Kenya’s political class understands that it deals with a docile nincompoop population. It knows that there are those who will unquestioningly swallow its propaganda. That the African people called Kenyans are incapable of questioning anything the master says.  For, they belong to soft-brained ethnic political fan clubs.

Members of such clubs have no minds. They have surrendered to the politicians their right and capacity to think. Accordingly, they have been zombified into tribal sheep. They can only bleat, “Four legs good, two legs bad.” In everything, they only sheepishly bleat, “Comrade Napoleon is always right.” This is regardless that Comrade Napoleon is President Uhuru Kenyatta, or Cord leader Raila Odinga. The citizen is a ready mongoloid in submissive ethnic tow. Hence the slogans, ” Tuko Tayari (We are Ready),” and “Tuko Pamoja (We are Together).” When the kowtowing mongoloid is not from the immediate tribe, he belongs to a compliant franchise holding tribe.

The leader’s tribal grip is the grasp of mass hysteria. You remain under the spell, even when you are temporarily isolated from the mass. The politician knows that you will nonsensically rationalize anything the master has said, no matter how ridiculous. The first line of attack is by junior politicos from the tribe. Their loyalty is measured in their capacity to ventilate venom against the tribal object of hate. The rare thinker in the tribe is meanwhile extremely afraid of his own tribesmen. He cannot speak his mind. If he dares he will be labeled a traitor and a madman. And it could get worse.

In the circumstances, is there such a thing as objective truth in the country? Is sober conversation possible? It appears that our truth is relative to our tribes. Accordingly we have the Luo truth, for example, and the Kikuyu truth – on the same matter. If the Luo leader tells us that we have an enemy from a country called Oceania, we will believe him if we are Luo and disagree if we are Kikuyu. If tomorrow he tells us that Oceania has never been our enemy – that in fact our enemy has always been Eastasia – nothing changes. Nobody will tell him that he previously told us our enemy was Oceania.

An ethnically docile population such as ours is dangerous to itself, to the country and to future generations. Zombie populations of the kind we are degenerating into will set a church house on fire, to please the leader and the tribe. It will raid a church in Kigali and hack everyone inside to death, just because they are Tutsi and the leader has said all Tutsi must be killed. The next day everybody is ready to deny that such a thing ever happened, again because that is what the leader says. If he says no church was set ablaze, there were no machetes, no poisoned arrows and no mass murder, then there was none.

Our circumstances make the conversation between the Opposition and the Government extremely problematic. Indeed, everywhere in the world the conversation between the Government and the Opposition was never easy. For the Opposition has the posture of a Government in waiting. And quite often it accedes to power – in societies that enjoy functional democracy. The Government, for its part, casts itself as the best thing to happen to the people.

Yet, does the Kenyan condition seem to be in a class of its own? Our political dialogue is informed by blatant hostility and uncontrolled cozenage. Lies and mutual ill will sit at the foundation of all communication between political camps – and therefore their followers. Nothing – and I repeat nothing – can ever be seen outside the cloud of negative ethnic politics. Within such a scenario, a matter of profound national import as the Northern Collector Tunnel Water Project from Murang’a to Nairobi can only cause more confusion and ethnic hate.

The project has been going on for two years. It is supposed to end the thirst in Nairobi – at least for a while. Like any major project of its magnitude, it has implications for the environment. Before such a project is embarked upon, it must be subjected to an environmental impact assessment. The public must be made aware of the intended project. They must know what it is about and the anticipated good. What role will they play, if any? Who is the sponsor? How much will it cost? Who are the contractors? How have they been awarded the contract? Why? Who else tendered for the project? Why did they lose? The answers must be in the public domain.

Cord leader Raila Odinga astounded the nation, this week, with allegations that the water project is going to turn Murang’a and parts of the neigbouring counties into a desert.  What’s more, he says this will happen within the next five years. Moreover, he says the project is being carried out in secrecy. He has even suggested that there is related commercial conflict of interest in high places. The response has been predictable and swift. Not even environmental experts are agreed on the matter. There seem to be no objective experts – only experts for Odinga and for Kenyatta. And they are defined by tribe, or by tribal franchise and alliance.

Such is the tragedy of zombie republics. They are worse than banana republics. Odinga has raised very serious issues. Yes, it is possible that he is being diversionary, as National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale, says.  It is possible that he is diverting public focus from the troubles in the Cord fraternity. Conversely, could he be naively thinking that Murang’a could vote for him? Of course Murang’a will vote for Raila Odinga the day we begin bleeding rocks. You would expect Odinga to know this and the futility of angling for a Murang’a vote. Yet don’t we need a method of addressing issues? Fortunately five years is not a long time to wait for the truth.


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