26 February 2013

Flash back to January 2008 (#7): Latest updates on the situation in Kenya

The countdown to Kenya's election has now dwindled to only four days remaining!

All eight presidential aspirants took part in last night's second debate.
This is the first election in Kenya's history to have such debates!

These posters are a little different than yard signs, like we use in the States.

To refresh your memory regarding what happened after Kenya's last election, here is another in my series of re-posting my blogs from January 29, 2008:

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Kenya Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists rescinded the Jurist of the Year award they had bestowed on Kivuitu (chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya). The Law Society of Kenya struck him from their Roll of Honor and disbarred him.

Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan, and the DRC – all dependent on Kenyan transit for fuel and vital supplies – grind to a halt in the early days of chaos in Kenya.

Free flow of goods and services are hampered in many parts of the country. Milk on dairy farms goes to waste. Gas station pumps dry up. Matatus and buses are grounded.

Some inter-tribal marriages disintegrate in midst of post-election catastrophe.

Rape (including gang rape) and sodomy occur among displaced people who have become residents in hastily organized refugee camps throughout the country.

Genocide Watch (Washington DC-based organization) issued a “Genocide Alert” on Kenya, saying, “Ethnic massacres are an indicator that the risk of genocide in Kenya has risen to Stage 6 (of 7).”

January 10 – As the death toll passed 300, Kenya’s internationally renowned writer and social critic, Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o, called on the United Nations to investigate the “massacres” in the country.

January 11 – Kipkemoi arap Kirui, who blew the whistle (a mere one hour before Kibaki was declared the winner on December 30th) regarding gross negligence in the vote tallying, reveals that he has sought asylum in Europe after his life was threatened. He was involved with the ECK during the election process and said that his “conscience would not allow” him to remain silent.

January 12 – In urban slums and rural areas, after displacing their neighbors, residents claim abandoned houses as their own. “I’m only taking back what belonged to my grandparents.”

January 13 – The East Africa Community (EAC) observer mission issues its verdict that the Kenya general election was flawed and fell short of a free and fair exercise. They state that the vote tallying was grossly mismanaged, thereby critically undermining the credibility of the final stage of the electoral process. They went on to claim that the delay in announcing the results fuelled speculation and fear that the results were being tampered with.

January 14 – New York-based, Human Rights Watch, called on the government to halt the “shoot-to-kill” police policy and to lift its ban on live news coverage.

January 15 – The country’s education sector is facing one of its worst crises ever following the unprecedented exodus of pupils from schools in troubled areas.

January 16 – Much of the town of Kisumu has been destroyed by looters.

January 18 – Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice releases a report titled, Countdown to Deception: 30 Hours that Destroyed Kenya. In it, they claim that the Electoral Commission of Kenya could not have determined the winner of the presidential election from the flawed results received from different constituencies. They detailed numerous anomalies which discredited the election outcome. The report also states that the disputed tallying of the presidential outcome was the main cause of the violent protests sweeping Kenya.

January 21 – The government’s move to close down Nairobi’s Jamhuri Park camp where thousands of displaced people have been living has left a trail of tears and sorrow. Most of the internally displaced people, particularly women and children, say they have nowhere else to go or to start rebuilding their shattered lives. As the announcement to close the camp was relayed to them, panic gripped the camp.

January 22 – Kofi Annan arrives in Kenya. Appointed by the African Union to mediate reconciliation, the former General Secretary of the United Nations will be joined by other members of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities – former South African First Lady Graca Machel and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

January 23 – International airlines reduce weekly flights to Kenya.

January 24 – It was the handshake that rekindled hope for peace. As millions of Kenyans watched on television, President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga stepped forward yesterday and clasped each other’s hand in a gesture which carried with it the destiny of a battered nation… A collective sigh of relief seemed to sweep across the country in that magic moment – mediator Kofi Annan clapping gently while Kenyans clung to the hope of security after three weeks of bloody protests which brought their nation to the brink of civil war.

January 25 – Human Rights Watch claims ODM officials and elders in Rift Valley province planned and organized ethnic-based violence.

January 26 – Over 50 are killed in a fresh eruption of reprisal violence in Nakuru. Police seem unable to deal with the scale of violent uprisings and put a curfew in effect. The total death count in Kenya since December 30th is now estimated to be around 700.

January 27 – Violence breaks out in Naivasha, with 20 deaths and burned houses. The main highway between Nairobi and Eldoret is closed as unruly young men stop all vehicles, demanding to know the ethnicity of all passengers.

January 28 – Two are killed in Kisumu and chaos continues in Naivasha. Rioters destroy a bridge on the vital highway to Uganda near Eldoret. Traffic in both directions is stopped. Violence also occurs in Kakamega.

January 29 (today) – This morning's news is that the newly-elected member of Parliament from Embakasi (an area of Nairobi, where Bishop and his family live as well as Karo and Jeremiah) was killed last night as he entered the gate to his house. He was from the ODM party. This morning, chaos has erupted in many parts of Nairobi and schools in that area are hurriedly closed.

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