Kill in the name of Vybez Kartel: Inside the cultic following among Eastland’s youth
The Wadando-Gaza gang is a criminal group based in the Nairobi area of Kenya. They have been linked to various illegal activities that have led the police to hunt them down as the most wanted criminals.
After sleuths gained intel into how the gang operates. The leader Eddy alias Yutman Mgaza Wadando was over the weekend shot dead by police officers leaving the group exposed.
The gang is believed to be heavily influenced by the music and lifestyle of Jamaican dancehall artist Adija Palmer, popularly known as Vybz Kartel.
Many gang members reportedly idolize Kartel and emulate his fashion and musical style. The Kenyan government has taken steps to crack down on the Wadando-Gaza gang, but the group remains active and continues to be a problem in the Eastlands area.
The cultic following of the convicted Jamaican music icon started back in 2009 when a meeting was called by top Jamaican officials who were concerned with the rise of insecurity in their country.
They decide to meet with Vybz Kartel – the leader of the Gaza gang – and David Brooks alias Movado – the leader of Gully gang – to get a solution to the challenges. They converged at Jamaica House.
The Jamaican officials are; Jamaican Minister with Responsibility for Information Daryl Vaz, then Minister of Education Andrew Holness, Security Minister Dwight Nelson, and representatives from the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport.
According to the government, violence was on the rise, and they believed that the Gaza-Gully war was the trigger to all the insecurity issues.
The meeting was crowned by the release of Vybez’ hit single ‘Gaza Commandments’ where he airs out the challenges of the middle and lower-class communities.
The fanatic following of Vybez under the Gaza gang spread far and wide.
What inspired the name Gaza?
Gaza is a place of conflict, with the common one being the Gaza- Israel conflict. It is part of the localized Israeli- Palestinian conflict, but it is also a scene of the power struggle between regional powers, including Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, together with Qatar.
Vybez stressed how much conflict his fans deal with. He also encouraged the lack of regard for authority, violence, robust chauvinism, and justification for criminal behavior.
His fans adopted his rebellious message and followed his ‘Gaza Commandments’, which often meant they were on opposite sides of the law.
In 2014, despite being sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, Vybz Kartel continued to wield significant influence among young people, who still viewed him as a god-like figure whose wisdom surpassed his incarceration.
He was arrested in 2011, and then a group he had formed known as Portmore Empire was disbanded.
Eastlands Gaza gang connection to Jamaica
Nairobi News has established that in 2017 one of the members of the Gaza gang in Kenya sent a voice note which was featured on Souflo TV- a popular YouTube channel in Jamaica.
The host narrated how he received a voice note from a Kenyan fan who told him about the Gaza gang and confessed that they worship Vybz Kartel and also kill people in his name.
During the gang’s heydays, they never spared anyone, including children, and at the slightest provocation, they would pull the trigger and kill.
The host then appeared shocked by the confession that the Gaza gang believes in Vybez that much.
The Gaza gang that operated in Nairobi and had its base in Kayole, saw most members add a coined version of Vybz Kartel’s real name to show their devotion to the reggae crooner.
His name Adija was shortened to Ady.
The most famous gang member was Clare Njoki Kobia alias Clea Ady Vybz. She was gunned down in Kayole by police for her connection to the Gaza gang leader, Mwaniki alias Mwanee Sparta.
This marked the genesis of the ending of the Gaza gang that was feared amongst locals, especially those who resided in Eastlands.
Clea Ady Vybz was still clutching a Beretta pistol, which had six rounds of ammunition, police said.
Its serial number had been obliterated.
Mwanee swore to get revenge on the clandestine police unit that was formed to infiltrate the gang. He took to social media and ranted against fierce cop Hessy and his counterparts Saigon Punisher, Black Widow, and Injector.
He swore he would kill many police officers before he met his maker.
The Ministry of Interior issued a statement and asked members of the deadly gang to surrender their firearms and themselves to the police.
Mwanee and other gang members defied the orders and he was later shot dead in Kiambu County.
This week, with the death of Yutman Mgaza Wadando, Nairobi News discovered the existence of the Wadando gang – which is an offshoot of the original Gaza gang – and how they mourned him, with some even cursing those who ended his life.
The majority of the youth in this gang seem to be inspired by Vybez Kartel, and most of them do not shy away from wearing clothes bearing his image or name on social media.
They also pose, carry bottles of alcohol, take photos while smoking bhang, which is illegal in Kenya, and wear big rings and necklaces, just like their idol, Vybz Kartel used to do it.
However, Nairobi News noted that most, just like Eddy doesn’t like showing their faces in the photos they take and post online. They usually hide their faces using caps and face downwards. This is to avoid detection by the fierce police unit formed to infiltrate the gang.
Since Nairobi News started featuring details of the and how it operates, most of them have deactivated their Facebook accounts, and some have gone ahead and deleted posts they made.
One example is the widow of Yutman Mgaza Wadando, who deleted an intimate post she uploaded on Facebook after he was killed over the weekend.
The woman, whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons, had mourned her husband in a moving tribute post.
“Walahi Eddy umeamua tu hivyo. Iko tu sawa one day we will die me siamini Yutman niwewe umetuacha. RIP. Joh (I swear, Eddy, you made this decision. It is well, one day we will die, I don’t believe Yutman, that you left me. Rest in Peace, Joh),” the post read in full.