The death of a nation

Me Generation & The Death Of A Nation

There was a time when most knew want and therefore understood,
That in this land across the sea, there was a chance for good.
Knowing adversity, they saw their fellows in that light
And so against inequity they were prepared to fight.

Equality their watchword, they scorned pretension’s pose
And knew it wrong to measure by the cut of someone’s clothes.
The pronouncement of the “learned”, they dismissed as rant
And “Political Economy” as privilege’s cant.

And so they built a paradise where workers’ heads were high
The sort of place, that to preserve, they were prepared to die.
A place where there was plenty and no-one need be shamed
Where the lust for gold of petty men by union’s strength was tamed.

Then came a generation that only thought of “me!”
They didn’t have to struggle against disparity.
They didn’t have to argue, they didn’t have to fight
They took each hard-earned privilege as if it were their right.

They went to university and learned to rationalize
As lawyers and doctors they believed each other’s lies.
“Ability” and “effort” they asserted piously
Must be repaid in “lucre” if “enterprise” is free.

Perverted mateship to a con of many for the few.
“Employment generation” became the holy creed
As they “downsized” half the nation to satisfy their greed.
They sent their kids to private schools so they would have a “chance”
And crucified the public schools without a second glance.

“Trust us”, they said, “We’re dinkum, true.”
While as they spoke their fortunes grew.
And the decent were derided and the dedicated dumped
The avaricious pampered while the poor and weak were thumped.

While the tunnel-visioned retards of the economic push
Poured scorn upon the values of the people of the bush.
Their servile sycophants perverted truth to suit the style of the scum who ran the banks.
While the gifted sold their talents for the holy dollar’s lure
As the advertising “quislings” corrupted what was pure

And the businessmen got richer though they screamed for “more” and “more”
The young in their confusion suicided by the score,
Or doped themselves with heroin to cope with what they saw.
The sympathy for “battlers” and “underdogs” got lost.
The safeguards that protected them were scrapped on grounds of “cost”.

The people’s institutions were sold to feed the greed
Of the brutish and the venal who had never suffered need.
Derided all “humanity” and glorified the shallow.

Everything our forbears stood for, everything that gave us pride,
Every principle and purpose, has been crudely cast aside.
Every decent motivation, everything that made us free
Has been subordinated to the clamour: “Me! Me! Me!”

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Guest Editorial:What’s Behind the Calls for Military Intervention in the Ivory Coast

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

A dispute over a recent national election in the West African state of Ivory Coast has prompted calls by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to step down. According to the UN head, the electoral commission has determined without a doubt that opposition leader Alassane Ouattara had won the elections.This position has been echoed by the United States State Department which has also taken the position that the Gbagbo administration must resign and that Alsanne Ouattara is the legitimate leader. The regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has been reported to have threatened military intervention in Ivory Coast if Gbagbo does not leave office.

These pronouncements and other actions such as leveling sanctions against the Gbagbo administration by freezing credit and bank accounts through the international banking system, has emboldened the supporters of Ouattara inside the country. Earlier in December a group of Ouattara supporters attempted to seize control of the television station in Abidjan, an action that was repelled by the security forces of the government leaving at least 18 people dead.

Why has the UN Secretary General and the Obama administration taken such an interest in developments in Ivory Coast, a former French colony of 30 million people which underwent civil unrest, a military coup and a civil war over the last decade or more? Why should the Ivory Coast be viewed as a test case for Africa, the African Union and ECOWAS and not similar developments that have occured in Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Madagascar and Kenya over the last several years?

These economic sanctions, public villifications and threats of military invasion are taking place absent of any serious efforts by the U.S. and France to reach a diplomatic solution to the crisis. What is happening in Ivory Coast cannot be viewed in isolation from the overall U.S. and French policy of increasing military involvement in West Africa under the guise of the so-called “war on terrorism.”

The Ivorian crisis and the breakdown of neo-colonial rule

During the period of French colonialism and the first three decades of independence (1960-1990),Ivory Coast was promoted to the public as a model for imperialist rule that worked. Even under colonialism where there was militant mass organizing by the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) and its trade union counterpart, in 1958 the de Gualle regime in Paris offered its colonies in West Africa to either formally accept a subservient political role under France or to strike out independently.
Only Guinea under the leadership of the Democratic Party headed by Ahmed Sekou Toure voted overwhelmingly to become an independent state. Guinea would pay a severe price for its challenge to French imperialism and the Ivory Coast under Felix Houphouet-Boigny was rewarded with capitalist investment and tourism.

Ivory Coast continued as an outpost of France albeit with a facade of independence in 1960. The RDA and the Union Generale des Travailleurs de l’Afrique Noire (UGTAN) split into pro-French and militant factions that were aligned with the PDG in Guinea under Sekou Toure.Guy De Lusignan in his book entitled “French-Speaking Africa Since Indpendence”, said in reference to the 1960s, that “The Ivory Coast could not be what it is today without the presence of a large body of Frenchmen, both in administration and in private business. Houphouet-Boigny and his team have been policymakers of undeniable worth.” (De Lusignan, 1969, p. 142)

The author continues by noting that “They staked their all on big business and foreign capital. The brilliant potentialities of the country are a challenge and their answer to that challenge is undoubtedly ‘neo-colonialist’ in spirit.”(De Lusignan, p. 142) During the first decade of independence the Ivory Coast by 1964 “was the largest African producer of bananas (114,000 tons), of raw timber (1,450,000 tons), and of coffee (261,000), making it the third largest producer of coffee in the world; in that year its output of cocoa reached 98,000 tons, making it the fourth largest cocoa producer in the world. Between 1960 and 1964, the credit margin of its trade balance doubled.” (De Lusignan, p. 142)

Yet in 1965 there was a sharp decline in cocoa prices and other agricultural commodities on the western markets. The country shifted to a more diversified economy with production projects in palm oil, rubber, cotton, tropical timber (that could be trans-shipped in much larger quantities through the-then new harbor at San Pedro in the west of the country), tropical fruit and fisheries.” (De Lusignan, p. 144)In addition, the exploitation of manganese deposits began in earnest during this period when production grew from 105,000 tons in 1964 to 171,000 in 1965. By the late 1960s, industrial production in the Ivory Coast expanded with the establishement of light electrical plants, chemicals and oils, timber, textiles, building materials and shoe factories.

This state of affairs continued through the 1970s and 1980s and served as an ideological challenge to revolutionary armed struggles in other parts of Africa as well as the socialist experiments that occured in Guinea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique, Congo-Brazzaville and other states. The western imperialist states maintain that capitalism was the best model for development in post-independence Africa.

However, during the early 1990s, severe problems arose within the French CFA currency zones and these developments had a tremendous impact on the Ivory Coast as well as other states aligned with Paris on the continent. Unrest arose again after it was thought to have been crushed in early 1960s. In 1993 Houphouet-Boigny died and Konan Bedie took over as the leader of the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast. Bedie was overthrown in a military coup at the end of 1999, bringing Gen. Robert Guei to power.By the end of the 1990s, the economic crisis in Ivory Coast had contributed to the political instability and to a coup as well as the division of the country politically between the north and the south. An election in 2000 led to the presidency of Laurent Gbagbo while the northern politician Alasanne Ouattara was disqualified over claims that he was not of Ivorian origin.

The increasing regional divisions in Ivory Coast became a factor under the rule of Konan Bedie during the mid-1990s where the presence of a large immigrant population as well as the country’s national diversity were deliberately politicized. Such divisions helped to create the conditions for a civil war which erupted in 2002.The civil war further enhanced national divisions in Ivory Coast. France, which deployed its military forces during the civil war was accused of supporting both sides in the conflict. In 1995, under Gbagbo, Ivorian military forces bombed areas in the rebel stronghold city of Bouake and killed nine French troops.

France claimed that the attacks were deliberate and has held the deaths of their soldiers against Gbagbo over the years. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) did intervene in the Ivory Coast in 2002 but were later replaced by forces under United Nations control.UN forces still remain in Ivory Coast but claim that their role is strictly to monitor the movement of military units of both the central government and the rebel troops in the north. The threat of the resumption of military conflict could lead to greater involvement of France and the United States in the internal affairs of Ivory Coast.

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara

Born Thomas Sankara on December 21, 1949, in Upper Volta, Now Burkina Faso; died 1987, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He attended military secondary school, 1966-69; became part of the national Parachute Regiment of Upper Volta; began training in officer school in Madagascar, 1970; fought in border war between Upper Volta and Mali, 1974; became commander of the Commando Training Center, 1976; met Blaise Compaore in Morocco, 1978; formed “Popular Republic” in Commando Training Center with Compaore; appointed secretary to the president in charge of information, 1981; imprisoned to await court-martial, 1982; named prime minister by new regime under Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo, 1982; accused of treason and imprisoned, 1983; became head of Upper Volta government after coup, 1983; changed name of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, 1984; put down coup attempt, 1984; led country in short border war with Mali, 1985; attempted to initiate major reforms in agriculture, income distribution, and equality of rights for women; forged ties with other Marxist states such as Cuba, Angola, and Nicaragua; was assassinated in capital city of Ouagadougou, 1987, at age 37.

Life’s Work

Making a popular name for himself through his dedication to easing the plight of the common man in his native land, the Marxist leader Thomas Sankara made a serious attempt to eliminate the poverty and abuse of power that had been commonplace in Burkina Faso before he took power in 1983. “Without a doubt the young and charismatic Sankara was one of the most notable and popular military political leaders of post-independence Africa, despite the fact that he was only in power for four years before being assassinated in 1987,” wrote John A. Wiseman in Political Leaders in Black Africa. “Sankara’s inspirational leadership, the influence of which extended well beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, marked something very new in the political history of the country,” added Wiseman.

From an early age Sankara condemned the effects of French colonialism on his country. “In his view it was the French colonials who had been directly responsible for the unfair social system, whereby the wealth of the country remained in the hands of the white rulers while the indigenes were victims of miserable poverty and economicrepression,” claimed Michael Wilkins in African Affairs. Sankara had no use for any exploitation wielded by the powerful, and was hailed for his willingness to forego the spoils of his own high position. “In this part of the continent whose garishly rich, egotistical tyrants inspired the label ‘Big Man,’ many people regarded Sankara as the anti-Big Man,” commented James Rupert in the Washington Post. After becoming his nation’s leader, Sankara continued to eat in the mess hall with other army officers and even sold off the expensive cars of high-ranking officials in a lottery. But eventually his fear of opponents and alienation of former supporters in his populistmovement made him vulnerable. He was unable to make much of a dent in the poverty of Burkina Faso, which at the time of his leadership was ranked the third poorest nation in the world.

Born into a low-class family in Upper Volta–now Burkina Faso–in 1949, Sankara grew up Catholic in a country dominated by traditional religions and Islam. He began receiving military training in secondary school in 1966, and soon established a reputation for both his studiousness and athletic ability. He began his military career at age 19, and a year later was sent to Madagascar for officer training . While there he was known for his austere lifestyle, and he became increasingly idealistic and political as he was exposed to perceived injustices instilled by colonialism. Sankara also witnessed a Communist-led revolution in the country’s capital that may have laid the seeds for his Marxist practices.

In the early 1970s Sankara was sent to the prestigious Parachute Training Center in France. He worked his way up the ranks in the military, while also making contacts with African radical students and organizations in France that helped shape his revolutionary mentality. In 1974 he returned to Upper Volta and began actively participating in meetings of various left-wing groups, among them some of the more prominent trade unions. All of these meetings were held secretly, since law prohibited any gatherings of groups opposing the government. Sankara’s involvement with these groups proved critical to forging relationships that helped him assume power in the 1980s.

Sankara served with honor on the front lines in a border war between Upper Volta and Mali in 1974, although he saw the dispute over a basically worthless strip of land as futile. He became commander of his country’s Commando Training Center in 1976, and two years later established an important friendship with Captain Blaise Compaore after meeting him in Morocco. The two friends formed the so-called “Popular Republic” at the Commando Training Center, which helped them build their power within the military. Sankara made his way into government in 1981, when he was appointed secretary to the president in charge of information by Colonel Saye Zerbo, who had taken control of the government after a coup in 1980.

Due to his objection to the government’s banning of strikes and its passing of anti-union legislation, Sankara soon fell into disfavor with Zerbo. After resigning in protest in 1982, he was arrested and put into prison. He regained his freedom when Zerbo was ousted by Major Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo in November of that year. By this time Sankara had become a popular figure among the people due to his willingness to attack those in power. As Ouedraogo became more controlled by the military, his fear of Sankara’s popularity increased. He condemned him for treason in 1983 and had him imprisoned, but the stay behind bars was short-lived. Compaore mobilized a unit of paratroopers and told Ouedraogo that he would seize the capital unless Sankara was freed and allowed to resume his post in the army. Ouedraogo’s agreeing to the demands empowered Sankara to rally his many sympathizers and seize the government himself. Just 34 years old, Sankara became the youngest leader of an African republic in 1983. Top of his political agenda was the waging of a war on poverty, which reached a critical level due to a horrible drought that ravaged the country’s agriculture in 1983 and 1984. He attempted to start up massive agricultural projects to overcome widespread hunger, set up a revolutionary emergency to help buy grain for disaster victims, and began a tree-planting program to stem the advance of the Sahara Desert on fertile land.

Sankara also became highly vocal about his plans for reform, traveling widely and making rousing speeches that promised a new era for Upper Volta. “The primary objective of the revolution,” he was quoted in Issue, “is to take the power out of the hands of our national bourgeoisie and their imperialist allies and put it in the hands of the people.” Sankara’s words became deeds when he adjusted salaries so that all ministers and public servants earned the same salary, including himself, and he changed the tax system to one based on ability to pay. He also forced top civil servants and army officers to donate one month of their annual salary toward the funding of development projects. Among his policies for helping the common people were mass literacy campaigns, attempts to bring back health care to rural populations, and extensive vaccinations programs. As a symbolic gesture to erase the memory of colonialism, Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso, which means “the land of people of integrity.”

Sensitive to past exploitation of his country by foreign powers, Sankara was very choosy about his allies. For the most part he distrusted Western countries as exploiters whose friendship was a means to gain strategic influence. “Donors have not always had the sincere aim of helping Upper Volta,” he said in Africa Report. “They used aid as a means of gaining control over our country….” Holding true to his Marxist ideology, Sankara forged bonds with other Marxist nations such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Angola, as well as the regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. He demonstrated no tact with Western leaders, openly criticizing chiefs of state such as President Mitterand of France. He also felt that much foreign aid entering his nation had been squandered by either ineffectivemanagement or corrupt officials.

Various policies implemented by Sankara got him in trouble with the status quo. He stunned all of Africa when he began working to establish greater equality between the sexes, something that was unprecedented in post colonial continent. (pre colonial Africa championed equality of the sexes)He banned prostitution, condemned polygamy, and appointed five women to ministerial posts. “Women are exploited in relations of production and also in sentimental relations, in affection,” he said in Africa Report. “But women are further exploited because of imperialism, which also dominates the Voltaic man.” Sankara fueled the ireof more enemies by establishing People’s Revolutionary Courts to investigate members of previous governments and initiating a series of anti-corruption campaigns. He also alienated the Mossi, the country’s major ethnic group, by eliminating many of the powers held by the tribe’s traditional chiefs such as their right to receive tribute payment and obligatory labor.

We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky. Thomas Sankara

A coup against Sankara in 1984 was put down in short order, but resistance against him continued to grow due to his policies. Support from leftists who had helped carry him to power began to wane because they regarded his reforms as too tame. He angered trade unions when he fired striking teachers, then rehired them on his own terms. Most damaging to Sankara’s position may have been his failure to alleviate the country’s extreme poverty, despite an increase in public spending of 120% during his first three years as head of state, as well as his inability to make a dent in Burkina Faso’s foreign debt. Over time Sankara’s concern about keeping his position grew and he began attempting to ban certain political groups. Wavering support from Compaore led Sankara to establish his own security force as protection against his former ally, who was supported by the powerful Parachute Regiment. As Michael Wilkins wrote in African Affairs regarding the relationship between Sankara and Compaore, “These tensions were not only caused by the alienation process … but also by the economic failure of Sankara’s reforms and personal difference in opinion which led to accusations of megalomania and the creation of a cult of personality.”

Finally the scales of resistance tipped against Sankara. He was assassinated in a hail of bullets in October of 1987 along with thirteen other officials outside the central parliament building in Ouagadougou. No inquiry was held into the murder, and Sankara was buried in an unmarked grave. While denying his involvement in the killing–a claim disputed by many at the time–Compaore then condemned Sankara as a traitor to the very Popular Revolution he had led.

Over a decade after Sankara’s death, thousands in Burkina Faso still mourn at his grave on the anniversary of his assassination, and his mystique as a leader who sacrificed himself for the good of the people remains strong. Cassettes of his speeches still sell well, a major Sankarist Youth Movement dedicated to his policies remains active in the country, and several political parties in Burkina Faso bare his name. “Sankara is not remembered as a saint,” noted Dramane Sessouma, the editor of a local newspaper in Burkina Faso, in the Wall Street Journal. “But he was honest and dedicated to improving the lives of ordinary people–and almost no other {West African} leader has been so.”

Further Reading

Books

  • Brockman, Norbert C., An African Biographical Dictionary, ABC-Clio, SC1994, pp. 311-313.
  • Glickman, Harvey, editor, Political Leaders of Contemporary Africa South of the Sahara: A Biographical Dictionary, Greenwood Press, 1992, pp. 245-250.
  • Rake, Alan, 100 Great Africans, Scarecrow Press, 1994, pp. 350-354.
  • Sankara, Thomas, Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution, 1983-1987, Pathfinder Press, 1988.
  • Wiseman, John A., Political Leaders in Black Africa, Edward Elgar Publishers, 1991, pp. 189-191.

Periodicals

  • Africa Report, July/August 1984, pp. 4-10.
  • Africa Today, Second Quarter 1989, p. 64.
  • African Affairs, July 1989, pp. 375-388.
  • Current History, May 1989, pp. 221-224.
  • Issue, 1987, p. 78.
  • Washington Post, March 17, 1997, p. A12.

Prayer For Kenya Before Hague-Bound Suspects Are Named

O God of all Creation: You have cared for the earth, and have filled it with your riches. Abundance flows in your valleys , through the pastures and wilderness. You provide for our land, softening it with showers, bathing it in light, and blessing it with growth.The hills sing with joy; the hills are covered with flocks; the fields deck themselves with grain; and together they glorify your name!

Dear God, May we as nation be guided by you to rediscover the sacred flame of our national heritage, which so many have given their lives to safeguard;Let the wounds of separation and division be healed by opening our hearts to listen to the truth on all sides, allowing us to find a higher truth that includes us all;May we learn to honor and enjoy our diversity and differences as a people, even as we more deeply touch our fundamental unity;

May we, as a people, undergo a transformation that will draw forth individuals to lead our nation who embody courage, compassion and a higher vision;May our leaders inspire us, and we so inspire each other with our potential as individuals and as a nation, that a new spirit of forgiveness, caring and honesty be born in our nation;May we, as a united people, move with clear, directed purpose to take our place within the community of nations to help build a better future for all humankind;May we as a nation rededicate ourselves to truly living as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all;And may your will Father God be done for Kenya, as we, the people, align with that Will.

In Jesus Name we Pray AMEN


The Future of Africa

The Rise of Thomas Sankara’s Children-

Julius Sello Malema (South Africa) (born 3 March 1981, in Seshego) is a South African politician, and the president of the African National Congress Youth League.Malema was elected a chairman of the Youth League branch in Seshego and the regional chairman in 1995. In 1997 he became the chairman of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) for theLimpopo province, and was elected as the national president of that organisation in 2001.Malema was elected as the president of the ANC Youth League in April 2008, in a close race at a national conference held in Bloemfontein.

Charles Blé Goudé (Ivory Coast) is an Ivoirien political leader, born in 1972 at Guibéroua, in the center west of the country.Blé Goudé studied English at the University of Cocody (Cocody is a section of Abidjan), where he began his political career leading strikes and violent demonstrations of the Student Federation of Cote d’Ivoire (FESCI), allied with the FPI during the 1990s. He succeeded Guillaume Soro as the Secretary General of FESCI from 1998 to 2000.He later founded the Coordination des jeunes patriotes in 2001, and the Congrès Panafricaine des Jeunes Patriotes (COJEP) in the same year. He had completed a university degree in English by this time, and later began a masters degree in Conflict Resolution Studies from Manchester University. Having gotten news of the coup d’État on 19 September 2002, he left England for Côte d’Ivoire, where he founded the Alliance des jeunes patriotes pour le sursaut national, which he directed with Serge Kuyo, an organization which he described as a mouvement de combat. Blé Goudé has said that he models himself on Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara

Munyaradzi Chidzonga (Zimbabwe).Born in 1985, Harare,A former student of the prestigious International School in Zurich, in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland, Munya Chidzonga is a Film maker. A holder of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Motion Picture Medium, majoring in Live Performance, Acting and Script-writing, from The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (commonly known as AFDA) in Cape Town South Africa, where he was nominated for the best Actor Award, an accomplishment equivalent to graduating Magna Cum Laude in the American educational system.Though Munya is not actively involved in Zimbabwe politics his star is one to watch and will most likely end up in politics as a ZANU-PF candidate sometime in the future.

Raila Call For Kenyan Gay Arrests- Diversionary Tactic From Grand Corruption

Nairobi — Prime Minister Raila Odinga was on Wednesday put to task in Parliament over corruption in the Cabinet and why some ministers implicated in graft were still holding on to their positions.Mr Odinga, the ODM party leader, was also accused of applying double standards when it came to dealing with MPs from his side of the coalition.
Mr Odinga, the ODM party leader, was also accused of applying double standards when it came to dealing with MPs from his side of the coalition.”Mr Prime Minister, we would like to know your definition of political responsibility because when it is ministers from your party, you defend them, but when they are from the other side you remain silent,” Ms Amina Abdalla, a PNU nominated MP, said on Wednesday.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua challenged the PM to give his position on Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’, who despite being struck off the lawyers’ roll several times by the Law Society of Kenya over accountability issues was still appointed to the Cabinet.Mr George Nyamweya (MP, Nominated) accused Mr Odinga of applying double standards.

He challenged the PM over why he had suspended then Agriculture minister William Ruto and Education minister Sam Ongeri over alleged fraud in their ministries, while urging patience in the current cases.Mr Njoroge Baiya said Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey should have resigned over alleged abuse of office and corruption relating to importation of old vehicles.But Mr Odinga said he was not aware of any tainted ministers in the Cabinet. He also said that no one would be spared in the war on graft.

 

 

UN Report On Kagame Congo Atrocities & Genocide Out

The United Nations today released a new report on “indescribable” atrocities committed in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 1993 to 2003, when tens of thousands of people were killed, and numerous others raped and mutilated by both armed Congolese group and foreign military forces.“The period covered by this report is probably one of the most tragic chapters in the recent history of the DRC,” says the report, the most extensive accounting to date, issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights .

“Indeed, this decade was marked by a string of major political crises, wars and multiple ethnic and regional conflicts that brought about the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.”The 550-page report, listing 617 of the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law over the 10-year period by both State and non-State actors, is the product of a mapping exercise that took more than two years, including eight months on the ground in the DRC, interviewing witnesses and a wide range of sources.

Many of the attacks involved massive violence against non-combatant civilian populations consisting primarily of women and children amid a climate of near-total impunity, which continues today.“Violence in the DRC was, in fact, accompanied by the apparent systematic use of rape and sexual assault allegedly by all combatant forces,” it says. “This report highlights the apparently recurrent, widespread and systematic nature of these phenomena and concludes that the majority of the incidents of sexual violence reported could, if judicially proven, constitute offences and violations under domestic law, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law.”

Declaring that children in the DRC “have suffered far too much,” it cites estimates that at least 30,000 children were recruited or used by the armed forces or groups during the conflict, adding that children have been subjected to “indescribable violence,” including murder, rape, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, forced displacement and destruction of their villages.“If this situation is allowed to continue, there is a risk that a new generation will be created that has known nothing but violence, and violence as a means of conflict resolution, thus compromising the country’s chances of achieving lasting peace,” it says.In a comment today on the report’s release, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noted that a leak in August to the French newspaper Le Monde of an earlier draft that had been distributed to six countries in the region, led “to intense focus on one aspect of it” – namely the raising of the possibility that the armed forces of Rwanda and their local allies may have committed acts which could constitute crimes of genocide.“The report stresses that this question can only be addressed by a competent court,” she said. “First and foremost, the Mapping Report is a report about the DRC. Yes, it does refer to the presence of foreign forces which were involved in the conflict in the DRC, and it does point to the responsibility of those forces for human rights violations.

“It also suggests that other countries have a role to play in assisting a transitional justice process in the DRC,” she added, voicing the hope that people will examine it and in particular the measures it proposes to bring real progress in accountability and justice “in the wake of such a litany of dreadful acts. The millions of Congolese victims of violations committed by an extraordinarily wide range of actors deserve nothing less.”Aside from providing a historical record, the reports aims to assist the Congolese Government and civil society in developing transitional justice mechanisms and institutional reforms that will lay a firm foundation for sustainable peace and development. This includes identifying both judicial and non-judicial options for achieving justice for the many victims of serious human rights violations and ending the widespread impunity of those responsible for serious crimes.

The report notes the involvement of at least 21 armed Congolese groups as well as operations by the military forces of eight other states inside DRC. While the aim was not to establish individual criminal responsibility, information on the identities of the alleged perpetrators of some of the crimes is being held in a confidential database maintained by OCHCR. But it does identify armed groups, both domestic and foreign, involved in specific incidents.

In her foreword to the report, Ms. Pillay states that “no report can adequately describe the horrors experienced by the civilian population” in the DRC, “where almost every single individual has an experience to narrate of suffering and loss…“The report is intended as a first step towards the sometimes painful but nonetheless essential process of truth-telling after violent conflict… it looks to the future by identifying a number of paths that could be pursued by Congolese society to come to terms with its past, to fight impunity, and to face its contemporary challenges in a manner that prevents the re-occurrence of such atrocities.”

While the gruesome inventory of serious violations dramatically underscores the need for justice, the DRC’s ability and willingness to tackle the issue remains severely limited, the report says, noting that poorly functioning judicial institutions “have left millions of victims with nowhere to turn and no opportunity to have their voices heard.”More than 1,280 individual witnesses were interviewed to corroborate or invalidate alleged violations, including previously unrecorded incidents, and at least 1,500 documents were collected and analysed.

UN Report On Kagame Congo Atrocities & Genocide (Uncensored Version Leaked Aug 27, 2010 )

Book Review-Africa:Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
By Richard Dowden
592 pages; Public Affairs

Review: Mention Africa in polite company, and those around you may grimace, shake their heads sadly and profess sympathy. Oh, all those wars! Those diseases! Those dictators!Naturally, that sympathy infuriates Africans themselves, for the conventional view of Africa as a genocide inside a failed state inside a dictatorship is, in fact, wrong. In the last few years, Africa over all has enjoyed economic growth rates of approximately 5 percent, better than in the United States (although population growth is also higher). Africa has even produced some “tiger cub” economies, like Botswana and Rwanda, that show what the continent is capable of. (A new Web site, See Africa Differently, specifically aims to present a more positive image of the continent.)The bane of Africa is war, but the number of conflicts tearing apart the continent has dwindled. The murderous old buffoons like Idi Amin are gone, and we’re steadily seeing the rise of highly skilled technocrats, who accept checks on their power and don’t regard the treasury as their private piggy bank. The Rwandan cabinet room is far more high-tech than the White House cabinet room, and when you talk to new leaders like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia you can’t help wondering about investing your 401(k) in Liberian stocks.

Richard Dowden’s “Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles” aims in part to correct the negative stereotypes. Dowden, a veteran British journalist who now heads the Royal African Society, has been bouncing around the continent since 1971 and covers a great deal of ground. Much of the text is travelogue that I found a yawn. But Dowden is at his best when looking at grand themes — like the degree to which Africa is more promising than journalists or aid workers often acknowledge.

“The media’s problem is that, by covering only disasters and wars, it gives us only that image of the continent,” Dowden writes — and 90 percent of the Africans reading this are now nodding at that line. “Persistent images of starving children and men with guns have accumulated into our narrative of the continent.”“The aid industry too has an interest in maintaining the image of Africans as hopeless victims of endless wars and persistent famines,” Dowden continues. “However well intentioned their motives may once have been, aid agencies have helped create the single, distressing image of Africa. They and journalists feed off each other.”In particular, Dowden lets loose at celebrities like Bob Geldof and politicians like Tony Blair with their “messianic mission to save Africa.” As Dowden writes: “That set teeth on edge. It sounded like saving Africa from the Africans.”

I’ve thought a good deal about these issues, partly because I’m often a purveyor of columns about war and disaster in Africa, from Darfur to Congo to AIDS in southern Africa. And frankly, it’s discomfiting to feel that I’m helping Africa by exposing such catastrophes, and then have African leaders complain — as they do — that such reporting undermines their access to foreign investment and their ability to expand their economies and overcome poverty.My own take is that we in the news media and in the aid world can and should do a much better job providing context and acknowledging successes. Yet the problem surely isn’t that the news media have overdone coverage of the disasters. Congo is the most lethal conflict since World War II, costing about five million lives since 1998, and it has dragged on partly because journalists haven’t done a better job propelling it onto the international agenda. You’ll never persuade me that we’ve overcovered the slaughter in Congo — our sin is that we didn’t scream enough, not that we screamed too much.

I agree more with Dowden’s point that Africans must be more central to the narrative. As he writes: “Aid agencies, Western celebrities, rock stars and politicians cannot save Africa. Only Africans can develop Africa. Outsiders can help, but only if they understand it, work with it.” It’s true that the most successful and cost-effective interventions are typically not those started by a grand conference in a capital; rather, they are the grass-roots efforts started by local people with local knowledge addressing local needs. We could do much more to support such efforts, with us Westerners serving as aides and financiers to African social entrepreneurs.

After discussing these themes in the opening of his book, Dowden takes us on a wearisome sight-seeing excursion through Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. But then the journey abruptly livens up when, hidden in a chapter on Senegal, there is a thoughtful discussion of why Africa is poor. Dowden chronicles the problems of colonialism and geography, but he also bluntly points the finger at wretched leadership. He quotes Jerry Rawlings, the former Ghanaian ruler, as acknowledging that outsiders were not to blame and adding, “We broke the pot.”One of Africa’s problems to this day is that there is very little manufacturing of the kind that is powering Asia’s industrial revolution. The sweatshops of Asia look unpalatable to Westerners, but it’s sometimes said that in a poor country the only thing worse than being exploited is not being exploited. Employment opportunities in Africa are meager and rarely involve wealth creation.

“Many African friends who tried to get a business enterprise going,” Dowden writes, “all reported the same problems: workers did not turn up on time, they had no urgency and they delivered sloppy work. Often they found themselves blocked by rivals. The elites who made money out of importing and exporting had an interest in preventing the development of local manufacturing or processing.”One of the best American aid programs is almost unknown but addresses this problem. It’s called AGOA — the African Growth and Opportunity Act — and it offers duty-free import of African manufactured goods into America, to encourage the rise of a vibrant business sector in Africa.

Dowden tends to be skeptical about the benefits of aid. “It is significant that none of the most passionate advocates of aid for Africa are African,” he says. He acknowledges that aid can help with vaccination programs and emergency relief and in some kinds of development but adds that “aid from the outside cannot transform whole societies.” This is also the argument of a controversial new book by an Oxford-educated Zambian, Dambisa Moyo, called Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24).Dowden would like to see Western countries help in ways other than simply offering aid. Ending agricultural subsidies in the West, for example, would be a huge benefit to the many African farmers who have to compete. West African cotton farmers suffer not only from droughts, corruption and wretched roads, but also from America’s cotton subsidies.

I’m more sympathetic to aid (while acknowledging its myriad shortcomings) than Dowden is, but he’s on target in most areas. In particular, I think his basic optimism is well founded, with the caveat that climate change may wreak particular havoc in Africa.We journalists tend to cover Africa in stark and simple contrasts, but countries live and grow and falter in grays. So it’s refreshing to encounter not only Dowden’s hopefulness, but also his reliance on shading and nuance, on the recognition that the world does not have to feel sorry for Africa to care about it.

*Review by Nicholas Kristof is a Times columnist and the co-author, with Sheryl WuDunn, of the forthcoming “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.”

The Police

A police officer is many things. She’s/He’s a daughter,a sister, a mother,  son, a brother, a father, an uncle, and sometimes even a grandfather S(He) is protector in time of need and a comforter in time of  sorrow.  His job calls for him to be a diplomat, a psychologist, a lawyer, a friend, and an inspiration.  He suffers from an overdose of publicity about brutality and dishonesty.  He suffers far more from the notoriety produced by unfounded charges.

Too often acts of heroism go unnoticed and the truth is buried under all the criticism.  The fact is that less than one-half of one per cent of our policemen ever discredit their uniform.  That’s a better average than you’ll find among clergymen.A policeman is an ordinary guy who is called upon for extraordinary bravery–for us!  His job may sometimes seem routine, but the interruptions can be moments of stark terror.

(S)He’s the woman/man who faces a half-crazed gunman, who rescues a lost child, who challenges a mob, and who risks his neck more often than we realize.He deserves our respect and our profound thanks.  A policeman stands between the law-abider, and the law-breaker. He’s the prime reason your home hasn’t been burned, your family abused, your business looted.  Try to imagine what might happen if there were no policemen around.  And then try to think of ways to make their job rewarding.  Show them the respect you really have;  offer them a smile and a kind word; see that they don’t have to be magicians to raise their families on less-than-adequate salaries.”

John Githongo @ CSIS

The core mission of the CSIS Africa Program is to conduct sustained and timely research and analysis on the major elements of U.S. policy toward Africa, with the aim of substantially shaping discourse in Congress, the executive branch, and among the broader policymaking community. The program fills a critical need in Washington for Africa policy analysis that is centrist, activist, and forward looking, defining what is at stake and offering policy recommendations that are timely, nonpartisan, and pragmatic.

The program’s substantive focus is forward looking, emphasizing new and emergent dimensions of U.S.-Africa policy, including U.S. policy to combat HIV/AIDS and infectious disease; priority conflict zones; critical bilateral relations; and rising U.S. energy and security interests. The program assembles a diversity of important U.S. interests from the human rights community, the corporate sector, relief organizations, congressional staff, administration officials, academics, and activists. The program also provides a platform to visiting African opinion leaders and seeks to integrate African perspectives into the Washington policy dialogue. The program is led by Jennifer Cooke, director.

Center for Strategic and International Studies:A public policy research institution dedicated to analysis and policy impact.

Just because we’ve waited 20 years, we shouldn’t be blackmailed to pass a faulty law

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” These were the words of US second President John Quincy Adams. They resonate well with the thoughts of Alexis Comte de Tocqueville, a leading politics and history theoretician in 19th Century France. In L·ncien regime et la RÈvolution, he warned of the dictatorship of the majority.In it, he theorized the masses irrespective of class or rank are herded to reach certain end by confusion that leads to fervent and uncritical adherence.

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini rode on the wings of democracy and mass populism to create dictatorships that the world still rues. I’m afraid our referendum process for a new constitution is treading on similar footsteps.A referendum like any electoral process has to meet certain basic and irreducible minimums. These include free media, freedom of speech and assembly and unhindered campaign and a transparent electoral process. Our current Constitution and electoral laws reiterate these freedoms. The Proposed Constitution is allegedly even more progressive. So, why is the ‘Yes’ group (Yessed) comprising of politicians, media and activists attempting a steamroller campaign that makes nonsense of all these principles?

Politicians led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga seem to have decided that Kenya must get a new constitution tupende tusipende. Anyone that is of contrarian view is seen as a ‘Moist’, land-grabber, retrogressive and ignorant of the Proposed Constitution. If the politicians and media have decided that the ‘Yes’ must succeed, why are we still engaging then in a charade process that will cost us Sh9 billion?Those opposed to the draft as it is have said they have issues on abortion, land, Judiciary in general and Kadhis’ courts in particular, and devolution structures. Yet, they are being dismissed as lacking in understanding and knowledge. Who decided that Yessers have more knowledge and understanding?

Article 2(6) of the draft automatically domesticates international laws and treaties that we ratify. Ordinarily, we domesticate such international laws by legislation. This innocuous clause makes such international treaties that allow such indiscretions like homosexual marriages part of our law. International treaties on marriage recognise unions of consenting adults without gender discrimination.

State funding

Article 170 of the draft makes Kadhis’ courts part and parcel of the Judiciary and thus employees of the State. In US and Europe, any group or institution that is discriminatory in its membership on sex or religion is denied federal or state funding. If the rest of the developed Western world, which we look up to, is enhancing the separation of state and religion, why are non-Muslims going to be forced by the draft to fund an Islamic judicial system? Let Kadhis’ courts be there, but don’t make them part of our judicial system nor make us finance them.

Chapter Four of the draft is the Bill of Rights and is comprehensive. It sets out all the rights we have. Legal scholars agree all human rights are reduced to three: rights to life, liberty and private property. William Blackstone in Commentaries On The Laws of England, Book The First opines these three rights are absolute and immutable and cannot in any way be waived or derogated unless by consent of the individual.

But article 25 of the Proposed Constitution clearly indicates all rights may be limited by legislation except the right to liberty. How can we then say ‘Yes’ to a constitution that will subordinate our rights to life and property to the whims of a Parliament? What if history is a guide that Parliament becomes a choir for a rogue President? Zimbabwe is a good example of a Parliament that sold its soul to the devil.

The referendum on the draft is regulated and subject to The Constitution of Kenya Review Act, 2008. Sections 37, 38 and 39 thereto unequivocally state that the Interim Independent Electoral Commission shall frame the question, set the referendum date, indicate the polling time and advice on the campaign period. Legal scholars have set minimum parameters for a referendum to be said to pass the muster: referendum question must be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, full disclosure top the public on the issue or law being taken to vote, public must be told the truth on the consequences of either vote, and the referendum must allow a judicial process against it.

Ancient Rome through its popular assemblies called Concilium Plebis originated this process of legislation by public initiative. Since then, the public is asked to vote on an issue or new law that is divisive to give its outcome legitimacy. The process demands that there be a wide if not majority of qualified voters’ participation and in most instances an identity card is sufficient. Also, the campaign process has to be level and giving an opportunity to proponents of either divide of the vote.

Blackmail

Tragically, the Yessed have already begun running with the campaign even before IIEC announces the period. Kenyans cannot be blackmailed that because we have waited for 20 years, we must pass the draft. Public fatigue is never a reason to change a constitution.

The Proposed Constitution ought to be passed or rejected on merit. Let those who support it allow the Naysayers to have their time. Supporting the draft doesn’t confer one moral or intellectual superiority

By Donald B Kipkorir

The writer is an advocate of the High Court dkipkorir@ktk.co.ke

PS when Donald Kipkorir gets published on Muigwithania mambo yamechacha

Article 26 & The Abortion Controversy


“Right to Life.” What started as a straightforward and noble protection of the right to life—a constitutional ban on abortion except where medically necessary to save a woman’s life—has been turned completely on its head. In the latest version rewritten by the “Committee of Experts” (CoE), the “right to life” has been slyly transformed into a constitutional right to abortion.

Comparing the versions of earlier drafts shows what has happened. The original Harmonised Draft (November 2009) and the Revised Harmonised Draft (January 2010) submitted by the CoE to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), both protected the “Right to Life.” Indeed, it is the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights: “Every person has the right to life.” Under the Constitution of Kenya Review Act of 2008, the CoE was required to submit the draft to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for its “deliberation and consensus building on the contentious issues.” This occurred at January’s important meeting at Naivasha. The PSC enhanced and clarified the “Right to Life” by adding that “The life of a person begins at conception” and specifically prohibiting abortion except to save the mother’s life: “Abortion is not permitted unless in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, the life of the mother is in danger.”This reflected a consensus that Kenya’s constitution should protect life and prohibit abortion. At this point, the Constitution of Kenya Review Act of 2008 directed the CoE to “revise the draft Constitution taking into account the achieved consensus” and submit the draft to the PSC, which would then lay it before Parliament.

The CoE did not do this. It did not revise the draft to reflect “the achieved consensus” at Naivasha. On the contrary, the CoE hijacked the “Right to Life” entirely, turning it instead into a right to abortion. Article 26(4) now provides: “Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is a need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.”This provision completely negates the right to life in four ways. First, it changes the decision-maker from a “registered medical practitioner” to any “trained health professional.” Thus, it need not be a doctor or nurse who makes the medical judgment that an abortion is necessary; it can be any professional “trained” in “health,” whether certified or not. This is code language for permitting abortionists to decide whether an abortion should be permitted.

Second, the PSC consensus at Naivasha only permitted abortion when “the life of the mother is in danger.” The CoE re-wrote this to permit abortion when “the life or health” of the mother is in danger. What does “health” include? How broad is this exception? Unfortunately, America provides a bad example. The phrase “health of the mother” is a term-of-art in American constitutional law concerning abortion. It means that the mother may choose abortion for any physical, emotional, psychological, social, financial, or “family” reason she chooses. The effect, in America, is to permit abortion for any reason, throughout all nine months of pregnancy, as a matter of constitutional right.This language is not in the U.S. Constitution, but comes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which created an unlimited right to abortion in America by using a trick definition of “health” in a companion decision, Doe v. Bolton. But the “health of the mother” language is in the proposed Constitution of Kenya. It is therefore very likely that this language may be interpreted by courts and government officials in Kenya as creating a right to abortion for any reason throughout pregnancy, after the fashion of America.

Third, the CoE’s new version explicitly provides that abortion may be made legal if “permitted by any other written law.” In other words, the constitutional right to life may be entirely nullified, simply by passing a new law, without changing the constitution. This means that the right to life is really no constitutional right at all.Fourth, the exception for “emergency treatment” means something more than protecting the life or health of the mother. Otherwise, this language would have no effect. The CoE added this language. To what does “emergency treatment” refer, if not protecting life or health? A likely answer is that “emergency treatment” is code language for “emergency contraception” that works by producing an early abortion after conception has occurred.

There is one more provision of the current draft that further reinforces the right to abortion. Under Article 43 of the CoE’s latest version, “every person” has the constitutional right to “health care services, including reproductive health care.” In America, the phrase “reproductive health care” is polite language for abortion. In America, one of the debates over health care is whether abortion is truly “health care.” “Reproductive health care” is the code term that is used when abortion is what is meant.Because Article 43 of the current draft appears to provide an affirmative right to “reproductive health” services, this language probably provides a social-welfare entitlement to publicly-provided or publicly-funded abortions. In short, the current draft provides a constitutional right to abortion, for any reason, throughout all nine months of pregnancy, paid for by all Kenyans.

These are dramatic changes from the earlier versions of the proposed constitution. Nothing like this was in any of the earlier drafts. Article 26 is a completely new invention.It completely undermines the right to life. Indeed, it produces its opposite. It creates a right to abortion 

Read Njoki Ndungu’s response

Video-British Crimes Kenya.-Transitional Justice

Dealing with widespread colonial human rights violations raises large practical difficulties. A country’s political balance may be delicate, and governments may be unwilling to pursue wide-ranging initiatives-or may be unable to do so without putting its own stability at risk.The many problems that flow from past abuses are often too complex to be solved by any one action. Judicial measures, including trials, are unlikely to suffice: If there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of victims and perpetrators, how can they all be dealt with fairly through the courts-especially in cases where those courts are weak ,corrupt and controlled by former colonial masters ?Even if courts were adequate to the task of prosecuting everyone who might deserve it, in order to reconstruct a damaged social fabric, other initiatives would be required.After two decades of practice, experience suggests that to be effective transitional justice should include several measures that complement one another. For no single measure is as effective on its own as when combined with the others

Professor Elkins’s first book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya, was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. It was also selected as one of the Economist’s best history books for 2005, was a New York Times editor’s choice, and was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Award. She and her research were also the subjects of a 2002 BBC documentary titled, Kenya: White Terror, which was awarded the International Committee of the Red Cross Award at the Monte Carlos Film Festival. Professor Elkins is a contributor to The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and The New Republic. She has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs including NPR’s All Things Considered, BBC’s The World, and PBS’s Charlie Rose. Professor Elkins’s current research interests include colonial violence and post-conflict reconciliation in Africa, and violence and the decline of the British Empire. She is currently working on two projects: one examining the effects of violence and amnesia on local communities and nation-building in post-independent Kenya; the other analyzing British counter-insurgency operations after the Second World War, with case studies including Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, and Nyasaland. Professor Elkins teaches courses on modern Africa, protest in East Africa, human rights in Africa, and British colonial violence in the 20th century.
Video:

Dreams in a Time of War:By Ngugi Wa Thiongo

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Ngugi Wa Thiongo

Ngugi wa Thiong’o World-renowned novelist, playwright, critic, and author of Wizard of the Crow,Was born in 1938 in rural Kenya to a father whose four wives bore him more than a score of children. The man who would become one of Africa’s leading writers was the fifth child of the third wife. Even as World War II affected the lives of Africans under British colonial rule in particularly unexpected ways, Ngugi spent his childhood as very much the apple of his mother’s eye before attending school to slake what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning.

In Dreams in a Time of War, Ngugi deftly etches a bygone era, capturing the landscape, the people, and their culture; the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war; and the troubled relationship between an emerging Christianized middle class and the rural poor. And he shows how the Mau Mau armed struggle for Kenya’s independence against the British informed not only his own life but also the lives of those closest to him.

Dreams in a Time of War speaks to the human right to dream even in the worst of times. It abounds in delicate and powerful subtleties and complexities that are movingly told.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 355 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (March 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4EMI
  • Average Customer Review: customer reviews
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #30,341 in Kindle Store
  • Seasons & Generational Change.

    The Agĩkũyũ had four seasons and two harvests in one year.1. Mbura ya njahĩ [The Season of Big Rain] from March to July,2. Magetha ma njahĩ [The season of the big harvest] between July and Early October ,3. Mbura ya Mwere [Short rain season] from October to January,4. Magetha ma Mwere [the season of harvesting millet]

    Further, time was recorded through the initiation. Each initiation group was given special name. According to *Professor Godfrey Mũriũki, The individual initiation sets are then grouped into a regiment every nine calendar years. Before a regiment or army set, there was a period in which no initiation of boys took place. This period lasted a total of four and a half calendar years [nine seasons in Gĩkũyũ land, each season referred to as imera] and is referred to as mũhingo, initiation taking place at the start of the fifth year and going on annually for the next nine calendar years. This was the system adopted in Metumi [Mũrang’a]. The regiment or army sets also get special names, some of which seem to have ended up as popular male names.

    In Gaki [Nyeri] the system was inversed with initiation taking place annually for four calendar years, which would be followed by a period of nine calendar years in which no initiation of boys took place [mũhingo]. Girls on the other hand were initiated every year. Several regiments then make up a ruling generation.

    It was estimated that Ruling generation last an average of 35 years. The names of the initiation and regiment sets vary within Gĩkũyũ land. The ruling generations are however uniform and provide very important chronological data. On top of that, the initiation sets were a way of documenting events within the Gĩkũyũ nation, so, for example, were the occurrence of small pox and syphilis recorded. Girls’ initiation sets were also accorded special names, although there has been little research in this area. Mũriũki only unearths three sets, whose names are, Rũharo [1894], Kibiri/ Ndũrĩrĩ [1895], Kagica [1896], Ndutu/ Nuthi [1897].

    All these names are taken from Metumi [Mũrang’a] and Kabete [Kĩambu]. It is strange that professor Mũriũki didn’t do more research in this area because he states that the girls’ initiation took place annually.

    Kikuyu Woman with Traditional symbols of power -Muthigi (stick)signifying power to lead and Itimu (Spear)-power to call people to war*Before the overthrow of Wangu wa Makeri women could carry both,

    The ruling generations [riika] according to Mũriũki, which he used to trace the history of the Agĩkũyũ to the year 1500 or there abouts.

    1. Manjiri 1512 – 46 ± 55

    2. Mamba 1547 – 81 ± 50

    3. Tene 1582 – 1616 ± 45

    4. Agu 1617 – 51 ± 40

    5. Manduti 1652 – 86 ± 40

    6. Cuma 1687 – 1721 ± 30

    7. Ciira 1722 – 56 ± 25

    8. Mathathi 1757 – 1791 ± 20

    9. Ndemi 1792 – 1826 ± 15

    10. Iregi 1827 – 1861 ± 10

    11. Maina 1862 – 97 ± 5

    12. Mwangi 1898?

    Mathew Njoroge Kabetũs list reads,

    Tene, Kĩyĩ, Aagu, Ciĩra, Mathathi, Ndemi, Iregi, Maina [Ngotho], Mwangi

    Gakaara wa Wanjaũs list reads

    Tene, Nemathĩ, Kariraũ, Aagu, Tiru, Cuma, Ciira, Ndemi, Mathathi, Iregi, Maina, Mwangi, Irũngũ, Mwangi wa Mandũti. The last two generations came after 1900.

    One of the earliest recorded lists by Mc Gregor reads (list taken from a history of unchanged)

    Manjiri, Mandoti, Chiera, Masai, Mathathi, Ndemi, Iregi, Maina, Mwangi, Muirungu. According to Hobley(a historian) each initiation generation, riika, extended over two years. The ruling generation at the arrival of the Europeans was called Maina. It is said that Maina handed over to Mwangi in 1898. Hobley asserts that the following sets were grouped under Maina – Kĩnũthia, Karanja, Njũgũna, Kĩnyanjui, Gathuru and Ng’ang’a. Professor Mũriũki however puts these sets much earlier, namely Karanja and Kĩnũthia belong to the Ciira ruling generation which ruled from the year 1722 to 1756, give or take 25 years according to Mũriũki. Njũgũna, Kĩnyanjui, Ng’ang’a belong to the Mathathi ruling generation that ruled from 1757 to 1791 give or take 20 years according to Mũriũki.

    Professors Mũriũkis list must be given precedence in this area as he conducted extensive research in this area starting 1969, and had the benefit of all earlier literature on the subject as well as doing extensive field work in the areas of Gaki [Nyeri], Metumi [Mũrang’a] and Kabete [Kĩambu]. On top of the ruling generations, he also gives names of the regiments or army sets from 1659 [within a margin of error] and the names of annual initiation sets beginning 1864. The list from Metumi [Mũrang’a] is most complete and differentiated.

    Mũriũkis is also the most systematically defined list, so far. Suffice to say that most of the most popular male names in Gĩkũyũ land were names of riikas [initiation sets].

    Here is Mũriũkis list of the names of regiment sets in Metumi [Mũrang’a].

    These include Kiariĩ [1665 – 1673], Cege [1678 – 1678], Kamau [1704 – 1712], Kĩmani [1717 – 1725], Karanja [1730 – 1738], Kĩnũthia [1743 – 1751], Njũgũna [1756 – 1764], Kĩnyanjui [1769 – 1777] , Ng’ang’a [1781 – 1789], Njoroge [1794 – 1802], Wainaina [1807 – 1815], Kang’ethe [1820 – 1828] Mbugua [1859 – 1867], Njenga or Mbira Itimu [872 – 80], Mutung’u or Mburu [1885 – 1893]

    H.E. Lambert who dealt with the riikas extensively has the following list of regiment sets from Gichũgũ and Ndia. It should be remembered that this names were unlike ruling generations not uniform in Gĩkũyũ land. It should also be noted that Ndia and Gachũgũ followed a system where initiation took place every annually for four years and then a period of nine calendar years followed where no initiation of boys took place. This period was referred to as mũhingo.

    Karanja [1759 – 1762], Kĩnũthia [1772 – 1775], Ndũrĩrĩ [1785 – 1788], Mũgacho [1798 – 1801] , Njoroge [1811 – 1814], Kang’ethe [1824 – 1827], Gitaũ [ 1837 – 1840], Manyaki [1850 – 1853], Kiambuthi [1863 – 1866], Watuke [1876 – 1879], Ngũgĩ [1889 – 1892], Wakanene [1902 – 1905]

    The remarkable thing in this list in comparison to the Metumi one is how some of the same names are used, if a bit off set. Ndia and Gachũgũ are extremely far from Metumi. Gaki on he other hand, as far as my geographical understanding of Gĩkũyũ land is concerned should be much closer to Metumi, yet virtually no names of regiment sets are shared. It should however be noted that Gaki had a strong connection to the Maasai living nearby.

    The ruling generation names of Maina and Mwangi are also very popular male Gĩkũyũ names. The theory is also that Waciira is also derived from ciira [case], which is also a very popular name among male Agĩkũyũ. This would call into question, when it was exactly that children started being named after the parents of one parents. Had that system, of naming ones kids after ones parents been there from the beginning, there would be very few male names in circulation. This is however not the case, as there are very many Gĩkũyũ male names. My theory is though that the female names are much less, with the names of the full-nine daughters of Mũmbi being most prevalent.

    Gakaara wa Wanjaũ supports this view when he writes in his book, Mĩhĩrĩga ya Aagĩkũyũ page 29.

    “Hingo ĩyo ciana cia arũme ciatuagwo marĩĩtwa ma mariika ta Watene, Cuma, Iregi kana Ciira. Nao airĩĩtu magatuuo marĩĩtwa ma mĩhĩrĩga tauria hagwetetwo nah au kabere, o nginya hingo iria maundu maatabariirwo thuuthaini ati ciana ituagwo aciari a mwanake na a muirĩĩtu.”

    Freely translated it means“In those days the male children were given the names of the riika [initiation set] like Watene, Cuma, Iregi or Ciira. Girls were on the other hand named after the clans that were named earlier until such a time as it was decided to name the children after the parents of the man and the woman.”From this statement it is not clear whether the girls were named ad-hoc after any clan, no matter what clan the parents belonged to. Naming them after the specific clan that the parents belonged to would have severely restricted naming options.

    This would strangely mean that the female names are the oldest in Gĩkũyũ land, further confirming its matrilineal descent. As far as male names are concerned, there is of course the chicken and the egg question, of when a name specifically appeared but some names are tied to events that happened during the initiation. For example Wainaina refers to those who shivered during circumcision. Kũinaina [to shake or to shiver].

    There was a very important ceremony known as Ituĩka in which the old guard would hand over the reigns of government to the next generation. This was to avoid dictatorship. Kenyatta relates of how once in the land of the Agĩkũyũ, there ruled a despotic King called Gĩkũyũ, grandson of the elder daughter [Wanjirũ according to Leakey] of the original Gĩkũyũ of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi fame. After he was deposed of, it was decided that the government should be democratic, which is how the Ituĩka came to be. This legend of course calls into question when it was exactly that the matrilineal rule set in. The last Ituĩka ceremony where the riika of Maina handed over power to the Mwangi generation, took place in 1898-9 [Hobley]. The next one was supposed to be held in 1925 – 1928 [Kenyatta] but was thwarted by the colonial imperialist government. And one by one Gĩkũyũ institutions crumbled

    *Muriuki, Godfrey 1974. History of the Kikuyu 1500 – 1900. (Oxford U Press)

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    Kikuyu Sub Clan Land Holding

    Origins of the sub-clan land holding

    Acquisition of land in the earliest Kikuyu settlements was based on the rights of first use, defined originally by the exercise of hunting and trapping rights. As described by a Kikuyu elder in the late 1920s:In those days we did not cultivate so much as we do now. A man trapped animals and his hunting area became his Ngundu [land claim]. His descendants became his clan. Each father had his own hunting area where he set his traps and he would show the boundaries of it to his sons… In the course of time by a natural process the Estate breaks up and each branch of the family gets control of its own Estate… [WE] still recognize the eldest son of the eldest branch as the head of the family.

    Hunting rights were strengthened by forest clearance and cultivation. The basic land unit was known as the sub-clan holding (gìthaka) or estate. (Technically, as it refers to uncleared bushland, its basis is in hunting rather than in cultivating traditions.) It was reported in the late 1920)s that most sub-clan holdings ranged in size from about 20 ha to nearly 2,500 ha although they generally were between 80 and 120 ha in size.

    Githaka


    Tenancy and the sub-clan holding

    Cultivation rights of the sub-clan holding belonged to families with lineage rights, and were held in perpetuity. People without lineage rights could obtain temporary rights of cultivation to sub-clan lands through redeemable sales, from land lending and tenancy .

    Land lending to people outside the sub-clan took several forms. A muhoi or tenant, for instance, could be lent land for cultivation, usually on the basis of friendship. Subject to the approval of the sub-clan leader (muramati), these rights could be granted. In certain circumstances, the rights of a tenant could be passed from generation to generation. Although no rent per se featured in this type of tenancy agreement, occasional gifts were expected.

    The cultivation of the sub-clan holding was the clearest means of retaining land tenure rights. In the event that lineage right holders were not able to fully cultivate the sub-clan holding, temporary tenants would be sought to clear and cultivate underutilized land. As land became scarcer and labor more abundant, these tenancy arrangements became less common and were often cancelled. Although in principle a temporary tenant still held lineage rights to his own sub-clan land, in practice it was very difficult to return and regain cultivation rights. Occasionally, a temporary tenant might become a resident tenant (muthami) who was allowed the right to cultivate and to build a homestead.

    So within the system of traditional Kikuyu land tenure, there were precedents for tenancy and land lending arrangements. Resident tenancy allowed the building of a homestead, while land lending expressly prohibited it. Land lending thus encouraged the formation of a class of non-resident farm labourers, but it was dependent in part on there being holdings which could not be successfully cultivated by the right holder. Resident tenancy and land lending arrangements could be inherited. Rights of use were distributed to male descendants of the first owner(today female descendants also), while a non-distributed right of control was held by the sons (or daughters) of the senior branch of the sub-clan or family who was its trustee (or muramati).


    Luke 4:23-30

    23Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”

    24“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

    28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

    Book:The Challenge for Africa

    In her new book, Wangari Maathai talks straight and says many things we’d love to say ourselves, but lack either the courage or the fluency to do so. The Nobel Peace laureate lacks neither, and the Challenge for Africa makes a stimulating and refreshing read.Too often, she says, Africa is still presented as a helpless victim of her own making; a land of unparalleled riches, startling beauty,….of strange and at times primitive tribal customs, civil disorder, armed militias; of child labour, child soldiers, mud huts, open sewers, and shanty-towns; of corruption, dictatorship and genocide. These and other perceptions have framed the world’s response to Africa.This has caused a dangerous psychological process that subtly convinces Africans they are unable to chart their own destiny. Whereas, in fact, tens of millions of African women and men go about their lives responsibly, work hard and educate their children, often without means. These are the real African heroes and the world should hear more about them.

    Covering a variety of topics: aid and dependency; indebtedness and unfair trade; leadership; culture; the “micro-nations” (wrongly known as “tribes”); the crisis of national identity; land ownership; environment and the family, there is nothing the author doesn’t include.She relates the experience of her own community, the Kikuyu, particularly affected by the colonial experience, and how they have been severely challenged to raise subsequent generations of children, many of whom have drifted onto the streets or are members of the outlawed Mungiki sect. In Kikuyu tradition, the “ituika” (translated as the “severance”) ceremonies served as term limits, and guaranteed to future generations that their time to rule would come.

    Each generation of leaders understood they were being closely watched by the next, to ensure that the resources – privately and communally held property and natural resources- were well managed, to hand over to the next generation. The last ituika was due between 1925 and 1928, but was banned by the colonial government, and still remains incomplete.Wangari Maathai’s experience as a university lecturer, politician, political and human rights activist and expert on the environment gives her words weight. Democracy, she writes, isn’t all about “one man, one vote”. It also means protecting minority rights, an independent judiciary, an informed and engaged citizenry, rights to assemble and worship, and freedom to express one’s views peacefully without fear of reprisal or arbitrary arrest.

    A challenge for Africa, she concludes, is that the nuclear family is often dysfunctional because the man is so often separated from wife and children -a practice that began under colonial rule-, and so cannot provide emotional and physical security for them. One of the most devastating experiences for any African parent is to see street children or child soldiers, or youth addicted to drugs, engaged in prostitution, afflicted with HIV/AIDS; or young men and women languishing in a state of alienation and torpor. How can such unfortunates create a strong society? A book to make one think, and hope that a better future is possible.

    Book: The Challenge for Africa

    Author: Wangari Maathai

    Publisher: Heinemann, 2009

    Jewish Sisters Recall Kindness 1939

    Survival was foremost in the minds of the Berg family when they arrived in the highlands of Kenya in 1939. They were among hundreds of Jewish families who fled the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, but just a small number of those arrived on the east coast of Africa. The land and culture were strange to the Bergs, but the kindness and help of the Kikuyu people helped them survive and thrive.

    I have a stronger bond with the Kikuyu people than with Germany, and our family lineage there dates back to the early 1700s,” says Jill Berg Paully. “I consider Kenya my homeland.”The story of Inge Berg Katzenstein, 74, and her younger sister Jill Berg Paully, 70, is unusual in the Jewish diaspora. They were small girls, 10 and 6, in 1939, when their family fled to the East African nation.

    “Our story is about five families, which later grew to seven, who were able to escape the persecution and raise enough money to buy land in Kenya and survive,” Mrs. Paully says.She says her family’s trek began in 1933, the year she was born, six years before the Bergs fled. Adolf Hitler rose to power as Germany’s chancellor that year, and the situation for Jews became worse day by day from that time on.The Bergs, who were wealthy cattle dealers in Germany, began moving their money out of German banks to Holland (now the Netherlands) in 1935. That bit of ingenuity, fostered by their grandmother, eventually would enable them to secure safe passage to Africa.

    Mrs. Katzenstein was supposed to start public school in their hometown of Lechenich, but six months after school began, Jews were barred from attending public schools. She was forced to attend a Jewish school several miles away in Cologne, where her grandmother lived.”I remember walking to the [public school] building, and the Gestapo were there with their German shepherds – I am still afraid of those dogs to this day – and told me I was no longer welcome at the school,” she says.”But it was Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) where our story really begins, as with most Jews of the Holocaust,” Mrs. Paully says.

    On Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, hundreds of Jewish homes, synagogues and other properties were burned, shattered and destroyed. The term Crystal Night is a reference to all the broken glass from Jewish homes and stores that littered the streets.Members of the Nazi Party rallied Germans into a destructive frenzy after the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, the secretary of the German Embassy in Paris, by a 17-year-old Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan. He was seeking revenge for the expulsion of his parents from their Polish home to a wasteland between Poland and Austria.”It took our family seven months to find a place that would accept Jews. Many Jews during that time had been swindled into trips where they were turned away when they arrived,” Mrs. Paully says.

    Along with their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, the girls finally would arrive in the grassy highlands of Kenya in June 1939, without an understanding of Swahili or English, the only languages spoken there.Kenya was a colony of Great Britain until 1963, and although the level of persecution against Jews was far less there, “the British were also anti-Semitic and not fond of Jews ,” Mrs. Paully says.

    “Anti-Semitism was rampant throughout Europe hundreds of years before Hitler, and the British were no exception,” she adds.The girls endured great hardships not only because of the language barrier, but also from British schoolchildren, who beat and ridiculed them with impunity.”We were compelled to play sports three days a week at school, and often I fought with the girls and they would beat me with their lacrosse sticks. Nothing was done,” Mrs. Paully says.Amazingly, Mrs. Paully says, she and her sister were speaking nearly fluent Swahili within three months and becoming proficient in English as well.

    “Two Kikuyu boys taught us as they escorted us to and from school,” Mrs. Katzenstein says.The Kikuyu tribe of Kenya was the native population on the highland where the sisters lived for the next eight years. Mrs. Katzenstein says the Kikuyu were a strong, intelligent people and the only inhabitants of the highlands who treated the Berg family with kindness and respect.At the end of the first three months, though, World War II broke out, and all the Jewish men were taken into custody, considered enemy aliens by the British.

    Although the men were returned to their homes soon afterward, it would be several years before most of the world would become aware of the Nazi death camps and the vehement anti-Semitic persecution that enthralled the German populace under Chancellor Hitler and the members of his National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”For the entire eight years we lived there, the British were unaware, or so they said, that the Jews were being persecuted,” Mrs. Paully says.

    “Many of our family members, like most others, died, and even we were unaware of the totality of what happened until much later.”In 1947, when Inge was 18 and her sister 14, the family was prepared to move again, this time to America. Shortly after their arrival, they learned of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya and were shocked. In preparation for efforts to gain freedom from British rule, members of the Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba tribes in Kenya took oaths of unity and secrecy to overthrow the colonial rulers, beginning the Mau Mau movement.

    Although the British greatly inflated the atrocities committed against English settlers, the rebellion was bloody, and many Kenyans who refused to join were killed for fear they would sell out their brethren who were fighting for freedom.”We got along so well with them and they were so kind to us, we had no idea what their relationship was with the British until that happened,” Mrs. Paully says.The family’s journey to America was long and treacherous, Mrs. Katzenstein says.”It took us seven weeks to get there on a cargo boat, and it was so stormy that the boat was tipping at 421/2 degrees. At 45 degrees a boat capsizes,” Mrs. Katzenstein says.A trip that was supposed to port in New York wound up in Boston harbor. Inge was expected to work, but Jill was forced to adjust to a new school with a new culture.

    “It was difficult for her to adjust,” Mrs. Katzenstein says.”Our experience in Kenya made us aggressive and tough, and that did not translate well at first,” Mrs. Paully says.The family eventually found its way to Vineland, N.J., “a stronger Orthodox Jewish community than what my father found in New York,” Mrs. Paully says.Mrs. Katzenstein met and married her husband, Werner, and they had three children – two sons and a daughter now living in Boston, Pittsburgh and Highland Park, N.J. Mrs. Paully met and married her husband, Kurt, and they had two children, a son and daughter now living in New York and Florida.

    The compelling story of the Berg family and how they were able to barter their escape from Germany is only one story of Jews who fled to Kenya. A film on the subject, “Nowhere in Africa,” was released in 2001. The sisters were intrigued by the parallels the movie had to their lives in Kenya. The two retired real estate brokers who immigrated to Vineland, N.J. in 1947 with their mother and father now live in Silver Spring. Both volunteer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Mrs. Paully has volunteered at the museum for nearly a decade, and her sister since 1998, when she moved to the region.The siblings will be telling their family’s unique story at the Holocaust Museum downtown, across from the Washington Monument.

    “What we want is for people to learn what it is like to live in countries that are not free and what it means to be discriminated against,” Mrs. Paully says. “We want them to understand what they have and what they need to do to preserve it.””Children are not born knowing hate; it is taught. And born Americans must understand what it is they have overcome and know that it can be quickly taken away, especially in these times,” Mrs. Katzenstein says.Jill Berg Paully (left) and Inge Berg Katzenstein, who as children fled Nazi Germany with their family and found safety in Kenya, pose with the family’s Sefer Torah at Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring. The Torah was carried from Germany to Kenya and then America and has been donated to the Kemp Mill synagogue.

    By: Brian DeBose

    Nyakio- Beauty Entrepreneur

    travel Beauty entrepreneur Nyakio Kamoche Grieco has been prepping for the skin-care biz since she was in grade school. “My mom would always make me put shea butter and grapeseed oil on my feet before bed,” she says. Fast forward nearly two decades, and the New York native of Kikuyu descent now heads the African-inspired Nyakio line of bath and body products.

    Nyakio, 31, launched the downtown L.A.-based business in 2002 and uses recipes passed down by her mother and grandmother–the latter still living on the family’s coffee farm in Kenya. “I used to watch my mom grind coffee beans in the kitchen and combine them with extracts to use as a skin cream,” Grieco says. “And you should see my mom. She looks 25.”

    Nyakio, who grew up in Oklahoma, where her father is a professor of African history at the University of Oklahoma, recently added a perfume oil blending coconut oil, sandalwood, jasmine and other elements. Other offerings include citrus moluccana body wash and a soon-to-launch grape eucalyptus scrub. Nyakio  prefers indigenous African ingredients such as shea butter and sweet almond oil. “There’s beauty in simplicity, which is really what my line is about.”

    Nyakio Products.

    www.nyakio.com

    Apothia at Fred Segal,8118 Melrose Ave.,Los Angeles,(877) APOTHIA

    Kalologie Skincare, 132 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 276-9670.

    Gwikinyira:Bill Gates & Njoroge

    Bill Gates organized an enormous session to recruit a new Chairman for Microsoft Europe. 5000 candidates assembled in a large room. One candidate was Njoroge a Kenyan living in USA . Bill Gates thanked all the candidates for coming and asking those who do not know JAVA programming to leave, 2000 people left. Njoroge said to himself, “I do not know JAVA, but I have nothing to lose if I stay. I’ll give it a try’”.

    Bill Gates asked the candidates who never had experience of managing more than 100 people to leave, 2000 people left and Njoroge said to himself “I never managed anybody by myself, but I have nothing to lose if I stay. What can happen to me?” So he stayed behind again.

    ·Then Bill Gates asked candidates who didn’t have a minimum of a Diploma in Business Management to leave. 500 people left the room. Njoroge said to himself, “I left school at 15, grade 7, but what have I got to lose?” So, he stayed in the room. Lastly, Bill Gates asked the candidates who do not speak Serb-Croat to leave. 498 people left the room. Njoroge says to himself, “I do not speak one word of Serb-Croat but what do I have to lose?” So he stayed and finds himself with one other candidate. · EVERYONE ELSE HAS GONE.

    Bill Gates joined them and said, “Apparently you are the only two candidates who have all the required qualifications & experience I am looking for and speak Serb-Croat, so I’d now like to hear you have a conversation together in that language. And……..” · Calmly, Njoroge turned to the other candidate and in a horse voice said “Wi mwega mundu wa nyumba?” The other candidate answered softly but clearly saying “Gutiri na uuru, no gwethera ciana mutu. . . !!”

    Bio Wahu Mathenge


    Wahu Mathenge

    Wahu Mathenge (Rosemary Wahu Kagwi )

    While she was a student at Precious Blood Secondary School, in Riruta, she wrote her first song called ‘Showers of Blessings’ (with a friend) as a tribute to God for the national academic success that the school enjoyed. The song is still part of the schools hymnal collection.She worked in the entertainment industry and used the money to pursue her university education at the University of Nairobi, studying for a Bachelors degree in Mathematics.Her first song ‘Niangalie’ drew the attention of renowned CBN presenter Victor Oladokhun, who aired it on his ‘Turning Point’ program. Her second song ‘Esha’ was a fusion of English Swahili and Kikuyu based on a traditional Kikuyu folk song, and inspired by the late Brenda Fassie. She also came out with ‘Liar’, ‘Kibowow’ and ‘Sitishiki’. She launched an album, Liar, in 2004.In 2004, she married longtime boyfriend David Mathenge (popularly known as Nameless) who was also on the Ogopa DJ’s label. They have one child, a daughter who was born in 2006. Wahu also acted in a leading role in the popular television show, Tazama on KTN.
    In 2007 She released some singles including Mambo bado, Running low, The little things you do, and Sweet love.
    *Sweet Love has been Wahu’s biggest song. It has received two nominations — the British Music of Black Origin Awards and Kora Awards.

    Henry Muoria-Self & Community.(1914-1997)

    Henry Muoria (1914-1997).

    mt-kenya-flagMuoria was an active journalist, a friend and press secretary of Kenya’s future president Jomo Kenyatta and, from 1945 to 1952, the editor of a nationalist newspaper Mumenyereri, written in Gikuyu, one of Kenya’s major languages. In October 1952, when the British declared the Emergency in Kenya in order to quell the Mau Mau rebellion, Muoria was visiting London. He stayed there for the rest of his life, but continued pursuing his writing career. He finished more than ten full-length autobiographical, philosophical and political manuscripts, but not one was published. East African Educational Publishers in Nairobi brought out his I, the Gikuyu and the White Fury in 1994. This book and his unpublished autobiography from 1982, The British and My Kikuyu Tribe, are used in discussing Muoria’s debt to his ethnic community, the Gikuyu, his successful attempts to contribute to the creation of a nationalist public sphere in colonial Kenya, and his authorship in exile. The declaration of the Emergency put a stop to Muoria’s hopes for the recognition of his work, based as it was on a desired continuum between self, community and nation.

    For several years during Britain’s late colonialism, from 1946 onwards, administrators in Kenya were in a panic over how to control the African press of the colony. African and Asian businessmen, politicians, editors and journalists had managed to create a public realm in which members of the various colonised communities debated pressing problems of everyday life, as well as the larger political questions of colonialism, racism, self-determination and independence. Colonial information officers asked advice from their colleagues in other British territories in East and West Africa on what measures might be taken to regulate and suppress the local press, and urged on the Colonial Office in London the need for sharper instruments than those already available. Samples of ‘near-seditious’ newspaper pieces, translated into English from the various Kenyan languages, were sent to London.

    This activity was an acceleration of ongoing endeavours within Kenya. The non-European press had been under surveillance for as long as it had existed. Officials had kept a worried eye on Muigwithania, the organ of the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) from its inception in 1926. It was edited for a period by Kenya’s future president, Jomo Kenyatta. In a letter, the Governor, Sir Edward Grigg, warned the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London that the political tone of the newspaper gave grounds for worry. In particular laments over the injustices the Kenyan people had suffered under colonialism, couched in Old Testament idiom, might have serious consequences: “There is a danger that this emotional and semi-religious propaganda may spread very rapidly among excitable and ignorant natives, and it is clearly desirable that means should be devised to protect the natives themselves … from such an insidious menace” (Grigg 1926).

    The authorities closed down Muigwithania in 1940, along with the KCA. Four years later the self-taught journalist and intellectual Henry Muoria launched its successor, Mumenyereri (The Guardian). He addressed it to the same community that had constituted Muigwithania’s readership–a community that was being created by access to reading matter in their own language, among other influences (Lonsdale 1996). The first issue of the paper was in Gikuyu and English, but those following were restricted to Gikuyu in order to use all the available space for the enlightenment of the Gikuyu community who did not have a great deal of writing available in their own language (Muoria 1982:17).

    Henry Muoria was born in 1914 in Kiambu in Kenya’s Central Province (Berman & Lonsdale 1992:414-416, Pugliese 2003, Frederiksen 2006). His parents were land-owning peasants and did not know how to read and write. The young Henry managed to get himself into an infant and primary school run by the Church Mission Society. His formal schooling lasted for seven years altogether. He taught himself enough English to be able to enter the Railway Training School of East African Railways, and became employed as a railway guard and later an assistant stationmaster. As a trainee he experienced the discrimination and brakes put on the development of business and enterprise for the African population that was characteristic of the policies of the colonial regime. Being African, he was paid less than his European and Asian colleagues both as a trainee and later as an employee. This experience contributed to his disgust with colonialism and racism and prompted him to join the existing African political organisations. As a young man he was a member of Kikuyu Central Association–an oppositional nationalist organisation based on the community that was most affected by British colonialism, the Gikuyu. The organisation was banned in 1940.

    In his life and works Henry Muoria brought together many worlds–sometimes in ways that were paradoxical. He was born into a Kikuyu traditionalist family and made use of Christianity. He grew up in the countryside, but chose the city as his place of work. He invested in both urban and rural property and cultivated a large plot of land in his home area with the assistance of his wives. He was a wealthy man who came to know poverty in London. He loved his country, detested racism and was cosmopolitan in his outlook and knowledge of the world but was sometimes accused of being a Gikuyu chauvinist. He fought for independence, but independence did not need him after it had been consolidated.

    The declaration of the Emergency in 1952 by the British constituted the caesura in Muoria’s personal life and in the social and political fortunes of Gikuyus and Africans in Kenya. The event disrupted the continuity between self, community and nation that Muoria devoted his working life to uphold. After October 1952, the colonial government sought to isolate the Gikuyu from the rest of African nationalist opposition by undermining the credibility of their leaders and spokesmen, and cancelling their access to public debate. Large numbers found themselves in protected villages and detention camps. All his life Muoria fought for a democratic space to be kept open to all communities in Kenya. He insisted by his example that Africans in Kenya should be partners in debate on self-determination and the end of colonialism. For a while he was successful.

    In exile he kept writing. When he tried to keep up his claim and his efforts to educate a new public by the combined moves of turning inwards and documenting his own life, and turning outwards and documenting the shifting political debates and events in Kenya, he was not heard. He had great hopes following the publication in 1994 of his autobiography and a selection of his political essays from the 1940s and 1950s in I, the Gikuyu and the White Fury. The volume attracted some attention in Kenya where Muoria was by now recognised as an important figure in the nation’s history, but little internationally. His writings deserve to be better known.

    by Bodil Folke Frederiksen published in Current Wrting, October 2006, Vol. 18 no 2.

    Happy Easter

    Stella Mwangi & Lauryn Hill:

    Born in September 1986, Stella Mwangi aka STL realized her potential in music at the age of Six. Her interest in music resulted from racial discrimination she was subjected to following her family’s move from Kenya to Norway in 1991. Music made her feel good about herself and at the age of eight she could relate to Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, NWA and Salt & Pepper . In 1998, she worked with an African Youth group known as “The Rise” where they produced an album called “Maroon” which was released in Norway 2002 and had among its tracks the single ‘All about the Benjamin’. See details on http://www.theriseproject.com In 2005 STL and “The Rise” performed for Nelson Mandela while he was in Norway for an AIDS eradication campaign.

    Since 2002, STL has been working with two production team; Rumblin Music and JayArr Music. Her Break into the African Hip Hop scene came in 2005 when she worked with a Senegalese Hip Hop group called Wagable in their Debut album, Senegal, produced by Rumblin Music. She was featured in two of their songs ‘Babylon’ and ‘Do it’ which topped the charts in Senegal and Gambia for several weeks. The album scooped the Best album of the year in Senegal for 2005. In Kenya STL has worked with top Hip Hop artists such as Mishelle, Abbas Kubaff ,Kantai and reggae artist Ousman. In 2006 she got five nominations in the Chaguo La teeniz Awards in Kenya. Then she had been in the Kenyan music scene for only three months. Though she did not win, it propelled her to win in the KISIMA Awards three months later for the Best new and Promising artist.

    In December 2006, STL had a performance with MTV Alert in Nairobi, Kenya. She has curtain raised for International artists like Angelique Kidjo, Common, Talib Kweli, Slick Rick, Dead Prez and Public Enemy during their shows in Norway. Her songs, “Crazy”, “Feeling Love” and “Swing”, which she featured on produced by JayArr, was picked by the Position Music and Choice Tracks (based in L.A) as a soundtrack for the films Save the last dance 2, American pie 5, Redline and the series; CSI (New York) , LasVegas, Ghost whisperer and Army Wives. The summer of 2007, STL has had shows on festivals in Norway while working on her Debut album and is now out with the single ‘Take it back’ and it’s music video in Norway and in east Africa. STL is a hard working artist and is determined in realizing her dream as an international Hip Hop Artist.

    Her debut album called ‘The Dreamer’ was released in 2008.

    Read more on her website .http://www.stellamwangi.com/

     

    Mugikuyu

    I came into the world a Mũgĩkũyũ, and although I did not live my life entirely as a Mũgĩkũyũ,I think it is fitting that I should leave as a Mũgĩkũyũ.I don’t want to turn my back on a great and noble heritage.God created Kikuyus ,The British made Kenyans .I will die, what God created me a Mũgĩkũyũ

     

    Dry Bones -Day 1 Happy New Year

    Ezekiel 37:1-9

    The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.  He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
    I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

    Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!  This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath  enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ “

    So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

    I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

    Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ”  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

    Tamirat Layne- Child Of God, Son of Africa

    Tamirat Layne (born 1955) is an Ethiopian politician. During the 1980s, he was an important figure in the fight against Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.

    When Mengistu was overthrown in 1991, Layne became one of the three man EPRDF/TPLF junta ruling the country and then in the democratically elected government; the other members being Meles Zenawi (President) and Siye Abraha (Minister of Defence). His position was Prime Minister, in which capacity he served from June 6, 1991 until August 22, 1995 when President Meles Zenawi succeeded him as Prime Minister. Layne became deputy prime minister until October 1996, when he was sacked from both positions.

    Tamirat Layne served 12 years of a 18 year sentence for corruption and embezzlement charges, and was freed in December 19, 2008. The court stated his good behaviour while in prison as a reason for his release. (Tamirat Layne  While imprisoned   converted to Evangelical Christianity)

    His testimony on his raise and fall and raise again is a powerful testimony that African leaders should hear .

    “For reconciliation to happen there must be forgivess”  Tamirat Layne

    Kenyan Leaders and we the Kenyan people  can learn a lot from this man.


    http://gospelofgraceministry.com/

    Traditional Political Organisation of the Kikuyu People

     

    Kikuyu political structure

    The political organisation of the Kikuyu people  was closely interwoven with the family and the riika. A young man after initiation through circumcision automatically entered into the National council of junior warriors(njama ya anake a mumo). After 82 moons or 12 rain seasons after the circumcision ceremony the junior warrior was promoted to theCouncil of senior warriors (Njama ya ita).Together this two councils would be called upon to protect the tribe in case of external aggression. The council of senior warriors was in addition an important decision making organ. The two councils were served by men of 20 – 40 years.Upon marriage a man was initiated into a council called kiama kĩa kamatimo.This was the first grade eldership and it denoted elders who were also warriors. At this stage the man plays the role of observers of senior elders. They are required to assist in proceedings by carrying out menial tasks like skinning animals, being messengers, carrying ceremonial articles or light fires among other tasks.

    When a man had a son  old enough to be circumcised or a daughter old enough to be married ,he was elevated into another council called the council of peace(kiama kĩa mataathi). On entering this council the man was now a man of peace and no longer of the warrior class. He assumed the duty of peace maker in the community.When a man had had practically all his children circumcised, and his wife (or wives) had passed child-bearing age he reached the last and most honoured status. A council known askiama kĩa maturanguru (religious and sacrificial council).After paying an ewe which was slaughtered and offered in sacrifice to Ngai (God) the man was invested with powers to lead a sacrificial ceremony at the sacred tree (Mũgumũ mũtĩ wa Igongona). The elders of this grade assumed the role of ‘holy men’. They were high priests. All religious and ethical ceremonies were in their hands. In the Agĩkũyũ society the religious,governance and law functions were closely intertwined. With various councils being called upon to perform one of this functions. From the literature I’ve seen it is not quite clear whether women also had councils and what functions these councils served. The initiation ceremony seems to have been organized by a council comprised of both men and women.

    Parallel to the said councils the family unit formed a council known as ndundu ya mũcie of which the father was the head. The father as the head of the household then represented the family in the next council called kiama kĩa itora (village council) comprising of all the family heads in the village. This was headed by the senior elder. A wider council called kiama kĩa rũgongo (district council) was formed comprising of all the elders from the district. This was presided over by a committee (kiama kĩa ndundu), composed of all the senior elders in the district. Among the senior elders, the most advanced in age was elected as the head and judge (mũthamaki or mũciiri) of the ndundu. The district councils then came together to form the national council. Among the judges, one was elected to head the meetings.

    * by Gikuyu Architecture

    Editorial:British-Imposed Sanctions Killing Innocent Zimbabweans

    Throughout the African people’s history of fighting for liberation and human dignity, each gain and breakthrough we have made was mainly due to our ability to overcome our enemy’s overt brutality, deceit and manipulation.Because the colonialists and imperialists have actively engaged in both our physical and mental oppression, the web of deception created by their Media and networks is a crucial and deadly weapon .

    The manner in which the European and British media have reported how cholera is spreading in Zimbabwe not only reveals they enjoy watching a people whom they cannot intimidate and control suffer, but even, more importantly, it is clearly a masquerade by supposedly compassionate human beings who have nothing to do with the problem.

    The Zimbabwean Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, and his staff deserve ultimate praise, not only for their tireless efforts to maintain Zimbabwe’s broken health infrastructure, but for having the courage and integrity to inform the world that the sanctions — and not negligence or bad governance — are the root cause for problems with the country’s health delivery system.

    While the cholera problem is tragic and deserves our immediate attention, the British government and its supporters (raila Odinga and Co), obsessed with illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, should be the last ones allowed to pass moral judgment on how President Mugabe and Zanu-PF deal with this matter.

    The Obama Fantasy

    By G. Pascal Zachary

    On November 4 in Kenya, one might mistakenly conclude that Obama was running for president here and not in the United States. The city of Kisumu, home to Obama’s ancestors in western Kenya, held mock voting from 8 a.m. in the morning. In Nairobi, at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, big-screen TVs showed reports on the American vote. And at the fashionable Nakamutt grocery store in downtown Nairobi, store clerks greeted their customers with a simple question: Did you vote for Obama?

    Yet there is undeniably an over-the-top quality about Kenya’s embrace of Obama. The government declared a national holiday to celebrate the Illinois senator’s victory over John McCain. The National Theater is staging “Obama: The Musical,” which explores the next president’s life through song. There are appeals for Kenya to officially petition the United States to become the 51st state. And the country is already making plans to host a visit from the president-elect, even though Obama hasn’t indicated when, if ever, he will come.

    Obamania in Kenya has gone on for years now, but the hype isn’t just about the president-elect’s roots. Rather, Kenya’s Obama fixation seems to represent a kind of escapist fantasy for an African country beset by political dysfunctionality. Still raw with the memory of the electoral violence that left hundreds dead last spring, Kenya is thirsty for exactly the sort of change Obama represents. Indeed, the Illinois senator seems to possess everything that Kenya’s political leaders lack: youthfulness, a conciliatory image, and the hope of transcending narrow ethnic identities in favor of a common national interest.

    To grasp why the Obama fascination in Kenya came to be, return to January of this year, when the country suffered through the worst post-election violence in its 45-year history. A political bargain ended the crisis but failed to address the enmity between rival factions and ethnic groups here. Current Prime Minister Raila Odinga garnered much of his support from the Luo ethnic group, which remains deeply suspicious of the country’s dominant Kikuyu, led by President Mwai Kibaki. And the skepticism runs both ways.

    In a country where most political elites are over 60 but half the population is under 20 years old, Obama’s youth and his message of unity has a strong appeal. As one writer to the East African newspaper observed Monday, the ‘old boys’ of Kenyan politics should be swept aside, replaced by a new generation. “Younger Kenyans,” wrote B. Amaya of Nairobi, “should emulate Obama in order to change the tribal nature of our politics.”

    The senator’s presidential victory offers an obvious lesson about diversity: The United States has done the unthinkable in electing a non-white president. Could Kenyans learn to embrace their own ethnic differences? Odinga has indicated that Obama’s victory means such reconciliation is possible. “If Obama can win, and get endorsements from the whites,” he said shortly before the election, “then why should an all-black country like Kenya have its citizens fighting each other?”

    But even if Obama is a model to emulate, could his presidency really change the political reality in Kenya?After all, the country’s political strife dates back far longer than this year’s flawed elections. Governance and advantage often fall along ethnic lines, depending on who is in charge. Official corruption remains high even by African standards, even under the current power-sharing compromise. Kibaki and Odinga are past masters at the game of ethnic patronage, exhibiting little stomach for the kind of transformational change espoused by Obama. Both men publicly deplore ethnic violence, yet neither seems eager to examine how to reconcile the ethnic clusters that jockey for position in a society deeply divided between haves and have-nots. Both stand accused, for instance, of opposing efforts to identify and prosecute organizers of ethnic violence, and the independent commission that made this recommendation last week is now in limbo.

    The incoming Obama administration could push for more from Kenya’s leaders—and there is a strong case for doing so. Kenya is home to the largest U.S. embassy in Africa and borders tumultuous Somalia, a known staging ground for terrorist activity. Islamic terrorist networks are also believed to operate in Kenya, making internal security issues of strategic interest to the United States. Yet many in Kenya and the international community insist that only a thorough internal reckoning can guarantee that the country won’t fall prey to similar ethnic violence in months to come.

    Obama’s victory is undoubtedly a huge boost to a battered nation’s pride and an example of what the country’s “sons” might achieve outside Kenya’s tense political landscape. But instead of merely celebrating Obama’s success, Kenya would do well to follow the advice he offered during his trip to the country in 2006, and envision their own country the way they wish it to be seen from afar.“I can say that from the perspective of the U.S., they look at Kenya and all they see is Kenya,” Obama told the Nairobi-based Nation Media Group at the time. “They don’t pay attention to Luo and Kamba and Kikuyu and Maasai and so on. If people start taking a global perspective, they will begin to realize that Kenya can’t afford to be divided like this.”

    Then, maybe Kenya’s Obama dreams will come true.

    The Lost Tribes of Isreal-House Of Mumbi?

    Genetic tests on the Lemba people of southern Africa show convincing evidence the Bantu-speaking tribes may be of Jewish ancestry.A team of geneticists have discovered that Lemba men carry a DNA sequence that is distinctive to the cohanim, a hereditary set of Jewish priests. The priests are different from rabbis, and perform certain ritual roles. The Lemba, who practice circumcision, keep one day a week holy and avoid eating pork or pig-like animals, have long asserted they are of Jewish heritage.The discovery of the common DNA sequences stemmed from research being done into the Jewish tradition that priests are the descendants of Aaron, the elder brother of Moses.

    Lost Tribes

    Lost Tribes

    An analysis of the male Y chromosome found in 1997 that a particular pattern of DNA changes was much more common among cohanim priests than among lay Jews. A population geneticist at Oxford University in England, took that discovery one step further.“In studying the priesthood, we happened into this tool for distinguishing Jewish from non-Jewish populations.”  Unlike in other chromosomes, the genetic material of the Y chromosome remains more or less unchanged from generation to generation, making it a useful tool in discovering heritage, the newspaper reported.

    The geneticist found a particular set of genetic mutations that was strongly associated with the priestly caste, not so common among lay Jews and very rare in non-Jewish populations. He then tested DNA samples collected from the Lemba.Research showed that the proportion of Lemba men carrying the genetic signature of the priests were similar to those found among the major Jewish populations, strongly supporting the Lemba tradition of Jewish ancestry.And the DNA sequences were particularly common among Lemba men who belong to the Buba clan, the senior of their 12 groups. The Lemba, from South Africa and Zimbabwe, believe they were led out of Judea by a man named Buba.

    Approximately 2,500 years ago, a group of Jews left Judea and settled in Yemen. The tribe was led by the house of Buba and we are told that this move was to facilitate trade. In Yemen they settled in a place and built a city called Senna . They were then known as the BaSenna (the people from Senna).When conditions became unfavorable and they could no longer call Yemen home.

    The House of Hamisi took over the leadership and led the people across into Africa.Once in Africa, the tribe split into 2 sections: One group settled in Ethiopia and the other group went further south along the East Coast. They settled in what today is known as Kenya and built Senna 2. Here they prospered and increased in numbers.The travel bug bit once again and they were on the move. one group went  down south  while the other and settled in Kenya. Their descendants are still residing in these countries up to today and are generally known as Ba Mwenye

    Ethiopian jews

    Ethiopian jews

    The remaining group, under the leadership of the house of Bakali, moved on and settled in Mozambique. Here they built Senna 3. Even today, the BaSenna are found in Mozambique.After many years, part of the tribe, now under the leadership of Seremane moved further south to settle in Chiramba in what is known today as Zimbabwe. They were known as the Ba-Lemba. Our people still live there up to today. Some of the tribe moved south again and eventually settled in South Africa .Lemba males posses the Priestly Cohanim gene on their Y chromosome do Kikuyu men have the same chromosome?

    More discussion here Who are the Kikuyu

    Love for Enemies

    Not because you defeated our people ,burnt our churches,women and children …Not because we cant fight back or we don’t want to fight back…Not because we want harmony or believe in the Kenyan state …Not because we agree or even disagree with you .I will never look at  ODM supporters in the same way and  our “Kikuyu Leaders” who only care  about their own interests  !I will never again say I am a proud  kenyan, when innocent kids and families live in tents  but I will now love my enemies .God didnt promise we will not have enemies but He did tell us to love them even if they are our enemies .1657 Dead many more still homeless .

    I think i have worked out my bitterness and I now lay it to rest……..

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

    Matthew 5:43-45 (New International Version)

    Religion

    Guest Writer:K.Ngome

    Jesus Is Lord

    Most Kikuyu are Christians, and it is difficult to come across one who professes to be anything else.Yet there are other signs, too, that the old ways have not been completely forgotten. The institution of elder hood may at first sight appear to be defunct, but here too, the Kikuyu have adapted and adopted to the new ways rather than simply discarding the old: it has been estimated that 90% of the Catholic priests in the Nairobi diocese have also been elected as ‘elders’.

    Ngai-The Creator

    Traditionally, as now, the Kikuyu were monotheists, believing in a unique and omnipotent God whom they called Ngai (also spelled Mogai or Mungai). The word, if not the notion, came from the Maasai word Enkai, and was borrowed by both the Kikuyu and Kamba. God is also known as Mungu, Murungu, or Mulungu (a variant of a word meaning God which is found as far south as the Zambezi of Zambia), and is sometimes given the title Mwathani or Mwathi (the greatest ruler), which comes from the word gwatha, meaning to rule or reign with authority.

    Ngai is the creator and giver of all things, ‘the Divider of the Universe and Lord of Nature’. He gave birth to the human community, created the first Kikuyu communities, and provided them with all the resources necessary for life: land, rain, plants and animals.

    He – for Ngai is male – cannot be seen, but is manifest in the sun, moon, stars, comets and meteors, thunder and lighting, rain, in rainbows and in the great fig trees (mugumo) that served as places of worship and sacrifice, and which marked the spot at Mukurue wa Gathanga where Gikuyu and Mumbi – the ancestors of the Kikuyu in the oral legend – first settled.

    Yet Ngai is not the distant God that we know in the West. He had human characteristics, and although some say that he lives in the sky or in the clouds, they also say that he comes to earth from time to time to inspect it, bestow blessings and mete out punishment. When he comes he rests on Mount Kenya and four other sacred mountains. Thunder is interpreted to be the movement of God, and lightning is God’s weapon by means of which he clears the way when moving from one sacred place to another.

    Other people believed that Ngai’s abode was on Mount Kenya, or else ‘beyond’ its peaks. Ngai, says one legend, made the mountain his resting place while on an inspection tour of earth. He then took the first man, Gikuyu, to the top to point out the beauty of the land he was giving him.