Thursday, January 3, 2008

Violence in Western Kenya following Elections

Many young readers and others are now connected to the lives of the girls from Kenya who wrote stories about their lives for NEW MOON with links on this site. (See previous posts.) Now families in western Kenya are living in fear because of riots after the recent Kenyan election. Results of the election are disputed. The incumbant, Mwai Kibaki of the Kikuyu tribe claims victory over Raila Odinga of the Luo tribe. Odinga says the elections were fraudulent.
Though our friends in Esabalu are of the Luhya tribe, many Luos are neighbors in the village and surrounding cities and towns. Barack Obama's father is a Luo and I am watching to hear what words he offers Kenyans that address the need for justice.

Through friends of Amesbury for Africa, we hear this:
"People suffered the last couple of days due to fear of going out of the house and a general sense of lawlessness and insecurity (especially for women) and no food. It's much worse in areas affected by ethnic tensions. Plus lots of rumors were going around that were fueling fears and anger. Kisumu has been badly damaged and there are up to 100,000 people displaced from their homes and staying in churches, police stations, and prisons."

1 comment:

  1. I spent a semester at the University of Nairobi in 1994 through an exchange program. Even then there were signs that then 'president' Daniel Arap Moi was using mistrust between tribes in order to secure his own power. His political strategy was based on convincing other smaller tribes that they could not trust Kikuyu.

    At the time, I travelled to Karatina and met many kikuyus and they were as nice as any other people I met in Kenya. However, Nairobi was becoming populated with people displaced due to tribal conflict.

    Today economic and social corruption have caused what should be one of the wealthiest countries in the world to be amoung its poorest. Such poverty will, in turn, further fuel violence amoung its people.

    I am so glad to have seen Kenya when I did, but as this pattern continues, my children may not have the same opportunities. And so, for all the wrong reasons, the world becomes a smaller place.

    -Justin Richardson