By Gaudence Were,
September 17th 2017
Malcolm X makes a speech on November 10, 1963 titled “Message to the Grassroots.” In his speech, he begins by urging all African Americans to put their differences aside because they all suffer for the same reason. He goes on to state that all African Americans share a common enemy, the white man. He continues to speak of the 1955 Bandung conference where the African and the Asian nations had a common enemy— the Europeans. Although this speech is context specific, its message remains alive and relevant decades on. Malcolm X further goes on to speak of the house Negro and the field Negro. Whereas the house Negro thinks there would be no better place to run to, the field Negro would run away the moment he got the chance to. He states that the black man who works amongst white people and is proud to be the only black person in his workplace is a house negro while the black masses are the field negroes.
What every Kenyan seeks to enjoy each and every single day is an environment conducive to all regardless of tribe or religion. Every Kenyan wants to do what they will and successfully run their businesses. That is why the 2002 general elections rubberstamped Kenya as a true democratic nation. The general elections were lauded for being free and fair. Mwai Kibaki was elected the president of Kenya by a landslide. Daniel Moi’s 24-year presidency was brought to an end in a year of hope for each and every citizen of the nation. In 2002, there was hope in the leaders themselves because they promised a new dawn. The masses spoke in one voice and tumbled over one party’s reign.
Currently, leaders have divorced themselves from their core responsibilities and the citizenry has recoiled back to the shell of either house Negro or field Negro. The fields Negroes are the mass of low-income earners. Economic surges and bad leadership directly affect them. They need money more than they can work for it. They come out and demonstrate and question accountability and stand up to uphold integrity and adherence to due procedure. The house Negroes on the other hand seek refuge in their differences. House Negroes think that a re-election is an inconvenience to their lives and needs to be done and over with. They do not seek to understand the underlying issues that need to be solved to have a stable economy and a truly peaceful nation. House Negroes would rather firmly shut their eyes in church and pray and believe than actively petition for the removal of bad leaders from office. House Negroes are silent on negative ethnicity but are subconsciously so tribal that they would not consider issue-based politics. House Negroes are educated but have made no attempt to reconstruct and protect social institutions that are the very foundation upon which a truly democratic state stands. As things stand, the field Negro is working more than the elite keyboard warrior.
The writer is a Student at the Kenya Law School and a Youth social justice crusader.