Planned Attacks, Not Spontaneous Tribal Combustion

Violence continued in Kenya, where on Sunday the police and residents tried to quell a fire set in the Mathare slum in?Nairobi.

Violence continued in Kenya, where on Sunday the police and residents tried to quell a fire set in the Mathare slum in Nairobi. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein for The New York Times

While the idea that the post-election violence had been pre-planned is not new, Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times recently presented an evidential account of governmental and civilian preparations in Signs in Kenya That Killings Were Planned (21 January 2008):

 

…Leaflets calling for ethnic killings mysteriously appeared before the voting. Politicians with both the government and opposition parties gave speeches that stoked long-standing hatred among ethnic groups. And local tribal chiefs held meetings to plot attacks on rivals, according to some of them and their followers….

…In Nairobi, the capital, a senior Kenyan police official cracked open a thick binder, with the subject line “ETHNIC CLASHES,” that revealed evidence of what he called a pattern of highly orchestrated mayhem in the Rift Valley. According to the reports, a nine-foot ditch had been cut in an asphalt road by an earth mover, apparently to prevent authorities from being able to get to conflict zones to intervene; thousands of armed men had suddenly materialized in thinly populated villages; and a roadblock had been built with 10 tons of concrete.

You don’t move 10 tons of concrete on your back, said the police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to share this information publicly. This is a full military operation….

…About a month before the election, the police found a large weapons cache, 20 bows, 50 arrows, 30 clubs, 30 machetes and 30 swords, in a government car belonging to an assistant minister, a member of the president’s party. The assistant minister, who was not in the car at the time and has denied involvement, has yet to be charged. In any case, several residents in the Rift Valley and local aid workers said parliamentary candidates had been arming young men, though no arrests had been made…

These represent just a few examples of government involvement, but there are also detailed accounts of civilian organization. The attention paid by Gettleman isn’t easily translated?via a quick cut and paste so I refer you to the source for more information. The full article is here.

Comments

  1. Oh my God! What a misguided report? If you know Kenya well, you will see that the Kikuyu from the presidents party are the ones that are being killed from Rift Valley province. Are you suggesting that the government planned the violence against those that supported and voted for the president? If that is not ridiculous I wonder what is. I think you need to get your facts right before publishing amateurish stories.

  2. Oh my God! What a misguided report? If you know Kenya well, you will see that the Kikuyu from the presidents party are the ones that are being killed from Rift Valley province. Are you suggesting that the government planned the violence against those that supported and voted for the president? If that is not ridiculous I wonder what is. I think you need to get your facts right before publishing amateurish stories.

  3. Mary Mumachi says:

    I believe a nation taht was denied their legal rights through the ballot started the fight and could not control their anger. Anne, do you think it was right for the government to order the police to shoot to Kill. The government gets angry coz their tribesmen are being killed and seeks revenge. Is the government not for all Kenyans? I guess no, cause our government since independence and from 2002 have been serving peopl from Central only and to champion their interest. Am ashamed of a leader who has turned the nation into ethnic blocks and he is happy to lead a divided Nation due to his greed for power.

  4. Mary Mumachi says:

    I believe a nation taht was denied their legal rights through the ballot started the fight and could not control their anger. Anne, do you think it was right for the government to order the police to shoot to Kill. The government gets angry coz their tribesmen are being killed and seeks revenge. Is the government not for all Kenyans? I guess no, cause our government since independence and from 2002 have been serving peopl from Central only and to champion their interest. Am ashamed of a leader who has turned the nation into ethnic blocks and he is happy to lead a divided Nation due to his greed for power.

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