Friday, December 28, 2012

An Open Letter to Prof Makau Mutua, keep your predictions to yourself.

Dear Prof. Makau Mutua,

“I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Prof, you and J.D Salinger clearly share no beliefs. And maybe you shouldn’t.

But I feel that you would be the man with an evil laugh pushing the thousands of little children off the cliff.

Let me explain.

Your tweet on the 23rd of Dec 2012,in Buffalo, New York

"@makaumutua I predict a military coup in Kenya after the March 2013 elections if those indicted for crimes against humanity are elected."

5 years ago, today, I was in my mother’s house in Kitale, watching Television as the country began to break into tension. Our thoughts began to turn into dreadful fears of what could happen. The KICC, the heartbeat of election reporting was abuzz; with many crying foul over vote rigging, delays in reporting, and all sorts of accusations and counter accusations were on live TV. At home, we all stayed in my mother’s living room flicking through the TV channels, watching quietly, afraid to think of the impossible.

Two days later, the 'Breaking News' began flying. Fires were reported everywhere, road blocks manned by machete carrying people, while others were being hacked to death. The Kikuyu, Luo and Kalenjin false superiorities began to tear the country down. It was a terrible time. But of course, you, Prof, were not here; it perhaps was a chilly winter, perhaps in London, or were you in New York? Catching the latest from CNN or the BBC?

You see, my daughter is called Wambui, named after her paternal grandmother, and I am called Chebet, translated as Daughter of the Sun, in Kalenjin, my mother’s language. The two tribes were not allowed in the same place in that period of December 2007. But I managed; we got a flight from Eldoret and flew back to Nairobi where it was safe for her. Many people didn't make it. Many didn't have a flight out of Eldoret as an option. Many died, others were displaced. Most were traumatized for life in their own country.

We, Kenyans, do not want to go through that again.

We hurt, Kenya hurt, and all we have left, is a benign feeling of hope. We are holding to it so strong, and we hope that the blood bath will remain a thing of the past. You see, Professor,When you are at the brink of despair, you don’t need someone to push you off the cliff, you need someone to hold your hand and tell you to hang in there, make things better, love our neighbours, preach peace, and begin to build bridges.

On Christmas day, Just a few days after your tweet about a possible Military Coup in 2013, you said,"
walk up to a complete stranger today and tell him, or her, that you love them. Then hug them."

Prof, If that is not the epitome of doublespeak, then I, a lifetime student of Journalism have no idea what double speak means.

Your 25th December tweet about hugging a stranger shows a side of you that believes in the ability of human kind to be good, in a strange Marxist kind of way. The human beings I talk about here are those that did or could once again take part in PEV. Back to Karl Marx: You do remember his argument that man was inherently good, especially if given the right social environment all that good would shine through and illuminate the world with righteousness?

The ICC will do it's work, at least for the sake of all Kenyans we hope that those behind the PEV in 2007-2008 will be brought to book. But we, ordinary Kenyans can do little between now and March 2013 when we cast the ballot.

Now with your doublespeak, part of me wondered why such an influential, Hague appointed, Harvard trained, Buffalo Dean would predict a collapse of the Kenyan government. Military occupations rarely are peaceful, sir. If indeed the Jubilee team creates space for a coup, wouldn't it be prudent that you give us a proper analysis of what informs your statements?

We are a resilient people, we are hopeful that it will be peaceful. That does not in any sense mean that we refuse to see the unsolved matters. IDP's are still in camps, ethnicity is still bubbling underneath; but there are some great positives done since 2007. We still have hope.

Have you lost all hope, Professor?

Perhaps you have been away too long?

Perhaps you have forgotten what it means to be hopeful?

Many of us are clutching onto that hope, and spreading it as far as we can, you call it burying our heads in the sand, but you are in faraway New York, and will not be here if a Military coup happens in 2013.

Professor, as you drive your Hague agenda, ( and many Kenyans are) be careful of your callous and careless language. Please remember that 38 million Kenyans call this country home. They want it to be peaceful, because they live here.

So please, keep your predictions to yourself.

I believe that the real winners never give up on hope.

I do not write this as a journalist, I write it as a mother and a Kenyan who is hopeful that 2013's election will be a feather in the Kenyan cap, after all we have had successful elections since 1963, one bad one, will not rain on our parade.