Thursday, 3 July 2014

Saba Saba Ina Wanyewe! (Saba Saba Has Its Owners!)

Politicians should stop playing football with #SabaSaba Day. It is NOT their day. It is OUR day; it has always been our day.

Saba Saba 1991 marked the start of the first 'Kenyan Spring'. At a time when we could barely breathe a word without looking over our shoulders or have a birthday party without a licence, Kenyans dared to look the beast in the eye and say 'enough!'

They may have been led in this call by two brave Kenyans who also happened to be politicians, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia. But after the two leaders were whisked away to begin many months of detention without trial, it was ordinary Kenyans who deigned to tread where eagles dared.

It was ordinary Kenyans who bore the brunt of the bullets and the batons. It was ordinary Kenyans who choked on the teargas, who lost their lives, who buried their dead, but who nevertheless stood up and confronted the forces of tyranny. And it was ordinary Kenyans who spoke in no uncertain terms that day and told Moi 'thus far and no further.' Their stand led to the reintroduction of political pluralism and the first competitive elections in 1992.

On Saba Saba 1997, the second 'Kenyan Spring' dawned as Kenyans took a stand once more, this time demanding a say in the making of their new constitution as Moi insisted that only a Parliament that he dominated had the mandate to discuss the constitution, dismissively asking what 'Wanjiku' understood about constitution-making. But once again the voice of Wanjiku eventually  carried the day. However, as in the previous Saba Saba, many had to fall and we still have many walking wounded in our midst as a result of daring to speak truth to power in love, the price we have always had to pay for the freedoms we enjoy.

And so as we approach #SabaSaba 2014, let not the politicians mistake our silence for ignorance, or our calm for indifference. Let them not think that spreading rumours and propaganda about insecurity or Mungiki or Taliban or MRC will scare us and silence us into submission. But let them know that when these hard-won freedoms are threatened, we shall stand up and defend them. And we shall not do so for Raila Odinga or against Uhuru Kenyatta. We shall do so for ourselves and for the future of our children. We have always done so in the past, and we shall always do so in the future.

Amkeni Ndugu Zetu! 

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