Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said the Electoral Commission of Kenya must own up and resign from office or be forced out.

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Mr Odinga was speaking was speaking in Tanzania, where he is on a three-day official visit.

At the same time, American ambassador Michael Ranneberger has said the ECK must accept the verdict of the Kriegler report.

He fell short of openly calling for the Commissioners’ resignation.

“Kivuitu and his team should now resign immediately, or in any case there is going to be a recommendation that they leave,” Raila told Tanzania’s state television in an early morning live interview.

The PM said that the recently released Kriegler’s report implicated ECK and its leadership in malpractices that could not be wished away.

He said the report has recommended far reaching changes in the ECK and promised to see them through to regain the confidence of the electorate.

According to Raila, Kivuitu has lately tried to strike a conciliatory position but that would still not absolve him from blame.

“He had the chance and choice not to announce flawed results bit did not and should now be ready to shoulder the responsibility as well,” the PM told broadcaster Susan Mungi in the interview on Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Kenyan leader said he as well as the coalition government had accepted the Kriegler’s report and would be implementing it recommendations for posterity.

He thanked Tanzanian leaders President Jakaya Kikwete and former President Benjamin Mkapa for helping Kenya to overcome the post-election crisis.

The US ambassador said that the report released last week pointed at much need electoral reforms which include the reconstitution of the ECK and added that the US expects the grand coalition government to move quickly to implement the recommendations of the Kriegler team.

“I think we all know what that means and it is for the commissioners to heed that advice and do the right thing. They should listen to the recommendations and it is obvious to everyone what they need to do.”

The report released last week calls for a complete overhaul of the country’s electoral process including the possible replacement of the ECK.

Mr Ranneberger said that the US was committed to supporting the country in the reform agenda including the complete resettlement of internal refugees.

“We all expected that the process would take some time but more importantly it must be done in a voluntary manner.”

He was speaking at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) after attending the ongoing non-governmental organisations’ week.

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Submitted by harrydre
Posted September 25, 2008 11:18 PM

I am not defending ECK but we all failed as Kenyans. These same politicians asking ECK to quit are the same who incited voters by making them believe they had won long before


President Kibaki has urged the developed countries to honour their pledged donor support to hasten realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.

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Speaking during a High-Level Event on MDGs at the United Nations, President Kibaki said critical issues affecting developing nations cannot materialise unless the developed countries play their part.

“I appeal to the developed countries to fulfill their pledges on Official Development Assistance particularly with regard to the MDG commitments.”

President Kibaki told the forum that the inconclusive Doha negotiations to facilitate the creation of a new global trade and investment system remained a critical hindrance to eradication of poverty in the developing countries.

Giving a report card of the Kenyan situation, the Head of State named several sectors the government had good progress while taking into account challenges that hinder realisation of the MDGs.

“At this halfway point, Kenya has made substantial progress on three goals namely; MDG number 2 on education, MDG number 4 on child mortality, and MDG number 5 on maternal health.”

He said Kenya’s Free Primary Education programme had enabled thousands of school-age children enroll in schools while subsidised secondary school fees had improved the transition rate at the two levels of education.

With regard to health, he told the international forum that immunisation coverage in the country had risen from 57 per cent to 72 per cent while 68 percent of children aged five years and below sleep under mosquito nets distributed by the government in public health facilities.

“These measures, combined with investments the Government has made in providing greater access to clean water, have progressively reduced child mortality,” said the President.

He also told the delegates that provision of free maternity services as well as free pre-natal and ante-natal care had seen a 30 per cent reduction in maternal mortality while HIV and Aids prevalence had dropped from 13 per cent to 6 per cent in the past 8 years.

“As a result of these efforts, the proportion of births attended by skilled health staff has grown to 57 per cent presently, compared to 42 per cent five years ago.”

Appealing for donor support in the attainment of the goals, the President said MDGs had been integrated in the national policy blueprint of the Vision 2030. In the meantime, the government continues to mobilise local resources to fund MDG-related expenditure.

Meanwhile, Kenya and Guatemala have signed a mutual agreement to open foreign missions in both countries. The signing was conducted by Foreign Affairs ministers from both countries, Hon Moses Wetang’ula of Kenya and Hon Haroldo Rodas of Guatemala.

The ministers said the signing was guided by the shared willingness to develop and strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries leading to establishing diplomatic relations.

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The Land
Named after Mount Kenya or Kirinyaga, (meaning ‘The Mountain of Whiteness’), which lies almost in the centre of the country and marks its highest point, Kenya straddles the equator and covers an area of almost 600,000 sq km. Lying on the shores of the Indian Ocean, on the east coast of Africa, Kenya borders Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Most of the north and northeast of the country is either uninhabited or sparsely habited desert.

Capital City
Nairobi, (taken from the Maasai word Nyrobi meaning place of cool waters), and also known as ‘the Green City in the Sun’ and ‘the ‘Safari Capital of the World’, has an unofficial population of approximately 2.7 million people. It came into being in May 1899 as an artificial settlement created by the European builders of the East African railway, located at ‘Mile 327’ from the coast. Easily the largest city in East Africa, Nairobi is also the youngest, the most modern, the highest (at 1700 m) and the fastest growing.

Environmental Concerns
With one of the highest population growth rates in the world, Kenya requires ever-increasing amounts of agricultural land for crops and firewood for fuel; thus deforestation is a major problem. Some 10 million trees have, however, been planted over the past two decades with the help of private groups and tree nursery program’s. Soil erosion and desertification occur in some areas. Increased use of pesticides and fertilizers has led to significant water pollution and water contamination is a serious problem; only about 30 per cent of the rural population has access to safe drinking water.


The landscape of Kenya is distinctly divided into two halves; the eastern half slopes gently to the coral-backed seashore, the western portion rises more abruptly through a series of hills and plateaus to the Eastern Rift Valley, known in Kenya as the Central Rift. West of the Rift is a westward-sloping plateau, the lowest part of which is occupied by Lake Victoria.

The highest point in the country is the snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya (5,199 m), the second highest mountain in Africa (and one of the largest freestanding mountains in the world with a base diameter of 200 km). The coastline extends some 536 km from the Tanzanian border in the southeast, to the Somali border in the northeast. The main rivers are the Athi/Galana and the Tana. The major lakes are: Lake Victoria, Turkana, Baringo, Naivasha, Magadi, Jipe, Bogoria, Nakuru and Elementeita.

Kenya is a range-land country and therefore displays great contrasts in topography and climate: snow-capped peaks give way to deserts, palm fringed beaches to rolling savannah plains, Alpine highlands to the lunar semi-deserts of the north east.

Since the country straddles the equator, the climate remains stable all year. The days are sunny and hot, but the nights can be cool. Broadly speaking January to February is dry; March to May is wet (‘long rains’); June to September is dry; October to December is wet (‘short rains’). The coast is always hot (average daytime temperature 27-31 degrees centigrade).

The average daytime temperature in Nairobi is 21-26 degrees centigrade, while the temperatures elsewhere depend on altitude. July to August marks the Kenyan winter.


Kenya’s flora is diverse: along the coasts are forests containing palm, mangrove, teak, copal and sandalwood trees. Forests of baobab, euphorbia and acacia trees cover the lowlands to an elevation of approximately 915 m. Extensive tracts of savannah (grassland) interspersed with groves of acacia and papyrus, characterize the terrain from 915 to 2,745 meters above sea level. The principal species

other mammals, including in the dense rainforest of the eastern and south-eastern mountain slopes are camphor and bamboo

Despite the tremendous losses inflicted by hunting and poaching during the twentieth century, Kenya teems with wildlife. There are 80 major animal species ranging from the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, lion and leopard) down to tiny antelopes such as the dik-dik, which is slightly larger than a rabbit. At least 32 endemic species are endangered.


An ornithologist’s paradise, Kenya is the finest country in Africa for bird watching; boasting around 1,137 species of birds; and 60 IBA’s (Important Bird Areas). To spot more than 100 bird species in a day is common.

National Parks
Kenya’s total wildlife conservation area is 44,359 sq km or 7.6 % of her total area. The main parks are: Aberdare National Park, Amboseli National Park, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Meru National Park, Mt Elgon National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Nairobi National Park, Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park. One of the most popular tourist destinations, The Maasai Mara, is actually designated a national reserve. There are
two major marine parks: Mombasa Marine National Park and Malindi/Watamu National Park

World Heritage Sites
Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus, now a museum, became the focal point of the island. In the years between 1631 and 1875, the fort changed hands nine times. In 1631, the townspeople revolted and killed every Portuguese on the island, but the Sultan of Mombasa had no real support and the Portuguese reoccupied Fort Jesus and consolidated their control.

The Omanis, who had been steadily gaining strength, took the town and laid siege to the fort from 1696-98. The Santo Antonio de Tanna sank in 1697 while trying to break the siege (and the museum holds numerous relics recovered from the ship). After 33 months Fort Jesus again changed hands, with most of the defenders having died from starvation or disease.

The Gedi Ruins
Gedi is an archaeological site that consists of ruins of a 15th century Arab-African settlement. It covers an area of about one square kilometre. An amazing old growth coastal forest covers much of it. As the whole site is fenced off and guarded, the forest is well protected against encroachment and poaching. It provides an ideal refuge for monkeys and

the rare golden-rumped elephant shrew, duikers, and bushbucks.

The bird life is prolific, resembling the diversity in the nearby Arabuko-Sokoke forest, with several endemic species that cannot be found anywhere else. Encounters with snakes are common, including green and black mambas, forest cobras, and several harmless species. The climate is very hot and humid throughout the year. Luckily, the Indian Ocean is always there for a “cool” bath!

Koobi Fora
Koobi Fora, an archaeological site, is located in east Africa. More specifically, it’s on the east side of Lake Turkana. Richard Leakey first excavated Koobi Fora in 1967. At this site, both Australopithecines and early Homo fossils have been found.

Richard Leakey uncovered approximately four hundred fossils at the Koobi Fora. As a result, the site is known for having the richest and most varied human remains that have been found in the world. Surface prospecting made the first discoveries in the fossil beds at Koobi Fora. This involved locating areas where bones and teeth are exposed as a result of soil erosion.

Some of the finds include a complete skeleton, several skulls, and a few dozen lower jaws. Also found were leg and arm fragments and some teeth. Leakey and his archaeological team recovered a fossil hominid, called 1470, which is classified as Homo habilis. This fossil is associated with the stone artifacts also found at the sites.

The thousands of tools found were thought to have been used for a variety of purposes. The main purpose, though, was to cut meat off of bones and to break open larger bones to get the marrow inside. This creature, Homo habilis, is believed to have lived 2,000,000 years ago and be of direct ancestor of modern man, Homo sapiens.

Mt. Kenya
is a dome-shaped central volcano. It is the largest mountain in Kenya. Ten glaciers cover the volcanoes peaks. The original crater on Mt. Kenya was over 20,000 ft (6100 m) high but has been heavily eroded. Most of this erosion occurred during two periods when glaciers carved much of the top of the volcano.

These periods wore down the ring-like plug forming the top of Mt. Kenya. fact, almost 35% of the volcano has been worn away. Several types of volcanic rocks make up the mountain. The most common rocks are basalts. The Mount Kenya Suite consists of all the rocks erupted from Mt. Kenya and volcanoes that were built by it. It covers 2700

square miles in a 65-mile (105 km) diameter circle around the volcano. Volcanic activity at Mt. Kenya was concentrated in Pleistocene times. Much of this activity took place through the many vents on the slopes of the volcano.

Hell’s Gate National Park
lies south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, north west of Nairobi. It is known for its wildlife and for its scenery, including the Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower columns and Hell’s Gate Gorge. The national park is also home to three geothermal power stations at Olkaria. Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi.

The park is situated 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway. It is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. It has historically been an important home for the rare lammergeyer, but it is now thought that the famous pair of birds may not have nested in the park for several years. The park is popular due to its close proximity to Nairobi (90 mins drive) and lowered park fees compared to other National Parks. One is encouraged to hike and cycle in the park.

This is a rarity in Kenyan National Parks, and is only made possible due to the lack of dangerous animals such aand African Buffalo. The park is equipped with 3 basic campsites.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve
is a large park reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park game reserve in Tanzania. Named for the Maasai people (the traditional inhabitants of the area) and the Mara River, which divides it, it is famous for its exceptional population of game and the annual migration of the wildebeest every July and August, a migration so immense it is called the Great Migration. With an area of 1510 km² the Maasai Mara is not the largest game park in Kenya, but it is probably the most famous.

The entire area of the park is nestled within the enormous Great Rift Valley that extends from the Mediterranean Sea to South Africa. The terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland, with clusters of the distinctive acacia tree in the southeast region. The western border is the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment of the Rift Valley, and wildlife tends to be most concentrated here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good and tourist disruption is minimal. The easternmost border is 224 km from Nairobi, and hence it is the eastern regions which are most visited by tourists.
Kenya’s oldest living town, was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa. The port of Lamu has existed for at least a thousand years. An Arab traveller Abu-al-Mahasini who met a Judge from Lamu visiting Mecca in 1441 first attested the town in writing.

The town’s history is marked by Portuguese invasion beginning in 1506, and later the Omani domination around 1813 (the year of the Battle at Shella). The Portuguese invasion was prompted by the nation’s successful mission to control trade along the coast of the Indian Ocean. For considerable time, Portugal had a monopoly in shipping along the East African coast and imposed export taxes on the pre-existing local channels of commerce.

In the 1580s, Lamu led a rebellion against the Portuguese, prompted by Turkish raids. In 1652, Lamu was assisted by Oman in lifting Portuguese control. Lamu’s years as an Omani protectorate mark the town’s golden age. During this period, Lamu became a centre of poetry, politics, arts and crafts as well as the trade. Lamu town is the largest town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya.

Lamu town is also the headquarters of Lamu District and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historical Sites
Kenya has over 400 historical sites ranging from prehistoric fossils and petrified forests, to 14th century slave trading settlements, Islamic ruins and 16th century Portuguese Forts.


Life gets harder after Kenya violence– The eruption of anger and violence in Kenya in the wake of disputed elections has been particularly intense in the crowded slums of Nairobi, where almost two-thirds of the city’s population live. WFP spokesperson Penny Ferguson went to a food distribution at Woodley stadium on the outskirts of Kibera.

It is just before 7am at the Woodley stadium on the outskirts of the giant Kibera slum in Nairobi, and already over 1000 men, women and children are crowding in front of the small football clubroom, with more arriving every minute.

Each person who comes through the gates displays a slip of
white paper. It is a ration token from one of the church groups or partner organisations working in the slums and it shows that their family has been badly affected by the waves of post-election violence that have rolled through the slums, in the form of killings, arson and looting.

The two rounds of general food distributions conducted in Nairobi’s slums are a first for the World Food Programme and a first for the independent-minded people who live there.

‘They burned my house’

Jennifer Auma sits with the waiting crowd, her head wrapped in a crumpled scarf that is one of the few pieces of clothing she has left.

‘They burned my house,’ she says flatly. ‘We ran away.’

Mrs Auma says no one in the family was hurt, because their local pastor warned of danger just before a mob torched their house. She and her six children are all safe, but they had to leave all their belongings behind.

‘All is gone,’ she says. ‘We’re staying with my sister, but I need a home.’

Mrs Auma normally makes a living for herself and her family selling vegetables. She says she has been trying to start selling again, but people have little money to buy .

Mrs Auma reaches the front of the 2000-strong queue where Red Cross volunteers are helping distribute food. She has a token which will entitle her to 2100 kilocalories a day for six people: made up of split peas, vegetable oil, biscuits and corn-soya blend from WFP, and whole-grain maize from government food stocks.

Precarious lives

The daily economics of life in the slums is as fragile as the framework of the flimsy wood and tin shelters that its inhabitants rent.

The rickety shacks reflect the precariousness of the lives of those who live in them.

The majority of those who have work are casually employed and paid by the day. On their return in the evenings they spend their small earnings on food, fuel and basic necessities for the family.

The instability created by the election crisis has caused prices to sky-rocket with products such as milk doubling in price over the course of a few days and leaving people unable to afford them, forcing many to turn to WFP for help.

Some 77,600 people, in 10 locations across the city, will have received WFP food by the end of the day.

Life harder than ever

Rose Nyango, 27, is also waiting for a food ration. She usually takes in washing to earn money to feed her family. Her husband’s salary covers the rent and the children’s school fees, while the washing pays for food.

‘But there’s nothing to wash,’ she says. ‘There’s no food, there’s no anything – the children feel hunger.’

Mrs Nyango says life in the slum is harder than it has ever been. “And there’s nobody you can borrow from, nobody has money.”

It’s even difficult finding the money for water, that costs a shilling for a jerry can.

As soon as she can pay for a bus fare, Mrs Nyango says, she will take her children back to her parents’ home in Homa Bay, but the prices have shot up. “It used to be 350 shillings. Now, it’s 1500 shillings, or you cannot move.”

Living in fear

Others say they have no plans to leave their homes, but live in fear. Daniel Owuor, 49, has not walked since he was five years old, when he contracted polio. He came to Nairobi for treatment as a child, then married, had four children, and settled in the city, making his living hawking sweets in the city centre.

He has lived in Dagoretti for more than 20 years, but now, he says, he and his wife have been threatened because they came from Nyanza, not the local area.

‘Even what you have, you fear you will lose. And they don’t care if you are disabled,’ he says.

‘The future, I see a dim light. It is not bright. We just pray God that a miracle will happen.’

The People of Kenya
Thanks to the large number of migrant communities that have settled in Kenya, over eighty languages are spoken throughout the country. English is the ‘official’ language and Swahili the ‘national’ language, both of which are taught in Kenyan schools.

Most Kenyans, however, will speak at least three languages: English, Swahili and their ‘tribal’ or ‘mother’ tongue. Some, who come from marriages of mixed ethnicity, will speak even more. In the rural areas, however, visitors will often find that English is either only sketchily understood, or not at all.

Broadly speaking, Kikuyu, Luo and English are the most widely spoken languages, while ‘up country’ Swahili is spoken countrywide (in varying degrees of grammatical accuracy), and ‘safi’ or pure Swahili is spoken almost solely on the coast. Of the ethnic languages, the majority falls into one of two major language groups: Bantu and Nilotic.

Bantu Speaking:
Luhya, Gusii, Kuria, Akamba, Kikuyu, Embu, Meru, Mbere, Tharaka, Coastal Bantu, Swahili, Pokomo, Taita and Taveta.

Nilotic Speaking:
Luo, Maasai, Samburu, Turkana, Teso, Njemps, Elmolo Kalenjin, Marakwet, Pokot, Tugen, Kisigis, Eikony.

Cushitic Speaking:
Boni, Somali, Rendille, Orma, Boran, Gabbra

The rough translation of the word Kalenjin means ‘I tell you.’ Believed to have migrated from Sudan nearly 2,000 years age, these people consist of an estimated 3 million in Kenya.
Most of these people live in the Great Rift Valley, in Western Kenya. Traditional clothing consisted of animal skins. Either of domesticated animals or wild animals. Heavy brass coils were used as earrings, which stretch the earlobe almost to the shoulder.

Also known as Akamba. These are people who live in the semi-arid areas of Eastern Province. They are the fifth largest ethnic group in Kenya. Anthropologists believe that the Kamba are a mixture of several East African people. A large number of them are pastoralists.

The Kikuyu
are of Bantu origin and make up the country’s largest tribal group and their heartland surrounds Mt. Kenya. The original Kikuyu are thought to have migrated to the area from the east and northeast from the 16th century onwards. Famously warlike, the Kikuyu overran the lands of the Athi and Gumba tribes, becoming hugely populous in the process. Today, 20% of Kenyans are Kikuyu.

The Kikuyu also fiercely resisted the British, spearheading the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s that was a major catalyst for the end of British rule. The Kikuyu territory borders that of the Maasai, and intertribal raids on property and cattle were once common. Despite this, intermarriage between the tribes occurred, and there are many cultural similarities between the tribes today.

The Kikuyu are the most best politically represented tribe in Kenya due to the influence of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya. Initiation rites for both boys and girls are very important ceremonies and consist of ritual circumcision for boys and girls. Circumcision for boys and female genital mutilation for girls (although the latter is slowly becoming less common). Each group of youths of the same age belongs to a riikaan (age-set) and passes through stages of life, and their associated rituals together. Subgroups of the Kikuyu include the Embu, Ndia and Mbeere.

The Luyha

are of Bantu origin and are made up of 17 groups. They are the Second-largest group after the Kikuyu, but occupy a relatively small area in western Kenya centred on Kakamega, where they settled around the 14th century. Population densities here are incredibly high. In times past, the Luyha were skilled metal workers, forging knives and tools that were traded with other groups, but today most Luyha are agriculturists, farming groundnuts, sesame and maize.

Smallholders also grow large amounts of cash crops such as cotton and sugar cane. Many Luyha still have a strong and powerful belief in witchcraft and superstition, although, to the passing traveller, this is rarely obvious. Traditional costume and rituals are becoming less common, due mostly to the pressures of the soaring Luyha population.

are the definitive symbol of ‘tribal’ Kenya. With a reputation (often exaggerated) as fierce warriors and a proud demeanour, this tribe of Nilotic origin has largely managed to stay outside the mainstream of development in Kenya and still maintains large cattle herds along the Tanzanian border.

The Maasai first migrated to central Kenya from current-day Sudan, but in the late 19th century they were decimated by famine and disease and their cattle herds were routed by rinderpest. The British gazetted the Maasai Mara National Reserve in the early 1960’s, displacing the Maasai, and they slowly continued to annex more and more Maasai land.

Resettlement programs have met with limited success as the Maasai scorn agriculture and land ownership. There is strong taboo against ‘piercing’ the soil and the dead are traditionally left to be consumed by wild animals.

Maasai women are famous for their vast plate-like bed necklaces, while men typically wear a red checked shuka (Maasai blanket) and carry a distinctive ball-ended club. Blood and milk is the mainstay of the Maasai diet, supplemented by a drink called mursik, made from milk fermented with cow’s urine and ashes, which is shown to lower cholesterol.

At around the age of 14, males become el-moran (warriors) and build a small livestock camp (manyatta) after their circumcision ceremony, where they live alone for up to eight years. Before returning to the village to marry. Morans traditionally dye their hair red with ochre and fat. Female genital mutilation is common among the Maasai, despite the best efforts of various human rights’ groups.

Tourism provides an income to some, either through being guides and camp guards (askaris), selling everyday items (gourds, necklaces, clubs and spears), dancing or simply posing for photographs. However, the benefits are not widespread. In recent years, many Maasai have moved to the cities or coastal resorts, becoming doormen for hotels and restaurants.

The Rendille
who are of Cushitic origin, are pastoralists who live in small nomadic communities in the rocky Kaisut Desert in Kenya’s northeast.

They have strong economic kinship links with the Samburu and rely heavily on camels for many of their daily needs, including food, milk, clothing, trade and transport. The camels are bled by opening a vein in the neck with a blunt arrow or knife. The blood is then drunk on its own or mixed with milk.

Rendille society is strongly bound by family ties, and these centre around monogamous couples. Mothers have a high status and the eldest son inherits the family wealth. It is dishonourable for a Rendille to refuse a loan, so even the poorest Rendille often has claims to at least a few camels and goats.

Closely related to the Maasai, and speaking the same language, the Samburu occupy arid areas directly north of Mt. Kenya. It seems that when the Maasai migrated to the area from Sudan, some headed east and became the Samburu.

As with the Rendille, Samburu warriors often paste their hair with red ochre to create a visor to shield their eyes from the sun. Age is an important factor in assigning social status and a man passes through various stages before becoming a powerful elder in his 30s. Samburu families live in a group of huts made of branched, mud and dung, surrounded by a fence made of thorn bushes.
Livestock, which are kept inside the fence perimeter at night, are used for their milk rather than for meat.

Swahili – Although the people along the coast do not have a common heritage, they do have a linguistic link – Kiswahili (commonly referred to as Swahili), a Bantu-based language that evolved as a means of communication between Africans and the Arabs, Persians and Portuguese who colonized the East African coast.

The word Swahili is a derivative of the Arabic word for Coast is Sahel. The cultural origins of the Swahili come from intermarriage between the Arabs and Persians with African slaves from the 7th century onwards. The Swahili were to become one of the principal slaving forces in Africa. Almost all Swahili practice Islam, although it usually takes a more liberal form than that practiced in the Middle East. Swahili subgroups include Bajun, Siyu, Pate, Mvita, Fundi, Shela, Ozi, Vumba and Amu (residents of Lamu).


are Kenya’s second-largest tribe in Kenya. The Turkana are one of Kenya’s more colourful (and warlike) people. Originally from Karamonjong in northeastern Uganda, the Turkana number around 250,000, living in the virtual desert country of Kenya’s northwest. Like the Samburu and the Maasai (with whom they are linguistically linked), the Turkana are primarily cattle herders, although, recently fishing on the waters of Lake Turkana and small-scale farming is on the increase. The Turkana are one of the few tribes to have voluntarily given up the practice of circumcision.

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