By Wandia Njoya via fb
I was expecting flowers and ballons when reading the BBI. In fact when I finished, I thought I better confirm that I read the right document.
There is nothing new that we haven’t heard before. However, the document is quite behind in terms of its ideas about society. These two things concern me the most:
1. The idea of the family. After our bad experience with colonialism, and the horrible experience of racist reports like the Moynihan report, surely the scholars involved in this project should have been more careful about zero-ing in on the family as a site of social proposals. The BBI is very dangerous in this regard, and is asking the state to interfere in our private lives. And here I was thinking they would do better than CBC. The family thing should be worrying especially to women.
2. The idea of ethnicity: The report accepts the 46 ethnic groups and counting thesis, when it should have interrogated the “invention” of ethnicity in Kenya. But of course, leaders who benefit from ethnic animosity are not going to challenge the idea of ethnicity.
For me, the most troubling part of this report the state construction of history. Of course Muigai wants a history to be controlled by the state. And by the way, there is no mention of the role of history scholarship in schools and universities, or supporting the arts and humanities in schools. The only arts the state wants to support is for making a living and loving the government. Not for the promotion of humanity.
And while I’m at that, there’s nothing on education except what the government wants people to learn. This is very, very worrying.
And there is nothing on social services, barely anything on universal healthcare except trying to make NHIF work. I still don’t see what KMPDU is celebrating, but hey, they’re the best and the brightest. They’ll tell us.
Mordecai Ogada Velma Kiome and any of you campaigners on the need for green spaces, new conservation logic, public transport, public spaces and the like?
There’s nothing on TJRC or coming to terms with our national trauma and historical atrocities. No psychological associations were consulted.
Oh, and dear Kenyan youth: don’t be fooled by the word “inclusivity” being used all over the place. It’s just lip service. Read the document again, you’ll see that inclusivity is only attached to public service jobs. Nothing about cost of education, healthcare or other social services.
BBI is a very state-centric document that sees the basis of the country as the state, and not the people. It makes apologies for capitalism, barely tackles inequality, and shows no awareness of the latest research in any of the fields such as urban planning, history, sociology and education. The economic fundamentals of tourism and export, and focus on international performance, remain firmly entrenched.
Muigai will walk away a happy man with this report in at least three ways:
1. possiblity of becoming prime minister
2. engraving the name of Jomo, his wife and offspring in Kenyans’ minds through the amount of resources BBI wants allocated to what they call an “Official History of Kenya”
3. calling Nairobi a county different from the rest, especially because wazungu live in it.
You accept this BBI thing, Muigai is not only going nowhere, and your offspring will be singing of his family for generations to come.