More than four decades after “independence”, Kenyan workers continue to be cheated. The labour day has been celebrated in Kenya at a time when no politician, trade unionist or political Party is challenging the continued retrenchment of workers under the privatization Program pushed by imperialist agencies in Kenya.
Employers continue to display a high level of arrogance in the face of starvation wages that are destroying the lives of millions of workers across Kenya. The working conditions in our country are very poor and workers have constantly been exposed to hazardous working conditions without the intervention of Trade Unions, the government or mainstream political parties.
Trade unions are themselves controlled by pro-regime Trade Unionists led by Atwoli while Trade unions are also banned from practicing politics by law. Due to political control, Workers in Kenya are not allowed to form independent Trade Unions even if their own Unions fail to deliver. This means that over 9 million workers across the country are without political representation because their leaders are dancing to the tune of politicians who whine and dine with the ruling class at every opportunity.
Strike actions by workers struggling against starvation wages, poor working conditions, lack of proper remuneration, better working conditions, harassment by bosses and other rights have routinely been defeated. These defeats are a consequence of lack of political organization of workers in Kenya where the general belief is that workers cannot engage in politics directly.
Although the concept of a “Workers Party” is deeply rooted in western democracies, consciousness on the question of political organization of workers in Kenya is still lagging behind. Since ideology is not yet a factor in the country and because many politicians are still leaning on the politics of ethnicity in our country, it has been difficult for Kenyan workers to begin thinking seriously on the possibility of a Party that can directly address issues affecting them across the country.
Trade Union leaders continue to strike deals with employers to derail worker’s struggles, a weakness that continues to grow because of lack of a Worker’s Party.
The Kenya Scandinavia Democratic Movement (KESDEEMO) believes that as Kenyans prepare for the next election, Workers should also begin to think seriously on the possibility of a Workers Party that can address their collective interests after the gigantic failure of COTU to do so.
What this means is that there will have to be some ideological input in Kenyan politics along the lines of Socialism because capitalist forces across the world are not known to support t the struggles of workers seeking to liberate themselves from super-exploitation by agents of capitalism whose agenda in the labour market is profit.
Because of lack of improvement in the conditions of workers or signs of improvement after decades of struggle, KESDEMO believes that there is no way out for workers in Kenya if they cannot set up a Party to fight for their interests in Parliament.
Although the Trade Union movement has made significant gains in the last few years, the Movement has shown lack of ideas aimed at placing Kenyan workers on the path to power in our country. The struggle for power has been limited to individual politicians riding on ethnic Parties which have no agenda for the working people.
Due to lack of an alternative, millions of workers have been demoralized while others have lost hope when it comes to participation of workers in national politics. KESDEMO believes that this trend needs to be halted and there is no better way of doing so than calling for the setting up of a Workers Party in Kenya.
As Kenya moves towards elections, Kenyan workers should focus on the post election period and begin to think seriously of setting up a Party of their own which bases itself on the ideas of a Workers democracy and Socialism.
Capitalism has failed in Kenya and unless new ideas are injected into the country’s politics, the situation will not change and the suffering of workers will continue unabated. Capitalism needs to be challenged and this point needs to be made over and over again. Efforts should be made by progressive forces on the Left to intervene in the situation.
KESDEMO Executive committee
The newly elected Executive committee of the Kenya Social Forum (Kesofo) is scheduled to meet the Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia Mrs Purity Muhindi for an introduction between the Embassy and the Forum’s leaders. The meeting will take place on Thursday May 3rd at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm. The Committee will be led by Kesofo’s newly appointed Chairperson Ms Susan Mukami.
The meeting is expected to be cordial and the Ambassador has reason to smile because there are no contentious issues between Kesofo and the Embassy. Of late, the Embassy has come under fire especially from ODM-KS which has been challenging the Ambassador to organize a meeting with Kenyans so that she can introduce herself to the community. She has not done so since she came to Stockholm in August last year.