State Sanctioned Kenyan Clashes

The BBC has learnt of allegations of state-sanctioned violence in Kenya during the turmoil that followed last December’s disputed presidential poll.

Watch video here

Sources allege that meetings were hosted at the official residence of the president between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures.

The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to protect the president’s Kikuyu community.

The government denied the allegations, calling them “preposterous”.

“No such meetings took place at State House or any government office,” the government said in a statement posted on its website.

Such “unfounded lies” are “injurious to the president, government and the people of Kenya”, the statement said.

We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go -Rift Valley policeman

The allegations come as parliament is due to open on Thursday preparing the way for a new coalition government.

Although parliament’s focus will be on healing ethnic divisions and creating a coalition government – allegations of state involvement with a banned Kikuyu militia, known as Mungiki, will not go ignored, the BBC’s Karen Allen in Nairobi says.

She says there is of growing suspicion that some of the violence that led to 1,500 people being killed and hundreds of thousands displaced was orchestrated by both sides of the political divide.

Gangs with machetes

The BBC source, who is a member of the Kikuyu tribe and who is now in hiding after receiving death threats, alleged: “Three members of the gang met at State House… and after the elections and the violence the militias were called again and they were given a duty to defend the Kikuyu in Rift Valley and we know they were there in numbers.”

Groups of Kikuyu groups roam the streets of a neighbourhood of Naivasha as fires burn
Non-Kikuyu homes in Naivasha were ransacked and set alight

On the weekend of 25 January, the Rift Valley towns of Nakuru and then Naivasha were the focus of the some of the worst post-election violence.

Eyewitnesses spoke of non-Kikuyu homes being marked, then gangs with machetes – who they claim were Mungiki – attacked people who were from other ethnic groups.

Sources inside the Mungiki have told the BBC that it was a renegade branch of the outfit that was responsible for violence, not them.

A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of state complicity.

He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called “matatus”, packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.

“When we were there… I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed with men,” he said.

“There were no females… I could see they were armed.

“We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go.”

The current and previous minister for internal security have both been invited to respond to the allegations. So far they have declined to do so.

The allegations come at a time of growing concern that there was pre-planned violence on both sides of the political fence, in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed election result.

The international crisis group has already raised such concerns and Human Rights Watch is expected to publish its report making similar claims shortly.

There are plans to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the coming weeks to examine claims of election violence.

The allegations are likely to be among the themes investigated by a commission created to address the issue of post-election skirmishes.

MUNGIKI SECT
Banned in 2002
Thought to be ethnic Kikuyu militants
Mungiki means multitude in Kikuyu
Inspired by the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s
Claim to have more than 1m followers
Promote female circumcision and oath-taking
Believed to be linked to high-profile politicians
Control public transport routes, demanding levies
Blamed for revenge murders in the central region

Maina Kiai warned that Mungiki were being activated by the government in January.

An earlier report by Kenyan Corruption and Warlords here.

Newsnight Video here – the Dr Alfred Mutua govt spokesman gets Paxmanned at 22.30 mins in. Mutua claims that the BBC report is fabricated and finds the allegations are shocking. He also says that people are not happy for Kenyans to have found a solution to the crisis and ends asking what the reason for the allegations are “…Is it racism?”

Dr Alfred Mutua’s response to BBC report

BBC STORY BASELESS AND MEANT TO INCITE KENYANS INTO VIOLENCE

The Government of Kenya has been shocked by a story appearing on the BBC that alledges that members of the banned group Mungiki held meetings at Statehouse, Nairobi, the Official Office of the President.

This story is preposterous, baseless and at best defamatory. No such meetings took place at Statehouse or any Government Office. It is injurious to the President, Government and the People of Kenya for BBC to run such unfounded lies. What credible sources do the BBC have and what is the motivation of the BBC in running untruths and manufacturing such allegations? Why didn’t the BBC seek comment from the Government of Kenya before airing the story? The Government of Kenya will write to demand an apology, a retraction and an inquiry into the motive of the producers of the story.

The Government of Kenya takes great exception to the story, which is coming days after signing of a peace agreement, and can only conclude that the producers of the story are trying to dent the hopes of Kenyans and incite Kenyans into violence.

Kenyans should not believe the dangerous lies on the BBC story and should nurture the peace we enjoy with the knowledge that not everyone is happy that we are a stable country and that an African solution to the Kenyan crisis has been found.

The Mungiki sect is a criminal organization that has been banned by President Mwai Kibaki’s Government. Last year, the Government embarked on a special operation to wipe out the banned group and arrested its key leaders. The Government of Kenya has never worked or engaged banned criminal organizations for any work.

Dr. Alfred N. Mutua,
EBS PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY &
GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON

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