This is an email sent Wednesday, January 2nd from some dear friends who are living in Kenya:
I have recently received a few emails asking about the current situation here in , so I thought I would send out a general update. The following are my observations and opinions based on reliable information, sources and many years if following politics.
Here in tension is very high and surreal. The rest of the country is ever worse. The thought that could be another has never crossed my mind until the last few days. Ethnic killings have happened all over the country. Yesterday's massacre of those who were seeking refuge in an Eldoret church is reminiscent to the horror stories from the genocide in 1994 between the Hutus and Watutsi tribes. In , it is the Kikuyus against the Luos, Luyas and Kalegin tribes. It was mostly women and small children who were died in the burning church. Many who tried to escape the fire were killed by machetes. Some reports said that children who were trying to escape were thrown back into the infernal. A crippled grandmother in a wheel chair was brutally killed.
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the election was blatantly rigged by the present government and president, who is of the Kikuyu tribe. EU electoral observers confirmed this. Corruption is rampant with the present government - and opposition. However, most of the power is controlled by a small group of elite Kikuyus. Yes, the economy has been improved for the elite, but poverty has increased as well. The bottom line is that the majority of the country is fed up with poverty and corruption and want change.
The opposition was leading in the voting by one million votes and the results continued to be delayed. And then all of a sudden, it changed and the president was declared the winner by the electoral commissioner and was sworn in thirty minutes later. Complaints and proof of vote rigging was presented to him, but he arrogantly ignored these petitions.
Tomorrow will be a defining moment in Kenya's history. The opposition leader Odinga has called for a protest rally of more than a million people here in . Of course the government will not sanction this event and the people who show up will "face the full force of the law". Odinga has refused to meet with the president and will only do so if the president resigns which is not likely. It's a standoff and could turn very violent.
It's very sad. I have many friends from all tribes and have talked with them extensively concerning this. Just about everyone is in fear of their lives, particularly the ones who are intermixed tribally in the slums. We have told our friends that If things get worse and they need it, our home is open to them, even if we need to set up tents in our yard so that they will have a safe place of refuge.
What is going to happen? We don't know. What can we do? Pray. Pray for peace, reconciliation and justice. You who know me know that I'm not an alarmist and would normally say it's all going to be ok. However, this is not the case.
We will be fine as long as we don't get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. We live near the U.S. Embassy, and if need be will go there. We do get regular updates from the embassy and our warden. Our concern is for innocent Kenyans; it’s always the poor who suffer the brunt of these horrific situations. Please pass this message along to those who may be interested, your church, etc....
J. Harmon Parker
Director, Bridging the Gap
P.O. Box 1116-00621
"Daraja ilokuvusha, usiitukane."
Don't insult the bridge that you crossed upon.
An African Proverb