By Bethsheba Achitsa with Ogova Ondego
Published October 24, 2008
Prolific Kenyan writer, David G Mailu, popularly referred to as Father of Popular Literature for his much maligned but highly popular publications such as Unfit for Human Consumption, My Dear Bottle and After 4.30, has a new book out that could aptly be titled Maillu’s Lamentations without getting out of sync.
In the book titled Behind the Presidential Motorcade that was published in 2008, Maillu catalogues what he terms as his suffering under Kenya’s three post-colonial governments of Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
In the 236-page book that he dedicates to the ‘Judiciary of Republic of Kenya’, Maillu writes how he got into self-publishing after his writing had been discriminated against by the then British colonial and neo-colonial system and how his publishing house, that he refers to as his intellectual enterprise, was destroyed by tribalism, corruption, materialism and racism practised by the Kenyan state.
Accordingly, he appeals ‘to the citizens’ public court for justice’ he feels he has been denied by the state.
Unlike Judge Phillip Waki whose commission of inquiry into the post-December 2007 election violence in Kenya over the disputed presidential poll sealed the names of the people alleged to have perpetrated the violence so they may be released only to a tribunal or the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Maillu does not fight shy of dropping the names of the people he says have been behind his suffering. And they read like the who-is-who of Kenya’s political, legal and economic might.
It is sympathy that Mailu is likely to evoke from the reader when one reads that even after the loan lender had caused his assets to be confiscated by auctioneers, the lender–a publicly-owned enterprise–demanded that he repay the full loan.
Mailu blames the government for all the problems that he faces and even when his German wife fails to secure a job at the German Development Cooperation (GTZ) he sees it as one of the many plans of the Kenyan government to destroy him.
Maillu has also gone online with a brand new website, davidgmaillu.com, through which he hopes to reach many more people across the globe.
But Behind the Presidential Motorcade is not just about Maillu’s lamentations. Reading through this book, one also gets to know writer, musician, artist, theologian, and political activist Maillu better and the philosophy behind his works.
When his ‘holy’ book, Ka: The Holy Book of Neter, was published, it received a lot of criticism from Christians, particularly the Roman Catholic Church whose then presiding head, arch-bishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana ‘anzeki, cautioned Christians against the book for allegedly contradicting the Christian faith.
Though Behind the Presidential Motorcade sets out to highlight Mailu’s plight, it ends up giving the reader more than this. It looks at spiritual, social and political issues as well. Maillu calls upon Africans to adopt a political system based on gender and age.
The manifesto of his Communal Democracy Party of Kenya (CDK)–under whose aegis the book was published–says that there should be three political parties in Kenya: one for the men, another for women and the third one for the youth. This is to ensure that all the groups are represented in parliament.
The title ‘Behind the Presidential Motorcade’ does not really reflect what the book is about. At face value one would be driven to read the book to know what the presidential motorcade is all about and the snares of working behind it.
Is Behind the Presidential Motorcade (also rendered on the spine as Behind the Presidential Escort) a political tool by Maillu to be elected President of Kenya, his lamentations of persecution by the state notwithstanding? And is this the best way to campaign for elective public office?
Apart from the likes of Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, lawyer Mutula Kilonzo, writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and politicians John Michuki, Matu Wamae and Paul Joseph Ngei, it is better you read the paperback to see who else features in the Lamentations of David G Maillu, PhD, African Literature and Political Philosophy.