I was looking at Ocampo’s list of suspect and it confirmed to me (once again) why the west will simply never understand the politics of Africa. I don’t know why it’s so hard for westerners to understand “Africa”.
I’ve always maintained that at their core, Africans are tribal people. The “tribe” defines all Africans, from the moment of birth until the moment of death. Every significant portion of an African’s life has roots in their tribal culture:
- The name you receive at birth comes from your tribal culture.
- The wedding ceremony you have is defined by your tribal culture.
- The language you speak comes from your tribe.
- Your funeral rites will come from your tribal culture.
- Your philosophy about the world (about money, about how to raise your children, about your relationships…will come from your tribal culture).
So, no matter what Ocampo says or what the ICC says, it will not change this fundamental reality that defines our “roots”. The “tribe” is the core of what every African is and it will remain so until the moment of death. No amount of modernization or “westernization” can remove this core of who we are.
Now, having said this, let’s look at what really happened in Kenya (because at it’s “core” , it was a tribal fight) and I think one of Ocampo’s goals is to de-tribalize Kenya, but I can tell by looking at this list that he doesn’t really understand what actually happened. He doesn’t understand the “core of the African mind”.
So, what Happened?
The Kalenjins had ruled Kenya for 24 years under Danial Arap Moi. Previous to that, the Kikuyu’s had been the rulers under Jomo Kenyatta. In 2002, when Moi decided to step down, Kibaki was “chosen” as his successor through a structure of tribal deals that were struck. Raila Odinga, the Luo leader agreed to give up the presidency to a Kikuyu who were the majority tribe in order to ensure that a win would occur and that Moi would be dislodged once and for all.
However, there was no real love between Raila Odinga’s Luo’s and Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu’s. Raila realized mid-way through Kibaki’s term that he had been duped by the Kikuyu and they in fact had no intention whatsoever of sharing power with him or with Jaluo’s. This realization prompted Raila to leave Kibaki’s government and move over into the opposition, which eventually culminated in Raila challenging Kibaki for the presidency in 2007.
Now, in Kenya, all politicians are corrupt. So, no one will ever know who really won the election in 2007. All I know is that it was a very close election, but to this day, I’m not sure who really won. Anyway, in order to beat Kibaki and the majority Kikuyu, Raila realized that he needed a large tribal coalition and for this, he teamed up with William Ruto and the Kalenjin. Thinking (obviously) that this large tribal coalition would be enough to surmount the large Kikuyu, Embu, Meru, Kamba voting bloc that would go for Kibaki and that constituted almost 50% of the voting bloc in Kenya.
As both sides began to realize that the election might be too close to call, Kibaki did what most African presidents would do — i.e. he declared himself the winner. In Africa, you simply cannot expect to win an election with less than 5% of the vote. It ain’t gonna happen. In order to “win”, you have to win “big”. Ghana was an exception, but I can guarantee you in the next election, the president of Ghana will find himself in the same position as Kenya if that election remains close. Ghana will end up like Ivory Coast today where both candidates “declare” themselves the winners. Uta do?
So, Raila and Ruto, sensing that Kibaki had beaten them to the alter, decided to create this “fiction” that the election had been rigged and in doing so, they recklessly formented tribal violence against the Kikuyu. Thousands of Kikuyus were killed in the Rift Valley by Kalenjins who had planned this even prior to Kibaki declaring himself the winner. The violence in the Rift Valley was absolutely planned by the Kalenjins. You cannot evict half a million people in two days withouth prior planning. No way.
This planning was done by politicians like William Ruto with absolute consent from people like Raila Odinga and other leaders in his ODM faction. The Luo may not have done the actual killing in the Rift Valley, but the Kalenjin foot soliders did it for them. Raila Odinga himself was heard making a speech in Kisii (in Swahili) where he encouraged the Kisii’s to leave the “Luhya’s” alone, but to go out and get the “Kikuyu’s”.
Kibaki and the Kikuyu’s in power were taken by surprise when the violence erupted (shame on them) but worse, once it became evident that the violence had been planned and was being executed quite proficiently, they failed to react to save the lives of not just Kikuyu’s, but of all Kenyans who got caught up in that senseless violence. Shame on Kibaki again.
In response to Kibaki’s refusal (or was it inability?) to react to the killings of Kikkuyu’s in the Rift Valley, Uhuru Kenyatta and other Kikuyu’s who had money, met at the Blue Post Hotel in Thika and decided to take matters into their own hands. They raised money, funnelled it into Mungiki and sent the Mungiki into the Rift Valley to protect the Kikuyu’s who were being killed by the Kalenjins.
The Kikuyu’s who met at Blue Post Hotel had no choice, but to do this because the state was NOT acting. It was an act taken to defend innocent civillians who were being killed because of no fault of their own. They were being killed simply because they belonged to the president’s tribe and were guilty of voting for him. The Kikuyu president (Mwai Kibaki) never came to their defense and to this day, Kikuyu’s who were forcefully and violently evicted from their land are still stuck in IDP camps. Kibaki has never done anything for them and there has been no justice.
So, to equate Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in the same camp (in terms of culpability, is not correct and tells me that Ocampo does not fully understand what actually happened in terms of the tribal dimensions that defined this violence).
The violence in the Rift Valley did not begin in 2007. It began in 1991 during Moi’s regime. Under pressure to institute democractic reforms, Moi reacted by blaming the Kikuyu for opposition to his rule and reacted to this oppostion by instituting the first tribal clashes that Kenya had ever seen. In response to this state instituted violence, the Kikuyu (again) were forced to defend themselves through private means and they did this by identifying the Kalenjin army officer who was responsible for coordinating the violence. His name was General Boit. He was later found hanging from a tree on his farm — having been killed by Mungiki. I mentioned this before on a previous post I wrote. The point here is that the clashes in the Rift Valley have only ended after Mungiki got in there to defend Kikuyu’s. It was never because of the state. This was true in 199o’s and it was true again in 2007.
So, do I think the William Ruto is guilty of formenting violence? Abosultely I do. 100%. However, he didn’t act alone. There were many others who helped him.
Do I think that Raila Odinga was instrumental in inciting people to violence? Absolutely. So, why has Ocampo left him to go free? Ocampo doesn’t understand that the Kikuyu will never allow Raila to enter statehouse. It would literally be too dangerous for them. So, leaving him to go free will not change the tribal dynamic on the ground.
Do I think Uhuru Kenyatta is guilty? No. Doesn’t Ocampo understand what happened? Kikuyu’s who saw what was happening decided (on their own) to meet at the Blue Post Hotel and to fight back. Isn’t this a normal human reaction? It is self-defense! What were they supposed to do? Kibaki was asleep at statehouse!
The bottom line is they are no angels anywhere. William Ruto is a violent blood thirsty thug, Raila is a violent, deceptive fool, Uhuru Kenyatta is an incompeten drunk with lots of stolen money and Kibaki…well…only God knows where that guys mind is. One minute he seems to be alert and the next minute, he sounds like a bad voice over.
So, I don’t see how Ocampo will change the fundamental mind of the African. We are who we are and no red wine drinking, beef eating Argentine is going to disconnect us from our tribal roots.
This is the end of my sorrowful soliloquy.
Why can’t Africans just be honest about who they really are?
Can someone get me a drink? Please? On the rocks (and don’t give that cheap shit (Viceroy I’m looking at you).