Ethnic Intolerance is gradually strengthening its roots in Kenya, at most so after the 2007 post election violence that rocked the country, a recent debate on a Facebook group over slum evictions shows.
Although, many will agree with me that the tension had always been there even before the 2007 general elections, and whatever happened at that time only brought out the anger and bitterness that most Kenyans have all along held against each other, or one community against another in this case. Kibra, or Kibera as some might choose to call it, was not spared the ethnic-related violence of 2007. In fact, it was one of the worst hit regions. Even though another ethnic-related conflict had much earlier threatened to tear kibra apart, way back in 2002.
We saw so many peace initiatives come up after that with the aim, goal or mission of bringing Kibra residents together. There have been so many of these peace initiatives linked to Kibra, or Kibera that everytime the word ‘Peace’ is mentioned, people expect to see an image of kibera somewhere along the lines. Whether these peace initiatives achieved their goals, missions or whatever they hoped to achieve is a question for another day.
Parliamentary Election Debate Kibera
But sadly it looks like something was never addressed. These peace groups or initiatives might have overlooked or bypassed something important, a root cause of all these unrest, call it a grudge that has been held for so long but never settled, historical injustices or whatever you want. But another storm seems to be gathering, all the signs are there, loud and clear. It’s either these peace initiatives will have to go back and do their homework well or new mechanisms will have to be put in place before the gathering storm finally comes down, after which everyone will once again be asking when, or where the rain started beating us.
Like my friend would say, something needs to be done, and not tomorrow but now. Before what we are currently seeing on social media trickles down to the streets.
It only takes a statement, opinion, concern, argument or whatever anyone might call it, in form of a facebook, twitter or any other social media post to ignite the hatred that most of us hold in their hearts, the ethnic-related anger or bitterness that came as a result of whatever injustices happened in the past and never addressed.
Here is a good example of a concern I had and shared on Facebook in relation to the ongoing sewer-line evictions in Kibera and some of the comments that came afterwards..
This was my post:
“Honest opinion, was this NYS projects, or whatever you call them, mean’t to render more Kibera residents homeless? How can they give 3 day notice them exepect residents to find new homes.. then they bring down the houses leaving many women and children to sleep in the cold? they may not respect the structures they see but they are houses to us, it’s where we call home.. evict us after giving us somewhere to go… #FeelingPissedOffWithNYS”
Mohammed Hassan Juma hamtaki kutoka kwa sewer line?ndo maana wazungu wanakuja kibra kuwacheka. (you don’t want to move from the sewer line? that’s why white people come to kibra to laugh at you)
January 13 at 5:27pm • Like • 3
Fatuma Abdulrahman Surur its a reality some think they r a superior being!anyway everybody dies in kibra but only we r burried in kibra kwa hivo bado tupotupo! (….. so we are still here here)
January 14 at 1:05pm • Like
Imma Jeeb @Fatuma, i like that, of course hawajatoka Mbinguni. Wana Makwao.don ‘t they know the meaning of Devolution?tiz high time we have a better KIBRA.!! (… of course they didn’t come from heaven. they have have thier homes…)
January 14 at 1:18pm • Like • 1
George Ambunya hatespeech ndio mob tu hapa sana (this place is only full of hatespeech)
January 14 at 1:56pm • Like • 3
Siyama Ismail #George_Ambunya,
This is a #Healthy_Debate na hakuna hates speech, it is called #Expressions.
January 14 at 3:07pm • Edited • Like • 1
Owino Kotieno #Hussein Umri wangu hauni ruhusu kutoa matamshi au fikra za Chuki ama Kulenga Jamii. Ikiwa kila mtu ataulizwa Kwao ………Looo. Changia kwa upole,fanya utafiti na ujiusishe na mapambano ya fikra kisha tusemezane. (My age doesn’t allow me to give out hatefull utterances or thoughts, or target a communitty. if everyone was to be asked where he comes from….looo. contribute peacefully, do your investigations and be part of the mind struggle then we can talk)
January 14 at 5:40pm • Like • 2
Daniel Orogo Hussen am shocked that while others are in sobber debate to find a solutions to this problem, you bring another twist thats sounds non objective. Kibera is home to all those who are curently residing there
January 14 at 5:40pm • Like • 2
Stam Kaindi Kibra/ Kibera call it what you like but it is in Kenya and for kenyans!!
January 14 at 6:42pm • Like • 4
Iahtallization Kiberallion Chupakabrah Kiberallization if our actions dont mirror words that come from our mouth simply means we are hypocrites
January 14 at 8:07pm • Like • 5
This, and numerous other examples both in and out of the social media circles, only goes to prove my point on the need to address the outstanding root cause of all the hatred, or bitterness, that most, if not all, of us hold in their hearts.
I do agree with you that this is a national problem, and coming up ways to solve it might be described as a national dilemma, but me and you, with the help of him or her, can work towards addressing the point that may have all along been overlooked by all other peace initiatives here in Kibra.
Stephene ‘Steve Banner’ Oduor,
Kibera News Network