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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Maasai in Kenya

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Date(s) Item
1895 Kenya became a British protectorate.
Jan 1 - Dec 13, 1899 Land regulations enabled white settlers to expropriate much of the indigenous peoples' fertile land in the highlands.
1915 The British colonial administration instituted policies thwarting Africans from owning land in the Rift Valley area. The creation of the "White Highlands" displaced thousands of African nomadic groups (the Kalenjin, Maasai, Samburu, and Turkana) who had lived in the area. While the colonial settlers ousted these pastoralists who were unfit for providing agricultural labor, they recruited cheap labor from the neighboring areas (now Central, Nyanza and Western Provinces). Thousands of Kikuyu, Kisii, Luhya, and Luo squatters were brought into the Rift Valley area in the early 1900s.
1921 - 1930 European and Indian settlers made political claims. African political activity began to be organized, especially among the Kikuyu in Nairobi and among the Luo.
1923 The British colonial administration attempted to curb European and Indian aspirations for internal self-government.
1925 Local native councils were introduced.
1929 Jomo Kenyatta, a leader of the Kikuyu Central Association, went to the Colonial Office in London to present the Kikuyu's land claims. He stayed there until 1947.
1939 The colonial regime settled over 4,000 Kikuyu squatters on the areas (including Olenguruone, now in the Nakuru District) which had originally belonged to the Maasai.
1944 For the first time, an African was appointed to a position in the Legislative Assembly. The Kikuyu-led Kenya African Union (KAU), the first nationalist movement, was established. The Kikuyu had been the most politically organized group for over 20 years.
1947 Jomo Kenyatta returned to Kenya and became President of the KAU. Rising population, land shortages, erosion, urban unemployment, and increasing discontent with white settlers' "apartheid" attitude had led many Africans to increase anti-colonial nationalistic activities.
1952 - 1956 A terrorist campaign was launched by the Mau Mau, a secret society consisting primarily of Kikuyu. It was both a civil war among the Kikuyu and a challenge to colonial authority. The British imposed a state of emergency and brutally suppressed the Mau Mau, killing about 13,000 Africans and relocating more than 100,000 Kikuyu under harsh conditions.
1953 KAU was banned and Kenyatta jailed for his alleged involvement in the Mau Mau rebellion.
1956 The Mau Mau uprising was defeated, but ultimately it helped bring about Kenyan independence in 1963.
1957 Africans members were elected to the legislative council on a limited franchise.
1960 The state of emergency imposed on 1952 was lifted. The British agreed to set a date for the transition to majority rule. The Kenya African National Union (KANU), a descendant of KAU, was formed. The KANU (led by Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga, and Tom Mboya) was formed by the country's two largest ethnic groups, the Kikuyu and Luo.
1961 Kenyatta was released from detention. The British were forced to introduce a new policy which allowed Africans to buy and farm the White Highlands. Kenya's first pre-independence general elections were held. The KANU defeated the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). The KADU (led by Masinde Muliro, Daniel arap Moi, and Ronald Ngala) represented smaller and less advantaged ethnic groups of the Great Rift Valley and coastal areas, including the Kalenjin. The KADU advocated Majimboism (regionalism in Swahili) which would create ethnic-based, semi-autonomous regions.
Dec 1963 The constitution set up a multi-party system. Three political parties, the KANU, KADU, and the African People's Party (APP), contested the second general elections. The KANU won and Majimboism was abandoned.
Dec 12, 1963 Kenya became independent. Kenyatta became Prime Minister and began to consolidate his broad coalition by recruiting members from diverse ethnic groups and ideological factions.
Dec 1964 The Republic of Kenya was declared and Kenyatta became President. He handpicked Oginga Odinga (from a radical faction of the KANU) as a Luo Vice President. A conflict within the KADU between Luhya and Kalenjin over the land in the Great Rift Valley took place. Kenyatta resolved the conflict in favor of the Kalenjin under the condition of the merger. Following the relatively voluntary dissolution of the KADU and the APP, the ruling KANU became the sole legal party and regional powers were abolished. The absorption of KADU reinforced the conservative faction in KANU. Between 1964 and 1978, President Kenyatta was twice re-elected and the Kikuyu disproportionally held political positions. The Kikuyu obtained large tracts of the fertile land in the process of the Africanization of the former White Highlands at the cost of other groups, including the Kalenjin. Many Kikuyu believed that they had suffered the most during the colonial period and therefore they should benefit the most from independence. In the meantime, the Kalenjin turned westward against the Luhya. Since independence, Kenya continued as a stable state and its economic growth rate was 6.2 percent in the decade 1964-1974.
1966 The Kenya People's Union (KPU), led by Vice President Odinga (a Luo), was formed. The radical faction of KANU defected to the KPU. Subsequently, Daniel arap Moi, a Kalenjin and a former KADU leader, became Vice President.
1968 The constitution was amended to make the Vice President acting president in case of the president's death.
1969 Tom Mboya, the Luo secretary-general of KANU and the expected successor to Kenyatta, was assassinated. Ethnic violence between the Kikuyu and the Luo erupted. President Kenyatta banned the KPU and detained its leaders. Kenya became a de facto one-party state. Many Kenyans considered Kenyatta's repressive response as a means of consolidating the power of the KANU and the Kikuyu. Several Kikuyu political leaders were associated with a tribal organization called the Gikuyu/Kikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (GEMA) which was aiming to keep Kikuyu political hegemony. Despite the country's independence, land claims of communal pastoral groups such as the Maasai and Kalenjin who were evicted from the Rift Valley area during the colonial period were not accommodated. British settlers continued to own much of the fertile farmland. A land settlement scheme was established for those British settlers who wanted to sell their land. Encouraged and supported by Kenyatta, Kenyan squatter labor, particularly Kikuyu farmers, left the overpopulated Central Province and purchased land in the Rift Valley during the 1960s and 1970s.
1970 Vice President Moi became the most visible non-Kikuyu politician.
1976 - 1977 GEMA failed to introduce a constitutional amendment to prevent non-Kikuyu Vice President Moi from succeeding Kenyatta.
Aug 1978 President Kenyatta died. Moi was sworn in as acting president. He disbanded all ethnic organizations, including GEMA.
Nov 3, 1978 Moi declared the Preservation of Public Security Act without ratification by the Kenya parliament. It instituted a state of emergency and led to the arrest of hundreds of political dissidents including university professors, students, and journalists.
1979 Moi became President in an election where several established politicians were rejected by the electorate. Moi chose Mwai Kibaki (a Kikuyu) as Vice President. At first, Moi attracted support from some Kikuyu and many Luhya. However, Moi soon followed the footsteps of his predecessor by disproportionately appointing Kalenjin to positions of power in his regime and by granting economic advantages to the Kalenjin. Accordingly, Moi's support base narrowed significantly.
1980 Moi's close friend, Charles Mugane Njonjo, Kenya's attorney general for 17 years, appointed himself minister of constitutional affairs.
1981 - 1982 Moi banned trade and professional unions and suppressed strikes and protests by doctors, bank employees, industrial workers, and students.
Jun 17, 1982 Kenya officially became a one-party (the KANU) state through a constitutional amendment engineered by Njonjo. To be eligible to vote, citizens were forced to pay to register as KANU members. For the candidate to qualify for the election, he had to be a life member of the KANU.
Aug 1, 1982 There was a coup attempt by disaffected soldiers, allegedly supported by Odinga and other Luo and Kikuyu politicians. Over 1,000 members of the armed forces were court-martialed, hundreds more were detained without trial, and some 80 university students were arrested.
1984 A land dispute led to ethnic clashes between the Nandi and Luhya ethnic groups at Kapkangani.
1986 The Moi regime harassed family members of exiled politicians. After 1986, the country's political situation rapidly deteriorated. As political arrests continued, many university lecturers, journalists, students, and former parliament members went into exile. Moi accused a left-wing group, called Mwakenya (the Union of Nationalists to Liberate Kenya), of being run by fanatic socialists and, by 1987, arrested over 100 people connected to this movement. Mwakenya, allegedly consisted of Kikuyus and Luos, appeared to be an ethnic and ideological threat to Moi.
Jul 1986 Moi prohibited Kenyan journalists from reporting arrests and trials.
1988 Mwakenya was disbanded.
1988 - 1989 Trials and imprisonments of alleged dissidents continued. Those associated with the clandestine opposition movement Mwakenya, and two other unpublicized groups, the KRM and the Kenya Patriotic Front (KPF) were among those target.
Feb 1988 As the sole KANU candidate, Moi began his third five-year term as President.
Mar 1 - Jun 30, 1988 Moi banned newspapers and magazines including Beyond, Financial Review, Development Agenda, and the Daily Nation.
Sep 1988 Seven months after being released from a six year prison term, Raila Odinga, the son of Oginga Odinga and the leader of the unpublicized Kenya Revolutionary Movement (KRM), was again detained.
Dec 1988 David Owak, a former associate of Oginga Odinga, was arrested.
Jun 1989 In response to international pressure, Moi released all political prisoners who were being detained without trial and offered amnesty to dissidents living in exile.
1990 Moi resisted growing demands for a multi-party system, threatening that multipartyism would revive inter-tribal violence.
Feb 13, 1990 The murder of Robert Ouko, a former foreign minister who had criticized the Moi regime, provoked widespread anti-government protests by students claiming that the government covered up the circumstances of his death. The government banned demonstrations.
Jul 1990 Two leading opposition figures were arrested and 20 people died in subsequent protests. President Moi continued to oppose political reform. By 1990, most key positions in the government, the military, and state-owned companies were taken by the Kalenjin. Since Moi came to power, Kalenjin and Maasai politicians in KANU have advocated the introduction of the Majimbo (federalism) system (which was proposed at independence but abandoned by then-President Kenyatta, a Kikuyu), claiming that the Rift Valley was originally the land of the Kalenjin and other pastoral groups, including the Maasai, Turkana, and Samburu. These Majimboism proponents have called for the expulsion of all other ethnic groups from the Rift Valley. If implemented, Majimboism would expel millions of people (predominantly members from the Kikuyu, Luhya, and Luo) who have settled there since the 1920s and who had legally bought land since independence. The Rift Valley area is not only the country's most fertile farmland but also accounts for the largest number of seats in Parliament. Not surprisingly, ethnic groups that Majimboism proponents proposed to expel from the Rift Valley are those perceived to support the political opposition.
Jul 7, 1990 Security forces brutally dispersed the pro-multipartyism rally at Kamakunji, Nairobi, led by the Law Society of Kenya and the churches. It was attended by thousands of supporters and triggered three days of rioting known as the Saba Saba (meaning seven seven, i.e., July 7) uprising.
1991 The Majimbo rallies were held to oppose multipartyism and to call for "outsiders" in the Rift Valley Province to go back to their "motherland."
Aug 1991 Odinga and other opposition leaders established a coalition group called the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), calling for greater political pluralism. The government broke up their demonstrations and arrested their leaders.
Sep 1991 Moi urges Kisii and Maasai to stop hostilities along their common border. Moi had mediated in a similar dispute in 1964.
Oct 29, 1991 Ethnic clashes erupt at Meteitei farm in Tinderet, Nandi District, on the border of Rift Valley, Nyanza, and Western Provinces, when Kalenjin warriors attacked the Luo community. Although the incident began as a land dispute, the fighting had escalated within days. The victims claimed that the attackers intended to expel non-Kalenjins and political opponents from the Rift Valley Province. After the violence broke out, leaflets signed by a group calling itself the Nandi Warriors, were distributed in the area calling on non-Kalenjins to leave the area by December 12 1991.
Nov 1991 The suspension of aid by the World Bank and bilateral donor nations pending economic and political reforms forced Moi to announce the introduction of a multi-party system in Kenya.
Nov 18, 1991 The government expelled 10 foreign diplomats, most of them from the United States, for supporting dissidents. The Kalenjin attacked hundreds of Luos residing in Nandi and Kericho Districts, looting and burning Luo homes. A Luo policemen trying to stop the attack killed a Kalenjin, resulting in further attacks by the Kalenjin.
Dec 1991 The Kenyan parliament repealed Section 2(A) of the Constitution which prohibited opposition parties. The tribal fighting spread to large parts of the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza areas. The Luhya, Kikuyu, and Kisii were greatly affected, but the Kalenjin were also victimized in retaliatory attacks by the Luhya, Luo and Kikuyu.
Dec 27, 1991 Ethnic clashes raged in the Nzoia, Kericho and Kisumu Districts as the Kalenjin warriors looted and burnt property of the Luo and other ethnic groups. The newly legalized political opposition parties blamed Moi and KANU for instigating the violence to destabilize and intimidate the areas with opposition support.
Jan 1992 The violence continued in the Nandi and Kakamega Districts.
Feb 1992 Fighting escalated dramatically. In Kabose village of the Nandi District, one attack displaced one hundred people.
Mar 1992 Reports of ethnic violence become commonplace in the press. The Kalenjin Assistant Minister Kipkalia Kones declared Kericho District a KANU zone and stated that the Kalenjin youth in the area had declared war on the Luo community in retaliation for several Kalenjins killed in earlier violence. In the Chemichimi (the Bungoma District), the Kalenjin attacked the Luhya community. The brutal attack against non-Kalenjin ethnic groups caused retaliatory attacks against Kalenjins in many areas. The clashes also erupted on the border of the West Pokot and Trans Nzoia Districts which were long known for cattle-rustling between the Kalenjin and the Luo, Luhya and Kisii. The government accused the opposition parties of fueling the violence through Libyan-trained recruits and opposition leaders accused the government of orchestrating ethnic violence in order to weaken moves towards multipartyism. Moi prohibited all political rallies, citing the threat of tribal violence.
Apr 1992 New clashes broke out between the Kisii and the Maasai while fighting continued to rage in the Bungoma District between the Kalenjin and the Luhya. In the Bungoma District alone, 2,000 people were displaced and 60 killed. Victims in the Molo Division report seeing 4 government helicopters bringing arrows to Kalenjin attackers and that out of uniform soldiers are fighting along side the Kalenjin.
Jul 1992 Fighting exploded in a Kalenjin village (where 70% are Kalenjin, 20% Luhya, and 10% Teso), the Bungoma District, when the area was attacked by the Luhya. Ten Kalenjins were killed. 500 Kalenjins attacked the Kikuyu, Luhya, and Kisii in Olenguruone of the Nakuru District.
Sep 1992 According to a parliamentary committee report, senior government officials had been involved in training and arming Kalenjin warriors to attack villages and drive away non-Kalenjin ethnic groups from the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza Provinces.
Dec 3, 1992 Fighting occurred between the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu in the Burnt Forest area near Eldoret and Uasin Gishu Districts. 15,000 Kikuyus and Luhya fled the area as hundreds of Kalenjin warriors killed, looted and burnt their homes. In retaliation, Kikuyu youth stoned Kalenjins' cars. Throughout December the violence continued in the Uasin Gishu District.
Dec 29, 1992 Moi and the KANU retained power with only 36% of the popular vote in the country's first multi-party elections since independence. Division was apparent within the three major opposition parties, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya (FORD-K), the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Asili (FORD-A), and the Democratic Party (DP). Ford-A and Ford-K were split from the original FORD coalition, contributing to the victory of the KANU. The opposition alleged the elections had been rigged and fraudulent. Thousands of Kenyans were unable to vote as a result of the displacement and destruction caused by the pre-election ethnic fighting. Majimbo rallies have continued since the election. Even after the election, the ethnic violence continued, mainly by Kalenjin warriors. The Kikuyu appeared to be most affected by the attacks. During the election, local government Minister William ole Ntimana from Enosupukia (Narok District), a Maasai, consistently called for the expulsion of "foreigners" from the Rift Valley, accusing the Kikuyu of having suppressed the Maasai and taken their land. During 1991-1992, political and ethnic violence erupted in the Rift Valley and Western Provinces of Western Kenya. Pro-government Kalenjin, armed with bows and arrows, were responsible for many attacks and little was done by the government to protect the victims, mostly Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, and Kisii. The Maasai and the Turkana, traditionally nomadic groups, joined Kalenjin attackers.
Jan 1, 1993 The violence continued unabated throughout 1993. The Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, and Nakuru Districts were the most affected. The fighting in the Burnt Forest area in Uasin Gishu predominantly hit the Kikuyu community by the Kalenjin during 1993. The Luhya living in the Trans Nzoia (Saboti) and Bungoma (Chwele) Districts were most affected by Kalenjin warriors. There has been strong Kalenjin (Saboat) nationalist sentiment in this area. The Saboat nationalists in the Mt. Elgon area has demanded the government redraw district boundaries to give the Sabaot their own territory. About 2,000 Luhyas have lived in Kapkateny camp in the Bungoma District since they fled from the attack by the Kalenjin in April 1992. The fighting in the Nakuru District in the southwest of Rift Valley Province occurred intermittently since the violence began in February 1992. Most of the Kikuyu (over 40,000) left this area and settled the Elburgon or Kamwaura camps which are areas the government has not assisted.
Jan 4, 1993 Moi began his fourth successive term in office. Moi's Kalenjin group and that of Vice-President George Saitoti's Maasais dominated the 25 member cabinet while the Kikuyu and Luo have been given one representative each in the cabinet.
Mar 1993 At the state opening of Parliament, Maasai youths attacked those who supported opposition parties in the 1992 elections.
Apr 1993 The KANU Secretary-General Joseph Kamotho publicly admitted that the Maasai were part of a 3,000 strong youth squad recruited by the KANU to repress opposition supporters. Kamotho later recanted and denied the reports.
Aug 1993 About 300 Kalenjin warriors attacked the Molo area of the Nakuru District, displacing hundred of Kikuyus. The Kalenjin burnt more than 200 houses belong to Kikuyus, but the local police took no action.
Sep 1993 A group of Kikuyus called for the revival of the GEMA, a tribal organization that was disbanded by Moi in 1978.
Sep 2, 1993 The government declared Molo (Nakuru District), Burnt Forest (Uasin Gishu District), and Londiani (Kericho District) as security operation zones and sealed off the areas to prohibit individuals from outside the area from entering.
Oct 1993 An estimated 500 Maasai warriors attacked an area, Enosupukia (Narok District), south of the security operation zones, burning houses of Kikuyu farmers and uprooting 30,000 Kikuyus. Throughout 1993, hundreds of Kalenjin warriors attacked and occupied farms belonged to Kikuyus, Luhyas, or Luos without being arrested or charged for their actions. On a smaller scale, Kalenjin were attacked in retaliation. In late October, Maasai and Kikuyu, in separate incidents, raided police stations for arms.
Dec 1993 Three people were killed in clashes between coastal ethnic groups and the Luo in Mombassa.
Jan 1994 New violence occurred in the Rift Valley area, destroying the property of some 4,000 persons. Ten people are reported killed.
Jan 17, 1994 A meeting of reconciliation between Kikuyu and Maasai was held, but there was no evidence that the meeting helped to curb violence between the two ethnicities.
Mar 19, 1994 Police deny a report of fresh violence in Molo Division, Rift Valley Province, in which 9 people were killed. Kisii were the reported victims in the fighting.
Apr 1, 1994 At least 18 people have been killed in Rift Valley Province during late March and early April. In early 1994, some 10,000 Kikuyu were reportedly driven from their farms near Naivasha in the Rift valley Province by Maasai, allegedly with the backing of armed off-duty Maasai rangers.
Apr 5, 1994 Moi imposed a curfew over the Vasin Gisho District of Burnt Forest in the Rift Valley Province. Fighting killed at least 12 and 65 houses were burned during the past week in Burnt Forest. Non-Kalenjin were being systematically expelled from the region.
May 1994 An estimated 2,000 people were forced to flee their homes and at least 8 died in violence near the coast. About 1000 local KANU officials in Elgeyo-Marakwet, a Kalenjin district, switched party loyalty to FORD-Kenya saying that Mukihisa Kituyi, a Luhya member of FORD-Kenya, would be the only MP authorized to speak in their name and represent them in parliament. The swingover is a strong indication of growing dissent within the Kalenjin group. Moi's loyalty comes from his own tribal group, the Tugen, and that of his strong-arm men, the Elgeyo. KANU cannot claim to represent all Kalenjin.
Aug 1994 Poor rains in the East for the third straight year will bring hunger to the region bordering Somalia. During the past three years of fighting, food production has been disrupted because of the displacement of Kikuyu who were primarily farmers.
Sep 1994 Of the 250,000-300,000 displaced from the Rift Valley Province since 1991, 175,000 remain displaced.
Dec 25, 1994 Local and foreign relief workers alleged that the Moi regime promised to resettle 3,000 displaced families from Enosupukia (mostly Kikuyu farmers) but instead dumped them on the roadside at what the government said was their "ancestral" home. In a dozen towns across the Rift Valley, Kalenjin and Maasai warriors burned houses, stole livestock, and killed people who had been settled there for over 30 years. As many as one million became homeless as a result of the ethnic clashes that erupted in 1991. More than 17,800 Kikuyus were reportedly internally displaced in Maela Camp, Kenya.
Jan 1995 An Amnesty International report Attacks on Human Rights Through the Misuse of Criminal Charges was published. In it, Kenya was criticized for its human rights abuses and lack of commitment to democratic reform. The report states, "although opposition political parties operate openly and freely, opposition members of parliament, human rights activists, journalists and other government critics have been arrested in connection with peaceful demonstrations, speeches, publications or investigations into human rights abuses." A new development in Kenya was the government's decision to use capital criminal charges (which are not bailable) against people whose only offense is that they are non-violent critics of the Kenyan government. AI holds up the trial of Koigi Wamwere as a case in point. AI considers him and his fellow detainees to be prisoners of conscience arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned for their non-violent beliefs.
Jan 13, 1995 In what appeared to be an incident of cattle rustling, a group of Maasai warriors attacked a farming settlement on the way to the Maasai Mara game park, burning huts and killing 11 Kikuyus.
Feb 1995 Violence was reported during by-election in the Rift Valley Province near Webuye.
May 21, 1995 KANU youth attacked opposition supporters at a rally in Kisii.
Jun 20, 1995 Richard Leakey, a white paleontologist, registered a new opposition party, called the SAFINA, in order to forge a national alliance capable of challenging President Moi. Moi immediately went on the offensive against Leakey, denouncing him a foreigner, traitor, and atheist who would find it "extremely difficult to relate to God-fearing Kenyans" and vowing that "Kenya would never again be ruled by a white man." Leakey served as the Moi-appointed director at the Kenya Wildlife Service from 1989 to 1994.
Jul 1995 Human Rights Watch published Old Habits Die Hard: Rights Abuses Follow Renewed Foreign Aid Commitments. HRW reported that since the renewal of aid commitments in 1994 ($800 million in aid was pledged to Kenya by foreign donors at a December 1994 meeting), human rights conditions in Kenya have deteriorated. The report found that resettlement of refugees in Kenya by the government and UNDP was failing; the government banned organizations and the media in 1995; there were attacks against human rights organizations and media offices; there were numerous complaints by opposition members that their meetings were disrupted by police or local authorities and that they were denied permits to hold meetings; and that from January-March 1995 there were arrests and/or detentions of about a dozen opposition MPs. In addition, the report states, "multipartyism has not been accompanied by the requisite institutional and legal reform essential to genuine democratization."
Jul 31, 1995 Moi announced the creation of a new district by splitting Kisii district, population 1.2 million. Six new districts have been created in 1995. Malaria has killed between 300-500 people in Kisii over the past two months.
Oct 19, 1995 Riots break out in Nairobi slums between Luo and Nubians. The Luo support the opposition FORD-Kenya while the Nubians support KANU. At least five people were killed.
Oct 29, 1995 The high profile trial of former official Koigi Wa Wamwere was seen by many diplomats as a sign that Moi was sliding back from his commitment to democratic reform towards the political harassment and violent tribal divisions and widespread corruption of the past. Wamwere was sentenced to four years imprisonment for robbery of a police station. Wamwere has a large following in the Rift Valley and opposition leaders protested his arrest and sentence. Leaders of Safina were arrested and some beat up in front of a Nairobi courthouse by members of KANU's youth wing as they were protesting Wamwere's trial. Wamwere is a Kikuyu aligned with Safina.
Dec 15, 1995 The ruling KANU party outlined a five-point strategy aimed at strengthening the party in preparation for the upcoming 1997 elections. It will launch a national youth development program to coordinate and mobilize youth while assisting them in project identification. Party spokesman Taikwen Kamotho issued a stern warning to leaders who engage in tribal talks saying the party will no longer tolerate leaders who engage in tribal comments.
Jan 1996 There were several reported incidents of ethnic violence. Violence was reported January 6 in Thessalia, a camp for displaced persons and January 11 in Longonot where 10 people were killed. In addition, displaced persons from Maela camp who were forcibly dispersed by the government in December 1994 were again forcibly moved by the district administrator. Those remaining in the camp were subjected to nightly attacks by administrative police.
Jan 28, 1996 More than 200 Maasai armed with clubs, spears and bows and arrows invaded a trading post in northern Kenya and attacked local residents. The unconfirmed reports from Kenyan newspapers said three were killed in Ngara-Ndare north of Mt. Kenya. The Maasai fought members of the Kikuyu, Embu and Boran tribes.
Feb 6, 1996 Six people may have been killed in violence sparked by conflict between the Kisii and Luo communities living on the Migori/Kisii district border.
Mar 1996 The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995 was released by the U.S. Congress. Its findings include: there is substantial evidence that high-level government officials were complicit in instigating and promoting the ethnic clashes of 1991-1994; ethnic violence continued in January 1995, but there were no other reported incidents for the rest of the year; government officials, particularly Rift Valley Province Minister Ntimama, continued to make threatening statements against non-Maasai living in the Rift Valley Province; the UNDP program to assist displaced clash victims came to a standstill in January 1995 due to lack of government support; the Moi government restricted the right to peaceful assembly by refusing to license meetings and by forcibly breaking up gatherings. FORD-K, FORD-A and the DP each estimated they had been denied permits for public meetings more than half a dozen times; the government continued to discriminate against Kikuyu youth in the Rift Valley. They were denied national identity cards without which they cannot marry, attend university, obtain employment or register to vote; a series of talks between Kikuyu and Kalenjin elders that focused on reconciliation and resettlement possibilities ended abruptly when the DP won the September by-election in the Kikuyu constituency of Kipipiri -in April 1995 opposition activist Ngengi Muigai brought charges against Local Government Minister William Ntimama, a Maasai, for allegedly having incited Maasai tribesmen during the 1991-94 clashes in Narok. Attorney General Amos Wako acted on his constitutional authority to quash the charges before the trial commenced.
Mar 27 - 28, 1996 About 40 local and international NGOs based in Kenya, individuals and religious bodies' representatives met to discuss the situation of peace in Kenya. The meeting was an outgrowth of Peace Net, founded in September 1993 as the Ethnic Clashes Network, as a response to ethnic violence. The leaders expressed their fear of renewed clashes, concern over the "culture of violence" taking over the country, and the need for "concerted effort to restore peace and stability to Kenya" They warned that the "level of violence-political and otherwise-appears to escalate as we approach the 1997 election year."
Apr 9, 1996 KANU parliamentarian Kipruto arap Kirwa, who launched a verbal attack against President Moi two weeks ago, has disappeared fueling suspicions that he has been arrested for his outspokenness. Kirwa had accused Moi of stifling alternative views in KANU and of being undemocratic. Dissatisfaction within the Kalenjin community has been most evident among the Nandi, the sub-group to which Kirwa belongs, but other members of the KANU alliance have also shown their impatience with Moi.
Apr 10, 1996 Police assaulted voters who turned out at a by-election in the Nairobi constituency of Starehe. The opposition claimed it was an attempt to intimidate supporters in an anti-KANU stronghold.
Apr 13, 1996 The FORD-K congress, called to sort out long-standing leadership problems, degenerated into squabbling and stone-throwing between two factions. Raila Odinga, son of the party's founder, leads a mainly Luo faction while Kijana Wamalawa leads a faction with broader national support including his own Luhya community and some Luo.
May 1996 Because the Moi government still refuses to willingly condemn the violence of 1991-4 and admit its past mistakes, Peace-Net has begun to stress the need for justice as well as reconciliation. The group endorsed a recommendation that justice-implying the prosecution of clash instigators as well as compensation and resettlement-be sought for survivors of the violence.
May 3, 1996 Kenya's Daily Nation reported that Moi asked the Kalenjin community to remain united as their solidarity in Kenya's ruling party will be the basis of their future political survival.
May 24, 1996 Kenya's The People reported that local government minister William ole Ntimama claimed that "people" are again encroaching on Maasailand.
Jun 1996 The Kalenjin town of Eldoret in the Rift Valley Province has benefited greatly in the past few years from President Moi's largess. It has received a hospital, university and soon-to-be-built international airport and munitions factory. Opposition leaders are protesting the secrecy of the munitions plant and sent a protest to the Belgian government which is funding its construction. Some politicians suggest that Eldoret with its bullet factory, military barracks and airport will provide a defensive enclave for the government in case of trouble.
Jun 8, 1996 Present Moi is attempting to get Kikuyu and Luo to defect from the opposition to KANU. About a dozen Kikuyu MPs have rallied to KANU's ranks from FORD-K and the DP in Molo District, Rift Valley Province. The groundwork for "Operation Smile" was carried out in tight secrecy by Moi and Nicholas Biwott and a group of pro-government Kikuyu. The president's interest in persuading Kikuyu and Luo to defect has KANU officials from smaller Kenyan tribes worried as these have traditionally been privileged allies of the Kalenjin.
Jul 1, 1996 KANU party leaders from the Rift Valley allege in Kenyan newspapers that there is an opposition plot to oust President Moi. Moi himself later accuses FORD-K and FORD-A leaders Odinga and Kenneth Matiba of planning a civil disobedience campaign in the Rift Valley in the run-up to elections.
Jul 16, 1996 Maasai herdsmen have been at odds with wildlife management caretakers. In the past, the Parks Service often chose animals over humans in their efforts to preserve the parks and their wildlife. Now, the Maasai are allowed onto reserves, but they are in competition with the wildlife. Occasionally, individuals are killed or their livestock trampled in elephant attacks.
Sep 10, 1996 The Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC) blamed the government for failing to halt extra-judicial executions, torture and restrictions on movements and theft of public land. The KHRC said, "in the last six months, the KHRC has been receiving horrifying accounts of torture in custody. Regular police shoot 'suspects' in the streets and administrative police systematically torture their suspects to death in custody." It also reported ethnic violence in Kenya's northern region where 35 people were killed between June 19-August in what police described as cattle rustling. In the past, police reported ethnic violence as "cattle rusting." The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru reported that 30,000 people from Enosupukia remained displaced. Ten thousand remained at Maela, 450 at Elburgon, two at Molo, 250 at Kamwaura Catholic Mission, 3000 at Nakuru, 200 at Thessalia, and 50 at Kerisoi. The District Commissioner had said, without going into details, that all refugees had been resettled.
Sep 21, 1996 Moi is reportedly keeping tight political control over the national electoral commission. New identity cards have a space for "ancestral homeland" and the opposition fears this is a way of forcing electors to vote in their tribal homelands, not in regions where they currently live and work. Old identity cards will not be honored at the polls.
Sep 29, 1996 Opposition and religious leaders are calling for a new constitution that will change the electoral system. KANU officials flatly refused to consider changing the electoral rules, much less replacing the constitution. For the past 15 months, Moi has refused to register Safina as a political party.
Oct 5, 1996 General Daudi Tonje replaced the retiring General Mahmoud Mohamed as Kenya's chief of staff. Tonje is from Moi's Tugen clan of the Kalenjin ethnic group, as was Mohamed.
Oct 9, 1996 Kenya's Daily Nation reported that two people were hacked to death and a 10-year-old seriously injured when more than 100 raiders attacked a camp inhabited by victims of the 1992-93 ethnic violence in the Rift Valley Province.
Aug 13, 2004 In Nanyuki, more than 3,000 Maasai demonstrated to mark the end of a British land agreement set to expire 100 years after its signing. The Kenya government, however, claims that the lease was for 999 years rather than 100 years. (BBC News World Report, 09/01/2004, "The Maasai's century-old grievance"; Africa News, 08/14/2004, "Maasai Demand Ancestral Land")
Aug 22, 2004 While herding cattle on disputed land, Kenyan police shot and killed one Maasai and seriously injured four more. (Agence France Press, 08/22/2004, "Kenyan police kill eldery Maasai herdsman, wound four in land clashes")
Aug 24, 2004 An estimated 200 Maasai gathered to demonstrate for the return of their ancestral lands. Police responded with teargas and arrested 13 protesters. (Africa News, 08/25/2004, "Riot Police Disperse Maasai Land Protest")
Aug 28 - Oct 1, 2004 In a land disputes between Maasai and Kipsigis, at least 15 people were shot and injured and two were killed. (Africa News, 9/3/2004, "Calm Returns to Border Village After Clashes"; BBC Monitoring Africa--Political, 10/1/2004, "Kenyan paper calls for defusing of tension in country's Rift Valley")
Dec 4, 2004 Maasai protested a Wildlife Amendment Bill outside the Parliament Buildings in Nairobi (Africa News, 12/04/2004, "Wildlife; MPs Boycott Meeting to Discuss Wildlife Bill")
Dec 20, 2004 On a farm in Naivasha, more than 30 armed herders demanded compensation for the injury and death of livestock after the ranch's owner hit them with a car. (Africa News, 12/21/2004, "Herders Demand Cash From Rancher")
Dec 21, 2004 Maasai marched to Nairobi to protest a meeting of those opposed to a project to construct 200 houses in Kajiado district. (Africa News, 12/21/2004, "Herders Demand Cash From Rancher")
Jan 2005 Maasai and Kikuyu clashed over access to a stream, killing at least 15 and displacing hundreds. (Africa News, 01/28/2005, "Kenya; Why Killings Aren't About Water Rows"; ReliefWeb. 01/31/2005. “Families flee new violence in central Kenya.” Agence France Presse.)
Feb 23, 2005 Fighting over water rights between Maasai and Kikuyu reignited, killing four and displacing many more. (ReliefWeb. 2/24/2005. “Four killed in renewed triabl fighting in Kenya.” Xinhua News Agency.)
Apr 1, 2005 Along the Bomet and Trans Mara Districts' borders, Maasai and Kipsigi communities clashed, injuring at least 15 people. (Africa News, 4/2/2005, "15 injured in clashes")
Apr 22 - May 21, 2005 About 50 Maasai marched to a police station to protest the release a white rancher accused of murder. In additional protests, hundreds of Maasai blocked the road leading to a game reserve after charges against the rancher were dropped. (Agence France Presse, 4/22/2005, "Maasai protest 'release' of aristocrat murder suspect in Kenya"; "The Associated Press, 05/21/2005, "Maasai protest after charges dropped against rancher accused of killing of warden")
Dec 16, 2005 In Narok, more than 500 Maasai protested the exportation of 175 animals to Thailand, stating that they should be consulted first as they were the "gatekeepers". (Africa News, 12/17/2005, "Maasai Stage Protest Over Thai Wildlife Gift")
Jan 26 - 29, 2006 Police burned down the homes of 4,000 people to prevent them from squatting in the Eburru forrest. The people returned, however, which contributed to the death of two men in an attack by Maasai warriors on Kikuyu squatters. (ReliefWeb. 01/26/2006. “Two men speared to death in Kenyan ethnic attack.” Reuters Foundation.)
Jul 8, 2006 In Narok, there was a gathering of nearly 5,000 Maasai where they aired their frustration over their domination and marginalization. (Africa News, 07/09/2006, "Kenya; Maasai: We Won't Be Divided")


© 2004 - 2024 • Minorities At Risk Project

Information current as of July 16, 2010