(re) introducing the q[/t] werd: a video diary

It ain’t no mystery that we (been) preparing for dis’ (not-so) new film & video projects: nekkyd & the Q[/T] werd. 

season 1 features 32[+4]stories en the magic is in  retelling of OUR stories

some of the [extra] ordinary people featured [en behind the scenes] include: anitafrika dub theatre, blackness yes! and blockorama, bombastic kasha, bunge la mwananchi, bredrin and dadas in solidarity, colour me dragg, [is] the crux, deb singh, Elijah Masinde, elimu sanifu, faith Nolan, funkasia, the funketeers, gender education and advocacy project, house of munro, Ishtar, kalmplex, nikki mawanda, nneke dumele, red lips. cages for black girls, swagger, tajudeen abdul raheem, victor mukasa, en the Yoruba house project

A love letter to rafikis, [aka.] bredrin and dadas in solidarity.

 

b is for blackness yes! and blockorama

 I give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow. I give thanks for the gathering for the memorial of the death of Elijah Masinde, and our deepening connection with egun en those yet to be born.

Bless our ancestors, bredrin and dadas in solidarity en pikney. I pray that you forgive my sins, those that I do and don’t know about. I pray for my family, friends, enemies, and that I may not have any enemies…..Guide us to our right [full] destinies.

I pray for health and prosperity not only for myself but for others. Bless those who heal and look after themselves AND others, en (gran) mama earth.  

Ase. Ase…..

 I invite you to listen to dis’ poem and consider dis quote found (again) in a post on http://www.blacklooks.org/

“The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became
blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.”
Revelation 16:3

 

Sankofa! Our ancestors are not gone, we stand on their shoulders, (as) they live deep in (around en under) us.

so consider then dis’ (pre) Obituary of Simiyu Barasa

Written by Himself

 Focus [on Afrika]: Kenya view 

When you find yourself talking with several guests of the morbid situation of your country during the wedding of one of your friends, you quickly realize there is something wrong with your country. When your National broadcasters show men being dragged out of public service vehicles and hacked to death by a mob of young men who do not even hide their faces from the police a few metres away, and such scenes are repeated more than the advertisements and commercials, then your country is doomed. When you hear that people are chased from their homes into a church for belonging to a particular tribe, and then followed into the church where women and children are locked inside and then burnt alive, my friends, you are no longer in a country, you are living inside hell on earth.

The Swahili (oh, that language that was supposed to unite us and now has been rendered impotent in its intended super-glue powers) – the Swahili say that when you see your friend being shaved with a razor, start wetting your hair in preparation for your shave too.

I do not intend to go gently into that dark beyond without saying a word of goodbye. Friends, (and those who consider me an enemy because of my tribe or lack of it), being of sane mind and in charge of my mental faculties, I bid you goodbye. I chose to write you an obituary, which you should read as a love letter to my country that has died in that critical moment when its dreams were giving birth to a beautiful bouncing future.

I know not the hour of my death, for no one knows the hour of their death in this country anymore. That man on Naivasha, who was dragged from the car and his speech as he answered questions betrayed him as belonging to a tribe the highway blockers were hunting down, he did not know his death. I have seen myself trying to run from the mob the way he desperately tried, machetes raining on his back, and yet he ran on, three desperate steps, before his body disintegrated into huge chunks of human flesh and fell down. Upon which they cubed him. I too, my friend, am about to face the same death. My tongue, when I try to speak, shall definitely betray me as a targeted tribesman when the mob does come to me. For I do not belong to any tribe.

My sister, Rozi, called me yesterday trembling with fear. She lives in Western Kenya, on the Eldoret/Kakamega border. They had taken a patient to Moi Referral Hospital Eldoret. On their way back, the ambulance was stopped by youths bearing all forms of crude weapons. They demanded to know which tribes everyone in the ambulance belonged to. The driver was of the local tribe, so he was told to step aside. As the others showed their National Identity cards, my sister realized that all around them were corpses of human beings freshly chopped to death. Her turn came and she said she was Luhya. They told her to speak in Luhya, but my Sister doesn’t know Luhya. “I really can’t speak it because my mother is a Taita!” she pleaded. She had to desperately show a photocopy of my mother’s National Identity card which she had in her purse, a photocopy my mother had given to her the previous week to use as a referee for the bank account she was switching to. That photocopy saved my sister. The only language my sister can speak, apart from English and the National Swahili, is Gikuyu. The tribe the youths were targeting.

My friend, I know no tribe. I only know languages. My mother is Taita, my Father is Luhya, and we were raised in Kiambu among the Gikuyu. It has never been important in our family to know which tribe we should belong to, my sisters and brothers have names from both sides of our parents communities. In this chaos, if the hunters of fellow humans were to find us in our house, would they really believe we are brothers and sisters from our names?

If I say am Luhya, the Gikuyu with whom I have lived and now am engaged to one of their daughters would kill me as they have gone on a mission to revenge the deaths of their kinsmen in Western Kenya. If I flee to my parent’s home in Luhyaland, the neighbours will barbecue me alive for I can’t speak their language and of course my mom is from a foreign tribe. Not to forget that the guy who sold us that piece of land where my mom and Dad saved so hard to buy is known to come and insist on grazing his cow on our compound claiming “my cows used to feed here, buying the land doesn’t mean I don’t own it!”

Now in this Nairobi where I stay, I am wary of my neighbours. The guy opposite my flat is a Luo with whom we argued amicably during the pre-election period on which party we supported. Maybe now, given that friendly neighbours have been the ones killing each other, he might remember our political chats over my litres of coffee and come chop me up?

That is why friends, I have decided to write this obituary. I know not my tribe, I have only known myself as Kenyan, and others as fellow Kenyans. In these times, belonging or not belonging means not being dead or being seriously dead. What chances does a person like me have?

My friends have their tribes mates to protect them. The cosmopolitan Nairobi has now been balkanized with residential estates being exclusive reserves of certain tribes. Complete with murderous gangs imported from up-country to protect their own. Mungiki for the Gikuyu, Chingororo for the Gusii, and the Baghdad Boys and Taliban for the Luo. Where, pray I, is the estate Balkanised for those of us of mixed heritage who know not their war cry of their tribal warriors? The only two tribes I can run to don’t have such armies. And claiming my Dad’s Luhya identity, and a Bukusu at that, is problematic in itself. The Gikuyus are hunting them down claiming they voted ODM together with the Luos, and the Luos are hunting them down too claiming they voted for Kibaki together with the Gikuyus. So such is my fate for my father belonging to this tribe that voted 50-50!

My friends, I have prepared myself for my death. I don’t know how it will be, but since as a Film and TV drama person I believe in rehearsals, I have rehearsed all possible scenarios so that when my moment comes, it won’t be so hard to take it. Chekhov’s method acting manuals are no longer needed. I just turn the TV on during news time or read the papers, and from the several images of people who have been killed in various ways, I choose one to dream and perfect that night. I have dreamt of being locked into a church or building with several others and torched alive. I have smelt the petrol fumes as its being splattered through the window onto our bodies and then round the building. I have seen the flash of the matchstick being lit, and smelled my flesh burning to ashes.

I have rehearsed how I will smile when I am dragged out of a public vehicle and hacked to pieces by the marauding youths who pop up in our numerous roads. I want to die smiling bravely, but just like the guys I see on Al Jazeera and other International TV channels, the moment I get to that part where a red eyed bearded man pokes his head into the bus and shouts “everyone wave your ID cards in the air!” I wet myself and start screaming for mercy, instantly easing their work of identifying foreigners for the blades to work on.

I have rehearsed how best to gasp when a barbed arrow strikes my chest. Or a club smashes my brain out of my skull. Or a spiked plank of wood is driven through my mouth. I have died so many times, my friends, that now I must be immune to the real death when it comes.

I used to laugh at tourists buying maps of Nairobi. I bought one recently. It is stuck in the wall of my bedroom where small pencil marks indicate all the escape routes I will try to walk in to get out of town once the mayhem knocks on my door. Unfortunately, to the west are roadblocks where my Luhya name will mean instant death. If I go Mombasa Road I might run into a roadblock where Kamba’s and all coast people are being cubed. To the North I can’t even dare. To the south I might pass, coz I can speak Gikuyu, but my name would be my passport to the grave yard. That map, my friend, directed me to writing this obituary.

Maybe if I was a famous poet I would go down in history alongside Chris Okigbo, the Nigerian poet who went to Biafra seeking to actualize his poetry but found bullets instead. My friends abroad are asking me if I am safe. Maybe if I had been bright of mind like they were I would have faked a bank account statement immediately I cleared my o-levels and fled to the United States to wash toilets in between my degree courses, but no. When they told me America is the land of dreams, I swore to them I am an Africanist, a believer in the African dream. When they filled scholarship forms to get away from this dark continent, I laughed at them. Now my faith in my country has faded faster than the newness of the new(s) year.

So, friends, some of us never really thought that our tribe was that important. Simply because we were from the tribes that make up Kenya. Some of us have lived in every province of this once great nation and learnt the local languages, drank the local brews, danced the local songs-so well that the locals even gave us the names of their tribes to fondly call us by. I have been called Kamau, Mwanganyi, Wambua, and even Bayelsa in Nigeria. (I should have known, when Dudun told me that Bayelsa is the troublesome state of Nigeria where the Delta is, that it was a premonition of the war in my country.)

I have nowhere to go. No tribe to run to. No tribesmen to protect me. Except the grave. Which is what my fellow country men are intent on sending all those who don’t belong to their tribe. Goodbye, friends.. Seeing that all fast food restaurants have a notice ‘pay in advance’, let me take the cue and say Goodbye in advance. When you see a pulp of human flesh in the tarmac with youths dancing round it waving their bloody matchetes, look closely. That ear might be mine. That grinning upper lip might be mine. I loved you, my fellow countrymen. I loved without thinking of your parental lineage. I loved Kenya. But look what this country has done to me: sodomised my sense of humanity and pride. 

Jan. 30th   2008, Nairobi

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKK3D0H9fWo]

Blogger’s note: hadithi? hadithi? Nipe mji? Nilirudi nyumbani, coz home is where the heart is, en I was blessed to learn (more) from babas (of Afrika) that spoke (big) love en truth, like Amilcar Cabral, Baba Tajudeen, Cheikh Anta Diop, Dedan Kimathi, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Elijah Masinde, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, Ngugi wa Thiong’o,…there are many kings (in the Q werd)….this post is from one of them……..

a non-fictional short story by Onyango Oloo

http://demokrasia-kenya.blogspot.com/2010/04/yes-from-apathetic-facebook-20.html 

 Claire M is a beautiful, ebony complexioned, twenty-something petit-bourgeois British accented Kenyan employee of a certain tech firm who commutes daily between her middle class neighbourhood in Nairobi’s east end and her posh upscale office in the capital city’s west end.

She is also a very good friend of mine.

Vivacious should be her middle name, so effervescent is Claire’s good natured spirit.

We met purely by happenstance about two and a half fortnights ago.

There she was, slightly after ten in the pm, sitting next to me on the Number 33 matatu on a Furahiday, Embakasi bound.

A spontaneous conversation sprung up in a matter of minutes and within days we were certified Facebook friends who turned out to be residing within mere hectares and baby wails of each other.

A few days ago, I hooked up with her and one of her girl friends for an evening after work beer sip upstairs at the Verandah, across the street from the Stanley-the old Cameo cinema for old Nairobi hands.

In the course of our random chat, she casually mentioned that she had seen my status update on Facebook urging Kenyans to vote Yes come the Referendum on the proposed new constitution.

“I am NOT voting and YOU can’t make ME!” she declared with an air of finality which startled me, being totally unexpected.

I didn’t even know she had seen my earnest online constitutional exhortation in the first place.

“Remember the last time in 2007, I woke up very early in the morning and voted for Raila and look what happened! We Kenyans started killing each other! Over WHAT? I am NOT voting for ANYONE! And you can’t FORCE me!”

Yawa Maembe”, I tried to butt in, gently pointing out that this time around Kenyans were not voting for anyone, just for the long sought after constitution, twenty years in the making and stained with our blood, sweat and tears.

“Well, the only person I will be voting for is the Man Upstairs. And in case you didn’t know, the world is COMING TO AN END. All the signs are there.

Have you looked at

Jay-Z’s latest CD?

Or wondered why Beyoncé Giselle Knowles calls herself

Sasha Fierce these days?

How about that thing with Kanye West and Taylor Swift?

or Rihanna’s new outfit?

There you go.”

Let me hasten to add that Claire M is perfectly SANE and quite intelligent, in case you were wondering.

At this point she reached deep deep into one of those humungous mobile ward robes that women call handbags these days

and fished out a slim volume with a silky, smooth, soft, shiny glossy black cover featuring a smiling handsome African man on the cover.

The booklet was captioned He is Coming.

I think the author was referring to the world famous dreadlocked Holy Nazarene nicknamed JC, but the image was more reminiscent of one of those Nollywood hunks that litter our television screens and have taken over our DVDs these days.

“You see this?” she said, thumping mercilessly on the poor innocent book.

“It is all in HERE. Tell him Sheila!” she said, turning to her bemused best friend who had been staring, wide mouthed, as this delirious conversation unfolded amid quaffs of this or that variety of Kenyan malt product among the trio of us.

“I am not particularly religious”, I offered, meekly.

“The last time I stepped into an actual Church to formally worship was waaay back in May or June 1982”, I explained, shocking Claire M, who was not even conceived back then when

Shalamar,Ray Parker Jr, Odyssey, The Whispers, Kool and the Gang, Lakeside,

and the Gibson Brothers ruled the world’s disco floors with their curly kits, afros, box tops, bomber jackets and tight jeans-the future Retro/Old Skool gear and wear of decades to come.

Earth, Wind and Fire

“You mean you DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD???!!!”

Reluctant to start another raging, never ending Kenyan sectarian edition of the Crusades right there at the Verandah-a veritable den of iniquity if I ever saw one- I carefully skirted the religious inquisition, side-stepping a possible urban, nocturnal lynching at the hands of an irate, determined and capable potential Kenyan female executioner by reverting back to the need for a Yes vote among all Kenyans with a functioning brain.

“Well, like I said, WE are NOT voting, are WE, Sheila?” Claire M hissed defiantly, turning to her hapless bosom buddy for solidarity and assurance.

“And you can write that on that BLOG of yours! And tell the WORLD that Claire M said SO! It is NO for ME and THAT is THAT!”

“Are you SURE????!!”

I tried to verify, knowing how far around the world the Kenya Democracy Project blog travels these days.

This morning I got an update from my Neo website counter which informed me that the blog had reached 11,950 cities in 186 countries around this

Blue Marble.

“Yes! And I am waiting to read it!”

So Claire M, in sunny Nairobi, here you go.

You did insist and demand that I put your views on this blog of mine.

And I am sending you a link via my Facebook wall so you can read this on your mobile phone my Kenyan digital sister. I will also email you the URL so that you can carefully jot down the put downs and rebuttals for our next Verandah soiree.

My generation and this Twittered, Digged, RSS Word Pressed Facebooked Twenty First Century Viral Marketed Kenyan Generation of Claire, Sheila and Co. Ltd are Worlds Apart I tell you.

It is like Mercury and Uranus.

Back in the 1980s-Yes, when David Onyango Oloo was still a deceptively innocent looking, fresh faced, slim, twenty something student cum political prisoner and not this bloated twenty first century Kenyan Rip Van Freaking Winkle with sprinkles of salt on my head and chin- it was a badge of honour among the Kenyan youth to be political, to be conscious, to be democratic, to be patriotic, to be militant, to be vigilant, to be a voter.

These were the days of Daniel arap Moi and his side kicks like Okiki Amayo, Kariuki Chotara, Mulu Mutisya, Jackson Angaine, Ezekiel Bargentuny, Sharrif Nassir, Philip Leakey, Stanley Oloitiptip, Krishan Gautama and John Joseph Kamotho.

The days of one party rule.

The days of detention without trial.

The days of the one finger salute.

Not that finger you are thinking of.

The KANU one finger is what I am talking about.

The days of silence, the days of terror and the days of fear.

The days of Fuata Nyayo.

The days of KANU Tawala, Tawala.

The days of fake peace, counterfeit love and non-existent unity.

And also the days of defiant university student demonstrations and courageous lecturers’ symposia.

Not to forget fearless editorials.

The era of George Anyona and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

The hey days of Willy Mutunga, Al-Amin Mazrui, Micere Mugo, James Orengo and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

The political coming age of the Njeri Kabeberis and Mwandawiro Mghangas.

Some university students declared in public kamkunjis that it was time for Kenya to be ruled by Marxist-Leninists.

Others were abducted off trains to be charged with sedition because they had dared to draft in their hand written chicken scrawl, earnest essays about the role of youth in fighting for democracy and justice in this country.

Still others were thrown down flights of stairs by angry secret police torturers for celebrating the attempted overthrow of the Moi dictatorship.

Back in those seemingly long forgotten days, Kenyan youth, Kenyan students, Kenyan post-independence patriots yearned passionately to kick the status quo’s hind quarters swiftly, repeatedly and viciously.

Back in those yesteryears, Kenyan students and youth spoke out loudly in protest when spooky sycophantic fascist neo-colonial comprador politicians led by our current septuagenarian head of state wanted to declare Kenya a de jure one party dictatorship.

And back then, there were no cell phones, leave alone the internet, forget email accounts, scratch Messenger, ICQ, online forums, chat rooms, Facebook or Twitter.

Back in that recent technological Stone Age, when you spoke of a telephone you was either referring to an old gloomy looking black contraption which had a PADLOCK firmly attached to it or a relative of the same intimidating device trapped in an outdoor cage, looking like a forlorn statue which required you to feed it with numerous coins if you wanted to talk to anyone for a few hurried minutes- at the top of your lungs, obliviously unaware that science and technology had already carefully considered your vocally needs to communicate clearly and therefore taken care of the volume and modulation functions in that teleinstrument.

But we were MORE networked and pumped up those days-politically speaking that is.

If there had been a proposed draft constitution waiting to be passed as the country’s supreme document, Kenya’s militant and patriotic youth would have already formed kilometre long queues, snaking around entire villages-urban and rural- to vote YES, YES, YES! months before the actual referendum!

What a contrast that generation of mine is to the apathetic, blasé, cynical, bored out of their skulls, hip hopping techno Kenyan chini kwa chini ohangla wiggling genge kapukaring smoked out dazed raggamuffins of the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Ten who have more passion for Arsenal and Man U than for freedom or socialism; Kenyan youth who know more about the subliminal Satanic sub texts in Rihanna’s latest dress than which reproductive rights side to take on the raging debate about where life begins; Kenyan youth who can recite the last 98 minutes of the last episode of Lord Of The Rings or the 23rd Season of Sex in the City verbatim from their photographic memories while being totally clueless about the actual contents of the Bill of Rights in our new constitution; Kenyan youth who can tell you the exact alcohol percentage in a bottle of Kingfisher or Smirnoff Red, but totally blank out when you ask them about what percentage women of seats have been allocated in the projected Senate chamber.

Do I sound harsh, bitter, angry, judgmental?

You tell me.

Forgive me for this Cardinal Sin of having seen Better Scenes for Kenyan Youth in this very country, in this, my very own pays natal.

But frankly some of us, aging grey beards, the Kenyan youth of yesteryears, expect more, much, much more, from our younger siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, and for some of us now delving into our fifth decade of existence, our own sons and daughters.

We expect them to reap the harvest of our blood stained youthful endeavours for a more democratic dispensation.

We expect them to be more emboldened about defending our social justice gains.

We expect them to be more conscious than us, their prehistoric predecessors.

And yes, Claire M, that is why I expect YOU to VOTE YES for the new constitution come the referendum.

And I am talking to you too, Sheila.

But first, you have to register as voters my two Kenyan sisters.

And you can do it electronically these days you know.

So Claire M, there you have it.

You did ask me to write this, didn’t you?

Onyango Oloo

Nairobi, Kenya

 blogger’s note: braap! and those are the confessions of an angry afrikan baba, I hear where he’s coming from, those are my peers he’s talking about, apathy seems to be/coming a hall mark of our generation, but if you know where to look, then you will find those youth fulfilling the mission of their times…

blogger’s note: (separating) fact (from history). truth is in the signs…..

1. His obituary in the NY  times on June 9, 1987

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8— Elijah Masinde, the leader of western Kenya’s Dini ya Musambwa sect and an opponent of colonial and independent Kenyan governments, died today. He was 75 years old.

Mr. Masinde, who regarded himself as a prophet, founded his fundamentalist sect in 1942 as a direct challenge to the authorities. He urged his followers to destroy their identity cards and not pay taxes. He spent much of his life in prison as a result of his activities.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/09/obituaries/elijah-masinde.html?pagewanted=1

2. and according to Wikipedia, (Elijah) Masinde was

Born around 1910 – 1912 in Kimilili, Bungoma District , Masinde wa Nameme okwa Mwasame started out as a footballer, who captained a football team from Kimilili. He also played for Kenyan national team in the Gossage Cup [1] against Uganda in 1930. By the early 1940s, he had risen to the rank of a junior elder within his community in Kimilili area, and became increasingly anti-colonial. In 1944, he led a number of localised defiance campaigns against the colonial authorities, and was imprisoned many times as a result. At one time he was kept in Mathare Mental Hospital and in Lamu.

In his early years Masinde managed to light a fire over a Grass thatched fire and cook a meal that people ate. During his detention in Kapenguria with Jomo Kenyatta he managed to forewarn Kenyatta of an impeding assassination plot, the bullet missed Kenyatta by inches. Before Kenya gained independence, he instructed Masinde Muliro on the tin that contained Kenyan soil.

While in jail, Masinde claimed to have had a vision. In the vision Wele Khakaba(God the Provider) instructed him to tell the whiteman to quit Kenya for it is not his country], and proclaimed that a Blackman is going to rule Kenya in the future.That whitemen are sheep of God now turned into wolves that were feasting on children of Wele(God). When he was released, he revived Musambwa(Luhya word meaning The Spirit of a people”), and gained huge followings in western Kenya, Uganda,Pokot, Turkana and even Baringo District.

Upon Kenya’s independence, Masinde was detained by the government of Jomo Kenyatta for almost 15 years. He had been accused of fomenting religious hatred. He was released by the government of Daniel arap Moi in 1978, Moi also arrested him following his clashes with traffic policemen in Webuye and Kitale. Elija Masinde remained defiant and always questioned post independence Kenya government especially on the issue of land distribution and citizen rights. He died in 1987, a neglected freedom fighter.

Before his death, Masinde pointed out to his elder son the spot where he wanted to be buried – he wanted a huge sycamore tree uprooted to make way for his grave. The family decided to bury him elsewhere, though, but were thwarted when a spot they chose for his grave turned out to be a hidden grave. They took this to be an omen and proceeded to bury him in the spot where the sycamore tree had been.

He left a widow, Sarah Nanyama Masinde. She was still alive in November 2007 and was then reportedly 105 years old.

blogger’s note: it’s sad for me to admit that I know little more about elijah masinde than what I’ve read in books, and mostly just within the past few years. it’s sad, because it serves as a testament to how disconnected we are from our ancestors (read: it serves as a testament to how “I” am disconnected fromy my ancestors, for you see these are hadithi about a hero from ‘my’ hood, of  ‘my’ people…..I shoulda known more, but I can’t say I don’t know parts of the story now….)

Elijah Masinde, Omubichachi

KHU BUNG’OOSI BWA ELIJAH MASINDE, OMUBICHACHI.
By Prof. Julius Wangila Mukhwana
Australia, 2004

On the question of Elijah Masinde’s prophecy,as asked by some of our Lumboka members particularly Omukiyabi Mwalimu Kukubo Barasa, I have this to share with all of you and thereby contribute to responses by many members.

I hope you do not mind my lengthy explanation. I knew about Elijah Masinde when I was growing up in Kibingei. His religion “Dini Ya Musambwa” had intensified and gathered speed across our Masaaba community (Babukusu and Bagisu) and beyond in what is now Kibingei Location.

He used to preach to people that gathered on Kitayi Hill in our village. All herd-boys in the village would bring around “Bibiaayo” (grazing cattle, goats and sheep) to hear him along side the adults.

I was one of those who brought my maternal grand mother’s goats and sheep as well so to listen to his preaching. I believe, and presumably with the other boys of my age not yet attending school,the attraction was not what he preached.
It was rather the spectacular crowd of people that were all dressed in white, long garments. That fascinated me. The adults said he spoke in parables and told them about what the community should do for the days ahead in future.

His inner circle of followers, we told, used to go up-stream to the sources of Lwakhakha, Kuywa, Kibisi, Kibingei, and Kamukuywa rivers to pray and conduct traditional rites. They slaughtered sheep and supplicated to ancestral guardian spirits of our community.
He did the same thing in various caves and climbed the foothills of Masaaba (Mount Elgon) to worship Wele Mukhobe we Bakuka (the Almighty God).

His following grew and eventually all Christian churches in Bukusu shrank in membership because they had joined “Dini Ya Musambwa.” A religion that was described by colonialists and other Christians, the non-believers (who included our own Babukusu, Bagisu, and Batachoni) and those far away in Buluhya and Kalenjin as worshipers of devils.

Yet they were not.

Dini Ya Musambwa dedicated itself to ancestral spirits, and accepted the power of super natural force in the universe or the world in which we live. Something that our people traditionally related to well from time immemorial. Suddenly, we heard that Elijah had gone into hiding. They looked for him every where. As we were children, adults never told us details.
I started school a year after he was arrested. It was then that I learned more about him from my Quaker parents, villagers and other School children.

It was reported that the Kimilili police found him in a well dug out hole around Chesamisi.

As he left with them, he allegedly “cursed” an old man called Isaya and his family for
revealing his hideout. He also “cursed” Chief Namutala for accompanying and guiding them to that hide-out. It is well known that told him, “When I return you, Mayeku’s son, will no longer be around as Chief of Kimilili; Location.
Our religion as a movement for chasing away these evil people you are protecting will have assumed different dimensions.”

Chief Namutala countered that he was crazy and gave orders to his aides to give Elijah Masinde some more flogging. As he was led away and driven in an open police land-rover, flanked both sides by police men, throngs of our people stood by the road side from Chesamisi to Kimilili and cried. Elijah just waved all the way, as he assured them of his return and reminded them of undertaking the “Offerings and rites to rid themselves and the community off the bad spirits
(Mwihosia ki wele kimibii, mukheebilila ta.”

All these things have been said over and over in Bukusu. My father told me, and while working in Nairobi, Omukinyikeu Willis Wangila Wanyonyi told me after he returned to Nairobi to work as an accountant with Treasury in the late 1960s.
Also, mzee Isaya’s son who was kuka Mark Barasa’s driver when he was an MP, and stayed at my flat in Nairobi when parliament was in
session, told me, too.

As Omukananachi Elijah Masinde had predicted, when he was released from detention in Kismayu, he found mzee Isaya economically badly badly off. Omukolongolo Chief Namutala khwa Mayeku was no longer Chief of Kimilili (which had then split into Bokoli, Kimilili,and Ndivisi). The prevalent politics were of KADU and KANU demanding independence. All the protestant and and catholic churches were full to the brim with members as before the peak of Dini Ya Musambwa during 1945 – 1948.

However, our Bukusu Brotherhood East Africa (BBEA) based in Nairobi had split to
reluctantly create Bukusu Welfare Society that was based in Bungoma. The former received Omusakhulu Omukananachi yuno in March 1962 after he had been released from detention.
The split was as a result of the late Willis Wangila Wanyonyi going to Bungoma in 1960 as Treasurer of the African District Council of Elgon Nyanza.

As president, he believed that the association was best run from home in Bungoma. Ordinary members and the Executive disagreed. So from 1961 onwards, Bakokiwe Alfayo Wekesa Lurare from Muchi and his supporters refused and continued
to run the Bukusu Brotherhood E.A from Nairobi as before. The Bukusu young fellows, including myself, from various Secondary Schools and working in Nairobi, did not like the way it was run by the older generation. We felt that they were not radical enough.

On one hand, Willis and Tom Katenya, who was Organising Secretary for the Bukusu
Welfare Society, had the enormous backing of the Chiefs and elders who mattered most in Bungoma district. They collectively promoted the Bukusu Welfare Society amongst our people. They argued that older generations preferred to have their own association. They claimed that Bukusu Brotherhood E.A suited mainly young and
urbanised Bukusus working in various towns of East Africa. In effect, that is how we
operated.

Anyhow, our BBEA executive met with Elijah Masinde, Israel Khaoya, etc in Nairobi.
We discussed the prevalent KANU-KADU politics. Masinde Muliro had already received him at home in Bungoma with a big party. He had bought Elijah a modern transistor radio that he loved so much that wherever he went he carried it.
I remember how he asked each one of us after the meeting started, “to first of all, state our clans and our fathers’ names and their circumcision sets, plus what side of politics we supported.”

After hearing what he requested and that all of us were for KADU, he looked at kuka Israel Khaoya, turned to us and said, “You must ask your fathers to tell you what I told them before Europeans imprisoned me. Tell Masinde Muliro and his friend from the Coast, near the Ocean, that their party will not win government.” All of us executive members believed in KADU and so his revelation shocked us.

There was silence in the room.

Then he added, ““Muliro should have no political association with Kenyatta because
this man had brought too much blood shed in the country.” He asked us whether we had u nderstood all that he had said. When we replied in affirmative, Elijah Masinde stood up and said that the meeting was finished.
We were kind of confused. However, after that meeting, Bernard Barasa Cheloti, who now resides in Cherengany, and I went with our visitors to Nimmi Photograghers Studio
at the corner of Duke Street and River Road to have a photograph with them.
I gave that photo to Wandayase Fred Makila in the late 1960’s when he was researching for a book on “Elijah Masinde and Musambwa.”

If any of our Lumboka historians need a copy of it, I suggest that you check with
him or Bernard B. Cheloti.

Admittedly, I have not seen a publication on Elijah Masinde by Fred Makila or
anybody since then.

Anyway, when the General Election results of May 1963, under the Lancaster House
conference Constitution were declared, KADU had lost. And KANU was victorious.
In effect fulfilling Elijah Masinde’s prophecy or prediction. I still recall vividly how Tom Mboya and Mwai Kibaki hugged each other and performed a bear-dance in
Jevanjee Street in jubilation.

Since the offices were opposite each other, those of us gathered in KADU office
looked like people at some wake and observing vigil. Despite that euphoria, KANU did not want to form government without Jomo Kenyatta.

Governor MacDonald asked KADU to form the required “Responsible Government” which ultimately brought Kenyatta Home Again.
Hence Ronald Ngala’s and Masinde Muliro’s cars, and a similar one given to Kenyatta
were registered with plate numbers KHA 2,and KHA 3, and KHA 1 respectively.

Prior to the General Election of May 1963,a number of elders and chiefs in Bungoma
led by my uncle Pascal Nabwana, had been urging Masinde Muliro to side with the
Luos on grounds of Arithmetic and Geography.
Uncle Pascal Nabwana used to tell me that he kept telling Muliro, “ Khuuba ne Barwa
nende Baswahili, Papa, aba olinga oweikame mumurongoro, efula nekwaa. Soli munju ta.”
Apparently these were same sentiments Elijah Masinde had expressed to Masinde Muliro when the latter sought his support for KADU policy.

Elijah Masinde refused to support any political party or endorse KADU’s policy.

Then in 1964, Elijah Masinde, who had fallen out with Muliro earlier before the General Election, stated that “Masinde Muliro naliowulila, Baana Babukusu, ahambane ne Bajaluo,nyanga balimuwa Bubwami.”

And in 1965/66 he said in Kimilili that “ Nabone omwana aselukhe mu
Babukusu. Omwana mwenoyoo aliamiha.” He continued
as the gathering grew bigger around him, “Omwana wefwe alichaa amihe, ne Muliro akhapanila bali ele khu sisala sya Kenyatta tawe. Alekha busa okundi elekho, eye kamafuki khundebe ng’eneyo.
Mala owililekho oyo, aliaahachililisia babandu barekane mumaya.”

At that time, Elijah Masinde also returned from his visit to Bugisu. He had gone to confer with his Musambwa flock and Omuyinga, the Bagisu ruler/king, and other Kombololo (County) Chiefs especially Wanambwa. But Prime Minister Apollo
Milton Obote ordered his arrest. Upon release from jail in Uganda, he was escorted to the Kenya border. He looked for “Sihuna” from the shrubs, uprooted it, and dragged it along.
It gathered rubbish behind him. Then he told those around and accompanying him “that he had gathered Obote’s power together that would soon end.”

He travelled peacefully to his home in Maeni, Kimilili. Later when briefing his flock, he
declared that it had been revealed to him in the previous night that “Omulang’o emwalo sye e Matore, mbone karurire khu Bwami. Lundi mbone karerire kamafuki musibala. Chia mwekesie baBefwe e Mbale.” Indeed, our people went and
communicated the tidings to Bagisu elders and Omuyinga together with the County Chiefs,and returned to Maeni. Obviously, you all know what happened to President Obote of Uganda when Major General Iddi Amin Dada staged an army
coup in 1971.

That fulfilled Elijah Masinde’s prediction. Prior to this stage, our leaders had dismissed
him and called him names just as they did in 1948 before the colonialists subsequently
arrested and detained him in Kismayu.
Everywhere Elijah Masinde appeared, our political leaders and some of the elders in the community avoided him. These leaders described him as psychotic and called on the Administration to control his movements. Suddenly he was restricted to Maeni village only and not allowed to meet with people from other villages. Some
leaders outside the community did not heed this government requirement.

Notably Jaramogi Oginga Odinga maintained his close contact with him. So did uncle Pascal Nabwana who had not gone along with government restrictions. Pascal Nabwana argued that Elijah Masinde was once more being persecuted for his views by an independent Kenyan Government as the colonialists did. The parliamentarians
in our community from Bungoma to Trans Nzoia distanced themselves as Elijah Masinde snarled and yelled out insults at President Jomo Kenyatta publicly.

After all, he had not liked Kenyatta since he came out of detention. Eventually Elijah was arrested and charged. Like before, he would tell the magistrate trying him,

“Ewe omwana wananu. Ne rarao singilo si? Niko nabolelanga bararao wenywe nebakhawulila ta. Bona wesi solikho owulila ta. Ngosile sina Papa, kila wunjimia ano. Sowolaana khukhumbocha kumuse tawe. Ndekhenjengo.”

To those enforcing the law, they took this to mean Elijah had no respect for the
law and Government leadership. So he was additionally charged with “contempt of
court.” He was jailed for a bundle of these petty misdeeds at Kamiti maximum security prison. He was then later transferred to Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi where he stayed without treatment.

For he was not mentally sick. Cosma Makhanu’s young brother, who was a Spdt.Officer of Prison at Kamiti, was very understanding.
He treated Omusakhulu kindly, and at times gave him tea and bread, and cigarettes.
This gentleman used to allow us and other special visitors enough time to converse
with him.

During this time, Bakananachi Kuka Israel Khaoya, Omukitanga khurura e Matili and
papa Wekunda, Omubichachi we e-Maeni, and their Secretary, from Ndivisi, visited him regularly at Kamiti and Mathari Hospital.
I hosted them on each visit. Later they told me that he had demanded that I accompany them whenever they visited on weekends since during the week I was unable to visit with them on account of my employment.
From that time onwards, they empowered me to be visiting him on their behalf and
convey messages both ways including messages to Odinga and Pascal Nabwana.

They had travelled to Kisumu and informed Jaramogi Oginga Odinga of the arrangement.
Jaramogi told them that him and I had been friends for a long time and he knew that
I was a nephew of Pascal Nabwana. Every time I visited Omusakhulu Omukananachi at Kamiti or Mathari, he showed concern all the time for our people. He repeatedly told me his previous advices to Bukusu community that have come to be known as or referred to in Kimilili,

“Elijah Masinde sekwaboola. Elijah, wase, kang’oola khaale busa.”

I wrote to Chairman Michael Wamalwa reminding him of “Elijah’s sayings or prouncements” when he became Vice President.

In short, to me, based on what I outlined earlier, Michael Simiyu Wamalwa fulfilled
Elijah Masinde’s prophecy. It would have been complete, in this regard, had he been
around with us now. Obviously he would have succeeded President Mwai Kibaki.

Balii ka Wele sekamanyikhanga, fwana khuliba nokundi.
Those of you who pore over his archival records, you are bound to see my correspondence with him. Previously, I had shared with him over the phone on many occasions before anybody knew that he would be a V-P in Kenya one day. This was during my usual chats of advice regarding the politics in our community and Kenya at large.

Despite this constant communication with Mike, he apparently paid inadequate attention to viewpoints from various Bukusu friends and colleagues both at home and in diaspora. They include people like omusakhulu Omubuya Zephaneah Wekesa with whom I coordinated effectively the “Sichikhi & Lumuli” politics from 1975 through the demise of President Jomo Kenyatta in 1978 up to the end of 1980.

Undoubtedly, none of you would ever know what that refers to or means within Bukusu politics.Not even the present or the previous politicians
know it save one. You will need to ask Zeph and
I about that in future, God willing.

(first) Posted by Lumboka Star

http://mulumboka.blogspot.com/2004_11_01_archive.html

Additional reading

Elijah Masinde: Rebel with a Cause – Ezekiel Alembi

Elijah Masinde: a biography –  V.G Simiyu

Elijah Masinde and the Dini Ya Musambwa  – James Bandi Shimanyula