|Nandi male initiates. The male initiation ceremony is an age-old annual practise in Nandi|
The International Criminal Court sitting at The Hague in The Netherlands is prosecuting crimes against humanity against three Kenyans in an unprecedented case. Unprecedented because a sitting President (Uhuru Kenyatta) and his Deputy and erstwhile political nemesis (William Ruto) are facing charges related to the 2007 election in Kenya. William Ruto's co-accussed is radio personality, Joshua arap Sang who worked for the popular Kass FM during the election period and thereafter.
The circumstances leading up to the referrals and confirmation of charges are not the subject of this essay. NO.
My attention has been drawn to the claims by the prosecution that Messrs Ruto and Sang allegedly hijacked the Nandi intiation process and deployed it to form the "network with which they fought other ethnic communities".
Couldn't the prosecution at the #ICC do a simple audit on fact versus fiction in order to understand basic cultural truths? I find the claims to constitute an inexcusable distortion of fact, a blanket condemnation of the Nandi culture and a sorry case for setting the proud Nandi people to ridicule. Let us deal with the facts.
FACT 1: Nobody can remember the last time the Nandi/Kalenjin took part in
anything close to an oathing ceremony. We don't have any elaborate
procedure for oathing. We have elaborate rites for cursing wrong-doers. Those curses can NOT be used to coerce anybody to do wrong. My community is a community of pious and religious people. So much that even though I am not a language student, I know that if a language has a wealth of vocabulary on something it demonstrates the importance attached to it and its variations. Sin, transgression and iniquity are words in the English language that describe wrong(doing). In the Nandi language that is clearly defined on the basis of its strength and "forgiveability".
- Tengek (forgiveable sin)
- Ng'oogi (unforgiveable sin, one requiring elaborate cleansing ceremonies)
- Kachilililutik (errors)