THE DEEP DIVE 11TH EDITION:
"The past is prelude"; violence in Laikipia and scars from past elections are warnings about Kenya's future
History provides stark moments that we either learn from, or repeat until we do. There could be no clearer illustration of this than the current wave of violence sweeping across the plains of Laikipia. Smallholder farmers have been chased from their homes by marauding raiders. Ranch-lands are now the temporary grazing fields of herds driven from hundreds of kilometres away. To cap it all, the government has promised that fire and fury will be wrought onto anyone violating a dusk to dawn curfew imposed in specific areas of that troubled county, as purportedly sharp-tongued politicians have been arrested and taken to court on various charges related to incitement of their communities. If you are reading this today, you may as well have been reading an update from 2017, when the cycle of violence that has kicked up in Laikipia county had conjured similar incidents. That the violence is cyclical in an almost "one-for-one" sequence of events is telling the country something. We at Africa Uncensored spent two years going back and forth between counties in northern Kenya, eventually winding up in Laikipia during the last cycle of violence, to produce a documentary that chronicles a significant portion of the deeper drivers of conflict in that region. Read on for more on this.
Last week, we premiered our new documentary, "Under Your Watch", a sobering account from Kenyans who understand the cost of election-related violence all too well. As one of the persons interviewed for the story, Redempta Mwikali put it, these stories should be our portraits of shame. Yet we must bear looking at them in order for more people to understand why credible, transparent and well managed elections are crucial for Kenya's democracy. In this edition of "The Deep Dive", Joy Kirigia, who produced the story, recalls her own feelings while in the field.
One more thing...
On a more positive note, we've got something very exciting cooking for all of you fact-checkers! Given how successful our #COVIDQuiz was (we saw over 1200 people overall participate in our quizzes), we thought, why not do something even bigger! We'll be making an announcement about this soon.
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Behind the making of "Under Your Watch"
Producer Joy Kirigia recounts the moments that shook her faith in Kenya's justice system
Thursday, 29th April 2021; my colleague Kanyi and I would travel to a small village called Iranya in Kisii County for our interview with Damacline Marubu; a mother who lost her 9-year-old girl. Her daughter, Stephanie Moraa was shot and killed by a police officer while playing on the balcony of their apartment building, as a violent exchange during 2017 election chaos played out on the street below. Sitting across her asking questions and seeing her get emotional at every response she gave was heart-wrenching. It was so hard for her even to maintain eye contact with me. For most of our interview, she had her head tilted down with tears pouring out of her eyes.
She was reliving the shooting all over again while trying to help us piece all the details together. Her pain enveloped all of us that afternoon. I could see how much she had lost as a mother. But still, underneath all that was hope that one day, they would get justice for their daughter. Yet, by the time we met her, 4 years had elapsed since their little girl was brutally killed.
We would spend that entire week talking to other individuals who have gone through so much pain and loss during Kenya’s 2008 post-election violence. The sad reality is that none of them had ever received justice or even closure. I only got to see and listen to their painful experiences for a few hours, but they have sat in this torment every day since they were violated. That saddened me deeply. It is disheartening to see people seek justice but not get any. It is infuriating to see people forced to live in fear because they don’t feel safe in their own country, especially when an election is close. It is heartbreaking to see mothers bury their children killed by the same people who are meant to protect them.
As we watch and interact with the documentary, “Under Your Watch” may we not only be reminded of our history with electoral violence, the injustices and police brutality but also why it should never happen again, more so, under our watch.
To stream the documentary for KES 100, go to www.shaharavideos.com.
BBI:The gift that kept on giving until it didn't
The Court of Appeal declared the Constitutional Amendment Bill aka the BBI null and void on all counts giving unanimous decisions on 6 provisions, single dissent on 7 provisions and unanimous disapproval on 1 provision. To understand the Bill though, one will have to go back 14 years, in 2007, when the state and society, saddled with an imperial presidency and a Nairobi-centric economy, operated under the precarious winner-takes-all model. For more, read our latest article from Disclosure series here!
Twitter's blue badge of honor might not be used so honorably
Verified accounts can also spread unverified or false information
Proving that the sign of verification does not automatically imply that the source is reliable, this Twitter analysis by Conspirador Norteño unveiled how Twitter verified accounts of non-existent individuals in the recent verification opening. The accounts' profile images included fake human faces and fake cat photos. They were found to be part of a botnet with over 1,200 unique accounts that had not tweeted anything yet were verified, and were created within the verification application period. The process was later halted, and the bot accounts were suspended.
Piga Firimbi has similarly debunked fake news from verified accounts which would ideally be assumed to contain factual, infallible information. Such include a tweet from a Boni Khalwale account, claiming to show how a political rally apparently "brought Githurai to a standstill", yet the images were from a funeral procession in Eldoret.
Two other verified accounts would also share false claims that the UN withdrew former UNCTAD secretary-general, Mukhisa Kituyi's diplomatic rights. This is in addition to ODM Party’s Director of Communication, Philip Etale posting a photo-shopped image on his verified account of over 300k followers to show that members of the Linda Katiba initiative supposedly met DP Ruto's aide Farouk Kibet.
In Laikipia, colonial deja vu meets climate changes dystopian warning from the future
Unending Insecurity In Laikipia plays out almost exactly as it has in recent years
The recent wave of conflict in Laikipia is a complex web of violence that’s been a feature of the region as well as its neighbouring counties for decades, in a region inhabited by large ranch owners, small-scale farmers and pastoralists. This conflict has been attributed in large part to diminishing pastures for pastoralist communities in the face of over half of the county divided into large chunks of land under private title. Added to this is incendiary local politics has led to loss of lives and livelihoods. The government’s response is the same as it has been in conflicts past.
“We've had a few days of insecurity and what we have done is respond with full force from the government. We have deployed hundreds of police officers in various areas to stop anybody who might want to start chaos”, said Laikipia Governor, Nderitu Muriithi while addressing students yesterday.
“To our political leaders, we need to walk the talk and not use the lives of our people as collateral”, CS Fred Matiang’i said while addressing Laikipia's insecurity.
For a period of three years, Africa Uncensored crew documented this conflict; The End of The River series, a journey through Isiolo, Laikipia, Samburu, Baringo, Wajir, Nyandarua and Nyeri Counties in a fact finding mission during one of the Kenya’s worst drought that teared community relations apart. It would appear that the more things change in Laikipia, the more they remain the same.
Hirsi Osman: Thanks for this, I think the problem is the National Government is not investing in this region and not trying to change the lives of the people in the North.
Elizabeth Ngina: With tears I watch and listen to these stories. Why can't the government do something about it?
Intel Fx: It is sad that greed is causing all this. We need more documentaries to show what is really happening to our forests.
KORROW ON Assignment: This is one among the several human investigative stories and human interests stories that Namu and Africa Uncensored aired that gives us strength not to trust the General Airwaves that Wanjiku's were denied to see and hear the ground stories. Folks, @SamMunia and Team- Excellent patriotic work is what I am seeing after watching The End of The River.
Sweerich Wambo Sweetrich: This is great coverage blessup! Most of us don't know what our fellow Kenyan's face in their day to day lives.
Edgar Kibe: If anything, the solution is in technology. We have an opportunity to save lives.
Sky Man: The National Government is also involved in gun running businesses. The government plays favours among these nations by allowing so to self protect with guns and others to be sitting duck. Very cruel practice.
Editorial Director: John-Allan Namu
Assignment Editor: Sam Munia
Social Media Manager: Cecilia Ashioya
Contributors: Linda Ngari and Joy Kirigia, Elijah Kanyi and Kevin Mbugua.
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