When the father of your nation asks you to forgive him, and his predecessors… you have no option but to….well…..forgive
(Especially when it is a family affair, a fathers’ son confessing the sins of the father).
The Kenyan taxpayer finally made peace with the fact that the unwelcome long hand of the government would always grope around his pocket and carry off loads of cash in the name of tax; the said long hand would then go ahead and squander the cash like an idle high mistress, in ways that any taxpayer who considers his sanity important will choose not to know.
Since ours is the politics of the belly, we sat, unmoved, watching the ‘Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission’ bag hefty allowances as they gave cheap tissue to the witnesses and those wronged to wipe off their tears. That team, lead by one Bethwel Kiplagat , got a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money listening to tales by wananchi who were too happy to tell the truth in the hope that it would not only set them free but also get them a long delayed justice. What they seemed to forget, these ‘wronged’ group, was that reconciliation, the term that aptly comes at the end of the TJR, was to be the end in the end.
Had they promptly consulted the management guru Stephen Covey of the Seven Habits fame, he’d have wisely advised them to ‘begin with the end in mind.’
Anyway, with enthused hearts and a thirst for justice, these ‘wronged’ narrated how they had lost land, property and even homes in the unfortunate events that have been happening since Kenya gained ‘independence’ from the white man (only to lose it to the black man who is twice as slow in developing and twice as fast in gathering and eating.)
As a student of psychology, I wouldn’t dispute that sharing their horrific experiences helped the ‘wronged’ get past some of the horrible occurrences. Just being able to spill it out can dissipate some of the bottled up anger and give the heart a reprieve; perhaps all the justice a poor Kenyan heart can get!
But Kenyans are a hopeful lot and many expected a restorative kind of justice. One that works like the indemnity principle of insurance; where one is put back into the exact position they were in before the risk occurred. Many dreamt of heroic come-backs into their stolen homes and perhaps a cheque or two for the lost title deeds factoring in inflation and the appreciative value of land.
Lo! And Behold, like every elusive Kenyan dream, they woke up to a serious faced Betwel kiplagat reading out the ‘terribly wise verdict’ of his long researched report.
‘May the Father of the nation offer a public apology for all the crimes committed since independence, that should be done within a number of days (before the apology expired I guess!).
So there you are, a common peasant mwananchi, with very little in terms of assets and no power (thanks to KPLC). The charismatic father of the nation,the Commander in chief of the armed forces, he that is named after the state , in whose veins flow the royal blood of a freedom fighter; a son whose mother appears in the Forbes list of the richest and most powerful women in the continent; humbly offers you a sincere, heartfelt apology for ‘all the wrong that has been done to you, from the forefathers to the third and fourth generation.
WHO ARE YOU TO SAY NO!
Being patriotic, having pledged your loyalty to the nation of Kenya and in the living spirit of Harambee perpetuated in the Nyayo philosophy of peace love and unity ,you stare at the big man, eyeball to eyeball , and after a moment of defiance(only happens in your head) you break into a wide grin and clasp his royal hand tight. ‘Of course I forgive you sir! And all those before you, aaah that was just a small thing Bwana, I can always get another piece of land in Ruai……….I hear the plots there are very cheap…..’
Later that day, you drive past your ‘grabbed’ piece of land and nostalgically remember the golden 80’s, eating roast maize as you listened to Nzau Kalulu’s raspy voice on the ‘sundowner’ programme in the VOK.
And you wonder why the taxpayers’ money had to fund for all those TJRC sessions and allowances when the matter could just have been taken to the Archbishop Nzimbi and the verdict would have surely remained the same. Forgive!
In Memory of the fallen KBC broadcaster and journalist of the ‘Sundowner and Radio Theatre Fame’, Nzau Kalulu. Rest in Peace!