Retro Visions: Rise of Ethnic Sect Creates Anxiety

By Wachira, Charles | New Internationalist, September 2000 | Go to article overview

Retro Visions: Rise of Ethnic Sect Creates Anxiety


Wachira, Charles, New Internationalist


Tension between ethnic groups in Kenya now has an added religious element as more youths from the Kikuyu people become members of the Mungiki religious sect. According to Maina Njenga, a founding member of Mungiki, the organization was born 'when a number of people saw visions where we were commanded by a divine power to call upon the Kikuyu people and all Africans to go back to their roots. We in Africa had our own prophets and we should seek them instead of believing everything we are told by those who believe in Christianity.'

Members of the sect don dreadlocks, sniff tobacco, advocate female genital mutilation and are opposed to the consumption of alcohol. They are also dissatisfied with President Moi who, they claim, has discriminated against the Kikuyu when allocating funds and employment ever since he came to power in 1979; Moi is from the Kalenjin minority. Ironically, it is arguable that Moi would not be President today if Kenya's founding father Jomo Kenyatta and his coterie of loyalists -- dominated by the Kikuyu -- had opted to dump him from the Vice Presidency perch that he held for almost a decade. …

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