“This is not a tribal war”, a man scavenging through the rubble hastens to explain.
“This is a fight for democracy. We believe Kibaki rigged the elections and Raila Odinga is the true president.”
When asked why, then, people turned against their neighbours, who were not in any way involved in the rigging, he says: “But they voted for Kibaki! They condoned the rigging!”
New Vision, Kampala, Jan 9, 2008
We have heard the above statement several times until we now believe that anybody who did not vote for Raila Odinga is guilty of some crime.
ODM Scandinavia released a statement in which they said, “ODM Scandinavia believes that the millions of poor and deprived Kikuyus who supported Kibaki are victims of ‘ethnic brainwashing’ by home guards using them as pawns in a political chess game.”
What ODM Scandinavia is trying to do is suggest that Kibaki received votes only people affiliated to the Kikuyu tribe. This is a line that has been used to justify the killing of Kikuyus. I wonder what ODM Scandinavia makes of the near 100% vote that Raila received from the Luo Nyanza.
Assuming that it is justified to kill the Kikuyus because they voted overwhelmingly for Kibaki; what justification is there to kill people from the Kisii community? A close look at the voting patterns in Kisii reveals that voters in the region were very generous to Raila Odinga. The region elected MPs from diverse parties including ODM.
I was not shocked reading William Ruto’s justification for the tribal cleansing.
‘William Ruto is a senior adviser to Odinga, the opposition candidate. He is a Kalenjin who represents Eldoret North. He says that many of Kenya's ethnic groups have been angry that the country's wealth is believed to have been put in the hands of only a few.
Ruto and his fellow leaders with the Orange Democratic Movement have repeatedly called for their followers to be calm. Yet he has been singled out by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights as a leader who should be prosecuted for allegedly promulgating hate speech prior to the election. He vehemently denies the claim.’
Voice of America, Jan 14, 2008
A number of victims have pointed fingers at William Ruto accusing him of promoting and funding the genocide. His links to the genocide go back to the time when he was a leader in the “Youth for Kanu 92”. The group was accused of raising funds to cause violence.
Late last year Ruto supplied gumboots and spotlights to his supporters in the Sondu area. Leaders who accompanied him accused “foreigners” of buying all land making the natives landless. Ruto’s tour to the region was immediately followed by the eviction and killing of members of the Kisii tribe. (Nation, October 30, 2007)
Leaders in ODM claiming to be proponents of democracy are yet to come out and defend the right of Kenyans to vote as they wish. Instead they are using fear and making Kenyans who did not vote for Raila Odinga blame themselves for exercising their democratic right.
Today in parliament, ODM leaders tried to force ODM members of parliament to display their ballots before casting them. The sole purpose of doing this was to intimidate and scare MPs into electing Raila Odinga’s choice for speaker.
Murder and death threats should not be used as tools to protect democracy.