By Kaduka Fabian
While many people see Moses Kuria’s “self-defense” Bill as targeting opposition supporters in post-2017 scenario; I strongly believe that the real impact of the Law will come in 2022.
Most Kikuyu politicians still justify the brutal killings, rapes and forceful circumcisions that the Mungiki perpetrated in 2008 as consequential actions which occurred in self-defense. Kikuyu politicians, and a Kikuyu dominated national press has presented the murders that Kikuyu youths – Mungiki and other armed vigilantes – committed as ‘retaliatory acts’.
Narratives of 2007/08 post-poll violence have presented the Kikuyu community mostly as victims, not as aggressors and definitely not as the ‘creators’ of that violence.
This is normal. If anything, political conditions for knowledge construction (what in academia is referred to as the ‘politics of knowledge’) always favor the victors, or those with the power to reconstruct new meanings out of it and, or deconstruct old realities.
Were the kikuyu murderers of the 2007/08 purely motivated by the desire to protect their fellow members exposed to the orgy of violence? Were they merely interventionists? If these were so, one would ask, what danger was a Kikuyu in Naivasha, Tigoni, Limuru, Thika, Juja etc exposed to? If there was no danger, why did these areas become the epicenters of the butchery that went on? These areas were the safest for the Kikuyu; so how did they become ‘retaliation strongholds’ so much so that these same areas saw the brutal killings, crude circumcisions and repeated rapes?
Did ‘retaliation’ take a new meaning? Kibet burns Njeri in Kiambaa and Mwangi kills Otieno for it. Koech arrows Njuguna and Maina rapes Adhiambo for it. See, it did!
One of the silent results of the 2007/08 post-poll violence is that it exposed contemporary power relations between and among ethnic groups in Kenya. In the aftermath of the violence, kikuyus learnt that Kalenjins were just as brutal as themselves whenever violence is the final equation to the retention or acquisition of power. Unfortunately, Luos lost in both ways. First, Kikuyus ‘won’ against Luos. The scale of brutal murders committed against Luos projected them as ‘weak’. Kalenjins, on the other hand, were convinced that Luos were cowards and, or weak.
In my view, the eventual ‘reunion’ of Kikuyus and Kalenjins ahead of the 2013 polls was a natural consequence of the new ethnic power dynamics. Of course, there was the ingenuity thrown into it. And money.
I am convinced, in a sense, that having vanguished Luos in 2007/08 inter-ethnic war, Kikuyus have no inherent fear of a Luo uprising.
Why then is the fear for retaliation? Could it be that Kikuyus are now convinced Luos have the power to inflict fatalities? I doubt it.
If Moses Kuria’s Bill is a product of well-thought out ethnic self-preservation measure, it must be seen within the context of which ethnic group can inflict the kind of pain and suffering; and in the scale and magnitude that requires a legislated counter ‘self-defense’ measure by the Kikuyu.
I am a Luo and I doubt if it is us. Using 2007/08 post-election outcomes, that can only be Kalenjins.
Kuria’s Bill has nothing to do with the post-2017 scenario. I place its use somewhere in late 2022 and early 2023.
By Kaduka Fabian