The Latest Zarembka e-mail - January 4

Dear All,

In Nairobi today it seems that the riot police, using tear gas and water cannons, stopped the rally planned in Uhuru Park to inaugurate Raila as president. The ODM called off the rally, but promised to do it another time.

Gladys told me that one of the reasons not many people are going shopping is that there are few goods left in the shops--particularly, I think, food. What is available is sold at inflated prices. The town is running out of "greens" which usually come from near Eldoret.

A woman went out to the fields and picked local greens and filled a gunny sack--Gladys says these were immediately bought up.

As to Eldoret, I received this from Bainito Wamalwa "As I speak now, the Friends Church in Eldoret has 62 families who are displaced by some of them having their houses burnt. They have no shelter, food and other basics. As I said earlier, there is no way to enter or exit Eldoret now. The food prices have gone more than tripple high. Things are not right here."

And Eden Grace reports on the situation in Kisumu:"Here in Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city, most of the shops and businesses along the main road have been destroyed and looted. Many are now burned-out hulks, and looters are pulling metal for scrap out of what little structure remains. The transportation network has been disrupted so many goods are no longer distributed. Queues are long to buy flour where people still can. Food and fuel are hard to come by. Cell phone air time has been sold out in Kisumu and elsewhere, so most people cannot even use their phones."There is a meeting tomorrow morning of all Americans citizens in Kisumu. There were plans for the Americans to evaculate to Uganda at 5:00 AM this morning under armed escort, but this did not work out. Since fuel travels to Uganda, Rwanda, and North Kivu from Eldoret, these countries are running short of fuel."

Barbara Wybar reports that in Uganda the cost of travel on buses/matatus has doubled.

In Lugari District, in a town far from us, 6 youth were killed by the police yesterday. Turbo is thenext town on the road towards Eldoret and we have been told that the violence there was even worse than Kipkarren River. We also heard that the police there have divided into two groups--a Kikuyu group and a group of all the others. If this really begins to happen, then an actual civil war becomes a possibility. The police have been on high alert since the day before the election so they must be getting worn out and tired people are less likely to show restraint.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu, from South Africa has arrived in Nairobi, hoping to mediate, but since he made his speech asking for the end of the violence from the ODM offices, I am not sure that he will be acceptable to the Kibaki side.

Tomorrow is another day and we will see what it brings.


David Zarembka,
CoordinatorAfrican Great Lakes Initiative/ Friends Peace Teams