7 January 2013

Kenya: Can Brave Kikuyu Please Speak Out


Last month a group of powerful leaders from the Kikuyu community decided to summon Uhuru Kenyatta to a meeting.

They explained to him that the Kikuyu community especially, stands to suffer great loss under an Uhuru presidency for as long as he is still an ICC suspect. They broke down the monetary losses to cash crop farmers (most of whom are Kikuyu and Kalenjin), international traders (again, most of whom are Kikuyus), financial institutions (again a large stake owned by Kikuyus) and so on as well as explained the challenges his government would face in international politics, aid and commerce.

They pleaded with him to shelve his ambitions until after the ICC and support someone else. Uhuru saw the wisdom of their words and drove to Musalia Mudavadi's home with his political colleagues. He offered to step down for Musalia for the sake of his community and the country. They signed on it.

A few days later Uhuru's personal interests, which I assume revolve around the ICC, protection of his family's wealth and the political careers of his friends, took over. He chickened out of his promise to Musalia and is now back on a course that will ultimately lead to great losses for the very same Kikuyu community that he purports to lead and whose support his career is built on.

My local church has 'Positioned to Transform' as the theme for 2013. It is drawn from the book of Esther Chapter 4 verse 14, which says: "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'"

For those not familiar with this text the context is that Esther, an Israelite girl, was queen to King Ahasuerus, the King of Persians and the Medes and a man who reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.

In the course of the usual court politics a powerful government official called Haman came up with a devious plot to deal with his adversary, an Israelite called Mordecai. He manipulated the King and had a decree passed that would have seen the total annihilation of all Israelites.

Mordecai, who also happened to be Esther's uncle, went to her and told her about the plan. He then told her that she must do something about it because for all they knew, maybe she held such high position because of such a time as this.

The challenge that Esther faced was that to initiate communication with her husband, the King, she would have to walk into his chamber un-summoned.

Now, in the traditions of the land if she did this and the King refused to acknowledge her she would be summarily executed. On the other hand she could choose to ignore Haman's dastardly plans and let the annihilation go on as decreed, with the hope that as queen, she would escape with her life.

However Mordecai told her that if she chose that option he believed deliverance for the community would still come forth, but she would still lose her life.

Esther chose to put her life on the line, and God gave her favour with the King. She saved her people, had the evil Haman executed on a cross he had set up for her uncle, who ended up taking over all of Haman's estate.

Ironically her moment of courage resulted in a situation where it became dangerous not to be an Israelite at the time when they were supposed to all die!

I want to specifically call out to the 'Esthers' amongst my community the Kikuyu, starting with the same group that Uhuru now refers to as 'Mashetani'.

This group, which must be very powerful indeed if they can summon Uhuru and make him do what he did, are leaders in our community. They understand the difficulty Kikuyus and other Kenyans will have under an Uhuru presidency. Do not say it in board rooms, say it out in the marketplace.

I am sure these are people worked under Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Kibaki for the five years of the coalition government.

They know how the coalition legacy that President Kibaki is so proud off, came about. They know who is best suited to take over from Kibaki.

I assume the second plan of what they suggested to Uhuru is so that they continue in influence after Kibaki retires; however if that is not working they must think beyond wanting to keep their jobs.

I call upon them to speak out and show the Kikuyu community how not to become politically irrelevant for the first time since independence, as we led around by the nose by politicians pursuing selfish agendas.

I am also calling out to all the other 'Mordecais' and 'Esthers' from other communities. You know what is in the communities best interest and you know whether the man or woman fronting themselves as the representative of your community actually represents the interests of the community; speak out and show your people what they should do so that we can all build Kenya together.

The writer is the head of Change Associations.

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