Saturday, January 05, 2008
Stories of sheer terror
We were anxious to get out of Nairobi and see what was going in the western part of the country, towards the Rift Valley. We drove about 240km northwest of the capital, to a rural hub called Molo, and there it all unfolded.

Thousands of people squatting on the grass without food, shelter or medicine. They had escaped with their lives and stories of sheer terror. Tribal clashes had led to machete murders, burning, raping and looting.

As if these stories weren't enough, when the survivors did reach safety, there was very little of anything they needed. On the day we arrived, there was no food distribution and some of the victims of machete attacks had been in their blood-stained clothes for three days.

Worse yet, we saw very little evidence that mass quantities of organized aid were on their way to Molo.

What is so frustrating as a journalist is the cruel paradox of modern life. The whole time I was in Molo I had full BlackBerry service. I was e-mailing photos from the aid camp to CNN Center in Atlanta in seconds, and yet the people I was interviewing had to accept that the "modern world" could not feed them.

Watch my report on Kenya's refugee crisis

-- From CNN Correspondent Paula Newton in Kenya
When I think of Kenya, I feel like saying, "Cry the Beloved Country." My work gave for the State of Georgia allowed me to travel in Eldoret, Kisumu, Mobasa and of course, Nairobi. I was always amazed at how well the GSM phones, not really on US market in 2002-2004, worked there. Its as if the developing world is skipping some infrastructure and jumping ahead to 21st century technology. But the paradox is there's such a small middle class. There are tribal difference and hatreds, which make it seem that Wille E. Lynch was utilized in colonialism division as in color distinctions for African slaves. The real distress is that because of how the U.S. screwed up its election in 2000 we can't point a finger. I was in Africa that year and eveyone offered to send observers to help us count. First Mugabe and now Kibaki, legitimately argue that they are doing what Bush did. Our buzzards have come home to roost.
Kenya is too important. It has too much potential and its people are too good and worthy to let go the path of Cote d Ivoire. We must pray and work for peace. We must hope that Jendayi Frazier and Bishop Tutu can bring Raila Odinga, who I've met and know to be a reasonable man, to the table with his former political coalition partner. They worked together to defeat Moi's party; they must work together to save Kenya's soul.
I think that by putting out their story to the world is a small contribution of the 'modern world' towards their plight. Only after watching the CNN reports on what is happening to the people in Kenya , We are all more aware of their situation there and start making an effort to help . I think you journalist should be proud of yourself of what your doing and how you are helping the people . I hope the situation in Kenya gets better and the bloodshed will finally cease.

Malati from Malaysia
We've been watching your reports on the post-election violence in Kenya from Germany, and you are doing a great job Paula. Also this weekend's Inside Africa program special about the Kenyan elections was very informative, so a nod goes out to Femi Oke as well.

The CNNI interviews with the opposition leader Raila Odinga and the Kenyan Government spokesman Alfred Mutua are especially appreciated, as their responses to your questions show just how stubborn and ridiculous their respective positions are and how neither side is willing to take any responsibility for the violence nor mayhem caused by their decisions and actions.

When everything finally calms down and a resolution to this crisis is found, I doubt if justice will be done on behalf of people who lost loved ones to the violence after excercising their right to vote in "free and fair democratic elections" in Kenya. Sad, very sad indeed.
The pitfalls of Democracy

Democracy is so far the best political system but one must agree that it is flawed and does not always lead to peace. If the majority votes in a dictator, can we say that democracy has worked? If voters are uneducated about the issues and vote on tribal lines, is that democracy? Should the existence and peace of a nation fall on the hands of a majority? Most democratic nations cannot claim to have 50% of their eligible voters coming out to the polls. A government can be of the people and by the people but not for the people. Democracy can only work where people are presented with all the facts, and allowed to make independent educated decisions. It can only work when leaders are selfless and realize that they are only stewards. People must look beyond religious, tribal and racial difference in electing political leaders. Democracy only stands a chance where individual differences are set aside and the good of the country is solemnly protected.
Kenya "God's own Country" It is difficult to imagin what is happening. Only God will deliver his country Kenya from this situation. It can only be acheived by Prayers along with meaningful dialogue and communication for the benefit of all KENYANS.

Praying Kenya would not be another Rwanda. Kenyans have been so good and hospitable. Its now the chance of the international communities/ UN and others to take action fast - so there would be no regrets later.

My prayers and love to all my friends in KENYA!
Paula Newton ,

More than 300 people have died in a week of clashes and 100,000 have fled their homes.. what did the re-elected President Mwai Kibaki do ? or that matter Raila Odinga did ? nothing no one is bothered about the common man ... you are in the balck berry world they are in the dark side of the world ... shame on the leaders who can get away with these things time and again... we keep watching..
Turning a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis and mass murders is not so unusual in the modern world. Unless it affects people personally, it doesn't faze them.

Case in point: I read in a local Indiana newspaper today that an Indiana state official was held up in Kenya because of the crisis.

He decided to go a safari.

Another blind eye hits the dust.
As a Kenyan who lives in a neighbouring country, i am deeply pained by the pictures and stories of violence in my motherland. As a country we need healing. Kibaki and Raila will not do. This is purely not a political problem. It is a tribal problem which opposition politicians have tried to use to their advantage leading to genocide and ethnic cleansing as described in all the stories.They whipped animosity during the campaigns and tried to convince Kenyans that Kikuyus are the problem simply because Kibaki is one. The children who sought refuge in church and got killed never voted and some did not even know that they were kikuyus.I shed tears when i remember back in the days we were young and when every young man wanted to go and settle in the furthest point of Kenya. It gave boys from mt Kenya region pride to state that i go to school in Eldoret, Kisumu, Moyale, Mombasa or Lamu. You looked travelled and was the envy of all the boys.Today , no parent from mt Kenya region would want their children to school outside their district. We have come to this !
One thing is for sure, Kenya needs community education to tackle ignorance which breeds such stereotypical thinking as " We should clear them, they are our enemies, they have looted from us" as opposed "we should work hard to be like them, they are good

examples". It is this ignorance the the politicians take advantage of to guarantee themselves seats and salaries in parliament.
It is the high time informed Kenyans said no to this and demanded action in the form education to the masses on merits of hard work.
Thanks Paula for the good effort that you continue to bring out magnitude of the violence ongoing to the World, it is truly sad that innocent lives have been lost due to the hatred perpetrated by reckless politicians. From the efficient execution of the destruction of property and homes belonging to the Kikuyu tribe, one wonders how such operations were cobbled together and who are behind these marauding warriors? I was born near Eldoret town in 1961 and I have a very clear knowledge of all those behind the current ethnic cleansing in Rift Valley. Kindly if you can follow this lead: interview the following people and let the World hear them clearly: William Ruto,H Kosgei,Jackson Kibor (ex-KANU Chairman Uasin-Gishu district),Mark Too,KipChoge Keino, Lucas Sang (the famous athletees) Sally Kosgei and a Mr.Busienei (ex-KCC Director). We have intelligence report that these and other people including current successful athletees and Kalenjin sportsmen are involved in financing, coordinating, execution and facilitation of the ongoing ethnic cleansing in RV with promises of hefty allocation of the farms and property left behind by fleeing Kikuyus. Ni wega munu/thank you very much
What is happening now in Kenya is the result of what politicians have been cooking for a long time. Tribal politics and especially so against the Kikuyus. It is preached that kikuyus have taken all th reaches of Kenya. If you look at those displaced, surely they do not look like people who lived in affluence.
Right now there is no single Kikuyu left in western parts of Kenya. Their lives have been destroyed whether they are already dead or living as refugees wherever they could be.
What Kenya needs badly is proper and positive civic education something no politician will support.
As a united country, we are done. Things might never be the same again, just because of selfish politicians
I wish to thank Chief Intel UG/Burnt Forest for the posted report.
What of good intent need to ask is how it was possible for the slaughter of one group of people to occur in a systematic manner in four different provinces at the same time.
How comes the so called 'protesters' were well armed with weapons of murder (just like what happened in Rwanda). Is it possible they were armed in advance knowing what they would do?
Is it also possible they had to locate their targets in advance?
Doesn't this actually call for prior planning including financing?
The following 'leaders' including Raila, Olentimama (of the lie low like an envelop fame), should be investigated; William Ruto,H Kosgei,Jackson Kibor (ex-KANU Chairman Uasin-Gishu district),Mark Too,KipChoge Keino, Lucas Sang (the famous athletees) Sally Kosgei and a Mr.Busienei (ex-KCC Director).
Just check back and see what these 'leaders' said during their campaigns. They just preached anti Kikuyu gospel. Well, they succeeded and now hundreds are dead.
What we need now is for people to see that the whole thing is not 'tribal conflict', it is pure genocide planned and executed by ODM.
GOd help us through this
Those names mentioned are not responsible for the bloodshed... Kenyans has had enough of the unfair, unequal, inequitable distribution of wealth and resources. They had faith that all that will change with the ODM government in place, but the Kibaki being who he is … a klikuyu thus a thief (stealing votes), decided to impose himself on Kenyans! Peace cannot be enforced … it is a result of true democracy, a well established justice system, proper management of the country’s wealth and resources and, sincere tolerance/respect of every Kenyan regardless of tribe and culture! When you say Ruto and the others incite Kenyans , what does that mean?... that Kenyans, just follow blindly to leaders, that they are unsure of themselves, don’t know what they want for themselves and for their future! Please! If that was the case … no one would have voted, but Kenyans wanted change and sincere development and that’s why they are angry with the imposter, Kibaki! Kenyans have been victimized and marginalized for long … Enough is Enough!
Mr Raila and his ODM cloonies had a secret bloody mission from the begining and that was genocide against the Kikuyus.What is happening in the Riftvalley,Nyanza and Western provinces was planned. These people schould not get away with these crimes against humanity.No one deserves to die just because he happens to belong to a certain ethnic group.Scotland yard or the FBI schould investigate these peole.Kikuyus are hardworking and therefore more prosperous than any other tribe, now they want to take aways the fruits of their hard labour.Shame on them they should teach their people how to read and write but not how to murder and burn property.Dont forget that Mr Raila is a trouble maker, he was involved in the 1982 coup against to over throw the Government of President Moi.He is not good for Kenya.
While FBI and Scotland investigate 'these people', they should also investigate on the munguki saga which is sponsored by the government. how are Kenyans suppose to be at peace with kikuyus when their tribesmen are hired to chop people’s head off and body parts. If for one they think that being in every part of the country is being prosperous, then I suggest they go back to Kenyan history, for they would have learnt that it was their first president kenyatta who brought about all the mess in Kenya …. Grabbing all the land in their central province and resettling them all over Kenya from coast to western through rift valley provinces. When they say they are hardworking, what they mean is that they are ethnocentric who don’t care about equal and equitable distribution of wealth want to grab everything for themselves and that’s the reason they fix an imposter as president so that they can continue to gain on behalf of other Kenyans! Alas! Kenyans have woken up and know their rights … including to own property and live anyway in Kenya regardless of tribe… for your information (world), no other tribe can live and prosper in central province (kikuyuland) yet they expect to be welcomed to other peoples land and prosper … that’s the hypocrisy Kenyans are fed up with! While the opposition leaders are teaching their people how to read and write (instead of killing and burning property), the kikuyus should be taught how to respect and coexist with other communities in Kenya! When enlightened, they will realize that they don’t need the likes of munguki as their protectors because Kenya will be for all Kenyans (not Kenyans and Kikuyus). NO MAN IS AN ISLAND!
The world knows of Raila’s involvement in the 1982 coup to oust the then Government of Moi. I suggest you read his book “The Enigma” and you will learn to respect him! He has fought continuously to bring democracy and justice for his country!
It really is a sad situation in Kenya. I wish our government would send troops a place where they would be recognized. The whole continent of Africa needs a lot of help.
History has taught many of us that hate of a people because of their nature pays nothing. Hate against Africans of USA paid nothing, so was the hate of the Jews by Germans, same in Rwanda, Kosovo and many others that led to deaths and suffering of a people.
In Kenya, the people who are likely not to suffer a lot are the politicians. They do not live in places where chaos will come. But for the small man who has been turned into a murderer might not only lose his life, but will have to live with the guilt of killing innocent children just because they were of the 'BAD' tribe.
Currently it is the poor who are suffering. Those who call for strikes and demos go to their children and watch what is going on in TVs while the poor and their children die.
Kenyans need to wake up. This is the e-era and we should be discussing and not murdering.
God help us.
How do people air their grievances by protesting while demostrating ... it is a human right. kenya's problem cannot be wished away, turning round and ignoring it. Dont divert from the real issue, what i gather is that people are suggesting for the sake of peace, kenyans should accept a dictator just so that innocent people are not killed. peace cannot be enforced it is a result of true democracy and a good justice system.
A few good things will come out of the hate in kenya. kikuyus will get rid of their arrogance and ethnocentrism and learn to respect other kenyans, the next president of kenya would have learnt from this whole experience and govern with solomon's wisdom by being fair and distributing/allocating wealth and resources equitably and equally to bring back the nationalism that kenya once had during the pre/post independence era. The next president will be president for all kenyans and not for a particular community to prosper at the expense of others.
‘A few good things will come out of the hate in kenya’ Am truly sad to hear that. My prayer is that one day Kenya will get a leader like Mandela, completely selfless. It is also my prayer that one day; Kenyans will elect leaders based on their assessed good qualities and not ‘Mtu wa kwetu’ basis. I pray that you and me, having had an opportunity to go to school and having the advantage of information, will be led by logical reasoning and not by self seeking, egocentric ‘leaders’. I pray that that day will come.
Published on January 18, 2008, 12:00 am

By Nancy Mburu

A colleague had a chilling experience. A boy, 14, who is her neighbour, stabbed her daughter, 11.

The woman, too, shocked confronted the boy’s parents, who were perplexed by their son’s behaviour.

The children are from two communities that have been engaged in violent clashes following discredited presidential election results.

This is how far we have taken this thing. Politics is a poisoned chalice. The hate propaganda we sowed prior to the General Election has yielded fruits.

Instead of watching the grandstanding and tribal chauvinism with wry amusement, we have become active participants.

The Church, civil society, scholars and the legal fraternity are split by ethnic-inspired politics. We have become suspicious of each other. All we care about is tribe and political party.

I hate to imagine that I might lose friends simply because they are from the ‘enemy’ tribes. I hate to imagine I might start looking at Chirchir, who washes my car differently. Yet I trust Chirchir, who is polite to a fault, with money more than my Kikuyu brothers. I hate to imagine that I will no longer revel in those theme nights with friends simply because they are from other communities.

We were duped. Politicians exploited tribal biases, working them to a feverish pitch, resulting in mayhem.

That is why we need mass action of olive branches, lest we slip into the doldrums of a failed State.

But then there is a cry for justice and truth. And what is that truth and justice? It is said violence would still have erupted even if another leader had been declared winner.

There has to be a deeper reason some communities feel disenchanted to gang against another.

It all points to the much-touted historical injustices. For instance, why do other communities feel the Kikuyu dominate the economy? Is it because the community members are aggressive in business and owning property in any part of the country? And is it because the Kikuyu are accused of not being accommodating?

I am yet to see a Luo or a Kalenjin who owns property or a successful business in Kiambu, Murang’a or Nyeri.

I also get dismayed when I hear Kikuyus make derogatory remarks about other communities, and insinuate that their language and way of life are superior. Yet I learnt in linguistics class that no language is inferior. If its speakers can express themselves and communicate effectively, then the language is complete, no matter how ‘unpleasant’ it sounds.

Governments have perfected the art of nepotism. When Kenyans voted for Kibaki in 2002, they expected radical change. But disillusionment soon set in. We began hearing reports that some regions received more resources than others, and that the President and cronies had rewarded their kin and relatives with plum Government and parastatal jobs.

The Government has failed us miserably, by creating the impression that a community has to have its own in the presidency so they can get a share of the national cake. Given that we are 42 tribes and the Kikuyu and Kalenjin have served their tenures, we have 40 tribes to go.

If each tribe served a term, it would take 400 years for the presidency to go round. Is this how long it will take us to realise the democracy of tribal equality?

We have to come up with a less myopic solution. We need radical change, to ensure there is equality and justice, such that never again, would a community be punished for the sins of a power elite clique.

We need laws that fuse merit, tribal balance and affirmative action, so that nobody, in any corner of the country, will ever feel left out again.

We need laws that ensure anybody can live and own property anywhere without intimidation. We need laws that fuse capitalism and communism, to address the glaring gap between the rich and the poor.
In 2002, Kibaki got a landslide victory over the moi regime, people had hope and faith in him but what did he do? He called kenyans fools and turned to nepotism, he denied saying that he was to be in office for one term and decided to impose himself on kenyans for a second time. He could have been our Mandela for kenya if he had been honest and have the well being of kenya at heart! shame on him.
As we seek a lasting solution to the sword that hangs over Kenya, we must confront the realities of our times. Emotions are roiling around tribes. The Kikuyu have been targeted in different parts of the country — innocent traders and businesspeople attacked as they went about their lawful business. They were made to pay for the sins of others, mainly political leaders at the centre of our national crisis.

There are two sets of Kikuyu peoples in the mind of the average Kenyan: the friendly and street savvy mama mboga who brings stuff to your doorstep or the taxi driver who’ll be there on time when you need him — until the election comes round again. And there are Martha Karua, John Michuki et al. Their hard line approach to virtually everything under the sun does their community and President Mwai Kibaki no favours.

The Luo will have to broaden their world view and begin to think the unthinkable — that there can be leadership beyond the Odinga family. With all due respect to that family, which has produced at least two brilliant politicians, democracy demands that each and every one of us be judged on their own merit.

It is also true that this particular community has had its share of trauma in independent Kenya, which has led to a retreat into the belief that their strength lies in a common front.

They have gone some way in contemporary history to work with other communities, and voted almost to a man for Mr Kibaki in 2002. It is an investment that has paid off, if you take into account this year’s voting patterns.

AND THEN THERE IS THE CONNECTION between the Luhya and the vice-presidency. They have resisted efforts to get them to huddle into a tribal cocoon by voting for various parties. Some may see this as a weakness; I say being independent-minded is a virtue.

I met a Kamba man recently who was in a celebratory mood because Kalonzo Musyoka had wrestled the vice-presidency from Western Province. He was already seeing their man in State House in 2012, upon which their part of Eastern Province will turn into a land of milk and honey. We have come full circle in this debate. Will someone please give us back the country we worked so hard to put together just five years ago — a country where the tribal fault lines were all but disappearing?
GOD help the weak
Dear brothers and sisters,
People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated.
once they stop stereotyping and sincerely embrace and regard each other as one people regardless of tribe, then and only then, will kenya be a one nation. solution to the crisis is the executive (presidential) powers to be reduced and there be equitable and equal distribution so that no tribe at any one time feels left out or privileged. A leader is not born, a leader is made, Kenyas have made odinga they leader, until they decide otherwise, he is the man to take them through the struggle for true democracy! aluta continua...
It is a shame that the West thinks it can pacify those who planned and executed the genocide by rewarding them with seats in the government. This may mean that they will be shielded from prosecution but the underlying causes of this genocide will not be addressed.

The 1992 and 97 ethnic cleansing was organized by the same people behind the recent violence. We have to act and stop this impunity. Rewarding killers has never worked. One will be called insave if he suggested that Osama's demands should be met.
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