NYAYOISM IN KIMATHI?

There are many people we know today whose names might never have made any headlines had they not reacted to the infamous terror characteristic of Nyayoism. Of course, I was not there to have witnessed most of it. I did not even once taste the famous Nyayo’s milk which used to be given to primary school pupils nationwide. To me, Nyayoism is nothing more than a concept I read in my history books. I was too young to have anything but a shallow recollection of experiencing any of its ups and downs, and it is very few that I experienced. However, my capacity for empathy enables me to feel the responsibility borne by anyone who tried to change things during those oppressive times. Heroes and villains were born from that struggle which later came to be known as The Second Liberation. The heroes are those who sacrificed their freedom while risking much more than that, so that we can enjoy the human rights we are now taking for granted with this proposed Media Bill, et cetera. They are people like Raila Odinga, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Tom Mboya, etc. Not everyone was in favour of granting liberties though, there were villains who tortured, imprisoned and allegedly killed the heroic dissenters. Unfortunately for the oppressors and luckily for us,  change is inevitable when men and women are willing and ready to give up their lives for it. That’s ultimately how things played out, the good guys won and the bad guys lost.
When I started blogging about Kimathi university, it was more of a reactive move than a proactive one. My complacency up until that point is inexcusable, we should all have acted earlier. Waiting until someone died before doing something is just as bad as actually killing them. Anyway, after that first blog post, I expected that speaking the truth was going to make some powerful people really annoyed at me. For sure, they were annoyed, not much more than I expected but definitely at par with my expectations. I ended up being called to disciplinary because of writing this blog. The committee had printed out the articles in my blog. They were the ‘evidence’ being used to throw accusations at me. During the hearing, the head of the committee told me that he understood what I meant when I said that, “…[Kimathi] is reminiscent of Moi’s era…” in one of my earlier articles. It was interesting to note that he did not make an effort to defend and/or justify the institution; instead he accused me of trying to incite the students. I call it accusation because I’ve never set out to incite anyone. The things that happened in that disciplinary hearing have kept me awake on a number of nights. Not because I am concerned about the committee’s ruling. To be honest, I couldn’t care less what they decide to do with me. In any case, it is a win or win situation for me. On one hand, I get to continue with my studies. But on the other hand, if we, those who appeared before the committee, are sent away, then they prove that Kimathi is losing the very last bits of its sense of justice, fairness, and the rule of law.
The reason I have been having a hard time sleeping is because I started drawing parallels between DKUT and the Nyayo government. If you were to seek the opinion of the people who suffered the brunt of that government’s terror, I think you would be disturbed to find these many similarities, however superficial they may be:
1. Kimathi: Students are called to appear before the disciplinary committee on false accusations e.g. missing classes even though there were no classes at the said time. Nyayoism: People were either taken to jail or any of the numerous torture chambers on unproven allegations and before trial.
2. Kimathi: Someone faces a disciplinary committee because of something they said or wrote. Nyayoism: The press was silenced and any individuals who tried to publish negative things about the government were either arrested or forced to exile.
3. Kimathi: Students are afraid of the administration, a number of students view the administration as an enemy to be avoided instead of as a partner to work with. Nyayoism: Fear and terror were instruments of administration, they allowed the government to do whatever it wanted without being questioned.
4. Kimathi: Last week, at least one student was appearing before the disciplinary committee for the second time. Some students have complained, albeit unofficially, of being targeted because of their tribes. Nyayoism: Nepotism and favouritism ruled supreme. Even development was directed towards one region of the country.
5. Kimathi: The most atrocity against students is not perpetrated by persons in the upper echelons of administration but by the junior staff. What the big wigs do is simply turn a blind eye when a complaint is filed or brought up. Nyayoism: Moi’s hands were always clean, he himself never killed anyone we know of nor did he give any direct orders to kill someone. It is his cronies who were willing to get their hands dirty and do anything so that they would keep receiving a share of the pie.
6. Kimathi: The people in authority close their eyes to the things that are actually wrong and concentrate on victimizing apparently innocent students. Real issues like Morris’ death are only mentioned en passant and even then only in brief. No one wants to deal with the cause of the problem, just treat the symptoms and hope another symptom doesn’t pop up. Nyayoism: The same thing happened in Moi’s times. Everyone was so busy kissing superior a** that no one had any time to contribute anything towards development. Consequently, the economy grew weaker and the country took a major hit to its development efforts. And what have we got to show for it? Kenya at 50 is still plagued by poverty, taxes we cannot afford and illogical fees for holding house parties or slaughtering your own cow, but that is not even the bad of it. At the extreme end we have real monsters like tribalism and corruption which threaten to bring this country to its knees one day. Not to say that they haven’t already, we saw what happened in 2007/2008.
Historically, oppressive regimes have always been forcefully overthrown or run their course with the retirement, exile or death of their founder. But on rare occasions, the leaders at the pinnacle of power end up getting an enlightenment or revelation of sorts which makes them change their leadership style. Hopefully, Kimathi will go through one of those rare transitions and become the kind of institution we can all be proud to be a part of as casual labourers, students, junior staff or senior members of staff.
[You can leave your comments or opinions in the comments section.]

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