A dystopian, afrofuturistic perspective.
Millions of Kenyans arose bright and early to participate in the highly anticipated general elections which was to determine if the incumbent Mwai Kibaki would retain his presidential seat or whether his prominent opponent Raila Odinga would finally claim victory after many years of attempts.
This year, there had been an unprecedented turnout at the polling stations. In almost every constituency, queues of people eager to exercise their civic duty snaked for several miles. Both young and old wait for hours to cast their vote.
The early predictions anticipated that Odinga, a Luo, would claim the presidential seat over Kibaki, a Kikuyu. For many this would finally settle years of the implicit rivalry between the two ethnic groups. Polarization occurred between the other 42 ethnic groups, to decide which of the two dominant tribes, they supported.
Three days after the voting, the official results were read. Kibaki won.
Odinga lost by just 2% of the votes. Propaganda immediately spread insinuating that the election had been rigged. This was followed by targeted violence and ethnic cleansing throughout the country.
The systemic ethnic cleansing of the 2007 Kenya post-election violence was successful?
Mass protests and riots ensued in all provinces, with the epicenter in Nairobi. Evidence of ethnic cleansing were witnessed in several constituencies. Friends were against friends and neighbors against neighbors for fear of revealing which tribe you belong to.
After two months and a day of rampant and devastating violence, the once eclectic tapestry that made up the 44 ethic tribes of Kenya, was now comprised of just five: Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Kalenjin and Swahili.
Each of the surviving tribes migrated to occupy certain regions in Kenya. Being the epicenter of violence, Nairobi was abandoned and deemed no man’s land. Association between regions and their people was prohibited. The regions each approved of the secession and declared never to unite.
One hundred years after the 2017 post-election and the country is still divided against ethnic lines that make up geographic units called districts.
The five districts are
North Eastern - Akamba
Western - Luo
Coast - Swahili
Central - Kikuyu
Rift Valley - Kalenjin
Each district is run by a military junta that is comprised of 5 military chiefs in each committee. 7.2 meter concrete walls divide each district. Attempts by people to cross district borders is punishable by death. In the 100 years since the secession, there has been no communication between districts.
However, unknown to the military juntas of the districts, in 2007 during the mass migration of tribes, there was a small faction of 500 people (the Kenyans) that belonged to each of the 44 original tribes that were able to gather and protect themselves from the violence. This faction, survived the devastation in Nairobi and now reside in the area.
The faction is determined to reunite Kenya as one country and their leaders are secretly plotting to attempt a coup to overthrow the juntas and destroy the boundary walls.
The Kamba occupy the North Eastern region. Due to climate change, the district has been converted into a desert. Daytime temperature averages 45°C all year round. It has not rained in the district since 2038 and water supply in the district is scarce.
In 2047 when ground temperatures rose to unbearable levels, the junta decided to develop an intricate network of subterranean infrastructure and transportation channels where the people could inhabit. Abandoning the harsh environmental conditions at the surface.
To search and identify groundwater for use by the city, the Kamba use tiny robotic earthworms. For transportation, pneumatic tubes enable the mobility of individuals between various sectors within the underground city. These tubes are available in every building and are the most popular means to get around.
It was the only region that did not sustain significant damage during the 2007 skirmishes because the people heavily protected the area.
Consequently, there was not much need for rebuilding and restoration. After secession, they focused on technological advancements across various sectors: ICT, transportation, energy and health.
The district has surpassed the 4IR and are moving towards the 6IR. They have achieved AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) and are exploring super-intelligence. Intelligent, social, humanoid robots live among them and are granted equal rights to their human counterparts.
Advancements in 3D and 4D printing has fully democratized manufacturing at any scale. All residential, commercial buildings and other infrastructure are constructed using 4D printing and self-healing additive manufacturing processes. 3D printers are a staple in every home and are frequently used to fabricate various physical artifacts at any scale. However, junta have restrictions on what is permitted and prohibited.
Residents live in smart homes and every home is connected to form a network that is monitored and controlled by the junta. For transportation, they use 4D printed autonomous vehicles that can adapt to the external conditions. At birth all Luos are implanted with biochips for ‘security’ and to monitor health and wellness. These and other developments have resulted in ethical questions among Luos.
Laws in this district are not as stringent. It is here that you can acquire anything legally and illegally. After the end of the post-election violence in 2007, residents in the district frequently used the dark web as a marketplace for particular goods and services. However, cartels soon began to dominate these channels and resulted in very high crime and cyber insecurity. As a result, junta, have made advancements in blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and computing.
Fear and suspicion is rife in the district. Home security is a priority. People don’t leave their homes and neither do they walk around in the streets. Nobody trusts anybody. All Kikuyu live in armored homes. They all very rarely leave their houses.
If anyone needs to commute, they move around in armored autonomous vehicles. The use of drones is prevalent to deliver items to homes.
Due to atmospheric conditions, it is the most agriculturally viable of all districts. People spend the day tilling and cultivating the land for food production. Live a typical agrarian lifestyle. They are the only region that still domesticate animals. Animals in all other districts have gone extinct. The district is generally rural.
Through decades of research, they have made progress in gene sequencing, pharming and other advances in genetically modified foods (and animals).
Research has optimized aeroponics to an industrial scale. Sections in the district are dedicated to massive aeroponic farms while others can be found in miniature scales in homes and restaurants for small-scale food production.
Food regeneration and duplication is a process which is commonly utilized in Kalenjin homes. Want a banana? Just add the peel and in minutes, a new tasty banana will be ready to eat! Do the same for seeds, chicken bones, shells, etc. There is also a duplication mode that can create an exact copy of the food that you load into the device.
Have control of the coastal area and the only access to the Indian Ocean. Misuse of the oil that was discovered in the country in 2002 has resulted in pollution and chemical waste of the ocean. In addition to plastic pollution, the ocean is toxic and the junta have prohibited residents to go near or into the ocean due to severe adverse effects. Consequently, half of the marine species that we know today are extinct and of those that are surviving, a third are endangered.
Because the Swahili are unable to grow their own food, they developed pills that when consumed, give them all the nutritional requirements that they need. It’s recommended to only take one a day.
Everything within the built environment is elevated to prevent contact with toxic land because water from the ocean has seeped into the soil and ground. To travel, people use personal flying autonomous vehicles.
They inhabit the central region, formally Nairobi. Due to lack of resources, they were unable to rebuild therefore the current state of their land mimics a dystopian wasteland. They scavenge for materials and equipment abandoned in 2007 after the migration for retrofitting.
The Kenyans live in manyattas which are build using clay. The material used for construction helps to keep the inside cool when outside temperatures are high.
They have identified secret entrances into the other districts to loot various technologies that the Kenyans feel would be beneficial to them.
Moral of the story…
The tribes represent how as Kenyans, we all bring something unique to the table and in order to succeed, we all need to come together as one to realize our full potential.
The Kenyans are a reflection of present-day Kenya right now. Although we have freedom, we struggle to make progress because of external constraints (i.e. the powers that be).