Subalternity and Resistance in the Kenyan Political Autobiography: A Critical Look at Not Yet Uhuru and The Flame of Freedom
Rutere, Albert Mugambi
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An interrogation of the autobiographies by leaders who write from the margins of power show that subaltern political autobiographies inhabit a privileged position that enable one to see the effect of power on subaltern subjects. Their writings, thus, resist and mount a challenge to hegemonic structures that encroach and sustain the materiality of domination. In this regard, their political autobiographies can be said to be engaged in the quest for dismantling the silence of being the “Other.” This paper contends that the Kenyan subaltern political autobiographies are not merely literary but political acts, and examining these texts will lead to a better understanding of the current political frameworks that help in the conceptualizing the Kenyan nation. The unit of analysis will be two Kenyan political autobiographies, particularly Jaramogi Odinga‟s Not Yet Uhuru and Raila Odinga‟s The Flame of Freedom. Biographical method of analysis will be employed. The perspectives and experiences of Jaramogi and Raila are used as the basis for a critique of the dominant discourse of the post-independence political elites. In particular, the emergence of these autobiographical works is interrogated here as counter- narratives of Kenyan politics and society, alongside the persisting elite structures of politics and culture extending from the colonial through to the postcolonial eras. The analysis of the autobiographical reflections of Jaramogi and Raila demonstrate levels of resistance which have not been recognised until now.