A GLIMPSE OF 2007-2008 ELECTION VIOLENCE
2007-2008 right? what comes in mind when someone mentions that year to you? I know it is still fresh in our minds as if it happened yesterday and simply because we still suffer from its effects up to date. Talk of homelessness, loss of loved ones, trauma, stigmatization, poverty, pain, injustice etc. 2007-2008 Kenyan crisis was a political, economic and humanitarian crisis as many as 1400 people died and another 180000-600000 displaced in the violence.
2007-2008 events rocked our country and we will forever clutch at our heart-strings. Never in a million years had a Kenyan ever imagined that such a tragedy would befall our peaceful, harmonized country. Never had anyone thought that Kenya could revolt in such a cruel and brutal manner. Never had anyone foreseen that pictures of a war-torn country would in time grace the tabloids and international news channels that dominated the entire globe. Never, post-election violence was a bolt from the blue one that left myriads questions unanswered among the Kenyan community. One of them being “was Kenya really a community in the first place?” secondly where was the church?
Taking an in-depth look at the entire post-election drama, it’s evident that the tragedy has got too many angles attached. As a matter takes into consideration, it’s apparent that the evident was foreshadowed by several setbacks that occurred during that fateful election day. Setbacks that include numerous delays in availing voters register, various exchange of insults among the candidates and as if that’s not enough, the historic ban on media coverage. All these punctuated in extremes delay in announcing the winners fueled the whole grenade. In a span of no time violence broke out in various areas in the country, buildings were looted and torched to bare skeletons, lives were lost, women were assaulted and raped, children were subjected to the cruelty of the entire situation and families were forcefully evicted from their homes. Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it.
All this took place due to allegations based on ethnicity, fraud and assumed rigging of votes. The announcements of the results and much hurried swearing in of the crowned president raised eyebrows further.
Confirming to many that it was indeed an act of injustice itself and what better way to avenge it, than plugging into greater injustice itself. At this point is where all hell broke loose, humanity lost essence. We lost it acted and spoke out of shear necessity without engaging our minds, values, believes and those ordained into God’s servant-hood. With this notion in mind youths took to the streets demanding for revocation of the presidency. Fueled by the love of politics and blind affiliations, the violent youths left trains of fire in their path and looted numerous valuables from shops and other business outfits.
All these were adequately and accurately recorded in camera displayed horrific headlines that pictured the country in all negative way possible. The likes of “Kenya cry for help” hakuna matata-no more and Kenya war-torn?” portrayed a negative image to the outside world, but as we were soon to find out, this was just the beginning of a long terrain of suffering for Kenyans. Should we say that “not all that glitter is gold” or would you rather equate it to “don’t judge a book by its cover.” After many years of having a spotless and clear record of peace harmony and love, results of 2007 events was a complete catastrophe, overturn and disgrace to peace, Godliness, humanity and love.
Adding insults to an injured aggressed heart; the Electoral commission was not apologetic after apparently sparking the whole grenade. This lack of fact added more wood to the blazing fire as the errant youth stormed the metropolises and turned the country inside out with violent outburst all over. The general service unit better known as GSU were to harmonize the drastic situation did more harm than good, vomiting out ammunition from their “play toys” and creating a post-election massacre. Innocent people succumbed to death likes flies attacked by insecticides. Certain occasions such as the one in which a twelve-year-old boy was instantly killed by a stray bullet in Kibuye market at the heart of the lakeside town of Kisumu and the one in which a woman was shot dead by a live bullet that passed through her tin-walled shanty house in Kibera, Nairobi among others left the more sane population heartbroken.
Families having been displayed fled to relief camps and police station seeking refuge. Some groups of the affected ethnic community in Eldoret Kiambaa village fled to a nearby church in search of heaven but unfortunately came across hell. The church was lit up in flames by merciless “militia men” who took their own grievances to heart rather than simple humanity. This whole affair led to over thirty people being burnt alive and the few lucky ones sustaining fatal injuries. It also left a recurrent question that played over and over in our minds like a broken record, “was the end of the world near?”
The post-election violence created a void in the hearts of many, a void too big to be filled. All in all, as we nurture these scars, we forever recall these happenings. I guess the question that remains is, what are we doing to ensure this does not happen again? I don’t know, maybe I have a clue, do you?
As we ponder about these things, let’s think of John 10:10 the thief does not come except to steal, kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and they may have it more abundantly.
By KICHAM LOZENJA