One of Kenya’s great authors, Ngugi wa Thiong’o wrote a piece on BBC Africa suggesting that Raila Odinga and his party, ODM, have organized the violence against Kikuyus. This echoes comments made by Kibaki’s party. Ngugi, although a Kikuyu, is no stooge of Kibaki’s, lending his claim more credence.
It’s a tough day for the far left when I agree with one of their positions. But this spoken essay by Mumia Abu Jamal on Free Speech Radio — he’s an intellectual and a controversially convicted cop killer — does a nice job of explaining the idea that violence by one ethnic group against another (he calls this “tribalism” or “negative ethnicity”) is instigated by political elites for their own private purposes. [BH — care to respond?]
A BBC video from a Nairobi slum explains why some relatively young Nairobians say they are fighting: so that the United States and Britain will put pressure on Kibaki to undo the election. Their words are strikingly eloquent, but still dripping with violence. The main speaker offers a second explanation as well, namely, “We kill Kikuyus so that Kibaki [who is Kikuyu] will pay attention.” I wonder if this is really true: do people committing violence calculate their actions in order grab attention, or do they act in anger and vengefulness?