African Press International (API)

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Kenya: Killers must not be given amnesty

Posted by African Press International on May 24, 2008

By Chris Mwaura

Last week Itravelled to Timboroa in the Rift Valley to witness my aunt, a long time resident ofChagaiyaVillage, bury her husband who met his grisly death as he attempted to escape from chanting marauders disguised as political agitators. My aunt is now an IDP at Chagaiya Anglican Church. Since her husband was killed in a savage attack during which his head and upper torso were hacked off with a machete, I had neither visited my aunt nor had I sought full details about how her husband met his death. Until this moment the remains of the deceased had lain about two feet beneath the surface in a gunia (gunny bag) where he was buried by terrified neighbours as they fled at the height of the Rift Valley massacres.

Until I listened to her story and accounts of other IDPs at Chagaiya, I had all along lived, as is the case with many other Kenyans, in a fools’ paradise. The image I had conjured of the fate that befell IDPs in December 2007 and January this year was from the snippets I have been reading, listening to and watching in the press. I must admit that my mind until last week had entertained a far less severe situation compared to what I heard and witnessed.

Among the IDPs sheltered at Chagaiya I witnessed and heard horrendous accounts. I learned of acts so atrocious they can only sound like high-fiction to anyone who has not interacted one-on-one with victims of the attacks. Men as old as 80 years had their limbs severed, mothers died as a result of mob rape and loved ones were interred with arrows-ends lodged in their skulls. The things done to the people who are either now dead or dispossesses defy expression and can only be understood by visiting, seeing and listening first-hand.

I heard stories about iron sheets carted away from the roofs of burnt-down houses and presently used to roof the attackers’ homes. I found it particularly disturbing that an attacker who takes away the lives of his neighbours and drives the family to the devil knows where would have the temerity to use charred iron sheets from his former neighbour’s house to roof his own abode. Not unless he wishes to house the devil’s principalities and minions in such a dwelling!

Even worse, some of the perpetrators and inciters of the bestial attacks, including local-level administrators and politicians, though known, are still mingling freely with the victims. Some are bold enough to gloat to the IDPs that nothing will happen even if they report them to the government.

Of all those who were targeted for ‘uprooting’, the saddest case is that of Mzee Njuguna whose story I first heard in the media when he recently returned to Chagaiya to bury seven members of his family killed in the span of half an hour at the peak of the violence. I did not have the courage to nor did I wish to meet Mzee Njuguna who I am told had lived in Chagaiya for 40 years with his family among the very same human beasts who massacred his family.

Nothing can convince my aunt to return to her plot. Now I understand why. She cannot possibly return. Not when the people who slaughtered her husband will be her neighbours. She told me that the very thought of living next door to the person who took away her husbands life is like a death sentence; it would remind her daily of an event she would rather die than be reminded of every morning.

I must confess that before I traveled to see my aunt, I did not have any qualms telling anyone why forgiveness was the panacea Kenyans need to forge ahead and create new brotherhoods and a conscience for the greater good of the nation. I even entertained the thought of amnesty for those arrested as an option.

After what I witnessed and heard, I am totally convinced that granting amnesty for the perpetrators of such inhuman acts is itself criminal. Any human being who would not have a problem slitting open his or her neighbour’s throat, skinning a four-year old, and separating the human head from the rest of the body with a machete, then stealing the neighbour’s domestic animals (including their mongrels and half-wild cats) must carry the very devil’s DNA.

It is painful to realize that such grand butchery of human beings took place as a result of a massive hate crusade led by the same politicians now swiveling away in air-conditioned ministerial offices. The hate crusade was backed by the heavy though for the most part subliminal messaging by an extremely partisan local media. The most active of all were fm stations (as indeed were politicians) whose sympathy base was mainly in the Rift Valley and to a lesser extent, Nyanza. Yet no one has interrogated the cabal of our so-called national leaders who doused inflammable ethnic hate upon Kenyans and went right ahead to breathe fire over them in cahoots with their lackeys in the media!

As we helped my aunt bury her husband, the very same mouthpieces and their preferred media channels were still shamelessly chorusing amnesty! Are they cursed


African Press International – api

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