It has been over a week since Kenya’s elections were held and Kenya is still burning. In my previous post, I worried that the infant violence at the time (Dec. 30) would last longer or even evolve into tribal or civil war. At this moment, part of my worry has largely become true – tribal war is now threatening Kenya’s statehood. Let me be clear: I was not predicting or expecting the violence to evolve into a full-blown tribal war and I am certainly not saying now ‘I told you so,’ but the fact is, Kenya is now more close to civil war than it had ever been.NY Times/AP
Like so many third world countries, Kenya was never a “prosperous” democracy as The Associated Press erroneously refers to in its infinite dispatches. However, Kenya was one of the most stable countries in Africa, certainly in East Africa. And like so many countries in East Africa, tribal animosities is just below the surface. It is only matter of time before that acid filled bottle of tribal animosities blows up with vengeance. It has happened in Kenya’s neighbors like Somalia and Sudan – and will certainly happen in Ethiopia as the majority Oromo and Amhara are being oppressed by Meles Zenawi.
I fear Kenya has reached its boiling point on Dec. 30, 2007 when the Electorate Commission of Kenya deliberately and knowingly declared the losing candidate, Mr. Mwai Kibaki the winner instead of the guy who people chose. At the time, I really believed Kenyans would swallow another blatant robbery of their votes, and for the sake of their country, look the other way, but apparently not this time. This anger and outrage has come to a full circle and it took over forty years – much, much longer than its neighbors. Needless to say, the anger and hatred toward the ruling Kikuyi tribe is in full display ever since Dec. 30, 2007. And for that matter, the over 300 people killed, maimed, or burned so far have largely been poor Kikuyis, a la Rwanda 1994. It is beyond comprehension to see women and children being burned alive in a house of worship in 2008.
Yesterday I saw a young man with a machete in Nairobi being interviewed on TV and when asked, “Why are you doing what you’re doing?,” he said, “We have had enough! Then he continued, “Now I’m willing to die for what I believe.” I just hope what he is willing to die for is a better, stable, prosperous and united Kenya – not killing his fellow Kenyans.
Otherwise, it would be a shame to see this magnificent and beautiful country descend into civil war.