A Press Statement from the ‘KikuyusforChange’ Initiative
Issued in Nairobi on Wednesday 30th March 2011 at 1100 hrs
On Sunday 27th March 2011 the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance of Kenya, Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, made the following statement before he was enthroned a Kikuyu Elder & ‘King’ of the Agikuyu:
‘We will not allow ourselves to be killed just because we do not follow our leaders. Those who fail to do this, we will follow them to their homes and expose them as the ones who are betraying us. We will say ‘See, this person is the one who is failing to work with us’.
We will not go into the issues of making him elder or King.
However, as a group that comprises members of the Agikuyu community we find the statements he made completely irresponsible, especially coming from a leader who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance. They are not only dangerous, but they are also intra-ethnically and inter-ethnically divisive as well as detrimental to the national cohesiveness most of us are working so hard for, following the 2007 PEV.
In our opinion these comments are also a direct threat to internal and national democracy as they purport to determine, without input from elsewhere, what the stand of Kenya’s largest community is, as regards issues such as the ICC or post-2012 political leadership.
We want to inform the Deputy Prime Minister that we cannot stand aside and watch him completely ignore the benefits of the new constitution as regards sovereignty of the people, be they Kikuyus or members of other communities. We hereby remind him that we, the Kenyan people, will decide who will lead us.
In addition, we find the comment that ‘we died because of not following our leaders’ callous, false and insensitive, especially to the thousands of mainly Kenyan Kikuyus who even now find themselves out of home & hearth, as IDPs, in various parts of the country. The Deputy Prime Minister seems to have forgotten that these Kikuyus are actually in their present predicament because they did exactly what he is suggesting: voted for our leaders in 2007, literally to a man!
We want to remind the deputy prime minister that Agikuyus still live in camps as IDPs, and they have received neither justice nor compensation, 3 years on. This is after they watched their loved ones burnt to death in a church, or hacked and/or shot dead with arrows, or raped, or forcefully moved out of their houses and land and their hard-earned property taken over. We also want to remind the Deputy Prime Minister that despite his new found friendship with Hon Ruto, these victims of the 2007 post-election atrocities, and even those of the 1992 & 1997 atrocities, have still been unable to go back home. We are being forced to buy them land elsewhere, against new resistance from other communities.
We also want to remind the Deputy Prime Minister that the Agikuyu have not been charged at the Hague. On the 8th of April 2012 he will be going to the Hague to represent himself, in his own capacity. He will not be going to represent the Agikuyu as Kikuyu King or Elder. This means that his defence there, and even his defence here (which now seems to be focused on fighting the Prime Minister), are his personal wars: they are not between the Agikuyu and Ocampo, and certainly not between the Agikuyu and Raila.
Hon Uhuru Kenyatta must realize that, unlike him, most Kikuyus are more interested in preventing a re-occurrence of election-related violence next year, getting justice for the victims of the last election-related violence incidences, and getting them compensated and resettled. We know that he has the capacity, by himself, to take care of himself as regards political wars with his rivals, or the cases against him at the ICC.
We also make this statement because we have deliberately and consistently taken a stand against the ethnicization of the ICC process, and we take the comments he made as a direct threat to us. We believe they are targeted to us because we have publicly stated that the ICC is not about Kikuyus, but about 6 individuals-a position that goes against his message to Kikuyus. We repeat, again, that 6 individuals are going to answer to charges at the Hague: whilst others will be tried locally, also in their own personal capacity. This is not about Kikuyus, Kalenjins, Merus, Somalis, Kisii’s, Luos, etc.
We conclude by calling out to all our independent-minded political leaders in Central Province. Leaders like Hon. Muite, Hon. Karua, Hon. Kenneth: new aspiring leadership in every county: to take heart. We ask them not to accept to be intimidated or threatened, or forced to kow-tow to a monolithic, undemocratic brand of politics.
As this generation of Kenyan voters we ask anyone who wants to lead us not to be forced to follow a tribal political idealogy out of fear. Millions of Kenyans are independent enough: what we are looking for is independent leadership that will rally us behind them through ideas and policy: not through threats or coercion. That time has passed; we have learnt our lessons well, and we will vote only for those leaders who have policies that will do the greatest good, to the greatest number of Kenyans.
Executive Director, Change Associates