It is like a tradition that every end of the year, a section of Kenyans has to be uprooted from their homes due to ‘inter-community’ skirmishes.
In what is seemingly a deeply programmed malaise in the national psyche, these displacements are a pointer to the deep-rooted problems that Kenyans have when it comes to relating with each other.
Despite voting overwhelmingly for a constitution that was meant to change the face of the country, Kenyans are still fighting five years after its promulgation.
Historians say that the late Tanzania’s President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere once described Kenya as a man-eat-man society where all that mattered was self. This could be true in that naturally and typically, everyone wants to be first even now.
The latest occurrence of violence is in Narok County where inter-tribal skirmishes have escalated over the past few days.
Capital FM reported on Saturday that one child died following a flare-up of inter-community clashes at Olposimoru in Narok after the killing of two herdsmen.
Police Spokesman Charles Owino who was quoted by the outlet said that the child was hit by a motorbike as the family was fleeing the fighting.
Owino added that more than 20 houses were also torched in the incident which occurred on Friday night and several people are nursing arrow wounds at Olenguruone and Tenwek hospitals.
“Tension is high in the area and several houses have been torched and several people injured following a conflict between the Maasai and Kipsigis communities,” he said.
And in this era, should this be happening?
The country seemingly has a long way to go in terms of addressing tribal tensions. Most of these tensions are due to land ownership and despite recommendations offering ways to resolve these issues being numerous, they keep accumulating dust in government archives.
On the national scale, it is now an open secret that those who commit crimes against Kenyans are above the law. What with the ICC bungling the 2007 PEV cases so badly? The victims of the violence are yet to be fully resettled despite the politicians’ lives continuing without hitches.
It seems like Kenyans have no recourse whatsoever when it comes to getting justice for crimes committed against them in a place they should call home.
And in their usual version, Kenyans on Twitter expressed their dissatisfaction with how the security concerns are being addressed. Some feel that the government is not doing enough to deal with problems that cause tribal tensions.
— Cosyba (@CosybaRobert) December 27, 2015
Intertribal clashes in 2015? Wish we knew how insignificant tribes are #Narok
— Barry (@Barry_am) December 28, 2015
— Johnson Nderi (@nderi_j) December 28, 2015
Stop hacking each other to death. No one shall carry his earthly wealth to Heaven. #Narok
— Alfred Mutethia (@Alfredmute) December 26, 2015
And some thought that the communities were to blame:
I don’t see why we are concerned about #Narok. We are addicted to negative tribalism and support tribal leaders. Eat your young!
— ORE B.T. (@BeasunshineA) December 27, 2015
— #HappyNewYear (@sangura_julius) December 27, 2015
On Sunday, December 27, the Nation reported that fighting continued in Olpusimoru even after Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and the Inspector General of Police, Joseph Boinnet, arrived in the area to contain the violence which started on Christmas eve.
At least 1,000 families have fled from their homes, displaced by the clashes that have also claimed three lives and left several other people injured. This is double the number that fled on Christmas day.
Nkaissery, who addressed the two warring communities separately, urged them to stop fighting at once and ordered police to arrest those found with arrows and other weapons. He also ordered the arrest of local leaders who are said to have been inciting both sides to violence.
There have been allegations that politicians were behind the fighting that has claimed three lives since it broke out on December 24.
And as we head into 2016 when political campaigns will gain momentum, does the chaos being experienced now portend what is to be expected?