My comment minutes ago to a blog post on Renegade Eye, "Kenya: What is to be done?"
Kenya did not seem the kind of place where anything remotely akin to this could happen. I say this as someone who's been there before, and who encountered, in the main, very mild-mannered people. I was horrified by the turn of events therefore, and can barely pluck up the courage to look at the increasingly portentous news reports. It's getting harder and harder to sanitise the blood from these newsflashes. On the one hand, you don't want to see the blood; on the other, you dare not allow yourself to be deluded as to the extent of the atrocities, so you want to see for yourself, just how bad it is.
When Kibaki was hurriedly sworn in before the vote results had actually been announced, I could only shake my head. I despaired, looking at the man. He is past his best; he has nothing left to offer anyone, let alone a country; he is saddled with an embarrassment of a wife who slaps officials all over the place. Yet he wants to hold on to power. This is the tragedy of my Africa; leaders that just won’t go.
This is not democracy. This is what the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti called: Democrazy.
But what is happening in Kenya now is beyond anything connected to a disputed election. It’s no longer about a recount, but the counting of the piling bodies. Hard to make sense of it, but what is clear is that these are old grievances, old rivalries, breaking out like phantoms from hell. A flawed election has merely given vent to it.
I saw a news bulletin the other day where a young man whose panga was caked in what he called the “pure blood” of many people, boasted about killing a former classmate of his. You wonder: what makes someone who never killed before suddenly become a butcher of men, women and children? What madness? I don’t know. But it seems to me that there is a madness lurking under the civilised veneer of every society. Given the right – or shall we say wrong – circumstances, it will come to the fore. And when it does, Lord knows what is to be done.
A fellow writer pointed out to me today how Kenyans who are not even on the ground back home, who are in the Diaspora – are tearing one another apart in the blogosphere with the most hateful language imaginable. I went to some of these sites to read some of the comments for myself. Frightening. Something has been unleashed, which will be difficult to curtail even after the bloodbath is over. Long live Kenya.
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