01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Kenya Election Crisis - Media feeling 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Kenya Election Crisis - Media feeling

The local television networks and radio stations are running ‘messages of peace’ almost on a loop. On TV respected Kenyan figures are calling for peace and dialogue to begin between Odinga and Kibaki. The gist of the messages goes something like this:

‘Mr Kibaki, Mr Odinga - We appeal to you to talk. Only you know what to do in this time of crisis – unless you find a peaceful solution soon, there will be no country left for you to rule. We also appeal to all Kenyans to stop the violence and work towards regaining peace in our beautiful country.’

Then Kiss FM plays songs like; ‘Too late to apologise’ by Timbaland.

Also on the radio this morning, we heard local journalists at a PNU media briefing talk back angrily to ministers, whom they accused of entering into a blame game over the violence rather than addressing the problem and working towards starting a dialogue between the two parties. Both PNU and ODM are trying to push the blame for brutal violence breaking out all over the country onto one another, perhaps in the hope of bringing one or other to book for committing a crime?

A spokesperson from the Eldoret community appealed for help clearing bodies in the town that have now been left for three days on the streets and are now being scavenged upon by dogs. The morgue is full and the police and armed forces claim that they are too busy with issues of security to carry out a clear up job. The spokesperson said he is worried that this unsanitary state of affairs will lead to the outbreak of disease. There is a similar problem in the various Nairobi slums where fighting has been breaking out for four days now. Last night mob killings were reported in Mathare, Dandora and Huruma slums.

Last night I was unable to address a couple of comments on by blog, as my computer system slowed down to an almost total standstill. People do not have access to broadband at home in Kenya, but instead we use our land telephone lines or mobile handsets.

First: The Red Cross are doing a fantastic job here. We saw two of their white 4x4 landcruisers adapted to carry a stretcher in the back, flying a 6 foot red cross flag, heading down toward Kibera slum on Monday 31st Dec. They have been providing food and blankets for displaced people and have set up an initiative with one of Kenya’s largest supermarket chains, Nakumatt, to have drop off points in every store with donations of food, utensils, bedding, clothes etc. for Kenya’s displaced people who are now left homeless.

Second: If your daughter is planning to come to start work at Westlands Primary school on Saturday morning, I would definitely postpone her trip for a week. Our kids are due to go back to school on Tuesday, but that is not looking likely. The Rally today is going to be a catalyst to the current situation and we have to sit back and wait and see what happens. Kenyan secondary schools starting date has officially been put back a week to the 14th or 15th January.

Third: Expatriates and tourists are not being targeted in the violence in Kenya. The only concern is to avoid getting caught up in street/mob violence when travelling from A to B, as then targets are indiscriminate. An expat friend of mine said that she lived peacefully at Ivory Coast both during and for one year after the coup there. Expatriates only were endangered when French forces came into the country, after that, foreigners were targeted due to the fact that they were seen to be ‘interfering’ in the local political situation.

The news showed a British tourist in a Mombasa hotel, who said that the hotel staff had been kind, helpful and smiling, in spite of all that is going on in their country at the moment. That’s typical of Kenyans, they are fantastic.

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