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Monday, February 21, 2011

Er er ....It's not personal; just business

Caller: Hello, Alphonce. Good morning!
Me: Good morning!

Caller: Do you have a problem?
Me: No. Why?

Caller: Do you know I have been reading your updates on Facebook; on the blog and on twitter and I am unhappy with your thinking?
Me: Hmmmm….

Caller: Yes, you have to be very careful. I don’t know what Raila gave you, but I decided to call to warn you. You need to be careful. I’d have pasted this on your wall or blog, but then, there’s no need. I gathered that for you to know the gravity of the matter, I phonecall would do.
Me: Wait a minute, what’s this about?

Caller: You know, I saw your updates and I wanted to comment (he actually commented on one and then deleted!).
Me: Darn! You must be really angry…

Caller: I am
Me: You mean you don’t see that the President has flouted the law and the Attorney General, the government’s legal adviser has said as much?

Caller: Let me say this. It doesn’t matter what he said, but I have cautioned you.
Me: I will call you back some other time.

Now folks, this conversation happened this morning. It was a former campus-mate who’s working abroad. He comes from the Rift Valley. I didn’t know that some of these things are so personal to some of us.
I didn’t know that Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s stand against the Kalenjin MPs runs this deep with the people. I didn’t know that, Mr William Ruto, the de-facto ‘King of the Rift’ (Thank You Jeff Koinange for that phrase), was the law among his tribesmen, just like Raila is some god to his followers.
Although there’s a strong urge to make a sweeping conclusion about this “blind following” of our tribesmen in power; I wish not to make that absolute conclusion. Doing so would be an injustice to the “liberated” ilk, who don’t move with the masses.
Well, this guy is just one. The fighting, the post-election violence played out in the Rift Valley. It is where many many people were killed. In other areas, it was all about looting and displacement, with a few deaths. But in the Kalenjin nation in Kipkelion, Nakuru, Eldoret, Mau Summit among other flashpoints, it was a different ball-game. And so was the situation in the Kikuyu nation in Naivasha. People were killed.
I’d understand the tribal solidarity that my pal has with Mr Ruto: The whole country was in flames, but when the International Criminal Court released the names of the suspects, three of them were Kalenjins. His community has 50 per cent of suspects of international crimes.
They are just suspects. All of them innocent, until proven guilty in a court of law.
So, my angry pal is a bit edgy when I make some remarks that seem not to favour his team. Man, my bad!
I may not be Ms Millie Odhiambo of the “I will not be intimidated" fame, but then again, I now know, as they say in Kiswahili, “ulimi kiumbe kidogo matatizo yake ni makubwa”!

Psst: There’s a certain artificial, annoying, juvenile tension with some friends and colleagues. It began after the Marende ruling. I mean, WTF! These are politicians. I don’t know what you make of my stand, but truth be told, they add nothing to our daily toil, apart from providing fodder for the reporting. I don’t know why my saying that the President broke the law has anything to do with you! The Attorney General, the Government’s Chief Legal Adviser said it, and so did the Chief Justice. And now the Speaker!
We may not agree, but surely, does it have to be personal, say, a puerile grudge? I don’t think so! I really don’t.
Please don’t curtail my freedom to express myself.
2007 came and went. 2012 is coming. Let it also come and go (peacefully, I insist). Or what do you think?

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