If you just dropped onto the planet from wherever then I should inform you that there was an occupy Parliament in town yesterday. Boniface Mwangi (who I previously wrote about here) led a crowd of people through town to standing outside parliament, raising placards and culminating in pouring blood on some pigs. The police, in retaliation to the blood that had been spilled on the pigs – they were deeply ashamed for the pigs – picked up their clubs and beat up the people in the crowd. When that seemed to be working less effectively than they had hoped they decided to fire live bullets into the air. No birds have been reported as injured.
Boniface and his friends, on the other hand, were arrested for cruelty to animals. First of all, I doubt such a law exists in Kenya, and if so, if they’re ever applied (anyone here been harassed by KSPCA) . Second, was the guy who did the entire coast dogs drama charged with it? These are question that will, of course, never be answered. After rigorous processing Boni and friends were released on bail and the streets outside parliament were swept clean of the filth left there by the protestors.
So that’s what’s been happening. We’re now on the day after. When pounded backs ache and teargassed eyes burn. Kenyans have protested, we are tired. We’ve now got ourselves busy with “moving on” because that is what we do best.
But, for some reason, I’d rather not move on. I’d like to dwell a little. Let’s think about the matters that affect us now where we are. Let’s think about the fact that 58% of our people of employable age are unemployed. Let’s think about the fact that no one has been held responsible for what happened in 2007 and 2008. Let’s think about a certain Indian businessman who has the audacity to claim that all revenue generated by our duty free shops should be his. Let’s think about politicians who get elected and, their first order of business, is raising their salary. Let’s think deeply about Kenya. And what it has become, and what it will become.
A man recently walked into a bus I was on carrying a boy on his back. The boy was, obviously, mentally ill (or a exceptionally talented actor). The man had a laminated A4 paper, on this paper was a plea. The plea talked about how it would cost about three hundred thousand shillings to treat his son. Money he did not have. Above the plea was a seal “office of the president.” The boy on his back just kept coo-ing seemingly oblivious to what was happening. Some people handed the man change, some didn’t. The man got off the bus and, presumably went to the next one.
The child lingered in my mind.
He stayed with me because there is legislation that the people here are trying to push for that will protect him from being exploited for empathy. And it’s not passing because a man whose name rhymes with pot pouri seems more interested in adding 300,000 bob to his salary. And yet still we want to shrug our shoulders and move on. Pat our backs like the protest march was all we needed to do.
Well, here’s a shocker, it wasn’t.
16 people were arrested yesterday. They were arrested for being a menace. For saying things that would rather be left unsaid and for thinking things that would rather be left unthought. And for pouring blood on a couple of swine. But mainly for being a menace. Robert Alai is actually being charged with posting an annoying tweet. It cannot be illegal to be annoying. It just can’t. If it could I’d have sent several people to jail. And, if it really is, then, by all means, arrest us. Arrest us all.