Sunday, 10 February 2013

A poem for Adrian Muteshi

Adrian Muteshi at court.
I have written this poem for Adrian Muteshi, who has been going to court since the 2008 post-election violence for land he lost in Kenya’s Rift Valley to William Ruto, MP for Eldoret North. Written below in Kiswahili and then English.



Nasimama peke yangu, siyakini.

Siyakini mimi ni nani, sasa.

Kiswanja si kama pesa;
Si kama shillingi na fedha.

Nakataa malipo toka yeye, shetani langu. Pesa si kiswanja, haziwezi kuishi.

Je, pesa zinaweza kutembeza watoto wangu, kama kiswanja changu kimenitembeza mimi?

Je, pesa zinaweza kukua kama kiswanja kinaweza kukua,
            misimu ufuasi kama nyayo,
            kuzeeka na kurutubika, kama kicheko cha mke?

Kiswanja changu ni mzee wangu, kudumu na kusubiri;
Roho la kabila, na mawazo makubwa.

Hapa katika hakama ninakaa peke yangu, sina roho.

Tulipambana na miezi ya mapigiano, kaka ya Kenya alimpiga mwingine kwa sawa,
Kuua na kutoka,
kushika nchi.

Nchi yangu, kiswanja changu.

Kilishika pia. Kama mandazi toka mikono ya mtoto.

Lakini mimi si mtoto, na mikono haya ni nguvu zaida ya shetani lile limeona;
Mimi ni Mkenya mpya.

Katika hakama hili nasubiri kwa yeye, Ruto, shetani langu.

Jana alisema kwamba hawezi kuja kwa sababu shahidi lake alikuwa mgonjwa.

Leo anasema kwamba alinunua kiswanja changu na usawa,
            toka mke ambaye alikuwa na miaka sita kama kisa hiki kiko kweli.

Hajaona kwamba mimi si katika jana yake, hata mimi si katika leo yake.

Nimo katika kesho, na kwa hivyo hawezi kushinda. Jina langu ni Muteshi. Nasubiri katika hakama kwa sababu alfajiri ya Kenya itafika.

--

I stand alone, not sure.

Not sure of who I am, anymore.

Land is not like money;
It is not like notes and coins.

I refuse payment from him, my persecutor. Money is not land, it does not live.

Can money accompany my children, as my land accompanied me?

Can money change as land changes,
            seasons following like footsteps,
            ageing and enriching, like a wife’s smile?

My land is my elder, steadfast and sure;
A kindred spirit, with thoughts deep.

Here in court I stand alone, soulless.

Months of violence we faced, brother Kenyan turning on brother Kenyan,
To kill and chase away,
To take the land.

My land.

Taken too, like mandazi whipped from a child’s hands.

Yet I am no child, and these hands are stronger than my persecutor sees;
I am a new Kenyan.

In this courtroom I wait for him, Ruto, my persecutor.

Yesterday he said he could not come because his witness was sick.
Today he says he bought my land fairly,
from a lady who would have then been six years old if his story is true.

What he fails to see is that I am not in his yesterday and I am not in his today.

I am in the tomorrow, and that is why he cannot win. My name is Muteshi. I wait in the court room because Kenya’s dawn will come.