The African continent has long been an economic basket case despite countless attempts over the generations to revitalise and regenerate the economy. Admittedly, the West’s shameful use of the continents inhabitants as slaves in the last century, and the wholesale plunder of all their resources, will not have endeared them to us but the past is the past and we should be moving forward into a new dawn for this most magnificent region of planet earth. Instead, it seems to be going backwards.
The West should be utterly ashamed of itself over the debacle that is Zimbabwe. If any country with oil or other desired natural resources carried out the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of its citizens, the West would have been in there in a shot and Mugabe would be consigned to history. This starkly demonstrates our true nature. We don’t really care about the starvation and horror visited upon the people if there is nothing in it for us.
Ignoring that holocaust has given rise to the events currently taking place in Kenya. We allowed Mugabe the Butcher to overrun every white farm in the country and return them to the hands of locals. Admirable, one might think, until you look at what they have done with them. Nothing. Every white owned ranch in the country has gone to rack and ruin and the income generated for the country has dissolved to nothing. The crops growing on those farms have withered and died and the locals who worked on those farms are now unemployed. It is one of the greatest tragedies of our generation and yet we don’t lift a finger.
And now Kenya is going the same way encouraged by the West’s disinterest. Last week the reports came though of the death of a white landowner, Tristan Voorpuy, who was shot when a massive herd of cattle were driven, intentionally, across his land. Mathew Lempurkel, a local MP, has been arrested for inciting the raid at which time he stated “It is a war – a third world war, against the whites” Voorpuy was, by all intents and purposes, one of the good guys. He was a cavalry office in the British Army and settled in Kenya in 1983 and was an avid conservationist and brought vital income and employment to the country with the launch of horseback safaris. Hundreds of locals attended his funeral and his land is now overrun with local tribesmen and will, within months, be destroyed and returned to waste land.
I was in Kenya last year for my daughter’s wedding and witnessed first-hand how the locals are treated. They are kind and generous people who deeply appreciate the tourism generated by non Kenyans and the landowners, in the main, treat them as family. They are employed, well looked after and treated with respect. This problem is not caused by the people but by the racist politicians who see it as they perverted duty to rid the country of white landowners. Lempurkel has a long history. He was arrested last year for beating up a female politician in the President’s office when she tried to deliver a petition urging the restoration of law in the Laikipia region. He was arrested for trying to burn down a police station that was holding some of his cronies. He has faced countless corruption charges but is on bail for everything and there is little chance of a prosecution.
As a severe drought took hold last year, the Samburu and Pokot tribesmen were encouraged by the likes of Lempurkel, to migrate south. They were then supplied with vast numbers of automatic weapons and ahead of each incursion, Lempurkel would hold meetings to whip up support for violent trespass. The irony is that most of the herds of cattle being pushed to trespass are not owned by the local tribesmen but by politicians, police and military officers, and other influential officials, who pay them a pittance to care of their livestock. Lempurkel’s aim is to drive the whites out and replace them with the locals who will vote for him at the next election. If he wins, he will inherit a desperate, bankrupt country over which he can rule.
A sidebar to this is that as they invade with their newly acquired weapons, they are killing all the wildlife as they go and further depleting the reasons so many tourists wish to visit the country in the first place and robbing the world of these magnificent animals.
President Kenyatta faces an election in August and has declared that he is sending hundreds of police reinforcements into the region with a shoot to kill policy against any land invaders. In reality, he is doing no such thing as it would alienate the tribesmen and lose their votes making him reluctant to launch punitive strikes against the Samburu and Pokot militia out of self-serving, self-preservation.
Investors see the invasions as a grim signal for the future, especially as it is spreading to other parts of Kenya, such as British-owned properties on the Indian Ocean coast. Tolerance of armed invasions raise the spectre of a repeat of the mass slaughter of early 2008, when the opposition claimed elections had been rigged. Some 1,400 people were butchered and Kenya only narrowly avoided a full blown civil war.
With hundreds of thousands of illegal guns in the country and tensions high, there are fears that power hungry politicians will push this magnificent country to the edge of the abyss once more.