By Edward Indakwa
The bloodletting in the Tana Delta, where Pokomo and Orma ‘warriors’ have been exchanging spears, has a silver lining.
Forget for one moment that most of those killed in the crossfire (for lack of a better word) were women, children, and livestock. What is worth noting is that in all cases, when militia attacked, the men of the village stepped out to defend their women and children.
Isn’t that noble? The men in Nairobi, whose forte is political gossip and petty English Premier League football quarrels in between sips of frothy stuff at the bar while snoring watchmen protect their wives, prefer to hide behind ‘burglar proof’ doors.
We lost the plot years ago when, shamed by our testosterone, we started shaving our armpits and masking our manliness with cheap cologne.
Instead, we wail for the police, who rightfully take their sweet time. Then we cower behind the curtain, trembling with bows and arrows as skinny ruffians rob and rape the next-door neighbour.
We got so pampered, so chubby faced, so beloved of the soft creature comforts that our education provides that we became ridiculously cowardly and afraid of death. That’s why four goons strangle an old woman on Tom Mboya Street in broad daylight as ten able-bodied men who have undergone all the rights of passage stroll by – seeing no evil, hearing no evil.
No wonder it frightens and shocks us that the people of Tana and Isiolo kill and get killed casually – like chicken.
Yet the entire city landscape is littered with mass graves. Our battles are underhand and cowardly, but nonetheless as deadly as the Tana skirmishes. The only difference is that we fight by proxy. We pay thugs – who are generally still savage and apelike – to break our enemies’ legs and kill them on our behalf as we recline on Chinese ‘leather’ sofas quarreling with our pretty wives about nothing.
We fight corporate battles that get bosses fired. We wipe out competitive juniors and small businesses, coldly destroying entire families and villages that depend on the lone son or daughter who made it. In the meantime, we consume like rabbits but produce nothing. Half our population is employed in the agriculture sector. But the scandal is that we, the best brains, twit around on twitter, munching oranges imported from Egypt, while peasants plow up and down valleys to cause food shortages.
Realising that our fertile loins have finally overrun the fertile ‘white highlands’ that we grabbed from colonialists, we are, in our typical slash and burn manner, now shamelessly inching deeper and deeper into the Northern Frontier District. Never mind that we’ve neglected the North since Independence.
We are salivating for its gas, minerals, oil and swamplands – to oil our big cars and fatten our wallets even more. But we need to remember that we will be meeting men – real men who don’t shave their armpits; men who kill eyeball to eyeball.