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Sometimes, Some Things Must Be Said – A Political Conversation with Betty Njoroge

Sometimes, some things must be said

It’s the worst version of a coalition government really. The worst version of the amendments routinely made by the previous parliament to allow those MPs to remain in power while flagrantly party hopping and the worst version of their myriad coalition agreements that ensured that they would retain power at all costs.

It is at this moment in time that we, if we were sincere citizens, should deeply and earnestly miss Martha Karua. During the time, when most of us were blindly approving ethnic groupings that purported to be national but were not, simply ethnic ganging up in the name of politics, during a time when the phrase “warembo na siasa” meant women coming on stage and shaking their ample bottoms for cheering crowds, during a time when thousands of young people thronged the Kenyatta International Conference Centre hoping, and believing every coalitions’ false promises; Martha Karua staunchly refused to join in the fray. She adamantly declined to be sucked into agreements that were entirely selfish and had no basis for serving the people. She stood alone, the lone ranger of Kenyan politics.

Perhaps she could see into the future, into THIS future. I don’t think she has any seer’s powers; most likely Martha is just burdened with a deep sense of integrity, something that does not seem to bother the rest of our politicians.

It’s a pity that we have sold ourselves into such a willing slavery. Consider the absurdities we have swallowed whole heartedly; that certain ethnic groups would not have stopped their violence and conflict were it not for a coalition agreement to share power. Sadly, we forget that all the conflict between those ethnic communities was politically instigated in the first place. So, they start the conflict, and then they solve it by forming an alliance where THEY will gain power.

Are we so foolish? It appears so. 93% of voters in the last election voted along tribal or ethnic lines. 93% chose their ethnicity over their nationality. 93% made sure that politics of personality, of personal wealth and personal greed and ambition will forever be a part of this nation’s “democracy”.

These coalitions will never end – the idea now is firmly rooted in the politicians’ mind, the route to gaining ultimate power is to join forces, not for the nation but for them. They know, that from here on, no matter how visibly evil they are, and no matter what cruelty they exhibit, no matter what greed and plundering they engage in, the people will always vote for them because they are from their ethnicity.

Whose fault is it really? Some pundit had the nerve to blame the civil society for not conducting adequate civic education hence the outcome of the elections.

Some things must be said; why should someone come along and tell you to have a conscience, to seek leadership that has integrity to pick honest upstanding respectable people and not known drug barons, murderers, embezzlers, fraudsters, kidnappers and thugs?

Chapter 6 of the Kenya constitution tries to define leadership and integrity but fails miserably for one simple matter. The people of Kenya define integrity and they alone chose their leaders. If they willingly and with 93% of the electorate in agreement, pick fellows who rightly belong in prison, for the reason that these people are rich, and have created an ethnic alliance which they now purport to be using to represent their people; if the people of Kenya have no sense of decency, morality, justice or wisdom, then the high court has no mandate to decide otherwise. We do have a supreme law, but that law must reflect the values of the society that derived that law.

Kenyans have no sense of integrity, no understanding of that virtue and no need for its use or value in our daily lives and our leaders understand that fully and have banked on that fact so as to remain in power indefinitely. It is not because we are poor; it is because we are ethno-centric bigots. Some things must be said. Looks like in Kenya, Martha Karua is the only person who understands what integrity means.


These thoughts are Betty Njoroge’s own and not Storymoja’s.

Betty Waitherero Njoroge is a writer, a human rights activist and a producer for television. She writes commentary and opinion pieces on socio-political matters in Kenya and runs her own blog on

She is passionate about the color red, loves roast chicken and red wine, will spend most of her day buried in literature, articles or texts, and she is a mother. Betty hopes to join the University of Nairobi in 2013 and pursue masters in Anthropology, concentrating on Gender, Culture and Language. Her favorite quote is “Brevity is the soul of lingerie” by US author and humorist Dorothy Parker; her rather amusing take on Shakespeare’s famous quote by Hamlet – “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Betty is participating in Storymoja Hay Festivals conservations on “Imagine the World; WAZA DUNIA”.


2 comments on “Sometimes, Some Things Must Be Said – A Political Conversation with Betty Njoroge

  1. OTIENO B.C.
    June 11, 2013

    A deep mind churning and soulful selection of thoughts. No wonder that the constitution ended up including many things about our behavior and actions and so The (new) constitution was not just about governance but largely also about our manners.

    I wonder where the media fits in all this, are they the sellers of this ethno-centric bigotry and its promoters. Are are they like art, the mirror of the society and thus always looking, presenting and interpreting everything through a political and ethnic lens?


  2. milton mesopirr manyaas
    June 13, 2013

    perhaps ths is why some pundits say our elections is an ‘ethnic census’ devoid of reflection wrought with a blind conscience. We also follow the wealthy like they are our ‘messiahs’ against hunger of the masses., not minding about the sources of their wealth.


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This entry was posted on June 10, 2013 by in Writer's Blog.
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