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December 16, 2018

Ikamba song strikes ugly note and breeds discord – Governors

Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) during a press conference in Machakos town yesterday /COURTESY
Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) during a press conference in Machakos town yesterday /COURTESY

he notorious Ikamba song was condemned yesterday as “despicable” by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Nyeri counterpart Mutahi Kahiga.

They said it demeans the Kamba community and perpetuates negative ethnicity and communal hatred.

The NCIC is investigating the Kikuyu song produced in angry reaction to the burning of a truck that was ferrying charcoal via Kitui. The owner was from Kiambu.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has banned charcoal burning and trade, which she blames for destruction of the environment. The ban has been in place since 2014 but she is enforcing it now.

Mutua and Kahiga said the song can spur conflicts between the Kamba and Kikuyu communities. They called it despicable and said it undermines law and order.

Kahiga is on a three-day benchmarking tour of Machakos. He is accompanied by members of his Cabinet and other top county officials.

“This song is antithetical to the creation of a civilised society,” they said in a statement at a press conference in Machakos town.

The two communities are not only neighbours, but also literally brothers and sisters drawn from the same ancestors, they said. “The bottom line is that we are all Kenyans and should embrace peace and nationalism,” Mutua said.

He said it was wrong to blame one community for a ban on charcoal trade and another for a hate song produced by a few individuals.

Destruction of property and vigilante actions only happen in a lawless country, Mutua said.

2007-08 pev memories

Kahiga said the two communities are friends and partners and have traditionally referred to each other as in-laws.

“Kenya has seen the growth of intolerance and the planting of the seeds of hatred, which almost destroyed our country in 2007. We should never allow ourselves to slide back to those horrific days,” he said.

The two county chiefs told leaders to preach and practise love, tolerance and peace, and understand that their actions and statements influence behaviour.


They urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to overhaul agencies that are meant to check hate speech, incitement and other vicious behaviour.

“Uhuru needs to review the composition and leadership of some the agencies and inject new blood so they act swiftly and firmly,” Mutua said.

“Lethargy” of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission is perpetuating hateful ideas, speech and actions, they suggested.

On Monday, NCIC chairperson Francis ole Kaparo said, “The matter is seriously being investigated by the NCIC and the DCI. I expect feedback shortly. Meantime, I appeal for calm and urge all Kenyans to avoid irresponsible and reckless incitements.”

Mutua and Kahiga want Kitui county respected for its decision to ban charcoal burning and trade.

They appealed that law and order be maintained when implementing the ban. Burning of vehicles and retaliation through hate songs and statements are wrong and do not promote harmony, they warned.

Mutua said communities need one another to prosper. “It is narrow-minded for a person to attack another community,” they said.

The county bosses praised the Council of Governors for setting up a team to end feuding between Kitui and Kiambu. They urged Ngilu and Governor Ferdinand Waititu — who has sued Ngilu — to promote tolerance, forgiveness and peace.

The Nyeri team will tour projects in the transport, health, trade, water and environment sectors. Mutua hosted Kahiga and his entourage for lunch in Machakos People’s Park.


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