January 10, 2008
This morning six out of the seven members of the Lumakanda Church committee
met at the church. They got a local police vehicle to carry the goods--two
50 kilo bags of rice, two 20 kilo bags of salt, five 20 liter containers
of cooking oil, and ten boxes of soap--to
Lumakanda School. They were very warmly received and the Red Cross gave
them a receipt for the goods delivered. Gladys requested that the rice
be used for the small children because it is difficult from them to eat
maize (corn) and beans day after day. I took pictures of them with the "Friends
in Peace" T-shirts, but I could only send the thumbnail picture
since the regular one was to large for my internet system. I think I'll
try again early in the morning when the connection is faster.
When I went out for
my afternoon walk, I met Silas Njoroge, the leader of the Kikuyu in
the IDP camp. He is perhaps my age (64) since he has
a lot of white hair. He has lived here since the colonial times when
the British settlers controlled Lugari District in -- perhaps he was
born here. He had a large farm and a tractor, trucks, and other vehicles.
His house has been thoroughly looted and burned since he is without doubt
the wealthiest Kikuyu in the area. When I met him today, he thanked me
very graciously for the assistance that Lumakanda Church gave to the
IDP's. Many people seemed to know that I was connected to the relief,
even though I was not part of the delegation: I was wearing my "Friends
in Peace" T-shirt.
One need that we did not meet is Vaseline. Except for a few light showers
it has not rained here for about 2 and a half months. The sun is extremely
hot now (great for my solar panel) and the wind howls all day. Consequently
people's skin is cracking and they need Vaseline to make it smooth. We
tried to get some in Kakamega when we were there, but we couldnot find
The big question is what will happen to the IDP camp when school opens
next Monday, only 4 days away. The Red Cross wanted to move the people
to the large IPD camp in Turbo, but the people refused. It is too far
away (more than 5 miles) and there is cholera in that camp as it has
20,000 or so people in two sites. If the school is evacuated for the
opening of school on Monday, all the classrooms will have to be washed
with disinfectant. Gladys knows the Head of the school who is the son
of a member of Lumakanda Friends Church.
Today our electrician, Justus, came by. He is the youth leader for the
ODM (Raila's) party in Lugari District. I asked him if it was true that
he got beat up by the youth of one of the opposing candidates and he
confirmed this. He and four other of his youth were going around the
district, hanging up pictures of his candidate when two pick-ups blocked
them, one in the front and one in the rear. Justus said he ran as fast
as he could and was only hit a few times--he still had to go to the hospital.
Others in the group were not so lucky as one perhaps broke his arm and
another had a big bruise on his ribs. Both of them were hospitalized.
He confirmed that many of the looters in the community were the local
bicycle taxi drivers (boda-boda). Many have had their bicycles confiscated
by the police: there is a big pile of them at the police station. Some
of the bikes were put there voluntarily by the Kikuyu bicycle taxi drivers.
Justus believes that there were at least 100 people killed in the district;
the vast majority being youth shot by the police. He knew of only 4 Kikuyu
who were killed in Matunda where 6 youth were also killed by the police.
He told me that when the police kill someone, they s ometimes put them
in their vehicles and dump them
in out of the way places. Officially there are 486 deaths--these are
the ones recorded in the hospitals.62 of these were in Western Province:
I know of 9 myself, all youth shot by police. According to Justus, no
youth or Kikuyu were killed in Lumakanda itself.
The African Union head, John Kufuor, who is the President of Ghana,
came to Kenya to mediate. He failed. Now Kofi Anon, the former UN General
Secretary, is coming to mediate between the two sides. It looks to me
like this is going to be long and drawn out--procrastination is to Kibaki's
advantage ashe retains total power in the meantime.
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