Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is the Rift Valley worth all the trouble?

The Rift Valley, once more, is being billed as the future turf of the electoral contest come 2012. Yesterday's creation of a Kalenjin Council of Elders and today's revelations of a Cabinet Minister directly involved in inciting violence against the non-Kalenjin point to a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of liberal multi-party politics. The Council ignores or attempts to ignore the fact that the Rift Valley is not the exclusive home of the Kalenjin and its members' claims that it is not a political outfit should be taken with the same quantity of salt one would take against the claims that certain Rift Valley MPs were not involved in the violence of 2007/08.

However, we shouldn't ignore the fact that the 10 sub-tribes of the Kalenjin are the largest ethnic group in the Valley. The Kikuyu, the Luhya and the Kambas are some of the other ethnic groups that can lay claim to parts of the Valley. But it is the Maasai who occupy second place in terms of size and political influence. The fact is, the Kalenjins call the Valley home but this does not mean that this is their traditional home, not in any way, shape or form. The Kenya constitution, flawed as it is, makes provisions for the protection of the rights of Kenyans to own property anywhere in the country.

The members of ethnic communities who took advantage of the semi-literacy of the 'true' owners of the Valley and acquired large tracts of land are not to blame for the failures of the so-called kalenjin leadership. If this new outfit wishes to address the leadership challenges of the Kalenjin, it must honestly tell its people that the reason why it is so backward in academic and economic terms and in other measures of socio-economic advancement. It is a fact that while the 24 years of president Moi's reign brought many opportunities to the people of the Rift Valley, one cannot deny that he ignore large swathes of the place. There is no excuse for the backwardness of the Ogiek or the Pokot and Turkana. President Moi, while showering largesse on a few of his fellow Kalenjin did not do much for the community as a whole, hence their feelings of persecution at the hands of economically and academically superior members of other communities.

It is now apparent that many of the Kalenjin politicians in Parliament, while denying that they are arming militias in the Rift Valley, will not do anything to reduce the level of tension. Many, even those in high government office, are convinced that their community is under siege. It is not our fault that the violence that took place after the 2007 General Elections took place largely in the Rift Valley; it is Rift Valley, specifically, Kalenjin MPs who perpetrated and perpetuated the violence and pretended to jpoin hands at the signing of the National Accord in 2008. What is required is an honest assessment of the MPs and other leaders of the Kalenjin community. Hon. Ruto, Hon. Bett, Hon. Sambili, Hon. Prof. Kamar, Hon. Kilimo, Hon. Isaac Ruto, Hon. Sirma, Hon. Cheptumo, Hon. Kutuny, and all the rest of them have singularly failed to articulate clearly a vision for their constituents and they will lead their people to the next general elections with percieved grievances against the rest of the country. I am not worried that militias are being armed in the Rift Valley; I am worried that if we balkanise this nation any further, there won't be a nation worth saving in the aftermath of the 2012 general elections.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

YOu need a bit more thinking and ground visit friend to understand the things you are talking about.

Go away.

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