Reaching out to the Mungiki

Rachel and her team of Kikuyu peacemakers from Nairobi arrived in Naivasha at 11:30 am by public transportation. The morning was tense, but all went well in Naivasha. Their local contacts told the women not to wear their jeans, but rather to buy some scarfs and kangas (dresses), which they did. This is so that they would not be confused with men from a distance, and not be perceived as a threat. Soon they were talking with the local youth, and afterwards with the real Mungikis, a clique known for their violentness. They had a very productive conversation as I described above. They spoke with more than thirty people, many of whom were key Mungiki leaders, and received excellent cooperation. They agreed that they would each speak further with five or ten people and invite them all for the great public meeting they will organize in the next two days along with Rachel and her team. They do not want to deal yet with the police in the area because they accuse them of much harm to their people, including their women, but at the meeting they will invite the local head of the police. They have confirmed their intent by providing their names and numbers to post publicly in our Pyramid of Peace.

Should the seven day calm hold, they are very keen to work for peace. They want education on how the youth of different tribes can live together. They will engage those who have been displaced and give them hope that they may come back and live in harmony. They ask for counseling for their trauma. They wish for economic development so they might start their own businesses, for unemployed they are vulnerable to recruitment as thugs.

Donations are very helpful now because Rachel´s team and others in our Pyramid of Peace can buy airtime which the Naivasha Mungikis agree is not to call their friends, but rather to engage the violent Mungikis who have moved on to Nairobi. Certainly, they can be that much more effective if they have their own cell phones ($100 each) rather than using their mother´s. Likewise, Rachel needs a laptop (new $800 or used $500) so that she can write reports. A newspaper advertisement declaring the agreement would have national impact for a few hundred dollars. Our giving hearts will bind us together in ways that can´t be undone.

Dennis Kimambo +254 722 388 275 and I spoke today about his work in Nakuru. He organized police escort for a large group of residents (I think Lou) to leave for other parts of the country, which at this time gives hope and diminishes tensions.

Our priority now is to cement a great victory by Rachel and her time (which I think included Kennedy Owino +254 723 568 251 and David Mutua +254 720 462 559). We can call, we can talk, we can give, we can donate. We can accept the challenge to encourage the Kalenjins and Lous and others to free the roads as well and celebrate the calm. We can reestablish Nakuru as a haven for dialogue. We might also verify the respect for travelers by sending travelers. Rachel told how they made great progress by riding motorbikes, which made it easy for them to speak to the road blockers, as opposed to driving in cars. What a telling illustration of the maxim “Be vulnerable”. By allowing for a little hurt, we can know who is truly hurtful.

Looking ahead, I think the root cause of the violence is coming to light. We have seen the Kikuyu brutality move, as if it had no roots, first to Nakuru, then to Naivasha, and now to Nairobi. It is as if they and, I think, their fellow killers from other tribes are hunting for the sorest spot where their fight might fuel a national conflagaration. They have caused much grief, yet the outrage is restrained. The fight is winding down rather than flaring up. The violent Mungiki are now upon Nairobi, where they are feared, but they have no real support, and they will prove themselves weak. I suspect a second reason for why they come to Nairobi is that they are going to their protectors, I can imagine in parts of the government (not all but parts of the police are rotten, as was clear in Naivasha), but also in the ruling party (in which I can imagine there are links to the attack on Nakuru) and the opposition party (in which I can imagine there are links to the massacre at Eldoret). The violence has proved itself absent as it has danced around the country, and there is one place left to look, where I would not be surprised to find it, and that is among the powers, those leaders who play with tribal militias. My charges are grave, and I hope unfounded, but I think that with our love for the Mungiki in Nairobi we can win their help to engage even the powerful, the sinister and the wicked with our Pyramid of Peace. I ask for our reflections. I will listen to our leaders in Kenya. I embolden us. We can love our enemy to clear our past and free our future.

Copied Verbatim from Ushaidi

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