Friday, February 04, 2011

The KKK... in Kenya

Note: Catholicgauzette is in Kenya and reports in with an ethnic alliance worthy of Afghanistan.

Kenya has over 40 ethnic groups known as tribes

In the United States (or, as Kenyans like to call it, America) the KKK stands for the Ku Klux Klan and is known as a hate group for their ethnic views of white supremacy.

Over the past couple of weeks a political alliance in Kenya, dubbed the "KKK," was formed. This alliance comprises of elected officials from the ethnic groups (referred to as tribes) Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Kamba.

The origins of the two groups share some similarities, albeit not exact and perhaps not designed for the same reason. The United States KKK started from six educated southern men during Reconstruction after the Civil War to restore ethnic (white) supremacy. Their efforts helped to suppress voting and running for public office, especially among a particular ethnic group (blacks), in the South.

The Kenya KKK was formed from three educated politicians at a time when International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations into political-ties surrounding the escalation of post-election ethnic violence in 2007 are at the forefront of national news. Two of the three KKK founders have been alleged to have been involved substantially in the post-election violence.

The Vice President of Kenya, a member of the Kamba tribe, states that the name KKK amounts to "hate speech" and attempts to isolate these three ethnic groups against all other ethnicities/tribes in Kenya, yet he was one of the three that created the KKK alliance to begin with. Many view the KKK alliance as a way to field a candidate for the 2012 presidential election, and/or a way to destabilize the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) political party, whose leader is Raila Odinga, the Prime Minister and member of the Luo tribe, and presumptive and formidable presidential candidate.

Ethnic strife is not new to Kenya: it ranges from discrimination in the hiring process for jobs in the public and private sectors, including at public universities and among government ministries to how and where (federally-funded) resources are deployed. (I, for one, am living this glaring disparity in western Kenya: there is no electricity, clean or otherwise running/pumped water, or paved roads for nearly an hour's drive; and when it rains the roads become impassible meaning that important things such as getting food and trade into the area are completely hampered. The same scenario does not exist around Nairobi.)

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