Julius Kambarage Nyerere has been published widely and has written against corruption. Tanzanians are slowly falling into the grip of corruption. It is not enough to say ‘Don’t do that!’ They have to make hard choices. “Corruption is the world’s fastest spreading vice” Philo Ikonya, author
Nyerere, Uhuru na Umoja! This article was triggered by petty thefts by the people not the elected as such, but it goes further. Are we giving back to Kenya what she gives us? Often times free land for education purposes. I know that. And more. is there another form of stealing from the land that we do not see or respond to?
OK. In other areas I am the Good Thief. I too, will steal heaven. Where is this going? Mea culpa for mine. But are we holding up the ‘Good Thieves’ too high, too long? We are told in the end they stole heaven. “Remember us Lord, when you come to your Kingdom” “Memento nobis Domine… . regnum tuum” “Bwana utukumbuke utakapofika katika ufalme wako” “ŨtŨririkane Mwathani wakinya Ũthamaki inĩ waku!” Sorry don’t know Arabic but Kiswahili is related.
Naku, did you steal from me in the name of God? You know yourself. I ended up telling you that you would have clapped at my disability … my loss of speech. You would steal me? My voice? Wait.
Many pose as good people. A look at individuals first. Yes, also those who are always working for people with this and that problem. You can read in Social Media or letters … “Oh, I help people with disability, join me let us fundraise!” And what I did connect with the project was appropriated to personal things. I am glad I resisted the invitation to be part of. Perfect trap.
Those in the Diaspora are shaven clean often, by their very own. A man told me how he rode his ‘own’ matatu in disguise and heard his ‘crew’ and how they left for lunch at 11am to an expensive resort daily. Si mdosi ako ng’ambo? They asked. ‘Isn’t our boss abroad? Where snow and money fall from above like manna. Eat him! See he can’t even trust his own family…Kula yeye kabisa!” But it good that he heard it for himself. Are our leaders listeners? Do they dress as beggars to hear how the people speak when they are not on a podium? Do you, who cannot be hanged, speak to them when you play and remember, say Uhuru Kenyatta’s school days? When you read together, perhaps Tom Brown School Days? We are the people and they are us.
How do you convince the easy to stereotype world… this is NOT African? Most at the top in the continent are well, not exemplary. Nyerere was virtually a saint. And to steal, is really was no part of our culture…not Ubuntu, not Utu, not traditional. Jomo Kenyatta the anthropologist writes in Facing Mt. Kenya that thieves were rolled down a hill in a burning hive in the days of yore. And we? And he and you and you and you?
Now we preach a lot on the streets and steal through churches. We need new clothes and before them we need sacks. If only some people would stop making the excuse that poverty in Africa makes people steal. Huge lie. Go find out if people steal in that sense of the word in Mogadishu…Somalia, even when there is terror, in Juba, even when there is war…
Shame on Nairobi and Nairoberry…Corruption going through the roof and knows no borders. It is crawling into Tanzania this general thieving. My friend and researcher was stabbed at the University of Dar… two years ago, by someone going for her purse. Now, would Nyerere turn in his grave. They had to show him as president a piece of land where to build his house. And when he finished paying school fees for his children, he pleaded with a bank to review his mortgage terms….Extend it.
How are the children of politicians living in Kenya? How are the children of presidents from the first to the fourth doing? How are their class and elite in Kenya living? Same wild debts as in the U.S.A? Does this matter? Absolute luxury in many cases. And yes, collective responsibility also in this. When Langata Primary School, to pick one example was stolen, how come all of these are on the side of silence? Would it hurt or build your power if some of you spoke out? What a sea of indifference, the Indian Ocean is smaller. But in Masses we amass to impress do we not? And call on the name of the spiritually upright to gain us points in moral authority. Read the prophet Jeremiah? Read the others. Power is corrupting all, it knows not man, not woman. Children are in tow.
Regarding ordinary people who are said to steal chicken and other small things. It is not always the powerful that teaches them that, but it makes it worse. Scandals kill consciences of the people. One good Thomas More shakes them for years. Like his wife Margaret and daughter, I know this is old fashioned but power of virtue does not dies. We do not lack examples even in our own homes. Women of all seasons. From tradition. People who will not touch a thing that is not their own. But thanks to you, and you and you, whenever stuff, say a phone, was missing in a certain school I know abroad, Somali children and black ones were checked twice, first and fast. I still stood up against it. But you have to see African people trying to leave the continent. At Lampedusa. At Visa offices. Immigration places. Thieving and bribing to pass driving lessons, just like most of our politicians, to drive the nation. Wrong speed. There are rules to this as to everything. Should we punish the outspoken? Some by wanting to defame and hide them and others by arresting them?
Back to each individual. No compliment….no apology… You at home, you sit there crying that they are against you…. in Kenya…Let us get a sense of shame back? Some people are using tragedies to be fake security officers, disease and disability to lay claims, to beg. I hear already….”I am from Garissa…I was…”
Let us back to good examples. http://goo.gl/16ig71 I agree regarding many of these.. here in that link. ..but Gadaffi… I have some thoughts. I do not agree with sitting on power for 42 years in order to do good. The seat rots. It is a form of greed. What you teach instead is that only You can do good, the people are useless. Lies. That does not mean he never breathed any good air.
So helpers. Donors, tourists…. Before you open your purse… your mouth… remember money and betrayal knows no God…They eat their own. To name or not to name? Another one. He continues getting your money. Ordinary Kenyan with a name runs companies, Foundation. Helps the poor, the ones who cannot go to school. Yes even in turns up to stand with civil society, and what about political parties? That is where you found him with friends that you trust and… he is an adviser to the youth. Steals money. When you think of courts, they all learned to hide the evidence. Tell me then.
Money I know was sweated for by a boy in school and working abroad. When he is aske he has no answer. Afterwards, he places demands. He can do that or that if you give him more. Mafia is home. He posts pictures of the disabled. You ask again. “This are the people we are helping, don’t spoil my name… surely…” You tell his wife, she asks you… ‘What were you doing sending that one money, we helped the party, candidates, women?” Politics is a huge cover for unseen thieving. The State nearly collapses with the grabbing mentality at work. Not just of phones on the streets.Ordinary people need fine examples from top down. You lend them money, even a little bit and wait for it to be repaid? How can we help ourselves? The more the insecurity, the more the break of law and virtues, of moral codes. Women stripped and raped. Children.
Social Media desperados…*NB… on Internet, my ‘Friend” is anybody. They could bear a name you know but not be the ones… It is not that I do not trust you but on Internet we are in another land. You Fb you can be next door in Machakos in the sun and tell me you are in Iceland…Someone in claiming to be in America reaped heavily money into accounts worldwide during Kenya’s 2013 election, claiming to help those who stood for high ideals. Started immense chats where your name was just added and people listened in…. When I demanded a receipt after they claimed to have reached a lawyer…It was all false..James Ololo https://www.facebook.com/james.ololo?fref=ts saved us…with information.
Mule Martin Told us too why some people follow one on Facebook. No time to waste. They steal. Any calamity is prone to abuse. Your name can be used to open accounts. Please on Fb I have no money to transact or money from anywhere…
Mule and Ololo…There are very active people on Fb always sharing criticism and ideas. Constructive. Are you going to learn from them? Are you giving it your best shot, this Internet Baraza ya Wananchi, or is it a nuisance? Is it what you give up for Lent? Well, it is not that for those radicalising… It is a priority. Are you watching out for fundamentalism in your own circles? Mule Martin https://www.facebook.com/mule.martin.7?fref=ts spreads his fire there, it does not matter that we differ in some things… he puts out what he believes And you? Yesterday he was courageous to write this: “Corruption in Kenya is reached cancer proportions and its being done in the office of the President Uhuru Kenyatta, how can we believe that#UhuruKenyatta can deal blow to Graft when junior officers in his office are sacred cows?” Some of you are closer to power, do you speak out in the small rooms when the cups of tea or coffee click?
I refer to those who swindled us in the election 2013, asking for money of Fb. How different are thy from those who could not count the votes? How many of you asked that we do not proceed with such uncertainty or even refer to it today? And these people too also invited us to projects, yes. All over Europe. Kudos again we never even wanted to know where their projects are. Washing toilets is better! From where I spring back to schools in Kenya. Just a few. Allow me to cross fast because not everything can be said everywhere.
But are there other more complex ways of stealing? Are people entrusted with the common good of education moving the young@50 ’embryo nation’ as Prof Makau Mutua calls it. If they are not, is that upright? Social Justice. Social Sins. I start with a few girl oriented schools I know. There are so many so let me pick on Loretos who by the way, could take the world, not just any country by storm.
Not everyone could afford to go to Loreto… where are all those girls from Ng’iya and what are they going to do to perpetuate Grace Ogot’s works? Asumbi? Kenya High: Ida Odinga and millions of brilliant women in Kenya have been there. Where are you? Saints Old Boys and Girls… do you at least discuss if tribalism is possible because of the way the school systems work. Who are the ones in the top schools. I think this should not be dangerous to look at. There are worse things, like drugs in schools, radicalisation.
Muslim Girls, Parklands, Matuga…. Coastal schools and Muslim schools have also led and turned out great people and they are everywhere in other schools. But Africa and the world… own a history of keeping Muslim institutions of higher learning down. I remember reading about that and it began long ago. Well…I don’t have the details here. What I know is that stealing is not favoured and that when an Imaam pronounced a certain curse after looting happened in Mombasa, people replaced what they had taken. Your shopping is safer in Dubai than in Rome.
Let us face it… school groups in Social Media tend to look back rather than ahead of the nation. Comments on old photos…”Oh,,, there is Mrs Saldhana and Sr. Maire!” These people played their role and burnt the midnight oil for you in Kenya to move it! How hard did the nuns work? How did Sr. Hyancith get you to pass your Math? How to win hockey in your “province’. But the Loretos were classed schools for some time. This changed somewhat. But there is a very large group of inaccessible top range school leavers who will not touch the what? The muck of social change. Not that way please. Well. Kenya bled. Cruci dum spiro Fido. Voices as one? Nil. Not on the latest massacre in Garissa. Is that our business? What do you think Sr so and so would have said? Probably no. Concentrate on your studies. But now… you are out there. Tell yourself. Tell your feet.
Why did I try to write in poor Latin? I had my days….and I reflect. Of the most highly rated institutions of education in Kenya are a number of Catholic based ones, and Protestant. Mottos: “Dum Cruci dum Spiro Fido”… Loreto. Past Loretos have done a sterling job in serving Kenyan society. They ought to keep it going. Somehow for them it works. Former past students includes names you can google and which deserve doodles. There is much apathy elsewhere, but only in criticism, not with hobnobbing with power in silence. The churches credibility is gone, but some of you are closely connected with these same churches.
The Loretos, very generalised here, They have their failures of course but they have been heard. Just a few but if you follow them on Fb they make it to meetings. With Twelve women Mary Ward believed one could change the world. I cannot believe the Loretos are not able to turn Kenya against ethnic intolerance, for example. And even go for the highest offices in the land. The Loreto nuns, and others inclusive since this is not exhaustive educated us for work and some thinking.
I will not name them here but they go from the late Nobel Prize winner Prof Wangari Maathai, to Nyamodi (once in charge of City Hall Nairobi, I remember the positive and the negative…) and so many more. There are so many and they relate with a huge network across Kenya now.
Kianda, In Opere et veritatem. Very many people known and visibly in support of Kenya’s leadership today went to this school. The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta did. She is doing her work well, running marathons for zero tolerance of maternal mortality. There is more that must and can be done. It is fine to play one school but for those who see different pools, diversity and openness are not just for fools. Sure there are poor records of First Ladies before but… words of truth are important. Great work in Kianda but locked up voices?
St. Mary’s school in Nairobi. Uhuru Kenyatta was a student there. I would like him to define this in our mother tongues: Bonitas, Disciplina, Scientia”, which is Latin for “Goodness, Discipline, Knowledge”.
Strathmore….School, ‘Ut omnes unum sint!” “That they maybe one!” Strathmore University: https://www.facebook.com/StrathmoreUniversity… the same.. “Ut omnes unum sint!” Alliance School, or Bush… Strong to Serve…. with the boys having a yahoo site called Bushfire… But fine… these are mottos…
Why is it that after years of Kenya producing famous students from these schools all I see is lots of people not speaking out when Kenya is in a situation of crisis? Do the many graduates live here? And… why are we afraid to have our children associate with activists? At least some parents that I know.
How on earth could a whole lecturer in the law faculty at Strathmore go on and on about the kind of useless shoeless activism that some people like: akina Philo Ikonya, poet, novelist and activist do? Ann Njogu told me about that. She too was pointed out in that ridicule, and Orie Rogo Manduli. These are three very different people. Commonality: Women who stood up no matter how dark and regardless or how misunderstood. They would gladly still share a table and that is love. No need to make fun of their bit. Not possible even of Orie’s scarves and peccadilloes. Hold a candle, don’t light one.
But silence. They are doing a lot of good work. I know. But one urgent job is to stop kowtowing to power. Speak truth to power. Many top families are among your friends. Nobody begrudges you that… but really…Let me the activist be. And read my words, if you will. Are you having sleepless nights about a top university of Nairobi student being a mastermind of terror? I know it was not your campus but when do you unite tribes as one and when do you unite positive energy? If you are an active citizen, speak out. It does not end with casting a vote.