5 July 2014

Kenya: Kikuyu Elders Warn of Ethnic Violence

THE Kikuyu Council of Elders yesterday said the country is "headed for chaos" due to current politics. While conducting rituals at Uhuru Park, which they said will cleanse the minds of Kenyans of ethnic and political hatred, the elders said the country may experience clashes similar to those witnessed in the 2007-08 post-election violence.

Speaking on behalf of the elders, Samuel Kamitha said political leaders should give peace a chance. "The country is at crossroads. We must pray for this it because as it looks, we are headed to a dangerous ethnic and political violence," he said.

"Ethnic hatred will send this country down a cliff if we do not seek God's help." Dressed in traditional regalia, their faces covered in ash and chicken feathers stuck in their beards and heads, the elders later marched barefoot and sprinkled holy water around the park.

They waved their fly whisks in all directions. The elders were carrying three big gourds, which they later broke near freedom corner. They stood in circles before one of them smeared ashes on the faces of the rest.

"We are not doing this just because of the Saba Saba rally or any other political activities that may take place here. We are persuaded by the fact that this country needs peace," Kamitha said.

In 2012, the elders conducted similar rituals to seek ancestral intervention on the ICC cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta, Vice President William Ruto, Francis Muthaura and Joshua Arap Sang.

At the same venue, Kenya Women for Peace marched and waved placards, calling for peace in the country. The placards read "Jubilee and Cord women for Sustainable peace".

"We must now allow what happened in 2007-08 to repeated. As women we bore the brunt of such violence," said Jane Anyango from Kibera. They chanted peace slogans and marched through the park.

Fanice Muhonja said they they had planned to march to the National Assembly but later realised the House does not sit on Fridays. "We want women MPs to support peace and cohesion. They must be at the forefront and be the voices of reason," she said.

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