I did not participate in this demo but I supported it whole heartedly – however I am very disappointed by the manner in which it was conducted. Such a pity when we had the full support of Kenyans and actually even of the Executive, a very rare situation. I have always understood mass action to be a form of non-violent protest but what transpired on Tuesday certainly did not meet those standards.
Non-violent protest from what I know is highly disciplined, meticulously planned and well organised. It is democratic in that all those who participate in it have access to its programme and therefore participate knowingly. There is no place here for ‘surprises’. For maximum effect it needs to be singularly focussed – the message must be clear and unequivocal. It is not even always necessary to have speeches as placards can say it all; it is the citizens’ spirit of self-sacrifice demonstrated by their determination and quiet resolve which breaks down the walls of resistance, draws others to their cause and shames the perpetrators. AND it is a collective effort, not an individual endeavour.
On Tuesday the pigs + blood not only outraged the Muslims and the KSPCA, it totally subverted the message and purpose of the demonstration. National and international news has focussed on the pigs; there has been no discussion of the merits of our demands. Is this what was intended? The sad truth is that the (M)‘pigs’ had the day, we lost out. And to top it all there was neither decorum nor dignity nor a sense of responsibility. The pigs and their handling was gross. Did we have to behave so rowdily and provoke the police? Why did we deny MPs their right to access their place of work? I have no doubt there are some MPs who agree with us – does this kind of behaviour help to win them over? And is it a must that every demonstration to be successful must include arrests by police?
My conclusion: Mass action is the way ahead and the sooner we learn and master the science of non-violent protest the better.