WAJINGA NYINYI

No doubt we Kenyans are fools

Piece a reminder that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.

In Summary
  • The piece is a call to rise up against corruption, maladministration, ethnic violence, inefficiency and nepotism in the management of public affairs.
  • For those who understand the song, it is a reminder that we are the ones responsible for what has befallen us.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke

Article 33 (1) of the 2010 Constitution provides that “Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes (b) freedom of artistic creativity”. This means that Kenyans have the freedom to air their opinions about what is happening in the country and to have those opinions respected and appreciated.

The article further means that artists are at liberty to use their imagination and creativity to express themselves freely on issues connected to and affecting society. Universally, freedom of expression is an inalienable right that is crucial for the growth of democracy and good governance in any political dispensation, including Kenya.

Last weekend, King Kaka released a spoken word piece titled Wajinga Nyinyi. In his lyrics, he made reference to the current state of affairs in Kenya and how corruption continues to affect millions. He laments that Kenyans have time and again been duped by politicians with false promises during election campaigns only for the politicians to disappear after winning and reappear with other false promises in the next election campaign. He takes Kenyans to task for remaining silent over the wanton looting of public coffers by public officials.

The artist also complains about Kenyans who vote into office known corrupt individuals and tolerate continued theft of public resources. Kenyans remain deaf and dumb to corruption but are quick to know the tribe of their neighbour during election time. He speaks about the regurgitation of aged politicians to take up public positions that should otherwise be held by young professionals.

Not forgotten in the lyrics are the corrupt police officers who live in squalid houses where families are separated by curtains. In his artistic summation of this foolish behaviour seen and repeated everywhere in the country, he refers to Kenyans as “Wajinga Nyinyi [You fools]”.

That a leader would conceive the idea of intimidating an artist for speaking out his mind about national issues is not only appalling but also embarrassing. It shows how the rich and politically connected feel more privileged than the rest of Kenyans to the extent of threatening their enjoyment of basic human rights.

The words of the piece have permeated the conscience of the public and are a reminder of the culpability of Kenyans in their sorry situation. It's baffling how  Kenyans just watch and do nothing when leaders openly plunder public resources at the expense of development projects.

The piece is a call to rise up against corruption, maladministration, ethnic violence, inefficiency and nepotism in the management of public affairs. For those who understand the song, it is a reminder that we are the ones responsible for what has befallen us. It is a reminder that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.

That some individuals, instead of reflecting on the words in the lyrics, have chosen to attack the artist is sad and disappointing. Freedom of expression is guaranteed to all by the Constitution. Those attacking King Kaka seem to either not know, ignore or not understand rights and freedoms in the 2010 Constitution.

That a leader would conceive the idea of intimidating an artist for speaking out his mind about national issues is not only appalling but also embarrassing. It shows how the rich and politically connected feel more privileged than the rest of Kenyans to the extent of threatening their enjoyment of basic human rights.

News that the artist was summoned by the DCI further raises concerns about the criminal justice system’s appreciation of human rights. Although the DCI swiftly rejected summoning the artiste, majority of Kenyans believe that the DCI felt they erred in summoning him or were later advised against it.

Any summons would amount to the silencing of whistleblowers and defending the corrupt and crooked in society. If anything, the DCI should instead summon those mentioned to confirm or deny the allegations levelled against them. Public officers must know that the nature of their work puts them in the limelight and so must at all times be ready to respond to allegations against them.

As a people, we must not remain silent when those that are fighting for the good of all Kenyans are crucified for speaking out against public ills. For it is Edmund Burke who said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men do nothing.”