Akadevu Music Presents: Ngoma ya Kilo
Place:Lilla Wien”Little Nairobi”
Date:04-05 May 2012
“I am a Lover Boy” featuring Kenya’s St James and Dr. Alban
Although May 1st is a special day when workers internationally ought to be re-evaluating their annaul political, economic and social gains, this is the day when workers in Kenya usually renew their state of helplessness at the hands of exploitative employers in both the private sector and the government. Instead of staging “Workers’ processions” culminating in speeches by struggling workers’ organizations to announce new strategies against their exploiters, workers in Kenya are usually encouraged to flock public venues to listen to empty speeches by government representatives or compromised Union leaders.
In their world view, structured in a neo-colonial set-up, members of the oppressive Kenyan State and the attenuated Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) embrace a bourgeoisie political concept that essentially divorces the 15 million Kenyan workers from both politics and the running of society. Consequently, workers in Kenya have been psychologically natured to believe that their role in politics is spectatorial as the so called “elected politicians” run society under the camouflage of government.
From the point of view of “Parliamentary democracy” (which Kenya adheres to), this is how society ought to function. Under this arrangement, a group of shenanigans called MPs are elected by the people to sit in Parliament and take key decisions affecting the people.
In this arrangement, “the people” are the workers, peasants, students and the millions of unemployed Kenyans who are, in essence, the main victims of the betrayal of the “vulture” MPs.
In order to be elected to Parliament under “Parliamentary democracy”, a politician (vulture) has to be a member of a registered political Party and present himself/herself as a candidate for election. The key problem in Kenya is that once the vulture is elected to Parliament, the Mweshimiwa begins to betray the very people who elected him/her by taking decisions that are not in the interest of “the people”. In many cases, the MPs are usually accomplices or key obstacles when confronted with situations in which they need to take decisions that contradicts their roles as principle conspirators in the system. Three examples will suffice.
The price of unga, petrol and starvation wages of workers in Kenya
Over the years, the price of unga has sky-rocketed and “the people” can no longer afford this staple food in Kenya. Millions of Kenyans are already starving and the Prezzo has repeatedly declared starvation “a national disaster” thereby suggesting urgent and drastic action to remedy the situation. Under such circumstances, what the MPs need to do in Parliament is to take a decision to make unga affordable by passing a bill to the effect that the government will, henceforth, take over the processing and distribution of unga.
A plausible excuse could be to cut off the greedy capitalist middlemen who are the chief profiteers in the unga business as millions of Kenyans go hungry on a daily basis. The logic is that if individual businessmen can purchase maize from farmers, process it, package the commodity and sell it at unaffordable prices to make super profits, the government (with its huge machinery) can do the same and keep prices affordable. With cheap unga from the government (to feed the people), private unga producers will either have to bring their prices down or risk going out of business.
There are two major reasons why MPs cannot take decisions in Parliament for the government to process and package unga: the political parties that sponsored the MPs to Parliament do not have Programs or Manifestoes advocating for the “nationalization” of the maize industry (government take-over). At best, all Parties in Kenya support continued “privatization” of this industry and this is why the unga price will never go down regardless of how much “the people” are suffering.
Secondly, majority of forces controlling the unga industry are the rich friends or acquaintances of politicians sitting in Parliament. In some cases, it is the politicians themselves who own the unga businesses or abet corruption in the industry. A good example is that of William Ruto whom, as the Minister of Agriculture, was involved in unscrupulous sale of maize to middlemen in what became known as the “maize scandal”. How do you expect such a Minister to vote in favour of taking the maize business out of the hands of greedy businessmen when he is a key beneficiary? The country is doomed because this is what capitalism has to offer – politicians use their positions to further their private interests. This brings us to the second example.
Let us examine the high cost of petrol. In Kenya, almost ALL companies involved in the distribution of petrol are private entities. Through the Kenya National Oil Corporation, the government is supposed to purchase petroleum products from abroad but the problem is that it sells it to private companies which, in turn, determines the consumer price. If the government tries to control the price of petrol, what the private companies will do is that they will simply hoard the commodity to precipitate a countrywide crisis. The dilemma is that although the government sells the petrol (the commodity) to private companies, it has no machinery to distribute the commodity.
The solution is for the MPs to pass a bill in Parliament to enable the government to become the key distributor of petrol and in this way, it will be able to control the prices of oil products. The government will then be able to set prices in accordance with international buying prices and this will definitely be lower because it is the private companies that are raking in profits by inflating prices. In short, MPs could do Kenyans a great service by voting for the “nationalization” of the oil industry to put exploitative and greedy oil companies out of business. Unfortunately, this is not currently possible because MPs are themselves capitalistic or even owning the companies involved in the oil business.
Let us look at yet another example of starvation wages for workers. If MPs can walk into Parliament and award themselves a million salaries every month, why can’t they vote for the increment of Workers’ salaries to a level that a worker can stop living on starvation wages?
The answer is that MPs do not represent the interest of workers. They represent the interest of their stomachs and this is why they are called “vultures”. Because it is “Labour Day”, the day for the working people, it is important for Kenyan workers to understand that there is an alternative concept called “Workers’ democracy” that no political Party in Kenya is talking about. The concept is based on Socialist ideology and it is very simple. Here is a summery.
The ultimate political Alliance no one speaks about
In any country in the world, workers and peasants are the producers of the national wealth. This is the wealth constantly looted by politicians in capitalist economies. Kenyans have been talking about “biggest tribes” forming ethnic Alliances to take over power but these kinds of Alliances will simply sustain the status quo because politicians at the top of these Alliances represent the same capitalist interests responsible for plunging millions of Kenyans into poverty and subjecting them to lives of untold human suffering. What is the solution?
Fifteen million workers are capable of voting a “Workers Party” that can take over government by fielding working class candidates in every constituency. If the 15 million workers form an alliance with just 5 million students, 5 million unemployed youths and another 5 million peasants, no Party can beat this Alliance in any election under any circumstance because these layers constitute majority of what is called “the people of Kenya”. What is lacking and preventing this “people’s take-over” is the right politics.
Once it seizes power, such an Alliance can then proceed to reduce MPs salaries to Ksh 50.000 (or less), set a minimum living wage for all workers, take over the unga and petrol industries (to reduce prices once and for all) and implement other revolutionary measures that could radically transform the lives of millions of Kenyans for ever. No politician or Party can end tribalism without a viable and demonstrable alternative to tribalism which, in the leftist camp, is “class politics”. In simpler terms, what is class politics?
Under a “Workers Party”, and in a formidable political Alliance with the millions of oppressed layers of the Kenyan society, your tribe (class) is that of a “Worker”, “Peasant”, “Student” or “Unemployed” fighting against the “stinking rich class” of land and wealth grabbers whose members form what you call “government”. This rich class operate under a filthy and out-dated political system pitting the rich against the poor, a phenomenon which is so commonplace in Kenya that if you have never heard about it, then you are either insane, dumb or living outside the Kenyan reality. In Kenya, the rich cheats the poor with impunity while they live lavish lifestyles at the expense of the poor, all in the name of representing the poor. The rich remains corrupt, conspiratorial, deceptive, exploitative and ideologically bankrupt but they continue to run the government because the people are themselves asleep.
The “Worker-Peasant-Student-Unemployed” Alliance is the “ultimate Alliance” whose politics against the rich need careful study by all Kenyans claiming membership to this Alliance. For the record, the Kenya Red Alliance (KRA) has the politics needed to lead this Alliance to power in the Republic of Kenya and at any election. However, without a clear understanding of the politics of KRA, power take-over will remain a mirage and the capitalist ruling class will continue with its stereotypical manipulations. The consequence is that nothing will change even after ten more elections and this is the sad reality KRA is trying to address.
During this year’s Labour Day, the key message of KRA to Workers and the oppressed people of Kenya is that there is a solution but its realization will depend on whether the oppressed Kenyans understand what it will take to solve the crisis in our country. Suffering Wananchi must stop looking towards the rotten capitalist ruling class and their representatives for solutions to the political, economic and social crisis facing the country because this filthy class is principally part of the main problem that bedevils the Republic.
New thinking, based on “a change of the system” to overthrow the rich owners of capital “sucking the blood of the sufferers” is the key. Kenyans must educate themselves politically because the Socialist revolution begins in the mind. It does not begin with the bullet.
KRA is not in a hurry because political education necessary for the creation of the “critical mass” capable of overthrowing the system and changing the status quo for ever is a tedious, slow and time-consuming process that requires a lot of patience. The main targets of KRA are the toiling workers and the youth because these are the “critical layers” paying the ultimate price precipitated by the crisis of the capitalist system in Kenya. If you get the point, or need further political education, join or begin to follow KRA politics. The revolution may never be televised!
Kenya Red Alliance (KRA)