Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Kenyan Novelist Kinyanjui Kombani prophesied post-election chaos

Kenyan Novelist Kinyanjui Kombani prophesied post-election chaos
Kenyan Novelist Kinyanjui Kombani prophesied post-election chaos

Exactly a year ago, the bloom was off the rose and we were having our own version of Armageddon — angry people wielding machetes, clubs and rocks confronting each other in the streets.

The post-election chaos hit us with the force of a thunderclap, shook our politics and changed a nation.

It shattered our image of the ideal home in the Kenya we knew. Most of us now believe that peace is the other name for home. We agree with John Ed Pearce who said: “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to”.

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The violence tried to rob of us of home. And even though Thomas Wolfe said: “You cannot go home again,” we have tried to go back to normalcy.
As the country reflects back to our troubled times, the novel, The Last Villains of Molo, by Kinyanjui Kombani is the book of the moment. It is loaded with a prophetic clarion call to a nation and a warning to our leaders’ impunity.

In one of the most moving sections, he writes directly as if addressing the woes of the post-election chaos: “From her hiding place under the bed, the young girl listened to the rising noises as they came nearer their house. Her heart thundered in her chest as she heard the screams of her neighbours, and the cracking sounds of raging fires. Slowly, she peered upwards.

Her father stood in the doorway leading to the sitting room of their three-roomed house. Tapping his lips with a finger, he cautioned her to be silent and clutched the spear with ‘renewed energy’.

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“She tightly closed her eyes and sobbed softly. She never witnessed such a traumatising day — all the slashing and burning was too much for her tender years…”
These words were written six years ago by a then obscure student at Kenyatta University. Kombani wrote his story then focusing on the Molo tribal clashes of 1992. The book was launched on March 26, 2008 by Prof George Eshiwani.

The recent events in the wake of the post-election violence give the story a new sense of urgency. The novel hits the reader with prophetic force.
His story about the young girl caught in the tribal skirmishes is a heartrending tale.

A father tries to show that he can protect his daughter but the daughter realises that even the strong father is afraid. What heartbreak for the father who only wants to leave the image of an invincible man to his daughter!


Kombani continues: “She heard the attackers burst into the sitting room. The house shook with their entry…There was hurried movement, then she heard the clang of metal against bone. Something fell to the ground with the force of a sack of maize.

There were two young men in the sitting room. One stood with a poised machete, and the other was collecting himself. She gasped when she saw her father’s convulsing body on the floor.

Blood was gushing out of a deep cut in his neck, and he was shaking violently as an incoherent flow of guttural sounds escaped from his frothing mouth. Her whole body still in shock, she bent down”.

It was then I got carried away, not just by the dramatic narrative, but the powerful polemic. Just the mere thought of a young girl looking at his dying father is the worst anyone can ever imagine. It reminded me of the sad words of a song I once heard: “Why kill a man and take the best from the children?”

The Last Villains of Molo reminds us of the plight of people ,especially children, caught in our vicious cycle of ethnic hatred. The author, probably without knowing it, focused on the long-term impact that violence has on innocent, impressionable children.

In his dedication, Kombani wrote about the plight of a child during the clashes: “My friend and roommate at Kenyatta University was a victim of the ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley. The incidents of his childhood have affected him so much he cannot sleep with the light in the room turned off”.

Kombani quarrelled with his friend so much about putting off the lights before they slept until the day he found out why his roommate was forever afraid of the dark. His friend had spent a long time in the dark, hiding under the grass during the tribal clashes. It has haunted him ever since.

It was then that I remembered a story I heard from a friend about a child soldier in the Sudan. He had come to live in Kenya but was so haunted that even in his sleep, he was ‘awake’.

With any slight movement even when his roommate tiptoed into the room, the former child soldier would suddenly jerk awake. He was used to being ambushed and so he perpetually lived in the frontline.

He probably still heard the approaching boots of enemy soldiers and the whizzing of bullets.

Children are impressionable and when traumatised, they could carry all the grotesque images and pain they experienced into adulthood. Why should anyone inflict such pain on an innocent child?

Kombani’s novel is an indictment to our society that turns against itself, destroying itself by killing its own children and inflicting untold suffering on its people in the name of tribal clashes. Let all the thugs involved in the past maiming, killing and raping our people, be the Last Villains of Molo. If we must die, let it be for a worthy cause.

As Claude Mackay once wrote, “If we must die, let it not be like hogs/Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot/While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs/ Making their mock at our accursed lot/If we must die, O let us nobly die/ So that our precious blood may not be shed in vain”.

The writer is the publishing
manager of Macmillan Kenya Publishers

Kenyan Novelist prophesied post-election chaos

Title: The Last Villains of Molo
Author: Kinyanjui Kombani
Published: 2004
Publisher: Acacia Publishers

KCFA DC Chapter praise Fest

H.E Ambassador Peter N. R. O. Ogego with an award presented on behalf of KCFA by the Wash -DC Chapter Organising Secretary Joyce Gacuca
November 23 2008 was a special day in the Washington DC metropolitan area, it is the day Churches and ministries came together in a Praise Fest organized by Kenya Christian Fellowship in America Washington DC chapter at Church of Nazarene in College Park.
From left to right is the Vice Chairman Freddy Muroki, Maurice Kinyanjui, DC KCFA Chairman Mr. Josphat Kimindu, His Excellency Ambassador Peter N. R. O. Ogego ,Mr.Simon Ole Meeli,Joyce Gacuca, Mrs.Margaret Njoroge,Wilby Kimweli and Betty Mwema.
The occasion was graced by His Excellency the Ambassador of Kenya to the United States, Peter N.R.Ogego, KCFA National president Lucas Kimani and Washington DC Kenyan churches/ministries pastors and leader among many other people. Each church was presented by its choir or singing group and it was all praise, worship and dancing throughout the afternoon. The preacher of the day was Bishop Martin Mwangi of the House of Glory Ministries.

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Kenyan Novelist Kinyanjui Kombani prophesied post-election chaos

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