Listening to Mwai Kibaki yesterday, any alert Kenyan would have concluded that we are in very serious trouble. The “duly elected president” was at his vintage best (for those who know him well).
Firstly he pulled away Prof Sam Ongeri from the Anan talks a clear indication that launching the free secondary school education program was more important than those talks which so many Kenyans are hanging all their hopes on (pole sana). The whole idea is to prop up his government and emphasize business as usual (which is what every middle class and wealthy Kenyan is desperate for, for mostly selfish reasons).
Secondly Mwai Kibaki also talked at length about resettling displaced persons and the government helping them to rebuild their houses. I do not for one minute support the gruesome murder and chaos that has been going on, but what do you think the other side felt? Those with land issues high on their agenda. The president was behaving as if all that has happened means nothing.
Then there was another even clearer sign that all was not well. Annan came out of the talks yesterday looking a very tired and frustrated man. He asked the press to leave him alone and then took a long walk along Kenyatta Avenue with his bodyguards in tow. Later in the evening, he issued a statement announcing a news blackout on the talks and a last dash 48 to 72 hours to reach an agreement of sorts. It seems everybody has forgotten the strange events of last Friday when a breakthrough was announced and then when everybody went to Harambee house nothing happened.
Previous posts here by Taabu and Kalamari are pretty accurate about the state of affairs and it is clear from the comments that followed them that many Kenyans have a lot of hope riding on the Anan talks. Those Kenyans are not very different from Mwai Kibaki asking victims of post election violence to go back to the Rift Valley and promising that the government (which is rapidly running out of cash and resources) will build houses for them. In fact he made this announcement shortly after launching free secondary school education. Mr Kibaki must know something that we don’t, it seems that Kenya has discovered gold and oil at the same time, so money is no longer a problem despite the huge tourism earnings being wiped out.
If I were to tell you all about the real situation on the ground, it would be incitement. But let me censor things a little and give you an idea.
The Kalenjin community are far from being tired from all the violence. I actually grew up with kalenjins when I was very young and I was pretty sure that I know the community well. The events since December 30th have shown me that I know nothing. Many Kenyans are not aware f the fact that at one point the Kalenjin militia exchanged fire with the Kenya army. In the environs of Nakuru. The professional soldiers easily won ove the amateur ones, but my point is; can you imagine the cheek of attempting something so reckless?
You would need to visit the Rift Valley to understand the reality of the damage that has been done there. Heavily edited TV footage does not do justice to the situation on the ground.
But what makes it difficult for me to sleep at night is the attitude on the ground of this community. For starters they are NOT interested in a coalition government. Not even one with Raila as the president. All they want is the government they voted for in power.
One of my informants on the ground put it thus;
“I was amazed when a Kenyan from this community who hardly seems to have spent too long a period in a classroom told me that the idea is to cripple all transport to neighboring Uganda, Rwanda etc and get those people to join their side in the war. I almost asked him what War, but quickly checked myself. You don’t ask such questions in the Rift Valley.”
The Kikuyu have re-grouped very quickly and it seems that funds are flowing to he Mungiki so much so that unlike the Kalenjin militia, these guys don’t need to set up road blocks or get “taxes”. Where is the cash coming from? This makes these guys very focused in the things that they do. As you read this, Naivasha town has changed into some medieval town overnight where you will not find a single woman wearing trousers.
I cannot say more, but take it from me, things are not good.
To avert disaster what Kenyans badly need now is a peacekeeping force from the AU or UN to come into the country and stop the killings (which are on the increase by the way). The second agenda would be to find a way to come up with brand new constitution without involving the current crop of politicians who have brought the country to its’ knees. Then we need a new election where everybody who has ever been to parliament will be barred from standing for office. I am convinced that this will give us true leaders from he fresh crop (leaders are incidentally created at a time of great crisis such as his one). Anybody who claims that we have leaders in Kenya at the moment should have their heads examined.
P.S. I am also desperate for life to return to normal in Kenya. Most of my family including very close relatives is still in Kenya. But I have to be realistic based on the facts that I have. There is no point coming here and cheating my readers that all is well and that something will come out of the Anan talks. Still I would love to be wrong on this one folks, I really worry a lot.