Friday, January 04, 2008

What Does History Say?

When thinking about "what next" I decided to research some history. Welcome aboard for the ride, but I must warn you, it won't be very pleasant.

President Kenyatta had just settled for lunch at his Gatundu home. He had been entertained by traditional dancers from Kikuyu constituency. With him at the table were Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Central Provincial Commissioner Karuga Koinange, then Kikuyu MP Joseph Gatuguta and then Makuyu MP, Kariuki Njiiri. Then the call came. On the phone was Police Commissioner Bernard Hinga. His message: Economic Planning minister Tom Mboya had been shot in the city.


Remembers Gatuguta: "We all gazed at Kenyatta, speechless, until he said: We have to go on with the lunch. If it has happened there is nothing we can do about it."


That week, Kenya was in a state of ferment. Rioters took control of the capital Nairobi as ethnic hatred, especially between the Kikuyu and Luo communities took center-stage. Ethnic killings were reported in Kisumu and at Kangemi in Nairobi.


As tribal suspicions heightened, reports emerged about secret oaths in Mount Kenya region. During the oathing sessions called tea parties, vows were allegedly taken to the effect that the "presidency shall never leave the House of Mumbi and that the presidential motorcade shall never cross Chania River."

source: EA Standard

During the week of October 15, 1993 violence erupted in the Narok district of Kenya’s Rift Valley province. Maasai morans, or warriors, attacked immigrant Kikuyu settlers and massacred at least 17 of them in the first three days of the conflict. As the casualties mounted (16 more Kikuyus were killed in other parts of Narok), the rest of the Kikuyu population was forced out of the area and into refugee camps. This was, however, not just a typical case of ethnic cleansing, which had become almost routine since Kenya’s transformation to a multi-party political system began six years ago. Environmental concerns also played a central role. Only months before, the Narok County Council had declared Enoosopukia, the site of the conflict, a water catchment area and decreed that all inhabitants, mostly transplanted Kikuyus, had to leave. The local Maasai elites, supported by the central government, reacted harshly, expelling the Kikuyus.


With the advent of the new political system in 1991, both sides realized that multi-party elections would require ethnic-based parties. Leaders such as Ntimama, ethnic Maasai and Narok MP, took advantage of the new politics of ethnicity to unflinchingly defend the perceived interests of their nations against all others. Ntimama demanded that Kikuyus residing in his district support him at the polls. According to Ntimama, the Kikuyus had acquired their land by dubious means, cheating the illiterate Maasai out of their ancestral property. (Ntimama fanned the flames of ethnic hatred by making "blatantly inciting utterances at a public meeting, by saying that the non-Maasai living in Maasai land should respect the Maasai, and further warned that the title deeds owned and cherished by such non-Maasai were mere papers that could be disregarded at any time."
Source: ICE Case Studies


At Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 1:40:00 PM EST, Blogger Tamtam said...


This is chilling. Thank you for the walk back in time.


Post a Comment

<< Home