Just over five years ago, Kenyans went to the polls. As in other countries, the election results were far from clear cut – but instead of taking to the airwaves or to the courts, Kenyans took to the streets with machetes and gasoline cans. More than 1000 people were killed, the country came to a standstill for months, and thousands were displaced from their homes and farms. It’s election time again in Kenya…
S0 I’m asking you to pray for this beautiful piece of God’s creation this week, that God’s peace will descend on it. Things are different this time: While the electorate remains ethnically divided, the major ethnic groups have chosen different partners – like the second half of an evening of bridge. Where the Kikuyu and Luo were aligned last time against the Kalenjin, in this chapter it’s Kikuyu and Kalenjin against Luo and Kamba, with a fifth group, the Luhya, in a position to decide the election.
Confused? So are some Kenyans, according to an excellent write up in the New York Times today:
“All this is the mischief of politicians,” said Dominico Owiti, who lives in a new trouble spot, Sondu, a bushy borderland between the Luos and the Kalenjins. The two ethnic groups were allies during the last election, but because of opportunistic political alliances struck between Kenya’s leading politicians, they now find themselves on opposite sides of a very combustible political divide.
Similarly, two groups that fought so bitterly here the last time, the Kalenjins and the Kikuyus, are now political allies because their leaders have teamed up to run for president and deputy president on the same ticket.
“I don’t like it,” said Mary Macharia, a Kikuyu woman whose daughter was killed in the church fire in 2008, which was set by a Kalenjin mob. “But who am I to refuse?”
I have some vested interest in Kenya – my organization, Care of Creation, has an important project in the Rift Valley area, a potential focus of unrest, and am more than casually concerned about the safety of our expatriate and local staff workers. But beyond that, it feels like this is one more attempt by the Evil One to disrupt and destroy what could be one of the most beautiful and bountiful parts of God’s good creation.
So let’s pray, shall we? It can make a difference.
Some additional resources on this story: