Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kikuyunizing Our Failures and Successess

Blame it on the Kikuyus. Going round the country discussing the root causes of the post election violence, nearly everybody except the Kikuyus, seem to think that the Kikuyus are the problem in this country. Of course this is rather disturbing to anybody who might have a clear grasp of what the genesis and nature of our problems are. Here are a few charges I have heard labeled against the Kikuyu:
1. The Kikuyus think that they are the ones born to lead. In some of the workshops I have attended, people are quick to point out that Kikuyus think they are born to lead and use the fact that Kikuyus have never voted en mass for a presidential candidate from another community since the advent of competitive multi party politics in the early 90s.
2. None Kikuyus cannot own land or successful businesses in Central province. Kikuyus have refuted this claim but I still wait for tangible examples.
3. Kikuyus "ate" during Kenyatta's regime, specifically benefiting from the former 'white highlands' and have also benefited from Kibaki's era. It is worth noting that nobody explains exactly how they have benefited from Kibaki's time. The yardstick for this is that a lot of senior government jobs were given to the Kikuyus but exactly how does that benefit the Kikuyus as a community?

These are just but some of the accusations that I hear left right and center but the main sticking point, especially in the Rift Valley, Western Province and Coast is the issue of land. on the other hand, I have also heard Kikuyus explain how they are the engine of this country, producing most of the food that we eat and generally propelling the economy. When Kikuyu leaders have been in charge of the country, the economic performance has been generally good, compared to the Moi era. My point here is not to vilify or praise the Kikuyus but my concern is that if this sweeping anti-Kikuyu sentiment (especially upcountry-- it is not so noticeable in the cities) continues to grow, we might be looking at a time when people will be determined to cleanse out the Kikuyus. Could this be leading to the making of an atmosphere conducive to genocide? In Mumias for example, we heard sentiments that "this time we shall not wait for the elections to get rid of the Kukuyus"...meanwhile I am aware that there was a ministry created to promote national cohesion. I wonder who the minister is. If we are to address the real mabadiliko in this country, we need to start confronting these issues.