The Huairou Commission calls for immediate and long-term action in
response to the political violence in Kenya
Commission and its Member Networks call for urgent action and on-going
support for the many grassroots women and communities that have been
affected by the violence in Kenya in the wake of last months' presidential
We express our solidarity
and support for all women in Kenya, and particularly for the many members
of GROOTS Kenya - amazing grassroots leaders working in communities across
the country, and especially those women in the Mathare slum who we have met
and befriended over the last 13 years of work together. We encourage
everyone to read the report from GROOTS Kenya on the situation in Mathare HERE
Our hearts ache at the
reports of violence, rape, destruction and displacement taking place across
Kenya. As always, people in poor and marginalized communities are the most
affected by this violence, and women and children are bearing the brunt.
Kenya is often cited as a model of peace and democracy in Africa. Yet we
see this violence as a sign of patriarchal leadership, focused more on
personal power than the well-being of the Kenyan people (a plight shared by
many of us, including in the US) and the deep-seated governance issues that
have long faced Kenya.
We endorse the numerous
rights and development organizations calling for on-going mediation by the
international community and for an immediate end to all violence in Kenya.
We join with others in urging those currently in leadership to take actions
to stop the violence - including cooperation with electoral oversight
committees and international mediators, and cessation of support for
militias and gangs. And we stand in solidarity with the Women's Environment
and Development Organization (WEDO), and affirm their call for women
leaders and activists across the globe to step in immediately and work
towards peace and reconciliation.
We now call for actions that
will address the immediate needs of the many Kenyans affected by violence
and for funding and development commitments that will provide for long term
recovery and allow Kenyans to build back better after this tragic period.
Beyond meeting the immediate relief needs, we call for actions to protect
poor women and create conditions to refortify their spirits, and also for
longer-term actions that will lead to a permanent solution to the political
violence, and create a context in which women and their communities can
build back better. This is an opportunity to empower women to build
peaceful, resilient communities.
In order to counteract this
situation and prevent future outbreaks of violence, we call on donors,
governments and UN agencies to support the following interventions:
of the violence in Kenya has been based on tribal divisions. Processes
for reconciliation are needed immediately to stop that violence and to
begin to build peaceful relationships across tribal lines.
poor have been hurt the most by the violence and poor women will be
burdened with the work of recovery. Therefore we call for funding and
support to existing grassroots women's groups that have been leading
the development of their communities, leading dialogues and building
partnerships to engender good governance for years, rather than
outside relief efforts or briefcase NGOs that inevitably arise in the
wake of violence.
the creation of safe, permanent, women-owned spaces for communities to
re-build and recover. In the Mathare slum the Mathare Mothers
Development Center was one of few safe spaces for women who had been
displaced from burned and demolished areas of the informal settlement
to take shelter. It is clear that these spaces are a vital aspect of
not just community recovery, but the on-going development of
like to recognize and thank the Global Fund for Women for taking immediate
steps along these lines.
Read on for reports from Kenya and Calls to Action from our members
A synopsis on the post election violence
situation in Mathare Slums - Nairobi
A report by GROOTS Kenya
The counting and announcement of results of the 2007 general
election was marred with delays accusations and suspicion among candidates
and in particular the two top presidential candidate's sides: incumbent
from Kikuyu community and his close opponent from the Luo community.
Finally the electoral commission pronounced the incumbent the winner, and
immediately the violent skirmishes erupted in many parts of the country in
a scale unprecedented in Kenya before. They were characterized by looting,
torching of houses raping and killings. The target was to drive away those
tribes perceived to have supported a candidate from the "wrong"
tribe other than the one favoured by the predominant tribe in the region.
Thus the Kikuyu's were driven out from Kisumu, Kericho and Eldoret towns
while in the slums their houses were looted and burnt down and women raped.
A church in Rift valley where over 40 women and children had sheltered was
burnt down until all of them became ashes. This quickly escalated into an
all out orgy of violence which sucked in many other tribes as well as
criminals who saw a ripe moment to make quick gains. In retaliation, Luo
houses were burnt and property destroyed in many areas. Other tribes have
too suffered in these conflicts particularly the Gusii people who were seen
to have aligned with the incumbent. People sought refuge in police stations
and churches - but the violence followed them there.
War and conflicts have no
defined boundaries, and we see today that those shouldering the
consequences are drawn from all the Kenyan tribes which left 500 dead,
thousands injured and hundreds of thousand displaced. The property
destruction and loss of livelihood is yet to be fully accounted. What is
clear though is that the poor and especially the children and women are
disproportionately affected and hence had devastating impact in the slums,
informal markets and remote rural settlements.
Today there are many camps
of internally displaced persons spread all over the country full of
desperate citizens whose lives and hope have been shattered in a very short
span of time.
ANALYSIS - Impact on the work of GROOTS Kenya and members
GROOTS Kenya is a movement
of women self-help groups and community organizations in Kenya. It was
formed as a response to inadequate visibility of grassroots women in
development and decision-making forums that directly impact them and their
communities. GROOTS Kenya bridges this gap through initiatives that are
community-centered and women-led. The network's objective is to
"ensure that grassroots women and their community's are masters of
their own destiny through their direct participation in decision making
GROOTS Kenya has for the
past fifteen years invested comprehensively in Mathare informal settlement
through governance and leadership programs, responses to HIV/AIDS pandemic,
especially home-based caregiving, with Mathare Mother's Development Centre
which is a network of 26 self help women groups all originating from
Mathare slums. The Mother's centre provides space for women within the
slums to voice their struggles and find solutions to their problems.
Post election violence in
Mathare has greatly affected families and displaced most people who are now
camping at the Eastleigh Air force base, at church compounds such as the
St. Benedicts, St. Teresa and the Soul Winning Church and at the Mathare
Mothers Development Centre. Others have sought refuge at neighbouring
villages that were not highly affected. Most of the community members and
leaders in Mathare slums working in collaboration with GROOTS Kenya are
drawn from Mathare 4A , Kijiji cha Chewa , Mathare Area 1 and Ghetto. The
first three of these villages were most affected. Mathare 4A is more
organized as it benefited from upgrading by the Catholic Church in
partnership with the German doctors in the 1990s. The village has basic
infrastructure such as tarmac roads, street lights, toilets and bathrooms,
water and decent housing made of mud bricks. These could be a part of the
reason why not much damage happened here as communities were able to secure
and protect themselves. Neighboring Mathare 4A village is the "Kijiji
cha Chewa" village dominated by the "Kikuyu" ethnic tribe
and others like Luyha and Kambas. This village was completely razed down.
/ NEXT STEPS
GROOTS Kenya is facilitation
a peace reconciliation process with the affected families in Mathare
informal settlement under the leadership of GROOTS Mathare Mothers
Development Centre and other development organizations operating within the
area. This will be done through dialogues between the provincial leaders
(village elders, councillors, assistant chiefs, area chiefs and members of
parliament), affected community and other development organizations.
Over 500 orphans rely on
GROOTS Kenya for direct and indirect support. The organization has not
managed to trace the whereabouts of many of these children. A group of
caregivers are working with residents of Mathare 4A and other parts of the
slums that were not razed down with the hope that they are safely hosted by
other GROOTS members, friends and families. In addition, Mathare Mothers
Development Centre has been supporting over 200 people living with HIV/AIDS
(PLWA) over the last five years and it is still very difficult in the
current situation to trace their whereabouts.
GROOTS Kenya has also
visited the affected families living in the camps and has also met one of
the village elders from the affected village and discussed the possibility
of holding peace dialogues.
GROOTS Kenya is facilitating
a meeting between the women leaders from the mothers centre and the
affected families on Friday coming for a detailed planning process on the
engagement of the wider community and partners in these dialogue processes.
Ultimately, the organization
would wish to support affected families to reconstruct their homes with
basic infrastructure such as clear paths, security and decent affordable
housing that would create a sense of belonging and ownership to lessen such
extensive damage. This would require dialogues with the community,
provincial leaders and other partners to establish land ownership processes
and in mapping out of the affected with the possibility of resettling them.
Our initial step that has already began is to establish a comprehensive
peace building process in particular between the kikuyu and Luo community
to diffuse tension and animosity that is currently at its climax and may
not allow any progressive development to take place. The peace building
process is fundamental and will have to be addressed urgently prior to
normal implementation of GROOTS Kenya programs within the area.
Urgent Call for Action by the Women's Environment and
Development Organization (WEDO)
Kenya's recent elections have resulted in 13 new parliamentary seats won by
women candidates so far. But although this should be a time for celebration
for women of Kenya and the world, the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki
has devastated the country. Violence has swept through Kenya, long
considered the most stable country in Africa, since opposition leaders
disputed the election outcomes. Women in particular have been targeted:
raped, tortured and forced into 'house arrest'.
The Women's Environment and
Development Organization urges human rights organizations and individuals,
women leaders and activists, to join in the Call for Action for peace and
reconciliation in Kenya.
Kenya has been heralded as
an example of a successful democracy in Africa. "This is a country
that has been held up as a model of stability," said South African
Archbishop Desmond Tutu to BBC. "This picture has been
On January 3rd, BBC News
noted that 300 people have been killed and over 70,000 displaced already,
the majority of whom are women and children. Women in the country have been
subjected to looting, burning and rape and, because the transport system is
barely functioning, many are unable to get to nearby hospitals.
Nevertheless, one hospital reported a near doubling in the amount of rape
victims it treated in one day.
This outbreak of politically
and ethnically motivated violence is an unacceptable attack on women's
human rights and is an attempt to frustrate women's political
participation, scaring women from politics and from monitoring the results
yet to be published in some regions.
There is an urgent and dire
need for political leaders on both sides to dialogue for peace.
Negotiations cannot take place as Kenyans are slaughtered and the country
WEDO calls for the
international community's urgent intervention to end the violent attacks on
innocent Kenyans, particularly women. We must send this message to
President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga now.
To add your endorsement to
this Call for Action, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice
Statement from concerned citizens and governance,
human rights and
We speak in the name of
Kenya's governance, human rights and legal organizations, as well as the
concerned citizens who have contacted and chosen to work with us over the
We strongly condemn the
violence that has erupted across the country following the questionable
outcomes of the counting and tallying done under the electoral process. We
express our deepest sympathy to all those who have been injured, raped or
killed, those who have lost property, those who have been internally
displaced as well as those who continue to live in fear. We are only too
acutely aware that the survivors and victims continue to be those with the
most to lose from the violence as well as those who least deserve to
experience it-Kenya's impoverished women and men in both low-income urban
areas as well as in rural areas.
We are aware that the
violence experienced has taken three primary forms. First. disorganized
protest at the supposed results of the presidential tally. Second.
instigated and organized militia activity particularly in the Rift Valley.
but also through the re-activation of Mungiki in Central and Nairobi and,
now, Chinkororo in Nyanza. And third, extraordinary use of force by Kenya's
Police Force and General Service Unit to the extent of extrajudicial
executions violating the most fundamental of freedoms and human rights-the
rights to life and the safety and security of persons. We strongly condemn
all three forms.
We note that the violence
experienced is being used to legitimize the curtailing of the most basic of
freedoms and human rights - the freedoms of expression, assembly and
association. These freedoms and human rights are guaranteed by
international law, regional law and our own Constitution. They must be
upheld at all times - especially as the exercise of these freedoms and human
rights is the only way for Kenyans to legally and legitimately express
their protest at the alleged presidential outcome of the electoral process.
We believe that the repression and suppression of legal and legitimate
forms of protest can only perpetuate further violence.
It is also clear to us that
at the heart of the violence now being experienced, is a violation of other
fundamental freedoms and rights directly related to the electoral
processes. It is clear that the electoral anomalies and malpractices
experienced during the counting and tallying of our electoral process were
so grave as to alter its outcomes. Some of those electoral anomalies and
malpractices were, in addition, illegal - thus rendering the supposed
presidential outcome not only illegitimate but also illegal We therefore
consider Mwai Kibaki to be in office still on his first term.
Our hope lies in Kenyans
standing up against the travesty that has been made of the electoral
process. Our hope lies in Kenyans who have, at great personal risk, and
without regard to ethnicity, on principle provided security, shelter and
safe passage to those Kenyans targeted by the militia activity 1n the Rift
Valley and elsewhere, we note the domestic humanitarian efforts coordinated
by the National Council of Churches of Kenya with statistical support from
the Catholic Relief Services - efforts to which many individual Kenyans and
Kenyan businesses have now associated themselves. We note too the domestic
peace initiatives being worked on by Amani Focus, the 'Ibrahim group'
(including Ambassador Kiplagat and General Sumbweiyo) and Peacenet. And we
now invite other concerned citizens to join the 'peace through truth and
justice' efforts being carried out by domestic governance, human rights and
In particular, we would like
to call on:
efforts and initiatives to consistently stress that peace cannot and
will not be achieved without electoral truth and justice;
Kenyans to stand up to be counted not just for peace but also for
electoral truth and justice;
state to respect and uphold the rights to the freedoms of expression,
assembly and association so as to ensure Kenyans protest only legally,
legitimately and non-violently;
politicians and political parties to immediately desist from the
re-activation, support and use of militia organizations such as those
active in the Rift Valley, Mungiki and Chinkororo
Ministry of Internal Security, the Police Force and the General
Service Unit to exercise their duties within the boundaries of the
Constitution and the law and desist from any extraordinary use of
force and, in particular, extrajudicial executions;
Electoral Commission of Kenya to immediately resign for having
participated in and condoned a presidential electoral process so
flawed as to result in our nation's current crisis;
states and the rest of the international community to pressurize for
mediation between the Party of National Unity and the Orange
Democratic Movement on addressing the electoral travesty that has
mediation process to, as its first priority, agree upon an interim
electoral oversight body to conduct a forensic audit into the polling,
counting and tallying process with a view to recommending, depending;
on its findings, a re-count, a re-tallying or re-run within a
specified time period;
states and the rest of the international community to, in the interim,
deny official recognition to the man sworn in as President;
states and the rest of the international community to immediately
revoke any and all visas for any and all of the PNU's and ODM's
leadership - as well as all of their immediate family members - to
ensure they remain in this country to resolve the electoral travesty
that has occurred;
man sworn in as President to desist from announcing a Cabinet and
otherwise aggravating and inflaming the current violence.
Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)
Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION)
Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD)
Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women (CREAW)
Constitutional and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO)
East African Law Society (EALS)
Hema la Katiba
Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU)
Institute for Education in Democracy (IED)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya)
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)
Kituo cha Sheria
Muslim Human Rights Forum
National Constitution Executive Council (NCEC)
Society for international Development (SID)
Urgent Action Fund (UAF) ?EUR? Africa
Shailja Patel, Artist
Law Society of Kenya
A letter from Wangari Maathai
The situation in my country,
Kenya, is shocking and dangerous. We must act to end the violence and
senseless killings, which erupted after the announcement by the Electoral
Commission of Kenya (ECK) that President Mwai Kibaki had won the
presidential elections. It is important to understand that there has been
longstanding underlying discontent and mistrust between some ethnic
communities, which has been fed by generations of politicians.
The current political
situation had its genesis when President Moi stepped down in 2002 and
anointed Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor. Senior politicians who hoped to
succeed Moi decamped from his party and joined in opposition with Kibaki,
creating the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc). In December 2002, Kenyatta
was defeated and Narc came to power with Kibaki as president.
In opposition, Narc's two
constituent groups had signed an agreement to share power when victory was
secured. This was not honoured, and deep disappointment and discontent led
to divisions. In 2005, these caused the defeat of a government-backed draft
constitution. In the 2007 election, the Kibaki-led camp campaigned as the
Party of National Unity, while the other camp, led by Raila Odinga, became
the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Both were strongly backed by their
ethnic communities, with deep mistrust on either side.
Before the results were
announced, claims of rigging and irregularities were widespread among ODM
supporters; at least one electoral commissioner also raised this charge.
After Kibaki was declared the winner, the ODM claimed it had been robbed of
victory, and election observers (local and international) also admitted
irregularities. When Kibaki rejected ODM demands to step down, members of
communities that mainly supported the party turned on those communities
perceived to have voted for Kibaki. These have included the Kikuyus, Kisiis
and Luhyas. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands displaced,
and properties have been burned and looted.
There is frustration among
ODM supporters because they believe victory was denied them. We now have a
great divide in the country that can only be resolved through truth and
reconciliation. Given the admission from the ECK chairman that the election
tallying process was irregular, we should have the votes recounted by an
independent body, or we should rerun the elections. To expect Kenyans to
accept the flawed results would be unfair and undemocratic.
An equally important step is
for the two leaders to engage in dialogue. It is challenging for some to
exercise restraint, but greatness is demonstrated at times like this. The
country's future depends on how the ODM leadership shapes its reactions and
how the government responds. We need political maturity and respect for our
Part of the way forward
could also be a power-sharing arrangement, which should be constitutional
and put in place by parliament. It would allow the political and economic
affairs of the country to return to normality within the shortest possible
Even as political leaders
play their role, citizens should refrain from violence. All 42 communities
in Kenya are bound by geography and history to live as neighbours. Killing,
destroying property and displacing our brothers and sisters creates a
legacy that will haunt our children and their children.
Let us stand up for each
other, irrespective of our ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions.
Injustice to one is injustice to all of us. If we, individually and
collectively, are not the conscience of our country, then who is?
Human Rights Watch urges End to Excessive Use of Police
Lift Ban on Public Rallies, Media Broadcasts
January 13, 2008 - The Kenyan government
should urgently and publicly order the police to stop using excessive,
lethal force against public rallies, Human Rights Watch said today. Human
Rights Watch urged political leaders on all sides to call on supporters to
Opposition leaders have
called for rallies next week in defiance of the government's broad ban on
public gatherings, prompting concerns that new clashes could result in
further deaths and injuries. Human Rights Watch is also concerned by
ongoing violence in the Rift Valley, where hundreds of people have died and
hundreds of thousands have been displaced.
"Kenyan security forces
have a duty to rein in criminal violence and should protect people, but
they shouldn't turn their weapons on peaceful protestors," said Georgette
Gagnon, acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The government
should make it very clear that police will be held to account for using
lethal force against people for simply expressing political views."
Since the disputed December
27, 2007 presidential elections, Kenyan police in several cities have used
live ammunition to disperse protesters and disperse looters, killing and
wounding dozens. Some observers and even police have described the police
response as an unofficial "shoot to kill" policy. For example,
Human Rights Watch received credible reports that in Kisumu dozens of
people were shot dead by police while demonstrating against the election
result announced on December 31.
Even people who did not
attend rallies have been affected. Human Rights Watch spoke to eyewitnesses
in Nairobi who saw unarmed individuals hit by police gunfire on the fringes
of protests in the Kibera and Mathare slums. One woman was hit by stray
bullets that penetrated the wall of her home. Another unarmed man was shot
in the leg. A boy watching a protest from the door of his house was shot in
the chest. Kenyan human rights organizations reported deaths and injuries
involving police in the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret.
A source within the police,
who was unwilling to be identified, told Human Rights Watch that "many
of us are unhappy with what we are being asked to do. This 'shoot to kill'
policy is illegal, and it is not right. We have brothers and sisters, sons
and daughters out there."
In policing demonstrations,
the Kenyan police should abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on
the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, Human Rights
Watch said. The principles call upon law enforcement officials to apply
nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force only in proportion to
the seriousness of the offense, and to use lethal force only when strictly
unavoidable to protect life.
Kenyan and international law
prohibits a general ban on demonstrations. Under Kenyan law, those wishing
to demonstrate must notify the police and the police can reject the request
on the grounds of public order, but no law permits the authorities to
impose a blanket ban on public assembly. Under the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, which Kenya ratified in 1976, a state may
only impose restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly that are
strictly necessary to maintain public order.
"The government should
defuse tension by immediately lifting the ban on public assembly and
allowing the planned demonstrations to go ahead," said Gagnon.
"The right to peaceful assembly is a cornerstone of a healthy
The government has also
banned live political broadcasting. Human Rights Watch again urged the
Kenyan authorities to immediately lift unnecessary restrictions on media
Human Rights Watch also
called on the government to immediately investigate the deaths that have
already occurred during protests and in the Rift Valley. Prosecutions
should be carried out where there is evidence of wrongdoing and the victims
should be provided an adequate remedy, including compensation.
An update from a Kenyan citizen
following message was forwarded by a member of GROOTS Canada and originated
from a colleague in Kenya
My Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your kind words, prayers, phone calls and emails.
As you know, as a nation,
Kenyans have been having their hearts in their shoes for the past one week.
Our lives literally stopped on the 29th December 2007, and we went into a
state of shock. I live right next to Kibera (the slum that has now become
famous because of the movie "The Constant Gardner"), and the area
that first erupted into violence, being the stronghold and the constituency
represented by Raila Odinga. The sound of gunshots and shouts of looting,
and smoke from houses being burnt kept us awake for three straight days.
After being holed in the
house for three days, I decided to do something just to make me feel that
life can be normal again. On 4th January, with my daughter Dani, niece
Lilian and a good friend, we decided to go to Jamhuri Park, the largest
park in Nairobi, where we hold our annual trade fairs, where most displaced
women and children from Kibera are being "housed". Armed with a
few pencils and notebooks, four litres of drinking water and two toilet
rolls, we went to the place where people were being registered, and asked
that anyone who wanted to talk should be sent to us under a tree. We set up
our "counselling base" under two trees, one for adults and the
other for children. In less than fifteen minutes, we had more than twenty people,
mostly women with their children. We tore the note books we had into small
papers and gave the children to start drawing. In the meantime, we just let
the adults talk in turns, first standing, then we all sat on the grass.
This went on for two hours, and at the end of the day, we had assessed the
most needed basic requirements - sanitary pads and toilet rolls.
The next day we went back to
our counseling sessions again, this time having rallied in many friends who
had brought in dozens of sanitary pads, drawing and writing materials for
kids and a little food. At the end of this second day, we left feeling very
encouraged because we had talked with women and men from different ethnic
backgrounds, and there was no animosity, just confusion and shock that such
a thing could have happened in our beloved country.
Today was as normal a day as
could be. We ventured into the city centre, to go to another slum area
which also has a lot of displaced people, but which has not been very well
served because it is still very volatile. The city centre was very busy,
with all the shops opened and people going about their business
"normally". There was a bit of tension because everyone wanted to
go back to their homes early, not knowing what is to happen tomorrow because
of the planned demonstrations.
When we heard this evening
that all the demonstrations have been put off until further notice,
everyone let out a sigh of relief.
I have always said that
Kenyans are the most resilient human beings on earth. Today my heart is
full of hope for my country. I have been in more than five meetings today,
meeting with friends and colleagues from different ethnic backgrounds, to
find ways of reaching our young people with messages of peace.
Unfortunately most of the destruction that have been experienced by the
country was done by young people below the age of 25 years, and as the
older generation, we are looking at the causes, because we realize that the
election violence was just a symptom of something that has gone terribly wrong.
As we pray for our leaders
to not use us as pawns in their game, I leave you with the attached poem
that was written by my daughter Dani, and request that you keep praying for
us and our land.
Thank you and stay blessed,
The mouth of my pen is dry
The ink is shy and the paper untempting
The tears of the nation have drowned my spirits
The fires and fears have imprisoned most
The bullets ringing in the night ushered in the new year
Screams of pain and death rang through the midnight hour
And As Kenya bleeds, as our motherland burns
The powers that be dance on our heads and emotions
The powers that be call on outside mediators
While the problem lays within the very soul of Kenyans
The fire burns from regimes past and those long forgotten
The pain soars higher than our smoke filled skies
And the children watch on in innocent bewilderment
At the loss of their simple homes
At the helplessness of their crying mothers
and at the mercilessness of their angered fathers
... at the despair of their disillusioned brothers and sisters
they queue in line for entrance into temporary shelters.
Our choice of men how erroneous and regretful
Their hunger for power strangles our very core
Women and children scurry for shelter at any corner
Away from flames that have engulfed a nation of brotherhood
Brothers and sisters poisoned to hate those not of kin
Poisoned in history, past and present.
The newly homeless refugees hold out a hand, for a loaf and cloth
Yet the puppet masters smile into the cameras
Ironically wishing us a prosperous new year
Calling for mass action and peace on earth
Waltzing with the mighty and holy from lands afar
Yet the locals dare not go hunting for basic essentials
For fear of what lays in that looting jungle
Or the indiscriminate bullets that scatter us like rabbits
Some even sing and chant in hope of more glory and fame
Singing of peace and praying for salvation
In stiletto shoes and low-cut halter tops
camera-lights-action, we sing for peace!
And like bees we flock to the nearest shelter in jamuhuri
But safe and secure it must be, unlike mathare
To lend a hand and wait for a shot in the evening news
and maybe a model snap, in the Daily Nation
What is this fire that burns in the heart of our motherland
What is this fear that turns one community against a another
Who planted the seed that blooms an evil weed
That weed that chokes the harvest of our forefathers and mothers?