By Peter Wanyonyi
Back in 1929, at the height of British colonial oppression in Kenya, the Kikuyu Central Association sent Jomo Kenyatta abroad to lobby for Kikuyu land rights and restitution. It was felt that, given the denial of rights to Black people to express themselves in British colonial Kenya, there was only one place in the world that would tolerate and, in fact, welcome and embrace the ideals of free speech and open debate to the extent needed to push African land rights to the fore of British colonial debate. That place was, quite ironically, Britain – the colonial master herself.
This seeming contradiction – a complete denial of freedom for Africans in British colonies, juxtaposed next to the freedom that Africans and other colonial subjects encountered in Britain itself – was, in essence, not a contradiction at all. For, while the colonial authorities in Kenya were an oppressive, brutal settler community hell-bent on grinding the African into the dust and subjecting him to a discrimination not even befitting of animals, their home country itself disagreed with this and welcomed Africans into Britain – and accorded them every right to free speech. Jomo Kenyatta’s impassioned speeches in opposition to colonialism at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park were not just tolerated; his British audience applauded them. Kenyatta felt so much at home in Britain that he married a white British woman while there – an act unthinkable in the colonial Kenya of the day, where the colour bar was rigidly enforced and interracial marriages were a legal and social taboo.
Just over eight decades later, in 2015, America’s first non-White president, Barack Obama, landed in Kenya. Kenyans loved his arrival, just as the entire country – and indeed Africa – had followed and totally enjoyed his ascent to become the most powerful man in the world. The Western media called him “Black”, but Africans knew better: while he wasn’t white, he wasn’t black either.
Obama met with Uhuru Kenyatta, Jomo’s son and president of Kenya, and the resultant press conference left many Kenyans not just disappointed in Obama, but bewildered at his choice of subject. For Obama had chosen this moment – his visit as the first US President of African origin to the country of his father – to bring up what virtually all Africans agree is a complete non-issue: homosexuality and homosexual “rights”. Perhaps we should have expected it: Obama was and remains a self-confessed radical leftist, dedicated to the politics of “progressivism” and to defending the “values” that his politics dictate. Those values are as antithetic to African values as day is to night.
The Western Leftist movement has its origins in Communism and the latter’s distaste and violent opposition to not just capitalism, but traditional values of any sort. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the West thought communism had lost and capitalism had won.
This was certainly true in the economic sense, because communism’s State-planned economies simply could not keep up even with their own market demands. The communist desire for “sameness” in society – in which there are no hierarchies, everyone earns the same salary and all property is communally owned – could not cope with the human desire to be better than the next person and to see one’s children excel more than oneself. The desire to remove all hierarches naturally required the removal of religion from communist society, because God is at the top of all natural hierarchies. However, such a radical reorganisation of human society was always going to meet stiff resistance from ordinary citizens, and communism therefore required State dictatorship and the deprivation of all individual rights from citizens for it to “work”.
And even then, the contradictions of communism were glaring for all to see: while communist states preached “equality for all”, the leaders of the communist states were way above their starving countrymen in status, wealth, and security. While no one was theoretically anyone else’s boss, in reality there existed a vast bureaucracy that ended up as a corrupt dictator class, a modern incarnation of which is very much in evidence in North Korea and Cuba today. And so communism collapsed under the weight of its contradictions, and the countries that were communist all turned to capitalist economic models to survive – although a few, such as China and Russia, still retain vestiges of communist political organisation, particularly the tendency to dictatorship.…
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