One of my favourite films is Evan the Almighty. The story is based on the biblical Noah’s Ark. The main character, who plays as a senator, gets a call from ‘God’ to be the people’s saviour from a raging river about to flood the city.
The flooding is, in fact, caused by landgrabbers who built on riparian land. They managed to get away with the crime because they influenced the Senate to turn a blind eye to the problem. Sounds familiar?
The Speaker is tone-deaf on the impact building on riparian land has on the city. He is unwilling to listen to the people but only the corrupt senators influencing the landgrab through new laws that favour the grabbers.
The laws pass despite Noah, the honest senator, telling the Speaker to be wary of “wolves in suits” behind him. They are worse than the wild animals he is rescuing with his boat.
Anyhow, the floods come and take even the Senate with it. Obviously, the animals, Noah and his family and all the good people are saved.
For Kenyans, and Africans, who keep thinking all their current worldly problems are in the hands of past colonisers or white people, they should think again. Our wolves in suits are black and occupy parliaments and county offices.
King Charles’s visit last week was marred by calls for him to make an apology and compensate Kenya for human rights abuses during the struggle for Independence.
Like many Kenyans who were born on the sunny side of Independence, it is difficult to understand the pain our forefathers endured under British colonial rule and quantify the apology and compensation.
That does not mean I do not acknowledge the pain for the struggle; it is just that we grew up seeing Kenya through the eyes of the black African rulers in-charge of post-independent Kenya.
As we demand for apologies for human rights violations under British rule, we forget that human rights violations which continue to occur under every “independent” Kenyan regime is ever so present and goes on unabated.
Anecdotally, many Kenyans have lost their lives at the hands of, or under the watch of, the various rulers Kenya has had, perhaps more than those who died when Kenya was under occupation.
In the past decade alone, thousands of Kenyans have died mysteriously despite every government’s denial of extrajudicial killings. This was followed by the unimaginable death of hundreds of Kenyans in a cult right under the nose of the security agencies. Many more Kenyans continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition, especially during the drought season, as leaders breakfast at expensive hotels in the name of God.
Breach of human rights
The breach of human rights caused by runaway corruption is hardly itemised in the rota of human rights violations in Kenya. This is one issue that has led to Kenyans being unable to realise their socioeconomic rights due to embezzlement of funds meant for service delivery. Furthermore, the hefty wages paid to our leaders do not show value for money.
As Kenya turns 60 this year, it is hard to find anything worth celebrating. What successive post-Independence governments ‘achieved’ could only be measured by the high level of corruption, nepotism, tribalism and human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings.
The public service and facilities worth of mention are still those left behind by the colonial British government. The best public schools and hospitals, such as Kenyatta National Hospital, used to be the pride of Africa and, just as our airline, they have all nosedived and become a public shame.
Kenya was a doyen of middle-class living in Africa before the middle class found themselves queuing outside ‘kibandaski’ for cheap lunch on heavily lent 4X4 vehicles. Public service used to attract people of high calibre following the standards left behind by the British.
Highly educated and skilled Kenyans who were the products of well managed public universities have now been replaced by those with fake degrees. As for the poor standards in our public universities, the less said the better—lest they plummet further on global rankings.
We now vote in leaders to find for us cleaning jobs abroad yet pay them huge salaries to create employment and investments at home. No offence to cleaners (a job is a job) but there has got to be something wrong with a country that educates its citizens to the highest level only to pawn them to other countries as cheap labour.
Case in point is the nurses and doctors trained in Kenya and rejected by county hospitals. Even the counties with highest healthcare needs would rather build a governor a mansion than employ a doctor. Who’s bad now? The white British colonialists or our black ‘colonisers’?
We must be careful of deflection by our politicians. They would rather the blame was laid somewhere in the yonder years of British rule than take responsibility for it.
- Ms Guyo is a legal researcher, [email protected]. @kdiguyo