Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts for the day after the election

If Raila holds on to win the presidency this would be the culmination of a journey that began 50 years ago. Even if the presidency slips from his grasp, he has roared with his broad support and his control of Parliament. Here are some thoughts for today.

Learning from history, or not

When experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Page 284 in Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense of Life of Reason 1905 by George Santayana, Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.

What did Emilio Mwai Kibaki and his entourage not learn from the Narc wave in 2002 and the subsequent 2005 referendum debacle. The Kenyan people spoke then and they are speaking again now. But it may be an age thing because as Santayana goes on to say.

In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted; it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in whom instinct has learned nothing from experience.

In a second stage men are docile to events, plastic to new habits and suggestions, yet able to graft them on original instincts, which they thus bring to fuller satisfaction. This is the plane of manhood and true progress.

Last comes a stage when retentiveness is exhausted and all that happens is at once forgotten; a vain, because unpractical, repetition of the past takes the place of plasticity and fertile readaptation. In a moving world readaptation is the price of longevity.
On another note...

We will crush you

Tribalism is a distasteful word to educated Africans. It suggests that atavistic fears play a disproportionate role in the politics of new African nations. Distasteful or not, tribalism is a key to many African problems—a point that was made all too emphatically in Kenya last week.
Said a Kikuyu president to his Luo challenger...
"We are going to crush you into flour. Anybody who toys with our progress will be crushed like locusts. Do not say later that I did not warn you publicly."
I urge you all to read this article from TIME magazine dated... Friday, Nov. 07, 1969

Ready or Not, or Whose Kenya Is It?

It was the biggest African political rally in Nairobi's history. Under the hot sun, 20,000 blacks packed into African Stadium, sang and chanted as they waited for the returning hero, just back from London.

Then a mighty roar went up, and there came Tom Mboya on the shoulders of his excited supporters. Around his shoulders was a black skin cape. The sleepy eyes danced with pleasure, and a grin split the gleaming, satin-smooth black face.

With a wave of his fly switch, Tom brought the throng to sudden silence. "My brothers," he cried, "today is a great day for Kenya. When we left for London, the government was in the hands of the Europeans. Now it is we who can open or close the door. Kenya has become an African country!" With one voice, the crowd roared "Uhuru!" (Swahili for freedom).

"Whose Kenya is it?" shouted Tom. "Ours!" shrieked 20,000. Now the mob's chant was in throbbing rhythm. "Are you tired of asking for freedom?" asked Tom. "No!" came the resounding answer.


Tom Mboya was exultant: "We have exploded once and for all the myth of white [GEMA?] supremacy." Now it was his task to sell the plan to the doubters and the angry among his own Africans. There were some of both, for Mboya and his delegation were not returning with all they had promised

By most who know him, Tom Mboya is respected but not loved, for the hard climb up the ladder has tempered his shy, modest personality with a clinically detached coldness and an occasional ruthlessness that angers enemies and saddens friends. He is courteous and correct, but a hard man to know. He lacks the warm, friendly charm of the African he admires most,

But on Legco's debating floor, few can match his organization of a case or his smooth command of English. And he is second only to Kenyatta as a Swahili orator, whipping African crowds into a frenzy of chants and shouts by the skillful rhythm of his speeches.

But those who have seen Kenyatta recently say that in his 60s he is an alcoholic wreck. There are younger challengers to Mboya too, and his Luo origin remains a handicap among the Kikuyu, who resent the fact that the Luos stayed out of the Mau Mau troubles and inherited good jobs in Nairobi.

Mboya speaks as a man of good intentions. But even if Mboya's intentions are to be trusted, there is no assurance that wilder men like Argwings-Kodhek, or Kenyatta's fierce activists, will not rise to power, hurling democratic principles out the window. As Michael Blundell puts it: "It requires a lot of faith."
Source: Ready or Not, TIME magazine cover article, Monday, Mar. 07, 1960

And finally...

Rats and sinking ships

As it appears that the DP/Narc-K/PNU ship is sinking, at least in Parliament, how can we ensure that the rats that have caused such pain to the mwananchi don't quietly slip out of the country. Just like Ketan Somaia four or five years ago, we need to be vigilant to ensure that the perpetrators of grand corruption remain in the country to face their judicial fate.


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