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We the undersigned African intellectuals wish to add our collective voice to those who have been calling for an end to the slaughter currently taking place between our Kenyan brothers and sisters. Our continent continues to be ravaged by systematic exploitation of its natural and human resources by the new forms of Empire which still have scant regard for the welfare of our people. Our people have historically resisted such exploitation and oppression, yet there have always been some who have played the game of the ruling powers in our societies. Under colonialism it was the colonial power which fomented ethnic divisions which it named tribes and tribalism in order to divide and rule. Since independence it has been African politicians and elites who, schooled in the politics of their Western masters, have continued to foment ethnic divisions and wars. Nigeria, Uganda, Algeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Rwanda, South Africa are among the many countries which have experienced inter-ethnic turmoil since overthrowing the shackles of colonialism and apartheid. And now Kenya. The press and most academic analyses continue to insist on the tribal nature of Kenyan and African society much as the colonialists had done before. This racist argument must be rejected with contempt. African society is no more tribal or ethnic than Germany, the ex-Yugoslavia or Belgium. At the root of the problem in Africa is not ethnicity or nationality, but a form of politics in which "winner takes all", for which those who "win" electoral or other contests exclude the losers; where those who "capture" power exclude those who have not captured it and pack their supporters into government jobs and state committees. While this happens in most countries including in the USA, in Africa it is these jobs and posts on committees which enable access to resources and hence accumulation for the elite along with survival for the poor. The losers are left out, their elites survive on a reduced income and power, while their poor become destitute. Access to power then becomes a matter of survival, literally of life and death. It is this kind of politics and not ethnicity which must be condemned. Whether the political cleavages are organised around ethnic, religious, regional or party lines makes little difference. It is the sectarian and exclusionary politics on our continent, which African thinkers such as Franz Fanon condemned long ago, which constitute the main obstacle to economic progress and political unity, which must also be condemned and transformed today. A genuinely democratic politics can only be founded on a maxim of equality for which everyone without exception must be treated the same, by the state, by governments, by parties, by NGOs. Without the constructing of such a politics there will be many more Kenyas to come.

Michael Neocosmos, University of Pretoria, SA
Charles Puttergill, University of Pretoria, SA
Fred Hendricks, Rhodes University Grahamstown, SA
Teresa Cruz e Silva, Mozambique, President Codesria
Vishanthie Sewpaul, University of KwaZulu Natal, SA
Bert Olivier Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SA
Steven Friedman, Independent Analyst, SA
Jackie Cock, University of the Witwatersrand, SA
Ben Cousins, University of the Western Cape, SA
Pedro Tabensky, Rhodes University Grahamstown, SA
Jimi Adesina, Rhodes University Grahamstown, SA
Andries du Toit, University of Western Cape, SA
Mafaniso Hara, University of the Western Cape, SA
Peter Alexander, University of Johannesburg, SA
Marjorie Mbilinyi, UDSM, TZ
Jacques Depelchin, Universidade de Bahia, Brazil
Ernest Wamba-dia-Wamba, DRC
Roger Southall, HSRC, SA
Tshepo Madlingozi, University of Pretoria, SA
Kammila Naidoo, University of Pretoria, SA
Charles Mironko, SA
Richard Pithouse, Rhodes University Grahamstown, SA
Bill Freund, (retired) UKZN, SA
Sakhela Buhlungu, University of the Witwatersrand, SA
Geci Karuri, HSRC, SA
Corinne Strydom, NorthWest University, SA
George Hadjivayannis, Tanzania
Kebede Kassa, Africa Union
Simon Mapadimeng, UKZN, SA
Jonathan Mafukidze, UP, SA
Dorothee Holscher, UKZN, SA
Graham Hayes, UKZN, SA
Sulaiman Adebowale, Codesria, Dakar
Ibrahima Amadou Niang, Codesria, Dakar, Senegal
Joel das Neves Tembe, Mozambique
Abebaw Minaye, Addis Ababa University
Matevha Azwihangwisi, HSRC, SA