The New Year’s Day celebrations in Kenya sound a distant memory today, in fact a mourning time for many families. By yesterday, at least 100 Kenyans had been killed in the violence that erupted since Sunday’s announcement of the presidential election results which saw incumbent President Mwai Kibaki beat Raila Odinga to get a second five-year term of office. There were indications of violence to come soon as vote counting started after polling on Thursday.
As ECK boss Samuel Kivuitu read out the final results on Sunday, he was heckled, shouted down and interrupted by opposition members, which prompted police to intervene.
Reports indicate that police fired rounds of live ammunition into protesters in Nairobi.
The other clashes between Kibaki and Odinga supporters in various towns around the country, reportedly bordered on ethnic and tribal lines, with Kibaki’s Kikuyus targeting the Luos, Odinga’s tribe, and vise versa.
While this election mayhem continues to claim many more innocent Kenyan lives, politicians responsible for it, are enjoying their safety. It is also startling that the same politicians – some of them to say so – remain cocky in the post-election era and in the face of the growing unrest.
Granted, it has been widely acknowledged that there were irregularities in the poll but there can be better fora to contest the issue like courts of law other than the bloody street fights. Already businesses have been hugely affected in what was, before the election, East Africa’s most stable economy and country.
What Kenyans deserve is not the brunt of death. Let the politicians involved act responsibly and save lives. A New Year should be ushered in with new dreams for Kenyans and the East African Community. The New Times extends its empathy to all those that have lost their loved ones as a result of the violence, and appeals to EAC, AU and other organisations, to come to the rescue of the poor Kenyan civilians.