Tuesday, September 2, 2008



Septemember 1, 2008
By Standard Team
The Standard

The post-poll violence that claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people may have been planned, it has now emerged.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights report, On the Brink of the Precipice: A Human Rights Account of Kenya’s Post-2007 Election Violence, documents meetings in which leaders incited community against community, and even funded the procurement of war gear.

The report, which was presented at the Waki Commission recently, is embargoed until those mentioned adversely are notified, as the law demands.

East African Community PS David Nalo (right) and resident representative Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Mr Fritz Kopsieker during a conference on post-election crisis at Panafric Hotel, on Monday. PHOTO:STAFFORD ONDEGO

The findings of the report — which have been disputed by some politicians and lawyers — discount the notion that the violence was "spontaneous," and gives specific instances in which politicians, including Cabinet ministers and current and former MPs, incited people to violence.

In August 2007, the report says, a meeting chaired by a Cabinet minister, and attended by other ODM politicians "resolved to carry out mass evictions of non-Kalenjins, especially the Kikuyu and Abagusii from in the Rift Valley."

During a ceremony, the minister is alleged to have called on the locals to "uproot the sangari (weed), shake off the soil, gather it together and burn it." This was a direct call to arms, inciting the locals against those perceived as "foreigners" in the Rift Valley.

On November 23, 2007, a parliamentary aspirant is alleged to have addressed a gathering in Kericho town, and urged members of his community to remove madoadoa (blemishes) from their midst, alluding to migrant communities from their midst.

Another minister is alleged to have held several meetings with councilors and also funded violence in his area.

The report says a former minister addressed a meeting of youths in January, telling them to block roads. "When we tell you to block, make sure you block the road, and when we tell you to remove, make sure you remove them."

The same former minister is said to have hosted raiders in his residence from where they launched attacks against Kikuyus and Kisiis.

The report also quotes an MP who addressed a rally at Ziwa area in Uasin Gishu District telling the residents that Luhyas should be expelled from Trans Nzoia district.


Two other ministers are said to have held several meetings and funded retaliatory violence by the Kikuyu.

The report also names several police officers who failed to remain neutral in the execution of their duties during the violence.

Earlier on October 4, 2007, an assistant chief warned that a local trading centre, that was perceived as dominated by a certain community, would be razed down.

Sure enough, several attempts were made to burn the premises, which happened a month later and two elderly people killed.

One MP in South Nyanza region is accused of making promises that if elected, he would ensure that all business premises run by outsiders would be taken over by local communities.

The KNCHR report corroborates narratives that have been offered by independent human rights organisations that the resultant anarchy last December was a handiwork of people who plotted murder of fellow Kenyans.

"Opposition leaders are right to challenge Kenya’s rigged presidential poll, but they can’t use it as an excuse for targeting ethnic groups," Georgette Gagnon, acting Africa director at New York-based Human Rights Watch early in the year.

"We have evidence that opposition politicians and local leaders actively fomented some post-election violence."

The Justice Waki-led Commission is sitting in Mombasa to establish the root causes of electoral violence at the Coast before embarking on the compiling of its report to be presented to President Kibaki soon.