Thursday, 14 March 2013


Paper by
Gacheke Gachihi
Social Justice Activist  and Blogger.
Members of Bunge La Mwananchi.
   Bunge La Mwananchi social movement emerge as critical grassroots social force   in the framing and setting agenda for the national debate in kenya   as organic social movements in historic moment of our time when Kenya is in the terrain of creating new democratic state with the new constitutional   framework that promises hope for social change and  democratic liberation, from neo-colonial state order, the  struggle for many years from other social movements that have shape struggle of social justice in  kenya  and Africa.
  The article discusses the growth of Bunge La Mwananchi Social Movement from the seeds of the earlier resistance of social movements in Kenya that shaped the struggle for social change in Kenya since the occupation of British Imperial Company in the East Africa in the year 1884, and Subsequent resistance by Africa people, against domination and occupation by colonial settlers that were advancing capitalist-Imperialist interests in Africa.
   The article examine the origin and evolution of Bunge La Mwananchi as organic social movement during the   era of neo-liberal globalization, it also examine the   social base of the movement and its collective action that shapes the movement.
 The Writer who is a member Bunge la Mwananchi  discuss his experience and  the movement  relation with  human rights  and political parties   that are in play in the Kenya political and economic social sphere in the process of building the Bunge La Mwananchi as nationwide social   movement to bring social transformation and  build democratic state in  Kenya.

1.        History of resistance in Kenya
   Bunge la Mwananchi social movement established in early 1990s, as contested social space for debates and discussion on social , political and economic issues by ordinary  ordinary  Kenyans  , (interview with Bunge members) has grown organically from the seeds of  earlier resistance, of social movements that    shaped and organized social struggle in Kenya since the imperialist forces started establishing their colonial settlement and domination in  Kenya between  the year 1884  and 1905 as the imperial statue of Her late Majesty queen Victoria  stand today  in Jeevanjee Gardens, which was presented to town of Nairobi  by A.M. Jeevanjee ,  and unveiled in  1906, by Duke of Connaught as symbol  of  British imperial expansion and occupation  and “goodwill statue” in East Africa, this imperial  domination and exploitation was    resisted  in East Africa by historical social movements , since 1913, to open this front was  Mekatilili wa menza resistance that  organized  by a peasant women  an uprising which was the first social movement resistance   by  the people of Kenya  against the British occupation, in her anti-imperialist  campaigns mekatilili  wa menza urged  the Giriama people not to cooperate  with foreign occupiers , and refuse to pay taxes or  work in the  settlement plantations ., While using the peoples assembley, (kaya) a Giriama African  traditional village assembly she mobilized and organized resistance, against British occupation that is of the greatest part of our history of resistance against exploitation , Kenya Historian Prof. Maina Wa Kinyattai has documented  in his book  ( history of  resistance in Kenya 1884-2002) When in 1921,  first  ant- imperialist  political organization was formed  ,named the East Africa Association (EAA) ,which was organized in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania  with the help of  nascent  working class that was developing in  in East Africa ,  during   the  construction of east African railway. Where the  EAA movement  advanced the social struggle in    opposing  colonial   occupation  ,exploitative taxation  and forced labour ,  it also formed political alliances with   Indian  anti-imperialist  workers front  and  Young Baganda Association. In the region ,while establishing  international  constituency  for the  EAA Movement , that made the  movement to be invited   to the  2nd   Pan- African congress that was held in London in  1921, ( Kenyatti :1884-2002. Page 39) where the EAA Movement created  political contact with Pan- Africanist leaders in the, 2nd  Pan- African congress  that was key in supporting liberation movement in Africa in  and  highlighting  colonial massacre and human rights violations   in East Africa  region especially in 1921 during   a second women lead resistance  against forced  in 1921 which was lead Mary Muthoni Nyanjiru Upraising at Central police station  in  Nairobi during the detention of  EAA leaders by  British colonial government.
             The British imperialism , with its superior weaponry and  massacre, of our people , and using  divide and  rule  tactics was able to enter  in the Kenya interior for  the construction of the East African railway  and colonial settlement to adverse the interest of  British Imperial Company, from port of Mombasa to Lake, Victoria connecting to Buganda  land where the  British  established  the Uganda protectorate   under British  rule, the construction of East Africa railway  through  Nairobi , gave  birth to  Nairobi the commercial center  which was one of the station of the Uganda  railway line and   during the construction of the railway  and hence the  birth of  Jeevanjee Gardens park set aside as  for  Indian  traders  and middle class   that was working for East Africa Railway   which  today  is the  social  -political space  that have  anchored Bunge la Mwananchi social movement in the terrain of  alternative leadership in  modern Kenya.
           Bunge La Mwananchi  social  movement draw   from this  rich historical resistance lessons that have shaped Kenya from the time the British  imperial interest  through the East African railway line entered the heart land of Kenya, where there was organized resistance by  peasants and workers social movements on exploitation and  the communities whose land was being taken by force for  colonial settlement, which culminated to  anti-imperialist armed struggle by peasants and workers  social movements organized around Kenya land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau), in beginning of 1945 after second world war, that caused the British to declare state of emergency, in   1952 a period that saw British colonial  security forces commit crime against humanity in Kenya to contain the peasants and workers resistance  ,the Mau  Mau armed resistance resulted in negotiated   flag  independence in 1963 under  the first prime minister  Jomo Kenyatta  who was  member of Kenya Africa  Nationalist  Union (KANU) a (Not Yet Uhuru, Jaramogi Odinga 1967)political party that merged with right wing reactionaries forces of  Kenya Africa Democratic Union KADU , supported  by colonial settlers,  which  betrayed Mau Mau revolution, by isolating progressive forces in KANU that were organized around  Jaramogi Odinga, Pio Gama Pinto and Bildad  Kaggia, and there after assassination of Pio Gama Pinto by Kenyatta regime in order to contain the progressive  national democratic  forces in Kenya and halt the  struggle for social change , this undermined the  progressive forces  which arrested the struggle for building a democratic state in Kenya founded on social justice.           
        From  1963 after independence Kenya remained an outpost of western imperialism in east Africa region ,as   Barrack Obama  point  in his  Boook dreams from my father  (page 312)“Kenya  became  the west most stalwart  pupil in Africa ,a model of stability and  useful  contrast to the  chaos of  Uganda and the failed socialism in Tanzania”  where the book adverse  the   imperialism   propaganda that obscure imperial forces intervention in the in East Africa region  that maintained and subsidized  neo-colonial  order in  Kenya  and creating chaos in Uganda while undermining social  progress in Tanzania .( Prof. Mamdani  Imperialism and Fascism in Uganda  1983).( the role of USA and Britain in propping up the Amin fascist regime through Kenya.        
         Jomo Kenyatta regime was  replaced by another incompetent and neo-colonial leader  Daniel  Moi who was his vice president,  through  support of key western allies Britain and USA and he  became the second President  where he   assured  imperialism ,  that he would follow the same neo-colonial footsteps as  Kenyatta , where he  continued with the same neo-colonial policy  of   model of stability  for  imperial  interest to  exploit  natural resources, establishing of  foreign military bases in Kenya while dividing the countries on tribal lines  while intensifying  human rights violations , repression and  detention of progressive intellectual, students ,peasants and  workers, who tried to organize against his dictatorship, in the name of peace love and unity  “ stability”, under one-party system , many of  those opposed his regime  died in torture chambers during that   era ,as the late Prof  Katama  Mkangi  expose in  documentary we lived to tell  “  where he say  it was the extension of  British  torture in Nyayo House” (Ramadhan  Khamis Documentary) and many  victims  who survived lived to tell the cruel and horrible conditions they went through during dark days of Moi regime under  ruthless security agencies, in police cell and prisons, where the torture chambers today remain as monument of shame in  memory  of  that  hallmark dark history of Kenya as  collective right  for future generation to know the oppression  and torturous  journey that our motherland  Kenya  has lived through, and  the price that was   paid by patriotic Kenyans to create a democratic space for social movement to organize, like Bunge La Mwananchi Social Movement and  there after  development  of the  constitutional reform movement  and opposition political parties.
        It was until the end of   end of 1990s when the  Moi regime started to lose the grip of power, due to corruption and ethnic  patronage and sharpening of  internal contradiction by the ruling class in the KANU  party ,  Pressure  from neo-liberal free  market forces , IMF and World Bank that were craving for Africa markets after fall of Berlin wall and end of cold war, which intervention gave room for introduction of liberal multi-party politics in Kenya in the early 1990s,which acted as political dose to allow for foreign direct investment, and privatization of state-owned public  companies, that have brought a  great social upheaval  in Kenya  this came with  a price of   opening  political space that gave room to  human rights  pressure groups  around demands of respect of human rights and release of  detained political prisoners who were being held in various prisons by the Moi administration, most of the members who were in detention  without trial belonged to  underground  movement, Muugano wa wazalendo wa kukombo Kenya(Mwakenya)    which had  organized resistance in Kenya   against imperialism in both no-colonial regime of Kenyatta and Moi also in this  detention were  members of opposition political class  from  Forum for Restoration Democracy (FORD)  who were demanding the return of multi-party politics in Kenya and reform of the constitution.(RPP, Catalogue of Political Prisoners Book 1999


   Bunge la mwananchi ( peoples Parliament)  emerge in this  era of neo-liberal globalization in early 1990s  after the defeat of  nationalist movements  in Africa   that was given birth by Pa-Africanism Movement in early 1960, and 70 when  nationalist leaders were overthrown in military coups  and some assassinated like  Lumumba , Pio Gama Pinto, Thomas Sankara in political conspiracy sponsored by western imperialism  ( Shivji Silences In NGOS discourse 2001  )  after two decade   in Kenya of despotic and paranoid  political  leadership of  corruption and ethnic politics of divide and rule  and  patronage Kenya was ushered in the blindly  to the structural adjustment programs in early  1990s  through world Bank and IMF, that  came with  the withdrawal of budget allocation to social services like healthcare, education in the name of cost-sharing ,  retrenchment in public services like Kenya railway and Telkom. This structural adjustment programs  fermented extreme  social unrest   and migration of young people from rural areas to capital city in search of employment , due to  minimal  source of  income in the rural areas   after collapse of  agricultural farming  and  factories like in  sugar  in Nyanza and  textiles industries in rift valley  ,government milk processing plant like  KCC , and many other small farming cooperative industries, where  agricultural extensions  services  were withdraw and farm subsidies.
  After this came  liberal Multi- party politics in Kenya and Africa, and triumph of liberal democracy free markets creed  and the end of history dictum by  Francis Fukuyama in 1989 who   was at that time U.S  state department policy advisor  and the same year   World Bank and IMF  unveiled  Washington Consensus  policies to  the countries in the south  with demand of liberalizing trade, political conditionality , multi-party  and  good governance , human rights   creed. (The shock doctrine by  Naomi Klein)
       The roots of Bunge La Mwananchi movement emerge from   this  background  from  the seeds earlier   historical resistance , when Moi regime  conceded to democratic forces in Kenya and external pressure to amend the constitution to remove section 2A , and allow the return of multiparty  politics in kenya , which    opened a little democratic space that give room and space to  members who had created  contact with underground  social movements like Mwakenya DTM,  and other constitutional  reforms movements that mushroomed during introduction of multi-party politics. It is during this time that  some cadre of Bunge lam Mwananchi  who had created contact  with underground political movement, started organizing open political education on African liberation movements and debates around the m religions, slave trade   and social cultural rights , at  Agha kan walk street in Nairobi city centre in eary 1990s during  lunch time hour , under the banner of Kafiri movement,(interview Kafiri David Marakaru the debates in Agakhan walk street within city centre became very popular  with remnants of underground social  movement and middle class within the environs after the  first and second multi-party elections failed to deliver on liberation project, the debates and the lectures in the city attracted the Moi security agents  which infiltrated  the group and caused the division, in the process of breaking the organized  street lectures, that was gaining popularity with the people, who were still looking for a new alternative that was not within the framework of neo-liberalism that was being championed, by  both opposition political class  and mainstream   NGOs and the Pro-reform civil society that was still anchored in neo-liberal paradigm and their activities limited within the middle class hotels.
   The fear of the moi regime on public political debated engagement by Kafiri movement            caused disruption of the debates in Aghakan Walk Street, which forced the members of….this  Proletariat lumpenized  movement  to relocate to Jeevanjee Gardens, the park that had  history  in democratic struggle in kenya. As the Late Nobel Laurent Prof. Wangari Maathai and Friends of JeeVanjee a ssociation that is organized by Granddaughter of the Late Mullah JeeVanjee  in 1990 had stopped the Park from being grabbed by KANU regime to build a car Park
        The parks during this time Was home to many street families. That had made this place their home, which was also a no gone zone area  as it was being associated with  criminal activity of mugging  and rape of young women in the park, that even human rights organization had declared the Venue a Rape zone. The venue was not a interest to the  Moi regime which was not concerned with social services and amenities only its interest was to grab the park and convert it to concrete building in the  Garden.
        In the Jeevanjee Gardens within the formation of the street family there was, Islamic and Christians preachers, who after the lunch hour preaching would engage on debates with members of Kafiri movement on origin of religion in Africa and it contemporary  relation in modern Kenya , this   debates  made the members of Kafriri movement to find a political  home at the park  and continue with their  political lectures  and debates in low profile  while forging   a  common unity with members of street families in Jeevanjee Gardens and hence that social relationship opened the interaction that organically  started the transformation of Jeevanjee Gardens as  terrain of contested   social political space  and that has evolved a national wide grassroots movement in Kenya in the name of Bunge La Mwananchi.
           The Jeevanjee Gardens was transformed  by Bunge debates  as members of Kafiri movement   (transformation of the Parks Starts)  merged with other members of proletariat –lumpen, street families, that had home in Jeevanjee Gardens in one corner of the park under a tree shade, the organic union of the movement was also  enriched by (interview old Generation of bunge  GMT Mburu) by presence of older generation who had contact or participated in Mau Mau liberation movement and their participation in the debates helped to shape the consciousness of  the young generation   in  historical struggle with colonialism and give a  new social and  political  a perspective to the  movement.
       At the embryonic  stages of the  social movement debates and discussion  in the year  in early 1990 and the start of  the 2000, the discussion and arguments in the square Gardens were being called Kikao  (sittings) because of the nature of the debates and lectures in the park that were conducted in the two benches that were facing each other and under a shade of  tree (Organic debates)tree   while   the speaker of the debates  sat on the middle of a makeshift seat of stone bricks to navigate the debates and discussion  in a  model of  Africa village   parliaments,  this  arrangements of debates and its participatory nature from the worldview of ordinary person  gave birth to the name Bunge la Mwananchi (people’s parliament) ,  which challenges and contest the current  dominant model of colonial  and liberal individualized form of  representation in  bourgeoisie parliament that   give the mwananchi a  alternative model of social movement  building and struggle from below  in organizing in the grassroots , as Prof.Issa Shivji    had   advised while giving a keynote address to the 5th  plenary session of the National  convention assembly (NCA) , in 2000 on constitutional reforms in Kenya where he pointed “ that  the point of departure is  from the neo-colonial  state as  site of  politics to village  and neighborhood  assemblies as political site” where the village assembly should be the focal point of restructuring power and authority in struggle of  democracy in Africa. Which  today is reinforced by  the  Kenya  constitution give county government in form of devolved government in  participatory democracy by creating county  assemblies, and elected governor with county representative   which is an improvement, in the process of    taking the political power   to the people through devolved government  and this invite the  future struggle  for social movement to   be  anchored against  the elements of   neo-colonial fusion  that may invent in the  new  proposed  47 county assemblies  in the local area ,  in order to construct a true participatory democracy and  sharpen the struggle for  social justice  in the village and neighborhood  assemblies as the site of political and economic  struggle in Kenya, which Bunge La Mwananchi political theory and practice  is anchored  in the 21st century

Symbolic election At Jevanjee Gardens.

 With coming of National Rainbow Coalition    in  the year 2003 and  2004 the  improvement of organized and quality debate started to attracting  local media houses, that were breathing press freedom with NARC regime  example being  Citizen Television station, and a Kiswahili radio station  named Radio Simba, which started covering and airing the topical debates from Jeevanjee Gardens, the airing of  the debates and discussion    helped to  popularize the movement as new alternative in organizing peoples politics in a  localized platform that was   participatory and within reach and access ordinary Mwananachi that was different   from corrupt and ideologically bankrupt  political parties that were organized through  tribal patronage, personality cult following  corruption, and distance from the masses.      
         With increase in media coverage of the debates in the square garden’s the movement continued to expand organically by establishing  Bunge La Mwananchi   bases and chapters  within Nairobi environs in   Mathare  Kibera , Githurai in Kasarani constituency  and  Huruma    Kiamiko  village in Starehe Constituency where the movement started  organizing  community  based assemblies , named   Starehe Mwananchi congress, to open space   for community participation in  political, social economic debates  and discussion on challenges that members of  this community were confronting after post-election violence  in 2007 and their daily  struggle to access livelihood  under difficult conditions of extreme poverty in slums, the Starehe Mwanachi Congress created the seeds of formation of  Bunge La Mwananchi Women base at  Kiamaiko and Ghetto  Village , the  Bunge La Mwananchi women base in Kimaiko and Mathare with  a Vanguard  of key  community organizers, of young women in slums  with   support of other older generation of  women in slum in Kiamaiko  advanced the struggle of the social movement  to a new height in opening a new chapter in the movement  and  bringing new  skill in  grassroots  political  education  and  mobilization  in organizing the movement as , (Interviewe and Ruth Mumbi, Emily Kwamboka )  Where  the  Women  village parliament in kiamiko  start with contribution of  ksh10  for  a mug of tea that is to taken  during the debate and  discussion  on social development issues that affect their life and how to  improve their   organic savings, the young women due to their grassroots social network have created a critical social base in Huruma that is made of young women who are majority singe due to many of their  youthful husband  being victim of extra judicial killings and  crime related death, the bunge la Mwananchi young women in Kiamaiko forged the campaign on basic need  and acess to healthcare  for all  which was entrenched in the new  constitution  in the bill of rights.
 The  interaction with youth and community based social groups in Huruma and Mathare  created a paradigm shift  and the  the face of Bunge la Mwananchi from organic debates in Jeevanjee Gardens  within the city centre to active grassroot  movement  in Huruma , Mathare , Githurai and Kibera and many other parts of the country as  Bunge La Mwananchi continued to expand  organically as today we have Bunge La Mwananchi  social - political bases in  Limuru, kamkunji , Huruma mathare and kibera,  and in other major towns like Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu Eldoret and East Africa in Dar es Sallam  although without much advanced organized vanguard  to shape the social movement  with political consciousness like Other established Bunge La Mwananchi  bases in Nairobi,  However this networks continued to expand even with challenges of debates and regular meetings being disrupted by  security agencies and elements of the ruling class and  liberal middle class NGOs  that  are  threatened by organized social  movement from the grassroots and as a nationwide social movement that cut across ethnic divide, the movement  Vanguard in Jeevanjee Gardens continue to maintain contact with number of   Bunge La Mwananchi social  bases and established chapters   in the country  by  organizing political activities together and in inviting key leaders of this chapters in national political processes, like Bunge la Mwananchi grassroots  leadership consultative forums, the Movement annual  national congress  and Constituency Development Fund  monitoring training programs and  constitutional reforms
        The coming of  National Rainbow coalition  when  Moi regime was voted out in 2003 by  a coalition of reforms parties which had support   from civil society and social movements, made a substantial  shift on the civil society leadership to join the new kibaki regime  where a  democratic space was  widened, which   improved the level of leadership and organizational debates, and discussion in Bunge La Mwananchi  where the focus  was on social justice agenda that National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) administration had given in their   2002 manifesto during the general election campaign, upon which they   had promised to bring radical  social change through social-economic  transformation, by  creating 500 thousand jobs for the youth per year ,delivering new  constitution framework  within  hundreds days, zero tolerance to corruption ,combating tribal patronage within civil service and  creating people centered economy,
     The Coalition itself was a mixed political bag of former Kanu members who had served in Moi regime and elements of right wing reactionary forces from opposition who did not have any united national agenda or coherent ideological theory to unite the country that was tribally divided since colonial administration, as the first years of NARC administration were opening   new mega corruption in the government relating to security agencies procurements tenders Anglo Leasing   ( Githongo Reports )and tribal patronage in civil service, started to appear again in the public  which then scattered the project of social transformation   and hopes of Kenyans  who had voted overwhelmingly to the new regime, was dimmed.
         With collapse of the   National Rainbow coalition dream   in 2003  many young people   started to look for a new political alternative to organize around and Bunge La Mwananchi, became the movement and political instrument that gave them a new home that allowed everyone to participate and engaged in national debate, on many political, social economic issues that remained unsolved in the country, with increase of membership and political consciousness the movement started to organize direct political action around the debates and motions that were being debated and discussed  at the park and many others  bunge la Mwananchi chapters in the country  , at this time one of these  debates related to management of  natural resources, e.g. land  , access to clean water for all  and  environmental destruction , the discussion on  land reform and historical injustice   was  linked to Lake Magadi Soda Company , which at that time was owned by British royal family together with local political class  and  which land tenure and many others in  parts of Central province, cost province  and Riftvally of Kenya  that ware acquired during colonial administration and  which were  lasting lease  of  a  duration of  99 years had come to an end at the   beginning of NARC administration in 2003 , and there was pressure from local communities  and land righs movement to be given  opportunity   in developing the land  through  collective ownership with  cooperative movement.
          Bunge La Mwananchi advanced this campaign around policy of nationalization of land for effective and efficient management of land, sustainable food production and accountability to Multinational companies that were involved in extractive industries without the benefit local communities and destruction of environment, but the NARC   government with weak and compromised national parliament yielded to the interest of international capital  and renewed all the colonial leases against the national interest of the country and without consultation with people as requested by members of Bunge la Mwananchi to the memorandum and debates conducted by the movement in that year.
      Another campaign and debate related to Lake Victoria, the second fresh water lake in the world the movement organized   a demonstration in Nairobi and issued a international press statement at Chester house on 23rd January 2004, Against the River Nile treaty that was signed in 1929 between two British colonies, Kenya and Egypt, which was construed as instrument of colonial control during scramble for Africa natural resources by Europeans powers, which had disrupted   industrial development and food security  , in  great east Africa, and with increase food crisis in the world the struggle of the Africa natural resources is sharpening with most of the Africa states facing food riots and other regime being removed in power as Tunisia and Egypt, where  the question of livelihoods and democracy as been a twin demands for the social movement in North Africa.
     Bunge La Mwananchi members demanded during this time  the government to treat the treaty as null and void and against interests of people of East Africa countries which was intended to curtail   collective development around Lake Victoria basin, and prohibit any improvement of food sovereignty and youth employment that would have come through extensive mechanized irrigation and generation of hydro-power electricity  by upstream  states around the Lake Basin that have population of 160 million people, for their economic improvement,
  Where  It was the concern of the movement that the region around the lake basin  remained underdeveloped while the lake continued to be the source of Tilapia fish which is rich in nutritious protein that is exported   to EU markets in tune ksh 6 billion per year from Kenya,( reports from bunge dabetes ) However the lake basin capacity remain underutilized and mostly polluted , even with modern scientific technological advancement in the world, where majority of people around East Africa who many small upstream  rivers and catchments area are the tributaries to the Lake basin which is the source of greater Nile, still live in chronic poverty, without food, this  efforts also anchored  the right to food campaign  named UGA Ksh 30  which started in 2006 February at that time the maize floor 2 kg  was costing Ksh 47 and members demanded reduction of taxes around essential commodities and access to healthcare , education and housing for all, this campaign has been reinforced by article 43  in the new constitution that the movement anchored its messages on the campaign to the basic needs
 The question of social justice in Kenya 2013 Election.

  The Bunge La Mwananchi political and power  discourse is shaped by collective action in form of  campaign as  in the    2004 this campaigns  related to Kenya police wages  and  housing where the members of the movement debated the issue of the police welfare and  participated extensively   in Governance and Justice and Law order sector reform (GJLOS) debates and  forums  to influence the polices of the program in support of the police reforms , and distributing the education materials citizens and this also included  organizing a demonstration in 2003 to  create awareness and  agitate for provision of better housing and an increment of the wages for police officers who were earning a partly 3000 kenya shillings (about $50) per month also another camping was about access to justice dubbed Ole sisina campaign  at Kencom bus stage in protest of the  extra judicial killings by kenya police  and decision by the Attorney General Amos Wako  not to charge a rich farmer who had killed a poor KWS officer in cold blood, with impunity the campaign was for access to justice and accountability against impunity a campaign that  moved members to join with other civil social  organization and formed a platform called Kenya Against Impunity( KAI)…( read the KAI minutes and the TJRC case )

       The movement in the same and  also organized a political education campaign in 2004-2005 -2006 around Kencom  bus stage in the name of  Hema la katiba, within the city centre, the campaign objective was  to mobilize and  create a critical mass in advancing the right to organize, participatory  constitutional process ,political accountability, misuse of public funds  by the government and  state  buying fuel guzzlers cars to  a bloated  cabinet ministers , that was burden to Kenya taxpayers, this campaign  was very successful  that Kenya National Commission on Human rights(KNCHR) under its chairman Maina Kiai offered to partner with Bunge La mwananchi in distribution of human rights education material and conducting political accountability  forums and campaign that initiated formation for movement for political accountability (MOPA) in run-up to the  general election  2007, the movement continue to educate and raise awareness in the country on matters of political accountability  under the coalition government  with members of the movement participating occasionally in holding the accountability forums in their respective area at  county forums.

   The nature of  rules that govern the the movement are organically developed and not imposed to the participating members and  that is why most of the campaigns of the movement are driven by consciousness of the small group that meet over cup of tea and develop the idea further after initial debates in bunge la Mwananchi base especially in Jeevajee Gardens   ,  this small team is  the one that develop and improve the campaign to a higher level  and create , messages , and slogans and songs,  together with action plan  as the idea and the campaign   move  getting  more support from majority members of  the movement and with heightened organized political activities  an active   bunge la Mwananchi  vanguard of key leadership  is emerging with symbolic election of Bunge. La Mwananchi  members  chapter in Jeevajee Gardens taking place every  two years  though with element of contradiction as some members don’t believe in election within the movement.
        The original idea of holding election was to help the members  of Bunge La Mwananchi to create a leadership that could  integrate debate and discussion  with direct political action,   and the old leadership from originally Kafiri movement were resisting the idea of direct political action   but the vanguard was able to take shape in the movement political activities which   had    previously forged the name Bunge La Mwananchi (peoples parliament) with slogans and songs   within the organic debates and discussion  that emerged  within Bunge La Mwananchi
       The Bunge La Mwananchi social movement as   political instrument to organize around direct political action  was shaped by this vanguard in respond to the failure of the past  NARC administration  and the current  government of coalitions that has failed to deliver on   on many promises made   to the youth since during 2002 general election, and national assembly that have  mortgaged the country to World Bank and IMF neo-liberal policies that keep  isolating many people in national economy and subjecting  majority of  workers and youth  in extreme living conditions creating a social explosion  that  has become the source of organized youth violent movements in many parts of the country , in the slum area within  city and major towns in form of   Mungiki, Jeshi la Kingola , Musumbiji boys, Taliban , chikororo, kamjeshi, and many others that have emerged  under  neo-liberal free market economy, where they  have formed shadow government ,in   provision of public services, like security , water and  illegal connection of electricity, in space that has been  left by the  current state as the result of neo-libersal globalization that manifest in liberalization of  trade privatization of national assets and co modification of social services and marketisation of all goods and  services ( Shivji NGOs discourse page 13)                        
       With the political instrument  Bunge La Mwananchi as social movement being  forged the movement continue to take shape by participation in various forums that were organized by civil society in kenya at the same time the vanguard  continued consistently taking lead in advancing the  battle of ideas and  ideological contradictions within  mainstream  liberal civil society t class civil society  ….. and defending the space  created within public spheres in the park , being  and other bunge chapters in Nakuru, Kisumu Mombasa…
while inviting speakers to come and give political lecture in Jeevanjee Gardens to ferment the intellectual debate, on social-political issues that were still burning in the country as National Rainbow coalition dream aborted, in 2003 ,  intellectual , political actors and human rights lawyers and activist  were invited to  participated and give lecture under banner of  Bunge La Mwananch at the park. The Late Prof Katama Mkangi a social justice activist   who was detained by Moi regime in advance of social change was the eye opener on this intellectuals  lectures, which advanced  the intellectual discourse at  Jeevanjee  gardens  and  opened a new chapter , of organic intellectual debates ,where intellectuals were invited to  give  lectures at the park on various  national issues that were affecting the country. Prof Horace Campbell one of Pan Africanist write was recently visitor in the park to introduce members of the Movement to his new book (  Barrack Obama, the revolutionary moments)  and many other progressive intellectual have visited the park to ground this debates and discussion session.
     In  2007  World Social Forum  ,  the movement participated  in organizing alternative   grassroots social forum in the park in protest of high fee that was being charged in the main event at Kasarani , this event created   contacts of  global social justice   movement in the  WSF   in  building international alliance gave  Bunge La Mwananchi   a great opportunity for members of the movement who came in  contact with other social movements in the world  and progressive intellectual , that  advanced the movement in international networks and since that time members of the movement  have been invited to participate in  WSF meetings ,anti-globalization campaign and  international social transformation courses in South  East Asia  the    Focus on global south  Institute based  in Bagkok and  affiliated to  Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute also members of the movement have created contact with   Latin – America social movements where Bunge L a Mwananchi members are invite to participate in international campaing on social justice and anti-globalization meetings in the world. In the  2011 in february  members of Bunge La Mwananchi also attended the second Africa world social Forum in Dakar through Fahamu Pan- african fellowship program that exposed the social activist from Bunge La Mwananchi to global climate justice movement, and international social justice activist in the Jubilee south  the debt movement and new frontier on climate change science and technology  and intervention from social movement   in the south and the north As industrialized nations in the West look for technological fixes to climate change that enable them to carry on with ‘business as usual’, Gacheke Gachihi speaks to ETC Group's Pat Mooney [mp3] about why it is so important for social movements in the South to participate in debate and decision-making around new technologies, such as geoengineering and synthetic biology. ‘They could be tremendously devastating... we don't know what the implications would be for Africa,’ Mooney notes, ‘This is a struggle that ordinary people need to know about.
                              The movement has also worked  Fahamu a network of social justice, that helped to train members of  movement  networks on advocacy in media and communication skills , also members of Bunge la Mwananchi have continued to organize political Alliances with   other political forces example is Kenya national youth alliance, KNYA. Safina , SDP, PPK  and University students, in forming a united front for change  to propagate the agenda for   social change and  alternative political leadership in Kenya in the name of  progressive parties and social movement alliance (PROPA) in 2008 and  the G47  formation of Middle class  political platform.
        The movement also believe in principal of struggle for state power and is this reasons that five members of the movement in 2007 general election participated in local government elections with support from African Research forum (ARF) a progressive think tank that is composed of progressive intellectual who believe in nurturing alternative political leadership in Kenya and with this support  from this organization a member of Bunge La Mwanchi and  former regular  speaker of the movement debates in JeeVanjee Gardens was  elected, in local government authority, as  Councilor Leonard and a  civic leader of  Boro west ward in  Siaya county council Alego Usonga constituency, this depart from anti-globalization  movement in Europe and north  America and some popular movement in Latin America, that are anti-political parties and that also  detest struggle for state power.
       The post-election violence that occurred in the early 2008 had negative implication to different chapters of the movement as 2007 general election was ethnic  and fanatically charged many members of the movement were overwhelmed by magnitude of political violence and ethnic tension in areas like Huruma,  kibera , mathare in  Nairobi, Naivasha and Eldoret , the post-election violence has been part of Kenya electoral process since introduction of multi-party elections in 1992, but  the violence that shook Kenya as  report from Waki commission and many eyes witnesses   after 2007 general election was systematic and very destructive where  women were brutally raped and many workers , peasants and petty traders were visited by death while destruction of property was wide spread  , this impacted very negative to the network of the the movement that was  created in most of this region, although in Jeevanjee Gardens the traditional home for the movement remained a melting pot for peace and  was source  hope for majority of people who would leave there estate in Huruma, kibera and  Mathare and come to seek peace within the park, members of the movement also worked tirelessly in bringing slum dwellers and urban poor together at the height of the post-election violence and some our   members had to flee into exile   as a direct consequence of the dangers they faced by being the voice of reasons where ethnic violence and tension was in extreme.
            Bunge Members continue to debate the role the movement played during post-election violence, although the debates and discussion are characterarized sometimes by the divisive position taken by various political formations  during the current International criminal tirial in hugue where four suspects are facing charges on  crime against humanity  telated to 2007 post-election violence, which has made members of the movement to take different position in relation to the International criminal court process  .
     Bunge La mwananchi social movement take the right to food as advance of social change agenda that is anchored on fundamental values of democracy that believe in equality among human beings and can be guaranteed only when the right to food, education, healthcare is adequately met for all  which today is enshrined in the new constitution ( article 43)   and denial of this rights negates a person's very humanity and dignity, and to anchored this objective in direct political action  on 2nd April 2008, Bunge La Mwananchi through its network and Starehe Social Movement notified the officers in charge of Central Police Station, Pangani Police Station and Huruma Police Station of their intention to hold a peaceful procession on 31st May, 2008 starting from Jeevanjee Gardens Park to Huruma Sports Ground. Where the   procession was to protest the unchecked escalating food prices and demand  the coalition government intervention, the procession was disrupted  violently by Kenya police and six members of the movement were arrested and detained in Central police station for four days before been charged with organizing illegal procession,  which was a   malicious prosecution that was intended to intimidate the members of the movement to stop organizing the masses around  demand for political accountability from the political class and access to  basic needs the case was dismissed by the court and today the members were able to institute a civil case against the government through a human rights lawyer Mbugua Murethi and advocates supported , through legal aid from  Independent medical legal Unit a human rights organization, to seek for compensation and accountability from the government, the process seionthat was lead by women from the parks to Huruma grounds was able to open a new chapter in the movement as new members of the movement were recruited from this political activity and they have continued to organize the activities of the movement in Huruma ward, example being Kasrani Wananchi congress that was organized in Huruma grounds in 2008 by community based organizations in partnership with Bunge La Mwananchi.

     Prof Issa Shivji  in his book of  Silences in NGOs discourse has argued that history is about the present  that  we must understand the present as history so to change for the better, that the 500 hundreds years of slavery the colonial and imperial history is at the heart of the present Africa conditions today, and it is this understanding on 9th august 2008  Bunge La mwananchi with Watoto wa Anastasia and Otabenga with support from the Nigeria High commission  and Kenya Venezuala friendship society organized a forum in Huruma at Ongoza Njia community centre in Nairobi named, kuwakumba na kuwasikiliza,Africa descendants in Latin America to reconnect and raise our consciousness on social struggle with historical resistance for many people of diverse origin from Africa who were taken far away from Africa to works as slaves where millions died in the dehumanizing process  of being abducted and in the slave journey of  Atlantic ocean  and in horrible working conditions in  sugar plantations in slave masters colonies, the legacy that manifest today in form of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa and Latin America.  In this year  the United nation human rights council has declared 2011 as the international year of people of Africa descent that continues to face racial discrimination the main objective being to raise awareness on the challenges that people africa descent face in the world(,YearPeople, A tribute to africa descendants in Latin by  Gacheke Gachihi and Wangui Kimari // ) which indactate that the effort of grassroot  social movement and struggle  for africa descent in the world is moving  to the international forums, like UN.
  The struggle for social change, has  been taking shape in Kenya  through grassroots movements an and in the 2008 Dec, the members of the movement continued to create awareness on the  campains and  collective actions in  various activities to advance the course of social struggle, and on  10 December  2008  Bunge La Mwananchi   Ongoza njia community centre and Mama mwiki links  networks organized together with other grassroots movements a food and cultural festivals in Huruma sports ground  to commemorate the International human rights day , and integrate our cultural values and creativity in peace building and fostering  peaceful coexistences in our diverse culture and historical heritage On this event at Huruma sports ground members of grassroots movements resolved to build alliances with other progressive forces in advancing Unga  for 30/= campaign and    demands for members of parliament to pay taxes on their, hefty allowances, this direct political action was to be advance in December 12 Jamhuri day, to deliver a political message to the political class, to intervene on many demands that the social movements have put to the coalition government.
The Kenya  general election in 2007 was ethnic and divisive, and the campaign of the 2007 and election injected self – destructive tension that resulted in death and massive destruction properties and internal displacement of peoples  during post election violence, which is was manifestation of history of  exploitation, collapse of governance institutions and  this has manifested in to the dabate about International criminal Court and the question of impunity in Kenya Bunge la Mwananchi has in vibrant way participated in the campaing to support the ICC process , and members of Bunge La Mwananchi in Nakuru chapter and Nairobi Jeevanjee gardens has organized procession in the support of the process.
  Bunge La Mwananchi has also participated in intensive debate on the ICC organized by Africa leadership centre, with Prof. Mohamend Mamdani, on limitation of the international criminal court and the contestation between criminal justice and political justice a critical debate that was missing in the mainstream civil society campaign on the ICC process.
    The relationship between the Bunge La Mwananchi and other political actors , NGOS government media and politician has been of  subsistence social  relation  as  Leigh   Brownhill  argue in his book land  food and freedom,  the struggle of  for the gendered commons in Kenya (page 17) where he show that in Kenya there has been an almost unbroken  centaury  long  chain of  subsistence  social  movement  against neo-liberal globalization and capitalist enclosures which is the subsoil that revolutionary movements have arisen. Bunge La Mwananchi   subsistence social  relation it means of   strategic political survival, within   the hostile environment of neo-liberal globalization  where the   gross human rights violations , as extra-judicial killing , arrests and illegal detention of members of grassroots movements by the Kenya police, this hostile environment, that target the grassroots activist   has forced Bunge La Mwananchi to build a subsistence  alliances with neo-liberal human rights organization to challenge the impunity of the state, that has continued to slow down the social activism of the movement , the subsistence relationship with human rights organization and some critical political class  is shaped by the understanding of the history of civil society movement in Kenya, and its limitation in dvancing the struggle for social change.
The social relationship with the civil society and political parties has to helped  bunge la mwanachi to continue holding debates at Jeevanjee Gardens  even after threats to many members of bunge La mwanachi., from kenya police and many arrests in the park to prevent the movement from meeting in the park which was resisted by the cadres of the movement in alliance with key political allies and members of civil society , this subsistence relation has been there in the history of social movement in Kenya, where  the book , land , food and freedom , the struggle for gendered commons,  inform how women and peasants movement in kenya have utilized the substance social relation to fight against neoliberal globalization , as they continue to produce and control what is within their consumption in basic needs., this subsistence social relation between bunge La Mwananchi social movement and the cicil society has made the  Human rights organization to  continue to profiles cases of members of Bunge La Mwananchi as human rights defenders, which has been critical in protecting the members of the movement from harrasmement and intimidation by the Kenya police (RPP reports quote) during the work of the movement in the community organizing in the  grassroots,

4.   Conclusion  new constitutional dispensation and challenge  of the social movement in future.

        In the year 2011  there is great  hope  for many patriotic Kenyans who  exercised  their democratic and fundamental right to make appointment with  great history , in giving birth to a new constitution, that will create new legal and political framework to anchor   the struggle of social justice and new   democratic state in Kenya, , which the bunge la mwananch social activist have been in trenches with other constitutional movement to make it reality.But the  national question that the new  dispensation pose   after  promulgation of the new constitution is   on how to build   strong social movement to breathe life to the new constitutional text,  As one note  before and during this referendum campaign  Kenyans were  mobilized individually to come and participate in the referendum vote as it happen every time  during the   general election. It was only embryonic social movement like Warembo ni Yes, a young women alternative leadership platform created by Bunge La Mwananchi Women social movement that made  critical effort to mobilize  collective women voters  constituency in the referendum. The history  and   limitation  of individualized voter   is inherent in    representative liberal democracy , and  the  challenge of social justice  activist and progressive political forces   after   coming of the new  constitution  is to move from this   limitation of individualized voter and sham  democracy  to   values of participatory democracy  where the organized social forces of workers and peasants, and women   social movement   not only participate in referendum  or in voting women’s candidate for representation  in bourgeoisie  parliament  as isolated  single excises but move in to  breathing  life to the new constitution by collective mobilization  and creating  political consciousness  to the mass organization , and social movement that will advance  and anchor the social struggle political programs in demand of peoples livelihoods,  accessing  the   right to food , right to quality education , shelter, quality healthcare  and clean water for all ,  if the new constitution  dispensation will have meaning for many  poor Kenyans living in horrible  conditions  of  neo-colonial poverty due to historical exploitation ,neo-liberal capitalism  economic policies  and corruption by the ruling  political class.
     Prof Yash Ghai has argued in a article posted on oxford journal on transitional justice (OTJR) debate on challenges of establishing constitutional order in Kenya  that “ The constitution cant achieve anything  by itself: like  Marx’s  commodities, it does not have arms and legs, it must be mobilized , acted  upon  and used”  this political dictum confirm  to us that we must   construct  solid  social movement as political- social ,economic instrument to be  the  arms and legs to mobilize and organize  the , exploited masses  to  act and   use  the new constitutional framework to bring fundamental  social change in Kenya, it is good to note   here also that the   new constitution has not altered , the  fundamentals of   neo-colonial political  economy that  introduced Kenya society  to  inequality and extreme poverty , although it  create the illusions of social democratic state with  a progressive bill of rights and economic social rights anchored  in the constitution, which is only  token of legalism language, within  liberal  bourgeoisie democracy  that cant solve the problem of historical exploitation, marginalization  and  social inequalities,  that manifest in  crime , homelessness , unemployment, environmental destruction  and  poverty linked disease that is killing our people, everywhere in our slums , estate and villages  across the country.
   The new ratified constitution indeed   has  a positive   aspect of   elite consensus, on  structure of devolved  political power in the   47 created  county assemblies with 15 percent of the national  budget devolved  to all the 47 counties collectively as devolved fund, with  new challenges in management of the devolved funds,   the  structure of the devolved government   has created a   political  space  for  the right to organize  and democratize development  in the local level, which  the    progressive forces and organic social movements  can utilize to advance the cause of national democratic revolution.
     The opened  space   call for  alternative   political leadership and new  strategy  in  grounding, the peoples struggle   within the new political environment, that come with  challenges  of building new democratic institution,   and  to breath  values to this institutions  call for  participation of social movements  that will pressure and democratize the state and inject values of  patriotisms and accountability  in public service  and  also  develop alliances between trade unions movement, women movement ,  small farmers and fishermen cooperative movement, as political social forces to revitalize  popular resistance  rooted in mass base movement to confront the   inherently violent neo-liberal   capitalism economy that is present phase of imperialism, in  today  Kenya economy , as Prof. Issa Shivji one of original thinkers, and organic intellectual  in East africa has argued in his recent book titled  (Where is Uhuru), reflection on the struggle for democracy in africa, and the pitfalls of liberal reforms (the  third  generation or right based constitutions)  p.61on  the question of  irreconcilable contradiction between the rhetoric of constitutionalism and human rights based on a open , transparent , accountable government , responsible to provide basics needs to its people, which is  contradicted by  neo-liberal capitalism based on  marketaization  and  privatization of  basic needs and withdrawal of state from economic sphere, that undermine the role of developmental  state in Africa.
     The struggle  to locate and build  human rights and social justice activism   in community grassroots movement will demand new  passion ,ideas and alternative strategy  in construction  of  organic community based political instrument that will come with   new challenges and not attracting the  usual  funding from neo-liberal sources , because the  independent   strong social movement in grassroots, will  educate the masses and organize  community for popular  struggles and  livelihood   which  sharpen  social contradiction  that  expose the masses to  the exploitation of neo-liberal capitalism and the  political character of  donor agencies and  non- governmental organization , that emphasizes on divisive project funding and  donations  to  divide and undermine   the  organic social    movement  and pacify, masses for a limited time as happen in Latin America.
             The experience in  theory and practice of building social movement in Kenya has   been tested   by Bunge La Mwananchi social activists in community organizing on   popular resistance , demand for social justice and respect  for  human rights with many campaigns located in the grassroots.
       This call and  invite progressive social forces,  organic  intellectual    and  Bunge Mwananchi organic intellectual   activist  to  study   and have national  debate  on past political and environmentalist movement, December Twelve Movement,(DTM) Which was organized by progressive university intellectual , Mwakenya, from university intellectual, students , workers and peasants  also on this line is Release Political Prisoners (RPP), Green belt Movement, February 18 (FERA) and Forum for Restoration Democracy (FORD), that championed restoration of  neo-liberal multi-party politics  in Kenya  others forms of movements are Constitutional as , National Executive Council (NCEC), which was collective  leadership of  National constituency Assembly  (NCA)  the constitutional  reform  movement  and many others  that have shaped the terrain  of political struggle in Kenya.  The study of this movements and discussion, intellectual  debate will help the emerging social movement in the new terrain to understand the political mistake that were made by the leadership of this past peoples movements, which  can  be used to  improve theory and  political practice and educate  cadres of  Bunge La  Mwananchi social movement  and  help to clarify the contestation of the  movement   organizational leadership structure , the relation of leadership and masses, the question of movement in relation with political parties, civil society and reform versus revolution ,  and  what is the  true nature of peoples democracy ,this study also can help to expose the role of the ruling political class together with  security agencies in Kenya  in dogmatizing and corrupting  the  movements leadership and  donor agencies  interest  that undermine  the collective leadership of the social movement, and organic activities in grassroots, while supporting  individualized leadership in form of  false internet website  human rights  activism  with very expensive report writing to donor agencies as political  fog that obstruct and  slow down  the  movement building in  community based activities which demand discipline cadres of community organizers , extensive  organized planning participation of grassroots members  and skill in community organizing, which is  shunned by most mainstream human rights organizations and   most of their donors.
            This is the challenge that Bunge la Mwananchi  social movement has been struggling with and must confront with battle of ideas as it develop and ground  strong community based social justice activist   and basic  social structures to anchor the movement  democratic control from below and  mitigate  the influence of donors agencies and political class  that   create personality cult political  leadership in the  movement  in resemblance  with their  political party leadership   that is devoid of citizen participation democratic debate and discussion on many challenges facing the nation.,  the  implementation of the new constitution which will  demand an intellectual discourse , debates and Mwananchi discussion  to   interpret     the constitution  to reflect the wishes many poor Kenyans who voted for the new constitution and   this must be   anchored on grassroots,  social movement  with organic intellectual  integrating  militant political   activism to   advance   struggle for social change, and build democratic institution , democratization of national resource for access to livelihoods for all As the promise of the new constitution.
                                           Unga Revolution Press Confrence At Jeevanjee Gardens..

1 comment:

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