It’s difficult not to feel thoroughly sick of politics now. So many of the Kenyan people must be disillusioned. Still some people are attempting to take to the streets to demonstrate (largely but not entirely jobless male youths) and still police are driving them back firing live rounds into the air and throwing tear gas cylinders.
I was amused to see Nagib Balala, one of Raila Odinga’s team and an MP, dashing though the streets of Nairobi with tear gas in his eyes, flagging down a four wheel drive vehicle with blacked out windows, dressed in his smart suede coat as usual– under the caption on BBC news; ‘even the middle classes got caught up in the clashes yesterday’. They obviously didn't realise who he was. Joking apart someone we know did get slightly tear gassed after a meeting in the city centre over ran time and he had to dash through the thick of it to get to his car.
14 donors are now threatening to suspend aid to Kenya if the political situation is not resolved pronto. The UN are launching an appeal for 2.2bn Kenya shillings in a relief effort for the quarter of a million (or more) displaced Kenyans and have said that most of that cash will be spent on food. The radio this morning stated that the estimated figures of those displaced, wounded and killed since the 27th December election are unreliable and figures could be much higher, it’s very difficult to get accurate information.
While we in Nairobi are slightly inconvenienced by not being able to buy fresh fish (normally Red Snapper sent up from Mombasa or Tilapia from Lake Victoria) and the price of lemons and limes has gone up sharply (now that they have arrived in the shops at last), the real tragedy is the number of people camping out having been driven from their homes. The Radio also said that people are STILL leaving and still seeking refuge in churches, schools and police posts. 6,000 left Kenya and gone over the border into Uganda.
I hope that Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki cast their eyes to the television screens occasionally and see how desperate their plight is – in fact it is fast morphing into a humanitarian crisis. It’s a shame that all international media eyes are trained on the sporadic skirmishes between police and protesters on the city streets, rather then more on the makeshift camps. Perhaps an apolitical or a-tribal high ranking official or overseas celebrity should visit to exert pressure and highlight the question; ‘what will become of them – sort it out!??’ (UNICEF/UN representatives: Angelina, Ginger Spice, Ewan McGregor – if you’re not busy we would be most awfully grateful!?)