“Freedom Ain’t Free” – On The Integrity Bill and Online Freedom

Before I start, R.I.P. to the many souls departed in the past few days. It’s been a difficult time for the country without having to lose so many in such a short time.
And now to the matter at hand…

Let’s talk about the impunity of our government in regards to the above issues and how we can tackle it.

Sigh.

We’ve been here before.

The best of us are sitting in our comfort zones pointing at blatant rights violations with full mouths screaming.

The rest of us don’t even know why people are screaming. Trying to figure out what’s going on, or just ignoring it all together.

For those that don’t know what the hoopla is about the Integrity Bill being “watered down” is, I’ll let the guys at that media house that tolerates us explain:

“Among the provisions deleted from the original Bill is the requirement for political aspirants and state officers to declare their income, assets and liabilities before being elected or appointed to office.

It also required spouses and children of the politicians and state officers to declare their wealth which the public could access on application.

They also took away powers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to require the National Security Intelligence Services, the National Police Service, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Higher Education Loans Board and any public body to provide information which may lead to the denial of a compliance certificate.”

Yeah. And this is the bill they’re trying to pass. If everything remains as is, my bet is that it will. How many times does the government trample over our rights and we only hear about it after the fact? And even if the bill were to pass in its original glory, the commissions put in place to monitor it have already been rigged. And even if that weren’t the case…sigh, let’s just say, this isn’t a one trick pony. Our government officials will not, under any circumstances be treated like mere mortals. They are to be treated like gods, and nothing less. May they rest their plump posteriors on overpriced pleather and nothing less.

And true enough, they have the power to do some of these things. They can refuse to declare their wealth and they can refuse to be audited. They’ve been doing it for years. But you know how they can be stopped?

“Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has suspended 46 government officials, including her son, for failing to declare their assets.” – [PBN]

Let me tell you about good leadership. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or woman, black or white, young or old. What matters is what comes first in the hierarchy of importance. If it is anything other than the people you are leading, there is a problem.

Sirleaf didn’t do anything extraordinary: there was a law, she exercised it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Why can’t we have that here? Well, because the guys in our head office right now are the problem. There are maybe one or two prospective gamechangers in the entire parliament. I see no end to the madness as I see no way 2 people can stop 200 others.

But I do see a way that 40 million people could stop 200. We just need a few of us to not only get angry, but learn how to use that anger. So that the next time the government starts acting reckless and silencing our voices…

We put them in their place. And there are ways we can do that. The easiest of which is what I’m doing now; addressing an online audience via blog. But the government won’t really tolerate this either for too long. Especially if we abuse the right. Which is what they want you to do…

And that’s what I feel happened with one Robert Alai.

I understand being passionate and stating facts. If he was caught only for that, we’d probably all be in his support. But the hesitation comes in with the name calling and the abusiveness.

You can use or abuse freedom. There are ways to fight the system without breaking laws. You can step on toes and put people to shame without peeing in their shoes and shitting in their faces.

What good is being a crusader against the government if while doing so I’m just feeding their case to bury my truths?

E.g If i said, “One of our Presidential aspirants, Uhuru Kenyatta, is charged with murder, rape and other crimes against humanity by the ICC.” then this is correct. It’s a fact. It can’t be denied. But it is a truth that we don’t hear enough and which will make TNA HQ flag this blog for the umpteenth time.

But if I were to instead say “That Kikuyu Mungiki snake of a presidential candidate who stole all the country’s money is also a rapist, murderer and caused a genocide.” then I may be pushing the envelope a little bit and one of their lawyers would have grounds to have me Alai’d.

A few years ago, when only 3 of you would read this, perhaps. But now I know people are watching…I even changed our blog headline for them after they made their presence felt a few months back.
And we don’t even have as many readers as Alai.

When I see some bloggers/Social-Media-lites getting mad when they get told off for being abusive; when they start saying “It’s my opinion, it’s my personal page!”, I want to say “Come on dude, you KNOW you have an audience. You know where the lines are. You know when you cross them. You’re doing it for selfish reasons.”

At some point, you’re either trying to fight the power, or interfering with those who are trying to fight it.

There are ways to defeat the system and the most powerful one is unity. There’s no need to make people angry, we’re already pissed off. You could cut the tension in this country with the wrong end of a butter knife. What we lack is a channel for that anger. We can’t seem to unite in our anger. And we should. Online or off. And if you are appointed to be a ringleader(through Follows, Friends or Likes or actually tangible votes), make a point to insist on people being peaceful and polite before giving them fuel for the fight.

Let’s not be the first to resort to abuse or violence. Let’s not give them a reason to take us down.

Let’s use our freedom and not abuse it.

Let’s start with this Integrity Bill nonsense.

Let’s take our country back. The right way.

10 thoughts on ““Freedom Ain’t Free” – On The Integrity Bill and Online Freedom

  1. “Let’s take our country back. The right way.”
    Brilliant article. We need to fix the things that are wrong with this country of ours instead of attacking each other while ignoring the sad state of affairs… That’s the only way that things can work out, otherwise we might as well be screaming in outer space…

  2. To be honest, we’ve only got ourselves to blame. Our collective gross incompetence in the deriliction of our civic responsibilities has seen us concede our country to the same bunch of incompetent punks who have redefined the meaning of impunity.

    How is it that out of 40 million people, we always end up with this same bunch of clowns as our leaders?

    We still think and vote in tribal blocks, we still vote on popularity, we refuse to engage with the political process and our generation has just lost out by letting leaders run roughshot over us.

    Instead of talking and engaging with all aspects of devolution for example, we’re excited and sycophantic about the red-herring tribal politics of the usual suspects.

    So the integrity bill has been mutilated and passed with impunity. What the hell are we going to do about it. Are we going to vote all these punks out, and some intelligent and competent leaders in? Or are we just going to continue bitching?

  3. I saw an article that asked why Kenyans would ever expect the government to define integrity in the first place given the resume of people that make up the government. We all know what integrity is, I hope we will exercise our votes and define integrity by picking people that represent that and more for the sake of all we love.

  4. Amen brother *In Jeff’s voice.
    Outspoken self-proclaimed justice seekers for the people should be careful on how they questin the status quo and not hide behind the curtains of ‘freedom of speech’. Martin Luther King and Gandhi hailed peaceful means to end oppression. Both worked.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s