Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Spontaneous Tribute to The Freshly Deceased Mzalendo Kaggia

Mzee Kaggia, even before your body is cold, and your eyes closed
There are already two deranged homungati town criers on the internet
Who have rushed to spit at your face, jeering as they wonder why
You chose to die in penury
rather than join Kenyatta and Ngei
In their land-grabbing spree of the sixties
You chose to die in dignity exactly fifty two years less one month
after that notorious Kapenguria trial
That sent you and Fred Kubai,
Paul Ngei and Kungu Karumba,
Ramogi Achieng Oneko and the sellout Jomo Kenyatta
to seven years hard labour behind bars
Babake Mwaganu, even as fresh tears of genuine sorrow
Flow from millions of Kenyans
from all over the republic
that you fought so hard to establish
The progeny of the sellouts from Central Kenya
and two or three Gikuyuphobes from Luoland
See in your death an occasion to justify
The culture of neo-colonial subservience
And betrayal of patriotic ideals
Some of us have chosen to rise up
above that petty minded sniping
Choosing instead to celebrate
your courageous patriotic life
As you lived it to the very end-
Simply, seeking no special favours,
demanding no plum perks
Politically and ideologically you towered over
All three Presidential headmen
of our Lilliput of the Mashariki
Even though they all
tried to excise your name
From our history books
Arrogantly arrogating themselves the mantles
Of Fathers and Mothers of the Nation
As Mtukufu this and Mheshimiwa that
Abrogating the roles of the KLFA
as convenient amnesia
Wipes away the valour of those
whose ideals they abdicated
Even though they let you waste away in obscurity
Even though they would have
Had they so wished
Venerated you
The way the South African people revered and respected
Their Sisulus, their Tambos, their Mandelas, their Kathradas
Even though we know they will promptly forget you
After today and tomorrow's festival
Of hypocritical crocodile tears
We will still remember and cherish you and your memory
We your political children and grand children
We who got our first whiff of real Kenyan history
From your book Roots of Freedom
Which complimented Karari Njama's Mau Mau from Within
JM Kariuki's Mau Mau Detainee
And Makhan Singh's History of the Kenyan Trade Union Movement

Mzalendo Kaggia, thank you for the wonderful gift
That was the story of your patriotic life of self-less sacrifice
Ahsante for being with us and among us for so long
Reminding us daily in the obscure corners where they consigned you
of Jomo Kenyatta's betrayal and Arap Moi's settler origins
And Kibaki's waffling track record
Ahsante for keeping alive the tradition of Bamuinge, General Muthoni
General Tanganyika, Kaniu, General Mathenge
And of course, the great Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi
Whose forty-eighth hanging anniversary we observed barely three weeks ago

As you take a permanent rest from the decades of ill health
We hope you went out with a smile on your face
A patriot who passed on with a clear conscience
Because Mzalendo Kaggia we know for sure
That your patriotic name will never be mentioned adversely
In a commission of inquiry about land grabbing, theft by public servant
We know, Ndugu Kaggia that your patriotic name
Will never feature in a public trial for a politician
Be it Kenyatta, be it Moi be it Biwott
Accused of slaughtering their political rivals

Ndugu Kaggia, Mzee Kaggia, Mzalendo Kaggia
As the South Africans Say:

Hamba Kahle Mzalendo Kaggia!

Onyango Oloo
(Rough Draft composed spontaneously between 8:45 and 8:59 am Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, March 8, 2005)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

poet as the embodiment of some ukimwi carrying kenyan women in mombasa

(poem composed by onyango oloo at the invitation of a group of hiv positive women living in mombasa who requested a poetic message to be read out during a special international women's day event to be held in the kenyan coastal city for this year- 2005...)

they have tried to bury us alive
with indifference, neglect, stigma and silence
but we are still alive, we the women of kenya
living positively with this ukimwi that we all fear
they have tried to discard us in the dustbins of societal isolation
dump us in the mitaros of societal marginalization
but we are still alive, still kicking and struggling
we the women of kenya living positively
with these killer virusi, surviving this deadly mdudu

in the western part of our beautiful neo-colonized country
they call it ayaki, ayaki is the monster that raids our bodies
and saps, or tries to sap our strength
oh, how this ogre, this monster is feared
and we are still alive, even as the ayaki tries to yako us
and we are still alive, we the women of kenya
living positively with this ukimwi that we all fear
struggling defiantly with this condition that terrifies us all

we are like the brave warrior sister nyaitwika from central kenya
who courageously faced the enemies of her people
staring down death, brushing off danger
saying, come and get me o you vile foe
and we are still alive, we the women of kenya
living positively with this immune depressing robber of immunity
we are still alive, fighting on, hanging on for another day

we are in an unequal battle, and our soldiers sometimes fall valiantly
in fierce combat with the cowardly robber who ravishes our essential essence
by whittling down our bodies
sometimes we get sick, sometimes we despair and very often we die
but for our children, we keep hanging on
fighting for as long as we can to stay alive
we the women of kenya living positively with this ukimwi that we all fear

on the occasion of international women's day two thousand and five
here is our message to our fellow kenyans, our fellow sisters and our fellow human beings
we are still alive, we the women of kenya living in mombasa, malindi, kilifi
lamu, takaungu, voi, wundanyi, mazeras, mariakani, kaloleni, bura, ukunda and all over pwani, we are still alive we the women of kenya living all over kenya
we need your solidarity and your concrete support
we embrace your love and your affection
we welcome your concern and your care
but we can certainly do without your pity
we can certainly do without your patronizing and your matronizing
we are not statues of udongo about to break into pieces at the slightest touch
we laugh, we cry, we eat, we sleep, we work, we play, we love, we fall out of love and back again
we are women just like other women
we are human beings just like other human beings
we care about freedom, we care about democracy, we care about justice, we care about equality
when one of our sisters is raped, we shake with indignation
when one of our aunties is violently attacked we too seek redress and even vengeance
we have men in our lives whom we love and who love us back
and when we are with them we do what other women do with their men
our lives including our love lives did not end the day we found out about the unwelcome guests who had taken over our bodies
so we still love, but we love ever so safely, ever so carefully
for if you love, you cannot purposely harm the one that you love
for if you love, you cannot deliberately maim that one that you adore
if we sat here and told you all our love stories, it would never end
and that is why in closing, we say to all the women of kenya and women of the world:

for international women's day two thousand and five
let all the women of kenya come together in sisterhood and solidarity
to support each other, irrespective of hiv status
let us not allow medical walls to separate us
we are all the grand-daughters of me katilili
we are all the nieces of wangari maathai sisters of zarina patel and cousins of micere mugo
today we say with our late spanish sister la pasionaria dolores ibaruri:
no pasaran!
no pasaran to those who block access to better health for kenyan women!
no pasaran!
no pasaran to those who hate women and their children
no pasaran!
no pasaran to those who demonize and vilify women fighting for equality
no pasaran to those who are enemies of democracy for kenyan women and kenyan men
today we say with graca machel, frelimo and the people of mozambique:
a lutta continua
today we say with winnie mandela and the people of south africa:
amandla nga wethu!
today we say with assata shakur and the african-american women of the states:
no justice, no peace!
today we say with rigoberta menchu and the people of guatemala:
el pueblo unido jamás será vencido
today we say with vandana shiva and the women of india:
mother earth and all her seeds and resources belong to the wretched of the earth!
today we say with hanan ashrawi and the people of falastin:
sexists and misogynists: yalla yalla, get out of our lives
let us push our kenyan intifada until ultimate victory for all wananchi- especially women and their children
today we say with zap mama and all progressive musicians and artists:
it is never too late to work for a new world!

© 2005 Onyango Oloo

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

mzalendo kariuki thirty years later....

they flung your carcass to

the hyenas of

not knowing that a

maasai mchungaji
known as musaita ole tunda
would retrieve your remains
and expose moi's brazen canard
about your mythical excursion to zambia
they bombed the otc buses in late february
to provide a

red herring
for the execution
they were planning, the sadistic festival they were plotting
not knowing that your blood was already crying out for justice
ndugu jm, even you know that what was killed
in march nineteen seventy five was not your populism from nyandarua
but the paralyzing fear of the red eyed devil known as mzee jomo kenyatta

dear jm thank you for your bloody sacrifice
for your death allowed our generation
to come up into political consciousness
we say ahsante to ben gethi, we say shukran to mark twist,
we say heko to benard hinga and pongezi to mbiyu koinange and his cohort mzee
for capturing you and for torturing you to death
not many of our people remember

that you were detained as a mau mau stalwart
how many have of us have heard
this rare sound of your patriotic voice

defending your mau mau comrades
here we bring it, keeping you alive
thirty years after they killed you
here with a simple click you come back, booming and very much alive...
your death

signalled the beginning of the death of the kanu dictatorship
your death allowed the young seedlings of kenya's freedom forests
to sprout all over kenya

from wundanyi where ndugu mwandawiro was
cutting his teeth on patriotism and pan africanism
to bondo where adongo ogony
was beginning his apprenticeship in anti-imperialism
and kadima's older brother was making sure the osundwas
were well represented among the ranks of the unbwogable wazalendo from mumias
ndugu jm here you are
thirty years later

living through your children and your family
still very much alive in our memories,
in our dreams, in our thoughts, in our hopes
while your callous killer kenyatta is stiff and motionless
useless in that

overpriced mausoleum which should be smashed open
and his old thieving landgrabbing remains furiously ejected and rejected
by our people's unforgiving and relentless wrath

a wrath which is still seething and simmering under the surface
a wrath that they will one day wake up to see

consuming the entire kenyan countryside

as an unstoppable revolutionary fire, burning bright
burning to cinders all these homungati, all these wagongaji
all these wasaliti, all these wauaji
all these wanyanganyi all these majambazi
mzalendo kariuki, all over kenya our mothers, our sisters,our aunties
our fathers, our brothers, our uncles are still naming their kids jm
but nobody remembers the homungati remnant called hinga
and nobody remembers the hired hitman called mark twist
and the only living thing
that can inherit patrick shaw's dastardly name
is a vicious canine trained in kiganjo
barking and leaping on a leash for utumishi kwa wote
kenya is now a nation of thirty multi-billionaires
and thirty million kenya mafukara hohe hahe
so we remember your admonitions
oh so ever ruefully
today in two thousand and five

we have more than one thousand nine hundred and seventy five kariukis

waiting to march against the inheritors of kenyatta and moi
today in two thousand and five

we have more than one thousand nine hundred and seventy five women
who are militant, who are defiant, who are determined to strike a blow for kenya's freedom
in your memory
today in two thousand and five

we have more than one thousand nine hundred and seventy five vijana
who are forever chanting the anthem of do klan revolution
singing in unison, vijana kwa vijana ni sisi kwa sisi
long live mzalendo kariuki long live!
mzalendo kariuki the young wazalendo called sinpare
are keeping your spirit alive with their song mabepari
hamba kahle mzalendo kariuki viva!

Onyango Oloo