Sitting here, thousands of miles away from home, it has been scary
So how bad are things ....... I think the full picture is yet to emerge.
I have relatives who have been visiting Kenya for the holidays. We have spent hours over the past few days trying to find out where they are and how they are doing and the story that they tell doesn't paint a very encouraging picture. They have been trying to get to Nairobi since Monday and they finally did today. It looks like it is no longer safe to try and drive. It has taken a police escorted envoy to get them to Nairobi. I had read on other blogs that evacuation flights are being arranged from Eldoret to get people safely to Nairobi, but it seems that this is happening from little airstrips all over.
For those who are trying to paint this dilemma as a Luo/Kikuyu problem, i say if only that were true. My folks live in shags (and by shags i mean no running water and no electricity). We are in the middle of what i would consider nowhere, and yet even there, the roads have been blocked with burning tires, rocks and trees. It is not only the Kikuyus' that are in danger, but other communities who are perceived to have sided with Mr. Kibakis' reelection are taking shelter from the mobs. Although sad to say this is in many ways playing out as a ethnic conflict it is inaccurate to give Mr. Odinga credit for all that has happened. It may or may not be true that he commands blind devotion from his community, but there are very many other people who are out there in opposition to the miscarriage of justice and democracy that has been enacted upon us. My community owes nothing to Mr. Odinga, but they have stood up and are on the streets too.
Whether this theft at the polls is perceived or real, give us the credit to at least put some effort and a little more creativity into it. I think it is a matter of record now that the discrepancies and in the vote tallies are real and have been validated by 3rd parties who are not picking one side or the other. Telling the people to "suck it up and stop being a sore loser" cannot and should not fly in this day and age.
I ask myself what the alternatives are and this is what i come up with
- All the ethnic violence and conflict must stop immediately and cannot be condoned.
- Allowing this government to stay WITHOUT making sure that they are the legitimate winners is unacceptable. Kenyans have spilt too much blood in the '50s' '92', '97' and '02' to let that happen. If Mr. Kibaki won, then kudos to him, but Kenyans are no ones peons. We have a right to look at the electoral results and determine if you are the legitimate winner. There are too many questions and we the people have a right to an answer. If you are not the winner, then pack you bags and go home.
- The legal minds say that the only constitutional solution out of this quagmire is the courts. It breaks my heart to know that in the long run, we loose more than we gain if we put aside our laws even in this situation. But, the judicial systems has been a tool of the government for too long. The judicial system belongs to the people. We are not going to be told to sit quitely while the "grownups" talk. We can and should demand that we will get justice.
- If our courts cannot or will not move fast enough, we should stay on the streets and shut the country down (peacefully and without destruction of property - The Georgians and Ukrainians did it, and so can we) until we the people get justice. However, I must be careful to say that we must also watch and learn from the Georgians. This cannot and should not be about Mr. Railas right to the Presidency, but about the peoples right to choose their leader. When the people say it is time for him to leave, he should also be ready to be pack his bags and go home.
- It is the peoples right to express their dissatisfaction. If we choose to bring down this government by peacefully demonstrating, without killing each other, then that is our choice as the people. The government cannot use the excuse of national security to crush legitimate and legal protests from the people as long as they maintain peace and order. I applaud all the people who came out today and worked to make sure that they kept the hooligans at bay (although clearly they are still outnumbered).
And Mr. Wako finally grow some .... or what. I guess we wait to see what happens next. But i guess after all these years, we have a poster child for the yes man.