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Let Gema die, but make sure it dies for good this time around

OPINION
By Michael Ndonye | June 17th 2021

Kikuyu elders at a past Mt. Kenya BBI forum in Meru. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Today, the political chessboard is all smiles, and so should every mundu wa nyumba. It’s fondling a strange thought that the Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (Gema) must scatter. Since chess masters always warn that we must avoid the crowd while thinking independently, so let the will of political heavens abide. The grind amongst Gema is candy for the growth of democracy. But why?

See, a story is told in Genesis chapter 11 of a generation that rose after Noah's deluge. They were led by Noah's great-grandson named Nimrod - the King of the land of Shinar. Under his flagship vision, the people who spoke one language envisioned building tower to the high heavens to make a name for themselves. They thus opposed God’s idea of humankind filling the earth and scattering over its face.

However, God realised that these people would have done anything while united. So he caused them not to understand each other by confusing their tongues. Thus, their mission and vision crumbled, and God's will
endured.

Fast-forward to 1971; a similar flagship political project was launched in central Kenya under the name GEMA (Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association). The linguistically and culturally related people, planned to build a political tower. It is said that President Jomo Kenyatta instructed the then-Attorney General Charles Njonjo to register the association after the 1966 fallout with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. It was a terrible idea.

Ten years later, in 1981, when Moi was president, GEMA was outlawed. It was in the early 2000s, after Moi retired, that the monster resurrected. The aim was for the said peoples to make a name for themselves. They have marshalled resources, schemed, planned and taken time to build a unified region to tyrannise Kenya’s political scene.

They wanted to reach the political heavens against the dictates of the Constitution. Every person, from whatever tribe, gender or other identifiable groupings ought to have equal access to power and resources. That’s the skewed orthodoxy of such ethnopolitical oligarchs.

Fortunately, the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi’s coronation has sparked a revolt in the region. It seems that the nerve that feeds the formation of a political herd is hurt. We must celebrate this dispersion of political ethnic ‘cows’.

I must make my petitions here that, once the Mount Kenya oligarch tower has fallen, the prayer makers should direct their faces toward the Luo Nyanza. This region has another herd of political cows, who feed on green pastures from Lake Victoria; they are led by a single political rod; just like in the Kalenjin in Rift Valley and the people in Ukambani. They, too, must all scatter!

Such divisions will end the enduring ethnopolitical oligarch mentality that has made other tribes generalise Mount Kenya region people as politically selfish and greedy. So yes, it’s for the good of the commoner's political garment.

Other regions envy residents of the mountain for ‘eating’ the national cake for so long. This way, a region where poverty abides and jiggers sap the toes of the wretched of the mountain region, is envied. It’s a place where abandoned daughters of Mumbi enfeeble their men, who, for better and for worse, have given themselves to alcohol due to frustrations of life. So let the Mount Kenya political oligarch disperse, divide and scatter.

This is the conclusion from the political heavens; the unity of Mount Kenya region should only endure if the Constitution envisions ethnic bulking. It doesn’t. The purpose for which the current unification is envisioned is for political dominance through tyranny. That's why Gema should die, and never rise again as it did after the Moi ban.

The people of Mount Kenya have the freedom to form a political barricade to make sure one of them remains in power, but that should happen if the regional leaders can convince the rest of the country that they are fit to lead everyone. That way, even the kingpin will have more authority and legitimacy across the country.

Dr Ndonye is a political economist of communication.

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