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Post-media blackout update Jan 1 10:00 am

Site was back down again last night. Working on setting up a mirror site to handle traffic. Also had to try and make something out of New year’s eve.

I’m supposed to be traveling back to Joburg where I’m currently based tomorrow am. I want to stay behind and keep reporting because the situation is still tense & intense. Struggling with the decision to keep my family here, so that I can keep reporting since Baba KP has said I’m not being left behind solo.

On to the latest:

Thanks to all those who’ve offered to help me figure out my technical issues. Really appreciate it.

To keep free flow of information:

– Check out the mashada sms hotline, cheers Hash and David http://www.mashada.com/hotline.php

– Try and use mama mikes to send credit to your guys in Kenya www.mamamikes.com though they are not open till the 2nd.

Stories from the ground :

– There’s a huge shortage of Safaricom credit. Stores even charging more for it. I heard stories of a gas station in Langata selling 250kshs credit for 350 kshs. Take it or leave it.

– You can’t find meat anywhere in Nairobi. Guys going to Athi River for supplies. Meanwhile business as usual in Central. Someone is bringing me food from there.

– No cash in ATMs in most parts of Nairobi. Pesa Point has experienced withdrawals in the amount of Kshs 270 million in one week.

– Even in places in Nairobi that are safe, the situation is charged. I predict socialization will strictly be on ethnic lines since no side is willing to listen to the other and I’m talking about my peers folks. I hang out with people on both sides yesterday evening at different times and you cannot have a civil conversation if you’re not on the same side. It is really very scary. Bad bad slurs being tossed around casually. I felt like I was on the set of some bad movie about ethnic cleansing. People like me who come from many places in Kenya and who are upset about the process but don’t want violence have no voice. Kibaki you’ve “won” but is it worth it?

– Confirmed reports that women are being targeted for rape in the slums based on their ethnicity.

– Ethnic cleansing going on in Rift Valley. Kikuyus been targeted all over the province. Guys are being hidden by friends – I have first hand reports of this. My friend’s mother’s house was burnt in Molo last night. Where are these people supposed to go? Meanwhile, ODM supporters in ODM strongholds being beaten, raped, and killed arbitrarily by GSU officers. How does the “government” expect to heal these divisions once they have achieved their objective? Why are the two sides willing to pay such a high cost? We are just now recovering from Molo clashes of 1992! I’m frustated about the lack of options.

– Press being denied access to mortuaries.

News from KP readers:

– Airport in Mombasa is barricaded. Tourists stranded.

48 comments to Post-media blackout update Jan 1 10:00 am

  • Imani

    hey Ory, Thank you for considering staying on the ground. You are vital to our understanding of the issues in Kenya. I do not understand when these leaders will realise that they are only hurting wananchi.
    As a Kyuk with relatives all over Kenya, I feel the tension and the fear as I desperately try and stay in touch. I have had insults hurled against me, unprintables against my community. We are not all ‘baks people, I wish those instigating the violence would remember the Rwanda genocide, and the ethnic bloodshed that came from that ethnic bias.
    For Baba KP, behind every strong woman, there needs to be massive support. Keep on supporting our Ory, who will forever be remembered as our news source at this difficult time.
    We are remembering you all even as we are far away in the US and elsewhere.
    We shed our tears for Kenya, as we campaign and hope for change even when it seems lost.

  • Emmanuel Kitonyo

    Ory, thank you for the excellent job you’re doing in disseminating information.

    I exhort you to stay on and continue doing this crucial job.

  • James

    Ory, I feel what you say about socialization. Yesterday we had planned a late evening event, but Kenyans were unwilling to attend just because of the tension. You could see people come read the mood, say a word or two and then leave immediately. Worse, others just came after 12.00am this morning. And all this is happening some 4000KM from Kenya

  • Clive

    This will go down as amongst the darkest periods in Kenya’s history. Its indeed sad that events associated with the so called “failed states” are being witnessed in our beloved country, all because afew individuals are claiming monopoly on leadership. We’ve been set back by more than a decade in terms of the progress made as far as democracy and respect for the rule of law is concerned. It’s a time to mourn, not just the deaths of the lost loved ones but the robbing of a whole nation of its rightful destiny. Maybe its too late to do something about it, maybe not, but God help us all. Thanks for keeping us informed, especially those of us thousands of miles across seas away from home. You helped weather the worst of it. Ory, thanks again. Have a happy new year.

  • Aly

    From FT.com:

    “Mr Odinga downplayed the prospect of using the courts or his party’s parliamentary majority to resolve the crisis. A spokesman for Mr Odinga said ODM’s strategy was to raise an irresistible amount of pressure on the government from the public, the international community and the media.”

    What avenue does the public have to express frustration if the media is blocked. Atleast the international community is seeing this for what it is… but the process will be relatively slow..

    The Diaspora should contact their Senators, MPs, embassies, etc. to express their sentiments.

  • Linda

    First, I do hope you were able to enjoy yourself at least for a little bit during these new year holidays.
    Second, truly thank you for your dedicated updates. I’m in the U.S., but I know people in Kenya and have been so worried for them. Although your updates make me progressively more worried… I’d rather not be in the dark. And one friend is running for member of parliament, but as you know, not all results have been posted on any website I’ve found. His constituency is Kilgoris. Do you know how I can find out if he won?

  • Nits

    Please put this as part of an update and not as a comment. I have family in Narok who I got this information from this morning.

    One building in Narok was burned last night. It contained several Kikuyu businesses. More buildings were targeted but police chased off the arsonists before the blazes could be lighted.

    The number of dead is unknown but there were multiple dead bodies in the streets of the “majengo” area of town this morning.

    Kikuyu families are sheltering in various churches in town.

  • The problem with this situation is trust, emanating from what Kibaki did to the NARC’s (MOU).It would be easy to cut a deal for a unity government if Kibaki had not done what he did to LDP.

    The only other option I see is a new constitution being pushed through parliament and a vote of no confidence, because ODM has the majority of MPs

  • Benson

    I am a Nigerian based in the U.S and I have been following the Kenyan elections.This is how my country started and it took us more than a decade to get back on track.Kenya cannot afford such a crisis.Tourism thrives on stable society not one caused by chaos.

    Can Africa ever change?

  • Kenya Government:


    Before the General Elections, the Police Commissioner announced that the Government would not allow any public rallies to be held by anybody after the elections. This decision is still in force and will be enforced until the current security situation normalizes.


  • Mzalendo#2

    The Daily Telegraph is advocating that “The Commonwealth should take lead against Kenya” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IJEMNUUQUAMBDQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2008/01/01/dl0101.xml#comments)

  • Nyamse

    Ory, I cannot thank you enough for keeping us in the loop! Bravo to you! The socialization is real and scary. I am a Luo and dont doubt that there was rigging on ODM side as well. A recount would have brought this to light and it is only this that would have told us who the Kenyan people had voted for! I have many Kikuyu friends who feel this way but sadly have other friends who insist that it is only the other side that rigged. People are not talking to neighbors of over 20 years! Recount please!

  • http://www.kenyatopup.com was working efficiently for Celtel 500 late last night. Saf-Com out of stock though.

  • ak

    good job KP!
    i hear there are Uganda merceneris on the streets of kisumu backing up GSU. can anyone confirm?

  • Gitau

    Thank you for the excellent, intelligent, moral forum. I feel as kenyans we also have a great part to play in promoting peace in our nation. We need to be as objective/ impartial as possibl e for the resolution of the conflicts our nation has found itself in. Let’s look at the issues happening in our country with fairness, unbiasdness,non-tribalistic view if we are to change the situation in our country. Let us honestly analyse the crisis in our country did it start from rigging? (which both parties are claming, let’s not be biased towards one party) . How many countries have been involved in election rigs and have still had their countries enjoy peace in the aftermath. My beloved Kenyans brothers and sisters the crisis we are facing is more than the rigging we have witnessed . Let’s be honest with ourselves and dig out the real issue here which has a very deep root in tribalism, incitations on this delicate issue ,and as Kenyans let’s us try and propose how this delicate and sensitive issue can be resolved permanently for the sake of our children and future generations. Let us learn from countries that have defeated this ugly monster of tribalism and may we never allow anyone to use our democratic rights to fuel this sensitive and delicate issue. Let us encourage people who will promote unity in our nation. Other nations have made it and Kenya can make it to.

  • Tiva

    :cry:Hi, Thanks for those updates. I have just talked to my sister in Eldoret and she says there are bodies scattered around the area which have not been collected at Kakhoya and mile 4 . I also have Kikuyu friends whose houses have been torched down, these are people we have known all our lives and whose contribution in the development of the town have been felt. This is as a result of bottled up emotions and we hope things will calm down and some sanity brought into the situation

  • Ory and the KP readers,
    My wishes for 2008. Lets thank God for 2008, the year that we waited in hope and optisim. Most of which may seem to have been stolen by Kibaki and his croonies… but no, you can not take ones optimist and hope especially if it is for the greater good.

    May the souls of those Kenyans who died expressing how they felt and fighting for their rights and truth rest in peace.

    For all the sisters and brothers who believe in the truth and who will stand up against a flawed process, I will leave you with a quote by Winston Churchill

    ‘Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty. Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense’

    May honour prevail against injustice.

    May I say, Ory, you have served our country gallantry by facilitating flow of information, even when they tried to supress the media. You should stand tall and we salute you. May the good work continue…

  • Great job! I am so concerned that reliable information from across Kenya comes together in cyberspace during the media blackout. Is there a list available of bloggers still in Kenya? I just returned to the US Sunday from Nairobi, and will blog from there.

    Read the EU Report on the Elections, which is damning, and will crumble international support for the regime.


  • kenyanchicabroad

    I am grateful to you for your unbiased reporting throughout this difficult time. Definitely, you’re has been one of the many websites tha we’ve been using to keep up to date. However, I think that you FAMILY comes first and if you need to go back to SA than so be it. Thanks again

  • Excuse me, sorry for stepping in on the party, congratulating Ory and all that.

    What exactly is this?

    Meanwhile, ODM supporters in ODM strongholds being beaten, raped, and killed arbitrarily by GSU officers.

    So the GSU are asking people who did you vote for and then raping them? The Kenyan armed services are really a most foul bunch, but yet again, not even in the most rabidly pro-ODM forums do you get some of the stuff Ory posts here.

    Thank you for the updates, but there has never been a time when it was more important to stop taking sides.
    P.S. I am still waiting for you to tell people about the massive rigging in Nyanza and the Rift Valley. We have direct contact with people there who can attest to this.

    Both sides of the story.

  • wsm

    Ory — thanks so much. You are faced with a difficult decision, to strongly consider. Don’t let us influence your decision, that is for you and your family.

    Reports — Church in eldoret burnt down Kikuyu women & children seeking safety killed.

    People we have to rise above this tribalism, and stop posting messages that will continue to incite. I understand the anger and frustration, but I urge you before you light a match from the comfort of your home (OUTSIDE KENYA).

    Remember your life is not in danger, Kibaki’s life is not in danger, Raila’s life is not in danger. The people in our country who’s voices and status has been silenced for years are the people dying. We can’t continue to let our anger cloud and outbursts fuel the fire for prices we personally are not paying. They need our unified support that will urge both men to rise up and behave as such and calm both sides.

    Personally, I am disgusted with both Raila and Kibaki at this time. They are both safe, and it is criminally irresponsible for both parties at this time not to say anything and to fuel the fire. AKA Raila asking for a rally, Kibaki issuing “shoot to kill” orders. Have we heard of rubber bullets people??
    The power of their words can not be underestimated.

  • Pimpala

    The socialization thing is retarded. I ushered in the New Year at Tamasha and I was beyond shocked when an acquaintance I haven’t seen since I left for the US was barely done with salutations and moved on quickly into Raila’s supposed “gentility”.

    What shocked me and my other pals (who were Kikuyu while I’m Luhya) was that we knew this guy as level-headed and sensible. Sad turn of character.

    Also the night before (Sunday) we got an uncharacteristically empty Tamasha and a waitress came straight to my boy (a fixture there) and said ” heh leo najua sisi sote tumefurahi” to which my boy said he was happy but his boy (me) wasn’t. She went silent and stopped all the small talk. What, life long friends,even though from different ethnic backgrounds can’t meet up for a drink anymore?! WTF. I’m just glad all my other close Kikuyu pals aren’t as petty as hating on a pal for ‘ethno-political’ reasons.

  • joe

    I completely agree with you. The rigging was just but the spark. The fuel reserves have been built over the years. In Nairobi, things are real tight. For now, we need both Kibaki and Raila to be statesmen. Stop the violence first. And then the matter of rigging and a political solution can be worked out. I am still racking my brains for a practical solution that would be fair, just and swift. Let me know when you have something eh.

  • M


    You have done a great job of keeping us abreast of what is going on in Kenya. What you have done is enough for now…its time you concentrated on your family needs which comes first! Who cant understand?

    Happy new year!
    NB Your personal online comment about your Dad and the Kenya High reception was moving. Yours is a great story of resilience! What an example.

  • Wangu

    Heavenly Father, i bring my country Kenya to you, with humility and gratefulness. I thank you for blessing this wonderful country with a great people, a diverse people who love peace and stability and success. I thank you for blessing our country with peace, with a love for democracy and freedom.

    As we face the present challenges, I implore you LORD MOST HIGH to look into the hearts and minds of each kenyan and put peace, love and a desire to move forward. A great injustice has been done, yet your word tells us that you will repay the corrupt leaders who think of only themselves. IN the name of JESUS, who died so we could all be free, I DEFEAT THE PLANS OF THE ENEMY. i declare defeated all those wanting to kill their fellow countrymen. And i ask you lord to restore peace and common sense and level headedness in the face of injustice and violence. I REBUKE all evil that may be in the hearts of all the kenyans at this time and i cover in the blood of JESUS all kenyans today who are afraid, without homes, without food, without access to information about their relatives, without a safe place to sleep, and i ask you to replace that with peace and with faith in YOUR NAME. Remind us of the lessons learnt from nations that the enemy tried to destroy – Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, Somali, Bosnia – and let us REFUSE TO GO THAT WAY. That irregardless of the name of the God we worship, or the tribe we are born into, let us all remember, we were born into the great nation on KENYA. LONG LIVE our republic and long live freedom from persecution.

    let it be, AMEN.

  • TomiT

    Yes. It is extremely important for both Kibaki and Raila to place the citizens and the country before their own power-hungry egos.

    This is insane. The whole country is being destroyed. For what? Who cares who is president. As a foreigner who has no tribal association here I have absolutely no respect for either of these politicians. They are both the same, not worth a single lost life. Both men are bad for Kenya.

    You need a real leader with real ideas. These fools are not worth the violence.


  • CB

    Hard information confirming or denying police responsibility for much of the killing is needed. Al-Jazeera has reported police involvement in rape, for example, and Der Spiegel quotes the challenger as making such a claim: That police are shooting unarmed persons and producing most of the casulaties. Most of the media coverage of the “chaos” has been content to leave it at that — things are confused, and so are we. Which is pretty disappointing. And we have read about the police raid on the Standard earlier this year, which the government assumed responsibility for.

    Somebody needs to try to answer the question: Who is doing what to whom? Spontaneous factional and ethnic violence is bad news. Indiscriminate state-sponsored violence is bad news of another kind. Attributing the bulk of the violence to civil disturbances might be well used as a “moral panic” to justify the police repression. But if police repression is actually producing the bulk of violence, then it seems more likely that a hard coup is what we are watching. Which is why panicked evocation, for example, of Rwanda, and anonymous police statements that “ethnic cleansing” is underway, as I read, need independent critical assessment. The regime could be making wildly exaggerated claims to establish a pretext for martial law.

  • Jhnsidi

    i cannot begin to express the gratitude to you for keeping the news flowing. i’m here based in Nebraska, USA and this thing of tribes keeping to themselves (kyuks against the world) is starting to show up. makes me wonder if this is just the beggining of some long term tear in the country’s fabric. once you empty a tube of toothpaste, you can’t put it back in.

  • jnp

    im desparately trying to get my family some airtime and mamamikes wasn’t open today like you said;their phones are shut off. all other online sambaza operators also seem t have ceased doing business temporarily. are there any other suggestions?

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  • […] What is really scares is news like this: Stories from the ground : […]