Sunday, September 08, 2013

The fig leaf.

It is not enough to claim that the International Criminal Court is a Western tool of neo-colonialism, even when the men who have been indicted at the Court are all Africans. It is not enough to claim that the imminent trials of the President and Deputy President at the Court are ploys to destabilise the nation, even though their trials may very well do that. It is not enough to claim that the civil society human rights industry is in cahoots with unnamed foreign powers simply because their funds are routed through suspicious bank accounts. It is not enough to claim that the trials of the President and Deputy President could very well take place in Kenya because we have sufficiently reformed the Judiciary that it is able to dispense even-handed justice. It is not enough to do all this because thousands of Kenyans are still dead, tens of thousands of Kenyans have lost their property or had it expropriated without just compensation, and hundreds of thousands of Kenyans bear physical and mental scars that may never heal.

This is the week when it emerges that the government of the people, by the people and for the people is an ideal that favours the few at the expense of the many. The events of the past few months demonstrate as nothing else will that "the people" are only an abstraction, a figment of the popular imagination abroad in the land. The "government" exists for the few; it does the bidding of the few; it is made up of the few. The "few" have always existed in Kenya, taking up various guises, all of them pernicious: settlers, colonists, well-heeled, well-connected tycoons, and the sons and daughters of the favoured few.

The people exist as cannon-fodder for the amusement of the few. They are rallied to causes as diverse as teachers and doctors' strikes, elections, or political arm-twisting contests of no value. A stalwart members of the few, Rachel Shebesh, decides to "side" with the people against the erudite and cerebral symbol of the the same few she belongs to. In her verbal and physical assault on the person of the Governor of Nairobi, and in his physical and verbal assault on her in retaliation, the plight of the people is forgotten. Whether they should retain their jobs or whether they should get better terms is forgotten. It is a war of the egos of one member of the elite against another. The people have served their purpose. They may return to the detritus of their lives. One day soon, they will against be called out to stand in solidarity with the one against the other. That is their purpose in life.

This phenomenon plays itself out on the national stage. Thousands of Kenyans are set upon by their neighbours and erstwhile friends. Many of them are murdered in cold blood. Their homes and fields are set ablaze and their livestock butchered where they stand. Hundreds of thousands of them are driven from their homes and forced into concentration camps, what the civil society human rights industry calls IDP camps. A few days later, people who had nothing to do with these events are targetted by militia armed to the teeth and butchered and maimed in their homes. More and more of them are driven from their homes, which are set ablaze and they too, find themselves in other concentration camps. The peoples' lives have been disrupted. Their sons' and daughters' education has been disrupted. They live, and look, like animals. The "government" spends a considerable chunk of national treasure to find out who was responsible for the cataclysm. Six men are accused of it. The case against three collapses for want of evidence. The case against the remaining three is set to proceed. The people are about to be called out to "protest" the indignity of the trials of the three in a foreign land because "Kenya has the capacity" to do it on its own.

A member of the "few" with a gymnast's ability to twist himself argues that that the "people", by "overwhelmingly" voting for two of the accused have rejected their trials in a foreign court. His boon friend of similar ability argues that it is the civil society human rights industry, sponsored from parts unknown, that should answer for the crimes being tried abroad. Both make passing reference to the fates of the victims, but only in a conflation of the plight of those in concentration camps and the three. The victim and the accused are the same, you see? Soon the intellectuals will read and reread the social compact called the Constitution, and they will argue that its words do not mean what they say. They will argue that it is OK to use it as a fig leaf for the avarice, caprice and heartlessness of the few.


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