It has been a really strange day. After the ‘storming of the Bastille’ sound affects coming from the direction of town and the Kibera slum last night, we sent a text to our ex askari who lives there, to ask how he was doing.
He ‘flashed’ us this morning and when we phoned him back he told us that as soon as the election results were released yesterday evening rioting broke out instantly in his neighbourhood and houses were being burned. By the time security arrived on the scene in the form of army and police chaos had broken out. He and his family fled, but in the mayhem he lost his son and nephew who he was responsible for (they live with him). ‘I have lost my children’ he said. He slept the night in a ditch in the nearby suburb of Langata with his wife, and was going back to the slum to try and find the children. This morning there were still running battles going on and residents were barred from returning home. We said that he and his family were welcome to stay here and we hoped he would find the children soon.
Before live broadcasts were banned by internal security, fighting was reported in Eldoret, Nakuru, all the Nairobi slums, Kisumu and at the coast. Then general feeling was that the people of Kenya were furious about being cheated of a fair and democratic election, meanwhile the news networks were preaching forgiveness and ‘healing’ in order to keep the country together. Raila talked of staging a rival inauguration ceremony in Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, but was immediately put under house arrest. One of his aides, Ruto, said; ‘Kibaki may have the army and the police but Raila has the people’. The latest news is that Raila is calling for a ‘day of mass action’ on the third of January.
The ban on news broadcasting has been frustrating but quite probably a sensible move by the government in power to divert full civil war breaking out as opposition rallies together.
No one knows which way this will go and we are all in the dark over what is going on. We have all stayed at home (as advised by the embassies), but those who have ventured out of town say that the roads are clear. The supermarkets were urged to open today to maintain a semblance of normality, but stocks of food are getting low.
We spoke to our Kibera friend again this evening, he has found his children and they have together got back into their former home, but only to find that it has been looted of all possessions. They now have nothing to sleep on or sit on, no clothes left, nothing has been left behind but now they must stay indoors, as security forces are policing the area and preventing groups from forming on the streets urging all to stay inside.
The only way we can keep track on current events as they unfold is by looking at the BBC on the internet or by getting texts from people who are watching Sky News on satellite.