On the same day that the Kenyan media has been celebrating the news that oil has been found in one of the remotest parts of northern Kenya another story caught my eye today. It’s a no nonsense reminder of how far there is to go as Kenya moves towards becoming a fully fledged oil producing economy.
Lynching is a fairly direct form of action. It has been practised in various forms over the millennia and there are still those who would support it as the ultimate deterrent. Today’s story in The Standard, (one of Kenya’s daily national newspapers), went like this:
“Suspected duck thief lynched
A boy was burnt beyond recognition by irate youth for allegedly stealing four ducks at Goshi village in Malindi, Kilifi County. He was allegedly found with the ducks after a thorough search, prompting the mob to storm his father’s homestead and frog-march him to a nearby bush where they hacked him to death. They then burnt the remains to ashes, leaving other locals in shock. Confirming the incident, Malindi OCPD Kiprono Langat said they are investigating the incident.”
Incidents like this do not happen every day but they fairly regularly make the news. A few years ago similar justice was handed out to somebody who stole two cabbages, (in this particular case the victim had a tyre place around his neck and it was set on fire).
When life for so many people is lived on the margins of subsistence it’s not entirely surprising if they take the law into their own hands to protect their livelihoods. I’ve never read a follow up story that gives details of what happened after the ‘investigation’ was carried out. One can only hazard a guess at the discussions taking place in and around Goshi village this evening.