The recent arrest of Mwalimu Mutemi Wa Kiama, an activist who has dedicated his life fighting for the rights of and political education of the African citizens reminded me of the dark Moi era. Mr. Mutemi, a communication specialist, has been active both on social media platforms and on the ground, putting Governments as well as its institutions on the check. I have had the opportunity to interact with him on several occasions and the picture that emerges is that of a calm, sober intellectual with a ferocious love for his country. A pan African who you will often find in the thick of online protests against dictatorships and injustice across the continent he is one who has given his time and resources to Africa Rising ideology. You will find him running and inspiring online campaigns on twitter and Facebook in support of freedom fighters from Uganda to Sudan to South Africa.
Mutemi is one of the few guys that you can have a very lengthy conversation with and never realize how first time went, he has a grasp of our history and tells what school never taught us. The man behind one of the longest-running hashtag #UshenziKE which has never been afraid of speaking truth to power, the need for a mindset change is what drives him and seeks to emancipate Kenyans in particular and African in general from modern-day mental slavery. “What’s the worst that can happen? ” he once asked and I told him, “Maybe silence,” he smiled and said, “If they silence us then more will be born.” His recent arrest sparked social media anger. Many who heard of him after his arrest, and even those who didn’t know him have had a chance to learn one or two things about the role he plays in our current society. Malcolm X once said, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
The role of activism in reforming any society cannot be gainsaid and almost all parts of the World have witnessed changes through activism. Activism managed to end slavery, challenging dictatorships, protecting workers from exploitation, protecting the environment, promoting equality for women, opposing racism, and many other important issues. The most recent being the black lives matter protests which followed the recent killing of George Floyd by rogue police officers. Americans have come out of the streets calling for police reforms and an end to the continued profiling of black people. These protests ironically are being led by young people and that only serves to reiterate the fact that with the right guidance young people can bring us the second or third liberation.
Millennials will form the larger bulk of 2022 voters and these are folks who have little or no real history of their past. These are individuals who have no idea about the purported independence which was simply transferred of power to colonialists in black skin. The only way to churn a new future for this generation is by focusing more on ensuring that we unlearn what was fed to us by those who lied that they gave us independence. We are still under the chains of colonization and the kind of system that was transferred is still hindering us from realizing our real potential. These shackles need to be broken and we need to push harder in ensuring we create a crop of youths who understand that the only thing uniting us is our poverty. Time to erase the colonialists’ classification of us using the tribe factor and focus more on the fact that we only have two tribes, the haves and the have nots.
The fight for a system that is working is a collective responsibility and the sooner we all agree that it is now or never the better chance we have of correcting the mess. South Africa is pushing hard with a youthful Malema and Uganda has hope in the all-powerful Bobi Wine who has made a decision to stand up against injustice. I see so many Malemas and Bobi Wines in our midst and many more are still afraid to stand up and fight for the truth. The fight for the truth doesn’t rest on the shoulder of a few but it is rather our collective responsibility and we all ought to fight to the end and not be scared by anyone. This battle can be won if we all realize that a country that obeys the law, respects the constitution, delivers on its mandate, has institutions that work for the people, and rewards the hard work of every single citizen is a right and not just a privilege. It wouldn’t matter who is the President as long as service is delivered to every corner of the country, at the end of the day a poor man in Nairobi has the same challenges as a poor man in Isiolo.