Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Kenya Bleeds. Let the Elders intervene

My mind, and heart, and soul are with our neighbour to the east.

She was so calm, she seemed dull. Now the fires, embers have been fanned, and she is ablaze. I quail before that heat.

It is almost comically funny. Because we are dark-skinned, the lighter skinned races on earth are prejudiced to look down on us, a lot. (I am, and will seek to remain, painfully politically incorrect, as long as it is a truth that I write of, as I see it!) Yet many people fail to see our racism. Oh, yes, we are racist, in upbringing, in outlook, in the way we look at the lighter skinned races, the Indians, Asians etc. In Africa, the African is politically not incorrect to be racist. It is expected.

And we are extremely clannish.

My ethnic group is my identity. When we vote in elections it is Kikuyu against Luo, and Acholi against a Munyankore.

From the Kenyan point of view (depends whether you are Kikuyu or Luo), the Kikuyus have either won or stolen the election. Now they control the government and the government soldiers and police is killing the Luos. Maintaining law and order, according to another point of view.

Police shooting live bullets into the crowd. That is something that is going to inflame tensions. Yes, for a short time, people may flee the bullets. But they will go back home and brood, and try to find a way of hitting back at the government.

The president is Kikuyu, so they will seek to torch the homes of their Kikuyu neighbours, and will burn Kikuyu children sheltering in a church.

Madness and Chaos. True.

And listen to the rhetoric of the politicians. Despite the church and homes burning, despite the children massacred, the pangas sharpened, they cannot talk to one another.

Is Africa hopeless?

No. We are not.

So, what can be done?

Last year, a group of elderly statesmen and influential people formed a non partisan pressure group to work behind the scenes in the worlds pressure spots. They call themselves the Elders. They include Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton and others.

This situation is made for them.

We venerate old age. The elderly man, in our patriarchal societies, is the voice of wisdom and god. Kibaki is an irascible old man. He was once thought to have western progressive ideals. He might still, maybe. Odinga is not much different. These are guys who have grown arrogant in their demigod status as African leaders. They are African men, they are African leaders, almost royalty to their constituencies. So, who can have them talk together, though war and genocide looms in the country they all do love?

If the elders send in Bill Clinton, both will see a white man who does not understand what is happening. He does not understand the pride and prejudice that has been their heritage into their old ages. Bill Clinton was a mortal man who even at the top of his service to his nation, was hounded by his detractors, shamefully, by a woman! Odinga and Kibaki will not understand him. They would despise him. I know Gordon Brown has spoken to both, but the passions currently present are not logical from the western point of view. Threats of economic embargo, and pariah status in the outside world when put against the adulation of the nation and the clan and tribe pale into insignificance in Africa.

Museveni, who happens to be chair to the Commonwealth, is another discredited leader. He is in the ilk of Kibaki, and that is what Odinga will see.

The Elders. Mainly men, in patriarchal Africa. Venerated. Demigod status. They do not have to be perfect. They just have to want to do something about what is happening.

Desmond Tutu is too western in thinking. Too tied down into ‘Christian’ ideals to remember that our ideals are a mix of western Christian and African. And that the African dominate. Yet a man who could dare the wrath of a killing mob is worth of note. Mandela has not been too troubled by this. He does still think like an African chief of old. At least that is my assessment.

Amongst the elders, Mandela may be the one to get the Kenyan Kibaki and Odinga to talk.

Kenya bleeds. Let the Elders intervene.


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