Thursday, May 29, 2008

Roots of the Rift Valley violence - Kalenjin and Kikuyu

Land and water rights in the Rift Valley lie at the heart of the post-election violence. But there's something deeper and less material going on as well, according to this detailed and thoroughly researched article by Horace Njuguna Gisemba. It implies that something in the "soul" (?) of some young Kalenjin men has made them bloodthirsty attackers of non-Kalenjin, and particularly of Kikuyu. Certainly, the Kalenjin were brutally treated by the British a century ago. Punitive expeditions massacred about 1000 Kalenjin warriors at the end of the nineteenth century, and the account by Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen (who murdered the Nandi leader during a meeting) makes chilling reading (Kenya Diary). But Gisemba implies there was organization behind the anti-Kikuyu violence and says we'll have to wait for the findings of the proposed Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. That could take years: I'd like to hear from an alternative viewpoint.

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