Fighting al Shabaab’s terrorism cannot be an excuse for dictatorship

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Al Shabaab’s terrorism and not Kenyan people is the enemy of Kenya today. Imposing dictatorship on Kenyan people to fight terrorism will make people, like al Shabaab, the enemy of Kenya. Yet this is absolutely unacceptable.

When dictatorship comes knocking, many people don’t care until they become its victims. However, because some of us have experienced and suffered from dictatorship, we know one when we see it. Equally, as keeping a goat from the garden is better than driving it out, nipping dictatorship in the bud is better than stopping it after it has already inflicted harm.

As we have already seen, even in its infancy, terrorism is a terrible danger to Kenya. But as ordinary people experienced when they suffered terrors of one-party dictatorship for many years, tyranny is horrible, intolerable and not exchangeable with any other horror. State dictatorship is terrorism that must be nipped in the bud, just like al Shabaab’s terrorism.

Tragically, all great evils that have plagued mankind – dictatorship, war, terrorism, slavery, hunger, colonialism, the holocaust, genocide – happened because enough people did not worry about them early enough to stop them before their fire engulfed everybody, themselves too busy looking after individual interests that calamity would wipe out in the twinkling of an eye.

If Kenyans don’t take al Shabaab more seriously by taking corruption and religious intolerance head on, rather than use it to reward friends, before we know, al Shabaab’s terrorism will be killing just as many people as Boko Haram is killing in Nigeria.

When dictatorship is ignored at infancy, it grows into full tyranny, war or genocide that will kill people every day, already too strong to stop. This then is the time for us to cry wolf before dictatorship and terrorism get strong enough to wreak havoc.

But as we fight both terrorism and dictatorship, we must prioritise our war against dictatorship before it paralyses and weakens us to a point where we can neither fight it or al Shabaab’s terrorism.

Other than paralysing people against other enemies, dictatorship is a disease that first infects leaders who embrace it as a weapon, and they use to make people too weak to punish them for failure by removing them from power. To leaders therefore, unleashing dictatorship is a condition of fighting al Shabaab terrorism and takes priority over fighting terror.

Since naturally leaders lean toward dictatorship, citizens create moral, philosophical and constitutional hurdles that will stop leaders from becoming dictatorial each time they are inclined to become dictators. When leaders announce intentions to impose dictatorship as Jubilee government has done, we must cry wolf because intentions to install dictatorship are never noble but evil, restoration of democracy will always be almost impossible and consequences of dictatorship are always dire and horrendous.

Though dictatorship has victims and beneficiaries who use it to steal, empower themselves and never protect people, ultimately even beneficiaries of dictatorship fall prey and victim to it. This is why Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Mobutu and others suffered tragic ends like assassination, capture and jail or long lives of regret, misery and fear of enemies coming to power. But while leaders and their sycophants benefit from dictatorship, majority of the people will always be its victims and must never be cheated into committing suicide by supporting it.

People should not even be cheated that dictatorship is more conducive to development whose fruits would be impossible to enjoy under terror.

The intention of dictatorship is always selfish, never public good like fighting terrorism or religious intolerance. And while dictatorship is always perpetrated for the good of sectarian racial or ethnic groups and communities like Germans or Hutus, they too end up in the belly of the beast. Therefore, let those who are supporting dictatorship today be warned. They too will end up in the belly of the same dictatorship they are supporting today just like their predecessors of yesteryear.

Though we are persuaded to think that anything that majorities pass with the tyranny of their numbers is right and legitimate, the horrors of the Holocaust, genocide or our post-election violence tell us otherwise. Many laws like Section 24 that absolute majority of MPs in a Kanu Parliament enacted with great aplomb were nothing, but great evils that were perpetrated by evil majorities. Perpetration of evil by majorities never made it right or legitimate.

While the Jubilee government will have the majority to sanction dictatorship, tyranny will never be right or morally legitimate. In history, most public good was the work of either great individuals or visionary minorities.

Kenya does not need dictatorship to fight terrorism nor does fighting terrorism require dictatorship. Dictatorship is not installed to enhance war against terrorism but to entrench President Uhuru in power. Great wars and causes have been fought for and won, not by armies of tyranny, but by the spirit and ideology of democratic armies such as Kenya needs today.

Kenyans will overcome al Shabaab only if they are driven by the desire to keep their freedom and the determination to protect their democracy from assault by terrorism. If the Jubilee government takes democracy and freedom away from the people through the Security Laws (Amendments) Bill of 2014, people will have nothing to fight for against the al Shabaab.

It is very sad that we are on the verge of losing the freedom we fought so hard for to the greed of a few individuals, falsely in the name of fighting terrorism. But as no victory of good is permanent and people must therefore forever fight for public good, no victory of lies, however clever, is permanent either. If Jubilee wins the battle for dictatorship in Parliament, like return of detention without charge or trial by Jomo Kenyatta and one party dictatorship of Moi were short-lived, so shall the victory of Uhuru’s dictatorial laws be. Mapambano bado.

Source;The Star/nairobi

Kasmaal Information Center