Land at heart of Kenyan violence

( AP ) - In village after deserted village across Kenya's fertile Rift Valley, the story is the same. Rampaging mobs have chased away Kenya's most powerful tribe, the Kikuyu, burning homes to the ground and killing hundreds in the worst ethnic bloodletting in 15 years.

The violence erupted amid accusations President Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, stole the Dec. 27 vote. But for many here, it's all about one thing: land.

"They think all of Kenya is theirs," Felix Biwot, an ethnic Kalenjin, said of the Kikuyus. "But this land belongs to all of us."

Biwot spoke near Kiambaa, where dozens of Kikuyus were burned alive in a church last week by Kalenjin mobs. The atrocity was the worst in a week of mayhem that killed 500 people and displaced 250,000.

The tensions trace back to Kenya's colonial era, when white settlers seized land in the Rift Valley of West Kenya. The Kikuyus who lived there were dispersed throughout the country, and the British ruled by keeping the ethnic groups divided.

At independence in 1963, Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, took over. Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, helped Kikuyu families buy land from white settlers, including territories across the Masai- and Kalenjin-dominated Rift Valley. He also packed top government posts with his ethnic kinsmen.

The Kikuyu quickly prospered, growing into the most powerful ethnic group in the country, running business and politics. The favoritism shown to Kikuyus fueled a simmering anger among the nation's 41 other tribes. Kikuyus make up the largest tribe, but still only about 22 percent of Kenya's 34 million people. The Kalenjin make up 12 percent, and the Luo - the tribe of presidential challenger Raila Odinga - about 13 percent.

Now the old bitterness is erupting over the land, which stretches golden with corn to the horizon, dotted with flat-topped acacia trees.

"Many people were disposed of their land during the colonial era, and these historical injustices were not addressed until now," said Odenda Lumumba, national coordinator of the Kenya Land Alliance.

Kenya suffered similar clashes during its first multiparty elections in 1992.

Then, as now, there were tribal killings and home burnings. And then, as now, the desire for land - and the economic power and security it brings - stoked the anger.

"Kenyans romanticize land," said Ken Ouko, a lecturer in sociology at the University of Nairobi. "They use the land as identity because the Kenyan nation has failed to rally the people together as one."

President Kibaki paid a visit to thousands of displaced Kikuyus Wednesday in Burnt Forest, about 20 miles south of Eldoret. The Kikuyus here were chased away from their villages by mobs armed with machetes, sticks and arrows.

Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
Loading Bars
Latest
BP: 3D seismic survey program on Block D230 completed successfully
Iran reveals funds allocated to battle coronavirus spread
Turkey names new minister of transport and infrastructure
Iran's export down since early March
Online supermarket create with help of Azerbaijani Agency for Development of SMEs
Iran talks investments made in Persian Gulf Mining and Metal Industries SEZ
Forecast growth in new solar, wind plants to be wiped out for 2020
Exports of products up in Iran's Isfahan province
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Georgia through its ports
Oil price slump could lead to flow of capital towards renewable energy
Production shut-ins amid lower oil prices may be substantial this time
Azerbaijani company begins production of pure alcohol
Gross external debt of Georgia increases
International Investment Position of Georgia down
Iranian currency rates for March 28
Azerbaijan's parliament discloses MPs' coronavirus test results
Iran announces number of wells drilled in oil, gas sector
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender for repair services
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender
Anglo Asian Mining continuing with gold production in Azerbaijan
Iran's president urges for proper implementation of social distancing plan
WB provides additional support to improving efficiency and innovation in Azerbaijan’s judicial system
Outlook for oil market remains bleak in near-term
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 21 times
Coronavirus significantly affects real estate market of Georgia
Iran develops medkits for coronavirus testing
Iran hopes to curb and even eliminate coronavirus spread in upcoming weeks
Iran's housing sales drop due to coronavirus outbreak
Georgian Poti port receives permission for expansion
Georgian TPP receives electricity generating license
Galt & Taggart Investment Bank forecasts possible coronavirus impact on Georgian economy
Review of car re-exports statistics in Georgia
Review of Georgian banking sector external debt
NATO praises Georgia’s efforts against coronavirus
TAP to shape Italy’s gas market in several ways: WoodMac
Australia tightens social distancing rules to combat coronavirus
U.S. COVID-19 cases top 100,000 as deaths surpass 1,500
Number of COVID-19 cases increases in Georgia
Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Mexico registers 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 total deaths
Turkey to cancel all int'l flights over COVID-19 fears
Chile government negotiates bill-paying delay for poor as coronavirus bites
Oman announces 22 new cases of coronavirus, 131 in total
Four passengers die on cruise ship with coronavirus outbreak off Panama
Belgium extends lockdown period until April 18
COVID-19 death toll rises to 12 in Israel
Italy has yet to hit coronavirus peak, lockdown set to be extended
Azerbaijan tightens special quarantine regime
How EU gas markets prepared for coronavirus?
British PM Johnson has coronavirus, self-isolates in Downing Street
Azercell called on Azerbaijanis to show solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic
43 more test positive for coronavirus in Azerbaijan
Greenfields Petroleum announces agreement to defer payment of its senior secured debt
Azerbaijan’s president signs decree to exempt import of some medical supplies from VAT
Azerbaijan's Azeltech talks difficulties in buying composite materials for production
AZAL talks rules for flights on Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku routes for Azerbaijani citizens
Azerbaijan's logistic company talks reasons for decline in freight traffic volumes
Operation of express buses to airport limited in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan restricts entry/exit from regions
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Cesme announced
Azerbaijan's parliament to discuss joining another international document
Azerbaijani MPs to sit no less than 2 meters apart at parliament's session
Current account deficit reaches its historical minimum in Georgia
Volume of cargo transshipment from Slovenia through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Tunisia through Turkish ports disclosed
Georgia increases imports of chemical products from Turkey
Georgian TBC Bank signs loan agreement with OPEC Fund
BOTAS International Limited reveals volume of oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks of Georgia decreases
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
Volume of cargo transshipment from Iran through Turkish ports disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Lebanon through its ports
Volume of cargo transshipment from Libya through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Romania through Turkish ports disclosed
Azerbaijan reveals volume of cargo transportation by all modes of transport
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Algeria through its ports
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
Movement of transit trucks ensured in Azerbaijan, says ministry (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Emergency Ministry increases number of tents at border reception and sorting points (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Coronavirus cases detected in two more Kazakh regions for first time
Belavia extends flight suspension to Georgia
Azerbaijan launched additional six plants producing medical alcohol, says minister
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets
PM: Azerbaijani state to undertake all required measures to combat coronavirus
Azerbaijan increases building gypsum production
Another provocation of Armenian Armed Forces suppressed: Azerbaijan’s State Border Service
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus announced
Regular bus services may be suspended in Azerbaijan’s capital in case of non-compliance with quarantine
Medical Insurance Agency: Over 3,300 people quarantined in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan sees growth in car manufacturing
Kristall Plus CJSC begins medical alcohol production in Azerbaijan
Assistant to Azerbaijani president: 400 more Azerbaijani citizens to be brought back soon
EU4Energy implements new project for gas consumers in Georgia
Azerbaijan Housing Fund to attract repair services
Volume of food production up in Azerbaijan
Cabinet of Ministers: Over half million masks bought in Azerbaijan in three days
WB supports Georgia’s ongoing reforms in economic areas
Kyrgyzstan increases car imports from Turkey
Number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia reaches 81
All news