Luna Liu

Luna Liu (Vital Voices in Kenya): Luna obtained her BA from School of Law, Tsinghua University in Beijing. She continued her legal studies at the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, where she also interned in the Xinhua News Agency, the Phoenix TV Station, and the Omnicom International PR Company. During college, she volunteered for an international education program in Turkey and worked as an art dealer in 798 Modern Art Center in Beijing. At the time of her fellowship, Luna was studying for a Masters degree at the University of Maryland specializing in International Development. She also interns as a Research Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Root of Kenyan 2007-2008 Post-Election Violence

29 Jul

“My parents, my relatives and I are in suspense about the release of the Waki List—We are all afraid that we may suffer from attacks once again if the Kalenjin politicians’ names are mentioned on the Waki list or their convictions found.” Said a Kikuyu primary school student within the RiPe For Harvest Mentorship Program.

The men group in Eldoret IDP camp

The ICC trial may be not enough to erase the root of Kenyan 2007-2008 post election violence, as the controversy in terms of land property had existed among Kenyan tribes post colonial period due to the land-redistribution policy announced by the first president Kenyatta after national independence. While Kalenjins, the major tribe in Eldoret, believe that President Kenyatta, as a Kikuyu, migrated a huge population of his own tribe from the Central Province to the Rift Valley Province (also as “White Highland”), where the soil is more fertilized for farming; the Kikuyu men group that we interviewed in Eldoter IDP Camp told us the other side of the story.

“Maisai was the original tribe that lived in this area (the Rift Valley). Since British Colonial, different tribes, Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Luo, etc, were brought by the white people from all parts of the country here to work in their farms. After independence, the local farmers either bought or were assigned with lands left by their former employers. It is not true that we Kikuyu obtained a larger proportion of land than other tribes.”

Another man continued, “However, the local politicians always promote the local major tribe Kalenjin with the idea that that we, Kikuyu, stole their land as a result of being favoured by President Kenyatta’s land policy. During the election campaigns in 2007, those politicians spoke to their tribal supporters as ‘if you vote for me, I will give the land back to you and let Kikuyu go back to where they came from!’”

Besides being incited by political propaganda on the issue of land, Kalenjin and other tribes, under politicians’ emotional manipulation, fear the fact that Kikuyu tribe is the majority nationwide. There is a belief among Kalenjins in Eldoret that if Kikuyu no longer held their land, they are not able to populate and therefore Kikuyu’s population will decrease, so does their economic and political power in Kenya.

If Kikuyu, a minority in this region, have been suffering so much due to the majority’s hostility that has existed for decades, why do not they move to other places where local communities are friendlier towards them? For example, the province where most residents are Kikuyus?

“If we could have this choice, we already did.” Grimly answered a Kikuyu man in the camp.

“It is not possible to sell the land here with a reasonable price as the only customers who will buy the land from us are local Kalenjins. The land only could be sold out with a very low price under their control.” He continued.

Did they seek help from governments for group resettlement in other regions?

“The local governors did not support us to do so.” Answered the men group. Ironically, the reason that Eldoret local governments refused to help group migration is because they hope to keep national tribal integration—at least, geographically.

If Kikuyus in Eldoret IDP camp do not account on ICC trial, what do they think should be done to resolve the long-lasting conflicts between them and local Kalenjins?

“We need a new legal system—A revised constitution that protects our property from locals’ intervention and uncorrupted local courts where the local criminals could be punished for what they have done to us.” Concluded the men group in IDP Camp.

For most recent report about life in Eldoret IDP Camp : Scars and Sufurias (, published by Standard Newspaper on Monday 27th, July.

Posted By Luna Liu

Posted Jul 29th, 2009

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