Amani Sasa – 11 April 08

AMANI SASA DAILY UPDATE: 11th April 2008[1]

THE HUMAN COST: Over 1000 dead and over 350, 000 displaced

Updates and Upcoming Activities[2]

  • To receive an update on the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process go to http://www.dialoguekenya.org. Here you will find information on the team, the agreements reached thus far and current updates on the process.
  • Jesuit Hakimani Centre in collaboration with others is Launching an Ambassadors for Peace initiative that will take some prominent persons to the grassroots in various parts of the country to boost the continuing activities on national healing and reconciliation. They have invited the Retired Arch Bishop Nding Mwana Nzeki, Rev Timothy Njoya, Madam Dekha Ibrahim, Tecla Loroupe and Paul Tergat to the Launch in Korogocho on the 19th of April. All Concerned Citizens are invited to the event.
  • Rtd. Gen. Daniel Opande sends his regards to all Concerned Citizens for peace. He is currently out of the country and has therefore been unable to attend meetings but he is following closely on the current situation in Kenya and is with us all the way in the discussions and recommendations, which might be directed to our political Leaders to uphold the interests of our people and country above any other considerations.
  • One Kenya-one Nation is looking for peace messages to pass on to school children and students to ingrain a patriotic culture in them with. If you have any ideas of such messages which pass on the idea of peaceful co-existence with no ethnic or religious animosity kindly send your them in to: nationkenya@yahoo.com or info@onekenya-onenation.com. You can also check out their website on www.onekenya-onenation.org
  • If you are looking for information about the peace process and initiatives that have been established towards this go to www.rescuekenya.org. They have now established a crisis victim registry, a missing person registry, a camp registry and organization / initiative registry. They are also registering victims, tracking IDPs and getting their personal information, their needs, skills, where they were from, which camps they were in, where they were taken and where they’d like to go. They are also carrying out situation mapping, which gives current information on the situation on the ground. Other activities include Supply Chain Management / Inventory Management, Volunteer Management, Communication Centre, Reporting System and Needs Assessment.
  • The Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) online petition effort calling on all the Members of the 10th Parliament of Kenya to reduce their massive salaries and return land that they have acquired illegally is still on-going. They have been collecting signatures for the petition and an attached letter to be sent to the MP’s, and plan on reaching 10,000 signatures. It is posted online on: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/reduce-Kenyan-MPs-salary. KPTJ urges all Kenyans, friends of Kenya, members in the diaspora to please take a moment and add your signature to the petition online.
  • There is a scholar in the field of conflict management and peace studies who is willing to give a talk on reconciliation the Kenyan perspective for free. She is also willing to share a talk on any other topic so long as she is informed about this prior. If interested contact William Nd’ungu on email wildleonnd@yahoo.com to facilitate the talk.
  • Copies of the Amani Sasa update and Weekly can be accessed on various websites including www.peaceinkenya.net and on www.amanisasa. rescuekenya.org



TODAY’S MEETINGS

08.30 The Peace Makers Update, Shelter Afrique House 1st Floor, Mamlaka Road OPEN

QUOTE OF THE DAY

A monkey cannot judge the case of the forest

Ugandan proverb from African Wisdom on War and Peace compiled by Annetta Miller

INSPIRATIONAL FEATURE

This week’s feature is from Dayo Forster a novelist who loves numbers and a member of Concerned Kenyan Writers

Marbles and ballot boxes

I come from a quaint little country where, because illiteracy rates are high, we vote with marbles. The candidates’ faces are plastered on the sides of the ballot boxes, and a special tube, a mini marble run really, winds its way in, allowing each marble to drop in with a solid thunk as it joins the nest of others within. This marble trick means our spoilt vote rates are exceedingly low. But I guess it also means that vote rigging with marbles is a lot easier than trying to do so with sheets of paper.

Yet that did not stop the ‘They’ we refer to in Kenyan politics from doing exactly that – playing around with people’s carefully ticked ballot papers, churning the precious one paper one vote, one citizen one tick into a backdrop for unverifiable election results. There are several ways to take over a country without a fair ballot box. Before last year, I’d only been personally exposed to one method – a terrifying coup d’etat during which my father sat tense in our living room, all of us forced to stay home and save on water for drinking for washing for cooking. He sat with his revolver settled on the stool beside him. To match our national defining adjective, we had a few quaint pieces of furniture in our house at the time. The stools in the living room were shaped in one of the four card suits, clubs or diamonds all carefully etched out of thick plywood, and topped with a faux marble formica top – black with traces of grey. All my childhood, I could choose what shape to put my diluted orange squash on and I would set drinks for visitors on one of the assorted set in our living room. But with that gun, my father sat, face tense, radio on. And told us, ‘They’d have to kill me first’, even as the gun lay on the stool made by the prisoners in the prison he ran.

My mother’s way of dealing with the tension was to busy herself cooking down the contents of our fridge, and resurrecting stored meals from our deep freezer. It’s funny how hungry you get when you have nothing to do. Us children were busy being ravenous, and scavenged for fruit in the garden. Green mangoes stoned down from our tree to munch on with salt and pepper. A local variety of plum – Salone plum – plucked before they were full enough, that we would keep nestled in the rice bin so that they would eventually ripen into yellow alongside more stubborn avocadoes which persisted for long in hard green shells, even as we eagerly awaited their softening into a purple skinned softness.

That first coup did not succeed, but precedent had been set. We now understood what bazookas were – not some vague Russian invention, but things that thumped the ground with sonic waves, and swept muffled booms across great distances. We heard of bodies piled in open trunks. A family friend was too bolshie at the bridge and was shot dead. As these tales came in, we understood that political unrest could mean death. In the end, us, the country, the citizens were rescued. Friendly neighbourly interests brought in their soldiers, quashed the coup, and for a while left some well built, and surprisingly good-looking soldiers to keep the peace. Soldiers, who, on their days off, clustered around our favourite hotel pool, ogled us and started tam-tams of romantic hope in our teenage chests. That was in 1989. And a different country. This is 2008. And a different kind of coup. We now know the extent to which power is loved by those who are powerful. We now understand the extent of the betrayal they are willing to subject us to. We now know that votes, marble or paper, can count for nothing.

The precedent in The Gambia made it easier for the next coup to succeed, bloodlessly. Yet the machinations of manoevring into power is easy compared with the trouble of governing afterwards. It’s the pesky people who won’t understand that they are now ruled under different skies. The ones who won’t stay down and be governed with batons, bullets and jail threats. The ones who keep writing, and gnawing and bothering. The ones who the president of my native country indicates must be dealt with and if necessary buried six feet deep. Now, in my adopted country, other pesky people are demanding their rights. This time I am the mother hen, checking on how much water is in the tank, how much frozen milk is coating itself in frost, deciding on what food is easiest to cook and uses the least number of ingredients and requires the least amount of water to clean up afterwards. This time, I am the one who’s explaining to my children why they can’t go to school just yet, why us grownups are always muttering about something or other – why we sound angry, disillusioned, sad. In Kenya, other kinds of precedents have been set. And the memories of those successes lay the foundation for what is possible. The Kenya in 2002 that got used to choosing a new president and going out into the streets to celebrate victory. The ballot boxes in 2006 that rejected a badly written constitution. That is the precedent that reminds us that though the voice of each of us, alone, singly, counts for little, it’s the collective, the pressure of many that can declare that we have tasted a new way of choosing our leaders that we want to hang on to. The taste that has laid a wondrous, powerful precedent. Which in order to keep our souls hopeful, we must follow.


[1] This daily update is a service to all working for peace. It records the various independent initiatives currently underway to restore peace, assist the displaced and promote truth and justice.

[2] If you would like to contribute any information please contact Linda Bore at citizenskenya@gmail.com, or on 0711-269482

Advertisements

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s