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Update – Burnt Forest/Eldoret Jan 1 11:45 pm (Edit)

Just got back home still trying to parse through the news/info coming through.

For now it is critical to get the word out about the situation in Eldoret and Burnt Forest. This is in the aftermath of the church burning. Reports of armed men going into the forest coming through from various sources. The conflict is more than just Kikuyu-Luo – has – widened into something that I don’t even know how to describe.

From a KP reader:

“Approximately 40-50K people are holded up at the compounds of ST. PATRICKS CATHOLIC CHURCH and ARNESENS HIGH SCHOOLl, both in Burnt Forest. There is no running water, food and ELECTRICITY has been cut. THIS MEANS THAT PEOPLE CANNOT RECHARGE THIER CELL PHONES and soon we’ll not be able to contact them. Also, due to the chaos/anarchy in these compounds, means that people, especially women are not any safer than if they were out in the chaos. There has been reports of rapes and molestations. I’ve also heard that the Eldoret highway has been closed by thugs an d that there is no transportion, hence people cannot leave this area. My family in that area feels very helpless and we can only ask that we spread the world and try and get some security in the area.”

I’m wondering whether the military and the police are? Are they standing by watching while these incidents are going on? Hearing reports that the ignored calls for help when the church was being burnt? Does anyone have an idea what the government is doing in response as far as providing security to individuals in this area? And this is being alarmist but I’m beginning to wonder whether the government wants to fan the flames (remember Likoni clashes?).

Other (unverified) news from KP readers:

– Military set to take over tomorrow.

– Forced circumcisions in Buru Buru area. About 20 so far. 5 people have bled to death as a result.

– Govt is preparing for calls for a re-tally by jigging with the 16A forms once more. Officers of the disputed 48 constituences have been summoned to KICC tonight to re-sign the forms 16A.

Other news sources:

– I really really have to commend Al Jazeera for their coverage of this situation. I hope someone picks this up as a story about alternative media and coverage of Africa, and a story about Al Jazeera is redefining GLOBAL coverage. They are millions of steps ahead of CNN and BBC with less resources. From a good source, I hear that they are posting stories directly to Youtube so please check there for new stories as well.

Alertnet for breaking news.

Mental Acrobatics should have a post up pretty soon about various initiatives to try and stop the situation from spiraling out of control.

– My partner in Mzalendo, M, also has updates and pictures of the latest situation on the ground.

143 comments to Update – Burnt Forest/Eldoret Jan 1 11:45 pm (Edit)

  • Simba


    I too have heard from a number of people that it is no longer a Kikuyu-Luo issue but has spread into something “much more”.

    What is it? Who does it involve? There seems to be more going on that what the news originally reported.

    Have you heard any more about the two C-130 Hercules planes that flew into Eldoret yesterday? What were they carrying? Are they still on the airstrip?

  • Abass

    Ory, thanks for the update really though it would be nice if you removed the moderation so that others could update us. I know it is difficult with some of the comments. But anyway, thank you again.

  • The problem with involving the military is that the ranks can split into tribal lines.

    Where you will have the Kikuyu generals on one side and the rest of the tribes on the other.

    Other option is for the military to order Kibaki to resign and hold another election.

    Another option is to have a run off election with Kibaki.

    Or Raila can sit in the opposition benches,but this will get real bad in 2012 again.So we either solve it now or the country will still burn in 2012.

  • Simba


    For the best (aka worst) photos I’ve seen from the conflict…

    Click on and scroll down…


  • The patriot

    I have just read the standard article on what kivuitu said. I’m stunned what he said. Anybody with an IQ slightly higher than that of a sheep will arrive at the following conclusions:
    1. When he was asked whether he believes that kibaki won the election and his answer being that he didn’t know, it implies that the Kivuitu who announced the results is different from the one who was responded to that question. I thus liken him to a warthog. I’m told that when warthogs are being chased by an enemy and they have just outrun the enemy after a short while, they forget that the enemy is still at their heels hence stops oblivious of everything only to be punced on a moments later. Kivuitu is forgetting that three days ago, he firmly declared that kibaki as the president. Its insane to now say that he doesn’t know.
    2. He claims that some people threatened to come and get the certificate from him if he did not take it to state house. If he didn’t know who the legitimate president was or did not concur with what he just announced, he would have just refused to hand over the certificate, let the people who threatened him pick it up. That way, he would have exonerated himself from blame. By handing it over to kibaki, it implies that he acknowledged that Kibaki was the winner. He thus acts like a kid. Have you ever seen two babies fighting and one of them hits the other. The aggrieved starts crying, the culprit realizing that he has done a mistake starts crying too. In the end, he also gets some sympathy.
    3. When he said that he was under pressure from PNU and ODM-K to announce the results, it shows that he is a coward. I therefore conclude that he is not the same Kivuitu who was caught no camera telling ODM supporters that nobody can intimidate him. If indeed he was under pressure from anybody, he should have just said that in public with the media present instead of announcing the result – nobody would have dared touch him.
    4. When he says that he did not resign because people would think that he is a coward, I think he is out of brains completely- to be forced to announce the results by PNU and ODM-K and bow to their demand is not an act of bravely. If indeed he weren’t a coward, which he is, he would have resigned in public. That would have made him a man of valor.
    5. He claims that his team his consulting with lawyers to find a way forward if “its within the law”. This is an acknowledgment that the commission rigged in Kibaki. ECK would be arrested since we have a confession from them and be charged with election fraud and treason. Moreover, some of its members have disowned the results. I therefore wonder if indeed they ever met and decided on this. In fact he accepts that they are culprits. – He should be sentenced immediately at his own admission.
    6. He claims that he backs an independent authority to look into the results. This is an admission that ECK was partisan. In other words he is admitting that they favored Kibaki. Therefore, he fell short of saying that kibaki is not the winner of the elections. He is being clever when he further says that this can only happen if the law allow, he is acknowledging that he knows nothing about law more specially to that deals with elections. He is worked in ECK for long and by now, laws that govern elections in Kenya should be at his fingertips. He was bragging that he has monitored elections in many countries and has a lot of experience. I think the experience he is talking about is that of rigging elections in the animal kingdom- not human beings. He therefore doesn’t deserve to be in charge of elections whereby voters are sober human beings. Let him get fired immediately.

    My conclusion is that kivuitu knew what he was doing and he should be held responsible. He is trying to exonerate himself from blame because he wasn’t anticipating that Kenyans would react like this. He thought Kenyans are still stupid. He should be held responsible for installing an illegitimate president and instigating chaos all over Kenya. This is treason and should be taken seriously. I knew this would happen when he started saying that he remembers kibaki calling people pumbavu back in makerere. This only tells us that he admires him and its no news that he rigged him in.
    There was an article in standard a few days ago titled “how to rig an election” in the east African. The author outlined the events that were to occur the way they have occurred until I started thinking that this author had some inside information. I Urge you Kenyans to find it and read it. It’s exactly what has happened.

  • Aly

    People, let’s stop hypothesizing about the what if’s. The key question right now is what can each one of us do to help stabilize the situation. – Ideas please?

    The situation in Burnt Forest sounds to precarious even to contemplate. When and how will this end. The politics can be sorted out later but the carnage has to STOP NOW. Enough!!!!

  • Stefano

    Just wanted to say thanks for the updates. I’ am an Italian boy and i worked in Tanzania for two year. I have a female friends that work in Kenya with an Italian NGO (she is a vet). Mungu atakusaidia.

  • Ory, thanks.

    I am just wondering whether the road closure only restricted to the Eldoret highway, or are other thugs and government officials, blockading exit/entry routes to/from Nairobi and other major cities? I have family trying to leave cities but are complaining about the unavailability of transport means.

    PS; I am saddened to hear there are more other tribes involved in this unfortuate saga. I hope the police/army would get up their behinds and provide proper security for once. I also hope that things would calm down in the coming days. Hope is all I have now.

    Thanks again ory

  • WK

    Ory, thanks so much for making this post.!!!
    As I said, please contact me if you need any other info about the Burnt Forest/Eldoret area. Also, and more importantlly, if you have any contacts in the area that know of a way out, please post such info on your site. I’m hearing that although the main roads are blocked, the airport maybe open…. As bad as Nairobi is, I’d be happy to get my extended family there and away from the anarchy that is Burnt Forest. Can we also organize a joint effort (bloggers, readers, all Kenyans) to the international community. We need to start sending emails/faxes/letters and calling representatives in foreign govts. Yes, the answers lie with Kenyans, but we can get international assistance to move things faster. It would be great if you and M and other bloggers could co-ordinate this effort because most Kenyans in Diaspora are constantly reading your sites. Thanks again for all your doing. Asante!!!

  • It is very shokin to read the things that are unfolding in kenya,burning people no matter the tribe in church is unfair both to them and God.Pliz kenyans lets shun tribalism now because it will affect all of us in one way or the other,kikuyus are human beings,so are luoz,and lets remember kila mtu na siku yake,God save kenya.

  • cassidy

    the situation in Kenya has turned from election protests, to something akin to ethnic cleansing. Remember during elections when Kibaki was dishing out districts? the burnt forest area was one such recipient, and this is an ‘island of kikuyus’ surrounded by the Kalenjin- not the luo as reported in CNN.

    the bottom line is that, the actions of a few greedy elite has led to the massacre of the poor. our elections will never be about issues any more, it will be about my tribe , and those who associate with the ‘enemy’ are ‘betraying our course’ the

  • BRE

    Ory, those of us in the Sphere who have followed and supported your excellent work over the past few years are very, very worried about the unfolding chaos and violence in Kenya. The claims and counter-claims and unverified reports coming out of the country via the Web are flying around like bullets in a Faluja (Iraq) firefight. Words and images that have the potential to incite violence can kill as surely as any gun or machete so be sure to stay clear of any “news” that you cannot verify.

    Our prayers are with you, Mental (M), Daudi and others who are working so desperately to report on the post-election violence and attempts to bring it under control. Be safe foremost, be true to your principles and ideals, be courageous, and cover your rear-ends in case things go terribly, terribly wrong. Let us know in the Sphere what we can do to help the people of Kenya return to the path of Peace and Reconciliation.

    BRE @ Jewels in the Jungle

  • I just talked to a friend in Eldoret who says that the GSU has provided them with armed escort and lorries to travel to central province.

    He has refused to get in the truck coz all his life he knows his home is Eldoret and he does not know anyone in Central province.

    He says that Burnt forest is burning literally

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  • […] conflict, which was initially described as Kikuyu vs. Luo has turned into something else: For now it is critical to get the word out about the situation in Eldoret and Burnt Forest. This […]

  • […] conflict, which was initially described as Kikuyu vs. Luo has turned into something else: For now it is critical to get the word out about the situation in Eldoret and Burnt Forest. This […]

  • […] friend Juliana Rotich (Afromusing ) have been critical in relaying information from the volatile Eldoret/Burnt Forest. Also, Nick Wadhams has presciently put the current violence in perspective of previous Kenyan […]