What you need to know:
- When Kenya was a colony, the laws passed then only applied to the colonised Africans
- Millions of us live in poverty but instead of that being the focus of the government, we get empty promises every five years.
Last week a close friend lost a parent. In normal circumstances, we would have hopped onto a bus and gone to pay our condolences, but with Ministry of Health guidelines on social gatherings, we had to pass our messages via the phone.
It felt cold and impersonal but, as Mutahi Kagwe keeps saying, abnormal circumstances call for abnormal ways of doing things. Then President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday visited city slum Mukuru, with a large crowd disregarding the MoH rules.
We were not surprised. The ruling class has always acted as if they are above the law. Some people have blamed this on impunity. Others call it hypocrisy, while others yet call it bad leadership. I beg to differ.
I think the system in Kenya is working just as it is supposed to. When Kenya was a colony, the laws passed then only applied to the colonised Africans — from the hut tax to the Kipande system, to forced labour.
The ruling class, mostly whites, was exempt from those things. When Kenya got independence in 1963, instead of replacing that system, we replaced white colonialists with black ones.
Fifty-seven years later, the ruling class is still above the law. Our resources are still exploited for other people’s benefit, many people are squatters while a few people own huge tracts of land; our voices are not heard by the ruling class; police brutality reigns supreme; poor children go to schools with no laboratories or libraries while the elite’s children go to good schools and come back to rule us.
Millions of us live in poverty but instead of that being the focus of the government, we get empty promises every five years. The only difference between our grandparents’ era and ours is the skin colour of those who rule us. Otherwise we are still colonised.