01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Back to school today but still uneasy 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Back to school today but still uneasy

It was with some trepidation that we took our kids back to school today as we face an uncertain week ahead. Tomorrow is the official convening of Parliament (which, bucking tradition, will not be allowed to be televised live as there is still a ‘live broadcast’ ban in place) and Raila Odinga has announced rallies for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, all of which have been banned by the police (again). Whilst we don’t in any way see ourselves as targets, after the explosive weeks following the elections there is always the fear of violence and rioting in the back of our minds and the last thing we want is to get caught up in it whilst on the road doing school runs (my eldest goes to a school in town). In addition, many of the school staff have to cross town to get in to work. It is the ‘rent a crowd’ element of unemployed youths who seem to be the main perpetrators of the violence.

Much of the anger of the Nairobi population seems to have now dissipated as people struggle to go about their normal business but for those 300,000 Kenyans displaced both here and upcountry, the situation is still nightmarish. I gather that whilst the Red Cross are doing invaluable work, the relief effort is chaotic. For many, the flawed election acted as a trigger which brought old disputes over land and property that formerly were simmering beneath the surface, to a sudden head in a flood of emotional tribal loyalty. The burning of property, looting and violence forced the now displaced people to flee their homes in real fear of their lives and they cannot now return. The death toll is now up to around 600 but counting is still taking place.

Outside mediation efforts have, to all intents and purposes, so far failed – we now pin our hopes on former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who arrives tomorrow. Meanwhile, the line of Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki remains hard in the pursuit of their goals in taking this country forward. Whilst we pretend to be ‘back to normal’, no one can relax until those leaders reach some sort of mutual (amicable would be pushing it!) agreement.

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