A lot of anger is going around about Winnie Byanyima standing surety for Mathew Kanyamunyu. Does Kanyamunyu have the right to bail? Absolutely. Does he have the right to sureties? Ofcourse. Does Winnie have the right to stand surety for anyone? Oh yes. As a leading opposition person, should she have stood surety for Kanyamunyu? That is what I am not sure about.
The Kanyamunyu case attracted a lot of sentimental sensationalism around the country. The case has become the prop for the tribalism, income inequality, injustice and broken systems that rake this country. Kanyamunyu has become the poster child for the injustices the privileged few subject the unprivileged many to. The case is no longer about Kanyamunyu. It is bigger than him and his co-accused. In such symbolic cases, we become so blinded by our ideological and political battles, we forget that there are people at the centre of it all. People that are fighting for their lives. People whose families will go the full mile to save them. And that is just wrong. Kanyamunyu and the others have become prawns in this big battle that is beyond their control and imagination. I am sure Kanyamunyu did not ask for this. Whether he committed the crime or not, he did not ask for this.
I am not defending Akena’s death and if the accused are fairly found guilty, by all means they should get what is coming to them. But if we give a damn about Akena receiving justice, if we give a damn about fixing the broken systems in our country, if we are not murderers ourselves, then we should give justice a chance. I know we have lost faith in our judiciary, but blind-folding it with our sensationalism does not help. Let us not worsen an already broken system with hand-tying the courts.
That said, Winnie being a politician, I think that was a suicidal decision. When you are on as high a pedestal as Winnie is, you lose the luxury of being rational like us normal folk. But life is about choices. Winnie is a smart woman. She knew what she was doing. She knew what stood to be lost. She knew how high the stakes were. She knew the storm would come. She could have chosen her political correctness, she could have chosen her partner’s (and by extension FDC’s and the Opposition’s) political ambition, she could have chosen the likelihood of calling our State House home, she could have chosen the brokenness of our country that she so strongly speaks against, or she could have chosen family. She chose family. It might cause us anger, resentment, feelings of betrayal and disappointment, but she chose family. Let us respect that. Let us move on.