The Bitter Truth Is, We Kenyans Are Not One

Kenya is an animal farm where all are equal but some are more equal than others. It is frustrating that you can only get fair treatment based on who you know or how much cash you are ready to part with.

Events in the recent past are evidence enough that unless you are rich or have well-connected godfathers, you are nothing and nobody cares about you. We are not one. Do not be fooled. That was a mere con game to get you to use the little that you have on those who have more than you do. Look at Westgate. As you trooped to centres to donate your blood (which later went to waste) and transferred your little money for the rich, Kenya Defence Forces was stealing.

Even after CCTV footage confirmed the looting, KDF’s godfathers defended it, daring anybody with evidence to the contrary to present it, never mind they had cordoned off the mall to loot uninterrupted. On the other hand, a police officer was rushed to court on allegations of being found with a blood-stained wallet from Westgate. A mortuary attendant was arrested on allegation of stealing a gold watch from somebody’s nephew.

What action, if any, did the government take against the KDF soldiers who looted Westgate? After the media exposed the uniformed men walking out with loaded paper bags, the military godfathers offered another denial; they only stole water. Stealing is taking what belongs to another, with no legal authority, or permission, irrespective of what it is. Of the several soldiers who stole ‘water’ from Nakumatt, only three faced ‘disciplinary action’ according to General Julius Karangi.

Ironically, a soldier and his wife were arrested in Nakuru trying to sell suspected Westgate loot. Moving on, for the rich Westgate victims, the government deployed Regular Police, the GSU, Recce Squad, CID, Flying Squad, AP, KDF, foreign agents, police dogs, armoured military vehicles, helicopters, ambulances, firefighters while Secretaries Lenku and Omamo oversaw the operation. Meanwhile in Baragoi there is renewed cattle rustling and killing of Kenyans. Do these cattle and rustlers disappear into thin air? Where are the troops and choppers? Is it that the government cannot pursue these bandits with the same zeal witnessed at Westgate?

Must an influential person’s relative be a victim for the powers that be to dispatch all their arsenal and personnel? Remember the more than 40 police officers killed in November 2012? Oh no, those are ‘insignificant’ Kenyans. Kenyan police are a forgotten lot. Misused then dumped like toilet paper. They will be called in to harass unarmed demonstrators protesting against salary increase by the lawmakers. Ironically, the lawmakers have no concern for the welfare of law enforcers. We had a case of an MP in Nakuru assaulting a woman traffic officer.

No uproar from Fida and other civil society groups. But when Gladys Shollei was touched, all forms of mourners crawled out from under their rocks; from Fida to politicians from her home area. If you thought police officers are victims of discrimination from external quarters alone, think again. It is an open secret that you get treated or mistreated within the ranks depending on who you know or how much you have. Promotions, transfers and disciplinary action or inaction is manipulated. I am living proof that with nobody in the high offices or money in your hands, your proceedings will be harsh, unfair and unreasonably delayed.

The state intends to use the money they tax us to death to erect a monument in memory of Westgate victims. Not that I hate them, but where is the monument for the Sinai fire and Baragoi victims? Are we one? And on matters ICC, Parliament reconvened prematurely to debate the ‘urgent’ matter of withdrawing from the Rome Statute at a time when the prices of basic commodities had skyrocketed owing to increased VAT.

At a time when many Kenyans could barely afford essentials, our lawmakers felt that cases that have been at the ICC since 2008 deserved emergency handling since they involved the influential. Is anybody concerned about the poor thousands who lost their lives, got injured, lost property and ended up going hungry, getting sick and dying in dilapidated tents? The way I see it, these victims have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting justice. So next time you are tempted to hate a human being from the other tribe, remember this:

a) During the campaign periods we are 42.

b) When the rich are hit below the belt we are one.

c) All these other times we are two; the filthy rich and the miserable poor.

The influential few and the insignificant many.

Fidel Wangai is a blogger who writes on Kenya’s current affairs.

-The Star



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