By Moses Kuria
Today, a group of people from GEMA communities are gathering in Limuru for what has been dubbed Limuru 2B, a counter to the Limuru 2 GEMA meeting that took place on 23rd March, 2012. Whilst the organizers are going on a limb to show that what they will be discussing are fresh ideas on how to drive the community and the nation forward, I remain highly skeptical.
I wonder why they were not gripped by these noble thoughts before Limuru 2 meeting. As such as this did not happen, Limuru 2B comes out as a reactionary, knee jerk move by those who were not at the centre of Limuru 2 planning.
However sound the things they discuss today, they will find it difficult to wish away the tag of a carbon copy gathering, desperate to keep up with the Jones of ethnic supremacy.
A lot of people, me included, are opposed to converting GEMA into a vehicle for political leadership. The way to ensure that this does not happen is not to create a parallel GEMA B as an alternative political vehicle. As a Christian, I go to church to fulfill my spiritual needs. I believe in political parties as the only legitimate form of political expression and mobilization.
Organisations like GEMA which I worked very hard to help in the formation should restrict themselves to cultural, social and economic empowerment of the peoples of Mt Kenya region. Luo Council of Elders, Luhya Council of Elders, the Kaya Elders, KAMATUSA et al should do likewise.
These cultural, social and economic empowerment groups, working together, will form very strong bedrock, the foundation of a strong and cohesive republic. Their bilateral bond should be in the form of embracing diversity and mutual understanding.
Their multilateral bond is the new constitution which guarantees the rights of sundry and protects both the individual and the community, whether minority or majority.
In as much as GEMA A of Limuru 1 and Limuru 2 and GEMA B of Limuru 2B are dabbling in politics, I remain opposed to both of them. Both GEMA’s have peculiar problems of perception and reality to deal with.
GEMA B is perceived to be led by a group of people who remain stuck in the ideology of whining and jealousy. To them the guy next door is always to blame for all your predicaments, even those of your own making.
They belong to the club that I refer to as “The Bitterness Society of Kenya”. The initials BSK should always be left to the Bible Society of Kenya. In terms of reality, GEMA B has within its ranks individuals whose past cannot wash, even with a combination of Ariel and Omo.
GEMA A equally has problems of both reality and perception. In terms of perception, the old men and women at its helm are seen as people who would go to any depth to use the community for their own selfish ends.
The perception, right or wrong, is that the community is them and they are the community, and beyond them, only the floods! In terms of reality, the GEMA A leadership has refused to open up the organization and the wider community to calls for generation change.
As I have written in this column before, virtually every other community in this country has modernized its leadership except the GEMA community.
Juxtaposed between the GEMA A of the octogenarians and GEMA B of the Bitterness Society of Kenya are men and women who are conscious of their republican obligations and proud of their GEMA heritage. They eke an honest living as farmers, traders, professionals, civil servants or business people.
They give their all to educate their children. They suffer silently from the ethnic bile spewed by those who hate the community out of fear and prejudice, and misrepresentation of their own by both GEMA A and GEMA B.
One issue that I however support from GEMA A is the need to stand up to that tool for Western hegemony that is the International Criminal Court. Recently German Ambassador Madam Margit Hellwig Boette followed in the footsteps of British Foreign Secretary William Hague by pleading with William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta to drop their presidential bids “for the sake of Kenya”.
It reminded me of former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss Kahn whose charges of sexual harassment were dropped the minute he signed off his resignation from the IMF.
The French ambassador, Mr. Etienne de Poncins is on record accusing President Kibaki of being inaccessible, confirming one of the claims in the leaked British letters.
The fixation by the West to use the ICC as a tool to achieving their strategic objectives in Kenya and prop up a puppet regime in Nairobi should be rejected by all. On this I find convergence with GEMA A.
I would actually go further than this and call for total non-co-operation with the ICC and complete withdrawal from the Rome statute as approved by Parliament.
I however find their route to be unnecessary. Rather than collect two, three or ten million signatures, why not just wait for the General elections which will be with us latest in just over 300 days? The people of Kenya will decide whether the two gentlemen are fit for public office. Surely as Kenyans we might not know much but we can at least differentiate tomato ketchup from rat poison.
The writer is the spokesman of the Party of National Unity (PNU). The views expressed herein are his own.