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MAFIA COUNTRY: Corruption And The Making Of The Kenyan State

President Uhuru Kenyatta (Right) and DP William Ruto (Left) in celebratory mood, 2013. The duo (UhuRuto) have overseen looting, rape and plunder such as never been seen since 1962. However, they as just following in the footsteps of the founding fathers. READ

Ever wondered why corruption is such a core and almost undefeated aspect of the Kenyan society? This is how it works, world over. Every country has a personality; a sense of national self-conceptualization based on the core beliefs of the founders and the events surrounding its origins.

It’s not a mistake that Rome drove politics and jurisprudence, Greece was famed for philosophy, America goes to war every 10-15yrs, Britain obsesses about its Victorian morality and social ideals. In short, every nation has its founding ideals and flaws that flow through the generations.

The downside to this reality is that negative values also sneak in. For example racism is not just a nasty reality in the US, it was a pervasive ideal among the white pioneer elites; therefore it’s a core founding value of the American largely white state.

Now, Kenya was established as a colonial outpost; an industrial plantation to provide leisure for aristocratic adventurers and raw materials for their British factories. So, extractive logic, aristocratic excess and corruption were dominant values at the founding of the Kenyan state.

In essence Kenya has never been nor has ever transitioned into a democracy. It’s an aristocracy where a bunch of elites have this perpetual political incest and continue to produce after their own kind through political patronage and family dynasties.

Prof. Herman Manyora, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, once mentioned how, just about every billionaire in Kenya is a criminal, has criminal ties or has (in)directly benefited from the criminal Inc. of their fellow aristocrats. It’s virtually impossible to be a billionaire in Kenya without a bit of political deal-making.This tragic fact is what makes it hard to weed out corruption.

A more critical downside to this criminal aristocracy is that it creates a zombie elite. Raw amassing of wealth through looting with no sense of national foresight or cultural sophistication produces a primitive elite. Unlike in most cultures where the elites drive the future through funding research and passions e.g. libraries, conservation, musical, astronomy, labs etc., a primitive elite built through stealing, their low self-esteem leaves them perpetually gatekeeping and trying to keep everyone else down

All over Kenya, in politics, academia, agriculture, religious, and corporate spheres, stories of exploitation, patronage, factionalism and outright suppression of talent paints the picture of elites who can’t stand dealing with those smarter/more inventive than them. Because, lacking in both talent and confidence they are hostile towards any brilliant, ideational trailblazers and scared of everything they can’t control, steal from, or don’t understand.

This primitive elites made up of a bunch of fellows whose wealth is largely derived from killing parastatals, lack any sense of nationhood, have no strategic conception of the future, can’t entertain ideas, have a penis envy against the youths, and are spectacularly unimaginative.

That’s why they horde drone licenses, frustrate inventors, shoot brilliant minds like Chris Msando, Crispin Mbai, JM Kariuki e.t.c, loath revolutionaries like Miguna Miguna*, Boniface Mwangi, e.t.c. That is not all, the primitive elite demand veneration and can barely invent anything that lasts. They ignore the fact that nations are built when elites can think, prioritize and budget decades ahead of time.

For this primitive elite, instead of funding cutting-edge technology and generation of new knowledge; the best they can do is set up massive concrete feudal outposts like the malls such as you’ve heard about i.e. Tatu, Konza, real estate jungles just like the white aristocracy that they inherited the country from.

These concrete jungles are their version of white highlands. If there’s something that defines this Kenyan aristocracy/elite, especially the old guard, it’s this lack of imagination.

Former Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga once talked of generational accountability and the colossal failure of his generation to think and plan ahead, by laying the ground work for future generations. Sadly such a conversation would be muffled by the discomfort and that generation’s aversion to introspection.

Since its creation in 1885, Kenya doesn’t work for the poor because it wasn’t designed to work for the poor. Neither does it work for the (primitive) elites because the black aristocratism itself is royally dehumanizing and emulates the dehumanizing adventurism of ‘Happy Valley’. (The so-called Happy Valley set was a group of hedonistic, largely British and Anglo-Irish aristocrats and adventurers who settled in the “Happy Valley” region of the Wanjohi Valley, near the Aberdare mountain range, in colonial Kenya and Uganda between the 1920s and the 1940s.)

The famous shrink Fanon in the WRETCHED OF THE EARTH talked of the oppressors having the same psychotic symptoms as the oppressed. That’s because, fundamentally, dehumanization eats up both the oppressor and the oppressed. It’s the age-old reality that bullies are projecting cowards.

So dealing with corruption means admitting that the founding ideals of this country includes the creation of an elite through looting coffers and grabbing land. That corruption in Kenya, just like racism in America, it isn’t an anomaly, but an inbuilt founding ideal of the country.

And that this corruption has borne a primitive elite who keep inventing newer ways of driving the economic exploitation and corruption. And this primitive elite exist under the perpetual illusion that their relief lies in (stealing) the next million or billion.

The primitive elitism has the attendant effect of making them insecure, paranoid, violent, and keeps them in a perpetual state of fighting real and imaginary turf wars especially against the youths, the brilliant and morally upright.

             –Article compiled fully based on the tweets of Okolla [email protected]

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