Limuru 2B For The People Not Anti-GEMA
A lot has been written about Limuru 2B in the last 43 days since it was controversially cancelled by police on 18th April 2012. Now that it has happened, and successfully, it is important to state a few points about what a friend recently defined as the ‘Limuru 2B phenomenon’. To understand the Limuru 2B phenomenon one would have to look at the challenges we were facing to pull it off.
The first challenge that we encountered as Limuru 2B organizers was the perception that any meeting by young men from Central Kenya, without the consent of the region’s status quo leadership, is a mungiki meeting. This perception was strengthened by a statement from the police commissioner after the April 18th meeting was cancelled, where he stated that as far as they were concerned such a meeting would be a re-launch of mungiki! What is extremely amusing is that when we went to court to challenge the cancellation of our first meeting, this argument did not arise at all.
We dealt with this challenge by just going ahead and holding the meeting, despite many people, including those with no malice, insisting that we were walking into a trap that could suck us into organized crime engagements with the police. Our position on this is very simple, we do not support criminal gangs or their activities in any way. They should be fought in all legal means and eradicated, again legally, completely. However we will also will not stand aside and allow a manipulation of criminal identities to resist legitimate socio-political challenges to regional political supremacists, especially in Central Kenya. Fortunately the law is on our side on this, as was proven when the court reinforced our right to meet in Limuru, peacefully and unarmed, with police security.
The second challenge we encountered was the whole idea that we were out to fight Uhuru Kenyatta. It should be noted that during the entire 5 hours of the Limuru 2b meeting, none of over 12 speakers except Hon Mike Sonko referred to Uhuru Kenyatta. In fact, the honorable member of parliament from Makadara later clarified that his statement ‘niko na Uhuru’ was actually cut short by the crowd, and he actually meant ‘niko na uhuru wa kuongea’.
However the most important aspect of Limuru 2B seems to have been overlooked in all coverage of this turnkey event in Central Kenya. It is explained by looking at the third reason for holding the Limuru 2B meeting. When GEMA Cultural Association attempted to perpetuate the myth that all the members of the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities were supporters of Uhuru Kenyatta, they were actually trying to corrupt the essence of what politics should be. The fact that they could manipulate the police to attempt to stop a challenge to this position was evidence of how dangerous they would become if unchallenged; now and in the future.
Limuru 2B was a direct challenge to such ideas. The natural order of politics across the world is that it falls into three broad positions; ‘right’, ‘left’ and ‘centre’. Generally ‘leftists’ are people whose views support social change to create a more equal society. These are those who are concerned for the disadvantaged in society relative to others, and especially in those areas where such inequalities are clearly unjustified.
‘Rightists’ on the other hand are people whose views generally support social hierarchy. They believe that one’s success or failure depends entirely on your own efforts, and that inequality arises from traditional social differences, market forces and competition. Rightists believe inequality is inevitable, natural, normal and desirable.
‘Centrists’ are just that; those of us who support policies that are a neutral middle ground between the ‘left’ and the ‘right’. Centrists will take a neutral position on issues of social equality or social hierarchy, and even oppose changes that can result in a significant shift of society to extreme left or right. They prefer minor adjustments, designed to address popular demands, rather than ideological views.
Limuru 2B was primarily about restoring the natural order of politics, especially in a region like Central Kenya that is undergoing a generational political leadership transition. GEMA was presenting a rightist philosophy in Limuru in March; which is their right. However they went overboard when they tried to suggest that this was the only position anyone from the three communities around Mt Kenya region is supposed to have. Limuru 2B proponents therefore came out to challenge this, by introducing a leftist position to compete with GEMA. The advantage of having these two positions is that we have now created space for a centre to exist, which we hope some centrists will lay claim to, in our region.
Next weekend this left/right competition moves a notch higher as the ‘Mkenya Solidarity Movement’ is launched at Kamukunji Stadium in Nairobi. ‘Mkenya’ is a political leftist party that will also borrow its support heavily from the Central Kenya region, which makes it a natural opponent to the regions rightist party; the recently launched The National Alliance (TNA) party. Central Kenya will be an exciting place to watch political competition during this general elections, it seems. We hope other regions are watching and planning how to borrow a leaf from us.