I woke up this morning realising how lucky I am. I went to bed with the story of a Kenyan who arrived in Nairobi confused. He spent his last money on the bus to flee for his life, because a group of soldiers and citizens came to his home at night. Screaming to him: Who did you vote for!! Who did you vote for!! I will keep it short. He and his family bled into a river bed and spent the night. From there he and his family saw how groups went through the area putting fire on houses in the region. This man’s life was saved, and the attackers did not set his house a blaze. But they took his cows. I had a paeceful sleep although the story of the man popped up from time to time.
Then this morning they I woke up with the news of two ministers of the Kenyan government saying: we don’t need any African mediators, because we have won the elections. One of them was referring to a team of African ‘wise men and women’, among them Gracia Machel (Nelson Mandela’s wife) and Kofi Annan (former UN secretary general) who are jetted in for mediation between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. For your information: the two ministers: Michuki and Saitoti have both been around and they are not the cleanest.
This morning in the Newspaper, they showed how big the distance is between Kenya’s filthy rich politicians who don’t even seem to suffer from what is happening to their people. They can just talk about their victory and seem to blind that what is going on in ‘their’ Kenya. But ‘their’ Kenya seems to be a different Kenya. It is the Kenya of the career politicians, who have their children study abroad and who got away with almost everything they did in the past because they are who they are. Their Kenya, they showed is another planet, to which they can choose to fly to whenever they want.
The real Kenya these days is the Kenya of a people that tries to survive, of the people who don’t have a choice. The real Kenya is the Kenya is the Kenya from people that thought they were in a stable country and got hope in the past five years that things would get better. The real Kenya is the Kenya is the Kenya of people who from one day day to another are refugees, don’t have the choice to take a flight like a lot of NGO-workers, diplomats, family of the small group of privileged and tourists with a travel insurance who left this country.
The leaders of this country, none of them did not show anything that shows concern. There is no joint statement in which they show who they really. This country will remember them as many other leaders in Kenyan history: the ones that put their own interests above the people’s. Or… like we Dutch say: the ones that were the drops that made water in the bucket go over the rim… to finally start the Big Change…
What is happening here has gone far beyond who has won elections or not. It among others about a deep felt frustration from the poor. It is about a deep felt frustration about the permanent felt injustice in this society and a hope that was taken away. It is about choices and where they can bring people. Like the man from my bed time story: he did not have the choice but to save his life. Compare to minister Michuki’s choice: looking at the picture in today’s newspaper I have the impression he choose to go for a Dead Sea Mineral-mask and on the way decided to choose a nice new Hugo Boss suit.
I am just outside the Kenyan parlement now waiting for the moment the parlement is going to be opened. It might be the start of a new wave of actions, the choice of an angry Kenyan people. I will keep you posted! At this moment: The streets are getting quiet, riot police is around with cannisters of teargas.