Pheroze Nowrojee: Selfish leaders out to divide Kenyans

Events in Somalia pose a real threat to Kenya's national security, cohesion and territorial integrity. Our responses, ironically, pose the same dangers.

Our 'leaders' are neglecting what is happening there, are lazy about their work in protecting Kenya, and are self-absorbed in their 2012 manoeuvring. These responses offer no proactive solutions and are wholly inadequate to contain the dangers.

The neglect is breaking our country.

Firstly, because the dangers from Somalia are being used to advance political ambitions in Kenya. To do that, certain leaders have first to divide Kenyans. This they are doing with cold calculation and no hesitation whatsoever.

We see two attempted exclusions coming together: political operators seeking to drive Muslims from public life; church operators seeking to exclude Muslims from constitutional reform.

Both moves are from the same politicians, the same interests.

We see Kenyan church organisations advancing the interests of American evangelical groups. Political parties are barred from receiving moneys from overseas. NGOs have to report such moneys. Are churches free to receive the evangelicals' money without any accountability?

An artificial division is being manufactured between Kenyans. Let us look at one of the incidents that took place that afternoon outside the Jamia Mosque, Nairobi.

As the police and demonstrators faced each other on one side, a large group of youths came from the opposite side. They began throwing stones at the demonstrators. Were they 'patriotic Kenyans' who quite coincidentally were passing and found their nationalist feelings upset by the demonstrators? Did they just happen to have time on their hands and stones in their pockets that day? Not likely.

The youths then began singing the national anthem at those in the Mosque grounds. This was more serious than political disagreement. This was an attempt to exclude some Kenyans from the national fabric. The singers were pretending to be 'true Kenyans' and suggesting that all those around the Mosque were not. This was a premeditated move to divide Kenyans. It was a move thought up by those who had organised and paid for the stone-throwing by these youth.

It would help those politicians even though it would begin breaking up the country.

These politicians are gambling with the country, and gambling with our lives. They believe that such moves can regain them the Presidency they lost in the 2007 elections and in the 2008 National Accord.

This is the exploitation of our unemployed and impoverished youth by those who have large pockets and empty hearts, who shout loudly about generational change yet keep their age-mates in a state of continual dependence on them with the leash of an unending poverty.

These divisions are not the consequence of a debate on the Constitution. These divisions do not move reform of the constitution forward. What they do move forward are the ambitions of a few individuals who keep deepening the divisions in Kenya, tribal, religious, geographical and economic, as the way to recapture the unchallenged political and financial control of Kenya they enjoyed from 2003 to 2007.

The third consequence of an absent national focus on these dangers are the human rights violations that have emerged from the terror attacks of the last decade.

These have included renditions of Kenyans, their religious/ethnic profiling, extra-constitutional detentions, cultural arrogance, water boarding, mental torture, religious humiliation, in sum a compendium of denial of the rule of law to Kenyans.

Such responses have therefore been as destructive of the rule of law as the attacks themselves.

Kenyan governments of the past ten years and the police, particularly the anti-terrorist police unit, have been part of this illegal response. They have been apprentices of and proxies for the dirty work of allied governments. They should instead have been partners in the implementation of effective yet legal responses.

We have our own fights to fight. When we fight the fights of our allies we must also protect our national interests, not just the interests of individuals and select groups.
That may help American evangelicals and other special interests, but it is destructive of Kenya. It destroys the inter-faith tolerance and coexistence that has flourished in Kenya and East Africa for centuries.

In Zanzibar, over a hundred years ago, it was the Muslim Sultan who gave the land for the Anglican Church to build its Cathedral. In Mombasa, it was Sir Ali bin Salim who gave the land upon which a Catholic school still stands.

The writer is a lawyer

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2 Responses to Pheroze Nowrojee: Selfish leaders out to divide Kenyans

Anonymous said...

The person who wrote this article thought they were doing so from the moral high ground of "the objective, intellectual and unemotional observer".

They failed miserabley, and were just short of bursting into tears.

the people he refered to as "pretending t be patriotic Kenyans" are in fact Kenyans, and like the writer, have no sympathy for Somali or any Somali whoremongers in Kenya hiding in Mosques.

They are willing to lay down their lives for this country.

That is love.

one thing that is right...our politicians are lunatics!

Francis said...

That's true! May be, Kenyans should be schooled on the teachings at Bunge La Mwananchi, or simply KIKAO... One of the forebearers, and later the Chairman of Sisi Kwa Sisi Party, a John Rukenya Kabugua, had a solution for this in 2001.
He together with a few young men build the Party a fresh with a New Manifesto prior to the 2002 General elections... whereby it was held that half of the members would be Muslims and the other half would be Christians.
The matrix of exclusion has no place in the of Kenya... Many, even self-proclaimed Spiritual leaders don't know where we're coming from neither do they know or can even imagine where Kenya is heading to...