Kenya’s Post Election Crisis: Finding Meaning

Recently received this important request from an editor at Kwani, a literary magazine from Kenya:

If meaning has been manipulated leading to us killing each other, let us manipulate it so that we do not kill each other. – Prof. Wambui Mwangi

In the last couple of weeks, a group of Kenyan writers has been meeting to analyze and whack out ways to respond to the post-election crisis in Kenya.
One way has been through the production of a series of opinion pieces under the byline “Concerned Kenyan Writers”. These pieces have and continue to be placed in various media outlets locally (Nairobi Star, Daily Nation and The East African) and internationally (New York Times, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian and Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung).

The aim of these opinion pieces has been:

* to present a human face to the Kenyan post-election crisis
* to counter the static images and impressions of escalating
violence and anarchy in the foreign press &
* to document this turning point in our nation’s history for posterity.

Many articles have been written and many more continue to be written. With the express permission of all the writers involved and with the intention of keeping the conversation and the emerging dialogue alive we will, among other things, publish some of those pieces on the Kwani? blog over the next few weeks.

We know that what we have now are just a fraction of the voices and we are willing to throw this space open for all those others, be they writers, ideologues, social scientists or else, that wish to join us.

Send us an email through [email protected] or drop us a comment in the comments box of the blog (

There are also many other people that are doing what we are doing: examining and re-examining the Kenyan situation. We look forward to working with them towards building broader and more efficient synergies.

Please do not respond directly to this email. For all general inquiries email [email protected]

Charles Matathia
Online Editor
Email: [email protected]


  1. James Wabwire on March 2nd, 2008 6:40 am

    First I would like to thank President Kibaki and Hon Raila Odinga for doing us proud. We have for a moment reclaimed the real people that Kenyans are. I knew from the very beginning that Hon. Raila Odinga is trusted. He is a man that once he gives you his word, you can bet your life on it.
    Hon. Kibaki on the other hand is a man that is fully of silent intrigue. Indecisive, often incapable of insight that his actions have been an embarrassment not only to himself but to the entire Kenyan population. What I am trying to say here is that he did not need the international community to coarce him into signing the deal. The deal that he made with Raila Odinga in 2002 was the deal that now he has been made to sign.
    If he had honored the MOU in 2002 and behaved like the gentleman that we always expected of him, we would not have suffered the embarrasement of having foreign government issue threats to us. If he had honored the MOU we would still be proud Kenyans.
    Secondly, President Kibaki has never known how to choose people of integrity to work with him. Let us sample his kind; Michuki, Murungaru, Kiraitu, Martha Karua, etc. Even if he was to be a tribalist, he should have picked people like Paul Mwite, Kembi Geture, Prof. Wangare Mathai, but know he chose people who knew nothing except attract trouble.
    Raila Odinga on his part, knows who to place where and how. He chose men of impeccable record; Musalia Mudavadi, Balala, Joe Nyaga, Ruto etc. When you look at Raila lineup even though he is the one controlling them you can not acuse him of tribalism. He therefore easily won the international support.
    Kibaki needs to learn the art of balancing. Kenyans are not necessarily tribal, but President Kibaki is through and through tribalistic.
    People like Kalonzo Musyoka are a sorry excuse for democracy. He learnt his ropes from Moi and Kibaki and has lost miserably. No one will ever trust Kalonzo-because consistency is the name of the game in endearing yourself to the voters. Kalonzo does not have that. In the days to the election, he claimed the government was planning to rig the elections, he acused the government of using public funds to win the election, then 2 days after the rigged elections were announced he took over power and entered into a pact with the same people he accused. Kalonzo will live to regret that move.
    Now, we are headed to a true democratic process in Kenya. We are truely greatful to Raila Odinga for being steadfast in his fight for justice. We will give him all the support he needs and now is the time to dismantle Mungiki, create equity in Kenya and get rid of tribal chauvinists like Karua, Kibaki, Michuki, and the likes.
    God bless Kenya, God Bless Agwambo.