[Imc-kenya] [Imc-africa] Update from Kenya (PEOPLE POWER AND SOLUTIONS)

Hannah Jane Sassaman hannahjs at prometheusradio.org
Wed Jan 2 15:41:08 PST 2008

What's the best way for people to send funds to help buy airtime, andsupport
the displaced families you discuss, John?  Is there a Western Union number
or an online donation place we could go to or use?

With love,
Hannah Sassaman
Prometheus Radio Project

On Jan 2, 2008 3:06 AM, Bwakali David John <jonbwak at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear Indymedia comrades,
> Five days ago, on the 27th of December, I stood in a queue for six hours -
> from 5.30 AM to 11.30 AM, waiting for my turn to cast a vote in my country
> Kenya's presidential, parliamentary and civic elections. When the votes were
> counted later that night, Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, began taking
> a near-unassailable lead. At one point, he led with almost one million
> votes. But somehow, Mwai Kibaki the incumbent president squeezed through a
> disputed victory. I can live with that. What I can't live with, is that in
> the last three days, more than 200 Kenyans have lost their lives because of
> this disputed election results.
> When the tension escalated, I had to move to my brother's house because I
> stay in a neighborhood dominated by the Kikuyu, the biggest tribe in Kenya
> and also one that President Mwai Kibaki comes from. Tragically, Kikuyus
> around the country are bearing the brunt of an angry people and they are
> also beginning to retaliate.
> After two days of a house arrest of sorts, it was extremely important that
> I leave the house. But when I tried to do so, I could not pass a human
> roadblock of more than fifty people who were sitting by the roadside in a
> tense and excited mood. But I had to proceed because I needed to call my
> friend in Eldoret town. She is from the Kikuyu community while most of her
> neighbors are from the Kalenjin community. Due to know fault of hers, the
> president happens to be from her community. Due to his own fault, the
> president has greatly angered the Kalenjin community together with thirty
> eight other communities. Even the supposedly official results show that he
> only led in two provinces out of eight. Consequently, members of all other
> communities generally feel that the president has robbed them.
> Unfortunately, they are taking it out on innocent members of the three
> communities that voted overwhelmingly for the president - Kikuyu, Embu and
> Meru. It is becoming a ping-pong game of violence as members of these three
> communities are also starting to hit out.
> I blame the people who commissioned and condoned the rigging of these
> elections. While I realize that most losers usually blame rigging for their
> losses, these particular rigging claims are not mere speculation. Samuel
> Kivuitu, the chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya has already
> admitted that he announced the presidential results under pressure from the
> President's Party of National Unity. He also conceded that there were
> widespread irregularities which resulted in extended delays in announcing
> results from some forty eight constituencies. Both local and international
> observers have explicitly reported that while the actual voting process was
> beyond fault, the tallying of the votes was riddled with faults. Raila
> Odinga has refused to accept these results. Millions of Kenyans have refused
> to accept these results. Business has been paralyzed across the country and
> it is not business as usual. Lives have been lost and life cannot go on like
> this.
> Kenya is now in a state of panic. Just yesterday when the rest of the
> world was celebrating the New Year thirty women and children were burnt
> alive in a church that they had sought refuge. They have died because
> someone found it fit to rig an electoral process and someone else found it
> fit to either facilitate or condone that rigging. They have died because
> there has been no concerted high level effort to quell a fire that is now
> consuming highways, byways and villages of this great nation. They have died
> because a subjective mass intolerance has been borne from massive political
> deception.
> I hold all the aforementioned persons responsible for these deaths and any
> other deaths that may result from this tragic situation. The blood of these
> fellow Kenyans is primarily on the hands of the politicians whose legs have
> trampled on the fundamental voting rights of Kenyans. This innocent blood is
> also on the guilty hands of those whose acts of violence inflicted
> irreversible death blows. No injustice, however heinous, warrants murder of
> the innocents. As we learnt from the Rwanda genocide, this blood will also
> be on the hands of all those who will turn a blind eye on this simmering
> conflict. Which is why we cannot, and must not turn a blind eye on this
> violence and other violent situations around the world.
> But what can you and I do to stop this violent, raging fire that is razing
> down innocent Kenyan lives?
> 1.      *Share this information far and wide*: Send this piece to your
> local newsrooms and radio stations. When more and more people are informed,
> more possibilities avail themselves.
> 2.      *Volunteer as a web designer for the Kenya Independent Media
> (Indymedia) website:* The Kenya Indymedia website can and should act as a
> platform for accurate and widespread expression. We need to publish dozens
> of first account stories that may not make it to the mainstream media. We
> also need to publish photos, audio and video. We therefore need volunteer
> web designers and programmers to work on it consistently for a period of 2 -
> 3 months as the Kenya Indymedia team builds its web designing and
> programming capability. As Kenya Indymedia, we now need to communicate to
> the world what is really happening and a vibrant website will be one way of
> doing this. We are liaising with national movement known as Million Youth
> Action to call and text people from across the country, moreso the worst hit
> areas of western Kenya and Rift Valley, so that we can in turn share their
> stories. This way, statistics will cease to be cold figures and they will
> take on a personal, human angle.
> 3.      *Host the Kenya Independent media website: *In order to enable a
> download of videos, images and audio of this conflict, the website needs to
> have sufficient space. We would like to use this site to keep track of all
> the Kenyans who are needlessly losing their lives, getting injured, robbed
> and displaced in this post-electoral violence. We would also like to use it
> to keep track of *who *is instigating, undertaking and condoning this
> violence. Even more important, we would like to know the victims of this
> violence so that we can reach out to them one way or another, in our own
> small way.
> 4.      *Mobile phone communication:* The only way that most endangered
> people can communicate and be communicated to, is through mobile phones. We
> would like to distribute mobile phone air time to as many people as possible
> so that we can enable them to communicate about what happened, is happening
> or may be about to happen. As already mentioned we will file all this
> communication on the website and pass it on to relevant authorities. One
> dollar will provide four minutes air time. These four minutes may make a
> difference between life and death.
> 5.      *Help relocate someone from a danger zone:* This violence has
> taken on ethnic dimensions, which means that people from certain communities
> are now no longer safe in certain places in which they are the minorities.
> Property belonging to such individuals is being looted and destroyed. Even
> worse, their lives are in grave danger. Many of them are however not able to
> flee since many public means of transport have suspended their services due
> to rampant insecurity on the roads. We intend to relocate such people
> through any means possible. This includes tipping food delivery trucks,
> cargo trains, newspaper vans and any other vehicles that are moving from one
> point to another for whatever reason.
> 6.      *Help feed a relocated person: *we have identified and are
> continuing to identify families in Nairobi and other parts of the country
> that can temporarily host relocated persons. As this is a grassroots
> movement with an emphasis on grassroots solutions, we intend to temporarily
> host displaced persons in host families. These families will greatly
> appreciate whatever food supplements we can give them.
> 7.      *Diplomatic missions:* Contact your respective embassies in Kenya
> and seek to know what they are doing about the deteriorating situation in
> Kenya. Give them our contacts and forward this paper to them. Embassies can
> do more than issue blanket statements for people to 'keep the peace' as if
> don't already know that!
> 8.      *Tend to a child: *More than 75,000 Kenyans are now internally
> displaced. Most of them are women and children. What a tragedy when young
> children are caught up in such a mess. There is no perfect formula for
> reaching out to such innocent ones. We intend take to them toys, clothes,
> chocolate, drinks, books and more gifts that can cheer them up. We will
> particularly target children who have been displaced or those whose parents
> have died in this conflict.
> 9.      *Pray: *For those of you, who like, believe in God, do whisper a
> prayer that peace will eventually prevail in Kenya.
> 10.  *Share your ideas: *it will greatly help if you share any concrete
> ideas that you may be having. Most politicians are just telling Kenyans to
> keep the peace and not really taking any concrete action to address this
> situation. People power and solutions can make a BIG difference.
> You can do any of the above by donating any of the mentioned things or
> what you would consider to be their monetary equivalent. Just go with your
> gut feeling and thanks for your thoughts.
> Cheers,
> John
> ------------------------------
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hannah sassaman

building radio stations = awesome
215-727-9620 x 501
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