From his farm that afternoon, Nyaigoti could see houses and huts burning at a distance. It dawned to him that the dreaded tribal clashes had come to his home area, Cheranganyi, at the heart of Kenya’s Rift valley.
It did not take long before Nyaigoti saw a group of Marakwet warriors storming his home and his neighborhood armed with pangas, rungus, machetes, guns, slashers, axes, arrows, and spears; ready to destroy anything they found on their way. Efforts to resist the attacks bore no fruit as all the houses were surrounded by angry-looking Marakwet men, who commanded everyone to come out of their houses and lie down or stay in and get burnt.
Despite heavy pleas to be spared and even with women and children cries, Nyaigoti and his neighbors watched as their homes were being set ablaze right in front of their eyes as the Marakwet warriors shouted in Kiswahili, ‘bebeni vitu zenu mrudi kwenu, hii ni shamba ya Wamarakwet’ (Pack your things and go, this is Marakwet’s land).
Nothing happens without a reason. All these domestic wars are triggered by intolerance, lack of diversity, unequal distribution of resources, ethnicity, envy, exclusion, and bad politics.
Cheranganyi was not the only place marred by ethnic clashes, as the 2007/2008 post-election violence triggered chaos in many parts of Kenya. Many people had to migrate from places where they had worked or settled for a long to their ancestral homes for safety.
Sadly, many lives were lost, and property worth millions destroyed. This tainted the image of our country which had been for a long time an oasis of peace.
This was the worst tribal violence ever experienced in the Kenyan territory; however, it was not the only one as previously we had experienced similar incidents in the 1992 and 1997 general elections. Additionally, we witness many similar events due to cattle rustling, boundary, and land disputes, among others frequently.
Nothing happens without a reason. All these domestic wars are triggered by intolerance, lack of diversity, unequal distribution of resources, ethnicity, envy, exclusion, and bad politics. We have seen the detrimental effects of war, therefore, learning to co-exist by embracing diversity, settling disputes amicably, sharing resources equitably, and promoting tolerance will ensure we have one peaceful and cohesive country hence an end to the root causes of domestic violent extremism.