the case for a revolution in Kenya

All class struggles are political.

In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Karl Marx writes

Hegel says somewhere that that great historic facts and personages recur twice. He forgot to add: “Once as tragedy, and again as farce.” Caussidiere for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the “Mountain” of 1848-51 for the “Mountain” of 1793-05, the Nephew for the Uncle. The identical caricature marks also the conditions under which the second edition of the eighteenth Brumaire is issued.

He could as well have been writing about Kenya. We have Johnstone Kamau and now we have the identical caricature in his son, Muigai wa Kamau.

In the first case, the one borrowed money from the British Government and the World Bank to pay off or rather to buy back land that had been stolen by the British settlers. This money ended up in either his pocket or those of his cronies. The son is borrowing billions of shillings in the name of building infrastructure, a big chunk ends up in his pockets or those of cronies.

The first one through constitutional means concentrated power in his person. The caricature through use of force and pretenses like fighting corruption has usurped the will of the majority.

In claiming to have a big four agenda, the son has found means to continue the family legacy of theft and corruption. In 1975, the New York Times had this to say

In recent years, however, Mr. Kenyatta has damaged his political image and alienated more and more Kenyans by abuses of power, by piling up a growing fortune and by moving to stifle the development of a freer society in this East African nation.

This has not changed. The caricature has ensured that we continue to lose money through graft and especially by people closest to him. Reading the article above, one would be forgiven for thinking time has stood still for Kenya. Elsewhere they write

Another situation involving the President that has disturbed Kenyans is that he has neither restrained nor disciplined his family and his closest associates in their amassing of wealth, much of it through evasions of law and the exploitation of such national resources as wildlife and forests.]

which is still true.

The Left in Kenya, if there was ever one, has become moribund. If it exists, it has failed to have a unified front, a coherent message nor has it been able to marshal the peasants and the workers together and speak in one voice. Unemployment is at an all time high. Cost of living is above the roof and the Left or whatever is left of it has either been co-opted in the capitalist and violent repressive state or they do not know what to do.

This crisis offers the best time for revolt.

In anticipating Brian, why revolution and not democratic means like the ballot? Because the caricature and his cronies have control of the electoral system. They will kill and maim to stay in power. Only a revolution can change this.

What are the goals of the revolution? For me it is simple

  1. To change the property relations that exist currently where a few people own the land leaving the majority destitute.
  2. In his defense before the judges, Fidel Castro said

The first revolutionary law would have returned power to the people and proclaimed the 1940 Constitution the Supreme Law of the State until such time as the people should decide to modify or change it. And in order to effect its implementation and punish those who violated it – there being no electoral organization to carry this out – the revolutionary movement, as the circumstantial incarnation of this sovereignty, the only source of legitimate power, would have assumed all the faculties inherent therein, except that of modifying the Constitution itself: in other words, it would have assumed the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

this would be the second goal of the revolution. To return to constitutional dispensation. The sovereign belongs to the people. For these words to have any meaning, the people must be in a position to determine how they are governed and what the government does on their behalf. This must include but not limited to infrastructure projects, military spending and so on. If the people cannot vote on these, what then is the vote for?

The Left in Kenya must take this opportunity presented to it by the present crisis to call for revolution. A critical mass is not necessary to begin the revolution. The people will join once the call has been made. It must be radical and it must offer a coherent alternative to the neo-liberal democracy that we find ourselves in.

Viva la revolution.

And here is a song for the revolution