The accused is further said to have cut the victim’s forefinger, an indication that he could do worse. He raped her and left....
Kambas got on well, intermarried with other tribes after independence
Regarding Kamba people's relationship with other communities, political analyst Mbai Muli says the Kamba’s first settlement scheme was in Mua, Machakos County in 1968 where former President Jomo Kenyatta settled about 200 families.
Muli said there was a good relationship between the Kamba and Kikuyu who lived in Mua, a place called Kikuyu.
“The two tribes interacted well. Today you will find an individual with a Kamba and a Kikuyu name and vice versa. That was the origin of our relationship,” He said.
Muli says when the Kikuyu settlement was full, some Kambas and Kikuyus were moved to Shimba hills.
He says Kamba’s were taught about peace by the missionaries who first settled in Ukambani. The missionaries built the first Catholic churches in the region in Kilungu, Mbooni and then in Machakos.
Thereafter, the missionaries moved to start African Inland Christian (A.I.C) in Kalamba, Mukaa and later at Kwanthanze in Machakos.
“Most of the Kambas you find were the first people to interact with the missionaries. The Kamba’s were taken to schools run by missionaries and the British came to trust them because of their ‘good behaviour’. They were even employed as British home guards and farm guards.
“The Kamba also had a large representation in the military because they were non-aligned to other ethnic communities (who were hostile to the British),” he says.
And then there was Church.
“My grandfather was among the first people to build the first church in Kalamba in 1895. The missionaries used to tell Kambas who had big chunks of land and cattle to educate their children,” he says.
After the British left, Muli says, Indians trusted the Kamba’s and employed them as their shopkeepers.
He argues that the Kamba’s have also intermarried with all Kenyan tribes and this prevents them from participating in political violence.
“We have Kambas all over the country, including in the areas which have had clashes. But the Kamba stay away when violence erupts because they have families in those areas,” he says.
Mwingi Central MP Gideon Mulyungi agrees that apart from cultural aspects that deter violence, the church, too, played a big part and has been instrumental in sensitizing the people about peace especially at the grassroots.
“Most of the villages from my area are brought up in a Christian setting,” he says.
This sense of discipline and abhorrence for breaking the law saw Kambas get enlisted into the army, police and disciplined services in colonial, with many rising to top positions at the turn of independence and after. Indeed, Maj Gen Joseph Ndolo was Kenya’s first African Chief of General Staff, a position that two other members of the community have held. Similarly, the community has produced three police commissioners.
“Before independence, many from Ukambani were drafted into the army and police because they were known to have discipline,” he says.
Mulyungi says the community’s peaceful culture has transcended generations and is not likely to end soon.
“We never experienced violence during the Machakos Senatorial by-elections, just like previous elections which have been conducted in the Ukambani region,” he says.
Mulyungi says even after the 2017 disputed elections when ODM party leader Raila Odinga went to take an oath as the ‘Peoples President’ the leadership of Ukambani kept off.
“Ukambani leadership did not want to precipitate violence. This was because Kambas did not want to involve themselves in an illegal swearing in,” he says.
University lecturer John Kioko Musingi says the Kamba sense of obiedience is what saw many of them serve in the British army.
“The ordinary Kamba tends to respect the authority and many of our people have served in the forces and risen to senior positions because of obedience to the authority and not necessarily because they were ambitious,” he says.
He, however, argues that times are changing and that respect is waning. He gives Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as an example, saying he is no longer as powerful as he would like to be.
Kitui County Senator Enock Wambua points out that one reason competitive politics in Ukambai is not so charged is because the community views leadership as a responsibility to help the electorates move to the next level of development.
He said that political violence comes up when people think that being elected is an opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of others.
“Politics become violent when people view leadership as an avenue to enrich oneself,” says Wambua said, adding that fortunately, “Kamba’s have not embraced that culture of leadership.” - John Muia