Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kenya Polititians Planned Violence Before Election

Today I read the latest news about the recent violence in Kenya. The story says the election violence was planned from before the election, and that it was highly organized. Here is a shocking quote:

"We say it's organized because they are working in groups of 10 to 15 people and in shifts. Their training areas have been identified, some of the people from whom they get money have been identified," commission chairwoman Muthoni Wanyeki told the Associated Press. "They are being paid 500 (shillings, or $8) per burning (a home) and 1,000 per death."

The article explains how those seeking power often stir up tribal unrest and use it to their own benefit.

Each time election season comes around, politicians play the tribal card as a way to whip up support, hobble the political opposition and accumulate land for their fellow tribesmen.

"We've had a long history of ethnic violence in Kenya that has been politically manipulated since the 1992 and 1997 elections," said Binaifer Nowrojee, director of the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, based in New York. "Events of the last two weeks show how rapidly we can deteriorate, and that's what's scaring everybody. The danger is that we can become Rwanda, but we're not there yet."

For a few minutes after reading the article I was shocked and indignant. See the full article here. I thought about other countries with ethnic strife like Rwanda or Iraq (Kurds vs. Arabs) and then I remembered what the day's news had been about. On the U.S. airwaves today, Kenya is not the story, instead it's how Hillary and Obama are using the same tactics to manipulate Americans as they both seek the Democratic nomination! It's disgusting.
I took this photo in western Kenya where much of the violence has occurred. It has nothing to do with the election, but I think it's a really good photograph and I wanted to show it off a bit.

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