01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: On the home front - 2nd Jan, Nairobi 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

On the home front - 2nd Jan, Nairobi

On the home front:

Shops opened a little late this morning, but they opened nonetheless and deliveries were trickling in. Traffic was clear on the way into town, but by lunchtime the roads were bustling as usual. Enough pressure was exerted onto those in power by Kiss FM radio station to finally open Uhuru highway, a major artery in the town centre. (Nairobi's Uhuru Park is the venue for Raila's 'day of mass action' demonstration still planned for tomorrow). People were at last venturing out of their houses to go to work, relieved to have some sense of normality after eight days of national holidays on the trot and chaos deepening all over Kenya.

One of the ladies who works in our house lives not far away in a Kikuyu suburb of Nairobi, but she supports Raila and is from Western Kenya. She says that yesterday there were rumours of Kikuyus driving non-Kikuyus out of her neighbourhood by force. I keep offering her refuge here at our home, but she is afraid to leave her belongings and perhaps run the risk of the whole lot being looted. She told me that she does not want to go to the demonstration tomorrow, she would rather come to work:
'I don't like violence' she said.

Some friends say that staff who have arrived at work today, have stories of neighbours houses being burned down in Nairobi. Other employees have had problems travelling with roads blockaded up country and out of town transport coming to a standstill due to lack of fuel.

Another staff member at our house said she chatted with some Kikuyus at the local shops who told her; ‘we wanted to win the election, but not like this.’
The problem is not a straight forward tribal one, as the election was not centred on tribal affiliations and people have been rightfully reticent to reveal how they voted. I hope that it's possible that the true election figures will one day be revealed.

A Kenyan man in the supermarket said that they strongly feel that Kibaki will step down and peace will be restored. The election has now been roundly condemned as unfair and even those who were involved in the process are stepping forward to say it was flawed. This TV footage of the ECK chairman who spoke out from his home last night to say that he was under enormous political pressure to release a result, in spite of being aware of irregularities and repeated urges by the EU to delay giving out inaccurate information, was almost unbelievable. When he read out results from his office in KICC on December 30th after proof of rigging had been put forward, he had became a figure of hate for many.

The business community were also taken by surprise at this election outcome:
‘I had envisaged various outcomes from this election, but this was the 5% eventuality that I had discounted.’

There are now tens of thousands of displaced Kenyans who have fled the fighting with only what they can carry, to say nothing of those numbers who have lost their lives.

A local radio presenter said yesterday:
‘How fair is it that the poor people of Kenya who had so little, have now lost everything, whilst the politicians who started this trouble live behind a gate with three cars outside their house?’

The emotional roller coaster continues, with feelings of panic and of possibly having lost everything we have here in Kenya, to real hopes that a resolution will be found and all is not lost. Each day and each hour seems crucial.

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