Saturday, January 26, 2008

Impunity cannot be allowed to stand

My greatest fear is that the people involved in the mass murder that Kenya has witnessed will go scot-free. It has happened in the past and it is bound to happen again. To this day, not a single person has been held accountable for the 1992 and 1997 ethnic cleansing. Yes we have had commissions of inquiry where victims –that were lucky to be alive- named the criminals.

Raila Odinga inspecting a guard of honor mounted by a militia in Nakuru. Is this militia responsible for the murders in Rift Valley?
(Photo by the Daily Nation, Kenya)

What is shocking is that those who masterminded the ethnic cleansing have morphed into what we now call ‘eminent leaders’. What has not changed is their lust for blood. The same ‘eminent leaders’ are back to what they know best; remove the madoadoa (spots; a term that is widely used in RV to identify people who bought land in the region). They have succeeded to do so. Today, over 300,000 Kenyans no longer occupy their houses. Their farms in Rift Valley are now littered with corpses. We have conveniently justified this as ‘post-election violence’. We have justified these atrocities as a ‘valid’ way of protesting the election outcome!

Human Rights Watch recently released a statement saying that the opposition planned the ethnic cleansing. Koffi Annan has called this ethnic cleansing a "gross and systematic" form of human rights abuses.
"Let us not kid ourselves and think that this is an electoral problem. It is much broader and much deeper," Koffi Anan added.
The world has opted to ignore Human Rights Watch and Koffi Annan and instead focused of negotiating for the inclusion of the opposition in the government. Will this stop the ethnic cleansing? I bet not.
As Koffi Annan pointed out, what we have in Kenya are 2 independent issues that need to be treated as such. First, we have the election issue where there is clear evidence that both sides were involved in irregularities. Then we have the issue of rights to own property. The later issue is what has lead to the deaths and displacement. We can solve the election problem by creating seats to accommodate the opposition but that will not make Kenyans respect their fellow citizens’ right to own property.
There is only a small relationship between the elections and the ethic cleansing. Some opposition leaders –who may not necessarily support the ethnic cleansing- are counting on the anarchy in Rift Valley as a bargaining chip. On the same note, those sanctioning the genocide in RV are counting on their fellow opposition leaders to divert the attention of security organs. Raila Odinga’s “peaceful protests” in Nairobi and Kisumu are a tool to stretch thin the police force so that the murders of RV can have uninterrupted time to execute their mission. Giving Raila Odinga the power he desperately wants will not necessarily mean that William Ruto and his cohorts will call off the killings.
One thing that Raila Odinga and his supporters must remember is that you cannot ride on the ethnic hate dragon and tame it when you vanquish your political enemy. The outcome of such a mission has unpredictable results and will always spiral out of the control of those thinking the hold the reigns. In the end, neither Raila nor Kibaki will be able to govern what we currently call Kenya.
For once we need to bring the murders to book and tell their followers that Kenyans have rights. William Ruto, William Ole Ntimama, Alexander Sitienei, Musa Sirma, Frankline Bett, Zackayo Cheruiyot and others need to be brought to account. Let them not hide behind the “stolen election”. "Impunity cannot be allowed to stand."
Read this report:

Akuwumi Report on tribal clashes (pdf)



2 comments:

njoroge said...

these are scouts andthere is even a girl guide, how desperate can you get

Former Boy Scout said...

What boy scouts?

Boycsouts wear Khaki shirts and pants/shorts, green caps. Young gils wear Blue dresses while older ladies wear khaki.

Scouts are apolitical meaning they that they don't attend political rallies in their official capacity.