We note with profound concern the return of the politics of hostile ethnic polarisation – through GEMA (Gikuyu Embu and Meru Association) and KAMATUSA (Kalenjin Maasai Turkana and Samburu Association).
2. We have watched in keen silence as the leaders of these organizations have rapidly and dangerously postured in public for a return to their conceptual and injurious roots of the early 1970s and 1990s.
3. From the start, Gema has always been a hegemony outfit. It has been an exclusivist organization, keen on protecting narrow sectarian interests, disguised as community interests, while marginalizing everybody else.
4. In the 1970s, Gema attempted to enforce loyalty through a narrow, stringently imposed, ethnic agenda. It engaged in coercive and widespread oathing of its members. It planted terror and fear in everybody, both within and outside the so-called Gema communities. This history is well documented.
5. Kamatusa, for its part, came into existence in 1991 in opposition to the democratization of Kenya. In particular, it was stridently opposed to the removal of Section 2A from the Constitution and the opening up of Kenya to multiparty democracy. It demonized the search for good and accountable governance.
6. Kamatusa is notoriously remembered for the Kapkatet Declaration of 1991. This declaration was an edict to the non-Kamatusa communities to leave parts of Rift Valley Province or be forcefully evicted. This was followed by systematic ethnic cleansing in Rift Valley Province. Kamatusa committed heinous crimes against innocent Kenyans. There has been no restitution to date.
7. Over the years, Kenyans who rightfully own property in Rift Valley Province have been steadily traumatized. They have been disinherited of their property by the architects of Kamatusa. Some of these leaders have not hesitated to “inherit”, personally, land belonging to evictees. It is appalling that such unjust leaders nurse ambitions of higher national office, including Office of the President.
8. If leaders can rally tribes under dangerous organizations whose history is well known, how more dangerous could they get, should the country suffer the misfortune of having them as President? How many more people would they dispossess of their property and displace, now they brazenly flaunt potentially violent ethnicity with impunity?
9. Gema and Kamatusa were never about representing the poor. Instead, both have oppressed the poor people from the communities they purport to speak for. Both are regrouping themselves around precisely the wicked old objectives and ways.
” They are still protecting narrow sectarian interests. In the case of Kamatusa, the injustice of forced evictions and dispossession is once again on the cards. The big irony is that some of those targeted for the next wave of eviction are from the same communities that Kamatusa leaders fraternize with in daytime. They laugh together and hug each other during the day and plot evictions in the night.
” Both Gema and Kamatusa are still attempting to enforce loyalty through a narrow ethnic agenda. They are beginning to look like cults that everybody in the tribe must kneel before. Those who refuse are demonized and terrorized.
10. It is instructive that both Gema and Kamatusa leaders have threatened to take away the right of the people of Kenya to go to free and fair democratic elections. One speaker after the other at the Gema meeting in Limuru last month stated that there would be no peaceful elections in Kenya if Uhuru Kenyatta’s name was not on the presidential ballot paper. This is overt incitement to violence and a threat to the rest of the country. We call upon the Minister for Internal Security to assure Kenyans that they can continue to feel comfortable, at peace, and safe in the belief that they can approach the forthcoming elections without being afraid.
11. Equally instructive is the threat by Kamatusa leaders to disrupt the election calendar (read the elections). They have promised to engage in dangerous ethnic based mobilization to ensure that there will be no elections. Alternatively, they intend to unleash violence during the elections. The Minister for Internal Security needs to reassure Kenyans against threats of this kind. We have the history of threats of this kind. It informs us that these are not idle threats. Are we safe?
12. We hail leaders from Central Kenya and the greater Mt. Kenya region, as well as those from the North and South Rift who have distanced themselves from the ruinous intentions of the two sinister organizations. This is Kenya’s time. It is not a tribal moment. We cherish the pursuit of the Kenyan dream of one people, one nation, one voice.
13. Finally, the time has come when we must say a firm NO to the shameless and cheap propaganda and hate speech that has been spewed against the Prime Minister. The politics of lies, hostility and threat to violence have no room in the democracy that we crave. Democracy must be dignified. We are keeping a keen eye on the captains of violent lies and propaganda. We know their history very well. We know the history of Kenya. From now on, we shall no longer quietly stand by as they spin lies and use them to prepare communities for tribal violence. We shall robustly expose them for what they are.
14. Kenyans have the chance to save this wonderful country that God has given us from slipping into the culture of hate and violence of the kind we saw in 2008. It is a culture that has sunk other countries. We have no need for it. We want our children to grown up in a peaceful society where people respect and love each other. We must begin by rejecting the captains of hate and injustice. We must reject cheap propaganda and dangerous ethnic mobilization. We must reject those with no respect for citizens’ rights to life and property; those who believe you have no right to live in some part of the country. This is not a tribal moment. This is Kenya’s moment. Let us not lose the moment to tribal chieftains.
SIGNED: The Raila Odinga for President Secretariat.