At church today, Father Peter spoke about his phone call with Evelyn. Evelyn is a priest from Kenya that has often visited our church. She is back in Kenya, as things are getting a bit dicey there. She is in western Kenya and her family is in Nairobi.
For those who haven’t been following politics in Kenya, they recently had a presidential election. In what is being reported as a very close election, the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki narrowly defeated Raila Odinga in an election that the New York Times calls “deeply flawed”.
Peter said that Evelyn and her family are currently safe, but things seem to be worsening in Kenya since Church this morning. After church, we went to Kim’s parents house. I went online to get more news about Kenya.
The first place I looked was Global Voices. It is a site that summarizes what is going on as reported by blogs around the world. It took me to Kenyan Jurist which has a fairly clear pro-Kibaki bias. In one of the earlier posts, a pro-Odinga commenter challenges the blogger and there is not a response.
A little more surfing brought me to Mental Acrobatics. This blog had a lot of details about what is going on in Kenya right now. I say ‘had’, because at this point, the server is not responding. I am concerned because it was taking a pro-Odinga perspective. Kenya Pundit had the other best, blogger on the ground coverage that I’ve read so far. It starts off,
Yes I am biased. Biased against a flawed process and whoever is behind it. I am not going to be neutral on this particular point so get over it!
It has updates about the media blackout as well as reports it notes are unverified, such as, “ODM was planning an alternative inauguration at Uhuru Park tomorrow”, “Raila and other ODM guys have been arrested”, and “Shoot to kill order in Kisumu”. Driving home, the BBC World News also reported plans for a large demonstration in Uhuru Park for tomorrow. It did not say that Raila Odinga had been arrested, instead saying that there were reports that he would be arrested if he showed up at the large demonstration.
There is a lively discussion thread there. It includes a quote from the U.S. State Department saying,
The United States congratulates the winners and is calling for calm, and for Kenyans to abide by the results declared by the election commission. We support the commission’s decision
They contrast that to British Foreign Secretary David Miliband saying,
We congratulate Kenyan voters for conducting their vote in an orderly and dignified manner. But we have real concerns at the irregularities reported by the EU observers and others.
So, I continue to read the Kenyan blogs to get a sense for what is going on. I lift up prayers for Evelyn and her family, for the person who writes Mental Acrobatics, and for the whole country of Kenya.