Mungiki: A political deal gone sour?

BBC: State 'sanctioned' Kenyan clashes (Mar 5 08)

The BBC has learnt of allegations of state-sanctioned violence in Kenya during the turmoil that followed last December's disputed presidential poll.

Sources allege that meetings were hosted at the official residence of the president between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures.

The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to protect the president's Kikuyu community.

The government denied the allegations, calling them "preposterous".

"No such meetings took place at State House or any government office," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told the BBC.

He said the government had been cracking down on the sect for the last year, arresting their leaders.

"There's no way the president or any government official would meet openly or even in darkness with the Mungiki," he said.

Gangs with machetes

The allegations come as parliament prepares to open on Thursday, laying the ground for a new coalition government.

Although parliament's focus will be on healing ethnic divisions and creating a coalition government - allegations of state involvement with a banned Kikuyu militia, known as Mungiki, will not go ignored, the BBC's Karen Allen in Nairobi says.

She says there is growing suspicion that some of the violence that led to 1,500 people being killed and hundreds of thousands displaced was orchestrated by both sides of the political divide.

The BBC source, who is a member of the Kikuyu tribe and who is now in hiding after receiving death threats, alleged: "Three members of the gang met at State House... and after the elections and the violence the militias were called again and they were given a duty to defend the Kikuyu in Rift Valley and we know they were there in numbers."

On the weekend of 25 January, the Rift Valley towns of Nakuru and then Naivasha were the focus of the some of the worst post-election violence.

Eyewitnesses spoke of non-Kikuyu homes being marked, then gangs with machetes - who they claim were Mungiki - attacked people who were from other ethnic groups.

Sources inside the Mungiki have told the BBC that it was a renegade branch of the outfit that was responsible for violence, not them.

A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of state complicity.

He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called "matatus", packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.

"When we were there... I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed with men," he said.

"There were no females... I could see they were armed.

"We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go."

But Mr Mutua said that the government deployed the military to deal with the Kikuyu youth who had tried to take the law into their own hands.

"The Kenyan government... used helicopters to drive them away, arrested them and actually got to kill quite a few of them torching houses," he said.

"The government stamped on them immediately."

The allegations come at a time of growing concern that there was pre-planned violence on both sides of the political fence, in the aftermath of Kenya's disputed election result.

The International Crisis Group has already raised such concerns and Human Rights Watch is expected to publish its report making similar claims shortly.

There are plans to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the coming weeks to examine claims of election violence.

The allegations are likely to be among the themes investigated by a commission created to address the issue of post-election skirmishes.


Former Defence Minister Njenga Karume silently led a group of Mungiki leaders led by the slain wife of Mungiki leader Maina Njenga to State House exactly two weeks before the General Elections.

The details of the meeting held in one of the rooms in the Nairobi State House remain scanty, but even on the day it was held it was leaked to the media, including the respected British Broadcasting Corpration (BBC) but due to the intensity of the rumours that had characterized the 29007 general elections Editors prudently ignored the story. can today reveal that the Mungiki leaders were promised a new year Presidential pardon for petty offenders, a blanket amnesty that would also see Maina Njenga released.

The leaders were also promised that 500 youth forwarded by their provincial representatives would be absorbed in the National Youth Service and eventually into the army - a programme that the government has been trying to push to date.

However trhe fine print of the promises was an exclusive affair between Njenga Karume, a Presidential representative (name withheld) and the murdered wife of Maina Njenga.

It is those state secrets that forced the police to act "in interest of the nation" and murder the wife of Njenga since she was the only one privy to the exact details of the discussions.

She was also the only link between the outside world and Njenga. A well connected street mover she coordinated a major demonstration in the city centre recently.

How come Kibaki, Raila, Saitoti or any other political administrator has not come out to condemn the sect or re-assure Kenyans of security??

How come the police and intelligence services have failed to know in advance of the Mungiki attacks?

How come the police seem overwhelmed by the sect?

How come Mungiki is running Nairobi and the government is silent?

Is Mungiki = Government and Government = Mungiki?

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