Another Kenyan blogger, Lost White Kenyan Chick, has a good on-the-ground update about the Mungiki situation these days.
Here's a link to her post, and here's an excerpt:
I was talking to someone in the morning who lives in Dandora. Now personally I would have said that Dandora was really one of the better areas of Nairobi in which to live. Rents are far from being the cheapest and it is most definitely not a ‘bad’ area of town with minimal violence, thuggery or anything else going down there – even in the post-election skirmishes - but now it seems Dandora is not the place you wish to be calling “home” anymore.
Now it seems that if you live in Dandora, first of all, you’ll be lucky if you can find transport at all, as all the matatus (or mini buses) that run around the area into and out of town have been warned off the roads, and those that are operating are charging over 150/- (over US$2) per trip, which when most wanainchi make not much over that in a day is not exactly conducive to bother going to work at all. Then she tells me that all the ladies in the area have been given leaflets telling them what to wear.
It must be a skirt and the length must reach below the knee. Penalty for not following the dress code is a humiliating stripping and public beating.
Last night, SMS’s were sent round all over saying that you must leave the city centre by 7.30pm or you shall be killed. Then this morning new SMS’s stated that all those who work in the Industrial Area should not go into work.
It’s all just fear mongering but hey how much is your life worth, and is it worth ignoring these warnings because by doing so ‘Eric Kiraithe’ [the police spokesman] says you’re doing the right thing ??
The public demands from the Mungiki are that they are mourning the death of the wife of their leader (who is currently inside being entertained at the country’s expense), who was shot last week together with her driver, and they believe the police were involved and should be brought to book for it, and that they want some police force group that has been formed to crack down on them all, to be disbanded.
However, the leaflets now circulating on the ground ‘explaining’ this reign of terror go with a slightly different, yet more realistic reasoning, and that is that the ‘Mungiki’ say they have not been paid their ‘protection’ monies from various government ministers for the last few months. They had no part in the general election and therefore gained no rewards from that, and now that the Kikuyu’s have not taken a majority in the parliament and just to prove how powerful they are, they are going to paralyse operations in Kenya just to show that ‘all is not normal’ just because a cabinet has been named and all is ‘apparently well’.
That said, there is a story in the Standard newspaper today that the Mungiki have ordered members to stop fighting. The call for ceasefire came after Prime Minister Odinga made a public request for the group to stop its protests. Public statements from Mungiki leaders promised to work with Odinga. It's a curious turn of allegiances, since the dominant public perception is that Mungiki is partially aligned with the Kikuyus and the so-called Mt. Kenya Mafia.
But maybe the Mungiki are turning into politicians, shifting allegiances and all. The group has even been holding press conferences over the past week!