A Letter to My Father, and Others

Dear Baba,

This is an odd and public and rhetorical letter, on a subject that recent tradition has asked us to sweep under the carpet. I find myself, at 35, at odds with the tone and nature and political space that is Gikuyu. For the first time in my life, in the Kibaki government, my identity as a Gikuyu has been questioned, I have seen text messages distributed amongst Gikuyus about “beasts from the West” and the like.

You have brought me up to be a skeptical person, a thinking person, a Kenyan first, a Nakuru boy, a person who believes in solid institutions, in building them, and growing them – as you did so well for so many years.

This present wave of “uGikuyu” seems to have sucked up a whole generation of people: who believe that the future of Kenya lies ONLY under a Gikuyu umbrella. To me this seems like crazy and corrupt politics, capitalising on the post- Mau Mau, and post Kenyatta entitlements and paranoias that have been past on from parent to child, often without explanation or analysis – and now what is we have is a vague formless fear of the unknown from the ‘other side’.

Last week, some young man, a university graduate told me that the clashes were about “the KAMATUSA tribes killing the Gikuyus”. Basic information would counter this – but educated people, PARENTS, are passing this bigotry on.

On the other side of our family: from Mum’s side, a genocide happened.

I find I cannot be silent about the politiking and the text messaging xenophobia that has infected, it seems, all sensible Gikuyus. I say this because no prominent people are speaking against this: this insane kitchen cabinet of an insane presidency is using fear to keep Gikuyus on their side, and this is causing serious damage to our place, and the place of our children in a future Kenya. Not even the Moi Kalenjin junta caused so much social and tribal friction, in such a short time. It is now Gikuyu versus Kenya – with yuppies saying Kenya does not know what it talking about because Kibaki has planted flowers in roundabouts.

Like any, many young people, I am at a loss what do or say. We are heading to a very dangerous place, displaying a sense of entitlement and ethnic chauvinism that can only lead to violence – all, its seems, to keep a few people who made money during Kenyatta’s time happy and wealthy.

Some friends of mine have said that we are “owed” because we “suffered” under Moi.

Who did not suffer under Moi?

Many people want to speak of these things and agree there is a problem in bars and huddles and not in public. Few people have this conversation with their parents. In clear and naked transparency. Why?

You did not bring me up to react like this.

I will not react like this. I know how much you have believed and invested in the idea of a functional and forward-looking Kenya. I feel that the Gikuyus who feel this way should make themselves public – it is not an affirmation of anything, no ideology – simply a declaration of one’s loyalty to a good and clean Kenya

Is it not time that right minded people started to speak out?

I am sending this email out to you all trusted friends, with love. Post, and distribute this if you can.

Please forward the question to those you feel want to start a dialogue. What is the challenge of this generation? Why is nobody of your generation making their stand clear? Is this government something to approve of? Are “we” behind this new government?

Am I missing a particular conversation?

Why can’t we name this problem?

How can we stop the hate?

With much love,

Your son,

Binyavanga Wainaina

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About bulletsandhoney
I read my first book when I was three, then my second one a few weeks later. It has carried on this way for decades with only temporary distractions of eating, fighting, loving, heartbreak and other such irrelevant biographical details.

43 Responses to A Letter to My Father, and Others

  1. Acolyte says:

    Well written I must say!Good to hear what goes on in the head of one of those on the “other” side…

  2. JOE says:

    Dear wainaina,

    I am sorry that at the age of 35 we have to talk about this issue. But it seems you have a few things mixed up .First let me correct you. You are a kikuyu first and a Kenyan second. Long before the colonial government formed Kenya you were a kikuyu and long after the united states of Africa forms you will still be a kikuyu.

    Son we have brought you up to be a skeptical ,thinking person like you have indicated ,believing in solid institution and building them but my dear son let me remind you that when you build a house you have to begin with the foundation, a strong tree can not grow without strong roots. You foundation as a strong African begin by being a strong Kenyan, and your being a strong Kenyan begins with being a strong mgikuyu.

    My dear son do not be an apologetic for who you are. Do not be ashamed of your blood and your heritage. Son sometimes in life people will blame for their own laziness and inability to adopt to the modern world .Do not think that because you are able to cope and survive that you should take the blame for their failures.

    My son! Sometimes member of our own community will act foolishly but that should not worry you .after all every market has its mad man. It doesn’t mean that the whole village is mad .so dear wainaina do not over react to the situation at hand .like every other cloud it too shall come to pass. Long before it was Kenya vs. us we defeated the British, before that countless others. So don’t worry .Only remember it is said Nyumba ya Gikuyu and Mumbi igikajeta—nigeteka!

    Your loving uncle

    Uncle Joe

  3. Adhis-toto says:

    Things fall apart…

    A lot of things about your piece leave me guessing so I will not comment on specific details but this I will say. Fear drives us to form hard shells around the identities we know; it is easier for we as kenyans to identify with our specific tribes that already have strong cultural backgrounds that we can relate to than to identify with a Kenya that is marked by a failed “post-colonial” history. Our fathers and forefathers are just trying to “protect us” from the cruel world. Unfortunately there is no longer room for this kind of school of thought in the modern world..as okonkwo so aptly put it..its too late. That is how things fall apart.

  4. Mwenye Nchi says:

    It’s time we chose what we want to be; stronger, progressive together or divided and fighting for scraps of cultural (tribal) pride on the street.
    So Uncle Joe, Wainaina was Gikuyu first in the last century. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to bring that back. This century demands for Wainaina to be Kenyan first.

  5. Anonymous says:

    im not kikuyu but i have to say polticics i so polarizing its like the only 2 ideas in kenya are either u are pro-kikuya or anti-kikuyu regardless of hwta the politcians try to say thats the driving fore of NARC and ODM
    -NARC is a pro kikuyu vehicle
    -ODM is the anti-kikuyu vehicle

    everything else is a lie.

  6. acolyte says:

    Dear Uncle Joe,
    You are a kikuyu first and a Kenyan second.
    That may have been true before our country became a republic but is no longer the case.
    I mean there is no Kikuyu state in existance in Kenya at the present time.When you meet someone and he asks you where you are from do you tell them you are a kikuyu from Kenya or a Kenyan who is Kikuyu?
    Same way has here in the state one says they are American first and Texan second.
    It is because of that mindset that makes people see themselves as separate entities and not part of one nation that leads to ethnocentricism and prevents progress in Kenya.
    Your fellow Kenyan
    Bwana Acolyte

  7. coldtusker says:

    Binya – That was one of the most profound letters I have ever read…

    If only we had more like you!

    I do hope your Father & Uncle Joe understand the new Binyavanga.

  8. Binyavanga says:

    Dear Uncle Joe,

    Ah. Thank you for your wise words! For, honestly, until you told me, I had no idea what I was first or second.

    I am enlightened and positively provoked by your contribution: it is wonderful to discover that I was a Kikuyu even before I was born; it is even more useful to discover from you that I am a Kikuyu because other people are lazy; and I am a Kikuyu first because you say so – and because you know me so well.

    Now I know!

    Some peope may view your statement as xenophobic – but, wink, wink, we all know better don’t we -you have spoken deep truths and I am not not confused at all.

    By the way, Uncle Joe, by name is Binyavanga. A Gikuyu name too, uncle, as it came to me through our naming system.

    It would be good if you would use it.

    I will do as you ask and say nothing about all the madmen in the village who are robbing Kenya and Kikuyus blind. For we must close ranks and protect them – madmen are our people too!

    Can you help me join the new government to contribute postively to my FirstKikuyuness?

    Do I need to take an oath?

  9. bankelele says:

    Very profound. You’ve called out a debate that the country is getting very polarized in homes but no one speaks about openly. More is better, otherwise politicians will fan the next election into another referendum vote

  10. Wanjiku says:

    Am Kenyan first and Kikuyu second – I stand to be counted.
    We have had two Kikuyu presidents but my village is poorer than I can remember. I have had the opportunity to visit Kalenjin land and I saw poverty similar if not worse than that in my Kikuyu village – despite a Kalenjin president with immense powers.
    My fellow Kikuyus, do not let yourselves be used to perpetuate sleeze and cronyism in the name of having “one of our own”.

  11. AK says:

    Good that we can talk about this as sane Kenyans.

    Nobody benefits from this animosity apart from the few who instigate it to maintain their status quo.

    The average Kenyan struggles daily, faces similar challenges and only gets to see the politician, or the rich industrialists, only and only when these upper class want something from them such as votes! They are rarely available to serve and to give but to take away.

    Tribalism is whipped up to confuse us from the real fight, that of seeking accountability and fighting poverty. The real war should be a war against poverty, unfair destribution of wealth and theft of public resources!

    I am an African, proudly Kenyan and a daughter of the lake! But there is no excuse for using these attributes to hate on others.

    Get a life Joe!

  12. joe says:

    Dear Wainaina

    And i insist on calling you wainaina. i am glad you received my letter in good faith.i am also glad that your letter provoked the commentry it has.

    Son yes it is in did true that the village mad man is our mad man and when a choice has to be made between our village mad man and the other villages mad men, i think i would rather support our mad man.Until other contrustive villagers in our village or the other village come up.i am sorry to say i trust our mad man.You see my son that is the very problem we face a lark of choice.Given two bad choices then we have no other option but to choose the one we can relate to at some level.

    As pointed out in one of the comments i am glad that you respect my choice to be a kikuyu first and a kenyan second.they are both who i am and that does not mean i devalue the number two.i take great pribe in both and i am sure you will find it in your heart to do the same .My son you can be a proud kikuyu and a proud kenyan,the two are not mutually exclusive as some would like to insist .

    Now my son since you last reply i too have been doing alot of thinking your letter spoke volumes and i hope this correspondance can continue.On the issue of the oath . you dont need to worry about that. when you were born you were automatically oathed remember i said ‘Nyumba ya Gikuyu and Mumbi igikajeta—nigeteka!’maybe your raising this issue is your call to that oath

    your loving uncle

    uncle joe

  13. m says:

    Profound letter … very profound. A similar discussion is going on at

    http://www.thinkersroom.com/blog/2006/09/squared-circles

    Some of the comments are stunning!

  14. Zephyr says:

    I am not sure whether to cry, so I will comment.
    Binya – Thanks for bringing this out. It is only by discussing it and not sweeping it under the carpet that we will be able to deal with it.

    I am Kikuyu, as a fact of life like that I breathe in air. Not as a prerequisite or a basis for any of the things that I do in my life. Our parents thankfully, and very thankfully are dying out, and as thankfully, the disease with which they are trying to infect us is not as contagious as it was when they picked it up from their parents. And a disease it was if it makes us think along those kind of sick lines. We are losing bits of our culture as a nation, but if the result will be a more cohesive tribe-less nation, then good riddance. Education and exposure are supposed to be a good thing, but clearly in this case only if they are applied by an open mind.
    Thank God, truly, truly thank God that that generation is dying away, and there is nothing they can do about it. Also thank God that the next one is by dint of socialization, and marriage becoming more integrated.

    ‘Uncle Joe’, if you will, tell me what tribe my daughter is, then I will pledge to you my ‘Ugikuyu’, plus my future children’s. Her father is a ‘beast’ from the Lakeside, does that make her one too, or does my pure blood running in her veins cleanse her from any ‘unGikuyuness’? If today, we were, as Gikuyus to mount a campaign, of any nature, against the ‘rest’, what side of that divide would she fall? Perhaps, you can enlighten me on what makes one a ‘MuGikuyu’?

  15. Kamau says:

    I think we are experiencing the evolution of a new tribe called Kenyans. Culture is not static and all cultures influenced and borrow from other cultures. The urbanization of Kenya is creating a new tribe that borrows from all Kenyan cultures and other external cultures.

    The friction we see is between those that identify with our pre-colonial tribes and those that identify with the newer emerging tribe of Kenya. The Kenyan tribe identifies with all that is Kenyan and thus the nationalistic outlook as compared to the narrower tribal outlook. I see this schism in my own family, the “other” tribe says the politically correct things but their actions and unguarded comments make me realize what tribe they really identify with. I believe that eventually the Kenyan tribe will grow with future generations, unfortunately the Kenyan tribe is still a minority tribe and dose not has a large constituency.

  16. joe says:

    ZEPHYR@.i think my jest about the mad man in our village and the other mad men in other villages explains my position clearly. The thought that a few intermarriages within a small class of urban middle class kenyanslike yourself will send tribal heritages into oblivion is ridiculas.
    what happens in kenya is determined by the masses in rural areas.
    ps if i am not wrong when you married a man from lake according to kikuyu custom you became one of them and your daughter is a luo .that said she should not be ashamed of her luo heritage or expect others to be ashamed of theirs

  17. MMK says:

    What is it that makes me Gikuyu? To what must I be true to consider myself a good Gikuyu or a good Kenyan for that matter? In what must I take pride or not? What does it mean that I was born Gikuyu or Kenyan? Oh what the hell, let me quote madkenyanwoman who is quoting ‘The Invention of Tradition’ (see the rest of her post on tradition here: http://madkenyanwoman.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_madkenyanwoman_archive.html)

    ‘Many practices which are considered traditional are in fact quite recent inventions, often deliberately constructed to serve particular ideological ends. The Invention of Tradition is a collection of articles on the construction of symbolic and ceremonial traditions over the last couple of centuries, particularly by the British. Most of the included pieces are around fifty pages long, allowing for quite expansive treatment of their subject. They are all of high quality and The Invention of Tradition is an important collection of work, which will interest both historians and those interested in the history of ideas. Hugh Trevor-Roper describes the creation of the Scottish “Highland” tradition — I was astounded to discover that the kilt was invented by an Englishman in 1730, while the so called “clan tartans” are a nineteenth century invention! In a similar vein (though without any revelations quite so surprising), Prys Morgan traces the development of Welsh national traditions during the Romantic period. David Cannadine’s piece is quite topical, given the move towards a republic in Australia: he explains how most of the ceremonial associated with the British monarchy, which is often assumed to be of great antiquity, has in fact been constructed since 1870. Moving away from Britain itself to British imperialism and colonialism, Bernard Cohn writes about the creation of new forms of authority in India, with special attention on the Imperial Assemblage of 1876, and Terence Ranger about the transplantation of Western traditions and the creation of entirely new “native” ones by colonial authorities in Africa (and the later re-use of these traditions by ethnic and nationalist movements). The final chapter, by Hobsbawm himself, surveys the development of mass traditions in Europe up to the First World War — the festivals, holidays, monuments, stamps, sports and schools associated with nationalism, the labour movement, and the rising middle classes.’

    The Invention of Tradition
    Eric Hobsbawm + Terence Ranger (editors)
    Cambridge University Press 1992
    A book review by Danny Yee – © 1995 http://dannyreviews.com/

  18. Binyavanga says:

    Dear Joe, well, by using the name Wainaina, you are actually referring to my elder brother; and my grandfather – if you want to talk to them, feel free. Wainaina is a name associated with my family, but not a name used to address me: culturally or in any other way. If you want to know – it would have been great if you had the courtesy to ask first – for people often have good reasons for their names – now and a thousand years ago – I am Binyavanga wa Muigai.

    Brittle things crack and break, they crack and break. Maybe this is why there are so many wa Wanjirus these days – the failure by the uncles to give dynamic answers to what are becoming complex issues.

    Who froze things to make them so rigid – where did this mobile and flexible force – fast growing dynamic and welcoming go – for this pure blood so spoken about by some these days, welcomed, in those very old days so many other bloods, and ideas and dynamism.

    And we inherited brittle men – unable to cope with the times and stewing in dissatisfaction and drink – and repeating mantras, refusing to participate in family, and leaving the dynamism to the women who filled the shoes.

    Ahh!

    But a man need not explain himself. And a generation who failed us need not account.

    But we must listen?

    Why can the uncles and fathers see they have lost their sons?

  19. Anonymous says:

    After all the stuff about Kikuyus vs the rest I want to propose something radical but obvious.

    I recall reading “Dogs of War” where the protagonist Cat Shannon installs Dr. Okoye (from the “other tribe”) that really ran the economy.
    In the novel, the Igbo (Ibo) play this role in Zangaro (Equatorial Guinea).

    In Kenya, these are the WAHINDI.

    Sure, we (claim to) hate them but deep down we know these jamaaz work hard, are shrewd businessmen, invest in their businesses & could turn around the economy in 10 years!

    Yes, there are some crooks but look at the majority.

    I was amazed how successful they are in the USA (I worked/lived/studied in New Jersey & San Jose/Bay Area).

    My familiarity is with the IT crowd.
    Let me tell you they have everyone from Vinod Khosla (sijui, how many billions of $$) to the multitudes of Wahindis at almost every start-up!

    I am not surprised at the IT revolution in India because I asked myself… how many more smart engineers are there in India???

    I also found most of the small dukas (convenience stores) were run by them! Some of these places were open 24/7… and always a mhindi even at 3am!

    I even met some young Wahindi CFOs/Financial types at some promising firms. These guys had MBAs from the best shules (Harvard, Wharton & Stanford).

    I recall reading that Joseph Murumbi’s (one of the “cleanest” politicians Kenya ever had) father was a Mhindi. Of course, Kenyatta “kicked” him out like he did Kaggia…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for your collective insight into all of this. While we cannot all be as eloquent as the Binj and Joe, that should not stop us from contributing.

    A wiser person than me once said something to the effect that what man understands, man can control. While almost all the discussion here has been about effect and evidence, I will muddy the waters by introducing cause in the debate in the interests of pragmatism.

    Is it only me or does the issue of (tribal) identity (because that is what this is all about) only seems to come up at a national level in Kenya

    i) about a year before elections (think Mombasa/Molo/Ngong in 1992/1997 and 2002 (as well as during by elections that took in that period)

    ii) always seems to center about the twin issues of land and “national cake”

    There is some manipulation going on here (by whom? Politicians certainly. Which ones? Who knows?) that aims at changing our understanding and perception of at least two of the many issues at play here.

    – cultural identity
    – national identity

    Some want us to think of cultural identity as being more or as important as national identity a la
    Bloc Quebecois
    which is seems rife with risk to me. More specifically, putting tribal identity before national identity is divisive especially towards members of relatively underpriviledged tribal groups. For many in a “top-dog” group, priviledge is a lens that prevents them from seeing just how divisive this type of thinking is.

    While we can never and should never become a homogenous group of Kenyans, culture must be subject to natinalism, not the other way around.

    -Ntwiga

  21. ndutu says:

    “There is a sucker born every minute”, goes the saying. This false ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’ that is being peddled is nothing but a sucker play. Like others have said, there is clear manipulation here by people who want to retain power, and nothing but suffering will be borne by everyone else. It is not real. As smart as Kenyans are, when are we going to start having a national argument about ideas? Who can describe the different platforms or ideas that separate those running for power? I am optimistic and believe that the majority of Kenyans (including Kikuyus) are actually smarter than to keep being manipulated in this way. Uncle Joe, and maybe his generation, may be content with making a choice between ‘market madmen’, but the rest of us know we deserve better.
    The House of Gikuyu and Mumbi is indeed calling, but it is a call for people to think and act wisely not to slavishly respond to sham bigotry.

  22. Binyavanga says:

    Analyst – I hear you bro. Am a Nakuru person myself. Was told how pple were being asked to vote for Mirugi’s son because the Luos are coming to take their businesses with violence. In Nakuru!!!

    Karume and Co were there whispering threat… Kaa Mucii Ka Mucii is the new political slogan of the Gikuyu Rift Valley.

    My question is: how is my mucii in any way related to the mucii of Michuki, Kibaki and Karume?

    What was completely ommitted was the fact that Brawan (who is not a Luo) is an example of a young Nakuru guy, born in the wrong side of town, who has made something meaningful of himself – and is an example to many. He is more connected to what Nakuru really is than Mirugi junior.

    And all those jobless young Gikuyus in Nakuru were deceived by paranoia –

    It has been conveniently forgotten that the most corrupt town council EVER in Nakuru’s history was DP’s council after 1997.

  23. uncle joe says:

    Binyavanga Wainaina, i am glad you true colours have come out.ODM Supporter.Clearly your loyalty is to odm and not kenya.If it was you would explain to us what a clean and none tribal narc did for three years when the rest of your gang was in power.is it only after they were kicked out of Government that the government became tribal.Iam sorry to say you are fighting a battle you will not win.i suggest you get used to this program and get used to it well.trying to demonize leaders wont help sure you want a change in kenya we all want a change but what are you suggesting that we replace kibaki karume and michuki for raila,ojode and otieno kajwang.come on get serious .

    Infact there is no need to continuing arguing or discussing this issue now that your true colours have come out.let the people decide. you continue your propaganda ,but come december 2007 we shall settle this mess once and for all.

  24. coldtusker says:

    Binya – I think it behoves the youth to reject the status quo among the old dogs & snakes (remember the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks)!

    I think the “urbanised Kenyan” is less prone to manipulation by the politicians but what about the rural youth (who outnumber the urban youth)?

  25. Binyavanga says:

    Binyavanga said…
    Hi all. I am quite surprised at how strongly I feel about all this. Actually, for the past few weeks, I have been going around telling people we need to “normalize” the conversation around issues in Kenya, saying that I can’t listen to shrillness any more

    So please forgive my shrill entry.

    Certainly there are many identity and power issues in Kenya – and yes, I agree with Anonymous that these become ominous when allied to National politics – and what are, in effect, National Warlords – whose relationship with their “constituencies” is one where they are the biggest threat to violence and the potential providers of government violence when necessary to “save” their constituents from the “others”.

    Their motive is not “patriotism” – Kibaki and Michuki are not interested in the “upliftment of all Gikuyus” – nor is Kiogi any more, or all that clique.

    It is Kiogi who has lead the takeover of KBC by a group of Gikuyu xenophobes.

    Their fundamental objective is to create an environment where they, their families their class (composed of all the relatives of all the warlords who are in business together, and their suppliers, contacts, tender- (isers) and so on) keep feeding the Nation with bones while they are eating the nice meat and flesh, exporting the skin, hooves and head.

    They care for us, certainly, they are human you know – just like you may care a lot for the fat dog you hug, brush, and feed your leftovers.

    This political culture, invented by the Kenyatta clique is at war with a new generation who find it harder and harder to believe that “our man in the house” will feed us all.

    And surrounding and threatening all civil order is a generation so cynical, so removed from hope – they either take what they find rummaging around Kenya’s dustbins of possibilities, or create little mafias to strongarm in places where the long arm of Michuki types don’t care to control.

    So all attempts to clear hawkers and plant flowers simply sends crime underground. The biggest joke is: Westlands market has never been expanded – or new markets built. Gikomba, which turns over tens of millions everyday is still as it was. Wakulima market which handles all of Nairobi’s fresh produce – and also turns over tens of milions everyday. All these cannot be expanded. But flowers are planted. So – no room is made for the informal sector to “formalize its business – but it is this in formal economy that has provided most of the jobs in Kimunya’s budget- and it is this economy that is by faaaaar the largest investor and growth machine in Kenya.

    The best signifier of the cynicism of this government is Dandora. More young men have been killed by the police in Dandora during Kibakis govt than through all of Moi’s years. A young man who looks “cool” and is “confident” is a “suspect”.

    Further, the dumpsite is has grown fourfold since 2002 – as Ukoo Flani put it: Safisha Nairobi, Chafua Dandora. There is no policy to deal with it, now it is spilling into a primary school. So the cleaning of Nairobi has nothing to do with creating a well-run city. It is to do with moving the dirt to the people who a guy like Michuki has utter contempt for…

    Hawkers have never been given any useful facilities – though they pay millions in fees to City Council – so real “trade” and “investment” – according to Kibaki’s government is Multinationals and titanium and export processing zones – these, we are told will make us rich.

    To me it seems that wealth will come to us if that guy who has managed, with no loan, no premises, no toilet – to build world class furniture on the side of the road – the giving room and credit and encouragement to that guy – that is where we industrialize.

    That is where all the toy makers from Taiwan came from.

    Joe Wanjui – the most comical character of all the comic characters of the Kenyatta mafia generation has been running around saying he is a multi-millionaire because he worked hard and has ambitions (this he tells Nairobi University students). He told a friend who interviewed him that all (my friend) needs to do is go to a bank and ask for money and build an empire.

    Kibaki went to Nyeri to tell his people that they need to work hard like him. Men should stop being lazy, he said. (Even Lucy contradicted him when she heard this)

    That he and Wanjui were simply recipients of spectacular success due the connections and power they held – has passed them completely.

    These guys are supposed to guide us forward?

    That everybody else kills themselves to make a profit but now City Council charges a Stall Owner 8000 bob for their “sign” – to keep the political class creating fat jobs for their buddies escapes them.

    As Parselelo Kantai put it: Kenya is a vampire state.

    As our wonderful Minister of Justice said ” Baringo and Gatundu are the poorest constituencies in Kenya” – she failed to articulate clearly that they are poor because they will be arrested for stealing a mango – but she wants those who stle the tax payer’s money given amnesty for “returning the money.

    There is no way. No way at all.

    That Kibakis thieves will be arrested by a Kibaki government – because the thieves are part of The REAL Constituency of this government.

    All the rest is spin-doctoring.

    Another five years of these guys and we will have a war – South Africa style – where the flowery sides of town (5 percent) will use state resources to keep away the 95 percent – South africa style – where beautiful roads exists where you can be car-jacked 24 hours a day, raped and disemboweled.

    Of late most rape cases at Nairobi Women’s hospital are men – who, sometimes have been raped by gangs of men. Crime is starting to show these kind of revenge violence where money ceases to be the primary objective. Meanwhile we are being told about mad villagers. By Uncle Joe.

    Over the past three years, a cadre of fat and rich wazees have been financing a “Gikuyu revival” – this looks nice and happy on the surface – but most of its substance is the spreading of hate speech against all other tribes – the idea being that “we” are somehow special and godchosen to lead Kenya – because the rest are crazy or lazy. The “barbarians” need to be kept to their “areas” – while ‘we’ move around with impunity.

    There has been an aggressive Gikuyuisation of the Kenya Institute of Education, much of Kenya’s media (KBC, the radio stations of SK Macharia (who have bigger reach in Kenya than KBC) and the Receiver of Revenue: one of these departments decides everything our children will read, the other is breaking tax collection records.

    But – There have been massive pressures from the Kenyan public over the past 16 years – in many ways to have a leadership that is accountable to issues.

    The implications of all of this are obvious.

    Remember also: NARC Kenya does not have money to run next years campaigns. Anglo Leasing was stopped before they could manufacture slush fund – so for the referendum, they used tax payers money. So these billions being collected will be used, and abused, and the bigger threat there is to Kibaki, the more they will abuse this. To keep themselves in power, they will spend it all. But – this will of course means that they will lose the credibility of their support base.

    Yes? Maybe: the gamble is: to make the Gikuyu so paranoid about the “beasts from the west” they will believe that this abuse was necessary to prevent foaming tribals descending on the properties of “hard-working and god-fearing Gikuyus” – this is the campaign strategy to keep the Gikuyu masses in the fold – and have a substantial base to build on for the election – for with this, all is needed is kidogo -kidogo from the rest of Kenya.

    But – there is a problem. Though the older generations of Gikuyus still have post-Emergency fears for their well being, and post-Moi fears and so on. The younger are not quite so “disciplined” – they have no stake in Coffee, or Tea or Milk – no title deeds, and not much fondness for the wazee.

    But – the well-travelled, better educated class of young Gikuyus have their heads in the sand. the Kibaki government is good for them: it understands pavement cleaning and flower gardens in roundabouts – and making life good if you work for a bank. That these benefits are every short-lived is not a question. Tukule sasa.

    No coalition of visible younger Gikuyus has made their position clear on issues. None is saying anything about the rising xenophobia.

    There are some people talking tp young people all over the country, to be aggressive about their political demands – but many Kenyan abroad keep fanning the idea of this new uGikuyu – and ignore the fact that is will benefit no ordinary Kenyan, and may lead to blood on the streets.

    I believe Kenya has changed more in the past 4 years than in the past 40. For the first time there is powerful public pressure on an antiquated system. In fact, I think that we are nearer getting a reasonably accountable government than we imagine – the acts of this government have the flavour of desperation – they know their time is up and are trying to grab what they can. So the journey is not too long.

    I urge all thinking Gikuyus to completely ignore any attempts to fan your tribal pride – this is the single biggest hurdle facing us in building a meaningful government. The purpose of this is to continue to fuck you, and your children and their children, as you have been fucked since 1952.

    If Kibakis people come back to power, the gloves will be off. Like Moi, they will have so embedded themselves in our national bloodstream – it will be 27 years before their clique will cede power.

    Believe the nonsense at your peril

  26. Binyavanga says:

    Binyavanga said…
    Hi all. I am quite surprised at how strongly I feel about all this. Actually, for the past few weeks, I have been going around telling people we need to “normalize” the conversation around issues in Kenya, saying that I can’t listen to shrillness any more

    So please forgive my shrill entry.

    Certainly there are many identity and power issues in Kenya – and yes, I agree with Anonymous that these become ominous when allied to National politics – and what are, in effect, National Warlords – whose relationship with their “constituencies” is one where they are the biggest threat to violence and the potential providers of government violence when necessary to “save” their constituents from the “others”.

    Their motive is not “patriotism” – Kibaki and Michuki are not interested in the “upliftment of all Gikuyus” – nor is Kiogi any more, or all that clique.

    It is Kiogi who has lead the takeover of KBC by a group of Gikuyu xenophobes.

    Their fundamental objective is to create an environment where they, their families their class (composed of all the relatives of all the warlords who are in business together, and their suppliers, contacts, tender- (isers) and so on) keep feeding the Nation with bones while they are eating the nice meat and flesh, exporting the skin, hooves and head.

    They care for us, certainly, they are human you know – just like you may care a lot for the fat dog you hug, brush, and feed your leftovers.

    This political culture, invented by the Kenyatta clique is at war with a new generation who find it harder and harder to believe that “our man in the house” will feed us all.

    And surrounding and threatening all civil order is a generation so cynical, so removed from hope – they either take what they find rummaging around Kenya’s dustbins of possibilities, or create little mafias to strongarm in places where the long arm of Michuki types don’t care to control.

    So all attempts to clear hawkers and plant flowers simply sends crime underground. The biggest joke is: Westlands market has never been expanded – or new markets built. Gikomba, which turns over tens of millions everyday is still as it was. Wakulima market which handles all of Nairobi’s fresh produce – and also turns over tens of milions everyday. All these cannot be expanded. But flowers are planted. So – no room is made for the informal sector to “formalize its business – but it is this in formal economy that has provided most of the jobs in Kimunya’s budget- and it is this economy that is by faaaaar the largest investor and growth machine in Kenya.

    The best signifier of the cynicism of this government is Dandora. More young men have been killed by the police in Dandora during Kibakis govt than through all of Moi’s years. A young man who looks “cool” and is “confident” is a “suspect”.

    Further, the dumpsite is has grown fourfold since 2002 – as Ukoo Flani put it: Safisha Nairobi, Chafua Dandora. There is no policy to deal with it, now it is spilling into a primary school. So the cleaning of Nairobi has nothing to do with creating a well-run city. It is to do with moving the dirt to the people who a guy like Michuki has utter contempt for…

    Hawkers have never been given any useful facilities – though they pay millions in fees to City Council – so real “trade” and “investment” – according to Kibaki’s government is Multinationals and titanium and export processing zones – these, we are told will make us rich.

    To me it seems that wealth will come to us if that guy who has managed, with no loan, no premises, no toilet – to build world class furniture on the side of the road – the giving room and credit and encouragement to that guy – that is where we industrialize.

    That is where all the toy makers from Taiwan came from.

    Joe Wanjui – the most comical character of all the comic characters of the Kenyatta mafia generation has been running around saying he is a multi-millionaire because he worked hard and has ambitions (this he tells Nairobi University students). He told a friend who interviewed him that all (my friend) needs to do is go to a bank and ask for money and build an empire.

    Kibaki went to Nyeri to tell his people that they need to work hard like him. Men should stop being lazy, he said. (Even Lucy contradicted him when she heard this)

    That he and Wanjui were simply recipients of spectacular success due the connections and power they held – has passed them completely.

    These guys are supposed to guide us forward?

    That everybody else kills themselves to make a profit but now City Council charges a Stall Owner 8000 bob for their “sign” – to keep the political class creating fat jobs for their buddies escapes them.

    As Parselelo Kantai put it: Kenya is a vampire state.

    As our wonderful Minister of Justice said ” Baringo and Gatundu are the poorest constituencies in Kenya” – she failed to articulate clearly that they are poor because they will be arrested for stealing a mango – but she wants those who stle the tax payer’s money given amnesty for “returning the money.

    There is no way. No way at all.

    That Kibakis thieves will be arrested by a Kibaki government – because the thieves are part of The REAL Constituency of this government.

    All the rest is spin-doctoring.

    Another five years of these guys and we will have a war – South Africa style – where the flowery sides of town (5 percent) will use state resources to keep away the 95 percent – South africa style – where beautiful roads exists where you can be car-jacked 24 hours a day, raped and disemboweled.

    Of late most rape cases at Nairobi Women’s hospital are men – who, sometimes have been raped by gangs of men. Crime is starting to show these kind of revenge violence where money ceases to be the primary objective. Meanwhile we are being told about mad villagers. By Uncle Joe.

    Over the past three years, a cadre of fat and rich wazees have been financing a “Gikuyu revival” – this looks nice and happy on the surface – but most of its substance is the spreading of hate speech against all other tribes – the idea being that “we” are somehow special and godchosen to lead Kenya – because the rest are crazy or lazy. The “barbarians” need to be kept to their “areas” – while ‘we’ move around with impunity.

    There has been an aggressive Gikuyuisation of the Kenya Institute of Education, much of Kenya’s media (KBC, the radio stations of SK Macharia (who have bigger reach in Kenya than KBC) and the Receiver of Revenue: one of these departments decides everything our children will read, the other is breaking tax collection records.

    But – There have been massive pressures from the Kenyan public over the past 16 years – in many ways to have a leadership that is accountable to issues.

    The implications of all of this are obvious.

    Remember also: NARC Kenya does not have money to run next years campaigns. Anglo Leasing was stopped before they could manufacture slush fund – so for the referendum, they used tax payers money. So these billions being collected will be used, and abused, and the bigger threat there is to Kibaki, the more they will abuse this. To keep themselves in power, they will spend it all. But – this will of course means that they will lose the credibility of their support base.

    Yes? Maybe: the gamble is: to make the Gikuyu so paranoid about the “beasts from the west” they will believe that this abuse was necessary to prevent foaming tribals descending on the properties of “hard-working and god-fearing Gikuyus” – this is the campaign strategy to keep the Gikuyu masses in the fold – and have a substantial base to build on for the election – for with this, all is needed is kidogo -kidogo from the rest of Kenya.

    But – there is a problem. Though the older generations of Gikuyus still have post-Emergency fears for their well being, and post-Moi fears and so on. The younger are not quite so “disciplined” – they have no stake in Coffee, or Tea or Milk – no title deeds, and not much fondness for the wazee.

    But – the well-travelled, better educated class of young Gikuyus have their heads in the sand. the Kibaki government is good for them: it understands pavement cleaning and flower gardens in roundabouts – and making life good if you work for a bank. That these benefits are every short-lived is not a question. Tukule sasa.

    No coalition of visible younger Gikuyus has made their position clear on issues. None is saying anything about the rising xenophobia.

    There are some people talking tp young people all over the country, to be aggressive about their political demands – but many Kenyan abroad keep fanning the idea of this new uGikuyu – and ignore the fact that is will benefit no ordinary Kenyan, and may lead to blood on the streets.

    I believe Kenya has changed more in the past 4 years than in the past 40. For the first time there is powerful public pressure on an antiquated system. In fact, I think that we are nearer getting a reasonably accountable government than we imagine – the acts of this government have the flavour of desperation – they know their time is up and are trying to grab what they can. So the journey is not too long.

    I urge all thinking Gikuyus to completely ignore any attempts to fan your tribal pride – this is the single biggest hurdle facing us in building a meaningful government. The purpose of this is to continue to fuck you, and your children and their children, as you have been fucked since 1952.

    If Kibakis people come back to power, the gloves will be off. Like Moi, they will have so embedded themselves in our national bloodstream – it will be 27 years before their clique will cede power.

    Believe the nonsense at your peril

  27. Binyavanga says:

    Nice one, Uncle Joe,Dear Dear uncle Joe: are you so limited in options and faith for our beautiful country that all you can dream is that one is either ODM or NARC KENYA…?

    Love it. ‘Reveal One’s true colours’ – proper Kenya politicospeak – my subject is specific: Gikuyu xenophobia which makes one quite able to choose a genuine thieving devil for the sorts of reasons the Rwandese learned were not taking them anywhere; and the Ugandans learned, painfully, were never going anywhere – the idea that one chooses a thief of one’s tribe over sensible person of another is insane – and scary when ordinary educated people start talking like this – the tone and intensity of the dislike and propaganda is worse than it was in 69, and threteans good order in Kenya.

    I am not hiding anything bro – the world is much more complex than ODM – a new and somewhat fishy organisation not that different from NARC Kenya, NARC and the rest…same sort.

    There is a lot more in Kenya. ODM and NARC are now what we deserve because we are refusing to dream better.

    The space is open – but we have inherited habits from the old political system where we imagine the basic options thrust at us are all that can be on offer – the speace is wide open. The space is wide open.

    The space is WIDE open.

  28. POTASH says:

    Mhhh… uncle Joe you must be my uncle. I mean you are spouting the same xenophobic garbage I was brought up on. It is like there exists a syllabus for tribal hatred and US vs. ‘The beasts yonder’ in every Kikuyu household.

    I am glad you sent me to a cosmopolitan boarding school for many years. It helped me shake off that miseducation. I grew up and shared a traumatic boarding school experience with jaluos and all those ‘nyamu cia ruguru’. They were my family away from home; so how was i meant to grow up seing them as The Others?

    Now you are angry because you failed to teach me hate. And you know what, the only person I hate is you. I hate you because you didn’t teach me to be Ethnically Proud, which is something I could use. All the while you were busy trying to teach me how to be a tribalist. And you failed.

    In the end I am a dispossesed youth: without a culture, with no ethnic identity. If only you had taught me what it meant to be kikuyu, our tradition; history and MauMau… instead of trying to convince me that I was better than the rest simply because I had the tag of KIKUYU attached to me.

    But what exactly or who is a Kikuyu; I still do not know my kikuyuness beyond a surname!

  29. uncle Joe says:

    Binyavanga a leopard can hide but it cant hide its spots.i dont live in an idealistic world. i used to , when i was younger. i now live in a practical world. if you are not the ODM youthwinger that i think you are, why havent you criticized the thieves in ODM,the looters and those who made others lie low like envelopes in the past.

    Are you blind to some evil or are you blind to all evil. The notion you keep repeating that i am defending my thief is a big joke.So you want me to support another communities thug.. is that what you call justice and progress.
    Will kenya only progress if old people retire and hand over power to younger looters and killers .is that what you are saying .

    You disappoint me wa Mwangi.you disappoint me wa Mwangi.why dont you just come with it and tell us what it is you want instead of hiding behind being progressive.if it is indeed true that you are not an odm youth winger and say kenya is much bigger than the two .tell the young people what the options are .tell them what party you are supporting,who you want them to vote for against the flowerplanters.

    I have been labled as one of those who call people beasts,where is the dynamic thinking you were talking about cant i be a kyuk who loves my tribe.why does my love for my roots have to mean that i hate others for theirs.Does loving my tribe automatical=refering others to beasts. what dynamic reasoning is this ,from what era does this dynamic thinking come from.

    it make come as a shock wa mwangi i am actually younger than you. i grew up in an urban metropol and attended a national school.i have travelled and seen other societies both within africa and without and i must say i have never seen anything like this.

    you see the truth is you want to see the glass half empty and i see a glass half full. i am being realistic believing we can change things from within as young people but you being the railamaniac i think you are want a revolution with a lynching of all kuyks to go with it .is this what we call progress.

    what is wrong with kibaki planting flowers on roundabouts are you against the beautification of our cities,is it a sin or misnorma. what about the growing economy have you forgotten about that ,and the jobs that have been created since .

    why is it you rush to attack and drag people you have never met in the mad (and why are they only fron narc).why dont you tell us of the kojwanga’s and the stolen clients money, the ntimamas and the kikuyu blood that flows from his pangas.have you developed selective memory.

    Has the rwanda experience taught you nothing.was it only tutsis who died or did hutu’s suffer also.Revolutions dont work in africa their results are only bloodshed.so stop being a kyuk apologetic whe have done nothng wrong and dont need you to speak up or apologies for us. if this is an issues of ideas lets talk about ideas all this talk about tribes is making me sick.

    when kibaki was planting flowers was he planting them for kikuyus only or was he planting them for the nation that is the question i want you to think about?

  30. Anonymous says:

    While the subject here is kikuyu nationalism and ethnic chauvinism I think we have to be careful not to paint the picture that Kikuyus have the monopoly on ethnic chauvinism. Kikuyus because of their relative numbers and Diaspora have the greater effect in execution however; healing the Kikuyu of this illness will not solve Kenyans issues we all have to heal.

    Ethnic chauvinism is a cancer that afflicts all communities in Kenya; I would like to see this kind of honest conversation by all communities in Kenya. I believe that while many young Kikuyus of my generation are starting to see the fallacy of the tribal king ridding them to prosperity (our share of the national cake whatever that is) due to first hand experience. I don’t think that the other communities have entirely given up on this idea as yet.

    I am amazed by the external projection that goes one on Kenyan websites by seemingly educated people one would expect to know better. Our political leaders from Kenyatta to Kibaki and the ODM person to follow are a reflection of our values. I don’t think Kenyans in general have had a candid internal reflection on their roles in this cancer that threatens to eat us all up. I still get the felling we have not abandoned the messiah mindset that leads us to believe that this time the new king ping will save us.

  31. toiyoi says:

    Binyavanga wainaina,
    I am not a kikuyu, and have absolutely no problem with any AGikuyu, but unlike Joe( who i thot also claimed Christianity somewhere…), i realise that certain injustices of the past forced the Gikuyu and the Kalenjin under one roof( Kenya), and that our past leaders lacked the wisdom or hindsight of history to correct this occurance.

    Now, if Joe (and sadly those ABH is talking about here ) wish not to live in the same roof with a Kaleo, it is quite understandable. We all, (hopefully), have a right to freedoms of likes and deslikes. But then we can not all have our own way and still exist in a society with others. This should be basic knowledge. Why does Joe love the east coast of the USA? Is it not that he lives in a society where laws are enforced (mostly, impartially) and he has laws to protect him against feelings of descrimination? If a “westerner” feels the current government system is against him, does he not have a right to protest and seek relief?

    There are two solutions to kenya’s problems:
    (i) Create AA, EO type laws that protects and uplifts the welfare of all kenyans, including the Njemps. Good luck with that!
    (ii) Divide the country into 42+ countrylets. This should be an eye opener for the likes of Joe. But wait, they won’t be economically viable. True. Maybe then people will see the need for unity based on mutually agreed upon laws and exit clauses. Or be insist on their independence and perish.

    Joe, if you care, see my blog for details

  32. Anonymous says:

    My advise: ask him to buy a shot gun and wipe out from the face of the earth all those fools from the past and present who have ruined this country. He will have to contend with shooting everyone above the age of 21. You see, the majority of guys who are 21 and older all voted in the 2002 elections. Those who are 26 and older voted in the 1997 elections. The list goes on with the corresponding arithmetic.

    The point is this. We all get leaders that we deserve. Kikuyu or not.We all voted in Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki. Whatever rubbish is done by the leaders, we deserve each and every bit. We deserve it.

    There can only be one way forward. Either, do what T.Blair said “Put up or shut up” or do the un-imaginable. Vote for a new person from the kanjora to the MP to the Chief Exec. If we continue voting for the same faces, we have no justification to be bitching in public.

  33. Steve says:

    Potash,

    Your comments remind me that xenophobia was an all-round affair and not the exclusive domain of Kikuyus.

    My very first year in high school: when our very short first 2 day mid-term break rolled around, I invited a friend from Eldoret to my parents home rather than have him travel 16 hours to Eldoret and back so as to be able to spend just about 6 hours with his family.

    My mother was scandalized and almost had a conniption at the thought of having “one of those people” in her house. To this day, I still cannot understand what the fuss was all about.

    It reminds me about the argument presented in another thread on this blog that Africans cannot be racist (which I do not entirely subscribe to) because they do not know how. Since there were really no races to discriminate aganist, what we are is nepotist and tribalist.

  34. Proud to be a Kenyan Mhindi says:

    Steve,

    You are so RIGHT!

    “Black”-Africans can be racist! I have faced this since I was a kid!

    Isn’t “chotara” used derogatively?
    Aren’t Wahindis “hated” in Kenya?
    Why is the Tom Choldmoney (or something like that) case prominent in the media? Is it coz he shot 2 guys or coz he is a Mzungu?

    moi (the stinking bastard) used to accuse Wahindis of all sorts of crap for political reasons while he was screwing ALL Kenyans. And his cronies (& many, many Miroos) would happily echo his calls while now we find out that the Wahindis (akina pattni, somaia – BTW, who should be JAILED for life!) were mere pawns.

    BUT all Wahindis (incl poor me) got balmed for what pattni did! That’s like blaming a kyuk for kenyatta’s land grabbing!

    I find it odd when Miroos go to the States & complain “woi, woi… they are so racist there”… while doing the same at home!

    Anyway, I love Kenya, my home sweet home, and I am not absolving the Wahindis BUT don’t tell me Africans are not racist!

  35. Anonymous says:

    lol ..since everyone is defending their own . sisi waluhya we are not chauvinist but akina jirongo et all are tryiing to make us chauvinist because its seems that the only way you can make it in kenya is by aligning with ur own and bargaining for power together.–eeh

  36. Binyavanga says:

    The People I Have Loved

    I do not know if I would pick arms for this country; I do not know even whether the flag really means that much to me. All I can commit to: for my life and death – is the people and landscapes (real and metaphorical) that I have loved; those who took journeys and time with me; those who survived hard times; taught me – those who speak my language – by this I mean those who I need not say anything with grammar for them to understand what I mean. Now love cannot arrange itself in clean lines – I have loved from places that do not account for my background or tribe.

    These fragile and powerful places can be the beginning of a nation – by consensus.

    But hate is mathematical: for when people come under the slogan of hate: such and such people are like such and such – all relationships that derive from this shall be symmetrical. It becomes easy to cut away, end friendships, and kill wives when the symmetry of hate is clear within you.

    Maybe this is why it is said by the philosophers of war and nation that nationhood and patriotism is built by blood – against a common enemy: that people of forty languages will quickly become “one” after a bruising ten year war with a foreign “outsider” who threatens everybody’s well-being. A Nation by blood

    Maybe the way our Uncle Joes flirt with this rhetoric is simply because we have never been at war. We have seen, over the past century, time and time again, whole groupings butchered based on words that sound exactly like Uncle Joe’s. The Rwanda rhetoric was about “clearing” or “cleaning” – a distant future dream of a symmetrical time where all over Kenya, atiriri will be sang, and messy other things shall not intervene.

    There are positions that can be taken: with trust good faith – and build bridges even when they do not lead to clear progress – because we have only one other option: put a fence around yourself and arm.

    Brussels, the city – for five hundred years, spent most of its surplus on the building of fortifications; one after another each collapsing after some conquest or other and rebuilding beginning immediately and more ambitiously. It was the city’s most ambitious project – generations of progress and wealth were sucked up into war and fortifications – and only the late entry of massive Congo money made Brussels rich.

    Armed relationships escalate.
    The question about ODM right now is meaningless. The government in power in NARC Kenya, and they are asking YOU – to assume that they are valid and viable because the ONLY other thing in Kenya is the Beast from the West.

    The idea behind this, of course (Kenyan politics is very crude – it is us who try to put in pethos) – to suck you into the Soap Opera of two players – and escalate the shit, till we are all standing behind walls with machetes and voting cards saying ai even if I went to a National school, those Luos, those Luos, those Luos…and at some point the Luo ceases to become a person.
    Anybody questioning NARC Kenya becomes an “ODM Youth Winger”
    …and that is a declaration of war. What Uncle Joe said was he is at war. Rwanda is not an example, to him, of how not to do it – it is a territory of “similar examples” to justify his war-like stance.

    What is actually being said is: there is no room for other – and we all know, there is no conversation or debate to be had with a youth winger. You either flee or fight. And that Youth Winger you see may be a doctor, a teacher, the guy who saved you from bullies when you were a kid, it may even be a Gikuyu who happens to have a gap he got in a bar-fight. And of course, we are not yet in 2007. In 2007, what would Uncle Joe be invoking to show his fears: for if the Youth Winger is the lowest, most violent of Kenyans, the rung below that is bestial, no longer human. And once people are persuaded that a whole group of such are a-comin’ they are a comin’ to getcha……

    Now Uncle Joe has made it clear he is not “fleeing from the beast” so I guess he is “fighting the beast”
    So fight, bwana. Fight away. I have nothing more to say to you man. Do your thing.

    Meanwhile – let us all remember, all these warlords, ODM, NARC – when the accounting is done – they all own shit in each other’s backyards. You cannot separate the shares of Moi in this economy and the shares of Kibaki. Uhuru and his “uncle” Moi.

    They are partners and need to make this temperature so we never realise who the real enemy is. Amazing how the only consensus in this government was when MPs wanted salary increments.
    It is all about symmetry: if The Gikuyus can be made to hate; the Luos made to hate, the Kalenjins made to hate – they are easy to manage, and rob. They will defend their mdosi to the bitter end.
    Haha. Uncle Joe! I had a good laugh with that one!
    What is wrong with planting flowers in roundabouts? It is beautifying the city!

    I am stuck everyday in the stupidest jam this side of the Sahara – as the most illogical and beautiful roundabout in Kileleshwa (actually shaped in a kind of wobbly oval) is manned by a very prettily dressed man who knows nothing about flow of traffic and is making empty hand gestures inherited from the colonial era without thought.

    And we hoot and bang our heads and forget to stop and smell the beautiful flowers in the beautiful roundabout.

    The roundabout is very very beautiful, Uncle Joe – and utterly meaningless – it comes from the mentality of those who were taught in shiny Vaseline colonial missionary schools how to copy and how not to think for yourself. The roundabout has been removed from all urban plans of even stupider governments than ours. I am waiting for them to start whitewashing stones around pavements.

    Or build a new matatu rank, like the one in Westlands – that completely forgot to think about the hundreds of thousands of people who would need to cross the busiest highway in Kenya to get to the matatu.

    The rank is very very pretty indeed. And very very useless indeed.

    And educated people will defend them – because a person of their tribe built them. Na hiyo, as Moi said, ni Maendeleo.

    The most comical thing about all this is the children: you will see the children of warlords whose “tribes” are butchering each other, visit each other’s homes, date, marry, party together, go to the same schools and attend each other’s weddings. While you foam at the mouth for your leaders, their children are very happy having multi-tribal sex and fun and compassion even – they can afford it.

    And each successive government will need to do exactly the same thing to finance this lifestyle. So long as their loyal defenders continue to carry their flag.
    How many of us will stand up to be counted on what we DO not want, and what we DO not tolerate.

  37. Joe says:

    Binyavanga why are you walking on such dangerous ground. Why has hate filled your heart? Was being born with an ordinary spoon that bad that you have to hate those born with golden spoons. That they can’t separate their shares in our Kenyan economy or that they visit each other makes you fume and stagger anger like a drunken man.

    Binyavanga the more you write the more you reveal your true nature a liberal to the core. No wonder you support raila to the core. To the core of re-distributing wealth. Shall we nationalize their property and savings as well .equalize the playing field and why do their children have to be multi-tribal sex perverts as you claim. Do you want young Kenyans to replace ethnic hate for class hate? Can’t their children just be children of Kenya?

    Does being born in the ruling classes’ mean you were born of the devil. Maybe a public trial and gallows in kibera once Raila wins. The whispers of the snake the whispers of the snake .Eve heard it now Kenyans hear it. the whispers of a snake hisssit’s the kikuyus, no it’s the rich no it’s their children .No! NO! It is us for listening to the snake… The whisper of the snake can you hear his hissing. Listen to your uncle, where is the hope where is the joy? The snake in us all doesn’t have to whisper when the reason in us all shouts!

  38. Ken says:

    Uncle Joe, the ideal Kenyan.

    I am sorry to have to say this but Uncle joe is the ideal Kenyan that most would love to hate.
    You can not shake off your tribal affiliations, you were born a luo, kamba, kikuyu,..whatever accepting that and being proud of it ought to be the first step.
    There are mad men in your village but that does not make you mad. The few lunatics in the neighboring villages dont make everyone in the neigbouring community mad. That ought to put Binyavanga’s perspective look paradoxical, simply because Narc isn’t good enough doesn’t make ODM (The only immediate choice I see) good. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

    It is also important to remember that the fact that a delusional Kalenjin lunatic threw a rock and broke your window doesn’t mean that all Kalenjins encouraged him to do this or share similar views. Being proud of your tribal affiliations does not imply hatred for other tribes. Diversity is something to be celebrated.
    If Joe sounds too gung ho for you, simply ask yourself, whats wrong with being a [whatever tribe you belong] and then remember there is nothing wrong with not being [whatever tribe you belong].

    If you move this debate into a political level, you lower the overall reasoning. I find it had to point out a village without it’s mad men, but I find it much more difficult to find a village without it’s men of honor and integrity. Looking at the govt past and present, you will always find individuals who worked hard and did their job, you will also find layabouts who spent most of their time politicking and looting, I dont expect a difference in the immediate future. Tribalism is not a causation to corruption !! Dont be fooled, being a leader from [whatever tribe you like] does not mean he/she will work with integrity, shun corruption and preach peace and unity.

    I’m a Kikuyu because I can speak the language and my name suggests so. But I will never judge a man by virtue of his tribe, color, race, class, nationality or religious affiliations. This have never defined a man and never will.

  39. uncle joe says:

    Ken i didnt get your grip with me .But the issue here was not about “kenya”. You seem to have missed that my dialectic with “B” was about kikuyu nationalism .Kenya in this instance is more of context and not subject.love me or hate me but there are millions of uncle joes outhere.i think though not to sound rude people should first read the dialectic and fully understand it before commenting .i know english comprehension wasnt a favourite for many but please apply it here .nasio kwa ubaya

  40. uncle joe says:

    above comment ofn comprehension is not directed at ken but everyone reading -ken valid points by the way

  41. mkenya says:

    My i share my story here because it is deeply intertwined with your letter.All my life i grew up knowing i was a kikuyu , coincedentaly i was raised in Nakuru too.Untill i was 18 i spoke fluent kikuyu and knew i was kikuyu untill the day my parents felt compeled by their christian nature to tell me the truth.What iam about to reveal does not change my love for my parents and on this note i refuse to call them adopted parents as society demands.My parents adopted me when i was born by a luo househelp then working for them, she later could not take the pressure of raising me since my biological father then a watch man from kisii denied the parantage.So one day when my parents thought i was old enough and told me my history , funny huh? and all my brothers and sisters loved me as if i was their real brother i even got people telling me which ones looked like me.So are we really what we think we are , my take is iam kenyan period.

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