We are all wondering what is going to happen. Kofi Annan arrived last night to mediate in talks between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. Raila refuses to speak to Kibaki face to face and has apparently been waiting for Annan’s arrival before moving things forward. In the meantime, there have been deaths every day in poorer areas of Nairobi and around the country where tempers have flared and tensions come to a head between closely packed residents.
Our ayah (nanny) says that her eleven year old daughter, who has only just braved going back to school this week, has had tribal orientated ‘threats’ from fellow students. There is still a lot tribal tension sadly and while the Government has recently been trying to close camps and insist that displaced Kenyans go home, they are unwilling to as there is still a lot of fear and uncertainty. The 2,500 displaced Kenyans from the North Rift and Western Kenya now camping in Nakuru show ground have been given a further 15 days grace period before being sent home. They have formed a committee with a nominated speaker to put their concerns over safety forward to the Government, hoping that they will be addressed.
The press are insisting that the ‘live coverage’ ban is lifted within 24 hours. Two ODM organised mass funerals took place yesterday in Kisumu and today in Nairobi were allowed by PNU to go ahead, which has been the first sign of the Government side ‘softening’ their approach. However today the police threw gas canisters at demonstrators moments after Raila left with his ‘Pentagon’ team and rioting ensued. Protesting youths surrounded and set an office building on fire with fifteen people inside, fortunately the police managed to disperse the crowd and quickly evacuated the building so that no one was hurt.
Although Kenya has dropped off the international news headlines for now, its problems are by no means over. There has been no resolving of any issues to date. The business community and all leaders of the economy are appealing to Kibaki and Raila to seek a solution fast and put their country before their thirst for power. Our Zimbabwean friends say: ‘Please don’t tell me that it can’t happen here and that people just have too much to lose in this country. We lost everything once and it was just the same.’ Others say: ‘It will blow over, it’s just a blip.’
Peace in Kenya is something that we have taken for granted in Kenya for a long time.