Changing the Narrative and Pitting Luos against the “Model Minorities”
Some have asked; “why are we not having the Kambas, Coasterians, Luhyias, Kisiis burning their towns?”
“Across the political spectrum, people looked to Asian Americans…..Japanese and Chinese Americans…..as an example…..for other minority groups to follow: “Look how they ended up! They’re doing just fine. And they did it all without political protests.”
-Ellen Wu, Associate Prof. History/Director of the Asian American Studies – Indiana University Bloomington.
The first quote is a Facebook comment that is emblematic of the current thinking and narrative emanating from deep inside Central/Mount Kenya region – the region’s obsession with isolating Raila Odinga and the Luo community from the (other) communities that have (also) been discriminated against by the authoritarian kleptocracy of Kenya’s four presidencies – including the current one headed by two former crimes-against-humanity suspects.
(And yes, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto ARE former crimes-against-humanity (CAH) suspects so far from repeating a lie, say “Raila will take our hard-earned money” until said lie becomes the “truth”, repeating the CAH truism is intended to remind those with short memories that they did in fact elect accused criminals into the highest offices in the country.)
The storyline that “other” communities are “happy” or “satisfied” with the status quo is a selfish move at self-preservation that other nations like the US have continued to use to moderate its racist and discriminatory behavior while simultaneously using state instruments of power and violence i.e. the FBI and an increasingly militarized police force to delegitimize, isolate and brutalize the one group that has been at the forefront of exposing said racist and discriminatory behavior – African-Americans.
Similarly, the Central/Mt. Kenya wing of Jubilee, no doubt coached by the ultra-right wing-leaning Cambridge Analytics, has embarked on the same ploy:
Like the pre-Civil Rights’ Nixonian America and Kenyan governments of yore, the government of Uhuru Kenyatta has decided to use state instruments of power and violence i.e. law enforcement, paramilitary GSU, national intelligence and military-grade weapons to systematically brutalize the Luo; this the one community that has always challenged the credibility, indeed legitimacy competence and forthrightness of the country’s supposedly national leaders.
And even as the national government, again past and present, sets out to frustrate and murder some of its most patriotic and brilliant minds from the Luo community, they are simultaneously scheming to co-opt, cajole, show-case, bribe and in some cases, threaten leaders from the other communities that have always been distrusting of the central government (pun intended).
Turned on its head are the well-worn tropes such as “destroying”, “stealing” and “rule of law and order” as pronounced by none other than Uhuru Kenyatta – in front of the faithful at a rally in Muranga:
We are not going to watch as protesters stone our police stations or steal from Wanjiku in the name of demos. We are a government of rule of law and order and that must stand.
– President Uhuru Kenyatta
At the same event, Uhuru accused Raila who had traveled to give a lecture at Chatham House in the UK of travelling abroad to “kneel before his foreign masters.”
In saner times, the irony of someone whose entire persona, personality and commercial interests are choreographed genuflections and testaments to his European (British) socialization actually accusing someone else of “kneeling before Europeans” would be treated, first as comic relief, then with the contempt it deserves thereafter.
Unfortunately, that glaring irony and hypocrisy is roundly applauded as it was by the multitude gathered for the event in Kenyatta’s central base.
It is this sycophancy that lends credence to the myth of the “model minority” by tolerating such blatant hypocrisy baked in Uhuru Kenyatta’s comments while overlooking and obscuring, conveniently or otherwise, the reality about whose collective shoulders these “model minorities” have stood on and continued to stand on, this as they pursue fair, free and transparent treatment in their own country!
Also lost along the way is the distinct differences between the treatment afforded the Luo vs. those “not burning their towns”.
All along, moral and ethical relativity is readily dispensed with to ameliorate the use of deadly force against those at the tip of the spear of the fight for fairness and equality and obscure the ethics of hitherto “untenable” actions such as police brutality.
Suddenly, the means justify the end AND the end justify the brutal means because the perpetrators “are protecting the businesses and properties” of those that are “not burning their towns” from the “protesters who stone ‘our’ police stations or steal from ‘Wanjiku’”.
The anxiously violent and ethnicizied authoritarian status quo in Kenya, much like the anxiously violent and racist status quo in pre-Civil Rights’ America, is desperately trying to change the narrative.
Uhuru Kenyatta and Jubilee are trying to shift focus away from the(ir) murderous behavior the world has seen splashed across print, TV and social media towards the “(Luo) protestors who “stone ‘our’ police…..” while simultaneously lathering up the other communities currently aligned against the violent and discriminatory Jubilee Coalition.