Monday, January 28, 2008

In a nutshell...

What's going on in Kenya is crazy, to say the least. As the human Rights Commission comes out and declares they have evidence of the violence being preplanned and financed by some known opposition members, few if any are surprised. The one thing that is clear to anyone thinking clearly is that Kenya will never be the same again, not for another entire generation and perhaps two.

2007 is not 1963
Hear me clearly Kenyans. It is ridiculous and rudimentary to attempt to resolve disputes from some then prominent members of our country that emerged in 1963, or 10 years after that in this way. I am told Kalenjins are fighting for land that was given to kikuyus in the rift valley, yet the rift valley belongs to them. A few considerations I'd like endorsed to this argument.

Let it be noted that I write this article with great awareness that kikuyus came across formal land documents and other formal documents much sooner. However, I've said it before, that kikuyus were direct beneficiaries of the colonialist. As much as they had been the greatest oppressed by the same. That history has kikuyus as the overwhelming majority of the mau mau warriors, is a direct result of these facts. They affect everything else and thus cannot be ignored.

1.Assuming that it is true kikuyus were given land in rift valley, a few factors need to be considered. First and foremost, those who now own land in rift valley have mostly bought it from other owners. They cannot be expected to relinquish their hard earned investments and think that everything is fair and just. Secondly, the land if assigned was assigned as unclaimed land. I don't recall anyone complaining that people were kicked out. Given the population then, this makes sense. And what does it mean that the Rift Valley belongs to the Kalenjins? Rift valley was divided based on the fact that Kalenjins lived there? what about the other tribes?

2.Issues of inequality from prior regimes are common in every community. The one point that's evident in this issue is that it has never been possible to resolve it within different generations. It is why the blacks of the US never got 40 acres and a mule. Because to do that, one would have to take land away from others who own it to compensate those who think they deserve it. Two wrongs never a right made.

3. Justice, really? Say this land had been given to more than just kikuyus as a tribe, who is to say that your grandfather or other relative, you the regular mwananchi, was going to be allocated land? To get my point, how many kikuyus had land allocated to them? So you tell us this is a tribal thing. We tell you grow up! This is an elitist thing. People looking after each other as they know each other. Standard in every community, modern or otherwise. Comparison? Ask George Bush's cronies about the past 7 years. But more to my exact discussions. When the violence is aimed and targeted at regular kikuyus, who were not related or friends of Kenyatta, who have had to earn every penny of their livelihoods, never were allocated land, how then do you justify this to them?

4. My opinion? People are being used to fight personal wars. It is possible that Jaramogi should have been allocated land as part of the inner circle but had a fallout with the powers that were. Hence the feeling that he was robbed which he successfully passed on to his relatives. True. He might have been "robbed" by his cronies, as quite frankly was every other regular Kenyan, kikuyu or not. So when you're all out with machetes drawing innocent blood, remember this has nothing to do with you. You have been used to settle an old score. And not even as a brave heroic person would. As cowards and idiots. If this war is about being robbed off land by Kenyatta, take it to the Kenyattas. You'd still be wrong then (people cannot be held accountable for their father's mistakes), but at least you'd be closer to making sense.

Missing Link:
I've had my ear on the ground and I must say after I've heard everything from insiders of both parties, campaigners and affected persons and other people involved from various circles, I fully think that I have the whole story. As we all know by now, this bloodshed was coming regardless of who won elections so hopefully we've all stopped hiding behind the facade of this being election violence.

Intriguingly, the one thing that does not make sense is this. What is it that makes people who were ODM supporters unable to condemn these killings out loud and clear as the norm? why the double standards? Through inductive reasoning as I've listened to many speak, Ive come to believe that there were huge promises made to a section of the non kikuyu educated younger elite. what fuddles me completely is having picked on how ludicrous some of these promises might have been, how were these people brainwashed to believing them possible? I'm talking about promises of ridiculous positions in internationally owned companies amongst other "slips of the tongues' that have given some of this stuff away. The missing link is what exactly was promised and how was it going to be achieved? Because to any smart mind, even a dictator couldn't achieve most of these promises for anybody. How then, were these people I would consider somewhat smarter deceived to this extent?

or is it possible that educated persons could actually think of ethnic cleansings as acceptable in this day and age?

Lazy not oppressed:
Many will be offended by the following, but it's my honest opinion. Assuming people weren't being paid ksh 200 a day to pick up machetes and go kill others, and they were out because they really believed they have been robbed off land and whatever else, I'd still hold the sentiment that these are lazy persons. Considering point no. 3 above, where I have stated that if unfair land allocation was done by Kenyatta, it is likelier that your clan would still have gotten nothing (it aint about tribes, just friends). So instead of watching your neighbors wealth, start thinking about how to make your own. Stop trying to get rich the easy way. Start working at getting rich. Which means this:

Sequester yourself as an individual in your mind. Analyze your current position. then your intended position and situation. Then identify the obstacles between your and your goals. And then devise plans to tackle obstacles (training, loans,...) and then embark on this journey. Let your only comparison be to yourself, where you're coming from and where you're headed to.

Remember that there always will be those richer than you, as well as those poorer than yourself. So stop comparing yourself to others and live your life.

Taking what people have worked hard for on any given day is theft. Killing them for it, well...

Cultivate a desire to work hard for your wealth, your promotion. The very same reasons we fight corruption. Leave the free things. They're never that free in the long run.

I strongly believe adopting this attitude would make one less susceptible to the opinions and propaganda dished out in daily life and more importantly, would engage one's mind into the needs of humanity, not adjectives that describe human beings (such as tribal inflections). Hence would make a better human being altogether.

I'm aware how much better likable this post would be if it was calling for the coming together of people et al. Well, truth be told, we are past that point, the real issues have to be addressed. There is hate in Kenya. And its origins have to be identified if these issues are ever going to be resolved.

There's also a need for people to stop trying to be right (especially about events of the 1960s, where there is no way to evidence truth), and start working on being effective. It's the difference between successful regimes, countries and individuals and those not.

And then there is the simple point of probability. You know, the if there are 30 green balls, 10 red and 5 blue in a jar, which are you likeliest to pick reasoning. Applying this to work places in Kenya might explain why they seem to be more kikuyus in work places. Especially when you not only consider population, you also consider proximity to the city hence their numbers in the city as compared to others.

I'm struggling with the total loss of all reasoning I'm observing by many educated people. It's either that or the fact that I've been mingling with some folk filled with real hatred for my tribe, completely unaware of it, and I am now in many ways traumatized by human behaviour,; one of these two scares me the most about Kenya right now.


Mkenya Kamili said...

Stop beating about the bush and call a spade a spade bwana! This is the same colonialist mentatilty the British used to occupy land owned by Kenyans.

Rift Valley was stolen and occupied by the British who sat on it until Kenyatta took over and decided to portion off land and give it to his own tribe. What siasa is this you are preaching ati land was no claimed?

You must be sick in the head to imagine any African let alone Kenyan can take your cheap tribal nonsense into consideration. Whether land is used for farming or housing or let fallow it is no excuse to claim it and put in your name if you did not own it.

The violence was caused by rigging and stealing elections. The ethnic problems in Rift Valley are mainly because of Kalenjins losing their land to people from Kenyatta's region. Ask 90% of Kenyans and it is the same story.

Kababu said...

You said-

"Cultivate a desire to work hard for your wealth, your promotion. The very same reasons we fight corruption. Leave the free things. They're never that free in the long run."

Since independence who is always killing and robbing people in Nairobi and other towns and taking what they considder to be "FREE" yet it is other Kenyans that work hard for it?
Who is robbing banks every day? mugging innocent Kenyans and tourists? stealing, stealing non stop stealing...hata elections and land, kwani this stealing never ends??????

acolyte said...

Lazy not oppressed
That is a very narrow short sighted statement to say the least. What you are basically saying is that Kikuyus are hardworking and smart while everyone else is lazy.
Kikuyus have had the good luck to have access to many resources and proximity to markets but this in no means says everything came easy to them but can you compare them and the people in North Eastern at the same level?
Also we all know that much as Indians make it nigh impossible for Africans to break into certain businesses, it is the same with Kikuyus. They have been stalwarts and back each other up in certain business sectors so if you want to get started in that area chances are high you will have to buy your goods from a kikuyu supplier who most probably will charge you more than he charges his kikuyu brother so what happens is that you start at a disadvantage and fail. Fact is that that example is just the tip of the ice berg.
WE cant condone what is happening to Kikuyus and begrudge them for their hard work but we can look at the causes of any injustices that people feel and fix that state of affairs where possible because this has been simmering for a very very long time.

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Daudi said...

....history has kikuyus as the overwhelming majority of the mau mau warriors, is a direct result of these facts... Once again are not helping the situation. are such a lazy historian.The British would have had no problem killing the mau mau for as long as they had to. What do you have to say about the Indians and Jangos who lobbied in England for independence? Pio Gama Pinto, Argwings Kodthek, Tom Mboya. What about the other tribes that resisted the British? The people who got detained with Kenyata et al? Historically by the way, they feared the Maasai more than they did the Mau Mau. What did they get for their troubles? Jaramogi did not just get 'robbed' as you call it by his cronnies..he was betrayed. He GAVE UP the presidency so that Kenyatta could be president. Sound familiar? The one thing I consistently get from your opinions is that Kiuks are somehow such great, hardworking people who gave us independence while the rest are lazy people who had nothing to do with the end of colonialism. And as such, they should just live with the status quo. Ok.. It's all just your opinion though..

Thomas said...

I am surprised that there is evidence that ODM members are instigating violence. I am even more surprised that these people are known and Kibaki's "duly elected" administration has not apprehended and brought charges against them.

As regards history, Kenya has no statute of limitations, so crimes and transgressions as old as 44 years can be revisited. Jean Marie Seroney and Chelagat Mutai actively warned Kenyatta and his land buying schemes that he was treading into uncharted and dangerous waters with his land grabbing shenanigans in the Rift Valley, even as he and his inner circles threw crumbs of Rift Valley land the way of Kikuyu peasants, whose land in Central was already grabbed by the same group of land grabbers, for peanuts or nothing. The Rift Valley indigenes(Kalenjins, Maasai) were mostly ignored, perhaps because, going by your logic,they did not affect everything. Seroney was detained by Kenyatta for championing Kalenjin rights to the land.

Kenyatta and his inner circle of course grabbed the lion's share of this land. They did this using tax-payer's money, advanced by Britain for settler farmers that were leaving. There is no question that Kenyatta abused his power and laid the seed for the current mayhem. There is also no question that the question of land and landlessness in the Rift Valley must be addressed sooner rather than later. It certainly cannot be brushed under the carpet. I doubt telling the victims of this daylight robbery and their descendants to get off their lazy asses and work harder is the solution. Something needs to be done about it or we can throw our hands up in the air and expect violent evictions every 5 years. One possible solution would involve beefing up security every 5 years and shooting any lazy-ass that tries to evict the hard-working Kikuyus. Thats not viable so this historical injustice must be addressed by other means.

The solution will have to include painful choices by both sides. There is no question of someone having his cake and eating it in this dispute. Otherwise it will come down to all-out war and winner takes all situation. This is regardless of the election outcome. Needless to say, the theft of the election is what triggered the latest round of violence. The people's grievances against the election theft cannot be dismissed as a mere facade. This is precisely what PNU and its propagandists are trying to paint it at the risk of dragging the entire country down a rat-hole. Does it not surprise you, all the resources and zeal in place to suppress legitimate protest and the sheer inadequacy when it comes to protecting Kenyans being evicted from their properties by armed killers? Kenyans are determined to set an example to the rest of Africa as well as future leaders that stealing an election is a very costly affair.

Also, you don't need to soil Jaramogi's name just to defend the status quo. Odinga remains one of Kenya's history most principled and heroic nationalists in the same league as Nelson Mandela. Odinga did not fall out with Kenyatta because he had been denied land.

Lastly I have a couple of questions that could help you get a better context of people's grievances. Why do you support Mau Mau? Do you know they killed a couple of innocent settlers whose only fault was to be hard-working farmers in the Central highlands? Do you think it was okay for the white settlers to continue occupying Kenyan land instead of the "jealous lazy natives"? If not, why not? Do you realize most of these whites were advanced cheap loans by Britain and bought the land from the British crown? Do you realize the hard-working Kikuyus were fed up with the state of affairs and telling them to get off their lazy asses and work was just adding fuel to the fire?

Anonymous said...

I have learnt that most of you are blaming the RiftValley land occupation on Kenyatta. You are all Very wrong, Kikuyus occupied the Rift long before Kenyata was known in Kenya, and Kenyatta stole from the Kikuyus as well. He was just a big land thief as a person. Just a tip of the Ice.

1.On Monday Daily metro ran a story of two very old love birds, the man was born in Njoro in 1922.

2. Yesterday I went to lay to rest the father of my Kikuyu friend, who died on a short illness in Nairobi, He was born in 1945 in Kipkelion, Kericho. He attended local schools including Kericho boys and only moved to Nairobi after he was posted in 1972. His Mother attended the burial, she had come from the IDP camp in Nakuru, after she was displaced in Kipkelion this January. She was born in Kipkelion and she vows to go back there, its her home.

3. My former UoN colleague had their house burnt down in Eldoret in the night of 29th December, a night b4 the results were announced. Her father moved to Eldoret as a TSC teacher in 1978, he married and setlled there, they were blessed with 3 beautiful girls who they brought up and schooled in Eldoret. With their hard earned TSC/nursing money, they bought land and built a house, they took their children through good education. Their house was torched down.

5. I schooled in Koibatek district (then Baringo District, in Primary School) and we always wondered why streams reduced upwards. Most Kalenjins quit school after circumcision, by std 6, there were 2 kalenjin family's in school. the rest were Kikiyu, Kisii and Luhya.When they complain about unequal distribution of resources I often wonder how, they had the best equiped schools then, and it was early 90's am yet to see one such public primary school in Nairobi as the one I attended.

6. Please concentrate on empowering and enlighting the rural folks on how to move from where they are to their desired points rather than using them as tribal hatred agents. this leaves them more and more poorer. show them the way and they will make it! Our people are perishing for lack of Knowledge!!!!

7. Many of the bloggers here have gone to school and have been exposed to development, we all know that it takes, self assesment, goal setting, risk mitigation, faith and believe in self and commitment to develop, this applies to all individuals, companies, Governments ...... This is the only message we should be taking to the rural areas and leading the way by examples that can be emulated!!!!

8. Lets remember that what we wish unto ourselves is what happens to us! if we keep lamenting and complaing, we will remain in our state. Take responsibility personally and lead the Way!!!!!!

Onyango Jakano said...

I agree with most of you even though you all have divergent views. In my opinion this issue that has degenrated into violence was definitely triggered by the flawed election and this in turn churned up some deep seated unresolved issues. I think the issues resulting in the current meltdown are very complex and not a very simple black and white case of land got stolen and people are fighting because of that.

Ultimately there's a little bit of truth in most of your comments, i.e
1. Land was grabbed in R.Valley and distributed to Kenyatta and cronies and some of his people.
2. There have been Kikuyus living in R.Valley for a long time too and R.Valley isn't just for Kales and Maasais.
3. There are also plenty of Kikuyus and other non Kales/Maasais who have bought land legitimately in R.Valley through hard earned money - after all if you can afford it you can buy land most anywhere in Kenya.

However there is also cases of people being displaced and land being grabbed from legitimate owners whether they be Kalenjins or Kikuyu. Kenyans have been living under a severely flawed political system where there is no accountability at all for the actions of the ruling elite. This has created a severe imbalance of wealth, resources, education, etc. These injustices are affecting all Kenyans. True there are many wealthy Kikuyus, but there are far more poor Kikuyus than there are wealthy ones.

Poverty knows no bounds or language, where there is poverty you find similar patterns of crime, violence and despair - regardless of where you are.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that people are misdirecting their anger and chasing ghosts which many people don't even comprehend. I guarantee you, many of the youth fighting and killing innocent civilians don't even know what they are really fighting for. Many of these youths are so young that they cannot comprehend the complex issues that happened some thirty something odd years ago. They are simply following the instructions of leaders who have their own vested interests in inciting violence. Again, many of these youths are suffering from poverty, despair and a lack of education - this is a way for them to lash out at the system.

I urge you all to desist from making a deeply complex issue into a simple black and white case. You can't just come and pluck a kikuyu or luo or whomever from their land that they bought legitimately just becuase they are not native to that region. Land issues cannot be resolved through forceful evictions as we are witnessing now. What's the point of calling yourself Kenyan if you can't live anywhere in Kenya other than your native land? Land discrepancies will only be resolved peacefully and after the issue has been thoroughly investigated and viable solutions formulated for all parties involved.

We have it all wrong, we are fighting each other instead of fighting the political system that has allowed injustice, unnaccountaiblity and poverty to foster in Kenya.

Thomas said...


People are fighting because of land, the stolen election having provided the trigger. They were banking on ODM's well thought out land policy to address this issue once and for all. PNU does not even care about the land issue. It is not such a complicated thing. Of course everybody knows there are non-rift Valley natives who have bought land legitimately. Some of them may indeed be among the displaced. This does not change the fact that there is a crisis in the Rift Valley as a result of the land policies of the previous administrations. This must be addressed ASAP if only to avoid the disintegration of the country. The reason most of the people in the Rift Valley are landless is because their land was unfairly taken away from them or their ancestors. I don't care what you say, but the chips are falling place and the chickens are coming home to roost for the policies of the previous administrations. Seroney, JM Kariuki among others tried to warn these fools.

I disagree with your suggestion that poverty breeds violence and crime. I tend to think inequity in access to resources, injustice among other factors to be a better candidates for that. There are so many poor countries in the world that have never experienced violence on any significant scale. You also glibly dismiss the knowledge of those youths. Have you talked to any of them yet? You will be amazed at how much these "riff-raff" know. Just because they are poor does not make them fools.

Mimmz said...

Greatly intrigued by all your opinions. And glad that we can all discuss these things now.

I often say the future is what counts. The past is unchangeable. It should be left alone.

Many continue to argue that violence against kikuyus is justified because of the sins of kenyataa and peers. To put it honestly, it is a most ignorant and unrespectable remark to many a kikuyu who has never received a single thing for free. Which makes it the majority of them.

Besides, if these was really about settling that problem, which one of all the machete weilding madmen will be given the "reclaimed" land? Unless of course they intend to turn against each other with the same machetes and reduce the numbers and then perhaps divide the land more reasonably then.

My point being that this violence definitely is not the solution, kicking people out of their properties isn't either; and it is largely barbaric and unforgiveable, no matter what.

And I insist that there needs to be a humanitarian education amongst kenyans. To think that people can take machetes against other people for any one of their beliefs, justified or not... I'm sure that somehow defines terrorism in all its colors.

And as I often say in this blog, freeedomn is a choice. It can only be given to you upto a certian point. And the rest of it, you just have to CHOOSE to take it.

Difficult as this may be to hear, many are oppressed, but not by kikuyus. They are oppressed by the words they've heard from their relatives. Many have grown up in competition with kikuyus, who have not been competing with anyone, because they havent been told that they have to. But when you've been taught to believe that when going to an interview you're in competition with a kikuyu, not because they showed up to apply for the position, but because they are kikuyu, it does take away from your freedom. The freedom to just concentrate on understanding the job requirements and perfecting your interview skills, and channels that energy to comparing your abilities with the perceived competition outside of normal bounds, who then ends up with the upper hand for lacking distractions.

Sometimes you just take free. You try to see the world outside of what you have been taught to believe and give it a chance. It might surprise you.

So to many, try to start viewing Kenya in a new light, one where you can discover its opportunities and problems through experience and presence, not through hearsay and expectations that you can't prove outside of "so and so said".

My prayers go to those with unredeemable losses, especially in the lives of loved ones.

Home is where there is peace of mind and the freedom to prosper without being attacked for it. Even it be a treetop or a rock in the middle of an ocean.

Will Kenya ever be homely to many again? I wonder!

mkenya said...

At this moment when my people are crying and dying. I really dont see any sense from any of you. I dont care at all. We have been preaching peace for th epast 2 months but nothing. This are all grown-ups we talk about peace to. So what now? Anyone out there who want to change history? Kikuyu, Kenyatta, Kalenjin, Masaai,The British colonies....whoever and whatever.....I learned my history in school I still have a choice to learn it from the blogs but That does not and should not give people a choice to justify killing my mum or dad. I do not care who stole what from who It does not justify any form of crime what so ever. If any of the kenyans out there think that they now have a right to kill, rape or do whatever crimes out there just because some feel oppressed. God Damn It Get over It!