Dear Kenya:

Somehow, two men accused of crimes against humanity, have been nominated to run for president and vice president in next year’s general election. I say “somehow” because it happened while we were awake, while we were watching, and even with our approval.

These men declared themselves African patriots and identified the ICC as an imperialist agent. Their nomination is understood as a fight for African justice against Western interference. They are our flag bearers. Our warriors. Our heroes.

Something happened in 2007-2008. Between December 2007 and February 2008, many people were killed, many others displaced, while conspirators capitalized on this instability to create a political system they could inhabit and control. Contrary to what we have been told, we have not moved to a new generation of rulers. The foot soldiers have moved into the throne room. And they know the value of money and violence.

We have been told that deals were made, talks were had, discussions were staged. Away from the public eye. We have been told that such deals will avert violence. Deals made in private rooms will save Kenya and will help to implement a constitution that is, supposedly, by and for we the people.

We were taught that our cosmology consists of the living, the unborn, and the ancestors. If we respected the ancestors, then the living and the unborn would be safe. This cosmology has nothing to say about the dead, the murdered, the raped, the immolated, the killable, and the dead-dead. Killed once by election violence and killed again by our forgetting.

Elections are for the living. They are not for the dead-dead.

Something happened.

Once, we hoped that the dead would find justice, or be remembered. We hoped that we could help them move from the limbo of the violated-forgotten to the world of the ancestors. That they might come to forgive us in time. We believed we owed them something.

Something happened.

Two men accused of crimes against humanity are running for the highest political offices in Kenya.

Somewhere, a choir of ghosts is keening.

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