Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Where do we go from here?

As I was getting ready to attend the Association’s monthly coffee social this morning, I received an unexpected call from Hubby. “Have you left yet? Good, don’t go via Ngong road – there are riots because new ODM MP Mugabe Were was killed last night.”

Oh crap. It was the only thing I could think to say – the only thing that seemed appropriate at the moment.

When Rock came back from dropping Hubby off at work, he told me that at the Junction, he saw the rowdy crowds already beginning to gather. One friend trying to go to work in Karen was stopped by a makeshift roadblock on James Gichuru and forced to turn around back toward Lavington.

The latest sparks of violence and Were’s murder were seemingly the only topics of conversation at the meeting. Several ladies spoke of pulling out of Kenya altogether. Even those who have called Kenya home for decades were discussing “contingency plans.”

What seemed like a spark of hope last week when Kofi Annan arrived was extinguished with flames of violence in Nakuru and Naivasha (where Rock’s wife and family live) over the weekend. Most international media outlets have attempted to put the situation in this area into perspective for their viewers by explaining that Naivasha is home to most of the greenhouses where a good portion of Europe’s imported flowers are grown. The people dying may be sad but the true tragedy to some of these reporters is the lack of roses being flown to the UK.

The Vigilante Journalist painted this eerily vivid picture in her blog earlier today.

For the last three days, the Lake Naivasha Country Club hotel’s front lawn has been a refugee camp for a group of Luo families who have not eaten anything since they arrived. In the meantime, out front, a large gang of Kikuyus gathers around the clock with makeshift weapons, aiming to kill those Luos hiding inside. It was terrifying to see such a thing and recalls harrowingly the scenes in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

Despite the fact that police are reportedly not treating Were’s murder as politically motivated (although they have not gone so far as to rule it out), people are still speculating, and in some cases, making thinly veiled accusations. "We suspect a foul hand of our adversaries in this," Raila Odinga is quoted as saying. “We hope and expect that investigations are going to be carried out by the law enforcement agencies, but as you can see, the country is drifting into a state of anarchy.” Kibaki, for his part, has called for peace and urged people not to jump to conclusions about who is responsible.

As I type this, a live press conference has just started downtown with Kofi, Raila, and Kibaki sharing the spotlight. The latter two managed to sound contrite during what could easily have been mistaken as campaign speeches. The three men urged all Kenyans to live in peace with one another and to put an end to the violence and retaliatory attacks that have become so common in the news here of late.

I want to have something to say about the situation here other than “oh crap” but until Raila and Kibaki start being the leaders they purport to be, Raila’s comment at today’s press conference may be more prophetic than anyone thought. “There may be no nation left to save.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please be safe and stay out of trouble (and troubled areas).