Kikuyunization of Government Started with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta

Jomo was the Pioneer of Tribalism in Kenya

Pioneered tribalism

Pioneered tribalism and Kikuyunization of government in Kenya

Osewe, many thanks for chipping in for me. This is your pet topic and the retort touched on everything within it. You gave the same last week to Hatari who often equates discussants around ethnicity with tribalists. You summarized it so well with this line: “If you are living in a racist society, analyzing racism in all its forms does not make you a racist.”

Sikwekwe: Why did you focus on ethnicity yet I also gave a gender distribution of the Cabinet nominees? Instead of discussing whether the persons reflect regional and gender balance, you chose to go personal by labeling me a tribalist. Ethnicity and gender are independent or status variables used to investigate and understand socio-economic and political disparities in all societies. Worldwide, major institutions of higher learning have departments/faculties dealing with ethnic studies to examine labor market placements and income differentiations. The results of big studies continually recommended affirmative action or quota systems within certain ethnic groups for the sake of parity. Sweden, which was ethnically homogeneous, is now a multicultural society and has authorities handling ethnic divisions to understand the complexities of integration. The Swedish office of the Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination deals with ethnic-related matters. Is it tribal too?

Kenya’s new Constitution is a template for correcting the ethnic divides exacerbated by all the past presidents who pitted big tribes against the small ones for political expediency. These leaders never righted the shameless typecast by the British colonizers who categorized various tribes as thieves, lazy and so forth.

Ethnicity reared its ugly head during Kibaki’s first term when plum jobs in the public sector went to members of the Mt. Kenya region. The Kenya Revenue Authority exemplified this within its top 18 Commissioners. The current Uhuru-Ruto power-sharing formula is on the basis of a pre-election tribal arrangement between Kikuyus and Kalenjins. In 2010, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission investigated claims of tribalism in public jobs and the outcome reflected citizens’ perceptions of seriously skewed placements in favor of the Mt. Kenya members.

In 2012, author Charles Hornsby published a book titled ‘Kenya: A History Since Independence’. He dedicated some pages under the sub-heading “The Kikuyunization of Kenya Under President Kenyatta” to show how unashamedly Mzee had appointed 11 senior parastatal heads from the Kikuyu community in the 1970s. Also, out of the then seven Provincial Commissioners, only three were non-Kikuyus. Below is the section from from Hornsby’s book and you can brand him a tribalist too.

The Kikuyunization of Kenya under President Jomo Kenyatta

Although the State continued to talk of Kenya as one nation, and to de-emphasize ethnicity in its public statements and policies in land, service delivery and jobs, the unifying rhetoric of nationhood concealed a less palatable truth. The 1970s saw the entrenchment of Kikuyu power via a web of both formal and informal networks. As with the security forces, the senior civil service was increasingly Kikuyu dominated. The crucial posts of provincial commissioners, for example, were held by a small group of conservative insiders, more than half of whom were Kikuyu from 1967 until Kenyatta’s death, and three of whom were sons of chiefs. Appointments to statutory boards and parastatals showed the same trend.

These men were powerful, educated, intelligent and able, and they effectively ran Kenya in the interest of Kenyatta, themselves (they all had substantial business investments) and the country. Just as their colonial predecessors had done, they disliked local politicians, whom they treated as competitors, and made no pretence of democracy. Provincial Commissioner (PC) Eliud Mahihu was particularly well known for his dictatorial attitude and concern with development. As he said in 1998: ‘About calling us governors, I had no problem … we were employed to govern our provinces and we did.’ Simeon Nyachae was in a class of his own as the most able, politically astute non-Kikuyu PC with direct personal loyalty to Kenyatta (though he had married a wife from Nyeri). His governorship of Central Province was a critical ethnic balancing act. Moi’s influence was seen in the appointment of two Kalenjin PCs, and Kenyatta took care to ensure that the Luo were governed not by a Kikuyu, but by a Kipsigis.

The same pattern was seen elsewhere. In the central government, Geoffrey Kariithi (a Kikuyu from Kirinyaga and educated at Alliance High School) headed the civil service from 1967 to 1979). Other senior figures included Kiereini (ex-Alliance, also from Kirinyaga and an ex-detention camp warden) who ran the Ministry of Defense, Peter Gachathi (Alliance, Kiambu) was education secretary from 1969 to 1979. Duncan Ndegwa (Alliance, Nyeri) was governor of the Central Bank. Joseph Gethenji (Nyeri) was director of personnel from 1968 to 1978, while Joseph Kibe (Murang’a) was permanent secretary for commerce and industry. Of course, there were powerful civil servants who were not Kikuyu, but they generally played a secondary role. A study of top civil service posts in 1972 showed that Kikuyu now held 50 per cent of the top jobs, a rapid increase since the 1960s. There were reports that a Posting Committee in the Office of the President (OP) made civil service appointments in advance of interviews by the Public Service Commission, and that this committee was dominated by ex-Home Guard Kikuyu.

The situation was a little different amongst the parastatals. Many heads of parastatals, appointed by Kenyatta or his ministers, were also Kikuyu. There is no doubt that these were intelligent, competent individuals. Many had gone through the elite forcing-ground at Alliance High School and knew each other well. Whether they were the best men for the job was another question, as personal loyalty to Kenyatta was critical. Kenyatta was lucky that he had an educated, able cadre of loyalists to choose from, a luxury that Moi did not have a decade later.

Amongst private sector organizations not led by Europeans or Asians, Kikuyu dominance was equally strong. Francis Thuo (Murang’a) was chairman of the Nairobi Stock Exchange during 1970-83. Joseph Wanyoike (Murang’a) was managing director of Kenya Cooperative Creameries from 1968 until 1978. Bethwell Gecaga (Murang’a) chaired BAT from 1967 until 1995. His son and Kenyatta’s nephew Udi Gecaga was then Lonrho chairman. Ex-permanent secretary Kenneth Matiba (Alliance, Murang’a) ran Kenya Breweries until 1984, while Joe Wanjui (Kiambu) ran East African Industries until 1993.

The Kikuyu dominance at the top filtered down to other levels. Each appointment generated power and income for its holder and a trickle-down to their home area through contracts, jobs for clients and preferential allocation of development funds. A self-reinforcing structure of privilege was built which 24 years of Moi’s rule never fully dismantled. In October 1973, Shikuku presciently warned that if the Kikuyu did not share the fruits of Uhuru with others, they would eventually be ‘eaten’ by the other 41 tribes ‘like a satisfied hyena was eaten up by hungry hyenas’. Not every job was set aside for the Kikuyu, however. The ethnic sifting process worked much the same way when a non-Kikuyu ran an organization. There were protests in 1970, for example, that East African Airways (EAA), the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and the KNTC were the ‘monopoly of Abaluyias’.

The Luo received little preference from the State. The 1965-66 split and the Kenya People’s Union (KPU) era had alienated Kenyatta permanently from the community and as Kenya Times suggested: “Henceforth, the Luos became second class citizens of Kenya. They were viewed with suspicion in all quarters and they were given the lowest rating whenever it came to jobs. Apart from the Kisumu-Busia, Kisumu-Kericho and Kisumu-Kisii roads, Luo Nyanza roads were not tarmacked.”

While the Kamba had the military, the Luo—with some of the best-educated and most active elites at Independence—had few avenues for their energies. They had no large settlement schemes and most of Luo Nyanza was unsuitable for coffee and tea. They could go into business, but the commercial sector was tilted in favour of the Kikuyu and they had capital. Distrusted in the military, parastatals and politics, they focused instead on the civil service, the professions, trade unionism and religion. Luo increasingly blamed their marginalization, both real and apparent, on the Kikuyu, and built a mythology of resistance and social cohesion around opposition to the Kikuyu elite’s political and economic goals.

It was now clear that the Kikuyu and to a lesser extent their Mount Kenya neighbours in Embu and Meru were embedding a sense of pre-eminence in their collective culture. There was growing assumption of their right to rule. Many Kikuyu believed they were smarter, more entrepreneurial and had suffered more under colonialism. They compared themselves with Europeans, and viewed other Kenyans as backward and likely to destroy the economy if given power. Their widespread antipathy to the Luo was not based on their failure to practice male circumcision (though it was a genuine point of cultural tension), but on the threat they posed because of their numbers and history of recent conflict. By the 1980s, under Moi, the Kikuyu had become firmly associated in the popular imagination with competitive differentiation and ‘money grabbing’, while their Luo counterparts had come to epitomize indolence, poverty, socialism and rebellion. Jaramogi Odinga and Jomo Kenyatta symbolized this cleavage: Odinga was the dispossessed; Kenyatta the benevolent dictator but simultaneously ‘the chief architect and patron of the Greater Kikuyu Community’.


  • Paul Boit — PC Central, Western and Nairobi (1964-80) Kalenjin – Nandi, son of chief
  • Isaiah Cheluget — PC Nyanza (1969-80). Kalenjin – Kipsigis
  • Charles Koinange — PC Central and Eastern (1967-80). KIKUYU from Kiambu, son of senior chief, Mbiyu Koinange’s brother and Kenyatta’s brother-in-law
  • Eliud Mahihu — PC Eastern and Coast (1965-82). KIKUYU from Nyeri, colonial administrator and ex-Home Guard
  • Isaiah Mathenge — PC Coast, Rift Valley and Eastern (1965-82). KIKUYU from Nyeri, ex-Home Guard and detention camp warder
  • John Godhard Mburu — PC Coast, North-Eastern, Nairobi and Western (1964-79). KIKUYU from Murang’a
  • Simeon Naychae — PC Rift Valley and Central (1965-79). Gusii, son of chief


  • Ephantus Gakuo — Director-general of East African Railways (later Kenya Railways), 1987-1970s. MURANG’A
  • Bethwell Gecaga — Chairman, Industrial Development Bank (1976-9). MURANG’A
  • Julius Gecau — Managing director, East Africa (later Kenya) Power and Lighting Company (1970-84). KIAMBU
  • James Karani Gitau — General manager, Kenya National Trading Corporation (1969-79). KIAMBU
  • Stanley Githunguri — Executive chairman, National Bank of Kenya (1976-9). KIAMBU
  • Charles Karanja — General manager, Kenya Tea Development Authority (1970-81). KIAMBU
  • John Matere Keriri — General manager then managing director, Development Finance Company of Kenya (1972-82). KIRINYAGA
  • Peter Kinyanjui — Chairman, East African Harbours Corporation (later Kenya Ports Authority) 1970-80. KIAMBU
  • John Michuki — Executive chairman, Kenya Commercial Bank (1970-9). MURANG’A
  • Philip Ndegwa — Chairman, Agricultural Finance Corporation (to 1974). KIRINYAGA
  • Matu Wamae — Executive director, Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (1969-79). NYERI

Kenya: A History Since Independence (Pages 254-258) By Charles Hornsby (2012)

Jared Odero


  • Siginyoi Singounyu

    Kweli Wakikuyu ni kabila bovu kabisa Watu wanyama polini who cannot live with other tribes peacefully without thieving their lands and forcing them to become slaves. Jomo Kenyatta was a real Bandit Land grabber money-lover and worshipper <reas Duncan Ndegwa' book .Duncan Ndegwa was the First African Central Bank Governor a Kikuyu thug from Nyeri.
    Like father Like Son Uhuru Kenyatta Loves and worshpes Money Just look How Uhuru Kenyatta stole Money When he was the Finance Minister . He thieved alot of billions from treasury foolinf Kenyas Primitive Ministers that it was Computer error and these corrupt primitive tribes accepted Uhurus lie and deception hence lack of Patriotism Cowards Lackeys and Ujinga. Kikuyu will rule and steer Kenya for another 1000 years thanks to millions of Silly and stupid Primitive tribes who cannot unite against Kikuyu Super oppressive tribe, Look Kibaki ruled Kenya for ten years and was replaced by another Kikuyu Uhuru Kenyatta Son of Jomo .Jomo who killed so many innocent Luos and detained Raila Odingas father Mzee Jaramogi Oginga and then as if that was not enough Jailed Raila Odinga himself and robbed him twice his Presidency in Kenya! Luos must unite together with other oppressed and marginalized tribes of Kenya. Kikuyu watamkula na wamunyoe bila manji! Amsheni Bongo ama Boo!

  • Ngilu very corrupt

    A family affair that reveals pretty dirty linen in public
    By Vulture Hunteron 2013-04-24

    At the pinnacle of her influence as presidential candidate in 1997, Charity Kaluki Ngilu was fondly known as Masaa ni ya Mama. The nickname developed to Mama Rainbow in 2002 when she joined hands with then Opposition candidates Kijana Wamalwa and Mwai Kibaki to form the formidable Narc that wrenched power from Kanu.

    Since then, the Water and Irrigation Minister has guided her Ministry through controversies that represent some of the most brazen violations of the law in recent times, typifying unbridled greed.

    The Kitui Central MP for 20 years, Ngilu bagged the Health docket when the Narc Government took over in early 2003. But she soon made headlines when a conference held in Nairobi in 2004, ostensibly for people living with HIV/Aids, turned chaotic over misappropriation of funds, courtesy of Ngilu’s daughter who had been contracted to organise it. Hundreds of the participants were left stranded in Nairobi with no means of getting home.

    Later, Ngilu appointed a tainted Dr Florence Musau as the director of Kenyatta National Hospital. Musau was eventually kicked out in 2009 over corruption allegations. But the Government paid her a total of Sh1.5 million for one year, even as it paid Dr John Kibosia, who had been appointed to act in her place.

    Musau’s departure was hastened by investigations of the Efficiency Monitoring Unit that revealed she had been involved in irregularities involving a Sh224 million tender for the procurement of equipment for life support, the Intensive Care Unit and the High Dependency Units.

    Even when the corruption allegations were referred to the now defunct Kenya Anti Corruption Agency for prosecution, Ngilu stood by the director, describing her performance at KNH as “exemplary”, and accused some unnamed enemies of undermining her at the ministry.

    However, when Ngilu was later moved to her current job as Minister for Water and Irrigation, the trickle of controversies grew into a torrent. In 2007, reportedly she raided the Central Police Station and secured her activist friend Anne Njogu from lawful custody.

    Later in September 2010, Ngilu and Trade Assistant Minister Wavinya Ndeti were at it again, storming Machakos Police Station to demand the release of 12 of her supporters who had been charged for invading a private property in Athi River.

    Ngilu’s next moment of disgrace came in November 2011 after eight of her family members were sucked in yet another corruption scandal. Four companies linked to her close relatives and children were accused of minting millions of shillings after they supplied goods to Tanathi Water Board, which was under Ngilu’s ministry, at grossly exaggerated rates, and without competitive bidding.

    One of the companies, Kat Michaels, where the minister’s second daughter Mwende Keteithia Mwendwa was a director, was awarded lucrative contracts.

    The company, which was founded in May 2008, had been given a Sh1.8 million contract to supply polo t-shirts, caps, executive pens and carrier bags. The company was also paid Sh800,000 to supply “big diaries” sold to the Board at Sh2,500 each, while the “small” diaries fetched Sh1,500 each.

    Enacting a similar script, another firm, Broad Visions Utilities Limited, was founded in April 2008. One of the company’s directors was Billy Indeche, husband to Ngilu’s first-born daughter, Jemi Mwendwa. They too got supply contracts.

    Other kin of the minister have been involved. Ngotho Kasyoki Ithumbuti was a director of Timetrax Limited, where he served together with a cousin Patrice Mnene Munguti. This company won a tender to supply GI pipes at Sh23,815 per piece and ultimately supplied 65 pieces.

    When the hour of reckoning came, eight people, among them the minister’s son in law, Indeche, and Tourism assistant minister Cecily Mbarire’s husband, Denis Apaa, were arraigned in court charged with a series of corruption offences.

    The suspects were alleged to have defrauded the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Sh26 million after violating the procurement procedures. Others who were charged included Lawrence Simitu, Isaiah Amwanzo Benjamin, Samuel Alouch Otieno, Robert Mati, Joseph Mucuku and Mwagambo Mwangombe.

    Besides getting money through fraudulent means from the Government, Indeche and Apaa were accused of committing economic crimes by jointly conspiring to defraud the Water ministry by purporting to qualify for a tender to sink five boreholes in drought-stricken Machakos and Makueni districts at a time the residents were being by drought.

    Apart from recording statements with anti-corruption agents, Ngilu had also to appear before the Parliament’s Committee on Equal Opportunities over allegations that she had violated the principle of equitable distribution of resources by favouring certain regions, especially her home area.

    In the aftermath, Prime Minister Raila Odinga rallied Ngilu’s rescue, declaring that the fight against graft was now “getting personal.”

    Ngilu enjoyed further reprieve after a parliamentary committee led by Mutava Musyimi cleared her of graft charges in April, 2011, and accused her assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri, who had blown the whistle on some of the scams, of “witchhunt.”

    Things did not end there, then Kenya Anti-Corruption chief, lawyer PLO Lumumba, known for his showmanship, was hounded out of town after he was alleged to have received money from Mbarire’s husband to discourage Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) from conducting its investigation.

    Mbarire mobilised enough support in Parliament to have KACC wound up, while Kiunjuri was transferred from the Water ministry.

    Kenyans may never know what really happened at the Water ministry as the National Water and irrigation Corporation Nairobi offices were razed to the ground last September, eliminating any traces of evidence that would have consigned corrupt officials in jail, where they belong.

  • Will the new centre hold?
    Apr 6th 2013

    IN A terse ruling on March 30th the judges of Kenya’s Supreme Court threw out petitions claiming that the presidential election held (with an array of others) earlier that month was stolen under the cover of a chaotic count. Uhuru Kenyatta, one of the richest men in the country, will be inaugurated on April 9th into the same office that his father Jomo held from 1964 until his death 14 years later.

    The loser and departing prime minister, Raila Odinga, won plaudits for accepting the court’s ruling, despite the “dismay” he expressed at the elections’ conduct. Though many of the 43% who voted for Mr Odinga feel aggrieved, most Kenyans have heaved a collective sigh of relief that the wide-scale violence and chaos that ruined the last election, in 2007, have mercifully been avoided. Yet the country remains badly split, largely along ethnic lines.

    Still, the stock exchange in Nairobi, the capital, responded bullishly to the judges’ verdict, with its strongest one-day rally in five years when trading recommenced on April 2nd. The Kenyan shilling reached its highest point for six months against the dollar. In the city’s glittering towers that have shot up in the past decade or so, traders spoke of Kenya reaching an “inflection point” presaging a drop in political risk. Foreign investors are expected to pile in. In the past, says Aly-Khan Satchu, a local financial pundit, it was political risk that held back the economy.

    Business leaders, many of whom hail from Mr Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe, the country’s biggest and richest, see him as one of their own. His first two appointments after the judges’ ruling were to inspect a port-development scheme worth $5 billion near the island of Lamu, at the northern end of Kenya’s coast, and to meet the country’s association of manufacturers.

    By most forecasts the economy should grow by 6% this year, up from 4% last. Recent oil and gas finds, added to geothermal and wind-power projects, may help the balance of payments and improve its erratic electricity supply. On the other hand, Kenya’s bloated government and the devolution required under the new constitution mean that money for even more essential infrastructure may be harder to find. The elections ushered in a bunch of senators and governors—posts that did not previously exist—whose costs may take at least 15% out of the national budget.

    But Kenya’s ratio of debt to GDP is a relatively healthy 45%, according to the IMF. And the country has a more robust tax base than most of its African peers, with revenues equivalent to 23% of GDP. With Mr Kenyatta in charge, the free-wheeling economy is expected to surge ahead.

    Three worries may, however, continue to dog the country—and its new leader. The first is corruption, which wastes vast amounts of public money, including aid from foreign governments. It also fuels anger among the mass of Kenyans, who resent the opulence of the political elite. Mr Kenyatta’s father, though revered as the founding president, is also held responsible for entrenching a system of corruption, greed and patronage that besmirches the country to this day. His son hails from an extended family that has long luxuriated in its wealth. To be sure, had Mr Odinga won, the scourge of corruption would have remained scarcely less potent.

    Second, and more egregiously, the election did little to dispel the old bane of tribalism. Mr Kenyatta’s victory was thanks more to his canniness in building tribal alliances that numerically outweighed those that Mr Odinga put together, than to any set of policies. Even Kenya’s burgeoning middle class seemed unable, as voters, to move much beyond tribal identities.

    Since the poll, Kenyans have been spitting ethnic vitriol at each other in their social media. John Githongo, a leading anti-corruption campaigner and advocate of political reform, says the election failed as a nation-building event. “Kenya emerged from this process far more polarised than ever before along tribal lines,” he laments. Though political violence has been averted for the time being and Mr Kenyatta is bound to appoint a cabinet that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity, tribal grievances over land and politics could yet erupt.

    The third worry is the new president’s indictment by the International Criminal Court at The Hague on charges related to the violence that followed the previous election, in 2007. Many of the Western governments and lobbies that invested heavily in trying to secure a fair election hoped Mr Odinga would win. Now they have to decide how to handle the new president. European Union ambassadors are already divided between self-proclaimed pragmatists who say it is essential, given Kenya’s position at the hub of a volatile region, to co-operate warmly with him, and those who are keener to uphold international justice, even if it harms relations with Kenya’s new government. Britain and America have publicly congratulated Mr Kenyatta and his new government, while privately warning that if he or his running mate and fellow indictee, William Ruto, cease to co-operate with the court, relations with the West could deteriorate fast.

    That seems unlikely at present. Mr Kenyatta’s lawyers are pressing the court to drop the charges against him after the case against one of his co-accused, Francis Muthaura, a former head of the civil service, collapsed. Witnesses who were brave enough to give evidence against a well-known politician must now weigh the risk of testifying against a head of state who controls a formidable security and intelligence service. Mr Kenyatta’s defence may be among the “best financed and most intimidating ever seen,” says a lawyer close to the international court. Several key witnesses have dropped out. The court is not expected to ask Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto to visit The Hague before August.

    Meanwhile, editorials in newspapers friendly to the new president have begun to call for tighter controls on foreign funding for anything from helping human-rights groups to digging wells in the arid north. Those who want to hold the new government to account fear this could be a prelude to a crackdown on dissent. Kenyans are hoping that their country’s 42m-odd people can cope with adversarial politics without coming to real blows.


    1. Commissioner General:———————Michael Waweru ————————–Kikuyu
    2. Board Secretary:—————————–Mrs. Ngang’a——————————–Kikuyu
    3. Senior Deputy Commissioner, Investigation & Enforcement:———-Mr Joseph Nduati —-Kikuyu
    4. Deputy Commissioner, Investigation and Enforcement: —————Mr Namu Nguru ————–Kikuyu
    5. Deputy Commissioner, Administration: ———————————-Mr Karimi————————–Meru
    6. Deputy Commissioner Procurement:—————————————Ms Murichu———————-Kikuyu
    7. Commissioner Customs:—————————————————–Mrs Wambui Namu————-Kikuyu
    8. Senior Deputy Commissioner (Customs):———————————-Ms Githinji———————-Kikuyu
    9. Deputy Commissioner, Enforcement (Customs):————————–Mr Maina———————-Kikuyu
    10. Deputy Commissioner, Finance:——————————————-Ms Wachira———————kikuyu
    11. Commissioner Domestic Taxes (LTO)————————————-Mr Njiraini———————-Kikuyu
    12. Deputy Commissioner:——————————————————Mrs Mwangi———————-Kikuyu
    13. Senior Deputy Commissioner, Finance:———————————–Mrs King’ori——————-Kikuyu
    14. Senior Assistant Commissioner, Security:——————————–Major Kariuki——————Kikuyu
    15. Senior Deputy Commissioner, Southern Region:————————-Wagachira——————-Kikuyu

  • The lies about Jomo and Kenya

    Updated Sunday, December 14 2008 at 00:00 GMT+3

    By Edward Kisiang’ani

    Jamhuri Day celebrations have just been concluded with pomp and pageantry. What, however, is critical to me is not the annual celebrations we have witnessed. Not even the honours some people might have received.

    My concern is about the blatant lies associated with the occasion that we have been living with for a long time. Old wisdom informs us that when a lie is told several times, it actually turns into truth. At the risk of displeasing some people, let me highlight some political lies about Kenya and the late President Kenyatta.

    We have been told several times that Kenya gained independence in 1963. We have also been informed that Kenyatta was not only the country’s founding father but also a quintessential freedom fighter. I have spent a lot of time perusing relevant documents to establish the veracity of these claims but I have not been able to find any truth in them.

    Divide and rule

    Colonial rule had certain fundamental pillars. Through a carefully conceived ‘divide and rule policy’, colonialism was implanted to secure the exploitation of Kenya’s human and material resources. In addition to promoting ethnic hostilities among the African communities, colonial rule was both dictatorial and intolerant.

    Those who challenged colonial authorities were killed by the police, jailed or summarily detained without trial. Under the system, the imperial Governor presided over a prefectural network that ensured that British government policies were fully implemented.

    On their part, the Africans paid taxes without representation and provided the cheap labour, which facilitated production of wealth. Influential public service jobs went to whites and very few African collaborators. Furthermore, most of Kenya’s productive land was alienated and given to Europeans. Education opportunities for the African people were scarce. Kenya belonged to the white people.

    In the past 45 years of African leadership, Kenya has been unable to deal with the problems the country experienced under formal colonialism. That is why I am proposing that since colonialism did not end in 1963, our celebration of the occasion is rather misguided. Biting poverty, police brutality, political intolerance, unfair distribution of resources and jobs, unemployment and ethnic parochialism continue to haunt every aspect of life in Kenya. Our past history shows that, in fact, 1963 was not the year of independence. Rather, it was the time when European colonialism was Africanised, making Kenyatta the first black governor.

    Our struggle for the second liberation was hijacked in 1992 when Moi — the second black governor — took charge of the proceedings by pretending to be a democrat. He rigged the first serious multi-party polls since 1963 and retained the status quo.

    In 2002, the peoples’ second attempt to overthrow Kenya’s black colonial rule seemed to succeed when Narc swept its way to power and promised real change. What followed, however, was an anticlimax of our dreams. In a recent interview with media officials, former Lurambi Member of Parliament Masinde Werangai captured the hopelessness of our political situation when he conceded that the promises of uhuru had not been fulfilled by successive Kenyan governments.

    Genuine heroes

    The lie that Jomo Kenyatta was the founding father of the country should not be allowed to continue. As truly conceived by genuine founding mothers and fathers, the Kenyan nation is yet to be born. What helped Kenyatta to rise to the top was his mastery of pretense and deceit. Kenyatta knew how to mimic what he was not. This is demonstrated by the way he easily changed names to hide his true self. Although he was born Kamau wa Ngengi, he changed to John Peter and by 1922, he had become Johnstone Kamau. While in Europe in the 1930s, he became Jomo Kenyatta. In 1963, Kamau wa Ngegi was simply known as Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. So what is the difference-in character and deed between President Kenyatta, Mzee, John Peter, Johnstone or Kamau? Was it safe for Kenyans to have entrusted the institution of the presidency in a person whose names kept changing?

    After spending along time in Europe, Kenyatta returned home in 1946 and shortly seized the leadership the Kenya African Union party. Although he was mistakenly arrested and jailed for being a member of the Mau Mau, Kenyatta denounced the nationalist movement several times and eventually set the record straight during the Kapenguria trial of 1953.

    His nationalist credentials were further undermined by the fact that during his presidency, he became the biggest land owner in Kenya when he acquired over 500,000 acres of land. Besides, he made it his top priority to punish and neutralize freedom fighters who questioned his political practices.

    Crushed dissent

    Throughout his rule, Kenyatta did not hold any presidential elections to test his popularity. It is tragic that such a person has been branded founding father and freedom fighter.

    Like the colonial governor before him, Kenyatta crushed dissent without mercy, terrorised political opponents using the police and detained without trial those with divergent opinions.

    Contrary to the dreams and aspirations of the freedom fighters, Kenyatta failed to unite Kenya when he embarked on the programme of Kikuyunizing the public service, by replacing the outgoing Europeans with his own kinsmen. At the height of his presidency, he failed to appreciate Kenya’s diversity when he receded to his own ethnic cocoon.

    This was not surprising because, from the very beginning, Kenyatta’s political operations revolved around Kikuyu nationalism. It is noted that as early as 1929, he had been sent to London by the Kikuyu Central Association to lobby for Kikuyu tribal land rights. He even edited a tribal newspaper, Muigwithania.

    We have to recognise that the struggle for independence which began in the early 1890s when British rule was imposed on our people was never concluded in 1963, 1992, 2002 or 2007. It continues to date. In addition, the true heroes of Kenya’s liberation combat include the brave fighters of the Chetambe War of 1890s, the champions of the Mau Mau era as well as the stalwarts of the Giriama and the Nandi resistance. These people deserve respect and recognition.

    Individuals who should make the list of founding fathers and mothers of Kenya should not be Jomo Kenyatta and his fellow traitors of the freedom struggle. Genuine freedom fighters include, Mekatili wa Menza, Koitalel arap Samoei, Harry Thuku, Fred Kubai, Bildad Kaggia, Masinde Muliro, Elijah Masinde, and Jaramogi Odinga Oginga, among others. Contemporary scholars have an obligation to the people of Kenya to rewrite our history by correcting the lies we have lived with for a long time.

    Dr Kisiang’ani teaches History and Political Studies at Kenyatta University.

  • Jared and Osewe, furthering your tribal agenda in the guise of fighting tribalism is not fooling everyone like you would imagine. You have no shame since sycophancy knows no such emotion.

    Tribalism is tribalism regardless of whether the person acceding or perpetuating it is a president or minister. Kenyatta, Moi and even Raila practiced tribalism, and pointing fingers at the tribalism of Kenyatta does not diminish that practiced by Moi as president or Raila as prime minister. Even Ministers have been known to fill their ministries with their “people”, an example is Simon Nyachae who filled his ministry with Kisii’s. What puzzles me is why you seem to have such an itch for the Kikuyu yet remain totally silent when it comes to the others. Moi perfected Kenyatta’s tribal tendencies, but I am yet to see even a reference to his misrule, or was his tribalism of no consequence because his was Kalengin? This is a glaring indication of your equating tribalism with the Kikuyu, and indicative also the tribalism you harbor against this particular ethnic group. I challenge you to post a breakdown of the top officials in the PM’s office and we promise to do the math on the percentages and number of Luo’s. Dare I even mention the nepotism Raila practiced as PM? His sins are as black as those you print on KSB, I see no difference.

    KSB: “The reason why ethnicity continues to feature prominently in the analysis is because the alternative of “Class analysis” is missing in action because classes are not represented in national politics. Ethic groups are”.

    This has to be repeated over and over again. It’s not about personalities.

  • Sikwekwe:

    “Ethnicity and gender are independent or status variables used to investigate and understand socio-economic and political disparities in all societies. Kenya’s new Constitution is a template for correcting the ethnic divides exacerbated by all the past presidents who pitted big tribes against the small ones for political expediency. These leaders never righted the shameless typecast by the British colonizers who categorized various tribes as thieves, lazy and so forth.”

  • Stop being evasive with hot air arguments, put up the senior employess according to ethnicity from the former Prime Ministers office. After all, you seem to be able to put up figures from every where else. Or are you frightened to expose your rot?

    KSB: The names of Wajaluo from top to bottom (as you would prefer) are simply not there and even Miguna Miguna couldn’t find them to prove Raila’s tribalism yet he was a top boss at the former PM’s Office. Secondly, stop asking the opponent to help you with facts so that you can win an argument. You can’t be that desperate. If you were in court, the presiding judge could have told you that the onus of truth is with you. If you have the names, why can’t you just publish them as this could lead to a “big exposure”? We start with Miguna Miguna, Caroli Omondi, Adhu Awiti, Onyango Otieno, Otoyo Magwanga, Arudhi Piermach then you can continue from there…

  • Jared thanks for this post, it helps to have a reminder of what things were like, and refresh our memories, when it is spelled out.

  • Sikwekwe can post tribalism matters from Moi’s and Odinga’s time which are well documented. Problem about this complainant is not spending more time to give such examples and is fixated on Osewe and Odero whose articles are very clear on tribal bias favoring Mt. Kenyans. I have read through them and see no element of tribalism in them as authors. Hornsbyalso gave a breakdown of Jomo’s biased appointments in favor of Central Kenya members and that does not make him a tribalist at all. What difference does his list have with what is normally presented here?

  • Uhuru Kenyatta has the chance to eradicate tribalism perpetuated by Kibaki. However, his list of Cabinet nominees is already favoring Kikuyus and Kalenjins who are dominant in the Jubilee Coalition. It shows the new regime will have the same tribal appointments experienced in past governments. The new Constitution states that there must be ethnic, gender and regional balance in public employment. Therefore, while Sikwekwe grumbles and wants to measure how biased Moi and Raila were on past tribal appointments, the appeal should be on how Uhuru can do it differently.

  • Raila and the 40 thieves

    Did Raila Begin Work With Wealth Grabbers When He Became PM?

    In his book, Miguna decries Raila’s work with corrupt personalities and names both Caroli Omondi and Isahakia as key examples. Raila’s alliance with dirty personalities did not start when he became Prime Minister. In 2007, and as listed below, he worked with some of the most corrupt personalities known in Kenya’s history for strategic reasons. The agenda was to defeat the thieving Kikuyu ruling class which was looting the country’s e economy, violating human rights and running the country like a private business empire. In excerpts below, I detail these personalities together with their corrupt histories. The question which has to be posed is whether Raila had any better options in the political market place and whether his strategy of working with wealth grabbers was the only way out. Another question is whether the situation has changed ahead of next elections and whether there is any credible alternative to Raila as next President of Kenya.

  • Kenyan looters

    The looting of Kenya

    · Leak of secret report exposes corrupt web
    · More than £1bn moved to 28 countries
    · Property in London, New York , Australia

    Xan Rice in Nairobi

    The Guardian, Friday 31 August 2007

    The breathtaking extent of corruption perpetrated by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi was exposed last night in a secret report that laid bare a web of shell companies, secret trusts and frontmen that his entourage used to funnel hundreds of millions of pounds into nearly 30 countries including Britain.
    The 110-page report by the international risk consultancy Kroll, seen by the Guardian, alleges that relatives and associates of Mr Moi siphoned off more than £1bn of government money. If true, it would put the Mois on a par with Africa’s other great kleptocrats, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and Nigeria’s Sani Abacha.

    The assets accumulated included multimillion pound properties in London, New York and South Africa, as well as a 10,000-hectare ranch in Australia and bank accounts containing hundreds of millions of pounds.

    The report, commissioned by the Kenyan government, was submitted in 2004, but never acted upon. It details how:

    · Mr Moi’s sons – Philip and Gideon – were reported to be worth £384m and £550m respectively;

    · His associates colluded with Italian drug barons and printed counterfeit money;

    · His clique owned a bank in Belgium;

    · The threat of losing their wealth prompted threats of violence between Mr Moi’s family and his political aides;

    · £4m was used to buy a home in Surrey and £2m to buy a flat in Knightsbridge.

    Kroll said last night it could not confirm or deny the authenticity of the report.

    The Kroll investigation into the former regime was commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki shortly after he came to power on an anti-corruption platform in 2003. It was meant to be the first step towards recovering some of the money stolen during Mr Moi’s 24-year rule, which earned Kenya the reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

    But soon after the investigation was launched, Mr Kibaki’s government was caught up in its own scandal, known as Anglo Leasing, which involved awarding huge government contracts to bogus companies.

    Since then, none of Mr Moi’s relatives or close allies has been prosecuted. No money has been recovered. Three of the four ministers who resigned after the Anglo Leasing scandal was exposed have since been reinstated.

    Last night, the Kenyan government confirmed that it received the Kroll report in April 2004. But Alfred Mutua, the government spokesman, said it was incomplete and inaccurate, and that Kroll had not been engaged to do any further work.

    “We did not find that the report was credible. It was based a lot on hearsay.” He said the leaking of the report was politically motivated and insisted Kenya was working with foreign governments to recover the stolen money. “Some of the money is in UK bank accounts. We have asked the British government to help us recover the funds, but so far they have refused.”

    The report was obtained by the website Wikileaks, which aims to help expose corruption. The document is believed to have been leaked by a senior government official upset about Mr Kibaki’s failure to tackle corruption and by his alliance with Mr Moi before the presidential election in December.

    On Tuesday Mr Moi said he was backing Mr Kibaki for a second term, saying he was disappointed that “selfish individual interests have been entrenched in our society”. Mr Moi remains an influential figure in Kenya and his endorsement is expected to go some way to ensuring his successor’s re-election.

    In the Kroll report the investigators allege that a Kenyan bank was the key to getting vast sums of money of out of the country via its foreign currency accounts. The same bank had already laundered $200m (£100m) on behalf of the late Mr Abacha, with the assistance of a Swiss-based “financier”.

    “It is believed that twice as much was laundered through the same system by the Mois,” the report said.

    Kroll confirmed last night that it had previously done work for the Kenyan government. A company spokesman was given extracts of the report seen by the Guardian. “We cannot confirm or deny that this report is what it purports to be,” he said. “Nor can we talk about the scope, content or results of any work we have done for the government of Kenya, which remains confidential.”

    Gideon Moi is an MP and Philip Moi is a businessman. Daniel Arap Moi’s spokesman did not return calls last night.

  • Kibaki's false legacy

    Kibaki’s Legacy is a Fallacy

    Posted on 21:11 by Phil

    This week, PPS Published a 64-Page Special Supplement on Kibaki’s 10 year legacy, while all major TV channels were airing hour long documentaries on the same, onstesibly to showcase the achievements of President Kibaki’s 10 years in office. Few were convinced.

    Lipstick on a pig doesn’t make the pig something else. A pig is a pig. Kibaki’s record is his record…a colossal failure to lead…failure to unite…failure to stabilize…and failure to progress. Only success at fleecing public resources…and entrenching institutionalized tribalism.

    Tribalism, insecurity, runaway corruption, the Great Somali Migration into Kenya & terrorism, PEV, extrajudicial assassinations, drug and gun smuggling, the Artur brothers, a rogue police force, impunity, impunity, and impunity ain’t anything to write home about. This fella delayed Kenya’s takeoff by years. It’s a dark legacy. Even former Kibaki stalwart Martha Karua rated impunity under Kibaki worse than the Moi era impunity – a very fair assessment!

    This goes down in history as the only regime that opened its paramilitary barracks (& uniforms and guns) for PEV operations to kill its own citizens…blood-chilling things that Kenyans previously only read about regarding Idi Amin’s Uganda. Talking about lopsided development is an understatement regarding the Kibaki era.

    If roads were built, they weren’t the priority roads for the nation (Msa-Malaba or Msa-Busia border). If donor funds were restored, most ended up in non-prosecuted corruption. If relations were established with the East, it only brought a flooding of cheap counterfeit goods into our market (with simultaneous smuggling of our exotic resources). Where FPE or AIDS fund were introduced, cash cows were established for connected bureaucrats. Every noble idea was hijacked by the mafia.

    10 years under Kibaki saddled the country with hundreds of billions more in debt…for the Anglo Leasings, KenRens, and massive transfer of public wealth into the hands of a few greedy oligarchs (the Trans Century looters)…from our Railways, our Ports, Tana Land, Airport Land, Telecommunications, Grand Regency, Oil Refineries, and almost all other public entities….all skewed to Kibaki’s cronies and connected & corrupt foreign oligarchs.

    These dirty deals leave outstanding debts that Kenyans and their children WILL BE paying into future…paying for the transfer of public wealth into the hands of a few well-connected thieves aka the Shetani crew (as per Uhuru).

    That same enriched shetani crew is now dividing the country politically, slicing and dividing voters, in readiness to perpetuate their stranglehold on the country’s resources. After robbing the poor of all their resources (public assets and land), their next agenda is to milk from the budding middle class.

    Kibaki deliberately timed his exit with yet another resounding warning to landlords who have worked so hard (sometimes in distant lands) to invest in real estate. The handpicked KRA boss (Njiraini) is now arm-twisting tenants (starting 2013) to issue personal details of their landlords for future assessment of more taxes – to be looted by the greedy lot. It’s not as if we are not already paying annual property taxes and land rates! The fraudster in Kibaki wanted such misguided economic policies to be effected under the legacy of subsequent President…to justify his massive borrowing under taxpayers name. Talk of an experienced thief!

    Yet another of Kibaki’s dark legacies is the blurring of state matters with private financial concerns (ala the hanky-panky between Equity, CBA, Family Bank, Coop Bank & CBK), dalliances which depreciated the Kenya shilling massively. Illegal overnight borrowing from CBK’s discount window has minted a few Kibaki-crony billionaires.

    Kibaki and friends at Equity Bank even got to collect Tourism revenues at Kenya’s biggest tourist attraction – Maasai Mara Park. Who the heck is going to know how much cash in reality came in, or how many tourists and visitors checked in? They might as well report that no tourists came this year. These people think Kenyans are a bunch of idiots to be fooled and robbed from mercilessly without consequences. Mta do? is their attitude.

    Right now as we speak, Uhuru Kenyatta’s banking concern, Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) has been parachuted a multi-billion shilling deal to be the official Shylock of ordinary Kenyans under a program disguised as – the MShwari savings and loan product (mooted along the MPESA model) – with collaboration with Safaricom. This 7.5% interest loan SHARK mooted under Kenyatta’s tenure as Finance Minister, will virtually wipe out SACCO societies.

    Kenyatta wants to mop up all little change from struggling Kenyans using the State as business anchor. After all that is how they get all their businesses…all tied to the state one way or another…if not supplying VW Passats to the government, loaning Treasury at exorbitant profits, or hosting public bureaucrats in non-essential seminars at their five star resorts. Isn’t this the real reason why they won’t let go the Presidency and levers of State?

    If not thinking how to fleece Treasury… its how to fleece unsuspecting investors (toxic stocks at NSE with crooked brokers stealing investor cash and getting away scot free)…fleecing investors of their life savings at Syokimau…or fleecing folks with pyramid schemes…and now Uhuru plotting to rob jua kali traders with his Mshwari toxic loan….This is one freaking rotten and distressing legacy….as has been the last Jubilee (50 years).. It has to give way!!!!!!

  • Sikwekwe, counter by doing that homework yourself. Go to the former PM’s office archives and retrieve the names. We are exposing the Mt. Kenya Mafia rot and if it pleases you, dig into all the Luo-dominated public offices and expose their nepotism and tribalism. Is it so difficult? Meanwhile, label author Charles Hornsby as a tribalist too for his exposure of Jomo’s skewed appointments that favored Kikuyus.

    For starters, here’s a list of the former Prime Minister’s Office employees by ethnicity and gender. Feel free to complete it.

    PM – Raila Amolo Odinga. (Luo)
    Chief of Staff – Caroli Omondi. (Luo)
    Political and Constitutional Affairs Advisor – Miguna Miguna. (Luo)
    Tea Girl – Akinyi Sianda. (Luo)
    Messanger 1 – Ondiek Marach. (Luo)
    Mail man – Apwoyo Jamach. (Luo)
    Nusu Kapeti Cleaner 1 – Otoyo Jakuwo. (Luo)
    Nusu Kapeti Cleaner 2 – Adhiambo Nyabando. (Luo)
    Raila’s Shoe Cleaner – Adede Aguok. (Luo)
    Raila’s Shirt Ironer – Guok Makwiny. (Luo)
    Press Officer 1 – Odidi Kapek. (Luo)
    Press Spokesman – Dennis Onyango. (Luo)
    Bodyguard 1 – Jachuma Mapek. (Luo)
    Bodyguard 9 – Achwaka Makech. (Luo)
    Window Cleaner – Oketch Jakojwaya (Luo)
    Officer in Charge of Raila’s toilet – Ochido Malit. (Luo)
    Bar Man – Owuodo Odongo. (Luo)
    Newspaper Collector – Odek Ofuwo. (Luo)
    Driver 1 – Amolo Osiki. (Luo)
    Entertainment Officer – Apidi Kokise. (Luo)
    Oxygen Supplier – Nakweri Nifuwo. (Luo)
    Ventilation Cleaner – Guok Ofuwo. (Luo)
    Mechanic – Ouko Donge. (Luo)
    Cook 1 – Nyalego Masiaya. (Luo)
    Cook 2 – Jayalo Opondo. (Luo)
    Cook 3 – Magi Nyakosele. (Luo)
    Cook 4 – Kalando Jaber. (Luo)
    Cook 5 – Ajeni Nyakisumo. (Luo)
    Cocktail Lady – Achwaka Mit Nyowuoyo. (Luo)
    Groceries man – Kachama Jabayo. (Luo)
    Raila’s Tailor – Jakwocho Motegno. (Luo)

  • Sikwekwe –

    Below is a link with a full list of Odinga’s close aides (professionals working at the PMs Office). Of the 33 core team only five (5) are Luo! Even if we were to add former employees like Gachoka himself, Miguna Miguna and Barrak Muluka, still those from the Luo community could not be more than 6 of the 36 new total.

    These are official numbers that can easily be verified by the public. N/B the list is NOT listed according to seniority but just random names.

    Click to access Raila-aides2.pdf

  • You are not my opponent nor adversary, and not having the same mode of thinking or view on ethnicity doesn’t necessarily have to translate into enmity. Hypocrisy has to be called exactly what it is.

    There was tribalism at the PM’s office, that is obvious and beyond discussion and beloved Raila practiced it with impunity. Yet you and his other die-hard followers, even Raila himself, are working overtime to create the illusion of a revolutionary reformer of tribal Kikuyu/Kalengin ruled Kenya. What you really hoped for was to replace the thieving, corrupt politicians with Raila who engages in the same vices but is Luo. The important factor being that he is one of you and if he came to power you would get your turn to eat. Say it as it is, and stop using the smoke screen of fighting for disfranchised Kenyans.

    Like I stated earlier sycophancy has no shame.

    KSB: Sikwekwe, by suggesting “opposition”, it was at the debate level. You seem to have taken this expression literally to mean that we could engage in a fist-fight if we dare meet physically! This brings your mind-set a bit closer to comprehension. There is and there shouldn’t be any enmity between us. Treat this as a healthy debate.

    You insist on tribalism at the PM’s Office although you have so far failed to prove this. You said that if the list of staff members at the former PM’s Office can be published, you can prove tribalism. Although it should have been your responsibility to produce this list, you can have some help. Here we go:
    May be, you are now in a better position to expound on tribalism at the former PMs Office. Let us know the majority ethnic group.

    There is nothing called a “revolutionary reformer” unless you can explain what you mean. When you write “What you really hoped for was to replace the thieving, corrupt politicians with Raila who engages in the same vices but is Luo”, you are unconsciously moving away from “ethnic analysis” of Raila to “class analysis”. The ruling class (with all their known habits of tribalism, corruption, nepotism, hero worship etc) are the same the world over. I have repeated this position several times and the latest entry was just a few days ago when another commentator raised the same issue you are raising (What about Raila):

    “On the question of Raila Odinga’s status as an opposition politician, Mr. Osewe said that Raila has gone through “a process of bourgeoisification” over the years and that as a millionaire member of the Kenyan ruling class, his role if he were to be in the opposition, would be limited to seizing power by exploiting the existing ethnic alliances to maintain the capitalist status quo and not to question or change the system” (Details here). A video clip of this specific reply is available here.

    To help you further, the view above was based on an ideological view of Raila Odinga as a status quo politician who would preserve capitalism, a rotten system which KRA is seeking to abolish. This view does not hinge on Raila’s ethnic origin and this position has been repeated severally at different forums. In my book (Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency) about the 2007 election, the same class-oriented view is echoed thus:

    “What is known is that Raila is currently a property owner and one of the few millionaires in Kenya with vast business interests inside the country. If one examines Raila’s property-owning profile, he fits more into a bourgeoisie democrat than a daredevil communist ideologue who could seize power and nationalize property of the rich and powerful in Kenya as the basis of wealth re-distribution. Western fear of Raila as a communist was thus unfounded or based on a bogus theory that may have sprouted from the fear of the unknown” (details here: I could reproduce more examples of a class view of Raila but let me leave it there for now.

  • Thank you Jared Odero for the list with made-up names and Osewe for the document.

  • Sikwekwe, you still have the chance to publish an article about your perceived Raila’s tribal bias in public employment in favor of the Luo. Osewe has repeatedly mentioned that probing tribal placements in Kenya is not about being tribalist, but showing the reality on the ground. The least I expect from you is to challenge Uhuru Kenyatta to eradicate that rotten past and not for you to blame RAO who is off season politically. He was PM by default after Kibaki stole his votes, so cannot be measured against Mzee Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki. The Maize scandal was not Raila’s or the Kazi Kwa Vijana project, despite speculations.

    In 2002, the Luo voted to the man for Kibaki and he promised Kenyans he would change the face of Government from Moi’s roadside style of governance. Kiraitu Murungi then told Moi to herd his goats and watch as they showed him how to rule the country. However, Kibaki short-changed Raila in the signed MOU and continued with business as usual; Anglo-Leasing scandal, Artur Brothers, non-action against corruption, etc. Kibaki had promised to eradicate corruption yet within two years of his rule, Kenyans felt corruption levels had risen more than during Moi’s 24-year rule. In January 2013, most Kenyans interviewed by Transparency International perceived Kibaki’s 10-year regime as more corrupt than Moi’s.

    We don’t need to favor Raila since you asked about placements in his former Office. From Osewe’s posting, you have seen the ethnic distribution of employees: the Kikuyu had the highest percentage. Raila is therefore a Saint compared to the past three presidents.

    Uhuru Kenyatta should correct the tribal mistakes made by Kibaki but the Mashetani lurking over him might not be eager to let him do it.

    Sikwekwe focus ahead because Kenyans need healing and a closure on the past bitter 10 years. Uhuru has a chance to clean the slate and begin afresh if he sticks to the new Constitutional dispensation by involving all Kenyans, regardless of their ethnic diversity. He should not play the dirty games of his real life godfather, retired President kibaki, who fooled us that he wasn’t borrowing from the West, yet has left us with a Ksh1.8 trillion debt through domestic borrowing in favor of Mt. Kenya managed and owned banks, e.g. Uhuru’s Commercial Back of Africa.

  • Sikwekwe, you seem to think Osewe and I are holding brief for Raila. On the contrary, Osewe has shown RAO belongs to Kenya’s ruling class. I recently criticized nepotism in ODM and the sham pre-election nominations of December 2012. Check it to see the other side of the coin.

    However, no GEMA member has ever come to KSB to challenge RAO with proof about nepotism nor to support or oppose Uhuru Kenyatta’s agenda for leadership. What a difference! I don’t understand why you can’t write about the change of regime in Kenya after Kibaki and the hope of a “digital success” in the so-called dynamic duo aka Uhuruto instead of dwelling on RAO without bevis.

  • sikwekwe you are clutching at straws thinking of RAO 24/7. Grow up!

  • Let me make an observation Jared.

    All your posts dwell on the ills of the Kikuyu ruling class, and yet the Kenyan political landscape is not only made up of this group but is across the board. It appears that sikwekwe is asking why you and Osewe seem fixated on the Kikuyu and yet the mismanagement of Kenya can be attributed to the ruling class comprised of Luos, Kikuyus,luyhas,kambas etc? Why just the kikuyu? What is it that makes Jomo Kenyatta’s and Kibaki’s tribalism different from that of Moi’s? Isn’t tribalism and nepotism the same regardless of the perpetrators? Why the focus on the Kikuyu? Why don’t you directly answer these questions that sikwekwe has raised?

    KSB: This is a good question and you deserve a reply: It is because Kenya has only had Kikuyu and Kalenjin presidents. The President dictates the level of tribalism in government. The Kenyatta bit has been exposed. The Moi bit was known as the “Kabarak Syndicate” where we had “the total man” et al. The Kibaki bit has been the Mount Kenya Mafia and the Uhuru bit will, most likely, be the Kiambu Mafia cartel. This is not to suggest that if Raila took power, he couldn’t have come up with some cartel of sorts. I wrote in one piece that the choice Kenyans had in the 2013 election was between wolves (Cord ruling class) and hyenas (Jubilee). The bottom line is that the politics of ethnicity brews cartels which, in the Kenyan case, constitutes the “ruling class”. If we can agree that this class exists (regardless of the ethnic group that constitutes it at any time), we can move to another level of discussion.

    In Kenya, this class operates on the basis of capitalism and this is why in the socialist camp, we call them the “capitalist ruling class”. they are “rotten to the core”. Even if top positions in government were to be spread equally amongst all tribes in Kenya by any new President, two situations would arise. The critique of tribalism in government would end but the problems of corruption, unemployment, wealth grabbing by the rich and other vices of capitalism would continue. This is because under capitalism, the ruling class governs in the interest of big business and in collaboration with the exploiting classes at the expense of the exploited classes. Tribalism is a smaller problem in the matrix. The real monster is the system which tribalists in government utilize to drive their agenda of exploitation, theft and plunder of public resources. As the struggle against tribalism continues, the Jubilee government requires more ideological challenge, not just ethnic opposition.

  • The Neighbour With The Machete: An explaining view at the violence in Kenya following the General Elections on Dec. 27, 2007 from the perspective of four different theoretical models – By Georg Kessler. Published on July 24, 2004. Excerpts from (Pages 48-51)

    2.2 Conceptions other than ethnicity
    Berg-Schlosser sees the concept of ethnicity closely linked with class and economic interests: “Expression of ethnicity – i.e. a perceived identity based on ascriptive criteria like common origin, language or culture – and class – i.e. the articulation of economic interests and sentiments of group solidarity on this basis – form the most basic cleavage in the Kenyan society.” (Berg-Schlosser, 1994:247)

    He points towards the rural-urban and capital-labour relations that cut across ethnic lines (ibid.:254). Since the upper classes have been “Africanised” (in ibid.:257), former racial-division is now a class division only. Class cleavages are especially important, when they are coupled with ethnic cleavages (e.g. one group holds all or no wealth). The perception of the Kikuyu as a favoured and ruling group was probably enough to speak of a coupling here. Nevertheless, one must ask if this coupling is not self-induced: ethnic cleavage because of economic differences or the other way around?

    The Kenyan society is rather horizontal – despite Relative Deprivation on the opposition side and a clear favouring of Kikuyus. Different groups have ‘their’ elites that meet as equals but have a hierarchy behind them. Kalenjin, now on ODM-side, were once favoured under Moi while Kikuyus felt more prosecuted under the British rule in the 1950s. So class-grouping is not congruent, but works across ethnic lines.

    “The crucial question whether a poor Kikuyu, for example, identifies more readily with a well-to-do person from his home area or a fellow worker from Nyanza depends very much on the circumstances and the specific kind of organization attachment involved. In his constituency he may side with a particular ‘patron’ of his choice, in a work dispute his union will probably prevail, and in a street riot he may become part of the ‘anti-establishment’ crowd.” (Berg-Schlosser 1994:269)

    Nevertheless, people looking for ‘others’, ready to kill them in many places, took the streets. A lot of times, the poor killed the poor with the rich from both sides shunned up in their gated communities. The violence in early 2008 is clearly not a class issue, but class problems (no money, no land, no political influence) were taken up.

    A Nairobi based academic told BBC that “it’s really about deep, long-running income inequalities” (BBC News 2008-01-28). It is safe to make the preliminary conclusion here that the disappearance of ideological cleavages along the left-right line after the end of the Cold War opened the door for ethnic conflicts in the political arena (cf. Ajulu 2002:256). It is not clear if the pre-modern modes of society would have prevailed (and how) if Colonialism had not come over Kenya. Also, it is not clear if the step out of the ideological fighting can be seen forward of backward.

    One incident was reported from 1998 when environmentalists, including the Nobel Laureate Maathai, ‘reclaimed’ a forest and destroyed valuable equipment (cf. Klopp 2000:13). Struggles like this, of the small and young against the “corrupt and greedy” could carry some action, but it is rather unlikely that this ‘almost’ class-like conflict can gain much ground in face of the ethnic struggles. For Mair, the degree of social differentiation is still not high enough (Mair 2008:2) to let a political program based on classes win an election. Yet, Kenya proved not to correspond to Berg-Schlosser’s argument. On neither side of the divide was a whole community threatened or deprived; yet whole communities seemed to be mutually mobilized.

    2.3 Role of ethnicity in fighting for goods
    Even more problematic is the fact that political parties with a national ambition were always coalitions, since no group has a majority. KANU and KADU as well as PNU or ODM are coalitions that represent larger amounts of usually more than two ethnic groups. Since only a limited amount of functions, money and services can be distributes in the patronage system, the coalition must be limited to a minimum of effective actors. Kenyatta’s minimum-winning-coalition consisted mainly of the House of Mumbi, the heart of Kikuyu, while Moi had to consolidate his power by forming the KAMATUSA alliance with other minority ethnicities (cf. Ajulu 2002:263). But it can be reasonable to include more partners than needed: “[The] common advantage of maintaining overall political unity and of avoiding civil strife in these cases usually far exceed the narrow gains which some groups might achieve in a ‘minimum winning coalition’.” (Berg-Schlosser 1994:266)

    Yet, an ethnic division is not contribution to a good collective action outcome compared to ethnic homogeneous countries. A “significant lower per capita economic growth rates […], as well as poor public policy of performances” was attested (Miguel 2004:328). Primary school funding in ethnic homogeneous areas is on average 25 per cent higher than in areas with the “mean level of ethnic diversity” (cf. ibid.). It seems that in theory and empirically, diversity is costly. This could be reason for the hard and violent attempts of some actors to achieve more homogeneity in their regions.

    The politicians in Kenya are linked to their constituency usually by ethnicity and a service providing relation. Due to the competition for political posts this includes “benefits […] in return for political support” (Berg-Schlosser 1994:268). This can include: “patronage over the allocation of jobs, contributions to development projects in a certain area, but not rarely also personal payments” (ibid.). In the time before the one-party-system, the ruling KANU frequently reminded KADU-politicians that the government decided to which constituencies the money flowed (Oyugi 1998:295). Resource allocation in Kenya is an instrument of politics. Therefore, as a ‘service provider’ for his or her constituents, the politician has to weigh up very carefully how to act. Clinging together with ethnic colleagues (first in Parliament and later in the KANU backrooms) was a common strategy, which increased monopolization. “The contention at some point was that what supposedly started as Africanization had by deliberate design developed into Kikuyunization.” (Okumu 1970, in Oyugi 1998:306)

    The Moi State tried to “weaken the economic power of the Kikuyu as a way of also weakening them politically” (Oyugi 1998:307). Yet, Berg-Schlosser showed for the year 1987 how the Moi-government spent over 4.100 K pounds on main services in the Central Province, but in the Rift Valley and Nyanza only 2.77 (second) and 802 (last place) respectively (cf. 1994:289). It is unclear on how much less than under Kenyatta the Kikuyus got, but the gap compared to the Luo – who never had ‘their’ president – number is significant. This shows that the economic and political power influence and shape each other. Politics and economy cannot be separated. But Moi’s move also generated even more antipathy among Kikuyus towards the Kalenjin regime. Resource competition among ethnic groups seems normal, but is also digging deeper cleavages between them.

    Hence, if someone sees the patronage in the Kenyan system as a problem, he or she gets only half of the point. After 40 years like this, the network of nepotism is central for the relative political stability. Without material benefits towards individuals, village communities or clans, it is almost impossible to win a constituency (cf. Mair 2008:3).

  • Kenya is a failed state
  • It touches me to see that contrary to belief very many Kikuyus are suffering like the rest of Kenya. Some stay with hardly a meal a day and many are struggling to make ends meet. My dear brothers and sisters, it is not just about Kikuyunization of politics, it’s about the stinking rich guys holding the poor at ransom and painting a good picture of “progress”. It only happens by good chance that most of these rich guys are Kikuyus.

  • Land Accord Movement

    Was the fight for independence in Kenya a lost cause?

    National Land Accord

    2013-04-25, Issue 627

    The reason why our forefathers took up arms and went to the forest to fight the colonial government was primarily against dispossession of their lands. Colonialists in the guise of propagating ‘civilization’ through Christianity and education started taking up all productive land from Africans relegating them to unproductive areas.

    In 1929 the colonial government legislated an act legalizing the dispossession of African land. This was followed by creation of native reserve lands which were mainly unproductive and densely populated. It was done purposely to impoverish communities so that they could become a source of cheap labour for the sustenance of the colonial economy.

    Immediately after the Second World War due to population increase in the native reserve lands the living and working conditions were becoming unbearable. And because of experience gained while fighting in the War Africans were now ready to take up arms. This was only after exhausting all other peaceful avenues. Now the famous Mau Mau War began, which was basically about Kenyans fighting to get back their lands and dignity.

    By 1952 the Mau Mau War had really achieved much, leading to the declaration of a state of emergency and acceleration of land dispossession targeting perceived Mau Mau fighters , their families , sympathizers or associates .This led to the creation of concentration camps otherwise know as ‘British gulags’ . Many family heads, youth and women were thrown into those camps and others were detained in far-flung areas like Shimo la Tewa , Manyani and Lamu. All this was being done by colonial collaborators under the watch of their white masters.

    After the Mau Mau fighters had succeeded in their quest to make Kenya inhabitable for Her Majesty’s government and so the colonial administrators handed over the reigns of power to their Kenyan collaborators and servants. This is how the fight for self-rule was first hijacked and the quest to get back African lands was scuttled, as the fighters and their families were to later realize.

    First, the new African government did not recognize the efforts and the cause of those gallant sons and daughters who had fought for independence. The Mau Mau movement remained banned and labeled as a terrorist group until 2003 when the ban was lifted. Many of the freedom fighters remained in the concentration camps many years after and some still do to date. These camps are still mar the landscape of Kiambu County, the richest in the country. Families living in these camps suffer even worse living conditions and indignity under the watch of successive African governments.

    The very existence of these camps and deplorable living conditions negates the very reason why our forefathers took up arms to liberate themselves, their children and generations to come from shackles of colonialism, poverty, landlessness and indignity. This has led to emergence of post-colonial freedom fighters who try to finish what our forefathers by shedding of their innocent blood.

    It’s upon the incumbent regime to decide whether to address the pre-independent dream of land justice peacefully or face a bloody rebellion like their colonial masters. The point to note is that Kenya is not far off from these rebellions with emergence of rebel groups such as the Sabaoti Land Defence Forces, Mungiki and Mombasa Republican Council.

    To echo the words of Kenyan hero and mighty freedom fighter Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi, ‘It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees’. The struggle for land justice in Kenya continues.

    For the National Land Accord Movement
    Elijah Mburu and Shadrack Mwongera

  • Hatari acha mioto

    Hatari is it so difficult for you to write about tribalism from the lenses of other communities apart from the Kikuyus? If as you purport, the act is spread across all tribes, then write about it instead of repeating the same points that you have been dwelling on since last year. Do an essay about tribalism perpetuated by non-Kikuyus. Is that so difficult?

  • Karuturi: A litany of trouble
    TJN et al | 22 April 2013 | Español | français

    Karuturi: A litany of trouble

    Background note to accompany a press release by Tax Justice Network, Forum Syd, GRAIN, Anywaa Survival Organisation, South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements and Muungano wa Wanavijiji
    Things are not looking so rosy for CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi
    Karuturi Global Limited, a publicly registered holding company headquartered in Bangalore, India, may be under fire from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for tax evasion, but the complaints against it go further than that. The agribusiness firm, whose farm operations also straddle Ethiopia and India, has been dodging bullets about labour law violations, human rights abuses and environmental issues. Even the World Bank Group is no longer considering the company’s request for risk insurance for its investments in Ethiopia. This background note summarises the various problems that Karuturi has come to be known for among social justice movements around the world.

    Tax evasion

    Every year around US$ 1000 billion disappears without a trace from developing countries, ending up in tax havens or rich countries. The main part of this is driven by multinational companies seeking to evade tax where they operate.

    The sum that leaves developing countries each year as unreported financial outflows, referred to as illicit capital flight, amounts to ten times the annual global aid flows, and twice the debt service developing countries pay each year. During 2000-2008 Africa was the region with the largest real growth of illicit capital flight, amounting to 21.9 % per year.

    This money, if properly registered and taxed in the country of origin, could of course contribute to fulfilling human rights like the right to education and health care, and make a major difference in the fight to combat poverty. Due to just two forms of illicit capital flight used by corporations (‘mispricing’ and ‘false invoicing’), developing countries are losing three times the amount that is missing to achieve the UN millennium development goals (like universal education, stopping the spread of HIV, and halving extreme poverty) in tax revenues every year.

    (For all facts on tax evasion above and more info on mispricing please see “Bringing the billions back: how Africa and Europe can end illicit capital flight” by Fröberg and Waris, 2011)

    In 2012, the Kenya Revenue Authority developed a team of transfer pricing experts to audit accounts of companies in order to assess whether there was transfer mispricing and tax evasion taking place. Some transnational companies that export from Kenya are notoriously adept at it. However, the government has had difficulty tracing these firms’ operations due to lack of capacity and to date all audits and assessments, apart from one against Unilever, have been settled outside of public view.

    On the 4th of April 2013 Karuturi filed a notice of appeal against the decision of the tax tribunal for taxes due to the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people. According to ICRA, an Indian credit rating research agency, in an October 2012 analysis commissioned by Karuturi as well as Karuturi’s 2012 annual report, Karuturi has been facing a number of potential threats to its financial viability, namely:

    An INR 57.8 crore (= KES 975 million / USD 10.7 million / EUR 8 million) dispute from the Kenya Revenue Authority over transfer pricing
    An INR 83.5 crore (= KES 1.4 billion / USD 15 million / EUR 11.5 million) claim on unpaid income taxes from the Indian authorities
    A risk of default on a USD 54.7 million (= KES 4.8 billion / EUR 40.3 million) foreign currency convertible bond due for redemption on 19 Oct 2012 which was since restructured
    The overall tax claims come to USD 26 million, which is about one-quarter of the multinational’s global turnover in fiscal year 2012 (USD 106 million) while the amount for Kenya amounts to almost 1 per cent of Kenya’s total annual tax collection.

    Money of this magnitude could be used as additional income for development or to replace some current taxes that target the poor like value added tax or even to delay the enactment of additional taxes like the one on maize flour due to be activated in Kenya in 2015.

    Land grabs

    Since 1996, Karuturi’s core business has been floriculture, producing 580 million roses per year from 289 hectares of land the company leases in Kenya (154 hectares), Ethiopia (125 hectares) and India (10 hectares). In 2012, the group commanded no less than 9% of the cut rose market in Europe. Since the 2007/2008 global food crisis, Karuturi began expanding from floriculture into food production. Its plan is to set up farming operations on over one million hectares, mainly in eastern and southern Africa, to produce primarily maize, rice, sugarcane and palm oil for international markets.

    Birinder Singh, executive director of Karuturi Agro Industries, with a map showing the company’s holdings in Ethiopia.
    The hub of this expansion is Ethiopia. In 2009, Karuturi acquired 10,700 ha of land in Bako for maize, rice and vegetable production. In 2010, it got an additional 300,000 hectares for expansion in Gambela. The company aims to farm a total of 750,000 ha in Ethiopia. This land is leased from the government at bargain prices, but local communities consider it their own.

    As a result, many conflicts have emerged around compensation, displacement and the relocation of villagers and herders who suddenly found themselves fenced off of their lands by the Indian company.

    In 2011, Karuturi announced it was expanding further by pursuing a US$500 million investment for 370,000 ha in Tanzania, including an initial 1,000 ha in the country’s fertile Rufiji Basin. That same year, the company announced that it was in discussions with government officials in the Republic of Congo for a farm project in a special economic zone in Oyo-Ollombo, 400 km north of Brazzaville. In addition, it has been planning fruit and vegetable farms in Sudan, Mozambique and Ghana, and, says CEO Ramakrishna Karuturi, “in Senegal, we have made an exploratory probe and in Sierra Leone we have made initial contacts.” All of these countries are rife with land grabs right now.

    Labour issues & disputes

    According to a 2012 report published by the London Business School, 5% of Karuturi’s workforce in Ethiopia is composed of foreigners. Karuturi has been bringing in staff and consultants from abroad, including India, to run management, irrigation & drainage operations, and logistics because they said they could not find the experience locally. Same for manual labourers. Karuturi hires Ethiopians as unskilled labour but for skilled labour it says it faces problems. At the end of 2011, Karuturi got into a dispute with the Ethiopian government because they brought in several hundred Indian farmers to work on their farms in Gambela, which the Ethiopian authorities said contravened Ethiopian law and for which they would not give the permits. Karuturi reportedly also expects to rely on Indian farmers to handle its work on oil palm.

    According to media and labour organisation reports, workers on Karuturi farms in both Kenya and Ethiopia have been complaining about, and initiating labour actions against, various conditions, especially related to wages and safety.

    In November 2012, Karuturi reportedly began laying off about 900 of its 3,500 seasonal workers in Naivasha, Kenya, due to financial problems. The number was later reduced to 600. In December 2012, 1,000 Karuturi workers went on strike to demand action from management on unpaid salaries and poor working conditions.

    Earlier, in June 2010, Workers Rights Watch, a Kenyan association, carried out focus group discussions with Karuturi flower farm workers in Naivasha and registered a mixed scorecard of positive and negative opinions about the company.

    Regarding Karuturi’s Ethiopian farms, various media and research reports have exposed complaints of poor wages. For example, a solid report commissioned by the International Land Coalition shows that Karuturi pays Ethiopian farm labourers at its Bako farm ETB 10 per day (US$ 0.50) which compares with about ETB 20 per day (US$ 1.00) for labourers on commercial sesame farms in the country. Night guards for the company are said to be paid ETB 300 per month (US$ 15) if they own a gun and ETB 200 (US$ 10) per month if they do not.

    Human rights violations

    According to a powerful 2012 report by Human Rights Watch, the Ethiopian government is forcibly relocating thousands of indigenous people in western Gambela to new villages lacking adequate food, farmland, healthcare, and educational facilities to make way for large scale agricultural projects of foreign investors, including Karuturi. The report said, based on interviews with community representatives, that crops of local Anuak communities were cleared without consent for the Karuturi operations and that residents of Ilea, a village of over 1,000 people within Karuturi’s lease area, were told by the Ethiopian government that they would be moved in 2012 as part of its “villagisation programme”. In response, CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi denied any connection between his company’s activities and the government’s villagisation programme. In conversation with the Wall Street Journal’s unit in India, he described the Human Rights Watch report as “hogwash” and “a completely jaundiced western vision”, and even denied that the villagisation programme exists.

    Loss of livelihoods

    Karuturi’s 10,700 ha Bechera Agricultural Development Project in the Bako Plains of Ethiopia has deprived several local communities of their communal grazing areas and access to water for their livestock, thus severely affecting their livelihoods. This comes from a study commissioned by the International Land Coalition, based on detailed discussions with local communities, local authorities and Karuturi employees. The study documents how the lands were provided to Karuturi without the consent of the local communities and without compensation. It reveals that Karuturi is refusing to implement even the most minimal measures recommended by local authorities to address some of the impacts from its operations. For example building a livestock corridor through its fields so that locals could access water sources for their animals, or allowing them to graze their animals on crop residues.

    Environmental & health concerns

    Workers process roses at a Karuturi facility in Kenya (Photo: Simon Waina/AFP)
    Karuturi operates one of the largest flower farms in the Lake Naivasha Basin in Kenya, the country’s second largest freshwater lake. The flower farms are blamed for causing a drop in the lake’s water level, for polluting the lake with pesticides and chemical fertiliser runoff and for affecting the lake’s biodiversity. Workers at Karuturi’s flower farms in Naivasha who spoke with Muungano wa Wanavijiji, a local partner organisations of Forum Syd, in February 2013 said that the dilapidated condition of the Karuturi operations and poor protective clothing puts them at risk to exposure from chemicals. They say the company does not seem to care about their concerns.

    For its farm in Gambela, Ethiopia, Karuturi has developed an irrigation system with 50km of canals, 50km of drainage, and 40km of dykes, to pump a reported 22,000 litres of water per second from the Baro River, a crucial source of water for people dependent on the White Nile. Karuturi’s smaller 10,700 ha farm in Bako also generates significant issues related to access to water and water quality for the local communities. Although environmental impact assessments are usually required for irrigation projects in Ethiopia, Karuturi reportedly did not undertake any such assessment prior to constructing its farming complex in Bako.

    Investor confidence

    Karuturi and its shareholders have been waiting since at least May 2011 for the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to approve the company’s long pending bid for political risk insurance for its Ethiopian operations. According to Sai Karuturi, as of 2012 the application had still not been approved due to Karuturi’s plans to produce palm oil — a sensitive issue for which the Bank would require the Ethiopian government to put in place environmental protocols. Karuturi explained that he was therefore advised by MIGA to omit palm oil from the application for now and so he did. If MIGA protection fails to materialise, the company told investors that its fallback option would be to seek support from India’s Export Credit Guarantee Agency. On 29 January 2013, MIGA informed GRAIN, flatly, that Karuturi’s application “is no longer under consideration”.

    In March 2013, Bloomberg reported that Karuturi was seeking “hundreds of millions” of fresh investment dollars from an unnamed sovereign wealth fund after yet another unnamed development bank refused it a loan.

    In April 2013, the Indian paper Business Today reported that Karuturi was thinking of taking the company private.


    Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman is taking Kenya back to dark ages during Jomo Kenyatta and dictator arap Moi regimes where fear was the order of the day resulting into a culture of fear in national life.

    Kibunjia is proposing that Facebook and Twitter users in Kenya who post material passing as hate speech and incitement to violence could be arrested and charged in court of law.

    Such laws cannot be allowed in Kenya that is why in 2003 when the US tried to force Kenya to pass the Anti-Terrorism Bill aimed at combating terrorism in the East African nation it was opposed by parliamentary committee.

    Their decision coincided with hundreds of protestors taking to the streets of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to voice their opposition to the Suppression of Terrorism Bill. A statement from the Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs Committee said that the proposed bill “threatens to tear apart the very fabric of one nation and could offer fertile ground for inter-religious animosity and suspicion”.

    The bill would allow the police to arrest and search property without authority from the courts, and allows investigators to detain suspected terrorists for 36 hours without allowing them contact to the outside world.

    The bill had generated heated public debate and strong criticism, with the main opposition party, Kenya Africa National Union (Kanu) and a number of MPs from the ruling Narc coalition describing it as foreign and unworkable in Kenya.

    Legal experts and human rights groups in Kenya dismissed the bill as an absurd imitation of the US Patriot Act 2001, the South African Terrorism Bill 2002 and Britain’s Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

    Dr Kibunjia proposed that he would work with the police on monitoring materials posted on Facebook and Twitter by individuals and organisations.

    Although according to Kibunja the monitoring would be intense as Kenya approach the next general election, much of the post-election violence was over land disputes between rival ethnic groups, and unless the constitution would set up a land commission to manage public and community land, post election violence is there to stay in Kenya.

    According to Kibunja the Commission was not only working with CID officers from the cyber crime unit on the matter and that the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and other stakeholders would also be involved but also they have already written to owners of facebook asking them to cooperate with NCIC in handling the issue to the extent of shutting down some of the accounts operated.

    Dr Kibunja has already tested his proposition on the human rights commissioner Hassan Omar’s recent published article which he claims is laced with incitement, tribalism and hate speech.

    The article, titled “What do Kibaki men know or what are they planning” and which was published on November 27 in the Sunday Standard, has sparked sharp reactions from members of the Kikuyu community who claim that the rights crusader is unfairly targeting their community.

    By Kibaki men Hassan refers to tribal and regional appointments where Muchemi Wanjuki is appointed as Solicitor General, Deputy Solicitor General, Muthoni Kimani, Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u, Deputy registrar-general, F M Ng’ang’a, and Registrar General Bernice Gachegu.

    In Internal Security Permanent secretary, Mra Kimemia is from Kibaki ethnic community, others include CID Director – Ndegwa Muhoro, AP Commandant – K. Mbugua, Commissioner of Police Matthew Iteere, GSU boss Munga Nyale, Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe, NSC – Peace and Conflict Management Mr. S.K. Maina, Government Printer: Andrew Rukaria, and Senior Director Administration/Internal Security: E. Mutea.

    Hassan is also opposed to the appointments of the Finance Ministry where Minister is Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is from his ethnic group, Permanent Secretary – Joseph Kinyua -Pensions secretary – Anne Mugo, ERD director – Kenneth Mwangi D/Finance secretary – Mwirichia, Controller and Auditor – General; Priscilla Njeri Komora.

    Others include Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Prof. Ndungu, Dep. Governor – John Gikonyo, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General; Michael Waweru, Board Secretary: Mrs Ngang’a, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Investigation and Enforcement: Mr Joseph Nduati, Deputy Commissioner, Investigation and Enforcement: Mr Namu Nguru, Deputy Commissioner, Administration: Mr Karimi and Deputy Commissioner Procurement: Ms Murichu.

    Commissioner for customs services: Mrs. Wambui Namu, Senior Deputy Commissioner (Customs): Ms Githinji, Deputy Commissioner, Finance- Ms Wachira, Commissioner Domestic Taxes (LTO)-Mr Njiraini, Deputy Commissioner: Mrs Mwangi, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Finance: Mrs King’ori. Senior Assistant Commissioner, Security: Major Kariuki, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Southern Region: Wagachira and Commissioner of Investigation and Enforcement; Joseph Nduati.

    Kenya Airports Authority MD, Stephen Gichuki, General Manager Finance; John Thumbi, General Manager Marketing and Business Development; Lucy Mbugua, General Manager Information and Communication, Technology; Anthony Wachira, General Manager Security Services; Stanley Mutungi, Head of Corporate Communications / PA to the MD: Dominic Ngigi, Head of Procurement and Logistics: Allan Muturi.

    Kenya Ports Authority, Gichiri Ndua- MD, in the Ministry of Industrialization: Assistant Minister: Nderitu Muriithi, Chairman of the National Standards Council, Karanja Thiong’o, Permanent Secretary, Karanja Kibicho, Chairman of the Board: Eng. Geoffrey Ng’ang’a Mang’uriu.

    Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC)- Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer; Joseph K Njoroge, Company Secretary; Laurencia K Njagi, Chief Manager, Energy Transmission; Sammy Muita Chief Manager, Commercial Services; Rosemary K Gitonga, Chief Manager, Distribution; Benson Muriithi, Chief Manager, Planning, Research and Performance Monitoring; Eng. Raphael Mwaura.

    Kenya Petroleum Refineries: General Manager: John Mruttu, Finance Manager: Reuben Ndinya, Human Resource Manager: Martin Wahome and Engineering Manager: Charles Nguyai.

    Tribalism according to Hassan cannibalises our society and we must fight it at all coast. The Kibaki regime he says exploits this state of affairs. That is why to deal with ethnicity, a sustained, courageous, open, and painful discussion must ensue with firm and decisive interventions.

    Despite the fact that Kibaki knows clearly that the above mentioned positions are taken by people from his ethnic community and region, he was not a shamed yet again to recently appoint Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius Karangi, the Commandant of the Administration Police, Kinuthia Mbugua, the Director General of the National Security Intelligence Service Michael Gichangi, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department Ndegwa Muhoro are all Kikuyu community.

    Although the Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere is a Meru, the fact that he comes from his region makes it ethnical. Hassan argues that even though article 241 (4) of the Constitution expressly states the composition of the command of the Defence Forces shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya, Kibaki’s act is against both the spirit and letter of the new Constitution.

    To express this concern therefore, according to Hassan is neither hate speech nor advocating tribalism. That is why the demand by Sports Assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando, his Public works counterpart Mwangi Kiunjuri and MPs Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and John Mututho of Naivasha that he should resign is uncalled for.

    The MPs all from the Kikuyu community claimed that Omar authored an article which was published in the Sunday Standard last weekend which they said bordered on hate speech and incitements against their Kikuyu community.

    The Kikuyu law makers, who were speaking at Parliament Buildings, said such articles and other inflammatory remarks by various leaders led to the 2007/08 post election violence that left over 1,300 Kenyans dead.

    It is against the background that MP Wilfred Machage and co-accused for hate speech were set free. During their campaign against the draft constitution, they were widely quoted as saying that some communities in the volatile Rift Valley could be evicted if it is passed in a referendum on 4 August 2010.

    People for Peace in Africa (PPA)
    P O Box 14877
    00800, Westlands

  • Moral Ethnicity and Political Tribalism in Kenya’s “Virtual Democracy”

    Stephen Orvis

    Kenyan politics have long been among the most “ethnic” in Africa. From the battles over the constitutional formula for independence to the waning days of the one-party regime in the late 1980s, Kenyan politicians sought support from their ethnic or sub-ethnic groups, and citizens perceived most political battles to be about dividing the “national cake” among the constituent ethnic groups. Political liberalization since 1991 has not fundamentally changed this atmosphere. Most obviously, it has allowed ethnic politics to reemerge into open, public debate. Ruling and opposition parties represent primarily all, some, or coalitions of ethnic groups. Ethnically marked electoral violence, largely instigated by the ruling regime, has come to be expected, though not accepted, as part of the campaign season. Leaders are far more prone to make appeals to the state for resources in openly ethnic terms than they dared to do in the one-party era.
    But, perhaps less obviously, political liberalization has also opened debates about what ethnic identity means in daily politics. Open political debate has allowed leaders and citizens alike to ask questions, explicitly or implicitly, about who represents the ethnic group and how, what the group’s interests are, and even how the group is defined. These questions, and the answers that emerge, indicate a democratizing effect of even Kenya’s extremely constrained and partial liberalization. Greater competition has emerged among leaders for ethnic or sub-ethnic support. It is possible that even long-term material and political grievances, strongly felt by the citizenry, may be expressed and resolved via ethnic channels. In John Lonsdale’s terms, although political liberalization has clearly exacerbated the negative effects of “political tribalism,” it has also allowed local debates about “moral ethnicity” to emerge.1

    Background to Liberalization: Kenya’s Longstanding Ethnic Politics
    British colonial policy in Kenya restricted the earliest African political associations within the borders of ethnically defined administrative districts. Thus, ethnicity marked the earliest African political activism. The fundamental division and debate leading up to independence was between the Kenya African National Union (KANU) under the leadership of Jomo Kenyatta, and the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), under the leadership of, among others, Daniel arap Moi. KANU was led by and was perceived to represent primarily the two largest ethnic groups in the country, Kenyatta’s Kikuyu and Oginga Odinga’s Luo. KADU emerged, in reaction to KANU, as a coalition of smaller ethnic groups. They feared Kikuyu and Luo domination of the newly inde¬pendent country and fought for majimbo federalism to protect themselves from central (Kikuyu and Luo) domination.

    The dissolution of KADU and its absorption into KANU shortly after independence did nothing to change this underlying ethnoregional dynamic. KANU’s victory at independence led KADU leaders to accept a share of the spoils from within rather than remain in opposition, setting the stage for the one-party state under central control. After Odinga broke from the regime for ideological reasons and ultimately was banned from political activity, KANU, with Moi as vice president under Kenyatta, became a coalition of the dominant Kikuyu with small ethnic groups formerly of KADU, with the Luo largely in the “political wilderness.”
    Kenyatta presided over a growing economy that allowed him to distribute patronage with relative ease. He allowed regional and ethnic power barons a great deal of local autonomy as long as they did not publicly question central decisions and ultimate power. Legislative elections rotated local elites in and out of Parliament and power, as the regime mostly allowed competing leaders to vie openly for local supremacy under the one-party state. As in the late colonial period, the central government, often via repression, limited politics largely to within ethnic groups. Moi became a symbol of loyalty, quietly serving in his number two position and building up his own sources of patronage and following. Af¬ter a failed effort by Kenyatta’s inner circle to keep the presidency “in the House of Mumbi” (under Kikuyu control), Moi succeeded Kenyatta on the latter’s death in 1978.

    Moi has proven to be a far more astute political operative than anyone imagined 25 years ago. He quickly set out to replace systematically the existing Kikuyu political elite with his own followers from the former KADU, particularly from his own Kalenjin ethnic group (itself a collection of eight groups living contiguously in the Rift Valley that Moi and others stitched together into a common political entity in the 1950s). The Kalenjin elite’s limited control over the private economy (most business was in foreign, Asian, and Kikuyu hands) meant the search for patronage increasingly required the use of political power to wrestle control of private assets from those who had them. This and the difficult international economy resulted in economic stagnation from the mid-1980s forward, making it increasingly difficult for the regime to generate adequate patronage for its supporters. Moi’s reaction was to centralize control. Primarily via the elections of 1983 and 1988, he removed regional power barons he saw as a threat, replacing them with locally less popular but more pliable supporters.

    The continued economic stagnation and alienation of the citizenry from the party and state laid the groundwork for popular demands for change. Underground political movements for change existed throughout the 1980s. The aborted coup attempt of 1982, led by the Air Force and seen by many Kenyans as an attempt at a Luo power grab (in that most Air Force leaders were Luo), had a clear populist rhetoric associ¬ated with it and support from within the “radical” circles at the University of Nairobi. After the coup was crushed a murky movement known as Mwakenya emerged, both domes¬tically and internationally. Although the regime railed against it regularly and arrested numerous alleged members, Mwakenya never generated an active mass following, at least not publicly. Through mid-1990, the regime clung to power, facing growing but passive opposition from the bulk of the population.

    Political Liberalization and Political Tribalism
    The demand for democracy exploded July 7, 1990, when two former regional power barons publicly demanded an end to the one-party state. After a year and a half of detentions, protests, and finally a full-scale aid cutoff, the regime capitulated, allowing competing parties to exist but otherwise clinging to the full authority and power of the one-party state. The first multiparty elections were held in December 1992. Since then Kenya can be considered a paradigmatic case of Richard Joseph’s “virtual democracy.”2 The regime allowed opposition but has continuously harassed and intimidated it as necessary to retain power. Always with an eye toward aid donors, Moi presided over what Joel Barkan termed C-elections to maintain power but get aid flowing again.3

    But regime maneuvering does not fully explain Moi’s ability to retain power. Liberalization caused an explosion of “‘unprincipled political tribalism’ with which groups compete for public resources.”4 The opposition fragmented along personal and ethnic lines. The initial movement for change, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), united several major Kikuyu, Luo, and Luhya leaders, threatening to re-create Kenyatta’s original KANU. Immediately after Moi announced the end of the one-party state, however, a key cabinet member and former vice president, Kikuyu Mwai Kibaki, announced the formation of the Democratic Party (DP) as a second opposition force, effectively splitting the potential Kikuyu vote between himself and FORD’s Kenneth Matiba. Within FORD, Odinga and Matiba could not agree on who would carry the banner as the presidential candidate, resulting in a split. Odinga’s FORD-Kenya came to represent primarily the Luo, but with allies in one section of the Luhya and on the coast from the banned Islamic Party of Kenya. Matiba’s FORD-Asili came to represent the Kikuyu in the southern half of Central province, as well as in the cities of Nairobi and Nakuru, and a section of Luhya as well.

    The election thus took place with KANU competing against three major opposition parties. This, combined with gerrymandered electoral districts, continuous state harassment of the opposition, and significant electoral violence allowed Moi and KANU to win. Moi retained the presidency with only 36 percent of the vote, but gained the constitutionally mandated 25 percent in five of the eight provinces. The basic ethnic political calculus in 1992 changed little from the early 1960s. Moi and KANU were the former KADU coalition. The key difference was that the Kikuyu and Luo-dominated KANU of the 1960s had split into three parties, led by the Luo Odinga and two competing Kikuyu leaders. As has always been the case, the country was divided into political zones and a few political battlegrounds. The political zones were those areas in which one party had nearly total dominance. The battlegrounds were the handful of areas, the key ones being in two provinces – Western (ethnically Luhya) and Eastern (ethnically Kamba) – where no party dominated. Moi’s ability to garner 25 percent of the vote in these areas was key to his victory.

    Voting patterns were very heavily marked by ethnicity. Parties were overwhelmingly dominant in their respective “zones.” KANU zones became literal “no go” zones for the opposition; the local security apparatus used all means necessary to silence any opposition. In opposition zones KANU certainly tried to compete, but was overwhelmingly defeated and its local supporters regularly faced heated, and at times violent, opposition from local youth. All presidential candidates won massively in their own zones, and parliamentary contests in those areas were rarely competitive. In these areas political loyalty clearly went to the top leadership, usually a presidential candidate. In the political battlegrounds, in contrast, loyalty was usually more locally focused; no one had succeeded in politically uniting the ethnic or often even sub-ethnic group.

    The opposition continued to fragment during the next five years leading to the 1997 election. Failure to gain power left many followers demoralized and opposition politicians with few resources to use as patronage. Odinga’s death and Matiba’s withdrawal from active politics (as a result of ill health and his increasingly erratic personal behavior) split the two FORDs. Most Luo followed Odinga’s son, Raila, into the National Democratic Party (NDP) but a rump holding three parliamentary seats stayed in FORD-Kenya, which came to be dominated by the northern Luhya leader, Kijana Wamalwa. Matiba’s southern Kikuyu supporters searched out various party homes. Kibaki’s DP gained some of these followers, but was unable to unite the Kikuyu fully under its banner. Several new parties emerged, the most significant of which came to be the Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by several university intellectuals and Charity Ngilu, a Kamba leader from the political battleground of Eastern province.

    The 1997 elections largely repeated those of 1992, but with greater opposition fragmentation. Failing to negotiate an agreement on a joint candidate, the opposition decided to run as many locally popular presidential candidates as possible, in a failed attempt to deny Moi his 25 percent in five provinces. The result was an election with five major candidates and numerous minor ones. Moi won again, increasing his vote total to 40 percent, and KANU hung on to a razor-thin majority in Parliament. The opposition entered the new Parliament with a bigger share of the seats but far more divided than in the previous Parliament. Although the major ethnic groups were more divided than in 1992, in most constituencies locally dominant candidates still emerged. Only in about 10 percent of all parliamentary elections did the winner have a vote margin of less than 10 percent.5

    Since 1997 Moi’s new ethnic initiative has been a merger with the NDP, Raila Odinga’s nearly completely Luo party. As of this writing, this effort is nearing fruition. Odinga and several key NDP members of Parliament (MPs) are in Moi’s cabinet and the parties are close to announcing a full merger in advance of the upcoming elections. This is part of Moi’s larger strategy for his own succession. The Constitution forbids him a third term. A process of constitutional reform is under way, the results of which are not certain. A number of younger KANU leaders and Odinga have floated the idea of an executive prime minister and several deputies. This idea, presumably, could allow an ethnic coalition of a new generation of leaders to replace Moi. If Moi does in fact retire (many believe he will use the Constitution to create some new office into which he could enter without violating the term limit on the current presidency), such an arrangement might allow power sharing among the major ethnoregional segments of KANU and the Luo of the NDP. As was true in 1997, several major opposition initiatives at unity are under way, but none has come close to bearing fruit yet.

    While ethnic and subethnic factionalism has been the hallmark of elite politics, political tribalism has taken a more grim turn on the ground. Fulfilling Moi’s prophecy that democracy would just lead to tribal conflict, “ethnic” violence broke out in the predominantly KANU Rift Valley in the months leading up to the 1992 election and continued occasionally afterward. Domestic and international investigations confirmed that the regime initiated most of the violence, which killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless.6 Most of the victims were Kikuyu, descendants of colonial-era immigrants to the area. They were opposition voters in what otherwise could be a KANU zone. While politically only partially successful (several opposition MPs were elected in the cities of the Rift Valley anyway), factionalism had the advantage of awarding some Kalenjin KANU supporters with a precious commodity: land. A similar round of violence occurred in 1997. The Rift Valley was once again one site of the violence, but even worse violence occurred outside Mombasa on the coast. There, again, the violence served to drive opposition voters “up-country” (Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba) out of a potential KANU zone.

    Various political actors have made what appear to be honest attempts to rise above political tribalism. Most prominent have been various leaders and groups in Nairobi-based civil society. Led by the intellectual and professional elite, these groups have engaged in various efforts to push the regime toward real reform of the Constitution and the electoral system. At times, such as in July 1997 in advance of the elections that year, these efforts have mobilized significant street support in Nairobi. The results have been limited, however, partly by these elites’ limited mass appeal and partly by the willingness of more mainstream politicians to compromise with the regime. In 1997 moderate opposition MPs under¬mined a successful movement for real constitutional reform by accepting immediate minor reforms in exchange for continued participation in the electoral process, with the regime promising to engage in full-scale constitutional reform after the elections. The latter has yet to come to fruition.

    Liberalized (and Moral?) Ethnicity
    Liberalization of Kenyan politics has clearly intensified political tribalism. But liberalization has also enhanced the possibility that moral ethnicity, the contested notion of what it means to be a good member of the community, may emerge. We can see this change in the resurrection of several locally popular leaders who had been shunted aside by Moi’s increasing control in the late 1980s, in the emergence of a variety of local battles for support among contending leaders, and in the proliferation of local debates over how the politically salient ethnic group is defined and what its interests are. All of these indicate a degree of democratization, in the sense of greater popular participation in defining the community’s interests and selecting its leaders.

    One of the earliest effects of liberalization was the resurrection of several regional power barons, whom Moi had marginalized in the previous decade. A prime example is Symeon Nyachae, the long-time political kingpin of Kisii district. Rising to the position of head of the entire civil service, he was dismissed in 1986, reportedly as the result of a business dispute with Moi. Kisii is a political battleground, so Moi was quite interested in swinging it to KANU once opposition was legalized. He turned to Nyachae, who was promised a cabinet post (rumors also claimed he was promised the vice presidency) and asked to deliver the district’s votes to KANU in 1992. Ultimately, KANU won 7 of 10 Kisii parliamentary seats, 6 of them being Nyachae and those he supported. Nyachae was rewarded with the position of minister of agriculture. After a similar effort in 1997, he became minister of finance. When dismissed about a year later, he finally broke with the regime, effectively placing himself in the opposition. For the first time he seems to have achieved his long-standing goal of fully uniting Kisii behind him.

    After his break with Moi, even areas and MPs who had opposed him (there had long been several areas of the district where he was not popular) shifted to support him. The KANU MPs who continue to support Moi seem to have a very weak following locally. As the 2002 elections loom, Nyachae has officially joined the little-known FORD-People party, pre-sumably to run as its presidential candidate. All indications are that KANU will lose heavily in the district this time around (assuming a reasonably fair contest). While Nyachae was part of the system for years, and has been an active par¬ticipant in political tribalism, his recent surge of popularity at home seems quite genuine. Liberalization allowed this regional baron to reenter the KANU fold, but has also allowed him, and his ethnic community, to switch to the opposition.

    A more common effect of liberalization was the opening of public battles for support of an ethnic community. Two such battles, among the Nandi and Kipsigis, are under way in Moi’s own Kalenjin. The Nandi and Kipsigis, although Kalenjin, are distinct from Moi’s own group, the Tugen. Members of both groups have long felt they have not received their “fair share” of the rewards of being Kalenjin. Nandi MP Kipruto Kirwa initially emerged as a client of Moi henchman Nicholas Biwott. But by the mid-1990s, at least partly because of local pressure, he broke with the regime, leading a small group of “renegade” KANU MPs. Kirwa has been locked in a battle for Nandi support since. A chief rival has been Mark arap Too, a close associate (rumors say a relative) of Moi until his recent removal from the cabinet. During the past several years, one of their chief disputes has been over the disposal of the large tract of land in Nandi territory owned by the now-defunct East African Tanning Extract Corporation (EATEC). Kirwa has championed the cause of the land being divided and sold in small plots at prices affordable to landless Nandi. Arap Too arranged the sale of much of the land in large parcels to Moi and other major regime supporters. The battle for Nandi support, then, has taken on class and populist tones, as the renegades champion the cause of the masses against the alleged Moi henchman serving the elite. The debate has raised major questions, with competing pronouncements from groups of elders as to what it means to be a good Nandi leader who is serving the community’s interests, and why. It has even led to public questioning of whether the Nandi should continue to consider themselves Kalenjin.7

    Kipkalya Kones emerged from among the Kipsigis in the late 1990s as another KANU renegade, initially aligned loosely with Kirwa. Since Nyachae’s departure to the opposition in neighboring Kisii, Kones has effectively followed him. Kones’s rival for Kipsigis leadership, William Ruto, is a cabinet member of increasing prominence, and one of the “young Turks” in KANU whom Moi has been championing as his successor generation (one of the proposed deputy prime minister posts in a new Constitution might well be designed for him). Although no single issue like the EAT AC land in Nandi defines this struggle, it nonetheless represents a struggle over the interests of the community: remain loyal to the regime and part of the Kalenjin ethnopolitical group or align the community elsewhere as part of the opposition. These two areas represent a possible threat of unraveling the heart of Moi’s coalition, though that outcome is by no means certain.

    A similar battle has taken place throughout the multi-party era in Western province among the Luhya, a key political battleground. Unlike the Nandi or Kipsigis, the Luhya have never been wholly united behind one leader or party. Since 1992, Kijana Wamalwa of FORD-Kenya, despite being seen by many as a weak leader, has held sway among the northern-most Luhya subgroup, the Bukusu. In 1992 renegade politician Martin Shikuku delivered several parliamentary seats and a large share of the province’s presidential vote to FORD-Asili. KANU’s national victory, however, led most of these FORD-Asili MPs to defect to KANU. These local MPs clearly had their own bases of support, independent of Shikuku; unlike in neighboring Luo areas, in the subsequent by-elections voters supported their MPs’ return to KANU. Shikuku’s power was effectively broken and he lost his own parliamentary seat in 1997. KANU’s primary Luhya leader in recent years, trying to unite the Luhya, has been Musalia Mudavadi, another rising young leader and seen in early 2002 as a likely future president/prime minister. This possibility seems likely to gain the support of most Luhya, though full control of the province remains uncertain.

    In another political battleground, Kamba areas of Eastern province, a similar battle has emerged. Charity Ngilu ran as the SDP’s presidential candidate in 1997, generating much attention as the first serious woman candidate for the highest office. Although she seemed to work hard to develop a national, rather than ethnic, rhetoric as the “woman candidate,” her success nonetheless galvanized much support for her at home. KANU and SDP split the Kamba parliamentary seats in 1997. Since then she has been locked in battle with local KANU leaders for political support among the Kamba. This has necessitated her continued move toward a more ethnic politics. In the most recent test of her strength, her candidate in a by-election was beaten badly by a KANU campaign financed by a wealthy Kamba physician, Herman Mwau.

    Such battles for local support are most obvious at the level of the ethnic group as a whole, but often occur at the subethnic level as well. In Kisii the key political division and voting unit is the local clan. Winning office requires gaining support of enough clans to gain a majority in a given conÂstituency. In one such constituency, Bonchari, Nyachae had relatively little support in 1992, and its sitting MP was not his client. In the KANU nominations for the 1992 election, however, Nyachae managed (local opponents claim by illegitimate means) to get one of his supporters nominated as the party’s MP candidate, defeating the sitting MP. The latter immediately decamped to the DP, defeated the KANU candidate in the general election, and before even being sworn into office defected back to KANU. His supporters, making up a majority of the constituency but by no means every clan, welcomed this move. Their loyalty was to him, and they believed he would gain more for the district in KANU than in the opposition. Such local battles for control, with popular candidates defeating at one level or another machinations from above, are probably more common than recognized, as they go largely unreported. Like the battles for control of entire ethnic groups, they indicate active debates about what the unit of political loyalty is and how its interests are best served.

    A final area in which moral ethnicity may be at play is a resurgence of various forms of what could be called neotraditionalism. The most controversial of these is the Mungiki sect. Though its beliefs embrace “African” tradition, without ethnic reference, it is in fact almost exclusively Kikuyu. Members have already proclaimed the ” Kirinyaga Kingdom” (Kirinyaga is an administrative district in Kikuyu Central province) and encourage members of other ethnic groups to found similar entities based on their indigenous beliefs. Mungiki has a very clear neotraditional ideology, calling for and practicing a return to “traditional” religious beliefs and practices and explicitly rejecting Christianity. Although claiming to be nonpolitical, Mungiki members and leaders regularly articulate a radical critique of the KANU regime and the Kenyan elite generally; one of the four primary goals is “to liberate the Kenyan masses from political oppression and economic exploitation.”8 Gaining what appears to be growing support among the poorest Kikuyu in both urban and rural areas (particularly victims of the ethnic violence in the Rift Valley), Mungiki represents a radical alternative to mainÂ-stream Kikuya politicians’ definition of the community’s interest.

    Less radical but still quite controversial are the numerous councils of elders that emerged in the 1990s. In Meru, the njuri ncheke, a council of elders that was virtually completely eliminated in the colonial era, has gained significant strength. The local administration has used it to help resolve several major land disputes within the Meru community and between it and neighboring communities. Its local critics claim it also acts as a strong political force for KANU in this political battleground area, which divides its votes between the DP and the ruling party. Similar councils, with less clear traditional antecedents, have emerged among the Luo, Luhya, and Kamba. A section of the latter anointed Charity Ngilu as a warrior, which raised significant gender questions in the local community. The Luo council is seen by most observers as a mechanism for neotraditional legitimization of Raila Odinga’s leadership in the face of opposition from the “radical” MP James Orengo and his followers. All of these councils claim nonpartisanship; rhetorically, they attempt to rise above party to speak in the moral interests of the ethnic community as a whole. The degree to which this is an honest attempt to do just that, to speak in terms of a moral ethnicity, rather than simply provide legitimacy for partisan interests, probably varies from region to region and even among the members of the councils themselves. Their increasingly widespread exis¬tence, however, indicates the political importance of the debate over representing the ethnic community in the era of political liberalization.

    The effects of ethnicity on political liberalization is a double-edged sword, at least, even in the extremely constrained “virtual democracy” of Kenya. Quite obviously, liberalization has allowed a more public flowering of political tribalism and all its negative effects (such as exacerbated corruption). But a more local focus also shows that liberalization has allowed at least the start of the public debates associated with Lonsdale’s “moral ethnicity,” which can have distinct democratizing effects.

    These debates take a number of different forms. Some, such as the Nandi battle over the EATEC land, can potentially lead to a politics of class that either transcends ethnicity or at least leads to class-based, pan-ethnic alliances (as Klopp argues is under way). Some of the other debates in Kenya are less obviously distinct from political tribalism, but nonetheless represent at least incipient moral ethnicity. Lonsdale’s definition of political tribalism (see above) refers to the “unprincipled” competition for resources. The resurrection of a regional power baron such as Nyachae in Kisii could be read as part and parcel of such political tribalism. But liberaliza¬tion raises the possibility that such a leader might find popular support, as Nyachae has, in breaking with “the system,” as Kenyans frequently refer to the Moi regime.

    Popular pressure for a “better deal” in terms of a share of the nation’s resources need not be unprincipled. Klopp notes that Nandi elders who support Kirwa have actively distanced themselves from their ethnic chauvinist colleagues calling for violence against non-Kalenjin in the Rift Valley.9 I have found few people in Kisii who favor ethnic violence, even in retaliation against the Masai who have attacked Kisii along their mutual border. Demands for resources (land, schools, health clinics) can be seen in ethnic terms but within bounds of principle. The good community leader can emerge as the one who champions the community’s interest in gaining its share, not just for its elite but spread more widely, and within the bounds of peaceful political competition.

    Many Western observers may find political efforts of this type, restricted to ethnic terms, less than ideal, just as many find unacceptable Mungiki’s public support for female genital mutilation and njuri ncheke’s exclusion of women. As these examples attest, debates over moral ethnicity in Africa often contain distinctly illiberal elements; there are no guarantees that they will produce a more civil and democratic polity. They can nonetheless represent important, if tentative and partial, forms of political accountability and in this sense can be democratizing. This possibility should not be lost under the haze of political tribalism.

    Stephen Orvis is an associate professor of government at Hamilton College, New York. He is the author of The Agrarian Question in Kenya (Florida University Press, 1997) and several articles on rural development in Kenya. His recent research is on civil society and political liberalization in Africa, with a primary focus on Kenya, including “Civil Society in Africa or African Civil Society?” Journal of Asian and African Studies (36:1, 2001, pp. 17-38). Contact Dr. Orvis at sorvis @ hamilton. edu.

    1. John Lonsdale, “Moral Ethnicity and Political Tribalism,” in Inventions and Boundaries: Historical and Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism, ed. Preben Kaarsholm and Jan Hultin (Denmark: Institute for Development Studies, Roskilde University, 1994), pp. 131-150.
    2. Richard Joseph, “Democratization in Africa After 1989: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives,” Comparative Politics 29 (1997): pp. 363-382.
    3. Joel Barkan, ” Kenya: Lessons from a Flawed Election,” Journal of Democracy 4, no. 3 (1993): pp. 85-99.
    4. Lonsdale, “Moral Ethnicity and Political Tribalism,” p. 131.
    5. Joel Barkan and Njuguna Ng’ethe, ” Kenya Tries Again,” Journal of Democracy 9, no. 2 (1998): 43.
    6. Republic of Kenya, Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee to Investigate Ethnic Clashes in Western and Other Parts of Kenya (Nairobi: Government of Kenya, 1992); Human Rights Watch, Divide and Rule: State-sponsored Ethnic Violence in Kenya (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993).
    7. Jacqueline Klopp, Can Moral Ethnicity Trump Political Tribalism? The Struggle for Land and Nation in Kenya, African Studies, forthcoming.
    8. Grace Nyatugah Wamue, “Revisiting Our Indigenous Shrines Through Mungiki” African Affairs 100 (2001): 460.
    9. Klopp, Can Moral Ethnicity Trump Political Tribalism? p. 23.

  • More Kikuyus in Nakuru County

    SHAME: KINUTHIA MBUGUA nominates only KIKUYUS to County assembly

    Monday April 22,2013 – The Kenyan DAILY POST has learnt that even before the dust settles on the now infamous Butere’s Girls play, Shackles of Doom, Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has appointed 10 members from his community in Nakuru County Assembly special seats allocation.

    According to credible sources, Kinuthia has appointed 10 members from his community out of 13 seats allocated to him by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

    Below is a list of nominees to County Assembly special seats for Nakuru County

    1. Tabitha Gaki

    2. Beatrice Nyawira Wambugu

    3. Rosemary Okemwa Kamau

    4. Kiiru Margaret

    5. Rosemary Wanjiru Kamau

    6. Irine Njeri

    7. Gillain Jepkirui

    8. Virginia Wamaitha Gichanga

    9. Janet Wamaitha Gichanga

    1o.Catherine Njeri Kamau

    11. Mbugua Emmah Wambui

    12. Hassan Hawa Ibrahim

    13. Sang Ruth Jeptarus

    Going by the above revelations is it right for the governor of a Metropolitan County like Nakuru to nominate 10 out of 13 members from his tribe?

  • Why should Sikwekwe and Hatari complain of the obvious. Kikuyus are unequally employed in main government positions. Kibaki had a chance to correct Moi’s mistakes but he instead cemented them. Uhuru has a new start and we await to see whether he will undo Kibaki’s mistakes.

  • OJ Hatari Esq

    Akili Pevu, the obvious is that they all engage in tribalism.

    Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” – Matthew 7:2-5

  • hatari you losely mix high level tribalism that has been proven from the leadership of former presidents who favored people from their tribes. Your argument falls flat when you call those exposing such leaders, tribalists.You are just angry about the truth on KIbaki who should have done a better job but left Kenyans more divided tribally than Moi.It is that “speck of denial” that you should remove from your eyes. There is zilch to use on the Luos so you will keep banging your tired song here instead of writing more interesting stuff.

    And if they all engaged in tribalism, then what is your beef with those mentioning it?

  • kenyatta land thief
  • Kalenjin mafia

    Kisumu County:

    Police Commander – David Kimeli Ng’etich (Kalenjin)

    CID Commander – Stanley Cheruiyot (Kalenjin)

    Kisumu East Deputy CID boss – William Yegon (Kalenjin)

    Kisumu East AP Commander – Elisha Cherono (Kalenjin)

    Kisumu East District security team chairman – DC Willy Cheboi (Kalenjin)

  • Dinka tribal dominance in South Sudan

    The implementation of Dinka Domination in South Sudan


    Gordon Buay


    When South Sudan became an independent state last July, many people had hoped that the newly independent country would be built on principles of ethnic equality, democracy, rule of law and federalism. There was a reason for people to be optimistic about the future of South Sudan. Those who had hoped that South Sudan would become a paradise of equality justified their argument on the belief that the people of South Sudan had bitterly struggled for equality in the old Sudan for over fifty years.

    Common-sense has it that people who struggled for ethnic equality for more than five decades would be able to manage ethnic diversity in a way other African countries failed to do. It is true that people who struggled against the imposition of Arabism and Islamism in the old Sudan could not end up having a government that would behave like successive Khartoum regimes that treated ethnic Africans in general as second-class citizens and the people of South Sudan in particular as third-class citizens.

    When late Dr. John Garang told the people of South Sudan in 1994 that “an oppressor has no color”, a lot of South Sudanese thought that he was referring to brown Sudanese who oppressed their own people but blamed the problem of Sudan on European colonialists. No Southerner ever thought that a Southern Sudanese could be regarded as an oppressor. Traditionally, the perception of the people of South Sudan is that an oppressor is a Northern Sudanese who is brown in color.

    But with the advent of independence, so many people have begun to analyse what John Garang was referring to and realized that anybody, whether a brother or a sister, could become an oppressor if s/he denies the citizens equality, democracy, rule of law and justice. Prior to independence, so many Southern Sudanese thought that an oppressor who denied people their rights was a Muslim man in Khartoum with a turban on his head. Little did the ordinary people know that a Dinka man with scarification on his forehead would become the new oppressor who may practise the worst kind of ethnic domination in the newly independent state.

    During the reign of successive regimes of old Sudan, ethnic domination was practised on the basis of religion and political ideology. South Sudanese were marginalized as a unit because the Northern elites wanted to assimilate them into Arab and Islamic culture. Within the north, there was some sort of power-sharing among the tribes of Shaygia, Jaaliyeen, Danagalla, etc. Political participation in the government was not dictated by one tribal affiliation but by whether one was a member of a sectarian party or Muslim brotherhood.

    One could argue that despite the existence of so many tribes in the North, participation in the power structure of the state in Khartoum was not dictated by tribal origin but by ideological affiliation. The UMMA, DUP and Muslim Brotherhood have memberships across many tribes in the North including African tribes of Western and Eastern Sudan. It is well known that the UMMA party’s stronghold was Darfur prior to 1989 coup. The talk about racism within the Islamic Movement surfaced after the split of 1999 between Dr. Hassan Turabi and Field Marshal Omer Bashir. However, one can still see African northern Sudanese in the leadership structure of the National Congress Party. The same thing is true with Popular National Congress of Dr. Hassan Turabi which has Arab tribes as its members.

    The issue of division of Islamic Movement along ethnic lines was accelerated by Hassan Turabi himself who wanted to use tribalism as a tool of political mobilization to bring down the regime of Omer Al-Bashir. The manufactured polarization of Islamic Movement along ethnic lines assisted Turabi to achieve his objective in Darfur because the Movements fighting Bashir’s government were formed on the basis that the Africans in the North were marginalized by the Arab regime which favored Arab tribes in Darfur. What was important to Turabi was not the issue of ethnic equality between the Africans and the Arabs in the Sudan. His main concern was the loss of control of state power. If equality among ethnic groups in the Sudan were to be his main concern, he wouldn’t have helped to dismantle the 1972 Addis Ababa accord which gave the South local autonomy by persuading President Nimeir to cancel the deal to impose Sharia.

    In attempting to compare Dinka domination of power in the South and the marginalization of South Sudanese in the North before independence, people need to differentiate land dispute between African and Arab tribes in Darfur which is an undeniable fact and the representation of African Muslims in the state institutions since the independence of Sudan in 1956. In comparison to South Sudanese, the African Muslims in the North were better represented in the government institutions because of their religion than South Sudanese. The African tribes of Nuba and Darfur dominated the Sudan army from 1956—1985. As late John Garang said, “the Arabs who were fighting South Sudanese in the first civil war were Nubas”.

    The argument I am trying to put forth in this article is that political tribalism among Northern tribes is less destructive than what we are seeing in South Sudan. Islamism and Arabism were the pillars of political mobilization in the North prior to Darfur conflict in 2003 and participation in the political institutions in the North was based more on political affiliation than tribal origin that we are now witnessing in the post-independent South Sudan in which the Dinka elite based nation-building on ethnic domination.

    Since the independence of South Sudan last July, we have been witnessing a very dangerous form of ethnic domination which would surely lead the South to become a failed state. Prior to July, 2011, Dinka elite controlling power began to practise ethnic discrimination and marginalization within the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) that was formed after the conclusion of the CPA on January 9, 2005. But so many people didn’t notice the gravity of the situation thinking that the practice would be addressed after the independence of the South. Many South Sudanese focused on the implementation of the CPA and the exercise of the right of self-determination and ignored the glaring practice of tribalism in each ministry of the GoSS.

    When the ministries were set up in 2005, there were practices of tribal exclusions that made a lot of people to question the underlying policies and vision of Dinka elite. For instance, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development which was under the guidance of Michael Makuei Lueth employed mostly Dinka Bor. Majority of employees of the Ministry were from Dinka tribe. The same thing to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which was also dominated by Dinka tribe.

    Filling ministries with one’s tribe—a practice mostly demonstrated by Dinka ministers—continued up to now and many ministries in Juba are dominated either by one tribe or a clan depending on where the Ministers who set them up in 2005 came from. Majority of employees in the Ministry of Finance are from Dinka Bhar-el-Ghazal because Arthur Akuein Chol, who was the GoSS Minister of Finance and Economic Development in 2005, hailed from that region.

    The purpose of this article is to educate members of the international community who are not well-versed in the affairs of South Sudan to understand the root causes of the on-going ethnic violence in the country. After the world was awakened by the ethnic violence which erupted on December, 23rd, 2011 in Jonglei state, so many people in the Western World, particularly in the United States, began to wonder about the state of affairs in the newly independent South Sudan. In order for the people to understand violence which has now engulfed the South, it is crucial for members of the international community to be educated about the ideology of Dinka domination being pursued by President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

    Although it is true that violence in Jonglei State between Dinka and Nuer on the one hand and Murle tribe on the other is fuelled by cattle, political violence which involved fighting between Salva Kiir’s regime and the rebel Movements in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity State was caused by Dinka domination of power in the South. It has become a practice among the less informed journalists to blame political violence in the South on the North by neglecting the politics of domination being pursued in Juba by Dinka elite. The same tactics of looking for a scapegoat in the north were used by so many African dictators in the past who blamed colonial powers for ethnic violence in the continent many years after Europeans left. The North may exploit a situation, but how did it come about in the first place?

    It has also become a practice of some individuals in the media to dismiss the prevalent ethnic discrimination being practised by Salva Kiir’s regime saying that it is a normal practice among Africans to prefer their ethnic groups. People who dismiss the dangers of state-practised tribalism in South Sudan are confusing public realm and private realm tribalism. In South Sudan, consciousness of one’s tribal origin is a psycho-sociological reality that is largely universal in nature. However, as research noted, there is a distinction between public realm ethnicity which involves conflicts related to the determination of who gets what, when and how, and private realm ethnicity that may not invite state intervention. What is causing violence in South Sudan currently is a public realm ethnicity which denies non-Dinka public positions because of their ethnic backgrounds.

    Public realm tribalism being practised by Salva Kiir’s regime is responsible for ministries to be filled by one tribe; it is also responsible for land grabbing in Juba, Numeli, Yei and etc. It is also responsible for the massacre of Shilluks in 2010 and the killing of ten Bari civilians in Juba this month. The on-going political violence in the South is a manifestation of negative aspect of tribalism as opposed to tribalism being practiced in the villages. It is the state-sponsored tribalism which we are more concerned about because ethnic domination at the level of state, as opposed to ethnic consciousness in Dinkaland, is divisive, and of parochial form that can lead to violence.

    Experience from many African countries attested that the politics of ethnic domination being practised by Dinka elite plunged many nations into quagmires of bloodletting strife and instability. Before Yuweri Museveni took over power through revolution in 1986, tribalism in its extreme level reduced Uganda from one of Africa’s most promising countries to one of the poorest.

    In 1994 about a million Rwanda’s women, children, men, old and young died because they were butchered by their countrymen due to state-sponsored tribalism similar to what Salva Kiir is currently instituting in South Sudan. It is one thing for Salva Kiir to behave like a Dinka chief in the village who may not be concerned about ethnic equality in his administrative area. But it is another thing for a President of a country to favor who gets a government job, where to build a hospital or a bridge, whom to give justice to in a trial or whom to give scholarship to enrol in a foreign university. In South Sudan under Salva Kiir, the state administration, the political posts, the key ministries and central government commissions are compartmentalized along ethnic lines and ethnic discrimination and favoritism.

    The Dinka domination of public institutions

    After the independence of South Sudan, the regime of Salva Kiir did not deviate from practising state tribalism that he started in 2005. On August, 26, 2011, he formed the post-independent cabinet which was made up of 42% Dinka giving all the key posts to his Dinka Rek clan. He awarded his State, Warrap, ten Ministerial posts in addition to his post, the Chief of Security, Chief Justice of South Sudan Supreme Court and the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan. Although Greater Equatoria region has higher population than Greater Bhar-el-Ghazal according to 2008 National Census, the latter was awarded twenty ministerial posts in which ten of them went to Warrap state alone.

    On March, 9, 2012, Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir appointed ambassadors and again awarded the lion’s share to his tribe, that is, Dinka appointed as ambassadors constituted 53% while all the other tribes in South Sudan combined were only 47%. The population of Dinka in South Sudan is about 25% and the non-Dinka are 75%. If fairness guided the appointment of ambassadors, Dinka tribe, which is a demographic minority when we compare their population to the rest of South Sudan ethnic groups, cannot have 53% of ambassadors. The decision to give 53% of ambassadorial posts to one tribe is based on the arithmetic of tribal domination which can also be noticed between the regions and within Dinka clans.

    Among the Dinka clans, the Dinkas of Unity and Upper Nile states have been severely marginalized and are not represented at all in the ambassadorial positions. In comparison, the Dinka clans of Greater Upper Nile have fewer ambassadors than the Dinka clans of Greater Bhar-el-Ghazal. When one looks at percentage of ambassadors from region to region, the Greater Bhar-el-Ghazal’s share of ambassadors is 38.36% while the population of the region is only 2.71 million according to 2008 National Census. Warrap state, which is the home state of Salva Kiir, once again dominated the rest of Bhar-el-Ghazal states in the ambassadorial appointments and became the second state in the South with thirteen ambassadors despite the fact its population in the South is 11% (the states of Lakes, Northern Bhar-el-Ghazal and Western Bhar-el-Ghazal combined have only 17 ambassadors).

    The tables below show Dinka’s dominance in all appointments of President Salva Kiir. The appointments demonstrated that political posts in South Sudan are based on the ideology of Dinka domination, a practice which is worse than marginalization of South Sudanese in the old Sudan when one compares the ethnic marginalization in the old Sudan and Dinka domination of post-independent South Sudan. In the old Sudan, South Sudanese were a minority within the state dominated by Muslims. But in the post-independent South, Dinka, who are only about 25% of the population, controlled 55% of state power. In terms of demography, Dinkas’ domination of 75% of South Sudanese is like Afrikaans’ domination of black majority in South Africa.

  • Pingback: Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the Pioneer of Tribalism in Kenya: Kikuyunization of Government Started with Him | Embakasi Reloaded

  • kidero has messed nairobi. typical luo…… all talk and no substance. 50 years after independence raila cannot even give kibera a single toilet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and luos stop messing mumias with your fake intellect crap. luos cannot even do business in kisumu with all the biasharas owned by wahindi.

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