opinionBy Koigi Wa Wamwere
In 2007, I thought I saw post-election violence coming. As an assistant minister for Information and Communication, I wanted Kenyans warned against the fire of negative ethnicity that they were playing with.
I approached KBC TV to screen films on Rwanda genocide like Hotel Rwanda. The management resisted arguing screening would instill fear in Kenyans.
They wanted people fear-free to unleash havoc. When hell broke loose, I was hardly surprised. In 1969, Abdilatif Abdalla, a Kenyan patriot wrote a pamphlet titled: "Kenya: Where Are We Headed To?"
The pamphlet was judged subversive and its author jailed. Abdalla wrote the pamphlet because he was disturbed by betrayal of independence, one party dictatorship, detentions without trial and assassinations of political opponents, thieving and grabbing of public lands and properties and negative ethnicity that Kenyatta and others used to divide, rob, misgovern and tyrannize Kenya.
Looking at Kenya today, so soon after the inauguration of the new constitution, for several reasons, one feels an absolute need for Kenyans to re-ask Abdalla's question - Kenya: Where Are We Headed To?
Like KBC management, the few who have already arrived will call this question alarmist. But Kenya's State Ship is headed for doldrums and the question is long due.
When things started going wrong in 1960s and 1970s, it was under the stewardship of Kenyatta presidency and Kanu political culture.
But though Kanu is a much smaller party today, surprisingly and stealthily, its culture is championed by all major political parties and all presidential candidates, and it is once again misleading the country into a failed state whose citizens are paraded in the ICC and a society of poorer, more ethnically divided and more corrupt people that are afraid to think.
Indeed, though most Kenyans will tell you they desire real liberation from poverty and misrule, they are unwilling to give up horrible habits and desires that have before put us and our country down.
Indeed Kenyans are perfect Chichidodos. And "Ah, you know, the Chichidodo is a bird. The Chichidodo hates excrement with all its soul.
But the Chichidodo only feeds on maggots, and you know the maggots grow best inside the lavatory." - Ayi Kwei Arma.
Yes, Kenyans also hate corruption but love all the trappings of corrupt life - great homes, big cars, helicopters, expensive clothes and power earned corruptly.
Today Kenyans mistake trappings of graft with development and therefore grow more corrupt by the day. In Kenya, absolutely nothing has been spared the rot of corruption, - not churches, not government, not Parliament, not courts, not media, not schools, not hospitals, not nothing. We are certainly on our way to hell.
Shockingly, even after the new constitution, democracy and reform are on the retreat and under attack by old Kanu forces of ethnic dictatorship and champions of graft in every nook and cranny of society.
In fact, one can rightly and without hesitation say that all ethnic leaders, ethnic parties and ethnic political alliances are all mobilised and mobilising to steamroll democracy.
If today Kenya has an enemy organising to burn and dismantle it as it nearly did five years ago, it is negative ethnicity disguised as innocent diversity and sanctity of the tribe as opposed to the nation.
This monster called negative ethnicity has taken all leaders and communities captive and is choking Kenya to death. But negative ethnicity is not only killing Kenya and democracy, it is also moving boldly to institute ethnic kingdoms and installing ethnic kings everywhere that we will never be able to criticise, draw their attention to our problems or get rid of when we want.
Already we are labouring to have an election that our leaders have already stolen and sabotaged by removing integrity from the list of their qualifications and corruption from the list of their disqualifications.
Yes, rather than clean up government, Parliament and Judiciary with integrity, they are already corrupting our elections by looking the other way when the Elections Act is openly violated and against their best interests, people are seduced to elect money bags whose only interest in leadership is to steal more, ethnic warlords to divide and exploit us more, urgings to blindly vote for governors, senators, MPs, women reps and county reps not for ourselves, voters, wananchi and counties, but presidential hopefuls who only live and dream about their own interests.
For 40 years, we fought for multiparty democracy but people of every community are being asked to surrender their parties and have only one party for every community.
Why then did we in the first place reject one party rule? I salute all those who refuse to wind up their own parties. For those of us who suffered from tyranny of political imprisonments, detentions without trial and police rule, we are very worried when we see presidential and parliamentary candidates whose only agenda is to grab more, restore tyranny and "liberate" themselves from the rule of law and ICC.
But why is Kenya going down full speed? We have become worst victims of intellectual poverty. Studiously, the poor refuse to think.
Yet no intellectually poor people have ever liberated themselves. Nor can they protect themselves against falsehoods, propaganda, deceit and manipulation. Unable to conceive a vision of their own salvation, they live by the vision of enemies' vision.
I know many are not listening. This they say is not their business. But they are wrong. What is good for the nation is good for the individual and what is bad for the nation is bad for every individual. But Kenya is in a rat trap from which none of us will escape.