Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is Justice Perverted By Economic Power?

Is justice a word used at the whim of politicians or is it something real and tangible, something for the Kenyan to have hope in? Can justice be divorced from power in Kenyan politics as it stands today?

I now see in practice all my lessons on class and class analysis at work.

The other day, ODM talked about economic boycott. At a time when the country will be facing an economic meltdown one way or another anyway, this came as a great relief, sparing the people from the running battles experienced in various parts of the country.

No sooner had this been said, that the statement was quickly retracted and replaced by more talk of ‘peaceful’ demonstrations in the new week. So why was the suggestion of economic boycott shot down so fast?

I watched Kibaki take notes during a meeting with businessmen calling at State House to plead their case. Or maybe each had brought his bill and promissory chit for payback of support during the elections. If it weren’t so sad, it would have been funny. I’m sure Raila has had his day with the businessmen too. He is one of them. So why was the call for economic boycott called?

It takes me back to a hot afternoon at a study group, listening to comrades discussing class and class struggle. That study group positioned me to better recognise class and class analysis at work.

The most power hungry class are the ruling class. They are also the tightest class – they will not easily let anyone get in, nor will they annihilate or prosecute one of their own. Like parasites,through dominance and exploitation, they rely on the other classes to accumulate more power . This class has the most economic power, giving it enough political influence to ensure government policies are in tune with their interests. This class does not respect the interests of the other classes. In Kenya, this small class of people constitute and/or massively support the power elite.

Take the 2002 electioneering, when Raila, Kibaki, Ngilu and the others promised Kenyans that they would take Moi to court for his corrupt ways and that they would bring back the wealth that had been stashed abroad, using it to build a stronger Kenya. They, of the promises of Goldenberg money being brought back home, of Anglo Leasing, passport contracts, are the ones now fighting for better spoils and/or holding on tightly to them. Once ensconced in power, none of their promises have or will ever become a reality as long as the promises touch on their class. The ruling class are bonded tightly by economic power both in times of peace and strife.

And so what if Kiambu businesses selling vegetables to Kisumu is not working in these violent times? Sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, they will go into the guns business or get the next government contract to supply more tear gas canisters, or whatever it is that sells at the time!

As more Kenyans are shot through their plastic walls, and more children stay out of school, you can remain certain that there will be no economic boycotts of any kind. Raila stands to lose as much as Kibaki. The class will not accept such huge losses. As usual, none of them cares whether the common Kenyan lives or dies. For justice, when married to this economically greedy class, dissipates.

PoP 22 Jan 08

1 comment:

Mzalendo said...

This article illustrates very well the well-known fact that notions such as justice are not as neutral as they are portrayed by some. When used by exploiters, oppressors, murderers and robbers, we must interrogate their calls for justice and whether their victims are right to take any consolation in them.