January 2017

Kiarii Rugami Wa Chumbuu, the Murang’a County Chairman explaining to the members of press the gravity of the matter as per the Kikuyu traditions.

About 100 Kikuyu elders converged in Ndakaini Village, Gatanga Sub-County of Muranga to perform a traditional curse on Royal Media Chairman S.K. Macharia for what they described as his betrayal of his own community.

The elders from across the country, performed their rituals which included slaughtering a one-coloured he-goat and roasting it as they uttered their curses to the ancestors before they pierced the meat with thorns, indicating the kind of wrath that faced the media mogul. According to the Kikuyu tradition, this is a worst case scenario for any person that can lead to a calamity to the affected person, most probably hitting its target within the next 90 days.

“This is real. It is no joke. We gave him the mandatory 14 days to apologise to the community for exposing them to attacks by other communities especially at this electioneering period,” said Kiarii Rugami Wa Chumbuu, the Murang’a County Chairman.

He said that as the tradition of the Agikuyu, it was a bad omen for any member to expose the community to enemies with intent to cause bloodshed for their own kinsmen.

“We have sent delegations to him but he has dismissed the call of the community, leaving us with no choice but to go ahead with the rituals. He has instead denied ever uttered words that could jeopardise the safety of the Agikuyu Community. We curse his business. We curse his generations. He is not lucky if you may ask me. Curses do strike,” he said.

Ndichu Njuguna, the National Deputy Chairman of Kikuyu Council of Elders said that the exercise would serve as a lesson to the community so as to deter any other person who might have similar thoughts.

“We have sacrificed a black goat to appease the spirits and save the community from possible bloodshed. Macharia’s case was that of pride and we cannot not wait for bloodshed just to appease an individual. His case is closed,” said Ndichu.

Sometimes in December last year, SK Macharia revived a 10-year dispute that plunged the country into chaos when he told the Senate’s Legal Affairs committee that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga won the 2007 presidential election. Although he did not substantiate his preposterous allegations during his submission on the contentious Election (Amendment) Bill, Mr. Macharia claimed to have evidence to back his claims that Raila won the 2007 duel.

The businessman claimed that his media house conducted a parallel tallying of votes from all polling stations in the country, where statistics showed that Raila emerged the victor.

“The one who was declared the winner in 2007 was not the winner. We tracked all the results through satellite phones and as per my records, Raila won the elections,” Macharia told the senators when he gave a historical perspective of why elections in Kenya are disputed. 

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Curses have been an occasional tool for Kenyan communities powerless to stop certain ills in the society. Details of such rituals are very hard to come by as only those who have undergone the traditional stages of the Kikuyu culture are allowed to attend, the more reason we were not allowed to witness them in this particular case.

In November 2012, a group of Kikuyu elders met at Uhuru Park in Nairobi to seek intervention from their ancestors on the Hague cases. Dressed in traditional regalia, they at 11am, streamed to a corner at the park to plead the case for the then Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Public Service head Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua Sang.

The group, which was led by two elders, comprised seven men carrying huge traditional calabash gourds, one with a polythene bag full of ash — one adorned in a red, white and purple robes similar to that worn by heads of the clergy and on his head a miter-a liturgical cap similar to that worn by the Catholic bishops.

The elders, whose faces were covered in ash with chicken feather stuck in their beard and hair, walked in a straight line behind the old man brandishes his traditional fly-whisk as if giving directions and orders. They formed a circle around the old men with the whisk and the traditional bishop and kept whispering as they encircled him performing other rituals.

And one by one the men carrying the gourds rushed to the centre and broke the gourds and return to the circle, as they are sprinkled with ash.

Kuraga kwa inya (ceremony of calabash breaking), is a liturgical cleansing ritual, the first was done a hundred years ago to liberate the country from colonialists. This one is to seek ancestral and godly powers to waterdown the negative effects of evil schemes hatched by external forces and unnecessary foreign pressures on the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta acknowledges cheers from enthusiastic supporters at Gatitu Junction in Thika where he had visited to urge them to register as voters.
The residents of Makongeni Estate, Gatuanyaga and Ngoliba Wards in Thika Town Constituency on Friday went home a dejected lot after the much anticipated visit by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta was prematurely cut short and diverted elsewhere. This was after ugly incidents that were perpetuated by local politicians.

An earlier schedule to the area was early morning changed to accommodate other very urgent official duties, prompting the president to start the Kiambu County visit at Gathage to Kiganjo in Ruiru Sub-County, then proceed to Gatundu, Mangu, Thika, Makongeni, Juja and wind up his tour in Githurai. His Ngoliba visit was differed due to time factor.

What agitated the people was the cancellation of the Makongeni visit where thousands of curious supporters braved the scorching sun to meet their president.

Why the cancellation?
Sources privy to us say that the president was very infuriated by the manner in which some Thika leaders organised some youth to shout down each other in a battle of supremacy with the aim of catching the president’s eye.

Even though the drama to castigate a section of Kiambu leaders started way back in Ruiru Town, President Uhuru got infuriated at the Gatitu Junction after supporters of a certain Thika Town politician shamelessly displayed their candidate’s banners to the president’s view and drowned his voice as he was addressing the mammoth crowd that had gathered to hear him. Several attempts by the president to cool off this temper yielded no fruits but instead worsened as supporters of other candidates confronted this group.

It was at this juncture that President Uhuru lost his cool and openly blasted these youth.

“Angalia hawa vijana wanapigana juu ya viongozi na labda hata baada ya kuwapigia kura hamtawaona tena. Mkiumia mnafikiri hao viongozi wanajali? Waaah! Jameni wacheni kelele. Tarorai gukiga! Mureciria wanyonia banner niyo iguguthura? Wona ndamiona kana njage kumiona gatiri na thina. Ati gutwike ati muroka kunegena haha uhoro wa banner. Bure nyinyi! Ujinga!” retorted Uhuru.

(Look at these youth fighting over leaders who may be will dessert them immediately after the elections. If you hurt each other here, do you think that these leaders will give a damn? Please stop making noise! Just look at these fools! Do you think that by showing me that banner it will translate to votes? Whether I see it or not that doesn’t make any difference. How do you dare come here to fight over a banner? Very useless fellows! This is stupidity!)

He pleaded with the youth not to allow themselves to be misused by politicians in the name of soliciting votes.

The situation in Makongeni.
Intelligence reports at the time indicated that the situation in Makongeni was very volatile as different politicians had organised a political match ups for a similar reason, probably prompting the president to cut short his Thika visit without notice.

Youth donned in campaign materials bearing the images or names of particular candidates were littered all over Makongeni area shouting each other down. The situation in mid-morning and early afternoon erupted into fights as well-known supporters of one politician attacked and stoned convoys and motorcade belonging to their rivals.

In one incident, a vehicle belonging to Thika Town aspirant Patrick Wainaina had its windows smashed and a stone badly injuring one lady supporter who was in the vehicle. Another of his supporters was attacked with a knife which nearly chopped off his finger.

When we caught up with Wainaina, he said that the incident was very unfortunate as this was not the right way to win votes for the president nor ensure development was achieved in the constituency.

“They attacked my convoy and injured several people. One lady is now nursing a very serious wound that has needed to get six stitches. If we allow hooliganism to creep into our politics, we will scare away investment as no one will be comfortable enough to invest in an insecure environment,” said Wainaina.

He said that it was very wrong for politicians to politicise the voter registration exercise as it had everything to do with the future of the people.

“This month has been set aside for voter registration and not for politics. The most important thing now is for politicians and other leaders to join hands and mobilise all the unregistered voters at the grassroots to get out and register. To my fellow politicians, mudslinging and name calling will not translate into votes. Let’s tell ‘Wanjiku’ what agenda we have for her,” he said.

He pointed out that his priority at the moment was the re-election of the president for a second term as this will guarantee the people of Kenya more development.

He lamented over the low voter registration turn out in Thika Town Constituency saying that the data from the IEBC showed that the performance was below par.

“We feel honoured to host the president into this county and we hope that his visit will boost the exercise to register more voters. It is worrying that we have about 50,000 people in Thika Town Constituency who have ID cards but have not yet registered as voters. As at yesterday, only about 10,000 had registered as voters. 
 We therefore need to work extra hard to ensure that we beat our target in the next two weeks. It is our collective responsibility as the people of Thika to ensure all potential voters get registered within this stipulated time,” concluded Wainaina.

Thika West DCC Tom Anjere addressing participants in the voter registration exercise in Thika High School for The Blind.
Political competition and jostling for the various seats amongst rival players within Thika Constituency and Kiambu County in general may be a major reason slowing down voter registration, 12 days since the second phase of the voter registration kicked off in the country.

This transpired during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by Thika West Deputy County Commissioner Tom Anjere and the constituency IEBC Registration Officer Edwin Mwangi Kaburia with the aim of charting the way forward in optimising the results of this exercise. Several speakers noted that politicians in the region failed to read the people’s mood and went separate ways instead of shelving political differences for this common goal.

“Our politicians are jeopardising this whole by each going their separate ways due to personal ego a factor that is causing voter apathy. Some are personalising the exercise and using it to fight their opponents something that is discouraging those not willing to support them. This is not good for anyone and will definitely have a toll on the presidential vote,” said Nominated MCA Florence Njeri Ngeru (Flozie) who is aspiring for the Township Ward seat.

The MCA also pinpointed that some aspirants were transporting voters from other regions with an eye for the Jubilee Party nominations. Though voters were free to transfer their votes from one polling station to another, she warned of the danger posed if the candidates in question happened to lose in the primaries.

“If these candidates lose in the nominations, they are unlikely to transport the same people to the polling station come August. All these votes will be wasted as the ‘hired voters’ will not be willing to spend money on fare to come and vote in a ‘foreign’ land,” she said.

Responding to the concerns of the participants, Anjere said that security for everyone will be paramount. He said that his administration will take very stern measures and actually arrest any politician found inciting people or sabotaging peace and tranquility.

In order to meet the sub-county target, the DCC said that they will use elders, members of the community policing and Nyumba Kumi Initiative, the clergy, the business community, trade unionists, bodaboda and group leaders of various associations, ensuring that they did a door to door campaign. There are also plans to begin mobile voter registration points that will target work stations, learning institutions and religious gatherings.

“Our target for this sub-county is about 53,000 new voters and other than the strategies that I have just mentioned, we intend also to use elders and the clergy in identifying the owners of the more than 2,500 ID cards still lying at Huduma Centre. Majority of these people are not from Thika and we are going to employ the services of the NYS and more clerks to ensure that they all get to their owners. The centre itself, the IEBC offices and the chiefs will be operating from between 7am and 6pm in order to serve as many people as possible,” said the DCC.

The IEBC Registration Officer lamented that the exercise had taken off on a slow start thus appealed to the people to come out in large numbers especially those who missed out on the 2013 registration.

“We have only done about 50% of our target. We are currently targeting the youth especially those who were not yet registered by 2013. Transfers of polling stations will only be done from our office and at the Huduma centre so as to avoid congestion in the registration centres and enable us serve more people faster,” said Kaburia.

He noted that the highest workload they faced was in the transfer of voters from one polling station to another something he termed as alarming and needed civic education. He added that the slip they issued after registration was just to acknowledge one’s registration as the ID or a passport would be the documents to use during the actual voting.

Hospital Ward MCA Mwangi Wamwangi and Thika KNUT Executive Secretary Joe Mungai Ngige promised to mobilise the youth and teachers respectively in making the exercise a success.

Others leaders present included the Huduma Centre Manager Josephine Mwengi, aspirants for various political seats, the clergy, business and other community leaders.

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