Monday, January 28, 2008

Chaos in Kenya

Police face riots in west Kenya

People try to flee to safety as violence erupts in Naivasha on Sunday

There is a stand-off in Naivasha following dreadful violence

Tribal riots

Police are struggling to restore order in western Kenya, amid a recent wave of violence linked to disputed elections.

Kenya is descending into chaos.

It hurts. It hurts when I see what has been in Uganda happen in Kenya.

I posted that our ethnic groups are first, before our nations, in most of Africa. True in many cases. But it hurts.

I want to understand why people would so illogically kill each other. Why a neighbour would turn against another, why presumably logical leaders would turn against one another, because we are different.

On our anniversary, I noticed that we were a very diverse group.

Kuchus are very diverse. From every tribe in Uganda. United by the knowledge of our sexuality, and the knowledge of a shared pariah ‘hunted’ status by other Ugandans. I have been in kuchu society for a long time. I accept as a matter of fact that we are diverse, and rightly so. Yet all around me, I do realise that the differences of our different ethnicities are considerable. Me and my mate are from different parts of the country, and that helps to make our differences ‘normal’

On our anniversary, one of the guys, drunk, made allusions against my tribe. The anger was immediate, and he was shut down. That is what happens amongst kuchus. We are too few, too much persecuted, not to realise that being what we are, we cannot afford the usual divisions of politics and ethnic group.

But Uganda is a boiling cauldron of ethnic differences, and ethnic hatreds. They may be buried at the moment, yet they are just beneath the surface. They are resented by many, and they are held at bay. But they are ready to spill over at the slightest bit of provocation. In fights on the streets, in arguments, in instinctive dislikes and likes.

The Balisa problem just in the last year is a case in point. The Baliisa are traditionally pastoralists. They cannot settle in one place. They are Ugandans, but with the taint that they are related to Rwandese. So when they bought land and settled in another area, when ethnic tensions arose, they were chased out, their cattle killed, the people hurt.

In Kenya, Kikuyu against Kalenjin, Luo, leaders who see the political power within reach too tempting not to stir up ancient hatreds. The poor against the poor. The disadvantaged against other disadvantaged.

Kenya, our prayers are with you. We know you hurt. We hurt with you. Hope these convulsions do heal, and heal soon. For you, and for us. May you heel, brother, and soon.


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