That Is Naïve Of You, Kuria

Kenyan Gatundu Member of Parliament, Moses Kuria was arrested on Monday over hate remarks. Another person arrested was former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama for a similar reason. This is coming weeks after the Kenyan Supreme Court nullified Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the recently concluded polls held on August 8th, 2017.

In a post on Facebook on  September 5th, 2017, Kuria posted a very divisive message that has left Kenyans divided with tension running high.

“Kiambu has spoken. They have said wembe ni ule ule (the razor blade is the same). Wangige and Kiambu people are seething with anger. One million of their votes were cancelled by four people. But they are ready to do it again. And even more. Manhunt is on tonight for the 200,000 people who did not vote and the 70,000 that voted for that other demon.”

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and so into a bit of history, we shall immerse ourselves. In 90’s Kenya, during Daniel Arap Moi’s regime, more than 2,000 people died and 500,000 displaced in the Rift Valley from deliberately incited ethnic clashes. The two warring ethnic groups were those of the Kalenjin and Kikuyu tribes. The same thing took place in 2005 during the referendum, Kibaki versus Raila (Kikuyu v Luo respectively). Again a similar occurrence, on such a massive scale, back in 2007, Uhuru/Ruto versus Raila, again Kikuyu/Kalenin v Luo. There was massive destruction of property and loss of lives including those of infants. All these were incited and propagated by words. Most of these words were spread through vernacular and most likely poorly regulated radio stations all over the country fueling the ethnic clashes.

On a global scale, one can clearly see the effect of words on people and how leaders can use these words to affect people to a certain course of action. Look at Gaddafi, Hitler, Donald Trump etcetera. If you wish to go back even further, remember your history class on how the Roman leaders used words to manipulate people. These are mostly people who are described as demagogues, that is, people who do not necessarily speak the truth, but feed on the feelings of the masses and tell these people what they wish to hear or believe. Trump played on the fear of Americans towards foreigners and got elected president. Hitler played on the ego of his people and told them their empire will last forever if they followed him and look how ruthless a dictator he became with more power.

Kuria and the likes may not be as smart or as ambitious as these leaders in history but even he should be able to understand the naivety of his words. Such blatantly dehumanizing words as ‘demon’ and other terms as ‘manhunt’ incite uncertainty in Kenyans. As a politician, he has a voice within the Kikuyu tribe. What if he has successfully sown the seeds for violence when Kenyans go to polls next month? With the current state of the economy, with most investors taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, most people are hard-pressed to survive in the ever increasing cost of living. Who is to say that they won’t snap when their preferred president does not win come October 17th? The fact that he used social media did not help since a lot of people, the majority being the youth, employ the use of technology in their day to day lives. Spreading of information is now faster and easier than ever. Millions now know about what he said and are scared. Everyone is asking: What is next?

Allow me to answer that for you dear reader. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), National Commission Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Supreme Court should punish these two short-sighted and destructive leaders, alongside the other 277 people being investigated for hate speech, to the full extent of the Supreme Kenyan Law before the next election. They should set a major precedent that will deter any joker from blabbering without thinking in future. Most Kenyan leaders are used to breaking the law because of the previous ineffective and compromised Judiciary. After the massive precedent set by Chief Justice Maraga, the courts should be bolder now. Over to you Maraga, the clock is ticking.
Let us also remember to vote peacefully and propel our great nation forward.

Ferdinand Bada
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