Happy Birthday Son of Jomo
By Boniface Mwangi,
You don’t have to be your father’s son. Your dad started as a freedom fighter, lived in exile, married a white woman at the height of the struggle to survive – in those days, it was akin to sleeping with the enemy. He was so broke, he acted in a movie to make some money. He couldn’t even make rent.
He returned and was imprisoned. Later, when the colonial occupiers proferred self-rule, Jaramogi Odinga said, there is no freedom without Jomo Kenyatta. People died for Jomo Kenyatta to be free. He was released, denounced the freedom fighters and when Kenya became independent, he ran away with the trophy to celebrate with the colonialists. Instead of taking back the land the British stole from us, they bribed him with some of it, so he wouldn’t confiscate their loot. The British taught your father about land-grabbing. That’s how your family owns over 500,000 acres. The first person to oppose your father’s land grabbing was General Baimungi, who hailed from Meru, where he lived and fought to liberate his land from the British occupation.
When independence beckoned in December 1963, Baimungi and his comrades insisted the Mau Mau should be incorporated into the national army. They also demanded that loyalists be kicked out of government and the British military officers repatriated. To forestall a looming crisis, the founding President, Jomo Kenyatta, invited the disgruntled generals, led by Baimunge, for a meeting on December 30, 1963, at State House, Nakuru. Kenyatta told them to surrender their guns and give his government a chance to serve its people.
Baimungi and three other Mau Mau Generals, Mwariama, Ruku and Chui, formed an army of 200 green-uniformed men, dusted their rifles and returned to the northern slope of Mount Kenya to fight on.
As the Mau Mau historian, Maina wa Kinyatti, writes in A History of Struggle, a subsequent meeting in Kenyatta’s Gatundu home did not unlock the stalemate, even after Kenyatta offered each fighter the princely sum of Sh600, land, a flag and a KANU card. General Baimungi reacted angrily and, during a subsequent meeting in Gatundu on March 31, 1964, he reportedly told Kenyatta: “We reject your offer because it amounts to a bribe. You know that we fought and died for the liberation of this land, and not for money and a few acres of land.” After this meeting, Generals Baimungi, Chui and Ruku who had dedicated their youth to liberate their country were all assassinated on January 26, 1965 by Jomo’s government.
Pio Gama Pinto, a freedom fighter, worked tirelessly to have Kenyatta released from jail and refurbished his home in preparation for the day the prisoner would be set free. Later, when Jomo started grabbing land, Pinto opposed him; at one point Pio even called Kenyatta a “land grabber”. In February 1965, Jomo and Pinto had a verbal exchange at parliament buildings and on 24th February 1965, Pinto was assassinated in his driveway while waiting for the gate to be opened. And Jomo wasn’t satisfied after killing Pinto. In 1969, he also killed Tom Mboya and, in 1975, JM Kariuki, who famously said, “Kenya has become a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.”
Your dad did horrible things in this country; killing his comrades, betraying the freedom fighters, and getting involved in poaching. After he died in office, his Vice President, Moi, took over to loot, rape and kill Kenyans for the next 24 years. He introduced voter bribery, tribal clashes, torture chambers, disappearances, tribalism, and land grabbing became the norm under his tenure.
But you, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You have no idea what it means to live on a tight budget and even lack, at times. People thought you would be different, that since you were a rich man, corruption would become a thing of the past. I didn’t think so. I have never voted for you, but millions of Kenyans were charmed by Jomo’s son. You didn’t fall far from your father’s shadow. You have a drinking problem, an insatiable appetite for wasting public funds, and no hesitation to have those who oppose you harassed, or even killed. You also have ZERO respect for the Constitution.
The house you’re raising your family in, comes from the proceeds of crime. Your father was gifted the house by the Aga Khan family, in exchange for allocating them public land. He hived off part of Central Park and gave it to them in exchange for that house on Dennis Pritt Road. That place where you work from is also a crime scene. State House is where the British planned how to murder Africans, and subsequent occupiers, from Jomo, Moi, Kibaki and yourself have authorized the murder of those who they deemed to be a threat.
As a spoiled prince, you have zero understanding of budgeting or self-control. If you like a new shiny toy, like the SGR, or laptops project, no matter how unaffordable and foolish the idea is, you demand to have it. You grew up knowing you can be drunk every single day of your life and never go broke, or sleep in a ditch. Unlike those drunks in my village, it’s not even your wife who picks up after you, it’s paid help. You now treat Kenyans like your help, we have to service the money you borrow, so that your friends can steal. Your friends, unlike any other past corrupt regime, prefer stealing in billions.
If you’re not a thief, you have 22 months before your term ends. You will go home whether you like it or not. Building Bridges to nowhere initiative will not give you another mandate. You might have grown up in State House and came to assume that Kenya is your personal property, but it’s not.
If you don’t to act to save your legacy, your children and their grandkids will pay. Nature has a way of balancing itself and your children will curse your cowardice.
Because you like asking, “what do you want me to do?”, allow me to tell you that you must save yourself, because if you don’t, President Uhuru, the revolution will eat you. You can fight corruption if you really wanted to. At your disposal is Parliament, where you have a majority, courtesy of your handcheque with Raila Odinga. You have the National Intelligence Service, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Military Intelligence, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the National Police Service and the Military. All the people in these offices would do their jobs very well if they knew they had the backing of the President.
Unfortunately, they don’t. You and your family have been running Kenya like personal property, benefiting your businesses from government projects, appointing your relatives to State jobs. Maybe you should just announce an amnesty, anyone involved in corruption to resign from public office, return what they stole and be banned from ever running for public office. Just do something, prove you’re not as hopeless and useless as Kenyans have come to perceive you.
Boniface is a political activist and leader of Ukweli Party of Kenya.