Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kenya News Bulletin: Unrest After Opposition MP Shot Dead; US Senate Bill Introduced; Leaders Must Demand Peace, etc.

Riots after ODM MP shot dead

Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date: 1/29/2008

Riots have erupted in several Nairobi residential neighborhoods following the murder of the Orange Democratic Movement’s Embakasi MP Mugabe Were.

Police and witnesses said that the MP arrived at his Woodley Estate home shortly after midnight and was shot as he waited for his gate to be opened.

A team of ODM legislators led by Raila Odinga are currently meeting at the house and are expected to issue a statement later.

President Kibaki has sent his condolences and appealed for the public not to rush to any conclusions on the MP’s killing until police investigations are completed.

Riots have been reported in Nairobi’s Ngong Road, Kawangware and tension in Kibera and Ayany areas. The three areas are close to the MP’s Woodley Estate house.

Chaos were also reported in Dandora and Kayole in the late legislator’s Embakasi constituency.

Tension heightened after paramilitary police visited the late MP’s home and lobbed teargas at a crowd of mourners before chasing them into the house.

The Kilimani police boss Herbert Khaemba later apologized for the police action: “I apologise for what has happened. I did not instruct the officers to throw teargas into the compound or even enter the compound.”

A guard who was manning Mr Were’s gate said he heard the MP hoot followed shortly by gun shots.

“I climbed over the gate and saw two people holding guns. I screamed for help and it was then that they disappeared,” the guard told journalists. He then looked over and saw the MP lying beside his car.

He said assisted Mr Were’s family to rush the wounded MP to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Doctors said that the bullets had caught the victim in the eye and chest.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe, who addressed the Press following the shooting, said that they would treat it as murder. He said they had not ruled out political motives.

Mr Kiraithe appealed for any member of the public who might have information that would assist detectives solve the murder to step forward and offer it.

The police spokesman said they would allow any interested parties to either join the police or to conduct parallel investigations in the interest of arresting the culprits.

US senators table Bill on Kenyan crisis

Kenya Daily Nation
Publication Date: 1/29/2008

A Bill has been tabled in the US Senate to discuss the political standoff in Kenya, with a view of giving the States’ position on the crisis.

Initially introduced by Senator Russell Dana ‘Russ’ Feingold from Wisconsin for himself and his colleague John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, the senators want President George W. Bush to declare his stand on the crisis in Kenya.

The senators also say President Bush should support efforts facilitating dialogue.

In addition, the Bill proposes personal sanctions, travel bans and an asset freeze on PNU and ODM leaders and other actors who refuse to engage in meaningful dialogue to end the current crisis.

“The US should review its aid to Kenya for the purpose of restricting all non-essential assistance to Kenya unless all parties are able to establish a peaceful political resolution,” the Bill says.

This Bill is in the first step of the legislative process. In America, Bills first go to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate.

Committee stage

Most Bills never make it out of the committee stage. And sometimes the text of one Bill is incorporated into another.

On January 25, this particular Bill was sent to the foreign relations committee.

Co-sponsors of the Bill include probable presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, whose ancestry is traced to Kenya.

The others are: senators Joseph Biden, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Samuel Brownback, Benjamin Cardin, Norm Coleman, Christopher Dodd, Richard Durbin, Charles Hagel, Thomas Harkin, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Robert Menéndez and Olympia Snowe.

“There should be a thorough and credible independent audit of election results with the possibility, depending on what is discovered, of a re-count or re-tallying of presidential votes or a re-run of presidential election within a specified time period,” the senators stated.

They also urged an end to restrictions on the media and rights of peaceful assembly.

Learning in Nyanza on its knees

Kenya Daily Nation

Nyanza Province was once famed for its intellectual contribution. This is no longer the case especially now with the raging election-related violence.

The majority of schools in about 10 districts are yet to open for first term. School in most other parts of the country opened three weeks ago.

Last week, the Government ordered that all schools in the affected to open by yesterday.

Provincial commissioner Paul Olando promised to deploy adequate security to the schools.

However, many of the schools, especially in Kisumu Town, were still shut yesterday.

Fresh riots in the morning forced parents, who had earlier taken their children to school, to go back and collect them.

In some schools, children were asked to return home by the schools’ administration as violence erupted in different parts of the town.

This is the third week of the first term in the schools’ calendar.

The provincial director of education, Mr Geoffrey Cherongis, said that only schools in the larger Kisii District, Maseno High School and teacher training colleges had opened.

Examination results

He warned that the political situation in the country could water down the marked improvement in last year’ Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results.

Kisumu East District Commissioner Jamleck Baruga confirmed that schools had opened but the teachers fled after the early morning riots.

Speaking by telephone, Mr Baruga said that no security personnel had been deployed to the schools, but it was impossible to keep children in school under the prevailing circumstances.

And the venue of the Form One selection last week turned out to be a session of the headteachers to question the inability of the Government to ensure security so that learning could continue.

The school heads, with the support of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers officials rejected a directive from the Ministry of Education for them to recall students.

The directive to the heads from the ministry, through the provincial director of education Mr Cherongis, was uncompromising: “Reopen schools as soon as possible or face disciplinary action.”

At the moment, more than 500 schools in 10 districts in the province are still shut while learning is slowly resuming in the southern Nyanza districts of Kuria and Gusiiland.

But the union officials have stood their ground, defending their members who are yet to open and at the same time asking them to report to their work stations only when their security is guaranteed.

Said Mr Kepha Ogwi, the Kuppet executive secretary, Nyanza branch: “The lives of our members and their students cannot be compromised under whatever circumstances.”

The Kenya Secondary School Heads Association national vice-chairman, Mr John Awiti, supported these sentiments saying that the education sector was hard hit by the spill-over effects from the political tensions in the country.

“The state of affairs in the country makes silence golden but as teachers we cannot keep quiet. We must stand up to address the problem without putting the lives of our members in jeopardy,” he said.

Lost their lives

The insecurity, occasioned by disputed election results, has left in its wake many teachers and students displaced while others have lost their lives.

Nyanza province has borne the brunt of the violence in which more than 70 people have been killed and about 6,000 from communities originating outside the province displaced in addition to the destruction of Sh3 billion property.

Knut executive secretary Kisumu branch Eliakim Sijenje said learning in Kisumu Town West and East districts was threatened with the displacement of 70 teachers and the municipality recording a figure of 130 teachers.

This is in addition to the yet-to-be established number of students killed or otherwise displaced in the violent protests.

And as the Form One selection kicked off in Maseno School, about 30 kilometres from its traditional venue at Kisumu Polytechnic, the extent of insecurity and fear among teachers was evident.

For the first time, the exercise was conducted at two different venues in the province in what Mr Cherongis termed “a matter of convenience” to save on time. While 10 districts met at Maseno School, six others carried out the exercise at Kisii High School a day later.

Put a wedge

This was also not taken kindly by the school heads. The Kuppet official was more categorical: “The provincial education office should not attempt to solve the problem by suppressing it. We have always done the exercise jointly so it is only wise that you stop putting a wedge between teachers in Nyanza.”

Further, as Mr Awiti put it, teachers are constantly receiving death threats from vigilantes and politicians against opening the schools. The experience of some of their colleagues has taught them that their lives come before the job, the heads said.

Whereas the provincial administration has given an assurance to the teachers about their security and that of their students while in schools, the teachers are well too aware of the situation to accept the offer.

The Government, through Mr Baruga, announced that all schools in the district should open on January 28 (yesterday) saying that his office was committed to ensuring security in the district.

But Mr Sijenje said that teachers would still not attend to their duties due to the many threats they had received from the residents.

Risked being killed

Mr Sijenje said the teachers risked being killed and the schools set on fire.

“Teachers have not been able to attend schools due to fear of insecurity. The few brave ones have either been chased out of the schools or threatened with arson,” said Mr Sijenje.

Mr Cherongis has in the meantime directed the district education officers and their municipal counterparts to identify all displaced teachers and students to “establish modalities for helping them.”

The problem has been compounded further by the parents’ unwillingness to let their children go to school for fear of attacks on the way.

Three children have so far lost their lives in Kisumu as a result of the stray bullets fired at protesters.

Instead, parents want an assurance from the political leaders that the situation is good for learning to begin, a sentiment shared by Mr Cherongis.

Said Mr Cherongis: “The children and teachers are ready to go back to class but politicians must come down to the villages and talk to them.”

The DC, however, says that he has already ordered the chiefs to address barazas and urge parents to attend so that they could be sensitised on the importance of allowing their children to go to school.

Arrange for counselling

According to Mr Cherongis, the teachers need to arrange for counselling of the students with the assistance of religious leaders and civil society groups when schools eventually open.

This, he says, should be done to help the students cope with the trauma that some of them have experienced.

And as the parallel selection comes to a close, sources have expressed fears that schools in the six districts may be reluctant to admit students from the rest of the province and vice versa.

As it stands now, teachers still shudder at the mention of the term opening and they have decided, with one voice to defy the Ministry of Education directive to go back to class for now.

It is only wise, they say, that the feuding politicians talk to their people to have mercy on education institutions.


Kibaki must come out and preach peace

Kenya Daily Nation
Publication Date: 1/29/2008

Only a day after the horrendous killings in Naivasha, fresh cases of deaths were reported in various parts of the country yesterday, signalling no end in sight for the senseless blood-letting that has pushed Kenya to the ranks of failed states.

What is scaring is that we are now witnessing revenge killings; malevolent acts of deep anger and bitterness, which, if unchecked, may turn this country into one huge boiling cauldron.

Electoral dispute that triggered the current turmoil is fast receding to the back burner as ethnic hatred-cum-chivalry take the centre stage, exposing base instincts and driving the country back to the pre-colonial times.

It is inconceivable how people who have all along lived in harmony, shared resources and common utilities, can turn around and start butchering each other senselessly. Matters are worse when we see youths, some hardly aged 20 years, taking machetes, bows and arrows and other instruments of terror to attack people of different ethnic backgrounds.

None of these acts serve the cause of democracy, which any of the combatants would purport to be fighting for. On the contrary, these are primitive and retrogressive acts that balkanise and annihilate a once united country that is Kenya.

Mount a roadblock

But we are shocked, like everybody else, at the inertia and ineptitude by the Government to control the situation. We noted yesterday, and we repeat today, that there is no way a gang of 50 or more people can spring from some corner, mount a roadblock on the busy Nairobi-Nakuru highway, stop and search vehicles and kill individuals from perceived rival ethnic backgrounds — and get away scot-free. That illustrates that either the security network has collapsed or, there is complicity in the act.

Neither, can armed gangs run amok and attack an estate, set residences on fire and kill about 20 people without security forces getting wind of it and nipping it in the bud.

When police commissioner Hussein Ali chose to speak yesterday, he treated Kenyans to long tales of the tens of case files being investigated and of the 28 to be prosecuted for murder. The message Kenyans wanted to hear was why the police have been unable to contain the violence. Better still, what it was doing to forestall any potential death.

When Security minister George Saitoti visited Naivasha yesterday, he gave directives about beefing up the security in the area, but did not spell out the broad and long-term measures to contain the situation.

Path of peace

The military may have been brought to deal with the turmoil in Nakuru and Naivasha, but what about other areas? In short, what is the Government’s plan in putting the country on the path of peace?

Political leaders across the divide have been issuing statements urging their followers to eschew violence, but, except for a few cases, they have not made practical steps to visit their communities and preach the same message.

Most surprising, President Kibaki, at whom the buck stops, and his rival Raila Odinga, other than that photo-ops session last week, have not taken the message of peace to the doorstep of their followers.

We want to exhort President Kibaki to come out of State House and tackle the unfolding crisis. He cannot keep quiet when the country is burning. We also demand the same of Mr Odinga.

It is unfortunate, in fact depressing, that violence is worsening when mediation team, under former UN boss Kofi Annan, is at work. Nothing poisons the environment for mediation as violence does.

For the citizens, the living words of American rock music icon Elvis Presley are apt: “Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them.”


Entire lot of our leaders should just call it quits

Kenya Daily Nation
Publication Date: 1/28/2008

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Our leaders, the whole lot and caboodle of them, starting with Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga and all their key lieutenants — Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, John Michuki, William Ruto, Martha Karua, Henry Kosgey, George Saitoti, Najib Balala, Uhuru Kenyatta, down to all MPs, and probably all past MPs — should accept that they are the cause of Kenya’s descent into anarchy and chaos.

The Japanese have an honourable way for those who fail; accepting responsibility with the ultimate demonstration of remorse and contrition.

Well, I concede it would be asking too much to expect our so-called leaders to stage a collective Hari Kari.

But if they all can at least accept responsibility for the death and destruction visited on this country, perhaps they would be moved to the honourable thing and at least relinquish all leadership positions in order to create room for others, who might try and clear up their mess.

I WATCHED LAST THURSDAY AS MR Kibaki and Mr Odinga posed for the cameras and cheated Kenyans that they were now ready to jointly work for peace. Yet their speeches betrayed the fact that they were reading from different scripts.

The President was more intent on emphasising that he was duly elected. That, I thought, was the bone of contention. And for him, the subject of the discussion is only peace, which will presumably come about when his opponents acknowledge that he won the presidential elections and stop their protests.

Meanwhile, his government will continue to employ the heavy hand of State to quell disturbances.

The stuck record went into discordant mode when Mr Odinga chimed in with his constant mantra about justice first before peace. The translation is that there will be no let up until he gets what he thinks belongs to him that Mr Kibaki has usurped, the presidency.

Hardly had the two chief protagonists finished smiling for the camera before it became clear that the blood-letting was not about to cease.

That the violence did not let up after President Kibaki and Mr Odinga jointly called for peace and publicly committed themselves to the search for a solution to the post-election crisis, is very telling.

It can only mean two things. One is that they were both not sincere, and were just mouthing peace platitudes for mediator Kofi Annan and the rolling cameras, while signalling to their respective supporters that they meant the opposite.

The other is that both are no longer in control of the demons they have unleashed, and their respective flunkies are busy plotting and executing bloodshed in spite of what the leaders may desire.

Are Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga sleeping soundly, at State House and a palatial mansion in the Karen suburbs respectively, as the horrific death toll mounts?

Are their families not continuing with life as usual in the lap of luxury and guaranteed security, while tens of thousands of ordinary Kenyans are left at the mercy of bloodthirsty mobs?

Our leaders have failed us terribly and the only way they can help at this stage would be by dramatic gestures beyond mere handshakes and fake smiles.

If they really cared. If they really want to play a part in pulling this country from the precipice they have led it into, they should resign.

Mr Kibaki should accept that he has failed terribly and relinquish the presidency and all other posts. Mr Odinga should accept that he must take an equal share of the blame for the blood we are witnessing and also take a permanent break from public life.

As the two ride off with shame into retirement, they should be followed by all the other MPs and ex-MPs, who collectively make up the Kenyan leadership, and who collectively must eschew any future pretence to leadership.

So what happens with the vacuum that will be created? We are doing very well in efforts to destroy our country, thank you, under the present political elite.

Part of the problem is that despite the unprecedented pressure from home and abroad, the leaders simply do not see it. In the recent days, I have heard people very high up in the Kibaki government insist that they will hold on to government by hook or by crook.

WHEN NOT DENYING THAT THEY rigged the elections, the are busy trying to justify the rigging. Their favourite argument is that the opposition had planned violence whatever the outcome, so it was better to rig and at least have the instruments of State to counter any attacks.

Well, the instruments of State are pretty impotent as we speak.

The warmongers in the Government have their counterparts on the other side. I feel sick when I hear very senior opposition leaders justify the carnage that their supporters visited on presumed government sympathisers. Out of one side of the mouth, they say peace and out of the other they encourage the attacks as the only weapon that can help them capture power.

I wish the whole lot of them would be locked together in a giant cage and armed with their crude weapons of choice, to settle scores with each other, while the rest of us get on with our lives.

1 comment:

Pan-African News Wire said...

From the January 29, 2008 edition- http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0129/p12s01-woaf.html

Kenya's infamous Mungiki sect gears up for reprisal killings

The militia exists to defend members of the dominant Kikuyu ethnic group from further killings at the hands of rivals

By Scott Baldauf

They gave warning to the unwelcome neighbors to leave. Then they came – dozens of young men with machetes – and hacked away at any members of the Luo tribe that they could find.

They are the Mungiki, a quasi-religious militia recruited to protect the interests of Kenya's largest and most prosperous ethnic group, the Kikuyus. Nearly finished off last summer during a government crackdown, the Mungikis have reemerged in a series of recent attacks in the Nairobi slum of Mathare that killed three and maimed more than a dozen others.

"When you see that your tribesmen are being sidelined and then slaughtered, you have to stand up and say 'No.' We fight back," says Peter, a senior Mungiki, who spoke on condition that his real name be withheld.

"Mainly our strategy is to be brutal and to send a message," he shrugs. "Sometimes it means beheading or dismembering. But the goal is to instill fear and send a message that unless they don't change what they are doing something bigger will happen to them."

Human rights activists say that militias like the Mungiki are the main reason why the postelection death toll has been so high.

Unlike spontaneous violence between neighbors, organized militias like the Mungiki sect have the capability and motivation to keep the murderous cycle of revenge attacks going for weeks.

"Initially, we were seeing three kinds of violence," says Muthoni Wanyeki, executive director of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission. Disorganized violence in villages tended to rise up suddenly, but fizzle out quickly. Organized militias – with paid, motivated members – have kept the violence going and have largely led the charge in expelling minority ethnic groups by force. Police use of extreme force – live bullets rather than water cannons or tear gas – has also stirred ethnic passions.

A fourth type of violence has now emerged, as displaced people carry back stories of horror and spur on calls of revenge in communities that had previously been peaceful. "Now we are seeing a communal response in areas where it has not happened before," says Ms. Wanyeki.

During a recent brutal attack, Peter says he led from behind, urging younger Mungiki members to attack Luos in the Mathare slum – a signal that Kikuyus are ready to use the same brutal methods that have been used against them. Three people were killed in that attack, and another 13 were maimed. Witnesses say Kenyan police watched the attack for hours before moving in to disperse the Mungikis.

"Usually the problem is between the two biggest tribes, the Luos and the Kikuyus, but this time it is all the other tribes against us," Peter says. "It's like we've been sitting on a time bomb, which is now exploding."

He looks toward displaced Kikuyu women, cooking beans and rice in massive caldrons. "Right now, the police are holding us back," he says. "But if we say now or never, there will be a civil war. Either they kill us or we kill them. I think we are going to win."

From the January 29, 2008 edition-http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0129/p01s04-woaf.html

How Kenya came undone

Long-simmering ethnic tensions threaten to tear apart East Africa's most stable, prosperous country

By Scott Baldauf
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Nakuru, Kenya

They came at night by the hundreds, shooting villagers with arrows and attacking them with knives, hatchets, and farm tools. The killings were a warning to the rest of the village: Leave now, or die.

"These people were our neighbors, I knew them, but what I have seen is something that I cannot explain," says Julia Muthoni, an elderly widow who found refuge in the city of Nakuru. "The problem is that we Kikuyus are being targeted because we voted for the reelection of President Mwai Kibaki. Even before the election, they were threatening us saying that whether Kibaki wins or not, Kikuyus are going to be evicted."

Just a few weeks ago, Kenya remained an oasis of stability surrounded by nations at war. The tourist-friendly country is East Africa's economic engine, a hub for global trade, and a base for international humanitarian work. It has been a been a model of what other African countries could achieve if they worked hard, developed their economies, and embraced free democracy.

So the explosion of violence that has left more than 750 people dead – including more than 100 in the past few days – and forced a quarter-million to flee their homes since the disputed Dec. 27 presidential election came as a shock to many. But under the placid surface, Kenya boils with deep ethnic resentment that some observers say has been ignored for too long.

"The matchbox was lit [by the vote], but the fuel was already there," says Njeri Kabeberi, a political analyst and head of the Center for Multiparty Democracy in Nairobi. "There has always been ethnic tension within Kenyan society that has never truly been removed or dealt with."

While the most recent spark for the violence was the deeply flawed elections in which Mr. Kibaki was declared president, the underlying source of the country's tension is a perception that one ethnic group – Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe – has unfairly benefited from the nation's wealth solely because of its proximity to people in power.

Resentment between Kenya's ethnic communities is chronic, observers say, but mistrust of Kikuyus has been building ever since Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, took power after independence from Britain in 1963.

Under Mr. Kenyatta – himself a Kikuyu – Kikuyus rose to high positions in government, took over major firms, and bought much of the farm land sold off by departing white settlers in the fertile Rift Valley. But it took a sense of betrayal to produce the violence of today, experts say. In 2002, a remarkably broad coalition of opposition leaders from different ethnic groups overthrew the 24-year dictatorship of President Daniel arap Moi. The new government signed a memorandum of understanding to share power.

But in 2003, Kibaki revoked that agreement and went back to the old habit of filling government positions – including, crucially, the Electoral Commission of Kenya– with personal allies and members of his own ethnic group, the Kikuyus.

Furious at what they considered a betrayal, and cut off from access to power, former allies such as populist opposition leader Raila Odinga – a member of the Luo ethnic group who claims that he won the Dec. 27 vote – broke from the government and started a campaign for "majimbo," Swahili for self-rule, and resistance to Kikuyu domination.

"The fact that this violence was going to happen wasn't a surprise," says Waiganjo Kamotho, an attorney and political observer in Nairobi. "For months out in the Rift Valley, we've been hearing people saying "nyorosha," which means, 'We're going to straighten you up, put you in your place.' "

In the election, voters cast ballots along ethnic lines. Kibaki's support came from Kikuyus. Mr. Odinga, a Luo, drew mainly from his Luo tribe, but a coalition of politicians from smaller ethnic groups added to his base.

For most Kenyans, this tribal fight is not just about the presidency, but land – the ultimate source of wealth in a mainly agricultural society. And the Rift Valley – Kenya's bread basket – is the main battlefield, as small "indigenous" armies with bows, arrows, and machetes march to expel the Kikuyu "newcomers."

"In Kenya, the state has a lot of ability to allocate land, which is a major source of wealth," says Jacqueline Klopp, an Africa expert at Columbia University in New York.

Referring to past presidents Kenyatta, a Kikuyu; Mr. Moi, a Kalenjin; and Kibaki, a Kikuyu; she adds, "Kenyatta and Moi did it. Kibaki was a little better, but all allocate land and use it for political patronage."

Under strong-arm leaders such as Kenyatta and Moi – both of whom controlled all branches of government and stifled the media – this cozy relationship between presidents and their tribes caused little violence. Kikuyus bought land in the ancestral areas of the Kalenjins, the Maasais, the Luos, and other tribes, set up trading businesses and prospered.

But when Moi bowed to pressure to allow a multiparty system, opposition politicians used the success of the Kikuyu "settlers" against them. In Kalenjin areas, Kalenjin politicians built up their own base of support by feeding resentment toward Kikuyus, calling them "settlers" who had used their connections to the government to "steal" their ancestral lands.

Some politicians used radio broadcasts to spread hatred against Kikuyus, and proclaimed that the time had come to remove the "weeds" from their lands.

Stoked with hate, the ethnic clashes began in earnest, particularly in the areas where Kikuyus had settled in the Rift Valley. Between the elections of 1992 and 1997, more than 2,000 Kenyans were killed and more than 300,000 Kenyans were displaced, most of them Kikuyus.

"Kikuyus are the business community and they are happy when things are not shaken," says Ms. Kabeberi, herself a Kikuyu. "The Luos are like the Zulu community in South Africa. They will go to war for any reason. So you have to be sure you don't give them a reason."

The 'haves' against the 'have-nots'

Politicians have used the belief that Kikuyus control the economy as a battle cry, pitting Kikuyus as the perpetual "haves" against the Luos, Kalenjins, and other tribes as the perpetual "have-nots." Odinga has primed those feelings with a call for majimbo which, for many non-Kikuyus, means each tribe should return to its own ancestral land.

"The Kikuyus are greedy," says a Luo security guard named Innocent. "Who owns all the big businesses? Kikuyus. Who owns all the big farms? Kikuyus. And who are all the top leaders in Kibaki's government? Kikuyus. So when they go into our land and take our property, people are going to push back. It's our turn."

Kikuyus view majimbo as a danger to the future of the country. "The Luos are lazy," says one Kikuyu taxi driver named Johnson. "They don't invest. They don't create. They don't know how to run a business. And now look at the violence they are creating. Do you think these people should be running this country?"

This year, the violence has spread far beyond the Rift Valley into almost every urban center, tearing the social fabric of a cosmopolitan society that had made Kenya a regional economic force. Most foreign tourists have canceled vacations this winter, Kenya's peak season. The Central Organization of Trade Unions estimates that nearly 500,000 workers will lose their jobs.

"They have basically destroyed the local trade, and now that they can't buy food in the market, they are discovering to their shock and horror that they need each other," says Richard Cornwell, a senior analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa.

Kenya's current movement into a society of ethnic enclaves is a form of apartheid, Mr. Cornwell says. "In 20 or 30 years' time, this will be a powder keg. It's like what we saw in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics; like Burundi and Rwanda. Unless this is handled, this will be a slow civil war that doesn't really break out, but it's insidious. It's always there."

A slow-burning civil war?

In the town of Nakuru, Keffa Magenyi Karuoya already feels the effects of that slow civil war. Since 1991, he has been displaced three times, including by this year's election violence. A Kikuyu himself, he has been working with a network of community activists from different tribes in the Rift Valley to advocate for peace, and to seek food aid and shelter for newly displaced victims.

"It is very frustrating," says Mr. Karuoya. The people coming from Eldoret now, they can't go back." Eldoret is the mainly Kalenjin town where a church full of Kikuyus was burned two weeks ago, killing at least 30 people. But Kikuyus are not the only victims, he adds. "Just down the road, there are 3,000 Luo families camping out. The long-term issue, where this is going, that is my main concern."

A phone call disrupts Karuoya's train of thought. An activist in a nearby town warns of armed groups moving in to surround three small camps of Kikuyus. One of the camps is in a monastery, surrounded by 1,500 people armed with bows, arrows, and spears. Local police are nowhere to be found.

"There's an impending massacre," Karuoya says after ending the call. He leaves the room to call up the district commissioner, the provincial police officer – anyone who can give orders to send troops and stop a massacre.

An activist in Kuresoi tells the Monitor by cellphone that the government must move fast to evacuate the Kikuyus. "The youth here seem decided to start invading the camps," she says, speaking on condition of anonymity. "I can't believe this is happening. I can't even sleep at night. I keep trying to harmonize the two communities." Her voice breaks. "I am trying to see the way forward."

By next morning, the death tolls from Kuresoi district start to come in. In one camp, where 600 individuals are sheltered in a monastery, six people have been killed by arrows and machetes. More than a dozen are injured.

Kikuyus are now carrying out reprisal killings. On Jan. 20, members of the Mungiki sect – a militia formed to protect Kikuyu interests – swept through the Nairobi slum of Mathare attacking non-Kikuyus.

Musalia Mudavadi, an opposition parliamentarian, blamed the police for failing to control the Mungikis. "Today, some of our leaders have been appealing for calm, but the government has not withdrawn the ban on the right to assemble, the right to talk, and they have not withdrawn the shoot-to-kill order."

How can Kenya avoid ethnic war? Read Part 2 tomorrow.