Emilio Mwai Kibaki had the best chance to unite Kenyans after the 2002 elections. Other than the Kalenjin nation, the rest of the country voted overwhelmingly for Mwai Kibaki, something that probably can only be rivaled by the support Jomo Kenyatta received when he became the first Kenya’s Prime Minister and and the first President. If Mwai Kibaki honoured the infamous MoU, if he co-opted the NARC Principals as part of his inner circle, if he never disbanded the Summit, if he pushed for the adoption of a new constitution at least within the first year of his leadership, then no one would have talked of a split Kenya.
Although in 2013 elections Uhuru Kenyatta did not receive anything close to the overwhelming support Kibaki received in 2002, the son of Jomo Kenyatta too could have put on the shoes of a statesman and moved to heal the country – to form a nation. One thing Uhuru Kenyatta should have done is to implement the TJRC report, a report that was born out of Kenyans expressing their grievances, a report that could have moved the country a step closer to unity. But following the remarks by his Deputy William Ruto during the 2017 campaigns, we now know that the son of Jomo views the report as divisive and not unifying.
The reason Uhuru Kenyatta views TJRC as divisive is because he is a capitalist, just like his father. A capitalist whose foremost interest is to safeguard his business interests and interests of his fellow business partners and friends, it doesn’t matter if these business interests come at the expense of the citizenry. Implementing reports such as the TJRC would mean the business men and women who have for example acquired vast acres of land in several parts of the country seceding parts of those lands in order to settle some landless Kenyans. Something that could, I don’t know, divide Kenya?
But if the son of Jomo had put on the shoes of a statesman and agreed to the national dialogue Raila had called for way back in 2013, probably today no one would be talking of secession. By the time of penning this article, some 14,769 people had signed the now infamous PETITION OF KENYAN PEOPLES’ FOR RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION, 13,789 of them being residents of Kenya. The petition is sponsored by faceless individuals calling themselves The People’s Republic of Kenya, forcing Prof. David Ndii who shared the petition on his Twitter timeline to become the face associated with the petition. The petition that is targeting some 15 million signatures has so far received a paltry 14,769 signatures, three days after David Ndii shared it on social media. It goes without saying that we will not have a split Kenya, not any time soon, but that doesn’t mean the grievances being shared should be ignored.
Deep down there are those who actually and truly yearn for a split Kenya. But these people are few, fewer than a quarter of those who have signed the petition so far. Majority of those talking of secession are people who simply want to be heard. Like marriage, there comes a time when a people take drastic measures as a move to bring unresolved issues to the table.
A wife for example may pack and go to her parents’ home, with the hope that the husband will follow her to discuss the issues she feels weighty in presence of her parents’ and the elders in her community. In Luo culture, the husband would be required to travel with elders from his village so that the two communities can sit down and iron out all the wrongs that have befell that marriage. Mostly after that community dialogue is concluded, the couple always enjoy a happy marriage thereafter.
The people talking of secession are like this wife who feels that unless she leaves for a while, her grievances will not be heard, will never be resolved. Those pushing for splitting Kenya have real serious issues that must be listened to, addressed, and resolved. If those holding instruments of power continue ignoring the issues being raised, then just like Prof David Ndii said, the aggrieved will one day take over the government through the bullet.
Going by the language of the petition, those pushing for a split Kenya have identified issues ranging from LEADERSHIP “Kenya has consistently been ruled by only two communities yet Kenya is a country of about 44 tribes”, IMPUNITY “Successive Kenyan Governments have perpetuated a culture of impunity through rigged elections that denies Kenyan’s from other tribes the ability to self-determine and even grow economically”, and EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS “In the wake of a rigged 2017 election and the subsequent killings and fact ethnic cleansing taking place in the country” as the key reasons why they want Kenya divided into two republics, the Central Republic of Kenya and The People’s Republic of Kenya.
A few other issues that have been identified by those who have already signed the petition include Justice, Marginalisation, Tribalism, Corruption, Equality of the human person, and respect for the independence of independent institutions such as the IEBC. Over at Twitter, the hashtag #Letstalksecession has been trending for most part of the day, and those discussing secession have by and large pointed out to the above issues as the reasons as to why a split Kenya is what is best for everyone.
— Adede Adede (@adedeadedeh) August 24, 2017
— Phelix G-Cord (@PhelixOchola) August 24, 2017
The coast beach line and the minerals at the coast doesn’t help the wapwani.It is owned by the mafias not coasterians.#LetsTalkSecession
— Wallace Ralak (@RalakWallace) August 24, 2017
The above clearly shows that there are Kenyans who are tired of this marriage called Kenya, people who feel abused, uncared for, unvalued, and unwanted. The problem PNU and Jubilee regimes have done in the last 15 or so years is to appease the grievances with project launches here and there – like a husband buying flowers for the wife with hopes she’ll let go of the cheating complains. If the leadership question will not be properly addressed so that even the minority can stand a real chance of becoming Presidents in this country, if the emotions surrounding historical injustices will not be publicly listened to and dealt with head on, and if the feeling of segregation will not be attended to, then we will either have a split Kenya or bullet takeover. The time is ticking.