Kenyans were once again shocked to learn that at the height of one of the worst pandemic’s in human history when all human and financial resources would logically go into efforts to mitigate its adverse effects, the President of the Republic of Kenya (GoK) in his infinite wisdom, saw it fit to undertake the construction of a weapons manufacturing plant.
The weapons factory is located in Ruiru, Kiambu County, a town with substantial commercial interests by the Kenyatta family including the mega Northlands City and the location of this facility begs more questions as to the actual intention.
Coming at a time when the Government has been advanced over Kshs. 700B ($7B) in COVID loans by multilateral donors, but suspiciously unable to boost the health capacity of local hospitals, the country is wondering where money to invest in this vanity project has come from.
Concerns are wide-ranging and parallels are being drawn to the extension of a misguided curfew by the Head of State, the lockdown of 5 counties, the militarization of what is clearly a health process whereby the disgraced & discredited National Police Service (NPS) have spear-headed the pandemic response process and the encroachment of universal human rights including freedom(s) of the press, movement, association and speech.
The country was treated to a spectacular display of raw power and impunity by the Hilary Mutyambai-led police service (ranked by global governance outfit Transparency International as the most corrupt institution North of Limpopo-South of the Sahara), whereby they spent the better part of the week disrupting protest marches and press conferences convened by Kenyans of goodwill, who were expressing concern over the deterioration of democratic values and principles as enshrined in the 2010 constitution.
How can a country which cannot feed its people, boost health capacity, pay its suppliers on time, meet its financial obligations to global lenders and complete infrastructural projects on time, suddenly afford to build a sophisticated weapons factory?
Could the ruling class have envisaged a scenario where public reaction to the rumored extensions of their tenure in office could lead to a full-blown revolution, thus precipitating the need for a sustainable supply of weapons to quell the protests?
Recently, a South African newspaper Daily Maverick highlighted the role that the United State and United Kingdom have played in enabling torture, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances by the Kenya Police under the guise of the “war on terror” despite repeated lamentations by Human Rights Watch as late as last month.
We have noted the continued silence by the international community even as foreign press like the Washington Post covered the extrajudicial killings of 20 Kenyans under the guise of curfew enforcements. Within the first two months of the first curfew, police extrajudicial killings had ended the lives of more victims than the virus itself. Hundreds more were left maimed, wounded and mentally ravaged by the actions of the Kenya Police.
In the same light today, starvation, depression and suicide have killed more people than the virus itself, including members of the armed forces.
In this regard, we hope that the relevant global oversight bodies like the United Nations Office For Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) will inspect the Ruiru weapons factory, to ensure that the arms manufactured there are not used by this Government to cause a genocide on its own people, or create regional conflict through illicit sales of weapons to despots.
Kenya has been the hub for peace and stability in the region so the building of a weapons factory should worry all foreign nations who have used the country to broker peace in the volatile horn of African region.
We have seen heightened political activity ever since the first lockdown and it is clear that the extension recently announced by Uhuru Kenyatta has nothing to do with the virus and more about the 2022 succession plan. Politicians hosted super-spreader events campaigning around the country and triggering the third-wave of infections. They baited attendees with cash handouts and ferried supporters from various counties to i some cases, go and heckle opponents.
Young Kenyans continue being misused as cannon fodder in the war of attrition, even as the ruling class continue their supremacy battles.
With this statement, we as young Kenyans would like to distance ourselves from the political shenanigans, and should not be used as collateral damage by the aging political class, who are suppressing us as a way of achieving political capital or undermining opponents.
We are unfamiliar with the political dynamics and our movement is non-aligned to any political faction. We are thus at a crossroads over the misguided lockdown and curfews announced last month by the President, who has since sought to shift blame to faceless “experts” hailing from the Ministry of Health, itself riddled with bottom of the barrel-type thieves within their ranks.
If anything, the President should be banning political rallies but not meaningful economic activity. Cameroon which is a 3 decade-long dictatorship under Paul Biya, did not impose any lockdown. The country is not amongst those listed for the updated travel advisories by the US and UK.
So President Uhuru Kenyatta, if you honestly want to extend your term, locking down the country, causing severe economic deprivation on your citizenry, restricting movement, hoarding test-kits and vaccines, may be a counter-productive approach. So far you have taken the warped counsel of the functionally illiterate police service and Harambee House bureaucrats, at the expense of your political capital and (what’s left of) your legacy.
They have plunged the country into turbulent waters where foreign relations with traditional allies like the United Kingdom have been strained.
Over the years, the President has embarked on self-defeatist undertakings triggered by the inherent contempt of the youth by the old guard in executive and advisory roles in Government, including the erecting of ALCOBLOW road-blocks which were nothing more than extortion points, the raiding of indigenous alcohol manufacturers, the enforcement of an illegal curfew where citizens were arrested for “loitering”, the banning of sheesha, the cracking down of one betting company, the digital tax regime, and lastly the curfew.
The President should concentrate on direct attack to his political opponents in a fair and just manner, and not take the whole country down with him just to meet his selfish, power-thirsty agenda. If he wants to curtail William Ruto from campaigning, he might as well use state machinery or the compromised judiciary to achieve the same, not locking down an entire country to fight one man.
We are tired of being used as pawns in the demonic game that Uhuru is playing with our country. His obsession to extend his tenure should not supersede Kenyans right to free movement, economic activity, assembly and speech.
We are not aware or even remotely interested in the genesis of the beef between Uhuru and Ruto. However it’s causing extended loss of lives and livelihoods for millions of Kenyans if it’s the reason why Uhuru and his mentally-impotent acolytes are obsessed with lockdowns and curfews as the only way of suppressing his political ambitions.
We don’t sympathize with any political faction because in the eyes of the youth of Kenya, all politicians are TRASH and none can claim to be better or different than the other.
In this regard, we reiterate our demand for FULL & UNCONDITIONAL lifting of the lockdown & curfew and a resumption of ALL economic, educational, transport and sporting activities in the country. At a time when Uhuru has brought this country to its knees through rampant corruption and his insatiable greed for stolen funds, bars have become a source of solace for the downtrodden people of this nation.
The young people of the country will continue seeking avenues to protest and air their grievances until that happens. You had better #UnlockOurCountry because once Kenyans overcome the psychological barrier & stop fearing police bullets, it will be over for the ruling and corporate class in the country.
Avert that catastrophic possibility & #UnlockOurCountry .