Jiactivate Report (march 2018)

Jiactivate Report (march 2018) FA2

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To Honor Evans Njoroge, We Mustn’t Forget. by Bessie Sarowiwa @Bessie_Sarowiwa

image from depositphotos.com
Go to school, get an education and be a better person they say. The part they don’t tell you about is while you are trying to do what they expect, they’re busy controlling you. They don’t give you room to question them neither do they grant you space to be. Speaking is costing us those of us who are loud as their crime becomes the possession of a voice.

Evans Njoroge was murdered in February 27th 2018 in the most unfortunate of ways. He did not deserve to be robbed of his life like he was it was
barbaric and animalistic how he was pursued by the police who shot him at close range without hesitation and watched him take his last breath. His body lay lifeless in a farm blood splattered, organs shuttered, dreams scattered and life tattered. May his soul rest in power as our hearts continue to break over the reality that Kenya is eating its youth literally.

The Meru university student leader was a young and bold Kenyan who stood up for the university students something which many of us are learning to do. He wasn’t a thug walking around the streets all day plotting on how to get away with theft. He is like many of us who are desperately needing a better society in every environment be it social spaces, education spaces, employment spaces, political spaces, creative spaces and many more.

What is worse is the unbothered attitude that ensured Evan’s murder. There was nothing from government that showed concern of any kind about the loss of this young man’s life. It was as if nothing had happened like the way you take out the trash and not care about the person who takes it away. Is this how young people are viewed in Kenya? We are trash pilling up until we start to stink-which in this case is speak and stand up-we became disposable?

The again I notice that Evans being like many of us doesn’t came from a well to do family. He didn’t come from wealth meaning his disposability was a sure thing. Poor people in Kenya experience the most injustice. They’re the people whose children are chased like dogs and shot dead, they’re the people whose voices should never be heard even when that is the only thing they have left.

Evans died not only because he was bold and brave but because his boldness was shrouded in the ordinarity of poverty. The law would have protected him if only he was wealthy, the police would’ve thought twice before pulling the trigger and a public statement condemning his murder would have been read but he was too common. A common young man armed with his voice against a system of oligarchs to whom shedding blood is as easy as sneezing.

The president’s silence on this matter is deafening, so is the cabinet secretary for interior, inspector general of police and the director of criminal investigations all of them silent. But we the people can and should speak up. We should speak up for our brothers and sisters out there whose safety we are no longer assured of, we should speak up for their families, we should speak up against extra judicial killings, against a rogue system that thinks it is untouchable but most importantly we should speak up for Evans ‘Kidero’ Njoroge. He is us and we are him we shall rise in his name.

Bessie Sarowiwa

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Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Say No Evil by Nerima Wako @NerimaW

Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Say No Evil by Nerima Wako @NerimaW

(Photo courtesy)

(Photo courtesy)
I really enjoy reading George Orwell, even though many people would say that he often wrote about dismal societies, one would think that his works were kind of depressing. But they show a reality and sometimes a reflection looking at what is happening in our country, I cannot help but think about his book 1984. He wrote this book in the late 1940’s about what the future of society looked like.

In summary it speaks about a young man who lives in a society where, you are not permitted to socialize. People work to make a living and not ask questions most are young, the older generation are very few and no one is really sure why. All media is controlled and there is a narrative spread throughout the country about their history, which is false. There is also the presence of police in tankers, just everywhere to intimidate you not to go against the grain they are called the ‘thought police’. You are not allowed to think differently or ask questions, anyone who did suspiciously went missing.

After quite a laborious election a few months ago, there are still remnants of tension when it comes to the political discourse in Kenya. After August we witnessed large civil society organizations being intimidated to silence, and several cases of riots and police shootings. Some reports demonstrate as high as 35 – 50 people lost their lives during that period in the hands of the police and to this very day no one has been held to account for those deaths.

The nullification of the August elections, forced us into an unprepared election in October, which birthed a resistance push for reforms in the electoral process. Taking a naïve approach, there appears to be two sides: one begging for the country to move on because of the economic ramifications the elections caused. The price of maize flour almost doubled, high cost of fuel and even electric power.

Statistics demonstrate that there is inflation in the country. The economy was slow during that period and business terrible. Then on the other side of the divide there is another begging the country to reform systems for the sake of democracy for the good of all. To have systems in place that tackle historical injustices and promote equality for all citizens in the country.

When Mr. Raila Odinga chose not to take part in the October fresh election, most of his supporters chose not to partake in the event. Afterwards, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) led by Mr. Raila Odinga was created and used as a mechanism to call for more transparent, fair and credible elections, by taking economic actions such as boycotting certain products.
However, the movement slowly dwindled and quickly became an opposition tool and anyone associated with not voting in October was branded to be opposition. January 30th, Mr. Raila Odinga took an oath as the People’s President and the following day, CS Matiangi announced that NRM was an illegal group.

Major television stations that covered the event live have been off air since now and no one is quite sure of when they will be back on air. There are reports of journalists threatened with arrest and individuals involved in the oath being arrested. Yet, here we are going on with life as though there is nothing major in our country. Frankly, people do not know where to begin. What do you say? What can you say? Or what can you do? So rather than worry that we are slowly slipping into a dictatorial nation and freedoms are violated once in a while, we behave as though nothing is happening.

Back to our 1984 similarities, in relation to the ‘thought police’ that I spoke of, we see a certain message constantly being repeated, that the President is focusing on his big 4 agenda. “The big 4” it has been drilled into our heads, that he will be focusing on universal healthcare, affordable housing, manufacturing and food security. We see puppets sent to continuously mention the big 4 in every press briefing, or opinion leaders to mention it in their columns of the kind of legacy that he would like to leave behind in his second term.

And that everything that the government is doing is for our own good. 1984 doesn’t have a good ending, as several of George Orwell’s books. But something stood out, many people go through life mindlessly, and like sheep the government is proud to control the mind of the people. However, if those sheep knew they were sheep, that realization is the first step toward change, otherwise we will die sheep without knowing we were sheep to begin with.

Nerima Wako

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