The first president after independence from Belgium in Democratic Republic of Congo was assainated on this day in 1961. That is why I have this post on him today as rememberence of him. Because we should not forget his contribution to equality and freedom in DRC. That is why I will add on his last letter written on 4th January 1961 from Thysville prison, the letter was sent to Special Representive A.M. Dayal, here it is:
Mr. Special Representative,
On December 27 last, I had the pleasure of receiving a visit from the Red Cross, which occupied itself with my plight and with the plight of the other parliamentarians imprisoned together with me. I told them of the inhuman conditions we are living in.
Briefly, the situation is as follows. I am here with seven other parliamentarians. In addition there are with us Mr. Okito, President of the Senate, a Senate employee and a driver. Altogether there are ten of us. We have been locked up in damp cells since December 2, 1960 and at no time have we been permitted to leave them. The meals that we are brought twice a day are very bad. For three or four days 1 ate nothing but a banana. I told this to the Red Cross medical officer sent to me. I spoke to him in the presence of a colonel from Thysville. I demanded that fruit be bought on my own money because the food that I am given here is atrocious. Although the medical officer gave his permission, the military authorities guarding me turned down my request, stating that they were following orders from Kasavubu and Colonel Mobutu. The medical officer from Thysville prescribed a short walk every evening so that I could leave my cell for at least a little while. But the colonel and the district commissioner denied me this. The clothes that I wear have not been washed for thirty-five days. I am forbidden to wear shoes.
In a word, the conditions we are living in are absolutely intolerable and run counter to all rules. Moreover, I receive no news of my wife and I do not even know where she is. Normally I should have had regular visits from her as is provided for by the prison regulations in force in the Congo. On the other hand, the prison regulations clearly state that not later than a day after his arrest a prisoner must be brought before the investigator handling his case. Five days after this a prisoner must again be arraigned before a judge, who must decide whether to remand him in custody or not. In any case, a prisoner must have a lawyer.
The criminal code provides that a prisoner is released from prison if five days after he is taken into custody the judge takes no decision on remanding him. The same happens in cases when the first decision (which is taken five days after a person is arrested) is not reaffirmed within fifteen days. Since our arrest on December 1 and to this day we have not been arraigned before a judge or visited by a judge. No arrest warrant has been shown to us. We are kept simply in a military camp and have been here for thirty-four days. We are kept in military detention cells. The criminal code is ignored as are the prison rules. Ours is purely a case of arbitrary imprisonment. I must add that we possess parliamentary immunity.
Such is the situation and I ask you to inform the United Nations Secretary-General of it. I remain calm and hope the United Nations will help us out of this situation. I stand for reconciliation between all the children of this country.
I am writing this letter secretly on bad paper. I have the honour to be, etc.
Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 68-69.
Dear Sir Honorable Joseph Nkaissery!
You did say this yesterday!
To the whole world you said this:
“Listen there is way, to tell you, You cannot get AWAY with allegation. So it is up to you, if you don’t want to relieve the sources, then you’ll fry Alone! It is…It begins today, if you’re telling the truth. Don’t worry if our friend will be saved. So long as he is telling the truth. If anybody, if you understand ENGLISH, anybody, except two people; the president and his deputy; anybody will be writing statement if you make an allegation, beginning today!”
We know the man frying at that moment is John Ngirachu; the journalist of the Daily Nation; who was at a Police Station detained by the CID, after writing a story about your Ministry, which you runs honorable Nkaissery. There was to other journalist involved in the stories and not detained yet James Mbaka of the Daily Star and Alphonce Skiundu of the Standard.
This after your Ministry had questioned by the Auditor Generals query on the usage of funds and the use of total Ksh. 3,8 billion in a single day. Honorable Nkaissery you was even questioned on this matter by the Public Accounts Committee in the Parliament.
Your life doesn’t seem easy right now Mr. Nkaissery! You are a public person right? You’re an elected official who are in charge of a government ministry and the funds that brings. Journalist are tiring people, anybody who knows the ways of Daniel Arap Moi; was teaching you this right? Or was it anybody elese?
You sure learned by this history, isn’t that right Honorable Nkaissery?
“The Nation has been the subject of frequent government attacks over the past 18 months. Joseph Ngugi, a Nakuru-based correspondent, was one of the first journalists charged in October 1993 with breach of security regulations for attempting to report on political violence in Molo” (…)”Mutegi Njau, the news editor of the Daily Nation, was arrested in April 1994, along with the paper’s Eldoret correspondent, and charged with subversion. The paper had run two stories on official involvement in political violence in the Burnt Forest area of the Rift Valley” (…) “In early January 1995, two Nation reporters were summarily dismissed in circumstances which caused many observers to believe this was a result of official pressure on the company” (Article 19, 1995).
Anybody who knows English and has heard it, remember this one, right?
“Paul Amina was previously arrested in August 1987 (see UA 214/87, AI Index AFR 32/29/87, dated 11 August 1981) and detained under Kenya’s public security regulations, which provide for the indefinite detention without charge or trial of those held to be endangering public security. No reason was given for his arrest in 1987, but it is believed that he was detained because of his reporting of politically sensitive court cases” (…)”Paul Amina, freelance journalist and former prisoner of conscience, was arrested by security police at the International Press Centre in Nairobi on Friday 16 August 1991. He was taken to an unknown destination where he is believed to be held incommunicado. He has not yet been brought to court to be charged with any offence” (AFR 31/26/91, 1991).
Seems like Joseph Nkaissery has learned well, though he needed to teach John Ngirachu a lesson not to make allegations that hurts you. You’re supposed to be Teflon. Anybody should know that! You have only two persons above you and that is The President and his Deputy; therefore detaining a simple little journalist shouldn’t be an issue. You run the Interior Ministry. He only has some Secret Informants and get some leaked information at the Parliament. That bastard!
The Auditor General shouldn’t even have questioned your for the extra high spending in one day. That is your business, not anybody else, especially not somebody who check society and if there is check and balance. The coverage damage you, therefore it is damaging all of society. Because you’re a pinnacle in society while the Journalist is just a pencil pusher who never couldn’t even have teach the kids of today ENGLISH in Eldoret. You must forgive us. We don’t know English as you honorable Nkaissery.
Honorable Nkaissery you can see from Daniel Arap Moi as your lecturer, he was that also, so you must be one of his noble student. I write this to you because detaining somebody for not giving you the sources of their story on your ministry and monies you’re in charge of. I am sure you wished Ngirachu the treatment of Mr. Njau or Amina of the 90s Kenya. Since you think that is such a proud part of the political heritage! Since you trying to copy it and wish every allegation have to write a statement proving where they got the intelligence. You must be such a noble man Honorable Nkaissery who wishes to have all of this into your ministry. Honarable Nkaissery you must be great fan of extra paperwork to shut down your enemies. And they can’t be trustworthy people if they keep their sources to themselves. They should have Informers in Parliament. That is not noble like you. Anybody would know that.
Honorable Nkaissery what is the truth? What is the honest truth about the monies and your ministry? Why would anybody like the men of the Public Account Committee ask you questions? And why didn’t they ask you directly for statements instead of getting it from informants. You who are such a noble man Nkaissery! Anybody can see that.
I don’t want to to leave you alone or fry you Honorable Nkaissery! But I want to ask how come there was spent so much shillings in your ministry in one day? And why did you detain and ask the two other journalists to be detained for the story? Anybody who has heard the story, wonder about that!
They can’t be saying stuff like they do. Anybody should know the truth. The honest truth from a honorable man like you Joseph Nkaissery! CID got a statement and detained a journalist for an article. That the journalist himself said he got the intel from the Hansard. The Hansard is public property or is there something hidden in the English language that makes them not legal for journalist to read these?
I just want to know the truth Honorable Joseph Nkaissery for why anybody like Ngirachu was detained. That is a statement I want to see and also the reason for why since you have to power over the CID with your station at the ministry honorable Nkaissery. Can you tell that to anybody? I am sure you’re the best source of it. This cannot be seen as political insensitive. It’s just rational sir. So please if you understand my ENGLISH. Please tell this to anybody, the truth in a statement, your allegations of Ngirachu and his colleagues.
Writer of Minbane.
Article 19 –‘Censorship in Kenya: Government critics face the death sentence’ (May 1995) link: https://www.article19.org/data/files/pdfs/publications/kenya-censorship-in-kenya.pdf
Letter from 1991 – ‘Fear of Torture/Legal Concern’ (19.08.1991) – AFR 31/26/91
PLO Lumumba interesting as always! Right?
Ask ourselves! We should Ask Ourselves!
Date: August 11. Location: KFM Radio HQ; 8th Street, Industrial Area, Kampala. Main event: Andrew Mwenda Live political Talkshow. Panelists: Presidential Assistant on Politics, Moses Byaruhanga, Mr. Reagan Okumu, an opposition Member of Parliament and ex-intelligence chief David Pulkol:
Andrew Mwenda: “… If he was elected, does that mean that other actors do not have views? … Does it mean that when people elect him, those who disagree with him should keep quiet? … You go and tell him to listen to this show, then he can get some wisdom, because all of you guys sit at State House and say, yes sir, yes sir. Here we say no sir… I can tell you, his little threats are completely ignored… Mwenda should not discuss security in the region, how can you say something like that? I don’t want… we run a newspaper and pay taxes which buy his suits, does he know that?… You see these African presidents. This man went to University, why can’t he behave like an educated person? Why does he behave like a villager?… But, how can he insult me like that? Museveni has no monopoly of irrationality, do you know that?… If he wants to behave like Saddam Hussein, let him go to Iraq… Peace and security is a public good… I think I understand security better than Museveni… That is what I think. I am a security expert… Oh, Jesus Christ! You really think laying the whole northern region, a third of the country, in waste, 20 years of war, is how you bring security into a country? Let him resign today, let me become President and you will see what I will do. This country will be better managed and there will be security all over the country. Security will no longer be a tribal good enjoyed by the Bantu in the south. Everybody in Uganda will be entitled to security. Museveni can never intimidate me. He can only intimidate himself… We are willing to pay Museveni a handsome pension if he decided to go home and rest and stop mismanaging this country. Why does he call me a boy?… Listen to me and you will get the correct security analysis. Listen to the President you will get the wrong one… The President is becoming more of a coward and everyday importing cars that armour plated and bullet proof and you know moving in tanks and mambas, you know, hiding with a mountain of soldiers surrounding him, he thinks that that is security. That is not security. That is cowardice… this one’s security is Jurassic security. Why does this one move with mounted anti-aircraft guns, AK 47 assault rifles, tanks and mambas, buffels and katyushas, Jesus Christ? Actually Museveni’s days as a President are numbered if he goes on a collision course with me… I wish I was 35, I would have contested the next election… you mismanaged Garang’s security. Are you saying it is Monitor that caused the death of Garang or it is your own mismanagement?… Aah what caused Garang’s death? Garang’s security was put in danger by your own government putting him first of all on a junk helicopter, second at night, third passing through Imatong Hills where Kony is… Are you aware that Garang died in Imatong Hills where you have always complained that Kony is?… Are you aware that your Government killed Garang? … I would say the Government of Uganda, out of incompetence, led to or caused the death of John Garang. They put him on the plane when it was already late. That plane the President said it has the capacity to detect bad weather 100km away. Why couldn’t they detect the bad weather 100km away? … Let me challenge you. When a plane is taking off from place A going to place B, it is supposed to establish weather at place B. If the weather at place B was bad, why didn’t your people here decide not to go? Maybe you don’t recognize that the Government of Uganda is responsible for the death of Garang. Whether it is by commission or omission, the government of Uganda cannot run away from that responsibility.”
This ends with Mr. Mwenda being arrested, jailed for those words.
This had to be done, especially because of the race between the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinians and how they try to rule the media and also the public opinion. I have not intended to bend you into either direction. Who? Where? What? Nah, I won’t answer that. The thing I will do is instead look into how biased we can be, and also little insight we sometimes have. In the end I will just ask a simple question. Does that sounds feasible in our day and age? If not, well, still have a blessed journey through my very simple piece.
We live in a time and day where wars are happening. There are certain rules to the proceedings right? Still, when we discuss them we still take sides. Hiram Johnson senator in US from 1917-1945, he said: “Truth,’ it has been said, ‘is the first casualty of war” (…) “Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages” (WikiQuote, 2014).
Even Protagoras said: “there two sides to every story, and one truth. Tell the story, and get out of the way; let the reader figure it out” (Cousineau, 2010).
Now I won’t go to ethical or historical down. Because then my thoughts we’ll be gone in the wind. Like tiny little leafs that being caught with the rush of the wind.
I am writing this because in my own country there is hard headed discussion about the innocence and righteous war for either Israel or the Palestinians on the Gaza stip. They are both going at it like every drunken uncle at the barbeque. Both blaming each other just like they are doing on the stip. Sending grenades from neighbor to neighbor and it never ends.
Why I am saying this like that, because the bickering and discussing over the matter, like you doesn’t give the cause anything, neither to you nor the other guy who disagree. We know that both side of the story. It’s hard from a far even in our day and age to know who is actually accurate. We trust in this media, sometimes government controlled as such. Which even has some reporters that can be biased. Let me get serious! We are all a bit biased. Like I am biased on the matter of which leader in Uganda I respect the most – not Yoweri K. Museveni but Dr. Kizza Besigye. So when people are saying directly all the time and addressing each other, they seem like their forgetting this.
Especially when we know that the truths are the first to die in a war. Therefore the story that is going to be told shouldn’t have the issues of falsehood in them, but still they might not be the whole picture. The whole picture isn’t clear until the weapons have been put into a storage unit and the sad loss on each side is counted. Like Protagoras said: there are two sides to every story. That is because there is to side’s view to what they saw and felt occurred during the events.
Zdenek Urbánek said in the 1970s Checkoslovakia: “In one respect, we are more fortunate than you in the west. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. Unlike you, we have learned to read between the lines, because real truth is always subversive” (Pilger, 2006). This was in the 1970s Iron Curtain and when the Soviet was under the rule of Stalin and staying strong. We can just live into the words that he is saying. Can we imagine it or will it all ends into an Orwellian nightmare?
What I am not saying is that we should be bleak about the factors and the injustice that is happening worldwide. It’s natural to react to people losing their lives and people living under circumstances way beyond what we should wish for our worst enemy. More of what I am asking for both parties in a discussion, as viral as the discussions between pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. Act real please! You both can’t have all the information and the whole facts on the situation on the ground. The last piece of the history we got is from the last strongest part, which took the core measurement and got on top.
The, Who? Where? What? We all live in different places all around the world. We have had different teachers, different parents, different childhoods, eaten all kind of foods, drinking local kind of drinks, being a part of some faith, political views, this all will be a part of margins of error in our judgment on recent events. Wouldn’t we hear a different view on Russian annexation from a Slovakian then a brother from Greece? Wouldn’t the thoughts on Ukraine be different seen by a brother in Sierra Leone versus Chinese? It might be the same even, but if the context and our luggage in our mind and our conscious should have any indication, then it should at least differ a bit.
The stories from direct line might be tainted as much as the outsiders discussing it. They have deal with losses, with victories and also being in the fire day after day. We from afar can never feel that pain or loss. That’s another reason why we should be a bit careful to discuss the matter at hand.
Especially we all should know that when we pick and make cases, articles, blogs, we’re all usually picking certain links and quotes. Or copy/pasting certain sources and making a case on the matter. To put our view into the world and develop a understanding on the matter from the different places and writers, journalist and commentators, as I do often, I hope they have caught and asked the right questions to the ones close to the matter at hand. So the story will not only be shallow piece. But actually something that shade a little bit of light on the matter at hand. I know in my pieces that I am biased. If a writer says that they are neutral. Then their lying to you and most importantly; nobody can be non-biased. You can work towards that goal. It’s a nice mission, but kind of impossible. More impossible then a mix of Matrix, Mission Impossible and Crank movies into wild goose chase where none of the actors can’t see the forest for the trees.
So please when we discuss matter that are deep, conflicted and sometimes out of reach where our knowledge doesn’t stand to deep. Could we please take a few sips of brew, before we throw stones, then since we’re sitting and drinking the brew (we might start to actually have a conversation…).
Cousineau, Phil – ‘The Oldest Story In the World’ (Utgiver: 2010) Phil Cousineau.
Pilger, John – ‘The real first casualty of war’ (24.04.2006) Link: http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-real-first-casualty-of-war
Wikiquote – ‘Hiram Johnson’ (13.04.2014) Link: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hiram_Johnson