Friday, 4 January 2008

When Kenya sneezes ...

... east africa catches a cold. Or so the local saying goes. Judging by the events of the last week it has been more of a bad bought of malaria as post-election disorder has brought much of Kenya to a standstill. With major roads closed Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DRC are feeling the effects of a week without fuel or other imports.

I arrived in Nairobi on Friday 28th with the voting just concluded as record numbers of wananchi went to the polls for parliamentary and presidential elections. Voting had been peaceful and good humoured even with a close presidential vote in prospect. By sunday the atmosphere had turned to suspicion and frustration as delays in the results led to allegations of rigging the presidential vote (in contrast to the parliamentary results which were generally non-contentious as the opposition ODM won nearly half the seats).

The ensuing violence has been mainly in the slums of Nairobi and towns in western Kenya and the Rift Valley. To prevent trouble spreading to the city, Nairobi has been effectively locked down and I have been reduced to training on a hotel treadmill until today. With some peace efforts underway transport resumed this morning and I managed to get a bus to Nyahururu where the situation is normal and hopefully I now get a couple of weeks decent training done.

Its fair to say that the trouble is not a reflection on kenya or kenyans as a whole. There is a small minority who have used the results as an excuse for looting and creating mayhem which has left many kenyans in despair. Indeed, wananchi did their bit on polling day and are now been let down by their political leaders who seem to be putting their own power interests before those of the people.

Hopefully some more encouraging news in the coming days when I can turn back to running matters.


Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,

Never seen your blog until I saw the link from letsrun today - good stuff, will keep tuning in. I'm not working with the athletes anymore but I rang a few the other day. John Kibowen and John Rono told me about Lukas Sang and it sounded horrendous out there near Eldoret with piles of bodies by the road. Chepkurui told me things had calmed down a little today so touch wood. All the best with London. I too shall be running, but some 40minutes behind you!

Noel Stoddart

Anonymous said...

PS - Say hi to Simon Kasimili if you bump in to him there!