Corruption and Land Grabbing started way back in Kenya during the bitter colonial times. Have you ever thought about it this way?
Adam Hochschild in his book ‘King Leopold’s Ghost’ wrote, “Those who are conquered always want to imitate the conqueror in his main characteristics.” I will refer to this book a few times because it is close to the heart of what am talking about today.
There’s always this question at the back of our minds, “how did our forefathers live before the white man came to conquer our continent?” It is almost impossible to answer this question because all our historical literature has sadly been written by our extremely nice colonial masters who decided to re-shape our destinies. This predicament was also experienced by Hochschild as he was writing his book. He notes “One problem, of course, is that nearly all of this vast river of words is by Europeans or Americans.” I just wish I had a very old relative to ask from.
As we continue to grow, we come to the realization that what we have been told over and over is not the gospel truth. Hence, we have to struggle very hard to tell our own stories so that white people don’t take advantage of us again and write it for us. Because when they do, they will write it from their own eyes.
As if Africa did not have its own people and goals, the European came to our continent and for a very long time possessed everything that was ours and ruled us in the name of ‘making us a civilized people.’ This phrase makes me laugh every time I think of it. This is the problem with people. We always feel as if we are better than others and that compels us to change them and impose our ways on them.
Back to land grabbing and corruption. We are all aware of how these folk came and took land from our forefathers and made them squatters in our own land. They grabbed acres and acres of productive land while driving our forefathers to the dry valleys so that they could grow crops and breed livestock. Even the strong Maasai warriors who we ourselves fear were still driven out of their land. And as if not enough, they called more of their pals to come join in the feast. That’s how land grabbing started and if you subscribe to Hochschild theory, then you are in the know.
Corruption. Do we even understand what the hell corruption is? It is as simple as winking at the bouncer at the club to let you in even though you ‘forgot’ your ID. Basically, it is enticing someone to give you something that you may or may not deserve. I have been battling with the question of whether corruption can end in Kenya and right now, am hopeless. I have been asking people everywhere what they think about the same and they all seem to sailing the same boat that I am.
So I thought, maybe if we could go back to basics and find out where all this started, we could change it. Many people are of the idea that another world should be created if corruption is to end, and they are entitled to think so. It seems corruption is ingrained into the DNA of Kenya.
To get their white masters to like them, some of our forefathers sold their loyalty to them. Yes, sold. Because, if you supported them, they gave you a position such as chief or at least returned some piece of land to you. These were the sins of our forefathers. They revered the white men and some of them even sold out our freedom fighters because they wanted to be pampered more by the white man. You see?
And because they so much admired their masters, they wanted to be like them in every way; drive the expensive cars, own big homes and be feared by their fellow black men. So they oppressed their brothers by asking for more taxes than required, by asking for cash for simple basic rights and so much more. I refer you to ‘Kenya: Looters and Grabbers’ by Joe Khamisi. It’s quite a revelation!
So what happened when the white men left? Of course we thought we gained our independence where we could develop our nations as Africans and be free of colonialism. Nope. A new class of people was born; The Elite who have been ruling our country since then. These Elite, like their white masters had taught them, also grabbed land for themselves. Just check for yourself how these class of people have continually added portions of lands for themselves at the expense of Kenyans. Those who are conquered always want to imitate the conqueror in his main characteristics.
But hey, Kenyans, being divided along tribal lines are only interested in seeing one of their own in the big house so that he or she can ‘look after their interests.’ But that’s a big lie! The people who vote are only a means to an end because these guys only want to play in the big leagues and get their share. Kenyans are only fuelling the corruption and land grabbing nature of Kenyans. I wish we could refocus these energies into fighting corruption.
But, if we were to fight corruption, who would fight? Forget the government. Too busy thinking about who will run the country come 2022. Journalists have turned to writing crap and avoid any serious conversations. The university students who used to go out to the streets to fight evil are in silence. I am one of them. Some are just too scared to do anything about it. At the rate those who dare break the silence are being incarcerated for fake news and incitement, I would also be scared. The rest simply do not care because they are busy thinking about their families and their future. But what future is there if our country will have gone into the pockets of greedy people who care nothing about the masses?