For Kenya-Stockholmers, the year opened with acrimony, tension and suspicions following the rigging of the December 2007 elections by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) and a secret installation of Kibaki as President at State House Nairobi.
News at KSB was dominated by developing events in Kenya and abroad as the post election crisis deepened. After British and Swedish governments warned their citizens against travelling to Kenya for security reasons, other European countries followed suit.
In Kenya, refugees were reported to be fleeing to Uganda as ODM moved to call “A million man match” to State House to force Kibaki to step down. There was tension in the country with reports that the Karomojong guerrillas had arrived in Eldoret to help further the post election conflict to militarized levels. Kenyans soon learnt through the media that Samuel Kivuitu had admitted that he announced the results under pressure.
In Stockholm, Beryl Otumba, a Kenyan lady, released a statement attacking the newly installed Kibaki government and hoped that “Kivuitu does not sleep at night in the wake of the agony of innocent Kenyans”. Back in Finland, Mercy Gachoka, a Kenyan student, warned that the Kikuyu community needed to “Wake up”. She wrote at KSB that she had come to rescue the Kikuyu community which was being misused by the government.
Ole Ngais threw in a piece of prayer calling on God to save Kenya as fresh news arrived that Olago Aluoch, MP of Kisumu city, had been arrested. ODM-Scandinavia soon seized on the opportunity to appear on Swedish National TV News to debunk the theory in Swedish and International media that the conflict in Kenya was about the Kikuyu fighting the Luo and that the whole conflict was based on a developing and Rwanda-like “ethnic war” that could lead to a Genocide. ODM’s Chairlady Mrs Hellen Opwapo, a Luo and the Party’s Vice Chairperson Mr. Martin Ngatia, a Kikuyu, pinned the genesis of the conflict on a rigged election.
In the heat of the crisis, Osore Ondusye reportedly went missing from his home although he surfaced hours after alarm went out about his whereabouts. In the meantime, ODM-Scandinavia organized a demonstration outside the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm to protest at the rigged election. Embassy staff (including Ambassador Purity Muhindi) locked themselves inside the Embassy, too terrified to send Daniel Kottut to pick up an ODM-Scandinavia protest statement () that was nevertheless handed over to the Embassy by the Swedish police.
ORGANIZATIONS SET UP
There was endless activity in Stockholm. In memory of Kenyans who had lost their lives during the post election crisis, a group of Kenyans organized a candle light vigil at Sergels Torg in Stockholm as Kenyans and the world continued to focus on events in Kenya.
In Stockholm, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in Kenya (MOREDEK) was set up to address the issue of election rigging and to mobilize opinion against the fake Kibaki government that had been sworn in. After setting up a web site, MOREDEK released a series of statements, appeared on Swedish National TV News and Radio chennels but later cooled down its activities following the signing of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 that ended street violence across Kenya.
As MOREDEK emerged with weekly meetings in Stockholm to evaluate the situation in Kenya, a new organization calling itself United for Humanitarian Cause for Kenya (UHCK) was also set up. The agenda of the organization was to fundraise in aid of IDPs in Kenya. A series of fundraising activities were conducted by UHCK and cash raised eventually sent to Kenya through the Catholic Secretariat in Nairobi.
Attempts by leaders of the two organizations to work together failed to take off because of the diverse agendas of the two organizations. MOREDEK took the position that elections had been rigged in favor of Kibaki while a section of UHCK leaders were of the view that Kibaki had won election. These conflicting positions made any reconciliation difficult.
At first, events in Kenya appeared to have had an effect on inter-ethnic balance in Stockholm with pundits viewing the formation of two “rival organizations” in Stockholm as indicative of a growing rift between members of the Kikuyu ethnic group and other communities in Stockholm. A short analysis that reviewed the Kenya-Stockholm situation was posted at KSB. Much of the “ethnic differences” in Stockholm as a result of the post election crisis turned out to have been hot air because ethnic relations between Kenya-Stockholmers appeared good. Members of the Kikuyu and Luo communities who were perceived to have been at loggerheads mingled freely at different forums, calming fears that the ethnic tensions in Kenya may have found its way to Stockholm. Although a Luo, and at a personal level, I continued to maintain very good contacts with all members of the the Kikuyu community whom I have had a working relationship with for many years.
Soon, news arrived from Kenya that the newly elected MP for Embakasi Mr. Mugabe Were had been assassinated. The killing not only heightened tension but also prompted ODM-Scandinavia to release a Statement condemning the assassination. Before the ink dried, fresh details from Kenya indicated that Hon David Kimutai Too, MP of Ainamoi and ODM member, had also been assassinated prompting a new statement from ODM-Scandinavia.
The month of January ended with Kenyans pondering the implications of political violence across the country. In the meantime, Kofi Annan had landed to facilitate a peace deal as the crisis continued to affect the economic and social lives of Kenyans at home.
CAPITALISM HAS FAILED IN OUR COUNTRY