What is common in all revolutions is the existence of threats to citizen’s dignity and humanity and the willingness of citizens, in their numbers, to do something about it. Not blueprints, nor clarity on steps and milestones; nor any definitive leadership; nor hard consensus about how the revolution’s results could look like.
It’s fury first, and then urgency to act followed by a series of actions aimed at neutralizing the the threat and its source. Revolutions don’t even begin as revolutions.
Revolution is not the realm of managerialism, gentrification and Project Cycle Management. It’s not a neat affair, fuelled by energy or isotonic drinks. Neither is revolution defined by auras of deodorant and exquisite parades of a nation’s notables.
Revolution is never announced. When its moment comes, it sweeps the land and its leaders emerge organically to consolidate its energy into a force that creates new realities to correct the overthrown system.
A Kenyan revolution? We must wait. Unfortunately.
Because the endemic socialisation of seeking private remedies to public threats and indignities caused by the state is still strong and intact. It’s beloved and occupying.
That’s why your uncles and aunties are angrier with you for not sending them money in time for their next hospital visit than they are with the kleptocracy overseeing the death of the public health system. That’s why you’re probably struggling to please them more than you’re trying to find a way to strangle a lonesome looter at the Intercon, Stanley, Norfolk, Serena or Panafric urinals where they safely frequent – same places where some of your ‘community patronage and salvation’ breakfast meetings take place.
We, the self-declared change-makers of Kenya must live, for a long time to come, with our strategic plan/annual report/capacity building/position paper/concept paper/op-ed/social media/workshop/seminar/conference/retreat/NGO/CBO/donor/network and occasional-half-hearted-fearfully planned public protest revolution for a long time to come. And sadly, the bandits in power know that these are our only ‘revolutionary’ spaces and they know how to indulge us.
Our public fury, rage, urgency and agency are all anaesthetised, some euthanised by permanent mental and intravenous injections of a self help, mchango ethos for public problems and threats designed, executed and maintained by the ruling bandits.
So we like remembering Mau Mau and other heroes of our liberation struggles but continue to hide from drawing meaningful inspiration from their courage and rage. We refuse to adapt their tactics and enrich them with present opportunities to topple a small bunch of thieves ruining our country. We detain their memory again, as artefacts and add slabs to their graves by paralysing ourselves to preservation, postponement and voluntary foolishness that somehow Bunge or DCI or Mahakama or EACC or ODPP or Uhuru or Raila or, or, or will be our liberators.
Why are we still asking Uhuru Kenyatta and the intergenerational organised criminal system he manages for solutions to the many national problems and crises they’ve built since so-called independence?
Look at us…