Today l got shot
The day l was shot. Yesterday, acting as free citizens of this democratic republic, we exercised our constitutional right to protest. At 11am, we took to the streets, unarmed and carrying harmless placards and crosses to symbolize the people who have been killed, as a result of police brutality, since 8th August. We had notified the police as required by law, not to seek their permission, but as a point of information. Picketing and protesting isn’t a right granted by the police; it’s a birthright. A birthright earned by virtue of being a Kenyan citizen. It is a right bequeathed to us by the many patriots who paid the ultimate sacrifice, during the rule of the one party state, to ensure that we could express our grievances in peace. We were in the streets to protest the unlawful police killings of unarmed citizens. In a now all too familiar script, the police have been unlawfully used by the state to prevent those dissatisfied with the government from protesting. I was in the streets because l believe no one should be shot dead for carrying a placard or, l dare say, for looting or even carrying stones. I was in the streets because I respect the sanctity of life. We need to respect life...period! The person caught looting should be arrested, not shot dead. On our way to Freedom Corner, at Uhuru Park, we were confronted by a group of police officers and showed them the police notification concerning our peaceful protest. The officer-in-charge decided to consult her superiors and, upon her return, informed us that the Inspector-General, Joseph Boinett, had issued orders for us to be dispersed. I tried to engage her, but she remained adamant. We then decided that, since we were peaceful and unarmed, we would stop marching and talk to the police officers about the need for them to stop killing protestors. I was carrying a big, dummy bullet and, as I approached, one officer pushed me back, to create enough space for him to shoot, and then pulled the trigger of his riot gun, unleashing a teargas canister that hit me squarely in the chest and dropped me to the ground in a lot of pain. My friends thought l had been shot dead. I wasn’t looting. I wasn’t armed (unless holding a giant, dummy bullet is now considered as being armed). I wasn’t a threat. I was simply exercising my constitutionally given right to protest. Ironically, our protest against police brutality was met with…, police brutality. In that moment, I saw the fear, not of my friends, but of a state apparatus that can’t stand free-thinking citizens. The President and his party are afraid. They claim that they won the election fair and square, but the fact that the government has invested heavily in both personnel and equipment, to kill those deemed to be opposing it, is a clear sign of fear. It is undeniable that the Jubilee government is killing peaceful protesters. It is obvious that the Jubilee government is changing laws in order to legitimize what will be sham elections. It is during the tenure of this government that Jacob Juma and Chris Msando were killed, because they stood in the way of ensuring the government secured a second term. This is a familiar script from the Kenyan political rule book. The first Kenyatta banned political parties, eliminated his opposition; Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya, JM Kariuki, just to name a few, and effectively killed free speech and entrenched tribalism. Yesterday, l got shot and on 26th October 2017, l shall not vote. I shall not vote in an election where innocent women and children have been brutalized by their own government. I shall not vote in an election where the executive attacks the judiciary with cheap insults, while asking us to respect the same courts. I shall not vote in an election where our constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties are gradually being taken away from us. I shall not vote in an election where the government preaches tolerance, but practices intolerance. I have no respect for a government that disregards the very constitution it swore to protect. I shall note vote in this election and, as long as l am alive, l shall continue to protest against injustice. They wanted me dead, but I am still alive. 26th October isn’t Election Day, but Uhuru’s birthday. I wonder how many people the police will kill that day to make President Uhuru happy.Most Kenyan tribes did not have kingdoms. They believed in having a council of wise old men to run their affairs. Not all Kikuyus believe in the “uthamaki” nonsense. You can either choose to be the President of Kenya, or the President of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin. This hypothetical kingdom that you believe was created by your father will perish, as will all those who believe in it. We are not someone’s personal kingdom, but a republic, made up of free citizens and, one day, you will have to respect that fact. I will keep protesting, peacefully, to amplify the voice of the voiceless. #TeamCouragePosted by Boniface Mwangi on Friday, October 20, 2017
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