The BBC reports today that “rival ethnic groups in Kenya … are rearming in readiness for violence at the 2012 poll.” Their sources are weak.
With as many as a half of Kenya’s educated 20-30 year olds out of work, with perhaps as much as $1 billion of “stimulus” provided by the western nations, with a persistent drought we hope will soon end but hasn’t yet, I think any half-baked journalist could find people in Kenya who are buying and selling guns.
The BBC’s Wanyama wa Chebusiri claimed to have “discovered arms dealers selling sophisticated weaponry in the Rift Valley.”
This, Wanyamawa, is not news.
For years and years you could go into any crowded slum of Nairobi and get an AK-47 for around $100, and at times, for as low as $50. The route into the troubled heart of Africa goes right through Kenya. The land route to the Somali pirates begins in Kenya.
I don’t like it, but Kenya has been an arsenal for years.
The BBC quotes a “Kipkorir Negtich” from a group the BBC calls the “Eldoret Human Rights Resource Centre” as their principal source.
I can find limited references to either the man or the group. Kenya is filled with progressive human rights groups with active websites and enthusiastic members. There doesn’t seem to be either for this group. The only reference I can find to the man is one in 2002 where he allied himself with Eldoret clergy against alleged instances of torture.
The BBC then tried to corroborate itself by asking Kenya’s deputy minister for internal security, Orwa Ojode, about the charge. Ojode said he was “aware of the problem” and blamed it on Kenya’s neighbors.
Ojode is a thug who was in the cabal of former national police commissioner, Hussein Ali, who recently “retired.” He is one of the few members of Parliament that have actually been censored by the Parliament (May 8 of this year) for threatening another member during floor debate.
A week ago a number of Kenyan blogs (click here) announced that Ojode was trying to move up politically and might be arranging a few publicity stunts. What a source for the BBC!
I’m not disputing the BBC claim entirely. I’m just saying that the source is weak, the situation may not be new, and it may not imply – as the report clearly does – that there is an escalation of tension.