GEMA does not represent me, my views or where I see us going as a country. What it does awaken in me is a feeling of guilt. In a sense the ICC got it wrong. It’s not the Ocampo 4 but more like the Ocampo 40 million. We are all on trial. We are all guilty. But now we are also guilty of wasting time!!
Allow me to tell you a story. A cab driver that we frequently use, let’s call him Peter, rushed his then 3 month-old son to Kenyatta hospital. The child was diagnosed with meningitis. The doctor looked at Peter and said, ‘You look like someone who can afford the medicine that your child needs. I can either inject your child with the medicines that we have in stock here, which won’t help- they will only make you feel like something is being done. Or you can get into your car, rush to Nairobi Hospital and buy the real meningitis medication for KShs 18,000.’ Peter did as he was advised. He returned with the medication which the doctor administered. While he had been away the child in the bed next to his own child died from meningitis. His parents had been too poor to afford the treatment.
I tell this story not to criticize Kenyatta Hospital but to illustrate a larger point. If we take the problems at Kenyatta Hospital to be indicative of the problems in Kenya we can only assume that every other sector is suffering equally. The problems we face in Kenya are huge. We need to make quality healthcare affordable or free for all Kenyans, we need to reform our education system, we need to improve housing on all levels, we need to guarantee food security, we need to invest in renewable energy, we need to safeguard the peaceful coexistence of majority Christians and minority Muslims. The task ahead and presently with us is vast.
Which is why I think the sustained debate surrounding Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, two of the men accused of crimes against humanity, other than being divisive is actually a waste of our time. From a technical standpoint all the prayers and all the rallies can’t help. The beauty of the ICC process is that it is unaffected by all this clamour. It is blind justice, unhampered by stature of the accused, personal history or biases. Like one wise person said you can’t stop a train by shouting at it.
What’s more is that these two men are proposing running for president. Kenya is a nation of over 40 tribes. How can you be a president of a nation when you have been accused of organizing the deaths and displacement of people you are to serve? You can’t be president of the Kikuyu alone. You can’t be president of the Kalenjin alone. You have to be president of Kenya and the crimes these two men are being accused of are wholly un-presidential.
What we have to remind ourselves of as voters is that many politicians (these two included) are not in politics for service. I wish I could get people to see that. It’s about access. It’s about knowing what deals are going down where and knowing before anyone else. It’s about making sure that when the big contracts are being signed your 10% is in the mix. But we are so poor as a nation, so easily deceived. You build a bridge in a constituency you become a hero- no one asks where you got the money from. You’re suspected of dealing drugs but you pay school fees for hundreds so somehow you’re exonerated- even exalted. It doesn’t occur to anyone that building bridges and providing education is the job of the government. It is better to have a government that works than an individual who can by the wave of his wand make one of your many problems temporarily disappear. The government is the great equalizer between those who are born into privilege (and who probably work hard too) and those who are born into situations that beleaguer all attempts at self-improvement.
Right now, if you are born poor in Kenya you will probably die poor. But a domestic worker needs to know that when she shows up at her local clinic her baby will get the attention it deserves. A rape victim needs to know that the courts will provide justice. A university student needs to know that a lecturer will turn up to class, teach him and judge his efforts fairly. The debate right now is about building the structures that will outlive individuals and provide for citizens in perpetuity. It’s not about Uhuru. It’s not about Ruto. They are so irrelevant to this debate. I can’t overstate it. I can’t shout it loudly enough!!
Finally, let me say that if Kenyans vote for a Kikuyu man who cares so little for members of our Kalenjin and Luo family, or for a Kalenjin man who cares so little for our Kikuyu, Luhya and Kisii family, then we should all consider, out of conscience relocating to a neighbouring country. For how can we live in a country led by these men or men like them and how can we live with people who would vote them into power?