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)