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Did ‘watermelons’ strike again?

By | June 16th 2010

By Andrew Kipkemboi  

Hard times call for straight talk. First, like many of you, I have no idea who launched the attack at Uhuru Park on Sunday.

Secondly, like many of you steeped in conspiracy theory, I think I know who might have been behind it. It is neither the Greens nor the Reds.

Yet it is obvious that by the time the riddle about who threw grenades at a prayer assembly-turned ‘No’ rally, the conspiracy theorists will have told us a thousandth account of the events at Uhuru Park and apportioned blame indiscriminately.

No doubt, the hard questions about the blast will linger for long. On the surface, it was simply a blast by some blood-thirsty murderer.

Deeper, it embodies the rottenness of our politics and the confusion in our national leadership where the end justifies the means, even if through death.

A few of us expect the police to leave no stone unturned. A few others do not expect the politicians and the clergy to learn any lessons from the tragedy.

No doubt, the blast has become grist to the mill for those hell-bent to thwart the attainment of a new constitution. Those fighting in the shadows. The so-called watermelons.

In any case, all along the politicians in the No camp have exhorted Kenyans to vote ‘No’ because they claimed the Proposed Constitution was sowing seeds of discord between Muslims and Christians.

Yet, it is foolhardy to think that the ‘Yes’ or even Government would be the one to pull the chestnut out of the fire given the circumstances. Or simply put, wherefore would Muslims want to detonate a grenade among Christians? Christians uphold the sanctity of life and that is what they have beef about in Article 24 anyway. But would they kill willfully as some are suggesting? I doubt.

For the politicians in both camps, I wouldn’t expect much of them. They could do anything. Those wearing both colours could do worse though.

Christians and muslims

Actually, the greatest threat to the Proposed Constitution is not the plain reds or the greens. No, it is those who are green in the day and red in the night. And they could be the sadists lapping up the ‘No’/‘Yes’ fights.

First, the detonation went against the conventional bomb rulebook of suicide bombers. Evidently, this was calculated to cause minimum damage, may be cause a scare, panic and inflame the passions of the main protagonists; Christians and Muslims.

Secondly, the timing was wrong. Anyone (God forbid) who really wanted to cause maximum damage would do so when the park was filled to capacity.

Even for the ‘No’ politicians, that simple logic should hold some water.

If the ‘Yes’ team didn’t want them not to assemble, as they claimed, what a bad time to detonate the grenade, at the end?

Why not at 3pm then send everyone home before the clergy and the politicians have climbed the podium?

All in all, the cowards passed their message. Now the ‘No’ and the ‘Yes’ are on each other’s neck peddling rumours and lies about who they thought detonated the explosives.

Either way, too many questions remain unanswered. Who made the insertions to the Proposed Constitution at the Government Printer? Who was fiddling with Committee of Experts cash at the Treasury? Who are inciting Kenyans with hate speech and for what?

Kenya deserves better. And that is why I am asking the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides to spare us the charade of ignominy. You have let us down. Even the police have let us down.

The blasts and the aftermath is a pointer to how low the apparatus of law and order have sunk. It is as true of the mendacious politicians as it is of the sirens from the pulpit. It is as true of the weak-kneed national leadership as it is of a predatory police force.

With a lackadaisical police force hobbled by inferior skills and rudimentary equipment and always ready to serve the elite of the society, it is understandable why everyone is falling over themselves to solve a crime puzzle as mind-boggling as this.  


The fumbling of the officers as they tried to misinform as much as possible about the fatalities copper-bottomed the perception that the police and much of the other security agents are good-for-nothing, biased government outfits only good at intimidating the public and obstructing justice.

So just like it is in the case of politicians, truth is not a virtue when dealing with a people practiced in lying and double-speak as Kenyans.

Change is not easy. Change as drastic as the one envisaged in the Proposed Constitution will reorder everything from the balance of power, control of resources and hitherto entrenched positions.

It is, therefore, expected that the reactionary forces across the divide will throw in everything to thwart the passing of the new Constitution. Beware of the watermelons.

The writer is Foreign Editor at The Standard. [email protected]

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