There is a lot of news out of Kenya recently, as many of you no doubt know. Itâ€™s difficult to get the complete picture, because live news broadcasts have been suspended, and hard, accurate information is scarce. But this is an overview of what we know at this time, and a little of the background leading up.
Kenya held its presidential elections on December 27th. The incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, was trailing slightly in the pre-election polls, and the ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) candidate, Raila Odinga seemed to be in the lead. As the election results came in, Odinga held a slight lead again, however, when the final tally was taken, President Kibaki was declared the winner by the narrowest of margins. He held a rather small, private inauguration ceremony only a few hours after the disputed results came in.
There were charges of vote tampering and other electoral improprieties by Odinga and the ODM. The non-Kenyan official election observers seemed to confirm a number of irregularities. As a result of all this, the country has experienced a great deal of upheaval and violence. The worst in its electoral history. To add to the problem, the dispute breaks down along tribal and socio-economic lines, with Kibaki being a member of the Kikuyu tribe, and Odinga being a Luo, so the resulting post election violence has been energized by this very old and deeply entrenched tribalism.
The situation is serious and needs to be stabilized in order to avoid a more widespread breakdown of order. Kenya has been one of the most politically stable nations in Africa for many years, and so this is a really unfortunate turn of events. For those of you who pray, this would be a situation worthy of your focus.
As far as we know, all of our friends are safe and well, and Iâ€™ll keep you posted as we learn more. My plans are still to return in early February, and continue our important work there. Iâ€™m confident that things will have been resolved before then and good order restored. These are the growing pains of a young nation, awful, violent ones. Letâ€™s pray for a just and swift resolution.
Yours for the kids,
PS Here are a couple of links to news stories that you can go to for more information.