Stolen from the people of Africa during the 1884-85 Berlin Conference, where Great Britain, France, Germany and Portugal were chaired by King Leopold II, who negotiated their claims to African territory, formalising and mapping out the continent’s future; Kenya was born.
Going back to the 1st Century AD, the Kenyan coast was a major market used by Arab traders, who due to Kenya’s proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, established Arab and Persian colonies there.
Taken from the http://www.kenyarep-jp.com/kenya/history_e.html website:
Evolving from a mixture of Bantu and Arabic, the Swahili language then developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. When the Portuguese arrived in 1498, the Arab dominance on the coast was clipped, as the Port of Mombasa became an important resupply stop for ships bound for the Far East. The Portuguese gave way in turn to Islamic control under the Imam of Oman in the 1600s until another European influence came along, this time from the United Kingdom during the 19th century.
The roots of the colonial history of Kenya go back to the Berlin Conference in 1885, when East Africa was first divided into territories of influence by the European powers. The British Government founded the East African Protectorate in 1895 and soon after, opened the fertile highlands to white settlers. Even before it was officially declared a British colony in 1920, these settlers were allowed a voice in government, while the Africans and the Asians were banned from direct political participation until 1944. During this period thousands of Indians were brought into Kenya to work on building the Kenya Uganda Railway Line and subsequently settled there, whilst inviting many of their kith and kin who were mainly traders from India to join them.
Resistance to Colonialism — the Mau Mau
In 1942, members of the Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba tribes took an oath of unity and secrecy to fight for freedom from British rule. The Mau Mau Movement began with that oath and Kenya embarked on its long hard road to National Sovereignty. In 1953, Jomo Kenyatta was charged with directing the Mau Mau and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. Another freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi was arrested in 1956 for his role in the Mau Mau uprising as one of the leaders of the struggle for independence and was subsequently hanged by the colonialists. Kenya was put under a state of emergency from October 1952 to December 1959, due to the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule and thousands of Kenyans were incarcerated in detention camps. During this period, African participation in the political process increased rapidly and in 1954 all three races (European, Asian and African) were admitted into the Kenya Legislative Council on a representative basis.
A Facebook conversation with Victor Tom
While some people wish us to think life in Kenya has settled down quickly, with the country coming out stronger and more united than before, as President Mwai Kibaki begins his second and final term in office; a Facebook conversation with Victor Tom proves rather different.
Victor, a former social worker for NCCM- National Catholic Commission on Migration, who lives in Nakuru, fears for his people as the country enters election mood.
With good reason to, remembering Kenya’s history of violence and loss of life during election seasons, Victor goes onto paint a worrying picture of corruption in Kenya; while Britain looks on with consent.
Referring back to the http://www.kenyarep-jp.com/kenya/history_e.html website we learn:
The Grand Coalition
Kenya held its Tenth General Election on the 27th of December 2007. A dispute that followed the announcement of the result by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) unfortunately degenerated into an unprecedented seven-week long spate of violence in some parts of the country, leading to loss of lives, dislocation of some citizens, destruction of property and general disruption of social and economic life.
“The ruling coalition is causing tension among the Kenyan people.”
Victor was kind enough to ask me a question:
“Can you follow Kenyan politics, the sayings say that politics is a dirty game but in Kenya politics is more dirty than everywhere. UK as our colonial parent, why have you not advised our corrupt government leaders?”
Victors makes a very good point, to which I was keen to answer:
“I would be very interested in following Kenyan politics. Corruption is my specialist subject and you are right to question why the UK hasn’t intervened. The true is (as you may have guessed already) corruption is entirely intentional. I’m looking forward to learning more from you.”
“My country is in the verge of collapse after the President yesterday asked his MPs to pass a vote of using manual register for voting which the opposition rejected and saw mischief in it. Honestly its a way of rigging. We have the BVR kits but they insist that they may fail.”
What is a BVR? Biometric Voter Registration System (BVR)
The BVR system is used for registering voters. It comprises a laptop, a finger print scanner and a camera. BVR captures a voter’s facial image, finger prints and civil data or Personally Identifiable Information (PII)-Name, gender, identity card/passport number, telephone number etc. The registration takes place at the registration centres where an individual is expected to vote. The BVR method of registration was the only system deployed by IEBC to register voters just before the 2013 general elections.
All over the world, Election Management Bodies (EMBs) deploy various new technologies with the aim of improving efficiency and effectiveness of the electoral process. Kenya’s Election Act 2011 allows the Electoral Commission “to use such technology as it considers appropriate in the electoral process”. In doing so, IEBC has, and will, pursue electoral technology to the extent that it answers to some compelling need, such as the need to eliminate double registration and the need to fasten the transmission of results. The Kenyan Constitution (2010) dictates that whatever system that the Commission adopts must be simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent.
Victor puts it more bluntly, “this corrupt government executives want to rig elections by using manual, register. Too bad on the 4th if they don’t drop that idea the Kenyan people will take to the streets.”
Knowing from first hand experience the danger Kenyan people are in during election season, Victor continues:
“I don’t think the United kingdom is doing much in helping Kenya, in fact the UK is silent over allegation of corruption in Kenya. The US and some European states sometimes question, but UK is not. We know the UK as our colonial mother and we believe if it signalled some warning on corruption at least the corrupt leaders will try to stop. I tell you Matt, there is tension in Kenya and a lot of us who support the opposition must vacate the city and go to a safer ground before or after the election. Am planning to relocate to a more safe place because in 2007-2008 I almost lost my life.”
- “Kenyan politicians are idiots – these guys steal money meant for hospitals.”
- “The ruling coalition is causing tension among the Kenyan people. We are entering into election mood and people fear.”
- “We are entering Election campaign months and a lot of hate speeches are expected.”
The expert on Kenya – Victor Tom.
“Ask me anything about Kenya and you’ll get the most accurate and adequate information.”
Victor’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org – Contact him for his personal number.