15 September, 2009

Okiya Omtatah Okoiti Responds to Standard Newspaper Article via BidiiAfrika Website

Just had to republish this interesting reply to a newspaper article about human rights activist Okiya Omtatah Okoiti appearing in today's Standard Newspaper:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mr. Benson Riungu,
Crazy Monday,
The Standard,
P. O. Box 30080,
Nairobi - Kenya.

Dear Mr Riungu:

Thanks for your most interesting article ever that you have published about me to date. which appeared on Page 7 of the Crazy Monday magazine insert in your esteemed publication today (Monday, September 14, 2009), under the heading "Omtatah's activism is all about himself". The article is published online at:

Much as I appreciate that no perception is immaculate, I find it extremely helpful when such a mirror or any reflective material, however poor it may be, is held before me, by a hand I don't control, to give me a reality check. Knowing how others perceive me and, most importantly, what I am doing, is of paramount importance to me as that is the main way I get to know whether or not I am communicating.

Nevertheless, your article would have done much better had it not relied on information that is more than a year old, a did a little bit more research to answer the provincial questions you pose. Also it would have been richer and served a higher cause had it transcended my person to engage my ideological activism in favour of a developmental state, in opposition to the neo-liberal model contained in Kenya Vision 2030 which both our Legislature and the Executive are keen to implement.

It is a gross failure on your all important part as both the conscience and the mirror of society to limit yourselves to discussing personalities and not the burning issues consuming the polity. We are at that point when the media must surface the burning socio-political and economic issues in the Kenyan polity. If you don’t help the Kenyan Street surface issues affecting ordinary Kenyans, our politics will inevitably remain personality driven, where we discuss self-seeking and visionless individuals, at the expense of the mind-boggling challenges we face as a country, and the good policies we need to solve them.

Hence, invoking your Newspaper's edifying motto, For Fairness and Justice, and without asking for too much since it really is not beyond you to grant my prayers, I would appreciate if your esteemed publication would go the extra mile to grant me an interview where I can explain the political ideology that drives me. The wind in my sail is the common good, not self-serving interests as your writer misrepresented me.

The method behind what you perceive to be my madness ("an enraged bull in a china shop", as you write), is that I am totally opposed to Kenya Vision 2030 which is nothing more than a glossy and grand scheme to recolonise us, by forcing us to sell our strategic assets to foreigners.

With the sell of those public assets, including the profitable National Bank of Kenya, the Kenya Ports Authority, the futuristic telecommunications industry, and other strategic assets, unregulated and uncontrollable market forces pursuing abnormal profits, and not political ideology in the service of the common good, will drive public policies and programmes to the detriment of Kenyans.

If Kenya Vision 2030 is not stopped NOW!, it will become a nightmare in which we will be no better than the man who sold all his land to another so that the new owner could build a palace in which he (the original owner) will be employed as a cleaner.

Finally, a humble request: is it possible to get an A1 size complimentary copy of that cartoon of me? I wish to put it in a picture frame and proudly hang it on my wall.

Kindest regards,

Okiya Omtatah Okoiti

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