Did they just forget?
Back in the country
as the requiem mass was ongoing
the bereaved, utterly blanketed with grief
stark misery in their eyes
cursing the three-decade-plus regime
bitterness welling up
as the vicar was pronouncing coldly
“dust to dust”
(cry, our much-loved country)
and far away, in the land of impala
the executers, seated in the comfort of five-star hotel
were enjoying lip-smacking nyama choma,
cold Guinness in the company of hot babes
drinking a toast to a mission well-executed
but, did they just forget
that the lives of the nonconforming ones matter?
Hmm, did they just forget,
that each of the slain,
detained and crippled royal guards,
had children to school,
invalid parents to medicate
and big life dreams
for our motherland?
Well, I’m just here wondering
when they set out to
miles and miles past Mityana
did they realize that
the ones they slew
were more patriotic
who call the House of
(How? You may ask)
But, don’t you see civilians fighting
for lawful ideologies and hearing?
Saying NO to a Banana republic
or did you just forget
that those who call House of State home
remain mum as the
cancer of corruption, despotism
and partiality eat away a
once healthy nation?
I’ll ask once more
and don’t say
I’m just politicking!
For I’m in no doubt
that this verse
isn’t about the party one is affiliated to
but about how to handle dissenting voices!
But our people, did they really forget
and now they’re wondering
how they can undo this history
Sorry, I mean
that has turned a mystery?
Dissenting voices in the capital!
Dissenting voices in the party!
Dissenting voices in parliament!
Dissenting voices in the villages!
Dissenting voices that may lead to a
revolution some day.
Kariuki wa Nyamu, a passionate Kenyan poet, radio playwright, editor, translator and high school teacher, earned a Bachelor’s in English, Literature and Education from Makerere University, Uganda. His poems won The National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) Literary Awards ‒ 2007 and in 2010, while in third-year, he won Makerere University Creative Writing in the Contemporary World Competition for the best collection of poems. He is published widely both in print and online, in anthologies such as A Thousand Voices Rising, Boda Boda Anthem and Other Poems, Best New African Poets 2015 Anthology, Experimental Writing: Volume 1, Africa Vs Latin America Anthology, Best New African Poets 2016 Anthology, Africanization versus Americanization: Volume 1, Africa Vs North America Anthology, Writing on Language, Culture and Development: Volume 1, Africa Vs Asia Anthology, The Mamba Journal for African Haiku: Issue IV, besides co-authoring a Children’s poetry and short story anthology titled When Children Dare to Dream. He emerged the overall winner of Babishai Niwe 2017 Haiku Prize. He is presently pursuing a Master’s in Literature at Kenyatta University, Kenya.