KENYA IDPs: Mary: “It’s like everyone is drunk over something you can’t understand”
Photo: Allan Gichigi/IRIN
|Mary, a Kikuyu married to a Luo|
NAIROBI, 11 January 2008 (IRIN) – Mary, a 31-year-old Kikuyu from Kenya’s Rift Valley province, who did not want to be identified, is married to a Luo from western Kenya. She had been living in Limuru, 35km northwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, for eight years. After the announcement of the election results, pro-opposition ethnic groups started driving Kikuyus – the ethnic group of President Mwai Kibaki – out of Rift Valley. Many fled to Limuru, a predominantly Kikuyu area. In revenge, Kikuyu gangs in Limuru began targeting non-Kikuyus, including Mary’s husband and in-laws.
“There was a lot of tension. We were sensing that something was not right after they delayed the announcement [of the presidential election result].
“On Sunday at around 4pm, people with stones surrounded the house, shouting and yelling, ‘Luos must go! Luos must go!’ They were so many you couldn’t count them. It was an organised thing. They had brand new axes and machetes. Where do you get a new machete on a Sunday? Shops are closed. They had prepared themselves.
“I had gone to the market. My sister-in-law was in the house with her twins and my nine-year-old brother. There were screams everywhere. I heard one of the Kikuyus saying to me: ‘We are eliminating the Luos’. I ran towards the house. I found the police had already come. They were asking people, ‘What tribe are you?’ If you say you are a Luo, they tell you to enter their lorry. They brought us here to the police station.
“I’m very surprised. We saw this violence in other countries. We thought we are a stable country, Kenya is an island of peace. But we have destroyed that island.
“It’s because of the Kikuyus from Rift Valley who have fled [post-election violence]. Many have come this way. So they [Kikuyus in Limuru] now have a reason to attack us [Luos]. They are like, ‘let them go because our people are suffering there [in Rift Valley]’.
“It’s like everyone is drunk over something you can’t understand. I’ve lived with you all my life. Then all of a sudden I’m your enemy. How can you take a machete and cut me?
“I can’t divorce my husband. I just have to go with him. We want to go to our father in Kakamega in western Kenya. If we had money, we would have already gone.
“They want us to leave, so we will go. It’s so painful. We’re just crying and asking God ‘did we vote for this really? Did we want to become refugees?'”