The Trials and Persecution of Mungiki – The Dread Warrior Lions of Kenya

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By Jide Uwechia

Mungikis…the Dread lions of Kenya

Mungiki Elder sent to prison by the Kenyan State

The former leader of Kenya’s outlawed Mungiki movement has been jailed for having an illegal gun and cannabis possession.

John Kamunya, alias Maina Njenga, was sentenced to five years in jail by a Nairobi court for possessing a gun and nearly 5kg of marijuana.

After the sentencing, his two wives became hysterical, weeping profusely and protesting the injustice of the Kenyan government.

Kamunya, now a “Christian convert”, was last month freed on another charge of recruiting Mungiki members.

The Mungiki are thought to be militants from Kenya’s biggest ethnic group, the Kikuyu. Most of the members of the movement are poverty stricken slum dwellers, who often become psychologically empowered by the doctrine of this movement.

The movement promotes a return to pristine African traditional values and a dissociation from the corrosive influence of western ways and culture.

Members of this movement view Africa as the promised land flowing with milk and honey and are prepared to cut out the hindrances and obstacle established by the former colonial state structure to the reconstruction of a true African personality.

From Maumau to the Mungikis and the Rastafari

The Mungiki movement reminds one of the Rastafari movement on its doctrinal insistence respecting Africa and African values. They both believe that African values and expression are the universal model against which other cultures are to be analyzed. Mungikis pray towards Mountain Kenya the home of the Great God. Rastafari hail Haile Selassie of Ethiopia as the living manifestation of that African God that lives on Mountain Zion somewhere in East Africa. Ancient Mountain Zion could after all turn out to be Mountain Kenya of the modern times.

They both stress social reform, positive thoughts, words and actions, egalitarianism, personal liberation, and a respect for the African divinity whom they acknowledge as the Almighty over other gods and divinities. Both movements have drawn inspiration from the Mau Mau movement of the late 1950s in Kenya.

The Mungikis often wear dreadlocks as a sign of their separation from the western world, as a sign of their totem the lion, and as the outer manifestation of their inner spiritual potency. Rastafari wears its dreadlocks for those same reasons.

Mungikis use the African cannabis as a spiritual sacrament just like Rastas. They get into communication with their inspirational vibration through the sacramental ingestion of African grown herb whereas the most elites of Kenya who profess European based christianity utilize alcohol as their sacrament, as sanctioned by the catholic and the anglican churches.

Due to their emboldened consciousness, the Mungikis just like the Rastas carry themselves with a certain confidence which the ruling elites tend to find haughty and threatening.

Mungikis are accused of witchcraft, demonic oath-taking, and murders just like in the early days of Rastafari in Jamaica.

Just like Rastafari was at first demonized persecuted and pressurized by the Jamaican government who feared their new found independence, confidence and spiritual fulfilment, the Kenyan government fears the Mungiki movement for its liberating philosophy and its Afrocentricism. Kenya government afraid of the rising influence of Mungiki finally outlawed it in 2002.

A brutal crackdown by the police in slums on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi and central Kenya has netted about 1,000 alleged followers of the Mungiki movement,as well as leaving hundreds dead and many tens of thousands homeless in the past month.

The jailing of John Kamunya can be seen as part and parcel of the drive by the present government of Kenya to suppress the Mungiki movement.

Yet, it appears that the horse has bolted from the stable although the Kenyan government would want to shut the door. Mungiki has gone global. Just as the persecution of Rastafari resulted in its global spread, Mungikis are already in the Americas, in Europe and Asia, carrying on the holy struggle for the emancipation of the African physically and psychologically.

Thus the future of the Mungiki movement appears assured despite brutal persecution. The spiritual fire of these lion warriors of Kenya is now inextinguishable. Mungiki like Rastas will go through this period of humiliation only to re-emerge like the Khemitic Phoenix bird which rises from the ashes of its attempted destruction to take on the crest of the heavens.

Mungiki adherents number in millions in Kenya, and together with the millions of their Rastafari brethrens, this new expression of African independence and solidarity is worth watching carefully in the coming years.

Jide Uwechia

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19 thoughts on “The Trials and Persecution of Mungiki – The Dread Warrior Lions of Kenya”

  1. The powers that be(worldwide) acknowledge all of the above,hence the alteration of African(black)history and suppression of African truths by modern day crusaders masquerading as researchers,missionaries,historians to name but just afew.

  2. You really are a plank…you should stop pontificating on things you know nothing about. Why don’t you go and ask all the people murdered by the mungiki whether they are good people or the slum dwellers who are living in terror. Mungiki is a mafia which has a thin veneer of African traditionalism to legitimise themselves but those of us who have to live with the threat they pose know them for who they are!

    1. you would rather give your faith to a group of people that raped murdered and stole from your people then follow African Freedom physically and mentally? WHY

  3. do you remember maumau, or were too young to even know their style of operation yet, are “pontificated” as Kenyan freedom fighters?

  4. Hey proud Kenyan, do you remember maumau, or were you too young to even know their modus operandi yet, are “pontificated” as Kenya’s freedom fighters?

  5. ilexxo

    That bwoy is neither Kenyan nor proud. Ah some weak-heart, colonial mentality squeaking pitifully in cyber-space.

    One Love ilexxo


  6. Jahdey…right you know everything and anyone who disagrees with you is silly, why don’t you try positing a coherent argument to prove your case instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks…it just makes you seem petty, spiteful and ignorant.

    ilexxo, i do know about the mau mau, I have a degree in Kenyan history from the University of Nairobi(and in fact, one of my lecturers had been in the mau mau) and that war was not as black and white(pun not intended)as most people would like to think! I don’t have space or time to go into it now but it was as much a civil war as it was a a fight for independence, and oh, something else most people overlook, the mau mau actually lost the war…that’s why we have people like Michuki, Kiraitu Murungi et al in government now.
    What concerns me most is that the Mungiki hurt the people they claim to be fighting for the most(the poor and the dispossesed) look at the protection rackets they are running in the githach and koch, how is that helping the slum dwellers…and if you think that the Mungiki are fighting against the elites, you are mistaken my friend, it is these elites who are behind mungiki and are using them in their struggles for power…that’s why they came out in support of Uhuru Kenyatta in the last election, son of the man who betrayed the mau mau…how’s that for a continuation of the mau mau struggle?
    And by the way, i’m not some posh guy pontificating from some mansion in Runda eager to maintain the status quo, I was born and brought up in eastlands, Nairobi and if you know anything about Kenya, you should know what that means, I realise that our society is facing massive social pressures and something needs to be done to alleviate them, but Mungiki…that,s not the way!

  7. Mau mau’s vision was removal of oppressor(& collabo’s) from Cape to Cairo(not jus Kenya).I was born n brought up in eastlands , that dont mean a thing, Quite a number of places & people around there that have Babylonish(collaborator)tendencies,as can be found in any ghetto,or hard core in any Mansion.True some misfits do crime in the name of mungiki,jus like any bombings are in the name of Al Qaeda, how true, only the authorities know.You certainly have no idea about what mungiki is, as opposed to ‘mungich’,& your rants ‘n’ raves,choice of words make you out a Babie(colonial mentality),and that is what da real mungiki is out to remove… yes ,even in the ghetto

  8. would you guys please try and engage with the content of my argument instead of the ad hominems…how is that constructive. You don’t have to like me particularly, I may have a worthless degree as intimated by some of you and other things but that doesn’t detract from the point i’m making and neither does calling me a babie or a collaborator. so far after all you’ve said, none of you have actually refuted the point I have been making!

  9. what av you gus to say the killing and mutilating of the young? Mungiki should stop their think and do somthing good for the poor they claim to fight for while doing the contrary. i am sick and tired of them and i am thinking of acquiring a gun so that i can kill the few i know. i would like to urge kenyans to rise and fight mungiki like they fought for Uhuru. Lets kill them too, a sword for a sword and that is the language they understand well.

  10. Kenya and it’s politics is something that amuses me very much. I believe the motto in this third world country is ‘peace, love and unity’: yet, Kenya is a violent and unstable place, there is no shred of love anywhere, and unity? gimme a break, with these ignorant politicians pushing forward tribal politics where’s the unity.
    Kenya is on a one way course- downwards into poverty and death.
    After Kenyatta, there has been no progress at all in this godforbidden country. This country has the biggest slum in the world, I repeat, in the world. The wise, educated Kenyan should realise that their talents are wasted in this cesspit of a country, and they should make every attemp to leave this hellhole, perhaps to Europe or America where they may stand a chance of encountering an intelligent person. Thank you.

  11. Sam, don’t be melodramatic man…our country is going through a rough patch occasioned by the social pressures we are facing at the moment, I acknowledge that, but that doesn’t mean that there is something intrinsically wrong with it or us…It’s interesting that you think there was progress under Kenyatta when in fact, the foundation, if you will, of the social malaise we are experiencing was laid then by Kenyatta’s actions.
    A point about the “west”, at one point, they too went through the same thing. Yes, Britain, Europe and America were once violent and unstable places but they sorted themselves out and that’s what we need to do as well…not run away!

  12. I think this article talks on one side of the story that is the positive side of mingiki.mungiki and rastafarisim are very different as rastafarisim advocates for peace,love and unity while mungiki based on violence and tribalistic as it only considers kikuyus as the only tribe in tyme get facts or ask people on the ground.

  13. We, of the faith of Rastafari do not condone violence. We were painted as lazy, violent and wicked by the goverment in Jamaica when our great father Mosiah Garvey started the trod. But oit is the media. I am not familiar with what “mungiki” is; but I tell you one thing: Be wary of a man that doesn’t want to have the simplest life calling himself Rasta; simplicity is what I&I use to survive. Selassie I bless. Jah love. Selam.

  14. I believe you all believe in creation. And if you do not I believe the fact will always remain that we are all born with no ideology. We learn and adopt ideologies as we grow up. Ideologies that were developed by those who live or lived before us. Man is to error and so are his ideologies. I could be wrong, so be careful when you engage with any doctrine.
    Personally am inspired by the Rastafarian but am cautious about their belief in Selassie as Jah.
    Mau Mau will never be replaced by the Mungiki. Mau Mau still live. My grandad was a Mau Mau and he taught me to fight, not with a machete but with intellect.

  15. This is the “wrongest” information ever!
    Mungiki’s were and are Militias..they killed anyone who did not join them, including their own tribes men by beheading. these characters are and were just thugs.
    We have the real keepers of traditions in Kikuyu tribe and they are seers, who sacrifice at the mountain and other places they are old people chosen to do the particular tribesmen work. Mungiki only carried machetes and extorted money in the streets!

    1. True Sister. These guys need to research and consult. This article is full of erroneous details. How someone can refer to the Mungiki as Freedom fighters by virtue of them wearing dreadlocks beats logic. Journalism ya siku hizi ni Kuokota unconfirmed info hapa na pale na kutengeneza article.

  16. Am a Kenyan and i can assure you, you need more information about Mungiki. We promote the ideas of total freedom of the Black man to decide his destiny and prosper in this world, but, Mungiki..No thank you. Ask any Kenyan with up to date news from the country and you’ll know why. That’s a group that has been responsible for the deaths of many innocent hardworking black people who did not submit to their extortion rackets

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