Neccy Kikaya, a Kenyan Friend, sent the following update to the World Office. She sends news that Zablon Malenge, a former FWCC executive, has been burned out of his home in Nairobi.
I arrived from Kenya two days ago after a wonderful Christmas. Also, I was there at the time of the General Elections, which despite a historical large turnout by voters (especially youths) to elect their leaders in what would have been considered a free/fair democratic election process in Africa, ... the flawed results that declared the current - President Mwai Kibaki - (PNU - Party of National Unity) the winner instead of the people's popular - Mr Raila Odinga (ODM - Orange Democratic Movement), was marred with ethnic violence which has left more that 500 people dead, thousands of internally displaced people, fear and uncertainty on the streets of Kisumu, Nairobi, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kitale, Rift Valley, coast, etc. - Although the situation has calmed down since unlike the last two weeks, there is an angry atmosphere / environment - people are angry that they have been betrayed by the very people who should protect them. See down below, a copy of an "open letter to Mr Kivuitu". Simon Kivuitu is the Chairman of Election Commission of Kenyal (ECK) - a Law Society man mandated to deliver a free and fair election but choose the "stolen" path by intentionally delivering the "wrong" verdict - Mwai Kibaki. The people feel that the best solution is Mwai to step down so that there is a re-run of the presidential elections. Mwai does not want that to happen.
Zablon Malenge - a former FWCC executive and a member of the Friends International Centre (Church), Ngong Road is a victim of these clashes. His house in Olympic Estate that borders Kibera slums was torched and burned down by angry citizens venting their frustrations and unfortunately Zablon's house was in their path. Zablon and Margaret were not physically hurt (but are mentally tortured) and are now temporarily putting up with a family (Friends) until they sort their lives once more. Everything in their house was destroyed. None of my family were hurt. David and I were in Western Kenya (Kitale) - Rift Valley. Kitale had a fair share of destruction, violence and death. Seven people were killed - mostly Kikuyus. Houses and shops were burned down and looted. There are many displaced people in town mostly camping at a place called Kiminini. Transport system came to a ground halt and it was difficult for anyone to leave or enter Kitale because what was happening in Eldoret where Kalenjin burned people in a Church, was affecting Kitale. No fuel to run own private car or publc transport. We managed to get to Nairobi only by an armed escort as the roads and unsafe, even now one has to be careful. It was understood with fear that anyone transiting through Naivasha and Kijabo - these are two towns on the western outskirts of Nairobi, were beaten up and slaughtered by Mungiki (a terrorist Kikuyu gang) who took to revenge on people from Western Kenyan.
Sunday 6th January 2008 was a Special Prayer day at Friends International Centre, Ngong Road where I attended. We saw Nairobi victims (Quakers) that were either hurt or personally affected in the clashes. A special committee also sat and drafted a Statement regarding their concern for insecurities which was addressed to the authorities to quickly find way to curb the unrest and as to the way (the Friends Church in Kenya) felt about the insecurities in the country which was aired the next day.
There is a culture of violence. It came to light that every tribe in Kenya has its terrorist gang - to name but a few - thus: - Sungu Sungu, Mungiki, Chingororo, Musumbiji, Baghdad Boys, etc, who lie low but would surface in a situation like seen in the past fortnight . We just hope that these leaders will give dialogue a chance and agree the way forward to save the situation and prevent loss of more lives in that corner of the world.