Kenya: Valley of the Shadow of Death


A mzee I traveled with yesterday morning remarked that no one will be prosecuted for PEV 2008 because no one ever is ever prosecuted in Kenya. He argued that Pinto’s, Mboya’s, JM’s, Ouko’s murderers were never prosecuted.

It was only then that I realized that I always thought of these murders as simply political evidence of why Kenyatta was a dictator and why Moi had go; I never thought of their deaths as crimes by virtue that those men were human beings. Every time someone was assassinated or people massacred, I just thought politics; I just thought of how we need to challenge the system and get new leadership.

The mzee led me to discover that I was so heartless, but more so, to realize that surely Kenya is dripping with blood, scattered with bones and haunted by restless spirits. No wonder it was so easy to hate and kill in 2007-2008. Our consciences are dead and our minds are messed up. We can never think straight if we have not mourned, performed national rites for the dead and worn sackcloth to repent our evil. We can never think straight if politicians continue to bargain for power with how many corpses each side can produce, or to point at their own corpses to compete on who is more innocent than the other.

This isn’t simply about tribalism – it’s about being human. We are tribalist because we are no longer human. Killing doesn’t start with the pangas. It starts when we have closed our minds to reason and our hearts to justice. We need to suspend the political issues for just one minute and see casualties as people, rather than as playing cards, otherwise we will have a blood bath come 2012. For as our ancestors taught us, restless spirits haunt the living and make the living pay dearly until they are appeased.



Its true we have been heartless, and ignorant of our own consciences. The strange thing is that nothing seems to wake us from our deep slumber…Neither the tears of the innocent nor the shouts of the guilty!! It is no secret what happened in January 2008, and all the other times before that. We know who, we know why, and it does not bother us at all. Life simply goes on while a man has to share a tent with his wife and five children, because his farm is in the ‘wrong ‘ part of Kenya. The fact that we chose to forget and let others forget as well makes us just as guilty as those who wielded the pangas- because when they do it again, and they will, it will be because we let them.


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