties claim in the capitalistic countries, the money that goes into election campaigns is usually nothing but an investment.

-The will and the views of the masses have the least impact and influence on the big decisions especially those made about the major domestic and foreign policies. Their voices are not heard even if they constitute 99% of their societies.

-Human and ethical values are sacrificed in order to win votes and the willingness to listen to the demands of the people has become only a tool at the time of election.

Guys..

Where is the ONEness, UNITY and the LOVE that we so boldly talk about when calling for peace? Where is the AMANI na UPENDO that we talk about? Where is the JUSTICE and LIBERTY? For heaven’s sake where is the ONE accord? Maybe we just shout these things out in an attempt to ensure our individual security in the next five years so we could continue with our moral decay of society? And to continue with the selfishness and the extravagant spending and the unnecessary partying all in the name of peace; while our fellow poor, voiceless Kenyan brothers continue to suffer?

There is hope

Sometimes I look around and everywhere I see stewing or stewed, fermented, tormented souls and marinated morons, fools with graduation gowns and mortarboards on their heads… and then I see you, precious few… You, who reconsiders… You, who questions the credibility of a story, you, who never forgets that there are always at least two sides… You, who feels before you think and thinks before you speak. Beautiful you, who wonders, who looks with wide open eyes, an open heart, an open mind. You, who wanders from the crowd and who seeks something which FEELS true.

Some good friends of mine like to say WAPEWE!! With All People Empowered, We Excel!

We will take no power back as we shall empower ourselves and we shall say: We need to move beyond revolution and into the next stage of human evolution. A time marked by UNPARALLELED COMPASSION and PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE. Our journey towards the REAL INDEPENDENCE. The shape of which we can not foresee as it must be created together. I am willing to embrace the ethos of my national anthem, not just sing it, but actually LIVE it. I will do my part.

My question is, are you ready to do your part?

Your fellow Kenyan.

Be in peace brothers and sisters.

References

  1. thecornerhouse.org.uk/resource/turning-blind-eye#index-02-03-01-00
  2. eastandard.net/archives/InsidePage.php?id=36253
  3. www.nationaudio.com/News/EastAfrican/08102000/Regional/Regional22.html
  4. eastandard.net/archives/InsidePage.php?id=36253
  5. guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jul/06/kenya.davidpallister
  6. transparency.org/news_room/latest_news/press_releases_nc/2006/2006_01_23_kenya_githongo
  7. africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=10731&ThisURL=./kenya.asp&URLName=Kenya
  8. ipsnews.net/2006/02/development-kenya-vehicle-saga-shows-parliament-has-few-budgetary-teeth/
  9. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4765250.stm
  10. trust.org/alertnet/
  11. iol.co.za/news/africa/kibaki-in-trouble-as-parliament-re-opens-1.270211#.UTTnMzBTaSo
  12. eastandard.net/archives/InsidePage.php?id=1143975198
  13. web.archive.org/liveweb/http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/login.asp
  14. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6123832.stm
  15. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6135244.stm
  16. guardian.co.uk/world/2007/aug/31/kenya.topstories3
  17. eastandard.net/archives/InsidePage.php?id=1143974522
  18. nation.co.ke/News/Shame%20of%20graft%20that%20is%20the%20Tokyo%20embassy%20report%20/-/1056/1033292/-/10xk82kz/-/index.html

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