Archive for the 'Luos' Category

What can be done?


From this angle I can not tell whether this woman is a Luo or a Kikuyu. What I do know is that she is a Kenyan.

Kenya’s military have been deployed to Nakuru and have fired on marauding groups of youths who have been setting fire to homes. In Naivasha, sixteen people were killed in a small two-roomed house where they had taken shelter. Most them women and children. One woman running away from the scene screamed, “They set it on fire, they are killing my brother and sister.”

The violence has continued despite Kibaki and Odinga agreeing to talk. It’s going to take more than an hand-shake to resolve the situation. The electoral crisis is no longer driving events which now center on horrifying revenge attacks directed at the Luo community in what were once quiet, cosmopolitan tourist towns. What can be done?

Who can trust Kibaki or Odinga to heal these wounds when both blame each other for the violence? For each sees the chaos as a propaganda vehicle. Kenya needs fresh faces to form a platform on which the constitutional crisis can be addressed and the long hard work of repairing the country’s damaged institutions can begin. For too long the country has been run as the personal fiefdom of the elite. An equitable redistribution of land and resources must also be carried out; ethnic divisions would never erupt in a country in which all people felt they held a stake. Edit: On reflection, achieving such equity through redistribution is complicated and difficult. Focusing on economic growth and greater inclusion through extending employment opportunities is an urgent task. It is not going to happen. The global economy has been stitched up, Kenyan workers are similarly stitched up.

Odinga could use the platform he has been given by the media to address these issues instead of harping on about the elections. What good are fresh elections now when people are dying? Kibaki might have shown himself to be singularly out of touch with what is happening but that should not prevent Odinga from taking the lead. Odinga might look more like a statesman if he were to spell out how these horrible wounds can be healed, instead of playing the blame-game and nursing his own hurt ego.

Ninety people in all were killed over the weekend as the epicentre of violence shifted to Naivasha and Nakuru. In Nakuru, witnesses identified Mungiki sect members who they said were armed with guns and wore police uniforms.

In yesterday’s incident only comparable to that visited on victims sheltering at an Eldoret Church early this month, charred remains of the 16 victims were crammed in a small, two-room house, where – according to witnesses – they had locked themselves up to escape the wrath of bloodthirsty youths.

“When the attacks started, youths burnt the house, trapping them inside,” a resident said.

Another four were hacked to death as they fled from the marauding gangs targeting members of one community.

Others were killed and lynched after being fished out of public service vehicles on account of their tribe.

Policemen watched the unfolding chaos helplessly as Nairobi was temporarily cut-off from western Kenya.

Independent reports put the death toll in Naivasha at more than 20, but police confirmed only 10. The number could be higher as several people were reported missing.

In Nakuru, the death toll hit 60, with the number expected to rise as rival groups continued to clash. Witnesses said some of the attackers, believed to be members of the proscribed Mungiki sect, were armed with guns and wore police uniforms.

Fifty-five bodies are lying at the Nakuru Municipal Mortuary with five more yet to be collected from the town’s estates. The mortuary, with a capacity of 42, was stretched to the limit as bodies streamed in.

The number of those injured continued to rise and by yesterday evening, more than 100 victims were admitted to the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital nursing arrow, cuts and bullet wounds.

Burning of houses continued in various estates as hundreds continued to flee their homes. Police and military officers patrolled the town and suburbs as the violence entered its third day yesterday.

Unconfirmed reports said a military chopper patrolling the town fired gunshots at Kwa Rhonda and Ng’ambo estates to scare away marauding youths torching houses.

However, Nakuru deputy OCPD, Mr Mathew Gwiyo, said military officers fired shots in Bahati of Nakuru North District to disperse youths armed with pangas, bows and arrows who were torching houses.

“The military choppers are assisting police with aerial surveillance and intervened when the situation got out of hand,” he said.

At Sewage Estate, police had a hard time controlling two armed groups from rival communities and had to fire several times in the air to disperse them.

Armed with pangas and other weapons, they mounted death traps at illegal roadblocks on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, where they flushed out passengers from communities other than their own and lynched them.

During the skirmishes, a prison warder accidentally shot his colleague, part of a team sent to quell the violence. Houses were torched and property worth millions of shillings looted during the chaos that turned Naivasha town into a no-go zone.

William Ruto addressed Eldoret residents and called for peace, “I am appealing to our people to stop fighting each other. We know those who organised to manipulate the elections and have put us in this mess.”

In Kisumu today, young men blocked roads out of the town with burning tires and rocks.

“Kikuyus must go!” “No Raila, no peace!” they yelled, referring to the tribe of Kibaki, and to his chief rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga. Members of Odinga’s Luo tribe are among those challenging the official election results, and in Kisumu some of them took out their rage on Kikuyus, including the bus driver who was burned to death.

“The road is covered in blood. It’s chaos. Luos are hunting Kikuyus for revenge,” said Baraka Karama, a journalist for state broadcaster Kenya Television.


More on how the Kenyan election was stolen

Four Kenyan election observers who witnessed the last phase of the presidential vote tallying, when political parties were verifying the results that had been announced, have recorded their observations in an hour-by-hour log. Their testimonies expose what can only be termed a resolve among electoral officials—including Commissioners and staff—to obtain a pre-determined outcome, whether supported by fact or not.

Kenyans for Peace with Justice have released a series of documents that record how the election was stolen. This is a minute by minute account of what happened over those two fateful days.

Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
Kenyan Elections Observers’ Log: December 29-30, 2007

The following account is drawn from the statements of four of the five domestic election observers allowed into the verification process the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) afforded political party representatives the night before the announcement of the supposed results for the Presidency.

The account illustrates the list of anomalies, malpractices and illegalities that lay behind those results, raising questions as to the ethics, non-partisanship and professionalism of the ECK commissioners and staff as well as to the validity of the supposed results. The expectation of all concerned was that any findings of the verification process would be addressed by the ECK Commissioners when they met the following morning, but this did not happen.

Countdown to deception: 30 hours that destroyed Kenya

On Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 1830, Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as President of the Republic of Kenya at State House in Nairobi. Three forms of violence immediately broke out across the country: disorganised and spontaneous protests; organised militia activity; and disproportionate use of force by the Kenyan police force and General Service Unit (GSU). As a result, over 500 people were killed, 4,000 exiled in Uganda and over 250,000 people internally displaced. Many more are in hospital nursing injuries.Domestic election observers who monitored the final hours of the presidential ballot tallying and announcements noticed transgressions at once brazen and shocking. The following log captures the critical highlights of Kenya’s deviation from democracy.

Saturday December 29, 2007

1343: Results for 174 constituencies received and the gap narrows While sitting with Institute of Education in Democracy (IED)’s Executive Director, Koki Muli (observer), and journalist Kiss 100’s Paul Ilado (journalist) on the second floor of Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), the ECK’s Chair, Samuel Kivuitu, receives results that put the gap between the Party of National Unity (PNU)’s Kibaki about 107,779 votes behind the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)’s Raila Odinga— Kibaki has 3,697,768 and Odinga 3,805,547 votes, while ODM Kenya’s Kalonzo Musyoka has 498,361 votes.

1500: Nail-biting wait

1 The four domestic election observers were: Julius Melli, Association of Professional Societies of East Africa (APSEA), Koki Muli, Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) and co-Chair of the Kenya Domestic Observers Forum (KEDOF); Dr Bernard Sihanya, Faculty of Law, University of Nairobi; Hussein Mohammed Yusuf, Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims (SUPKEM). Their statements were recorded by hand, on computer and audiotape recording by Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) and are also being turned into affidavits for the filing of criminal complaints against the ECK and,if necessary, private prosecutions against the ECK.

Some ECK Commissioners express concerns to Muli about the long delays and remark that, since the gap between the two front-runners is narrowing, the ECK may have to await results from all the constituencies before announcing the final tally. This, it is feared, will heighten tensions and anxiety among political parties, their candidates and supporters. No one seems to understand why the delays were so long, especially as the ECK had been better prepared than in 2002, when such delays were not experienced.

1600: Ballots scrutiny

Kivuitu becomes more suspicious of discrepancies and begins to contemplate a reexamination
of results. Most results are not available as they have only been telephoned in. Kivuitu yields to pressure from ODM and PNU to scrutinise the tallying of presidential ballots in all the 210 constituencies after party agents point out that votes being announced by the ECK’s tallying centre in KICC do not agree with those announced at the constituency tallying centres. He agrees to have two political party agents each for every presidential candidate and five domestic election observers verify the results. Kivuitu says he wants the findings in a report to be discussed by all ECK Commissioners the following morning.

1800: The night shift begins

The atmosphere inside the ECK is tense. The day teams leave without properly handing over to the night teams. Kipkemoi Kirui, deputy leader for Team II (night), notes that although results for Lamu East, Lamu West, Wundanyi and Dujis have come in, they do not have the statutory documents, Forms 16A, 16 and 17A, accompanying them. The day team leaders responsible have therefore not signed for them. Kirui also refuses to receive them without the necessary documents because there are doubts about the verity of the data. Word goes round that his team is not accepting results without the accompanying Form 16As. For most of the night, he and his team repeatedly call the returning officers for results together with statutory documents. Statutory documents for Ijara, Galole, Wundanyi and Dujis are not received even though the results are phoned in.

1900: Setting up for verification

The tallying centre at KICC is set up for ten teams, each sitting around a table to receive, verify and forward constituency results to the internet technology (IT) team to prepare for announcement. The teams are managed by a team leader and a deputy leader. Most of the teams consist of returning officers and ECK staff. Each team is working on about 21 constituencies shared according to ECK’s own plan so that, for example, Team I deals with Mombasa and Nairobi.

In addition to tables for the ten teams, more are reserved for use by ECK Commissioners and senior staff as well as filing clerks, spread out strategically in the room to enable any of the above mentioned people to operate from a station. There are also waiting chairs reserved for returning officers, security staff and other people allowed inside the rooms.

2000-2100: Initial hitches

Observers are denied access to the tallying room at KICC. They get the ECK Chair and Secretary to intervene and are finally let in. ECK Deputy Secretary, Suleiman Chege, who receives them congenially, insists that they be accorded all the help they need. Observers are conducted on a tour of ECK’s offices enthusiastically.

2237: Verification begins

After arguments about how and where to begin the verification, work finally begins. James Orengo for ODM insists that results for all 210 constituencies be reviewed while Martha Karua for PNU wants scrutiny to be limited to Forms 16A of only contested constituencies, which she insists they have to identify and agree on since the discrepancies and problems associated with tallying are not only in constituencies that the ODM identified in the afternoon, mostly in Central and central Eastern Provinces, but were in Nyanza and the Rift Valley. Julius Melli, Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA) (observer) encounters a hostile reception at the verifying tables. Karua complains about there being too many observers, prompting a domestic observer to move from the table where agents of political parties are seated to another table where he is not noticeable.

2247: Extent of the problem

All results for the presidential election are in except for 14 constituencies. Observers immediately notice discrepancies in the results transmitted from the constituencies to the ECK’s headquarters at KICC. They also notice that a number of the statutory documents for the constituencies’ returns have serious anomalies:

a) they are not signed by the returning officers;

b) they are not countersigned by agents;

c) in some cases, only photocopies of these forms are available even though the law requires that the originals be filed;

d) although all these forms (Form 16A, 16 and 17A) require an ECK stamp to stamp to validate them, those that have a stamp are the exception rather than the rule;

e) ECK Commissioners have thus announced constituency results without verifying their authenticity with the necessary statutory documentation. For example, provisional results were telephoned in and even though the ECK called back the returning officers to ensure the results indeed came from them, most returning officers phoned in different results from what they delivered in person to KICC. Yet the ECK Commissioners accepted and included these results in the final tally;

f) Although the ECK Regulations (Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act, Cap 7 of 2007) clearly states that the ECK shall not accept for results that showed voter turnout of 100 per cent and above, the ECK Commissioners allowed returning officers who had returns over 100 per cent to “correct them.” They subsequently accepted and included such results for tallying without any explanation, for example, Maragwa constituency had given results amounting to a 115 per cent voter turnout but the returning officer was allowed to reduce them to 85.24 per cent at KICC and these results were accepted for the final tally!

g) It is unusual for ECK senior staff and Commissioners to accept results from constituencies without proper documentation and to allow returning officers to prepare the documentation at the ECK headquarters as they did at KICC. Most returning officers did not arrive with proper documentation yet were allowed to prepare their documents at KICC. This was the case for Kipipiri, Starehe, Kinangop, Garsen, Turkana Central and Turkana North and Kajiado North.

Observer inquiries establish that agents were unable to sign Form 16A in areas of Central and Eastern provinces because they were not allowed to do so or they were sent out of the counting halls altogether. In some areas, the returning officers inform the observers that agents did not feel secure enough to stay through the counting. This apparently happened in the Meru districts, in Central, Nyanza and parts of the Rift Valley.

The agents of PNU, ODM and ODM-K settle on 44 constituencies found to have filed results, already announced by ECK Commissioners, without any primary or original evidence for example, original signed, countersigned and stamped Forms 16A, 16 and 17A. These constituencies include the following: Gatundu South, Makadara, Likoni, Kaloleni, Galole, Lamu East, Wundanyi, Malindi, Voi, Ijara, Dujis, Igembe South, South Imenti, Nithi, Kitui West, Kitui South, Mwala, Kinangop, Ol Kalou, Mukurweini, Juja, Githunguri, Kiambaa, Lari, Eldoret East, Baringo East, Baringo Central, Laikipia West, Nakuru Town, Naivasha, Kuresoi, Rongai, Kimilili, Bumula, Alego, Bondo, Kisumu, Rural, Kasipul-Kabondo, Ndhiwa, Migori, Kuria, Bomachoge, Bobasi, Nyaribaru Chache and Kitutu Masaba.

Results for these constituencies were thus announced in contravention of the law. In addition, results for Dagoretti constituency were found to have been announced while vote tallying was still in progress.

Documents for Kinangop, Kipipiri, Ol Kalou, Ndaragwa, Tetu, Kieni, Mathira, Othaya and Ndaragwa had no ECK stamp.

Many constituency results were received and announced by Commissioners without the zignatures of ECK officials and all party agents. Indeed, some of the documents conveying the results contained only the results without the presiding officers’ signature, ECK stamp or any agent’s signature. For example, there were no signatures and stamps in most Forms 16A, 16, and 17 A from Nithi, Kitui West, Kitui South, Mwala, Kinangop, Ol Kalou, Mukurweini, Gichugu, Lari, Mathioya, Eldoret East, Mosop, Aldai, Baringo East, Baringo Central, Laikipia West, Naivasha, Nakuru, Kuresoi, Kajiado North, and Kajiado South yet the Commissioners had already announced the results from these constituencies.

Some constituencies had only a few statutory forms, but their total votes were still announced. These included Ndaragwa, which had 25 Forms 16A not signed by party agents.

There were 34 Forms 16A not signed for Mathira. There was one Form 16A that had a double entry, and two returns for parliamentary results were entered in the presidential file. The total presidential tally of 16A returns was actually 77,442 votes after additions were verified by a Commissioner, ECK Deputy Secretary and observers against the 80,024 announced by the ECK.

The ECK’s legal officer, Jemimah Keli, is notified of these discrepancies by Melli, but she takes away the file and hands it to the ECK’s head of research, […] Laichena, for storage. She says rechecking numbers would slow everyone down. The focus of the scrutiny, she adds, should be limited to whether or not there are Forms 16 and 16A, and not stretch to calculations or checking for consistency in the figures. She says that she and other ECK staff had not slept for many days and wished they could do voluntary work like the observers. She asks if Melli is being paid to observe the elections.

When answers in the negative, she asks why he is paying so much attention to detail. She is taking notes but seems more preoccupied with justifying every concern raised than addressing it. There are questions about the accuracy of her record of the goings-on. 16 Forms 16A for Othaya have not been signed by party agents.

Results for the following constituencies were announced without some statutory documents including Forms 16A, 16 and 17A Makadara, Starehe, Likoni, Malindi, Galole, Wundanyi, Ijara, Lamu East, Voi, Dujis and Igembe South.

Some results were also faxed as provisional tallies, as in Kirinyaga Central. In other cases, results were announced when there was no documentation to support the announcement, for example, Kimilili, Bumula Alego, Kitutu Masaba, Nyaribari Chache, Bomachoge and Kuria constituencies.

In some cases, the returning officers’ files available at ECK’s tallying centre are in duplicate and ECK senior staff claim they cannot find the original files for scrutiny. Examples include Kieni, Ol Kalou and North Imenti. Indeed, most photocopies of Forms 16A were neither signed by the presiding officers nor by party agents, yet the results on such forms were included in the tally of results.

In some cases there were disparities between the total votes cast for parliamentary and civic elections on one part and those cast for the presidential election on the other.

2300: Results without documents

Work slows to a near-stop until around midnight when a sleepy-looking fellow is ushered in. He is the returning officer from Moyale. He does not have Forms 16A, 16, 17 or 17A. He slips into a doze as Kirui consults. Hours later, Kivuitu announces the Moyale results—without any documentation.

After Moyale, results for Saku and Laisamis follow. They are not supported by any of the statutory documents and Kirui refuses to receive them. His Team Leader goes ahead to receive them nonetheless. The ECK Chair announces the results. The figures are, in a number of instances, overstated. Kirui feels perturbed because there is no reason for the returning officers’ failure to bring in the statutory documents three days after the vote tallying at the constituency level.

Disparities between provisional results phoned in earlier and those relayed to KICC were also noted for Kipipiri, Kieni, Maragua, Juja and Dagoretti constituencies

2300: Slippery returning officers

Observers Melli and Muli meet the returning officer for Starehe and ask about the constituency. He says the people who had been causing trouble wanted to disrupt the electoral process. They had wanted him to announce results that favoured their candidate and had been threatening him and pushing him forward but he says he had insisted on doing what the ECK had sent him to do.

He says that he first called for police reinforcements and then announced the winner because they had recounted the vote twice. There had been an anomaly in one of the stations, he says, and when it was rectified, the winner was known. He does not, however, let observers examine the file for the constituency. Observers never got to examine the file.

The Kipipiri results reported on the telephone give 36,470 votes to Kibaki against the 37,315 announced by the ECK. The final tally on file shows 37,279 votes.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

0100: Insider information

One ECK senior staff member calls Muli outside the hall and asks her if she is aware that something terrible is happening. The ECK senior staff member points out that it is important for observers to scrutinise all returning officers’ returns especially of Mombasa, Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley and Nyanza. The senior staff member also cautions her that the discrepancies have been planned systematically and are not accidental. She says the scheme involves most Commissioners, who have organised how the tallying will be carried out. There is also the concern that Commissioners were in charge of their regions—which had not been the practice in the past—and most of the Commissioners engaged returning officers who owed them loyalty, in some cases, replacing returning officers who had experience, having worked with the ECK in the past.

0200: Missing returns

The only constituencies without results are Kibwezi and Emuhaya. In the case of Kibwezi, the returning officer had reportedly been threatened with dire consequences by one of the candidates if he released the results. Although he was assured of transport by helicopter and additional paramilitary police escort, he still would not come in. Emuhaya was bogged down by logistical problems. The ECK Chair announced the results the following day.

Electoral official quits

Kirui’s colleagues tell him that results are being reduced or suppressed for certain constituencies. He raises the alarm. He takes his Team Leader, […] Njuguna, aside and starts saying: “My brother, this is an important national exercise. I am concerned that we are not following the law and we are letting down Kenyans …” Njuguna tells him he would be recommending Kirui’s removal because he was proving difficult. He goes ahead to report him to Daniel Koech, who asks Njuguna to cooperate with Kirui.

Njuguna goes back to their work station. Kirui follows him and tells the team that he regards their work as an important national exercise that demands patriotism and neutrality. Kirui also demands respect and cooperation from Njuguna, who says that if he wishes to, he could leave. Kirui leaves the ECK offices for the last time.

0400: Fatigue and irritation set in

Melli says, “I started noticing general irritation and resistance from ECK officials. I asked for the Nithi constituency file, but the returning officer grabbed it and held it close to his chest. The same was the case for the Starehe constituency file. The returning officer for Nithi went outside and carried all his documents with him wherever he went.” ECK Commissioners who are asked to intervene defend their staff, saying they had not completed work on the files.

0500: Invented figures show up

Molo constituency returning officer provides results showing that Kibaki has 50,145 votes at completion of counting but ECK prepares to announce 75,261 votes for him and provides a computer print out of the increased results. ECK Commission staff deny observers the opportunity to verify information on file, saying the result had not been announced.

Observers at the ECK tallying centre at KICC who take a break from the tallying room to freshen up are denied re-entry. Those who come in to relieve their colleagues on night duty are also barred from entering. Police presence is strong and the atmosphere tense.

0930: Agents ordered out

A message goes out on the public address system asking all agents to leave the premises. Observers are also ordered out and evicted.

1000: ECK goes underground

A media briefing scheduled for 1000 to announce presidential results is put off indefinitely.

1100: Odinga press conference

The ODM presidential candidate claims he has won the election according to results from his call centre.

1300: Trial balloon

Word goes round that the ECK could announce the results of the presidential election at any time.

1421: ODM press conference

ODM holds a press briefing at KICC and discloses rigging by the ECK in 48 constituencies after a joint parties and ECK audit of all the 210 constituencies. William Ruto discloses that all 48 constituencies lacked supporting documents and inflated Kibaki’s figures. The ECK does not provide any evidence to the contrary.

1620: Protests on the floor

The ECK Chair attempts to announce the final results of the presidential election. He, however, begun with announcing the results of Molo which were inflated, 75,261 instead of the 50,145 votes announced at the constituency tallying centre. Kivuitu is shouted down by ODM which insists that the contested results need to be resolved, including those of Molo, and also insist the delayed results from Eastern and Central provinces had been inflated. The ECK Commissioners leave the briefing centre under police escort.

1642: Bombshell

An ECK staff member, Kipkemoi Kirui, tells an ODM-convened press conference that the poll results and documents are being manipulated at the KICC, and that he and many other people had deserted their work stations in frustration.

1700: Dogged determination

A signal goes out to the diplomatic corps that the ECK is about to announce the results.

1739: The Final announcement

Paramilitary police clear KICC as the ECK Chair announces Kibaki winner of the presidential election in a sealed room. The news is relayed via the public Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and picked up by other networks.

1824: Swift swearing-in

Kibaki is sworn in as President at State House in Nairobi as protests erupt all over Kenya. A live press conference by ODM is pulled off air as the Minister for Internal Security suspends live broadcasts.

more documents here

Cycles of revenge

Here is a report on how Luos in Limuru have been targeted by Kikuyu since Kikuyus were displaced in the Rift Valley. Many have fled to Limuru and are exacting revenge on Luos.

It’s because of the Kikuyus from Rift Valley who have fled [post-election violence]. Many have come this way. So they [Kikuyus in Limuru] now have a reason to attack us [Luos]. They are like, ‘let them go because our people are suffering there [in Rift Valley]’

TIGONI, 11 January 2008 (IRIN) – Susan Ouma sat on the wooden frame of her sofa, smiling down at her three-week-old daughter, Mary Akinyi, tightly wrapped in an orange blanket despite the blazing January sun.

Ouma was clearly relieved to have found sanctuary after a week of terrifying attacks which forced her to sleep out in the fields where she had been picking tea leaves for Unilever’s Mabrook farm.

Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) worker Zion Kibe Kangethe wrote down her details. The arrival of Ouma and her five children took the number of displaced people camping out behind Tigoni police station, 35km northwest of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to 400.

“Numbers have gone down from earlier this week. We had 800 people. But we are still having new arrivals,” Kangethe said.

Ouma explained why she had loaded all her possessions on to a donkey cart and travelled to this makeshift camp.

“For the last week, a mob of young men have been coming to our houses. There were so many you couldn’t count them. They had machetes and they threw stones. They were smashing our houses. They came every night,” she said.

“I didn’t have the strength to walk after having my baby and she’s so small. So we slept outside in the tea fields. In the day we would go back to our house.”

Ouma, like many of the workers at the tea factory, is not from Tigoni, having moved from Siaya in western Kenya to find work. Ouma is a Luo, as is opposition leader Raila Odinga, while most people in Tigoni’s Central Province are Kikuyus, like President Mwai Kibaki.

Conflict has broken out in many parts of Kenya since the announcement of disputed election results on 30 December, which saw the incumbent Kibaki return to power amid allegations of vote rigging.

Thousands of Kikuyus fled Rift Valley Province after attacks by the dominant Kalenjin community. Many came to Central Province. This seems to have triggered off revenge attacks there by young Kikuyu men on perceived outsiders from the Luo, Luhya and Kalenjin ethnic groups.

The field behind Tigoni police station is busy. Women and children cluster around; some eat plates of beans, cooked by local volunteers in giant saucepans. Others wash clothes in buckets or plait each other’s hair. Many just sit and stare numbly into the distance.

Beatrice Chepkoech, a 20-year-old mother of three, was waiting to see a nurse from nearby Tigoni hospital who had set up a clinic under a tree. She held her nine-month-old baby, Samuel, who had developed a swelling on his head.

Chepkoech is a Kalenjin from Eldoret in Rift Valley Province. She moved to the nearby town of Limuru last year where her husband found work in the Bata shoe factory.

Tension started brewing in the lead-up to the elections. Chepkoech heard rumours that Luyhas and Luos would be chased out of Limuru if the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) won. The ODM did not win but violence erupted nonetheless.

“On Sunday at about 6pm, a mob of young Kikuyu men came into people’s houses. There were about a hundred of them. They had machetes and clubs and were throwing stones and smashing the houses. They were chanting, ‘Those ones. Those ones. Chase them away’,” Chepkoech explained.

“We all ran to the railway station, except for the Kikuyus who stayed behind. There were hundreds of people there. We slept on the ground. It was icy cold. We didn’t sleep much. We were just praying. There was no food. The children were crying because they were hungry.”

Chepkoech spent two nights at the railway station before coming to the police station, where food, water, blankets and basic medical care were available. The KRCS erected three huge tents for the women and children, while the men slept outside.

After a few days, Chepkoech returned home to pick up her possessions but her house had been looted. Her bed, mattress and blankets had been stolen. Only the sofa base, one jerry can and a few clothes remained.

The family now want to move to Eldoret.

“I don’t want to stay in Limuru. I’m scared the same thing will happen again. The children should be going back to school next week. We want to go home and take them to school there but we don’t have money for transport,” said Chepkoech.

Chepkoech’s husband has found casual work in the Mabrook tea farm where he is paid about 50 shillings a day. With such a small income, it will be difficult to save the 2,500 shillings (US$37) they need to travel to Eldoret.

Paul Otieno, 35, has a similar problem. He wants to return to Kisumu in western Kenya, with his wife and two children, but the garage where he worked as a mechanic has closed down since the elections. His employer, also a Luo, has moved to Kisumu. Otieno says he’s scared to even look for work in Nairobi, which also has a large Kikuyu population, because the people there are “very fierce”.

Night commuters

About 100 people have become “night commuters”, continuing with their normal jobs during the day and then coming to sleep in the camp at night.

A spokeswoman for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Sara Cameron, said this phenomenon was not unique to Tigoni.

“In a situation that is far more reminiscent of northern Uganda than Kenya, many people in different parts of the country are going to police stations to sleep for the night, because they are afraid of attack,” she said.

At Tigoni Police Station, everyone is waiting. A local Kikuyu businessman tours the field chatting to people. He has brought maize flour for the displaced.

A local councillor, who refused to give her name “because they’ll slaughter me”, has also come to check on the relief operation. She believes that even if the displaced people do go to their places of origin, the problems will not end there.

“What they are saying is they’ll go home and face any problems so long as they’re doing their own things without people from other communities going there for commercial reasons or whatever. This revenge is going in circles,” she said.

“You can’t have stability with injustice. It was daylight robbery,” she said, referring to the election result. “You must have true justice to have peace. It’s like you want to cover an injury before you clean it. It will definitely get contaminated and might result in cutting off one of your limbs.”

There is also a good piece of writing on the origins of the land issue which is one of the problems underpinning the current crisis in Kenya here.