Posted by: mzunguchick | February 4, 2008

The whole of Kenya sits in despair

I sit here in my office trying desperately hard to focus on the computer screen through watery eyes and a pounding head.

Turns out I’ve got a touch of flu – not the ‘Man Flu’ kind that would have me huddling under my duvet sipping hot tea, but the ‘Womanly’ type which means I’ve taken some dawa (medicine to the rest of you), and am sipping lemon and honey tea at my desk during my lunch hour, after dropping my son at school, accomplishing a full mornings work, and and all the rest of my single working mother duties. (Eat your heart out Kofi !)

Sadly there is no news from our end. All is quiet outside. (By the way, when I say ‘quiet’, I mean no gunshots or marauding protesters). We have heard nothing on the local news apart from in Eldoret where the hospitals are now paralysed as the majority of the doctors and nurses have fled for their own safety and the few remaining staff are totally overwhelmed and unable to cope. I’m sure this scene is consistent throughout most of the Rift Valley and Western Kenya by now.

The local media is full of ‘ancestral homes‘ and ‘ethnic origins’ and the words ‘tribe’, ‘tribal’ and ‘tribalism’ seem to have been banned from the pages under the suspicions of inciting violence.

The international media seems to think that the Kikuyu’s – Kibaki’s tribe – are the main victims in all of this but I’m afraid people they are very wrong, ALL Kenyans are the victims.

In the central provinces (which is Kibaki strongholds), they’ve hardly had a mention, as things seem to be fairly calm there and there seems to be less murder and burning of property as in other areas, but there is still ethnic cleansing going on. All non-Kikuyu’s have been driven out of their homes in fear and are living in police station compounds all over Central Kenya, and those that try desperately hard to stay on in their homes and ignore the threats cannot survive as everyone boycotts their business and refuses to sell them food to eat, so they have no choice but to join the others in the camps.

So even without the horrific violence, there are many thousands of other Kenyans just living with threats hanging over their heads, and looking around the Western regions and seeing the death and destruction, can they even dream of trying to ‘hang in there’ when those are the same threats they are faced with?

If Kibaki’s government is really a legitimate government in all this, why is not protecting Kenyans? He seems to be doing fine in State House there, with his god knows how many fenced and guarded acres of land around him but what of the 36 Million + other people living in this country, can we really say we feel safe in our houses at night – that is of course if we are still lucky enough to have a roof over our head. What is this government exactly doing for us? It certainly does not seem to be protecting its citizens in any form at all and why is it now being seen as biased towards certain tribes, er sorry, “ethnic origins” is what I meant ( – we’ve gone off the word ‘tribe’ remember!)

Depending which district the police are operating in depends on how much force they are willing to use (translate that as how many live rounds they should fire directly at the people). But this has become a Catch 22 situtation as now the police have actually become targets in certain areas of the country, especially after the MP Mr Too was killed by a policeman after being involved in a tragic ‘love triangle’.

Now that the police have lost control, our country is being ruled entirely by gangs and gang culture is the only thing keeping half the wanainchi alive ironically.

You pay some thug to guarantee your safety from the main road where the bus drops you off up to your house. You pay another thug so that you can sleep through the night knowing your home won’t be torched before morning. You pay again whilst you go to work to make sure your house is safe from looters ‘shopping’ throughout the day, and you even pay an excess on your bus fare as the buses coming into your area of town have to pay a toll to gangs of thugs at makeshift roadblocks and so therefore the bus drivers pass that cost onto you.

I certainly do not wish to come across as partial to one party or the other, I just want to make a point that a lot of the international press are missing that it is not only the people in the Rift Valley and Western Kenya that are suffering through all this, every single Kenyans life is in torment in some form or another.

But is this really a life – or is this just some kind of sick existence ?

And here’s a slight update I have just been sent through my SMS right now from Nation Media: South Africa’s RAMAPHOSA withdraws from Annan team after Government side rejects him.

– so there’s a smashing start to our week then!



  1. Hi MC

    Hang in there. It may seem like mere survival at the moment, but once Kofi gets going, even without Ramaphosa (who is alleged to have business interests with Odinga, which he denies) your (dare I say “our”) paradise will return to normal.

    But the price of pork will rise when the pigs start flying.

    I am still hanging back on my trip, feeling that I am marginally more useful here with good internet access, working phones, and uninterrupted electricity than I would be upcountry, doling out imaginary food, clothing and tents to the refugees in Kisii – no, they still haven’t received any aid. And now the good people of the town are suffering.

    Maybe I should turn up with a couple of sardines and a loaf of bread and ask for a miracle. It would be better than the aid agencies are doing.

    Maybe Kisii isn’t impotant enough – it’s not on a main road.

    Dad Mzungu

  2. i really found the cartoon funny! the police with all the explanations in any situation.Reminds me of the commander whose boys always ”saw fire and returned fire”.But the best line was the one in which a police commander commenting on a police shooting claimed that ”the victim died of shock before the bullet hit him”.They seem to have any explanation to anything!!!

  3. I think Kenya is going to need a new constitution like Northern Ireland, where tribal power-sharing is built into the system. The winner takes all system is going to work.

  4. DM – Not sure you’d actually get to Kisii at the moment anyhow.

    Joe – I just love that man, did you hear his explanation on the policeman killing an unarmed protestor – he said that it was just the media making it up like a ‘Rambo’ movie and it wasn’t true at all! Er, right!

    Mr Bananas – Very right there Sir, a new constitution is KEY.

  5. Oops! I meant to write “The winner takes all system is NOT going to work” of course!

  6. Mr Bananas – No worries there hon, I knew what you meant even if no-one else did!!

  7. Hey Mzungu chick,
    Pole about your flu, Hope you feel better soon. I think the Kibaki govt has failed in the most fundamental duty of any govt, which is to protect the people. I think we are in a state of anarchy right now because Mr. Annan, Odinga and Kibaki have not managed to convince people to lay down their machetes and petrol bombs.

    It was rather obvious that hospitals would become overwhelmed and start turning away the injured. Not only because of inadequate facilities but fear as well.

  8. Thanks Chota – ya, the flu is the pits – going downhill fast at the moment!

    Totally with you on your points. How can Kenya say they have a government in place at all when anarchy reigns?

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