The British government, in all their gracious splendour, has decided that the Mau Mau veterans are to be rewarded for the torture that happened to them at the hands of the colonial government. William Hague (no relation to the other hague) gave a statement that the British government understands “the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the Emergency in Kenya” In light of all this they have decided to give each of the 5,200 veterans who were in court the equivalent of about KES 300,000 each to compensate for any wrongdoing. Now, because some guy tortured these guys fifty years ago, they can afford a second hand Nissan wingroad each.
Let’s not think about the fact that the British government still continues to deny liability; dismissing the torture as something that happened 50 years ago. Or the fact that UK firms made 20 billion on the NSE last year. Let’s take the money and be grateful to our colonial masters. Let’s assume they apologised, even though they really didn’t. It’s still amazing. 300,000 shillings, just like that. We never worked for this money. We should be happy we are even receiving anything from them.
It’s really of great concern to me our new fascination with taking the small victories wherever they be, even when they are not victories. Yesterday 93 witnesses at the ICC withdrew from the case. They said The Hague doesn’t seem to be working in their interest and so they filed a case with a much more reputable organisation – the Kenyan High Court. This organ, they believe, will work better towards justice than any other organ. And Kenyans are celebrating. IN the comments section on the Standard comments like “from the start the cases were going nowhere!! LEAVE OUR PRESIDENT ALONE ICC!! ” are gaining popularity. We are taking our victories, even when they aren’t victories.
And this is more than a little disturbing. Our ability to sweep anything under the rug at first was an endearing trait, now it is just frustrating. We seem to have completely eaten into our national narrative, “something happened – forget about it.” Those who hang onto the thing are chided for not being able to accept, for being unable to move on.
My question is simple: What are we moving on to?
Once someone can conclusively answer this question maybe I will be able to get with this national story. What green pastures are laying ahead that I am unable to see? Is it justice that we are moving on to? Because, to me, that lies in the past. What about truth; is that what we are moving on to? Perhaps, we are moving on to national cohesion. But how can there be cohesion if very real scars are left untreated. how can we properly move together if we haven’t cut out cancer. More personally driven, maybe it’s the money. This must be the answer. Kenyans have been told that they are capitalist severally. So perhaps we are moving on to the millions. That doesn’t make sense either. Any problems we have in Kenya affect our ability to make money. So, if we are truly thinking about money we wold try to fix these problems before we “move on.”
Maybe it doesn’t really matter where we are moving on to, as long as we do so in our shiny second hand Nissan wingroads.