Friday, July 11, 2014

Kenya at the brink: Could the killings in Lamu & Msa turn into the hot rod that breaks the nation's back? Will you cry genocide after?

In Moi years, 1978 - 2002, and specifically in 1990, Paul Muite, a lawyer and formerly an elected politician used to say that one day, if Kenya continued to brook dictatorship, she would become like Somalia. The people said that was too far fetched. They laughed. That was then. Tonight we cry.

Today many agree that the current government is like Moi's and are not surprised it does not bend its ear easily to those who are not wearing electoral platform shoes and that is a choice Jubilee has made.

Its supporters cheer them on saying that this is right and fitting because they won the presidency (seen as one tribe) by a slim margin against those who wish to dialogue with them now (read the other tribes). But the dialogue issues for most Kenyans and not just the memorandum writing ones include a serious list of loss of life. 

Here we cannot jeer and cheer, but some of us are losing our souls and openly rejoicing in social media at the extinction of our 'enemies'. This hatred may not make faces bleed on Facebook but it stinks of the horrible ugly possibilities of humans against humans.

The deaths of over 70 people in Mpeketoni, Kenya, Lamu County have not been resolved. The president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta said - despite Shabaab owning up for the attack- this was the work of his political opponents, sadly you have to read here, the other tribes. But Shabaab do not claim terror where they are not involved. We are jolly well stoking our own fires.

In 2013 as Kenya voted the country was clearly ethnically divided, now we are hacked in deaths and burials and aspirations. Police are mentioned in the same breath as militia groups. 

Even our fear of the country breaking down does not seem to galvanize us into a national force for we cannot identify, due to the way we have carried out our politics, anything with a semblance to a common enemy. We feed and are our own enemy. We have shown Shabaab a way in via corruption and naive divisions. Lacked leadership in holding the nation as one. 

But was there really a chance for that after 2007 if those who went into power were already seen to have taken sides with their own, used tribal appeal to do whatever they did for the sake of power? Have we been naive? Did we fail the test of values and integrity so badly? Voices of wisdom were heard as those of condemnation.

Whoever said we needed anyone but elected people? The rest have no right to speak to power. Not that anyone has no flaws. Raila Odinga has them of course. He was not elected, we said and he accepted that. But he continues to have, like all of us, despite the existence of a senate and parliament, an eye, a voice and a keen following.  Those in power like to remind him he has none of these things. Kenya needs external help to recognize herself. 

None of this is new. We have been here before. We shed blood. Not even our own Nobel Peace Laureate could be heard for everyone who spoke was told they were speaking for a tribe So we are diagnosed already as people highly challenged by a common human ailment, the inability to hear themselves or see themeslves in their neighbors.

Killings in Kenya have not abated and more attacks have taken place in Pandanguo, also in the area. But these are the visible. Witnesses to the ICC and other people disappeared silently. Because of the visible massacres of Mpeketoni, arrests of politicians have been made, but police in the area are still under attack from someone and the civilians live in terrible fear. 

Just recently a study on the analysis of militia groups in Kenya was released by Mutahi Ngunyi and Dr. Katumanga in a well documented research. There are militia groups stalking Kenya as we tell each other - and government bids us-  keep quiet and not cover events in the media shortsightedly believing that our own criticism is a greater cause of crime than the reality of criminals, corrupt police and organised militias? Here

One would have thought this should have been connected with what the international media said it feared in March 2013 election time. All these gangs have not grown organically just in the last few months. 

It is said they were involved even in killings in 2007. The forme head of Mungiki Maina Njenga had an attempt on his life in May this year and he linked it to his possible or imagined role in the International Criminal Court. He said only an angel of God saved him from death. He got some consolation from Raila Odinga and the CORD team who are calling for dialogue. 

Yes Fr. Dolan spoke at a Christian burial but tonight it is our duty to ask why so many people of Muslim faith, their leaders and business men are dying in the name of terror. This priest who also writes said that his heart is heavy with burials day after day.

Many things are amiss and if we must go through this then let us at least know what reasons we can cite. 

We mourn to no end the shooting of Shahid Butt, business man and owner of Coast Modern Bus company. His death will shake Mombasa. Judging from the many concerns online tonight, his shooting is another reason to ask if the area will stabilise soon.

He had been accused of being a terrorist and we are non-violent, completely against terror, not confessing the same faiths but Kenyans in pain. Many people have been calling for reason and dialogue because of the high level of insecurity in Kenya. 

Leaders of different backgrounds but outstanding among them Raila Odinga have been saying repeatedly that the country cannot continue as it is. Media personalities have also expressed the down spiralling of Kenya's governance. I listened to a caller to a TV talk Show shakingly say she smelt genocide. This word and Rwanda as well as tribalism have never been so repeated in Kenya's history. 

And we ask, if you can see our government has lost reason and is not humbling itself to find out what is happening to the people of Kenya, are you waiting until we can cover a genocide in the media?

The international media expected bloodshed during the elections of 2013, some of them even found groups of people in training. Al Jezeera told us as much. Why will they not bring out such information early enough if it was hidden away for a clean election? I am now convinced that their fears were not baseless and that they could still connect the dots and save us from further bloodshed.

Today a Kenyan vessel has been seized 65 kilometers from Mogadishu and aboard it some Kenyans. The news of the shooting of Sahid Butt filtered in as Kenyans were listening to the news on the above.

There are questions. He is not the first prominent businessman to die in Mombasa Kenya recently. Senior Muslim clerics have also been killed. Someone dies monthly. No explanations are given.
 If he was supporting Shabaab, has Shabaab shot him dead? 

Since the president has said the killings at Lamu and this extends to Mombasa are not carried out by Shabaab but by Opposition politicians does this mean that rivalry in both business and power has hit a pitch that shows the country does not matter any more? Since the Mombasa Republican Council have been unhappy and would not like to be part of Kenya, what does all this imply?

Shabaab owned up for killings in Mombasa and said they were doing this because Muslims are being ill treated by the Kenyan government. If that is so, where do these killings of the prominent leave the poor and less protected? Can they sleep tonight or tomorrow night? There is runaway insecurity. Some describe Lamu as a war torn zone. 

Even those who defend the government vehemently have today dissented quite clearly with the President who posted on his FB page earlier his dinner in Kakamega with Muslims for IFTAR. The people asked him to sort out Lamu first before dining with the Muslims during their dinner of the fast time of Ramadhan. But that was done and photos are splashed in social media.

What is important is to know Kenyans are hard put to understand or to see the end of this insecurity and settle to work and rest. What if, God forbid, something more should happen? There is far too much rhetoric and demonizing of opponents for peace to prevail. We have to remember that killings, accidents can trigger genocides and civil wars. it is not consolation to remember how that happened in Rwanda and to witness what is going on in Palestine and Israel today.

I can only compare the mood in Kenya now to that before the violence of 2007. As early as June 2007 before Kenya experienced post election violence at the end of that year, the people were already disturbed. Some kept on saying all would be well until they saw fire.

 A nation haunted by many issues of injustice shakes. A nation seeking answers of many who have died in caused deaths that were never explained takes steps backwards often. And many will say that this is just a nation in transition and everything is normal.

I beg to differ. Kenya is badly shaken. The Jubilee government may be trying to do what it promised to do after its election but that is visible mainly to its voters and to those who keep insisting that all is well. There is a long list of disturbing issues. All of them are seeking for answers.

If all these challenges were to a government that has full moral authority perhaps one could continue just insisting that nothing is wrong and like Mollie in Animal Farm just working head down. But Uhuru Kenyatta's government has been weak from its foundation because it's two main people, he and his deputy have been cited for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. 

Their election in the circumstances was met with great euphoria at home by a vote that was mainly aligned ethnically, and referred to one analyst as the tyranny of numbers. It was a vote in defence of their own people and a vote for the same people's protection, a vote that will most likely always be stalked by fear. 

Has someone learned or have some groups including Shabaab learnt just how weak we are when our fault lines are magnified like the Rift Valley? If so what can we do without dialogue? How will the letter of the law help us if we refuse to listen to the panting breath of the others? Are we already divided at every level possible? And if we are, which seems the case, is the world out there so divided that we cannot hear their voices? 

Were they so cheated at African Union and at the UN that the only security that mattered was that of the president of Kenya and his immunity to the ICC because he was going to protect us from terror. 

With all that has happened to the Somalis of Kenya, the invasion of Somalia by Kenya on her own and later he joining of AMISOM to attack Shabaab in Somalia, the rounding up of Somalis sending them away from Nairobi, to Mogadishu  show reasons for terror seem to be increasing daily, not decreasing. That is what the only militia group that speaks back and to which we do not listen - Shabaab, is saying. That we do not care for Muslims.  

I know they have to find reasons to attack but we could be found standing cleaner and more focused if they have no reasons to trade with us or people to point such as the killed clerics and businessmen. But of course, we are a nation and we have to show everyone that we do not back down! We kill. 

Not that wildlife is spared either. Ivory poaching is running wild. Shabaab is said to be involved too. Cheap sugar is imported and dumped into the Kenyan market, Shabaab is involved too. the National Intelligence Service says it has no idea who does that. 

Everyone needs help in times of crisis, Kenya is in a crisis. Said in a childlike way, you come to see the elephants and wildlife, send word now to us. Send us healing. Don't send elders such as Desmond Tutu when it is too late for words! And certainly for tears.

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