Saturday, January 26, 2008

Seven themes for the Quaker Peace Conference - Kakamega, 1/26/2008

Yesterday, the sixty delegates to the Kenyan National Quaker Peace Conference worked throughout the afternoon and evening in Sections, analyzing in depth and seeking ways in which Kenyan Friends can make an impact in their context.

The seven themes that were explored encompass the many facets of Friends ministries in Kenya. As each group reported to the plenary today, Friends heard a powerful call to faithful witness in these days.

1. Peace and non-violence as central to the gospel – or as the group suggested “the Gospel as central to peace and non-violence”. This group looked at the biblical principles of peace, justice, truth and non-violence. They acknowledged that Kenyan Friends have been inadequate in their teaching and preaching, in their formation of their own members and in their public witness. The group articulated the biblical framework for our peace work, and proposed that it be circulated to all Friends pastors as a resource for preaching in the present crisis. [Click here to read in previous posting.]

2. Trauma healing and post-conflict ministries. This group analyzed the meaning of trauma, its causes, symptoms, and consequences. The current crisis in Kenya will require both short-term and long-term interventions for trauma healing. Friends are fortunate that there are already “tools” in the Quaker “tool box”, namely the Alternatives to Violence Programme and its various activities. The Conference saw the need for a massive scaling-up of these programmes in order to impact on healing Kenyan society.

3. Humanitarian needs, Internally Displaced People and vulnerable populations. There is a tremendous humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kenya right now. This group collected informal data on numbers of displaced people, and discussed their various physical and psychological needs. It was clear to all Friends present that one of the calls upon the Friends Church is to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of their fellow Kenyans, regardless of political or ethnic affiliation. An essential aspect of resolving the current crisis is to mediate between those who are displaced and those who displaced them, so that people can be reintegrated into multi-ethnic cities and villages. In a longer-term perspective, Friends may want to develop pro-active capacities for addressing both natural and man-made disasters.

4. Ethnic conflict and reconciliation toward a harmonious society. This group discussed the ethnic aspects of the Kenyan political crisis, and acknowledged that it is a complex matter. Contributing factors include unjust land distribution practices, unequal development throughout the country, corruption of some leaders, excessive concentration of power, various cultural practices, and attitudes of prejudice. The group also noted that the Friends Church has traditionally had an ethnic identity, as a church for one community only. The Conference felt very strongly that our church must move beyond this exclusive identity, to see itself as a church for all people.

5. Preaching and evangelism in the present context. This group recognized that the work of preaching is essential in this time, to proclaim the message of Christ as the One who can bring change, who can bring healing, hope and peace. Where there are hopeless, hungry and angry people, the practical gospel of Christ can address their needs. Our church has not been active enough in this kind of holistic outreach.

6. The mission of our institutions of education and healthcare. The Friends Church is well known for its centers of excellence in education and healthcare, although the Conference recognized that in recent years, internal politics in the church have weakened our commitment to schools and hospitals. Considering that young people are particularly involved in the current violence, there is an urgent need to strengthen peace education in our schools.

7. Global partnership and the role of our international/ecumenical partners. This group discussed the linkages between Kenyan Friends and the global Quaker community, and also made proposals for how the many ideas from this conference could be organized and coordinated at a national level in Kenya.

Two important facets of the current Kenyan crisis were not specifically listed in the group topics, namely:

  • economic injustice/disparities of wealth and poverty, and
  • youth disaffection/hopelessness.

But they were raised by every group in their reports. Conference participants have recognized that these two factors are largely responsible for the incredible explosion of anger witnessed in Kenya since the election. In discerning long-term action toward a culture of peace in Kenya, these will inevitably form two crucial areas of focus for the work.

The Conference will spend the rest of its time together collating and organizing the recommendations of the Sections, in order to develop a coherent strategy and coordinated action plan for both the immediate and long-term witness of Kenyan Friends.

By Eden Grace
Friends United Meeting Field Staff, based in Kisumu, Kenya

Biblical themes for Peace and Justice - 1/26/2008

Resources for preaching and teaching
Compiled at the Kenyan National Quaker Peace Conference
Kakamega, Kenya

Biblical themes

Jesus’ own teaching, for example in the Sermon on Mount

The universal love of God, not just for one community.

  • John 3:16
  • Ephesians 2:13-22
  • Galatians 3:26-28
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
  • Luke 4:24-30
The prophetic vision of a world of peace and justice for all people
  • Isaiah 2:2-5
  • Isaiah 65:17-25
  • Micah 4:3-5

Transformation of power from worldly power to Godly power

  • Exodus 14:13-14
  • Kings 6:8-23
  • Kings 7:3-7
  • 1 Samuel 26:8-9
  • Judges 7:1-24
  • Ephesians 6:10-17
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Redemptive suffering, the mystery of the cross

  • Isaiah 53:1-12
  • Luke 9:22-27
  • Philippians 2:5-11

    Pathways to Peace


  • Be committed to the Truth. John 8:31-32
  • Cease fire. Ephesians 4:26-32
  • Use non-violent means. Matthew 5:9, 39
  • Negotiate in good faith. Matthew 5:8. 37
  • Accept mediation. Matthew 18:15-16


  • Fairness, lack of exploitation. Psalm 12:5


  • Biblical vision of a society with both truth and justice. Isaiah 65:17-25
  • Psalm 85:10-13

    Developed by the Kenyan National Quaker Peace Conference, January 2008

Today's Headlines - Sat 1/26/2008

Tribal Gangs Clash In Kenyan Town

Published: January 26, 2008
Filed at 9:40 a.m. ET

NAKURU, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan police battled on Saturday to halt clashes between tribal gangs wielding machetes, spears and bows and arrows that have killed at least 27 people in the western town of Nakuru since Thursday, witnesses said.

Burnt bodies piled up and gunshots rang out in the Rift Valley provincial capital, which had previously been spared the chaos that has killed some 700 people across Kenya since the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki in December.

What began as a political stand-off has evolved into a settling of scores between rival tribes in the east African nation, one of the continent's most promising economies, whose peaceful image has been shattered by the bloodshed.

"There is nothing we can do. All those who are fanning the violence are staying comfortably in their luxury homes while we burn," said Nakuru resident Urunga Maina, who rushed his nephew to hospital after he was hacked by a machete-wielding mob.

"We are being used as sacrificial lambs," Maina told Reuters. "What matters is that the politicians take what they want. They don't care about the wananchi (ordinary people)."

The fighting has prompted the first army deployment since Kenya's crisis erupted and undermined hopes of a solution after Kibaki met his rival Raila Odinga on Thursday in their first talks since the troubles began. Odinga says the vote was rigged.

The latest clashes pitted members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe against Luos and Kalenjins who backed Odinga -- and looked to have largely caught the security forces in Nakuru unawares.

More than 100 wounded were admitted at the hospital. One man had an arrow lodged in his head. A doctor there said he had recorded nine bodies, all with deep machete wounds.

At the Nakuru morgue, relatives wept as police unloaded another 16 charred corpses from a truck. Two more people were stoned to death by gangs at the bus station.

"We've taken the bodies and chased the thugs from here," said Ephantus Kiura, Rift Valley assistant police commissioner, after officers fired shots to disperse people from the scene.

The authorities had imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew to try to contain pitched battles between tribal gangs, but hostile youths armed with crude weapons set up multiple roadblocks around town.

Elsewhere in the Rift Valley, police said on Saturday that two men were hacked to death overnight in Naivasha.

Benson Waliaula, 36, a security guard at a bank in the town, said he saw Kibaki supporters chase down one man and kill him.

"They tore his clothes off first then killed him with blows of a panga (machete). It took him some time to die. The police were just watching. There was nothing they could do," he said.

Witnesses said the Nakuru police mostly stayed in their stations on Friday, apparently unsure how to contain the chaos.

Morris Ouma, a 25-year-old trader, told Reuters he had taken part in the fighting. "I didn't feel good about it, but they are killing our people. What shall we do?" he asked.

The latest wave of violence followed the first direct discussions between Kibaki and Odinga since the troubles began, talks brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who flew to another restive Rift Valley town, Molo, on Saturday.

"It may have been triggered by the electoral result, but it has evolved into something else where there is gross and systematic abuse of the rights of citizens ... and certain groups have been targeted," Annan said. "The government will have to do whatever it can to increase security."

Thursday's meeting between the two rivals had raised hopes of an end to turmoil that has forced 250,000 from their homes.

But they were dashed when Odinga's party angrily rejected Kibaki's description of himself as "duly elected" leader.

(Additional reporting by Antony Gitonga in Naivasha, Nick Tattersall and Daniel Wallis in Nairobi; Writing by Daniel Wallis and Nick Tattersall; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

Full story from Reuters at NY Times

Annan hits out at Kenya 'abuses'

The town of Nakuru has seen some of the worst violence
Kofi Annan

Former UN head Kofi Annan has condemned "gross and systematic abuses of human rights" in Kenya, after a visit to violence-hit parts of the country.

Mr Annan said conflict may have been triggered by disputed elections, but it had evolved into "something else".

The facts had to be established and those responsible held to account, Mr Annan said on his return to Nairobi.

Dozens more deaths were reported on Saturday, with corpses bearing the marks of brutal violence.

Police brought 16 badly burnt bodies to the mortuary in Nakuru, the capital of Rift Valley province. Nine other bodies had been recovered the previous evening, reports said.

Some 15 bodies - covered in arrow wounds - were reported to have been recovered following fighting between rival communities in the district of Molo.

Mr Annan - in Kenya to mediate attempts for a political solution - was flown over Nakuru on Saturday as part of a tour that also included visits to Eldoret and Molo.

Hospital staff in Nakuru said they had received the bodies of nine more people, hacked by machetes or killed by arrows.

Earlier the authorities had imposed an overnight curfew across the city in the wake of renewed inter-ethnic conflict.

Rival gangs of young men battled with machetes, metal bars, bows and arrows, while thick smoke billowed up from burning buildings.

The violence came despite hopes of progress after President Mwai Kibaki met opposition leader Raila Odinga for the first time on Thursday since December's disputed polls.

Burnt forests
Mr Annan set off from Nairobi shortly after first light on Saturday to see for himself some of the destruction and human misery caused by more than three weeks of violence.

He visited some of the thousands of people in Eldoret whose homes have been destroyed or who moved to the town to try to find shelter.

The former UN chief also boarded a helicopter to fly to Molo district where many have been killed.

Speaking in the capital, Nairobi, Mr Annan said: "What we saw was rather tragic. We visited several IDP [internally displaced persons] camps, we saw people pushed from their homes, from their farms, grandmothers, children, families uprooted.

"And I think it is important that all Kenyans respond with sympathy and understanding, and not try to revenge."

He also said there needed to be fundamental changes to Kenya's institutions to prevent a repetition.

"We cannot accept that periodically, every five years or so, this sort of incident takes place and no-one is held to account. Impunity cannot be allowed to stand," Mr Annan added.

Tanzania's former President, Benjamin Mkapa, travelling with Mr Annan, said: "The political crisis in the country [has caused] a state of agony and despair. We console the people."

There has been sporadic gunfire in Nakuru on Saturday.

The BBC's Adam Mynott says that some protesters erected a barricade across the main road and many homes have been burnt in the town.

Hundreds of people have sought refuge in churches or friends' homes.

There are also reports of truckloads of many young men being moved overnight to a village on the outskirts of the town.

The unrest triggered by the election on 27 December has driven 250,000 people from their homes. Mr Odinga says he was robbed of the presidency.

Full story from BBC

Mob Violence Is Tearing Kenya Apart

Published: January 27, 2008

NAKURU, Kenya — Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, may seem calm, but anarchy reigns just two hours away. In Nakuru, furious mobs rule the streets, burning homes, brutalizing people and expelling anyone not in their ethnic group, all with complete impunity.

On Saturday, hundreds of men prowled a section of the city with six-foot iron bars, poisoned swords, clubs, knives and crude circumcision tools. Boys carried gladiator-style shields and women strutted around with sharpened sticks.

The police were nowhere to be found. Even the locals were shocked.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said David Macharia, a bus driver.

One month after a deeply flawed election, Kenya, despite international pressure on its leaders to compromise and stop the killings, is tearing itself apart along ethnic lines.

Nakuru, the biggest town in the beautiful but deeply troubled Rift Valley, is the scene of a mass migration now moving in two directions. Luos are headed west, Kikuyus are headed east, and packed buses with mattresses strapped on top pass each other in the road with the bewildered children of the two ethnic groups staring out the windows at each other.

In the past 10 days, dozens of people have been killed in Molo, Narok, Kipkelion, Kuresoi, and now Nakuru, a tourist gateway which until a few days ago was considered safe.

In many places, Kenya seems to be sliding back toward the chaos that exploded on Dec. 30, when election results were announced and Kenya’s president,
Mwai Kibaki, was declared the winner over Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader, despite widespread evidence of vote rigging.

The tinder was all there, even before the voting started. There were historic grievances over land and deep-seated ethnic tensions, with many ethnic groups resenting the Kikuyus, Mr. Kibaki’s group, because they have been the most prosperous for years.

The disputed election essentially served as the spark, and opposition supporters across Kenya vented their rage over many issues toward Kikuyus and other ethnic groups thought to have supported Mr. Kibaki.

In the Rift Valley, local elders organized young men to raid Kikuyu areas and kill people in a bid to drive the Kikuyus off their land. It worked, for the most part, and over the past month, tens of thousands of Kikuyus have fled.

More than 650 people, many of them Kikuyus, have been killed.

Many of the attackers are widely believed to be members of the Luo and Kalenjin ethnic groups.

What is happening now in Nakuru seems to be payback.

On Thursday night, witnesses and participants said that bands of Kikuyu men armed themselves and began [attacking? killing? verb missing] Luos and Kalenjins.

Paul Karanja, a Kikuyu shopkeeper in Nakuru, explained it this way: “We had been so patient. For weeks we had watched all the buses and trucks taking people out of the Rift Valley, and we had seen so many of our people lose everything they owned. Enough was enough.”

In a Nakuru neighborhood called Free Area, hundreds of Kikuyu men burned down homes and businesses belonging to Luos, Mr. Odinga’s ethnic group. The Luos who refused to leave were badly beaten, and sometimes worse.

According to witnesses, a Kikuyu mob forcibly circumcised a Luo man who later bled to death. Circumcision is an important rite of passage for Kikuyus but is not widely practiced among Luos.

The Luos and the Kalenjins, who have been aligned throughout the post-election period, then counterattacked, and the result was a citywide melee with hundreds wounded and as many as 50 people killed

By Friday night, the Kenyan military was deployed for the first time to intervene. Local authorities also slapped a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Nakuru, another first.

Many people in Free Area, which is now almost totally Kikuyu, say it will be difficult to make peace.

“We’re angry and they’re angry,” said John Maina, a stocky butcher, whose weapon of choice on Saturday was a 3-foot-long table leg with exposed screws.

This is the reality across much of Kenya, and it seems to be nothing short of ethnic cleansing.

Mobs in Eldoret, Kisumu, Kakamega, Burnt Forest and countless other areas, including some of the biggest slums in Nairobi, have driven out people from opposing ethnic groups.

Many neighborhoods that used to be mixed are now ethnically homogeneous.

Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations, visited the Rift Valley on Saturday. He called it “nerve-racking.”

“We saw people pushed from their homes and farms, grandmothers, children and families uprooted,” said Mr. Annan, who is in Kenya trying to broker negotiations between Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga.

He called for the Kenyan government to investigate the perpetrators and increase security.

On Saturday, Kenyan soldiers in Free Area escorted Luos back to their smoldering homes and stood guard with their assault rifles as the people collected whatever they could salvage before leaving.

Many Luos said they had no choice but to go to far western Kenya, the traditional Luo homeland, just as many Kikuyus who have been displaced said they would resettle in the highlands east of Nakuru, their traditional homeland.

Mr. Macharia, the bus driver, who is Kikuyu, conceded that many Kikuyus were feeling vengeful. But that, he said, doesn’t mean they actually want to fight. “I saw it myself,” he said. “The elders called ‘Charge!’ but not all the boys charged.”

Still, enough did charge that the Luos who used to live in Free Area were not taking any chances. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people carrying trunks on their heads and bags of blankets streamed toward a government office that was protected by a few soldiers.

Nancy Aloo, a Luo, was guiding four frightened young children.

“God made all of us,” Ms. Aloo said. “We need his help.”

Full story from NY Times

Red Cross Sending Medical Supplies to Treat Wounded in Kenya

By Lisa Schlein Geneva
26 January 2008

The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, says it has sent enough medical supplies to Kenya's Nakuru Provincial Hospital to treat at least 100 weapon-wounded patients. This shipment of surgical and other supplies comes as ethnic fighting escalates in the east African nation's Western Rift Valley Province. Lisa Schlein reports from ICRC headquarters in Geneva.

Angry members of the Luo tribe carry another Luo after he was attacked by a Kikuyu crowd during ethnic clashes in the central Kenyan town of Nakuru, 25 Jan 2008

The recent flare-up of ethnic tension and fighting in Nakuru, the Provincial capital of the Rift Valley has reportedly left at least 16 people dead. Many people have been wounded in the melee. And the International Committee of the Red Cross says an increasing number of casualties is arriving at the hospital.

ICRC Spokesman Marcel Izard says his agency has sent enough medical and surgical supplies to Nakuru Provincial Hospital to enable the staff to cope with the growing needs.

He says the Red Cross has not sent any doctors to Nakuru because violence only recently erupted there. But, he says, a surgical team that had been working in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret is now on standby and could be quickly sent to Nakuru if necessary.

"We had started to work from the first of January in Eldoret, which was the focal point of violence following the results of the elections," he said. "Now the team that worked in Eldoret has finished its mission after three weeks because things have calmed down in this part of the country. Now, in Nakuru things are getting bad now. That is the reason we have offered our help to the Kenyan government and we have told them if they need our surgical team there, we would look into this matter and see how we can respond."

[Photo] Displaced Kenyan women, who just received food and blankets from a Netherlands-based NGO, are seen in Nairobi, Kenya, 22 Jan. 2008

About 250,000 people have been displaced in Kenya following disputed election results at the end of December. The first waves of ethnic violence erupted in Eldoret and in the slums of the capital Nairobi. The situation has calmed down in those areas and has now moved to Nakuru.

Izard says the Red Cross is closely watching events to see whether the fighting prompts people to flee their homes.

He says many people have gone to their ancestral lands, because they feel safer living among their own tribal groups.

"People are on the move constantly," he added. "So, this is also a difficulty then to assist them if they are not staying in one place. So, we really cannot speculate what will happen next. We have to obviously be vigilant and see how best we can assist those affected by the recent violence."

Izard says children sometimes get left behind when people flee their homes in panic. He says the Red Cross helps trace the families of these unaccompanied children. He notes over 120 children so far have been reunited with their parents and another 30 cases remain to be resolved.

Besides providing surgical and medical supplies to the hospitals, he says the Red Cross also distributes food, clean water and essential household items to people affected by the violence.

Full story from Voice of America

Friday, January 25, 2008

Patrick Nugent on WKRC TV - 1/20/2008

Find the link here to watch Patrick's interview in Cincinnati, Ohio, about Kenya's post-election crisis:

More Headlines - Late Friday 1/25/2008

Inter-ethnic scores settled in Nakuru

By Adam Mynott
BBC News, Nakuru

Terrifying mobs of young men armed with panga (machetes), rungus (wooden clubs) and bows and arrows stormed through the streets of Nakuru on Friday.

The market town, the capital of Kenya's Rift Valley, has not witnessed scenes like this for many years, if ever.

It is about two and half hour's drive from Nairobi to Nakuru and as we came into the town on the main road we were confronted by a mob advancing down the tarmac.

A stone smashed a back-door window of our car, crashing against the head of my colleague Nawaz Shah, showering him with broken glass.

He was not badly hurt and our troubles were nothing compared to those of hundreds of people in the town who had been attacked or forced to abandon their homes.

Frenzy of violence
Ezekiel, a security guard watching over a petrol station, said he had left his wife and child in their home that morning and he had no idea whether they were safe.

"They are crouching there in the room all alone. I told them not to move and it is now too dangerous for me to get near them," he told me.

All around us people were hurrying away from a junction where another petrol station had been set on fire.

More than a dozen people have been killed in a frenzy of violence in the town, and dozens of properties have been torched and destroyed.

Nakuru is 90% populated by Kikuyus, and many other Kikuyus, driven from their homes in other parts of the Rift Valley, have come to Nakuru in the past three weeks seeking shelter.

They accuse mobs of Kalenjins, another tribal group, of launching attacks on them in the north of the town - trying to drive them out.

Attacks three weeks ago were sparked by the disputed election, but the fighting has now taken on a different complexion.

Old inter-ethnic scores, some going back generations are being settled. Many relate to disputes over land which different communities claim was stolen from them.

Homes abandoned
In the centre of the town shops and businesses started to close down and by the middle of the afternoon, nothing was left open.

Fear is etched deep into everyone's faces. Groups of terrified residents were suddenly running headlong out of the parts of town they live in, because they heard that houses were being attacked and set on fire.

Many people have abandoned their homes altogether.

The road leading south out of Nakuru towards Nairobi was dotted with vehicles piled high with belongings: chairs, sofas, tables, pots and pans, chests of drawers and in one truck we saw, a cow.
Many do not know where they are going - they simply know they must get away.

The town of Nakuru is no stranger to inter-ethnic strife. For many years it has been eased and contained, but now it has erupted in sickening acts of murder and brutality.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/01/26 00:31:48 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Army Helps Out As Nakuru Erupts

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
26 January 2008
Posted to the web 25 January 2008
By Peter Mutai

Thirty-Two people were killed in fresh flare-up in Nakuru and Molo. And Rift Valley's capital was put on 7pm-6am curfew. Military officers in fatigues, and armed to the teeth, were brought out of the barracks to enforce law and order. Another 5,000 people were displaced in Nakuru and adjoining areas.

In Molo 20 people were killed and two guns recovered when rival groups engaged in fierce battle in By-Gum area in Sirikwa on Thursday night.

That was the sordid picture of gloom and desperation, the nasty game of guns, pangas and arrows that took shape as international mediation effort widened its scope.

Former UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan who on Thursday brought President Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader, Mr Raila Odinga, was again working round the clock.

The African Union chosen mediator and the group of eminent persons, and who has the support of the global family through the European Union, the US and the UN, was to meet retired President Moi. But the meeting was moved to Saturday.

He also, in pushing for what he called the short and long term solution to the post-election violence that pushed Kenya to the precipice, also met Nobel Peace laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, Electoral Commission chairman Mr Samuel Kivuitu and religious leaders.

Nakuru, which had been spared the turmoil, sparked by the disputed outcome of the December 27 presidential elections, erupted on Friday.

The Government deployed military personnel from Lanet barracks to contain the violence that sent terror across Nakuru, turning it into a ghost town. Businesses closed and residents fled the streets.

In Nakuru town alone, 12 people were hacked to death or shot with bows and arrows in the Thursday night terror. This followed a serious fighting in Githima and Kwa Rhonda estates next to the sprawling Kaptembwo slums.

Of the 20 killed in Molo, 18 were shot with poisoned arrows during the 10pm incident.

But Molo OCPD Mr Litabalia Acheza disputed the figures, saying he had only counted three bodies.

"I counted three bodies but if there is some other information we shall let you know later in the day," he told The Saturday Standard.

A police officer, who took part in collecting the bodies, was categorical 18 youths had died from arrow wounds. The slain youths had run into the trap from rival groups after they crossed over to Sirikwa area from Molo town.

Face-to-face with attackers
The police officer, who was at the scene of the bloody killing, said the dead were on a revenge mission and had attempted to flee after they came face-to-face with the attackers.

"We are at the moment collecting bodies of those killed and we had to fire several times in the air to stop youths who had regrouped to patrol the area," the source added.

The source said among the recovered guns was a G3 riffle and a homemade gun, which the raiders took away.

In the Nakuru combat armed youths from two rival communities engaged the police in running battles in the night-long terror that saw several houses in Githima estate burnt and property worth millions destroyed.

When The Saturday Standard visited the estate, hundreds of families were fleeing to safe grounds for fear of being attacked as the fighting spread.

Police picked three bodies by the roadside along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway with panga cuts on the head.

One more person was hacked to death barely 300m from where Nakuru DC Mr Andrew Wanyagah was addressing a peace meeting, outside Githima estate.

The DC had hectic time controlling the angry youths from the warring communities who were baying for each other's blood. Police struggled to clear a section of the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway that had been barricaded.

Angry youths who were armed with pangas lit born fires at Kolen bus stage near Total Junction and blocked the road with huge logs and stones.

Gunfire rent the air for the better part of Thursday night and Friday as police dispersed youths who attempted to regroup and unleash terror on their neighbours.

The Reverend Richard Nato of African Faith Gospel Church said he witnessed three people being killed during the night of terror in Githima.

"The problem started at around midnight near Githima estate after the youths clashed before setting on fire houses," he said at the scene.

Nato said six other people who sustained panga cuts and others shot with arrows were taken to hospital.

A resident, Mr Joseph Kamau accused the police of failing to respond to the distress call by the residents on time, saying the attackers moved from house to house setting them on fire.

"We had to flee to Eveready junction along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway for safety after the raiders burnt our houses and shooting at us with bows and arrows," he said.
"Fighting could have been averted if the police had acted fast since we informed them of the impending raid," he added.

At the main Nakuru bus terminus, a trader who was supplying beans to the local market was stoned to death. Another one was hacked to death near the bus stop named Kalenjin Airport.

In another incident in Molo, two people were killed by a mob in Mauche area along the Njoro-Mau Narok road on Thursday night.

Molo DC, Mr Mohamud Salim, spent the better part of the day addressing the two warring groups, asking them to uphold peace. But tension continued to spread to other estates.

In Nakuru, Wanyagah led a security team backed by military personnel from Lanet barracks, as he toured Kaptembwa slums calling for peace.

"This problem has been fuelled by rumours circulating among local communities. We have received reports that members of the Mungiki gang and armed militiamen have been transported to the town to cause mayhem," he said.

Following the violence, angry youths barricaded all roads leading in and out of Nakuru town for the better part of the day as police made frantic efforts to clear the highway.

The youths erected an illegal roadblock along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway near Pipeline and were inspecting vehicles plying the route.

Motorist plying the Eldama Ravine-Mogotio road were not spared by the violence as armed youths stoned them near Speedy petrol station, London estate.

During the violence, a fire engine belonging to the Municipal Council of Nakuru was set on fire near Eveready factory.

Rift Valley PC Hassan Noor Hassan said the restriction of movements of persons would continue until calm returns.

"Restriction of movements of persons in Nakuru town and its environs has been imposed and will take effect from 7pm to 6am," said the PC, in a statement issued by Rift Valley Deputy Provincial Information officer Mr Wafula Wasula.

He said the ban on night movements would be enforced in Kaptembwa, Githima, Shaburb, Ronda, and Pondamali estates and surrounding areas.

The PC warned residents against violating the ban, saying those found loitering would be arrested.

The province has borne the brunt of violence, with thousands of people being displaced in Molo, Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Bomet, Kipkelion, Eldama Ravine, Trans Nzoia, and Baringo districts.

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Full story from EA Standard on All Africa

Worried Kenyans fear more Rift Valley bloodshed

25 Jan 2008 23:51:03 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Tim Cocks

NAKURU, Kenya, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Kenyans in the Rift Valley town of Nakuru feared more violence on Saturday after a disputed election triggered pitched battles between ethnic gangs that killed at least a dozen people.

Authorities have imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the town, which had previously been spared the bloodshed of a political crisis that has claimed around 700 lives in the last month.

The Nakuru clashes pitted members of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe against Luos and Kalenjins who backed his rival Raila Odinga -- and largely caught the security forces unawares.
"The Kibaki supporters were blowing whistles to rally their people. I saw them kill someone," said Benson Waliaula, 36, a security guard at a bank in the centre of town.

"They tore his clothes off first then killed him with blows of a panga (machete). It took him some time to die. The police were just watching. There was nothing they could do."

Residents said many homes were burned and shops looted as large groups of youths armed with rocks, bows and arrows and homemade guns confronted each other across town.

Kenyan army troops were deployed in some neighbourhoods, where they cleared burning barricades off roads -- the first time the military has been used during the crisis.

But witnesses said the police mostly stayed in their barracks, apparently unsure how to contain the chaos.

National police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said in a statement late on Friday that clashes between tribal gangs had broken out in four Nakuru suburbs, but that calm had been restored.

He rejected witness accounts that a dozen people had died, saying officers were investigating four possible killings. And he said "comprehensive measures" were taken to ensure security.

"Rumours that lorry loads of criminal gangs have been transported into Nakuru from various parts of Rift Valley with a mission to commit crimes against certain communities are malicious and intended to cause unnecessary tension," he said.

Full story from Reuters Alertnet

15 killed, curfew set in strife-torn western Kenya

by Irene Wamaru
Fri Jan 25, 5:10 PM ET

NAKURU, Kenya (AFP) - Ethnic clashes killed at least 15 people in Kenya's western Rift Valley, police said Friday, diminishing hopes of an end to weeks of rioting and tribal killings sparked by disputed presidential polls.

As violence exploded in the provincial capital Nakuru, where eight people were killed Friday, authorities imposed an overnight curfew -- only the second since the start of the crisis last month.

"We have imposed a 7:00 pm to 7:00 am curfew to help manage the situation in Nakuru," Rift Valley Police commander Everette Wasige told AFP, as thick plumes of smoke rose above the deserted town and its slums, and thousands fled their homes.

The long-festering fuse of tribal warfare was lit by charges that President Mwai Kibaki stole the December 27 presidential polls from opposition chief Raila Odinga, plunging the nation into a vortex of violence.

Full story from AFP;_ylt=AujrmkJ8p9kjtEVTIt1dkyAV6w8F

Curfew after Kenya town clashes
BBC report

The Kenyan police have imposed a curfew after at least 10 people were killed in clashes in the central town of Nakuru.

Rival gangs of young men battled with machetes, metal bars, bows and arrows, while thick smoke billowed up from burning buildings.

"Nakuru town has been shut down... hundreds are injured in hospital," Kenya Red Cross head Abbas Gullet said.

Some 700 people have been killed in clashes between rival ethnic and political groups since disputed polls.

The violence comes despite hopes of progress after President Mwai Kibaki met opposition leader Raila Odinga for the first time on Thursday since December's disputed polls.

Armed groups have barricaded the main highway leading in and out of Nakuru and have been pelting stones at motorists who defy their orders to stop, says the BBC's David Ogot in the town.

The police are unable to protect us so we have to take charge now Armed man in Nakuru

Businesses have closed and Nakuru has been turned into a ghost town. Residents from the worst-affected suburbs of Shabab and Kaptembe have sought refuge in churches and the police station.

"The dead bodies and injuries are coming in. I cannot give you a figure now," the medical superintendent at Nakuru Hospital, Dr George Mugenya, told AP news agency.

Soldiers have been working with police to restore order and remove the barricades.

Some of the latest violence seems to be revenge by members of President Kibaki's Kikuyu community on groups seen as pro-opposition, such as the Kalenjins and Luos.
Kikuyus have been targeted elsewhere in the Rift Valley and many have fled to Nakuru.

"We have vowed that for every Kikuyu killed in Eldoret, we shall kill two Kalenjins who are living in Nakuru," said bus conductor Dennis Kariuki, according to Reuters news agency.

Our correspondent says suspected Kikuyu members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, dressed in either red T-shirts or hats have been patrolling the streets armed with machetes, clubs and other crude weapons.

"The police are unable to protect us so we have to take charge now," one young man told the BBC.

But AP reports that armed opposition supporters were also on the streets, shouting: "Raila is our president. Kikuyus go out of Rift Valley."

The curfew runs from 1900 local time (1600 GMT) until 0700 (0400 GMT).

Nakuru is capital of the Rift Valley, which has seen some of the worst violence in the past month.
Rival groups in the area have long-standing land disputes and these tensions have erupted, as ethnic, political and economic fault-lines have reinforced each other.

Full story from BBC

Violence Continues in Kenya a Day After Talks

Published: January 26, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — The political bickering continued in Kenya on Friday, and so did the violence, with young men in gangs from opposing ethnic groups killing one another in the streets with machetes and bows and arrows.

Kenya’s Political Rivals Meet (January 25, 2008)

Nakuru, one of the biggest towns in the Rift Valley, seems to be the new trouble zone. Witnesses said fighting erupted there late Thursday when mobs of Kikuyus, the ethnic group of Kenya’s president, mobilized to avenge attacks suffered at the hands of other ethnic groups.

Witnesses said Kikuyu gangs built roadblocks to stop police officers from entering certain neighborhoods and then burned homes and businesses belonging to two other groups, Luos and Kalenjins. Those groups sent out their young men to confront the attackers, resulting in a riot with hundreds of homes burned, dozens of shops destroyed and at least 10 people killed. Some
witnesses said dozens of corpses filled the town’s morgues.

The situation had gotten so out of hand by Friday evening that the authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

“It’s totally unsafe here,” Peter Geche, a taxi driver in Nakuru, said by telephone on Friday afternoon. “So many people have been killed by arrows.”

More than 650 people have been killed in Kenya since a disputed presidential election in December, and the latest clashes show how the violence has taken on a momentum of its own, which the authorities appear unable to stop.

Police officials have sent reinforcements to Nakuru, which is about 100 miles northwest of Nairobi, the capital. Officers have dismantled some of the roadblocks and fired tear gas to disperse the mobs, but witnesses said any calm that might have been achieved would be brief.

In Nairobi, politicians continued to hurl accusations about who was at fault for spoiling what could have been a breakthrough moment the day before.

Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s president, who won re-election by a thin margin, and Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader, who says the election was rigged and that he in fact won, met Thursday for the first time since the vote. They have been under enormous pressure to negotiate. Many Kenyans were hoping they would strike a compromise and end the turmoil, which has battered the economy and threatened to reverse decades of stability.

But immediately after the meeting, Mr. Kibaki gave a short speech in which he referred to himself as Kenya’s “duly elected president,” and opposition leaders then held a news conference denouncing what he said.

On Friday, government officials accused the opposition of trying to torpedo the peace effort.
“It’s very sad,” said Alfred Mutua, a government spokesman. “We were giving them the benefit of the doubt. And for them to issue a condemning statement after the two leaders had just talked about reconciliation, that’s hypocritical.”

Salim Lone, a spokesman for the opposition, fired back that “the whole world knows who ruined the event yesterday.”

The two sides spent Friday holding separate meetings and preparing for more negotiations, which are being brokered by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general. No doubt, there is a lot of thorny ground to cover.

Full story from NY Times

Nakuru erupts

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 1/26/2008

At least six people were killed Friday in Nakuru town during clashes involving youth from the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities.

The post-election violence worsened in the volatile Rift Valley region only a day after bitter rivals President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga shook hands publicly for the first time since the fiercely contested general elections and called for peace.

The violence paralysed business in the otherwise peaceful town, forcing the Government to send in soldiers to aid police officers who appeared overwhelmed by the situation.

The rampaging combatants, armed with poisoned arrows, machetes, clubs and other crude weapons, reportedly injured hundreds of people, torched houses, looted and destroyed property.
Consequently, the Government imposed a 7pm to 6am curfew in the Rift Valley town.

Roads in Kenya’s fourth largest town and the main gateway to western Kenya were barricaded by armed gangs bringing it to a virtual standstill in the morning.

Full story from Nation

Raila rules out becoming Kibaki’s prime minister

Publication Date: 1/26/2008

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has ruled out the option of taking up the post of prime minister in President Kibaki’s government as a way of ending the current political crisis.

Speaking a day after the first meeting with the President since the disputed elections, Mr Odinga said the only options on the table for discussion were the resignation of President Kibaki and a re-run of the presidential elections, possibly with formation of a transitional government to take charge pending new elections.

“I have never said I was considering taking up a position of prime minister under Kibaki,” he said and promised to meet the President again for talks on equal terms.

“I would meet Kibaki again but he should stop making embarrassing remarks like being ‘duly elected’. He should not call himself, the duly-elected and sworn-in president. That is the bone of contention,” Mr Odinga said.

The Lang’ata MP described the meeting between him and President Kibaki on Thursday arranged by mediator Kofi Annan as “useful” but insisted that justice must be done.

Mr Odinga ruled out the prime minister option as the Annan mediation team spent the day trying to understand the electoral process and what could have gone wrong.

Having already received presentations and documents from the Kibaki and Odinga teams, with each side trying to show they won the elections, the former UN secretary general met members of the Electoral Commission.

Full story from Nation


Crimes court watching Kenya

Publication Date: 1/26/2008

The International Criminal Court is closely monitoring the recent post-election violence in Kenya and is ready to intervene, subject to various conditions.

It can only be requested to do so by the Government and the UN Security Council and acceptance is subject to its own independent investigations into cases of alleged crimes against humanity. According to reports from The Hague, the court’s seat, the ICC’s intervention is subject to four conditions.

Hirondelle News Agency has quoted the special prosecutor as saying the first condition is that the permanent court only has a subsidiary jurisdiction, complementary to national criminal agencies.

The Government and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have both threatened to appeal to the ICC.

ICC cannot intervene if a case referred to it is already the subject of an investigation by national jurisdictions or if the state decides not to prosecute or does not have the will or has no capacity to do so.

Only the most serious crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression are covered and they must have been committed after 2002 (date of entry into force of its Statute). Kenya signed the Statute in August 1999 and filed its instrument of ratification in March 2005. The reported attacks could qualify for crimes against humanity if they were perpetrated against precise ethnic groups.

Full story from Nation

Kenya massacre survivors ask court to stop talks

Fri 25 Jan 2008, 16:17 GMT

NAIROBI, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Survivors of a church massacre in Kenya went to court on Friday to try to stop former U.N. boss Kofi Annan leading mediation efforts and said some participants in the talks were guilty of human rights abuses.

About 700 people have died in ethnic clashes and riots since President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election at Dec. 27 polls.

In the worst single incident, 30 members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe were killed on Jan. 1 by a mob who set fire to the church where they had sought shelter near Eldoret in the Rift Valley.

Thirty-seven survivors, many of whom suffered severe burns in the attack, appealed to the High Court in Nairobi on Friday.

"We want Kofi Annan restrained from continuing with peace talks since some of the people he is involved with ... have influenced the violence," they said in their lawsuit.

It was not immediately clear when the court might rule on their petition.

Annan on Thursday brought Kibaki and his rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga, together for their first private talks on how to end the crisis.

But hopes for a solution were dampened as both sides launched a fresh round of verbal recriminations, and ethnic clashes centred on another Rift Valley town, Nakuru, killed at least a dozen people.

(Reporting by Robert Hummy; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Ibon Villelabeitia)
© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Full story from Reuters

Alarm As Cases of Rape Increase

The Nation
26 January 2008
Posted to the web 25 January 2008

The Federation of Women Lawyers of Kenya (FIDA) is worried about the increase of sexual assault cases directed at women and children since the outbreak of post-election violence.

In a statement released Friday, the FIDA chairperson, Ms Violet Awori, said more attention was being given to issues such as chaos, injuries, deaths, destruction of property and the economy, while victims of sexual violence were neglected.

"The Government should step up security in all parts of the country to avoid further escalation of sexual and all other forms of violence, particularly in the slum areas and settlement camps where women and children remain targets for sexual abuse and assault," said Ms Awori.

She said in this era of HIV and Aids, sexual violence requires urgent attention to stop further spread of the disease.

Ms Awori said many rape cases have gone unreported because the victims have other pressing issues affecting them.

Both women and children have remained easy targets during chaos.

"It is worrying that many of the attacks have taken the form of gang rapes with the targeted areas being slums and violence-prone areas where the attackers have taken advantage of the breakdown of law and order to commit these crimes," she said.

Ms Awori advised all survivors of rape and sexual assault to report the crimes to the police to enable provision of support and security.

"We call upon all survivors of rape and sexual assault to urgently seek medical attention and other support services available for the purposes of ensuring their physical, psychological and emotional health," she said.

Copyright © 2008 The Nation. All rights reserved.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Story from Nation at All Africa

Marriages fall victim to Kenya violence

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jan 25, 2:12 PM ET

CHEPKANGA, Kenya - He doesn't call. He doesn't write. His cell phone has been switched off for weeks. After 17 years, Naomi Kering's husband is gone — one more intertribal marriage fallen victim to the violence that has followed Kenya's disastrous presidential election.

"The kids always ask me, 'Where is he?' And I always say he is going to come back," Kering, a 34-year-old of the Kalenjin tribe, told The Associated Press as she stood in the rubble of her home, torched by a mob last month because her husband is a Kikuyu. "But I hope he stays away, because I love him and I want him to be safe."

Since the Dec. 27 vote, marriages that united different ethnic groups have felt the strain as communities shun the Kikuyu tribe of President Mwai Kibaki, whose disputed re-election unleashed a wave of bloodshed that has killed at least 685 people.

Until now, marriages like Kering's were common enough to go largely unnoticed, representing hope for what Kenya could be as a nation. But now the fabric of Kenyan society is fraying, forcing families to confront tribal identities many had cast aside long ago.

"This election has changed the very essence of these marriages," said the Rev. Charles Kirui, a Catholic priest whose church in the nearby town of Burnt Forest shelters hundreds of Kikuyus.

"Marriages are breaking up because of a tribal conflict, which means we really have a problem in Kenya."

There are no figures on how many families are affected, but the impact is particularly felt in the heart of opposition territory in western Kenya, where tribal tensions have been most inflamed by the election.

Full story from AP

Press Statement
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 25, 2008

Kibaki-Odinga Meeting

We welcome the January 24 meeting between President Kibaki and the Honorable Raila Odinga, which was facilitated by the African Union eminent persons group headed by Kofi Annan. The meeting was an important first step to launch a process of dialogue on a political solution to the elections crisis. We urge these two men to maintain momentum and to demonstrate their leadership by moving quickly to address all the outstanding issues in a spirit of compromise, inclusiveness, and patriotism.

We encourage the Kenyan people and their leaders to put the nation first in order to work out a way forward that reflects the will of the Kenyan people. We lend our voice to the calls coming from Kenyans across the ethnic, political, and social spectrum to end violence that has had such a devastating impact.

As a steadfast partner and friend of Kenya, the United States will continue to support the efforts underway to address underlying grievances so that all Kenyans can enjoy lasting peace, justice, and prosperity. We are confident that, with the encouragement and support of her friends, Kenya will seize the opportunity resulting from this crisis in order to strengthen democratic institutions in a way that will benefit all the people.


Released on January 25, 2008

Full story from US State Dept

Peace Conference - Main Speakers 1/25/2008

Mary Lord and Oliver Kisaka address Kenyan National Quaker Peace Conference

25 January 2008
By Eden Grace

(Kakamega, Kenya) -- Approximately sixty Friends from all Quaker organizations and Yearly Meetings in Kenya gathered in Kakamega yesterday for a three-day conference to focus on responses to the social and political crisis currently unfolding in Kenya.

The opening session was devoted to listening to personal stories of how the violence has touched conference participants, and to praying together.

Recognizing that Kenyan society is on the brink of chaos, it was movingly stated by one participant -- “We are praying that this cup may pass us by, may pass Kenya by. Yet even Jesus bore the cup and went to the cross, but in a way that broke the cycle of violence and transformed all creation.”

Another Friend reminded the conference of II Corinthians 4:8-10 -- “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.”

The Conference heard inspiring and informative keynote messages from Mary Lord, recently-retired Assistant General Secretary for Peace and Conflict Resolution at American Friends Service Committee, and Oliver Kisaka Simiyu, Deputy General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).

Mary Lord spoke about the Biblical Basis and Practical Application of the Friends Peace Testimony.

She emphasized that the Peace Testimony arises from the direct experience of God in each person’s life, as an expression of faith rather than as a rule to follow. Early Friends considered that Jesus meant what he said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Mary reflected on her early years among Friends, when she felt that the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount was unrealistic and not likely to result in successful movements for social change. She eventually realized that she had been assuming that she herself understood human nature better than Jesus did, and was able to embrace the teachings of Jesus as a matter of faith.

She decided that “Jesus wouldn’t have told us to live in a way that wasn’t possible.”

Implied in the affirmation of Peace as a matter of faith, is the realization that it is not by our own power or knowledge that we make peace. It is the power of the love of God, of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit.

Mary stated that if we do not begin from faith, our peace work will not be effective. If we do begin from a life-changing faith, then we have no other option but to be peace-makers.

In living this Testimony over more than 300 years, Mary said that Friends have become “researchers” of peace, experimenting and finding effective ways to witness in various contexts. She then gave several examples of ways Friends have given expression to the Peace Testimony.

During the 20th-century wars in Europe, Friends provided humanitarian relief to victims on all sides of the conflicts – a move which was highly controversial at the time. Mary remarked on the fact that the Friends most directly involved in this work felt that their efforts were inadequate, and struggled with fatigue and despair, but that the world community recognized their work by awarding them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948. Their seemingly-inadequate effort became a beacon to others about the way to make peace.

Mary mentioned instances in which Friends have served as mediators and negotiators. She shared how Friends have established safe-havens for dialogue in the midst of violent contexts, and have offered leadership to various movements for social justice.

Friends have increasingly been taking the role of supporting and training, and of lifting up voices and truths which need to be heard in the public discourse. Mary closed by remarking that, although we often despair that we are not making a difference, the reality is that the world is a more peaceful place because of the work of Friends.

In the discussion which followed, Friends used Mary’s historical examples as a way of approaching the current crisis in Kenya.

Participants spoke of reaching out to the youth, offering meaningful activities to counteract the temptation to violence. They spoke of reintegration of displaced people, and of creating centers for dialogue without fear. They urged Friends to take action “on the ground” and to persist in prayer that the power of Jesus may overcome the “demons” of violence in Kenya right now.

In his message, Oliver Kisaka gave an analysis of the post-election disturbances and their root causes, and helped to put them in a Christian perspective. He started by recalling Romans 8:28 -- “We know that all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” -- and challenged us to believe that this is true, that now is an opportunity for God to do a powerful work for the good of Kenya.

Oliver spoke movingly about the breakdown in the electoral process and the seeming betrayal by the Electoral Commission of the trust placed in them by Kenyans.

According to both domestic and international observer bodies, the voting itself, and the initial counting at the constituency level, were conducted according to the highest democratic ideals. However, the process then broke down [during the final tallying of votes], such that the country is left in a situation in which there is no public confidence in the legitimacy of the government.

After working for years on civic education, and seeing the positive results of such efforts, Oliver felt deeply disappointed by the performance of the Electoral Commission. He also reflected that many young people who engaged in the election with enthusiasm, now feel bitter and disillusioned.

Oliver remarked that, at a deeper level, Kenyans do not have a healthy relationship to their political institutions and personalities, and that this is reflected in a flawed Constitution and a “winner takes all” mentality toward governance.

He felt that many Kenyans went to the polls looking for a “saviour” rather than a president. Kenyans put all their hopes and aspirations into one political figure, and began to believe that life would not be tolerable if that leader were deprived of victory.

The rhetoric of the campaign period was so exaggerated, it would have been impossible for any government to fulfill the expectations of the people.

Oliver noted that the heightened aspirations of the people were further manipulated during the campaign period when candidates encouraged voters to believe that they are poor because someone else is rich, that they are disenfranchised because someone else has consolidated power in their own community.

The reality is that the gap between wealth and poverty exists in every community, and the benefits of power always accrue to the powerful themselves, not to the average citizen.

In this way, the political elites of Kenya have seriously abused and manipulated voters, and created the situation which is upon us now.

Oliver went on to address other causes of the current crisis, besides the specifics of the election itself. He noted particular historical injustices which have not been resolved and which contribute to the situation today.

For instance, the distribution of settler-owned land at the time of independence created deep resentment on the part of some communities.

The unequal investment of development resources throughout the country has led to a feeling that the home region of the president will receive preferential treatment.

Oliver remarked most powerfully that issues of [economic] class play a large role in the current anger in the country.

From a Christian perspective, Oliver stated that the spiritual life of Kenyans is too compartmentalized, too divorced from economic and civic engagement.

He praised Friends for gathering in this conference to ask what is our responsibility, and encouraged us that “the Quaker light should shine!” He reflected that Friends have strengths to offer at this time. Our Testimonies are a strength to guide us.

We have strong capacities in non-violence training, and we should broaden these to look also at training for business and entrepreneurial participation.

Finally, he challenged Friends to engage in advocacy on behalf of those who are suffering and oppressed.

Oliver concluded his message by remarking on the deep cleavages in Kenyan society which underlie the current crisis – cleavages of religion, ethnicity, class, gender and age. These divisions threaten the unity and peace of Kenya, and directly contradict the Christian ethic of love of neighbor.

He remarked that if you put your hope in anything less than God, you are going to differ with other human beings. “People will kill people over something like football teams, if that’s where they focus their attention. We will be divided as long as we focus our eyes on men rather than God...."

"To stay in unity with other people, we must look to
the God who created us all, rather than the differences between

“None of our leaders and politicians are saviours. We have one Saviour, Jesus Christ. If this is true, we will forgive each other unconditionally. If Christ is Lord, then the things he taught are practical -- we can turn the other cheek, forgive, and love our enemies. These are not suggestions, they are requirements. In all things, God works together for good, even if we don’t see and understand it. If we have faith in God, there is no alternative.”

Having heard these two inspiring speakers, the conference participants broke into seven working groups. The conference will conclude on Sunday 27th January.


Friends in North America and Europe can support this Friends Peace Conference by contributing funds to help defray the costs of the conference and the expense of implementing plans that develop.

Give now online to conference sponsors:

Click on the organization's name for link to donor window.

Earmark your contribution for
"Kenya Relief Fund."

Richmond news from Kaimosi - 1/25/2008

Thursday, 24 January, 2008
Friends Theological College
Kaimosi, Kenya

Dear Friends,

Since our last newsletter, a lot has happened, so we are writing again to update you and to ask you to redouble your prayers for Friends in Kenya.

FTC opened this week (as you will remember, we delayed opening for a week due in hope that the situation would normalize). Today, about half of our students are back on campus.

We last wrote that Kaimosi remained an island of peace. Shortly after sending out that newsletter, clashes began in our area.

Houses have been burned just the other side of Cheptulu, our nearby market. Quite a few have been injured with arrow and panga (long, sword-like knives) wounds, and are being treated at the Kaimosi hospital just down our road. Some of the kiosks at the junction were burned the other night. (Those of you who know Alex, will be glad to know that his kiosk is okay.)

Two people have been killed in the area: one, the uncle of a recent graduate.

One of our groundsmen is "sleeping out" meaning that he and his wife are sleeping in the forest because homes near their home have been burned. Other staff members are caring for relatives who have had to leave their homes.

We should reassure you that the college and the mission compound in general have remained safe. Last night, according to reports, things were calm in our area. Perhaps, this is a good reaction to the Kofi Annan mediation efforts, and the response of the opposition leadership which called off plans for mass demonstrations today.

Tuesday was scheduled to be our first day of classes. Instead, the faculty decided to cancel classes and devote the day to sharing our stories and praying for one another and the general situation.

Those students who had been able to travel to the college, together with faculty and staff, gathered in the Dining Hall, and for three hours recounted the impact of the clashes in personal stories.

Some had experienced terrifying moments at roadblocks. Others told of neighbor's houses burned, or people killed. Several pastors recounted how they had given refuge to members of targeted tribes. Others recounted how family members had had to flee from their homes in the face of threats.

One mentioned that gunshots in his vicinity became so common that they almost began to seem normal.

Others reported that calm prevailed in their areas, but all were affected by seeing "a Kenya they had never seen before in their lives."

Jody led that session, with Pamela Igesa, the College chaplain.

Ben preached from Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 about the healing power of the spirit and contrasted the heresy of a "gospel" that pretends God's love is only for "our community" with Jesus' Gospel of the Kingdom of God that embraces all communities.

One member of our staff shared an incident of this lived out, when a vehicle carrying refugees from violence-torn areas came through his village in the first few days after troubles began. He was amazed and touched to witness a number of market vendors gave food to them freely, never asking for any money.

We'll remember the image of street vendors tossing avocados into a truck full of their hungry "enemies"!

Ben preached again the next morning, at our regular daily worship, carrying forward the story in the Gospel of Luke to the sermon on the plain in chapter 6. He drew on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1957 sermon on loving your enemies, in which he said, "So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, 'I love you. I would rather die than hate you.'"

Later in the day, we held a convocation at which Mary Lord, a Friend from Baltimore Yearly Meeting with vast experience in peacemaking work, spoke. She rooted the Friends' peace testimony in our experience of the power and love of God, and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

She then recounted stories to illustrate many ways in which Quakers have lived out the peace witness to demonstrate what a vast toolbox is available to peacemakers.

In the question and answer period, one of the teachers asked Mary to talk about the biggest obstacles she has faced and overcome. Mary responded from her own experience the need to forgive violence she experienced as a child; and then told about how God had, unknown to her, used a conference she had organized in the 1980s about the effects of nuclear weapons, to impact Ronald Reagan and start the beginning of Reagan's pulling back from nuclear brinksmanship.

Today, Mary spoke to Jody's class on Peace and Conflict Transformation about the cycle of violence.

Students and faculty have been deeply engaged.

In Quaker Theology, we have modified the syllabus to begin from an experiential basis to ask what theological questions rise out of our experience.

Ben and Jody have invited the students to think over the last weeks and ask what mental images come to mind, and then share why they are important.

Some of the images: "people being slashed in nearby homestead; young kids, displaced from their homes in Eldoret walking by my place to find refuge; people burning down houses and looting; members of parliament on TV pouring out their anger, seeking power; a young child in the hospital with an arrow sticking in him; a member of the church, home from Mombasa, asking for prayer because he was being sacked from his work in a hotel, and facing an unknown future; women being fallen on by soldiers, and young men and even old men ("wazee") and being raped." One image was of "a man being slaughtered, the way one would slaughter a hen."

Even if the Annan peace efforts succeed today, and peace returns to the land, and all the hundreds of thousands of displaced were able to go back to their homes (many of which are, of course, burned), there would still be a tremendous need for trauma healing.

There is fear, distrust, and deep uncertainty because people who seemed to be friends so easily became enemies.

What theological questions does all this raise?

This is a testing time for the church in Kenya. Will we be able to be bearers of Good News that is deep enough to bring healing and hope to those who have been traumatized, and reconciliation to those who have experienced the reality of enmity?

Will you pray for a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

In the midst of these extraordinary circumstances, normal life also continues.

We are making progress on the design of a new administration building, and wrapping up final details on the new Meetinghouse. To continue to pursue "normalcy" is a part of living the Kingdom of God in these times—proclaiming hope that God plans for a good future for Kenya.

Thank you for your prayers, and support.

Jody and Ben Richmond

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