A father comes home one day. Declares to his family in his most sympathetic voice "I'm afraid we're running out of money. I am selling the car and we need to move to a smaller house. I suggest we even cut back on our food. Ugali na skuma until we get back on our feet." Since he has raised a trusting and loving family, they accept this conditions. They believe that with time, they will get back to their big house and drive their big car. Life will be good. A few months later, his eldest meets a friend who works at the Laico Regency.
"I see your father alot nowadays. He's quite a customer."
(shock in face)
"Yeah. He books himself in for at least one week every month and he's very big on tips."
(more shock on face)
If this was your family story. What would you do? Do you go back home? Do you match up angrily to the Laico or do you go buy a gun?
That was the kind of confusion that went through my mind yesterday as I watched the first 3 of the Ocampo 6 being read their rights. The spoilt members of our society that we have raised to believe that they can do anything without consequences. That everything in life is a joke. I watched in horror as minutes after they walked out of that courtroom where they were warned of engaging in speech related to the case, they declared in unison that they shall hold the biggest political rally yet. I watched in shame as a Kenyan shamelessly talked back to a judge in the highest court in the world. I watched in embarrassment as words that should not come out of a sane's persons mouth were heard from the lips of a Kenyan. These were my people. These are the people that had led my country.
Have we no shame?
A leader defines who his followers are. Our leaders define who we are. A nation of delinquents and truants. A nation that does not seem to have a sense of what is important. A nation that seems to forget all too fast of our past. A past that should not be forgotten or taken lightly. It angered me. It angered me that with a constitution to pass, 40 of our MP's got onto planes to go to a court that could not accommodate them. It angered me that a criminal suspect could be booked into a hotel room larger and more expensive than 95% of housing in this nation. It angered me that I felt helpless to lash out.
We take things lightly. I will admit even I had forgotten. There was not much to remember since I was hanging with my friend as it happened. I was part of a diaspora who's only effect was that Nakumatt was only open for half a day instead of 24 hours. But yesterday as I watched our own countrymen look defiantly at the judge and crack jokes (CRACK JOKES!!) I realise it doesn't need to have happened to me for me to feel that hundreds were killed while we watched. That hundreds of thousands lost their homes. I was embarrassed that I had forgotten.
The guy you sat next to in the mat, his father was probably slaughtered while he watched. The cleaning lady in your building, she probably lost her land because she came from a community that didn't belong. The girl you are trying to hit on at the bar, maybe she fought her way out of being raped by her "friends". I heard stories of mothers who saw their families being hacked by their neighbours, people who were burnt in their churches and in their homes. Strangers kicking families out of their land and taking over their animals. This was not happening in another state. This was happening to us. Our country.
We are surrounded by countries which have been ripped apart by civil war.Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda. We have seen how far back such violence can take a country. Why do we want to take that lightly? Why do we want to crack jokes and say things like "Madam Judge those accusations sound like they are from an action movie!"? Are we serious. If I was the judge I would throw you in just for taking this matters so lightly. People in their constituencies not only died but became butchers and guerrillas. Children and women died next door to their mansions. Blood was flowing in their drains and sewers.
I am not saying that the 6 are guilty or that they are the only ones. I don't even know what kind of evidence that Ocampo has on them. But the least they could be is remorseful for the people who did this. Sad for what their country went through. Not defiant and arrogant. This is not a vacation. It's all too real for too many people in this country. IDP's are yet to be resettled. Medical bills are yet to be cleared. Houses are yet to be rebuilt and land is remaining fallow because it's hard for some people to rebuild their lives without their loved ones. Lives were destroyed.
I don't think those 40+ MP's understand that. Smiling at the camera like they just got on a plane for the first time in their lives. Waving flags and singing songs with words they barely know and don't seem to understand. The infrastructure of this country is fighting to stand, the constitution is yet to be discussed and passed, inflation is nearing an all time high, drought is beckoning in many parts of this country, the poverty gap is widening with each passing day and yet they saw it fit to get on a plane with our money and go on vacation.
This 6 are alleged criminals and they should be treated as such. I'm not advocating for us to shun them but I'm asking that we stop praising them. These are not celebrities and we shouldn't be escorting them in planes full of fans with hired dancers at the airport. We should not be delaying other peoples flights because they are coming through. If anything, they should be hiding in shame that they could be mentioned in something so grave. The Hague is not a place to hold political rallies and sing ridiculous songs while we hold hands.
We have much bigger issues that are affecting us, that need our money and compassion. I am not sorry that I don't think that the Ocampo 6 need my money or compassion. Infact I will assume my money is the one building roads and buying hospital beds and mosquito nets. Because if its my money paying first class tickets and hotel room bookings for alleged slaughterers, I will burst a vein.
Our country deserves better. Our people deserve better than what they are getting. Much more than we are willing to give. Let us not forget the path that we started heading down in 2007. Let us not forget that feeling of helplessness because that might just be our saving grace. Yes, we can pray for them. Because well the future in a Columbian International prison is rather daunting but they made their beds, we should stop being too willing to jump into it with them.