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Today women and disabled people in Kenya’s largest slum, Kibera in Nairobi were attacked by stone-throwing hooligans as they peacefully protested against the police violence that they are facing. “When the police come, we cannot flee!” they complain.
Tension has been growing in Kibera since Friday when the election results confirmed that President Uhuru Kenyatta had been re-elected, much to the disgust of the opposition led by Raila Odinga, of the minority Luo tribe.
The Kenyan Human Rights Commission has confirmed at least 24 deaths since Friday, with the most tragic being that of an eight-year old, Stephanie Mora, who was apparently killed on the fourth floor of a block of flats by a stray bullet in a shoot-out in Mathare slum when the police shot at stone-throwing demonstrators the police described as looters.
Sitting on the roads with white candles and dressed in black the women asked, “Why are you killing our husbands and sons? Why are you killing Luos?” This is a cry for help from the most vulnerable members of Kenyan society. Even these non-violent protestors were not immune from attack, with community leaders intervening to defuse the violence, risking their own security in the process.
Members of the local community in Raila’s stronghold are scared of going to sleep at night, not sure who is going to try to enter their insecure homes. A local source told Pressenza “I’m really worried. The boys on the streets are ready to die. They will do whatever Raila says.”
And fake news is circulating like wildfire. No one knows where it comes from but through social media you could imagine that travelling around the country and passing through the land of an opposing tribe will lead to immediate death. There is no evidence to back it up, however.
Kibera, which would be a hotspot of death and destruction if violence is really unleashed, is not seeing this violence on the ground. “I’m personally aware of 2 gunshot wounds and one beating but nothing on the scale of 2007,” said our source.
Tomorrow though we will know what Raila will do. He has said that he has no intention of challenging the election results in court but he has called on his supporters to go on strike despite also saying that he doesn’t control the people. But his supporters are not embracing his call totally. Nairobi was busy again today and people are trying to move on with their lives. After all, unemployment is high and anyone in a job is a breadwinner supporting a huge number of family and friends. Going on strike is not an option.
Raila and his team may not like the results but they have presented absolutely no evidence so far to contradict the result published on the website of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission who organised the election. If Odinga doesn’t call on his people to accept the results and make a better opposition party to fight the corruption-riddled administration of Uhuru Kenyatta, he will be leading his people and the country to terrible violence, and it will be a terrible stain on his reputation which has been a largely good one until now.
Odinga was robbed in 2007 and in 2012. Sadly he failed to win in 2017 under a system that would have won him the Presidency on the two previous occasions. Now it is time for the 72-year old son of the former vice-president to hand over the reins of power to a younger generation who can lead Kenya to the non-tribal and non-corrupt future it so desperately needs and deserves.