Amani Daily – 28 March 08

AMANI SASA DAILY UPDATE: 28th March 2008[1]


LEST WE FORGET: Over 1000 dead and thousands displaced

Updates and Upcoming Activities[2]


  • Margaret N. Muturi from Kiambaa – Karuri Njoro Village is asking for help. She is hosting 22 IDP’s from Molo, who need humanitarian assistance and business capital. The IDP’s include 3 males over 18 years, 2 of them fathers to the families, 2 women with nursing babies born during the skirmishes and on transit from Molo, 1 High school boy who needs to go to school, 11 primary school children and 3 kids at home based motherly care. You can contact Margaret on phone 0728 373 303.


  • The Peace and Security Council of the African union at its 115th meeting held on 14th March 2008 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia issued a communiqué, welcoming the signing of the political agreement in Kenya. They called on all Kenyans to support the leaders, and expressed appreciation for all regional and continental efforts made in support of the mediation process. They further requested the commission to remain engaged with the Kenyan parties and support them in the implementation of the agreements.


  • The first batch of graduates from the Kenya Veterans for Peace (KVP) completed their training and had their graduation on the 14th March 2008. The event was presided over by Mrs. Odeng’, senior P.A to the Nairobi Provincial Commissioner. The second batch is currently undergoing training at Peace House, Haile Selassie Avenue. Any assistance from counsellors, and peace building facilitators is highly welcome.


  • VUMA Kenya under whose auspices CCP-USA chapter is operating, is up and running. They are currently involved in various fund raising activities in support of the peace process in Kenya.


  • Leadership Institute of Kenya meetings are still on-going at LIKA offices, on Kirichwa road near Masaba Hospital at 5 p.m on Wednesday’s. They are currently planning to prepare books, which will be circulated to students in schools to train them on Kenyan culture. This is in line with their theme, Going National! All are welcome to this forum.


  • Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) have put together a petition effort calling on all the Members of the 10th Parliament of Kenya to reduce their massive salaries and return land that they have acquired illegally. They have been collecting signatures for the petition and an attached letter to be sent to the MP’s, and plan on reaching 10,000 signatures. It is posted online on: KPTJ urges all Kenyans, friends of Kenya, members in the diaspora to please take a moment and add your signature to the petition online. 





Blood, no matter how little of it when it spills, spills on the brain, the memory of a nation

Quote from Mongane Wally Serote South African Poet




This Week’s feature is from Binyavanga Wainaina who is a member of Concerned Writers for Kenya, a coalition of Kenyan writers writing for peace and sanity.


A ‘third force’ for peace in Kenya

Continental Drift

Binyavanga Wainaina


…A “third force” for peace is gathering around honest brokers like Ambassador Bethwell Kiplagat, a gentle man of great empathy and intellect, trusted by all in Kenya; retired general Opande – known in military circles around the world as a formidable UN peacekeeper; and retired general Sumbeiwo, a man of honour, trusted as a mediator by both sides in the Sudan conflict. At times like this, these three men are the most valuable real estate in Kenya.


I attended Mangu High School. It was a school for nerds – maths geniuses, all of us shabby – dirty, actually. The school gate never closed, and there were snakes and fist-sized spiders everywhere. In the 70s, the Jesuits had moved the school to a larger patch of land, but when the government took over the building stopped, and for 20years we occupied a half-built school.


But it was and is a special school. The motto was not in Latin like the more pretentious former missionary schools. Our motto was Jishinde ushinde – your battle is with yourself. It was a libertarian school: teachers left you alone, but the student ethic was, “you came alone with your suitcase.” Our exam results were often spectacular, especially in the sciences. One year we had 13 out of the 14 As in Kenya in advanced biology. Every year we took a third of the places in the medical school at the University of Nairobi. In 1988, we broke a national record and sent all our candidates to university. Mangu got students from all over Kenya. Schools like this throughout the country produce a pan-Kenyan elite.


The two dominant communities at Mangu were Luo and Gikuyu. The school itself was in Gikuyuland. As it has always been in Kenya, there was no animosity in the personal relationships between people from different communities. But there were larger political differences. The Ramogi Students’ Union, a Luo organisation, was a fierce and emotional human rights style students organization. It would lobby for the rights of Luo students, and had no problem organising and striking to effect these rights. The leadership was always composed of the most brilliant Luo students. Whenever they “rioted”, as we put it rather dramatically, there was a clarity of high purpose that would whip them all into one body – and behind these songs you could hear the national wounds: the death of Tom Mboya, the terrible Kenyatta years where Luo Nyanza was ignored by the government. The detention of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga – Raila’s father.


There were a few Gikuyu district student organisations, but none with any real organising power. The Gikuyu students, libertarian in sensibility and a majority in numbers, had informal leaders – mostly people who showed pragmatism. Kanyenje Gakombe was one: he was a scout, a prefect. He had a great friendship with the headmaster, and made piles of cash selling quarter loaves of bread in the dining hall. He headed no organisation that represented Gikuyu interests, but it was known that he was a man to talk to. He made things work and adjusted his politics accordingly.


Kanyenje shared a study with Nonkwe Nyaima Manyanki. They were best friends. Manyanki was a performance poet, a brilliant thinker, and the bravest man in school. He had no tolerance for dishonesty and could face down the entire administration – and our administration was quite dodgy. As a junior, I served them both. Made tea and kept them happy. Manyanki is the most influential person in my own political ethic, and in the idea of truth I was to seek as a writer. I admired his refusal to allow the low standards and petty brutality of our schooling system to be his status quo. At some point, for fear that the Ramogi Students’ Union would start to infect the rest of us, all “cultural organisations” were banned. We are all Kenyans, we were told.


Behind this was also the fear of a force that could overwhelm with its passion. It could carry you far ahead of yourself, make you towering and triumphant. Maybe, we would speculate, it would take on a slightly negative ethnic flavour, whipped up by passion, and soon we would see the school brawling in the parade, in front of the flag, and our hidden ugliness would be exposed. This being Kenya, it never grew strong enough for us to find out.

[1] This daily update is a service to all working for peace. It records the various independent initiatives currently underway to restore peace, assist the displaced and promote truth and justice.

[2] If you would like to contribute any information please contact Linda Bore at, or on 0711-269482

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