Uhuru, Ruto rallies good for Kikuyu-Kalenjin harmony

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JOSHUA KUTUNY

Although some Kenyan politicians have condemned peace and prayer meetings in the regions worst hit by post election violence in 2007/8, the same leaders have failed to realise that healing the nation is not an easy task and cannot be fostered by ghosts but human beings.

Critics believe that such gatherings are diversionary and smack of attempts to evade the International Criminal Court (ICC), rather than help foster peace, unity and tranquillity in the volatile Rift Valley which bore the greatest brunt of election related hostilities.

The ongoing meetings are the brainchild of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. Both are presidential aspirants and face crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The voluntary return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their farms in parts of the region is one of the amazing consequences of the ongoing peace/prayer meetings amongst communities that were once perceived to be enemies. The Rift Valley was rocked by post election violence in a magnitude never witnessed in election history and only dialogue initiated by leaders can restore confidence and eliminate lingering suspicions in society.

The emerging scenario where communities are now coalescing together should, in my view, be encouraged at any cost by peace loving Kenyans. The coming together of the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin communities heralded a peaceful election in 2002 and can be recalled at any time when the two communities were in disagreement, violence marred election campaigns.

The Kikuyu and Kalenjin voted as a bloc under KANU in a peaceful election in 2002 to succeed Moi although President Kibaki emerged triumphant over the preferred Uhuru Kenyatta. Should the same trend continue, the 2012 elections will be peaceful – thanks in part to the ongoing dialogue and joint public rallies.

Perennial conflicts and rivalries amongst communities seeking top political office has worked to reverse not only the national unity but also economic strides. Cyclic electoral violence has blighted democratic gains painfully achieved over the years.

Since the clamour for competitive politics communities have coalesced and fiercely supported aspirants from their backyards to wrestle power from successive governments at a heavy human and economic cost, worst of them all during the last general elections. The 1992, 1997 and 2007 general elections saw heavy chaos pitying Kalenjins and Kikuyus in Rift Valley as they competed for power.

Today, the country is months away from another general election billed to be one of the most expensive and competitive in the country’s history.

The forthcoming elections is the biggest ever in the world as Kenyans will be electing six candidates for different positions right from the president to the ward representative to the County Assembly. The contest will under the new constitution usher in semi autonomous governments known as Counties.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) being the body mandated to foster cohesion must seize this opportunity to reconcile communities at war. NCIC must now facilitate such peace forums for people to engage whether in Rift Valley or any other part of the country. NCIC should take the lead in such meetings so as to guide the deliberations as to ensure proper healing despite communities competing for leadership in the coming elections.

Further, Kenyans must be able to see these forms of political unity as an opportunity to address various salient issues afflicting society such as unemployment, insecurity, illegal groupings and terror groups.

Outlawed splinter groups like the Mombasa Republican Council and the al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab must be dealt with decisively to avoid a spill over of their heinous activities into the next general elections.

All those charged with the leadership of this country must now rise to the occasion realizing how illegal groupings can be dangerous to the country’s peace.

Situation where the outlawed regional organisations can be allowed to rear its ugly head as was the case recently with MRC in Malindi where a mock election was disrupted must have been a wakeup call to security personnel.

We must demand that the government resolves outstanding national problems ahead of elections to avoid a recurrence of violence.

The biggest threat to Kenya as we head to elections will not be tribal groupings such as Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (GEMA) or the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu Association (KAMATUSA) but illegal and separatist groupings. Each community has a right to meet and associate with others whether in the field of politics or economy.

Every effort must be made to nip their activities in the bud or we risk more insecurity in the near future.

The writer is a member of parliament for Cherangany constituency. Email: [email protected]

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  • Bongo

    Get your facts correct Mheshimiwa. Kikuyu and Kalenjin did not vote as a bloc under KANU in 2002 election. The Kikuyus were split between those supporting Hon. Uhuru and President Kibaki.

    • Francis

       You need to get your facts right! In RV which the Hon.Kutuny is talking about Kikuyus/ Kalenjins  all voted for Uhuru.I know that for a fact-I live there.It is the communities in RV that have paid the price for wars they have nothing to benefit from.In 2007 Kalenjins had nothing to gain by fighting for the most ungrateful fellow to ever walk the surface of Kenya.Kikuyus in RV have had nothing to benefit by voting for a Kikuyu(read central province) president.Their lives depend on how well they relate/trade work with their neighbors the Kalenjins.This is Muheshimiwas argument which is so sound.Anything that can foster peace is welcome-GO MUHESHIMIWA GO. 

  • Fonchiri

    Kutuny, what kind of prayer meetings are these, if people pray for 5 minutes after which they spend 5 hours hurling insults at others and inciting your communitites against others. While I belately agree with you that finding peace  is complex, tribal groupings intended to wipe emotions is not one of the solutions.

  • Pratt

    Am a fierce supporter of brothers Hon. Ruto and Hon. Uhuru. However, they seem to have deviated from the real aim and moved to issues that are dangerous to them. First, the signature issue, though rather late, must be for all Kenyans not just their respective local communities. This is because they are national properties not regional items. And infact, if for instance, 25M Kenyans signed a pettition to reject ICC option, it would have made alot of sense. Secondly, requesting local communities to support them in signing their petition only helps to reinforce Ocampo’s case. Thats simply because the tribal element in Ocampo’s accusations are made pretty real. The supposed Mungiki disruption of Gema meeting in Limuru makes things even far worse. Maina Njenga was not supposed to be present in that meeting. His presence was a major confirmation of Ocampo’s assertions! The media was not even supposed to talk of Mungiki at all. However, they know were their bread is buttered and certainly not in Ruto’s or Uhuru’s corner!

  • Boiyot

    Mheshimiwa, only if we could actually see and hear you and your colleagues talking this smart talk to the common mwanchi! YOu might be very honest here in writing, but so do all those other offenders…
    Otherwise I do agree mostly with what you’ve written here.

  • scanfish

    Pratt, on the contrary, everything is going according to plan. Ruto has mobilised his backyard through KAMATUSA, while Uhuru has done so though GEMA. Indeed, given the high octane vitriol, outright spite and criticism in the media from the usual hypocrites condemning their actions, their plans are coming to fruition beyond their wildest dreams. Their detractors predictions of failure have actually achieved the direct opposite; spectacular success. The Kalenjin and a majority of their KAMATUSA kin, and the Kikuyu and a majority of their GEMA kin, have as a result of this condemnation withdrawn into the same political cocoon.

    The real reason for Uhuru and Ruto’s ethnic mobilisation was to ensure that the political parties they support i.e URP for Ruto, and on the other hand, whatever party Uhuru announces soon, will have strong political backing at the outset before they go into power sharing talks for a pre-election pact. This will give rise to a powerful and formidable electoral machine that will be unbeatable.
    Keep in mind that in the voters register, the GEMA and KAMATUSA are the two biggest voting blocks at 4.5 million (GEMA), and 2.4 million (KAMATUSA) or 48.59% of ALL registered voters at 14.2 million. This means that whoever they support as a Presidential candidate will win the election at the first round with over 50%+1, the magic number that ensures victory. Completely forget about second round voting, it won’t happen. Uhuru and Ruto’s detractors know this only too well and hence the sustained onslaught to try and intimidate, divide and derail the coming electoral alliance.

    The ICC signatures are actually not meant to persuade the ICC to drop the cases. On the contrary, they are meant to show the ICC that the case has become political whether they like it or not; that Uhuru and Ruto have immense political support, and that the decisions ICC take will have a bearing on peaceful elections in Kenya.
    It does not really matter what Ocampo thinks since, quite apart from his separate agenda to lynch Uhuru and Ruto no matter what as per his western masters’ orders, he has already made up his mind that Uhuru and Ruto are war criminals misusing their tribes, so what is the point of trying to persuade him otherwise? More especially, what exactly is wrong with getting tribal support as long as you are not preaching violence against others? Whether we like it or not, tribes are who we are regardless of party affiliation. It is why 90% of Luos are in ODM today, but if Raila left for Wiper Party, all Luos would follow him to a man.

    Maina Njenga is actually just making a fool of himself in fighting Uhuru. He wants recognition by force but he should realise that GEMA is not Mungiki so if he does not like being treated as a second tier leader, that is too bad. He cannot bring to GEMA a separate power centre outside Uhuru’s and expect Uhuru to accept such an arrangement. So if does not like his status, he can join KANU and Gideon Moi as we saw on TV. We will see how far that takes him.

    • Pratt

      Sorry, you are right but off the mark pal! The real issue here is whether brothers Ruto and Uhuru are unwittingly confirming Ocampo’s accusations or not? Your above stuff not withstanding. Climate and real danger for the 2 brothers have been created. And dont forget all those being tried by ICC are under its custody but the brothers. I have said someone is receiving leaks from a reliable source to precipitate arrest of these brothers on their next check in at the Hague. Kamatusa, Gema or whatever, wont help when that scenario turns real.  So what do we do? May be you can offer us a solution pal!

  • Chris Irera

    Kikuyu and Kalenjins are two tribes among 42 others……so narrow a perspective….brainchild or no brainchild…the meetings are a ploy to hoodwink Kenyans and erase our memories to the happenings of 07/08…the two bandleaders were antagonists and this led to mass murder of over 1000 innocent Kenyans…lest we forget

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