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Andrius Kulikauskas Self Learners Network. Think Through Art with Andrius Kulikauskas. Directory of ways of figuring things out. Chicago Street Artist Blog. Video summary of knowledge of everything. Notes on Gamestorming. Living by Truth working group. Twitter: @selflearners Email: ms @ ms.lt
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See also: Eldoret
To All Bikabkutit of Goodwill,
Greetings to all of you in the good name of the Lord. Iam glad to write to you today having survived the recent post-election political clashes in Kenya. However, Iam currently displaced from my home and I am putting up with my younger brother who lives in a safer location away from clash-torn areas near Eldoret town. My house, cow shed, food store and other structures were razed down by fire set up by arsonists from the Kikuyu community who were on a revenge mission after being evicted from their homes three kilometers away.
Having lost property worth thousands of Kenyan shillings, I was lucky to have managed to move my family to a safer destination. My home is located about 13 kilometres east of Eldoret town (Ilula area) where it was hard hit by the political skirmishes and tension is still high in the area. I personally witnessed the full blown mayhem pitting the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu community living in the area which happened immediately after the disputed presidential poll results were announced by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).
What actually triggered the tribal clashes was discontentment among the supporters of presidential candidate Raila after ECK announced that his rival Kibaki was the winner. Immediately after Kibaki was announced the winner at around 5pm on 30th December, a group of Kikuyu youth were heard cheering, celebrating and singing praises for Kibaki in their homes. This irked the Kalenjin community living in the area as they had been informed through the media that the elections had been rigged in favour of Kibaki. They immediately vented their anger on the homes which were celebrating Kibaki win. The Kalenjin youth set on fire the kikuyu houses, drove away their cows and chased families towards Eldoret town. Most of them took refuge in churches and at the police station. Others fled to stay with relatives and friends in other areas which they considered safe.
On that day (30th Dec.) I was in my house watching TV with my family and two friends anxiously waiting for presidential results to be announced which had been delayed for 2 days. One hour after the results were announced, hell broke loose – there were screams, yelling and war cries in the all place. I saw people carrying machetes, spears, bows and arrows and all other forms of crude weapons. Since the area is mainly dominated by the Kalenjin (pro-Raila) and Kikuyu (pro-Kibaki) communities, each was going for each other’s jugular as if war had been declared. That night saw confusion, children and women wailing as men ran up and down either burning each others houses, harming and chasing away perceived opponents. Several people lost their lives in the whole melee. I personally counted bodies of five men who had been killed by the morning of the next day. I thank God I was lucky with my family to tell this story today.
What saved us that night was that we hurriedly locked ourselves in the house and followed the proceedings of what was happening outside through the windows of our safe haven. All this time my two daughters (aged 7 and 5) and my wife were so frightened and were trembling the whole night. I am afraid upto now they are still affected and traumatized from what they heard and saw during the confusion. Fortunately for us and my neighbours, that night the kalenjin youth managed to outwit and overpowered the kikuyu aggressors in the area managing to drive them away albeit their property mainly houses, stores, cow sheds, farm machinery, and crops having been burnt down. I managed with my two friends and family to hold together until the following day in the morning. It was the longest night I have ever lived in my life!
Now the following day 31st December is a day I will never forget in my life. On that fateful day some Kikuyu families living three kilometers away from us were being evicted by another Kalenjin youth group also aggrieved by the flawed presidential results. The group too had information on what had happened to kikuyu families living in surrounding areas the previous night. It is like they wanted to emulate their kalenjin peers in the surrounding areas by waging war on their kikuyu neighbours. In the course of their eviction the enraged kikuyu youth while fleeing through Ilula area where we live struck on Kalenjin families. It was a wild mob composed of men, women and children strapped on the back of their mothers running towards Eldoret town. They were setting on fire any property believed to be that of a Kalenjin family. They were mainly targeting prime properties like houses, food stores, farm machinery, cow sheds etc and slashing livestock using swords.
As a kalenin, I was not lucky this time. They first started with my neighbour Mutai who is an athlete currently on a track scholarship in the US. His family was first evicted before his house and other property were set ablaze. Consequently on the same day another marauding mob killed a Kenyan renowned athlete Lucas Sang who lived about four kilometers away. His three cows were also inhumanly slashed using machetes (pangas) consequently causing gravious harm, injuring and maiming the helpless animals. On seeing what was happening at Ilula, I hurriedly ordered my family members into the car and speedily drove to Hospice facility near Eldoret town which I believed was save for my two daughters and wife. My two friends offered to remain behind to safeguard my property from the marauding kikuyu arsonists who were imminently about to attack.
After leaving my family at hospice, I drove back to my farm to join my two friends in protecting my property. I was unlucky to reach home to find my house, cow shed and food store (with 54 sacks of maize, cow feed and other cereals) in flames. The whole place was in smoke as raging fire consumed what I and my wife had put in place for the last 9 years. I later came to realize that my two friends had been overwhelmed by the number of attackers and they had to flee for their dear lives. Their pleas to the attackers not to torch my property went unheeded and instead were threatened with death if they continued persisting and hovering around. Wielding machetes, knives and broken soda bottles they chased them from my home before setting it ablaze. On realizing that my life was also in danger after finding my friends missing, I hastily drove back to Hospice to tell my family of what had befell our property. I remember my wife uncontrollably wailing after hearing the sad news while my daughters remained bewildered of what was happening.
Today my house and property is a debris- a pale shadow of what it was before the heinous act by the arsonists. My four cows and two calves are missing from my farm. I suspect somebody stole them when there was nobody to look after them. The approximate loss I incurred is estimated at about Kenya shillings 2.8 million (about US $ 40,000). As of now my family has no place they call a home and afraid of going back to Ilula. They say they are haunted with what happened. This means their lives have to be reconstructed again. I also fear showing them the debris of what we used to own. I do not know where to start from now. All items in the house like furniture, electronics, utensils, my children’s clothes, books and toys including school uniforms were all reduced to ashes. Family food and maize which I intended to sell to supplement my family income all went up in flames. Iam afraid my children can no longer sleep in the comfort of their bedroom which they so much cherished. They are also yet to report to school. Everybody looks confused here.
As some of you may be aware I am the national coordinator of Kenya Network of Telecentres (Ken-Tel) which I serve as a volunteer with an aim of promoting use of ICTs in rural and slum areas of Kenya. The objective is to have poor people living in this areas utilize ICTs as a tool for development and to create opportunities in their socio-economic lives. My income has therefore been limited as I depend on upcoming donor-funded projects which come up once in a while. My other source of income has been small scale farming (maize growing and cattle rearing) which my wife has been managing. For now I am so much devastated, down-trodden and have nothing to be proud of. A few thousand shillings for my family food, school fees and upkeep which I had kept in the house also went up in flames. I do not know where to start as of now. We do not know whether the Kenyan government will ever compensate us but I doubt given the political dispensation in the country.
I am therefore kindly sending my passionate appeal to anyone who can assist me and my family come out of this nightmare. My family would appreciate any form of help from anyone of you at this point of time to bring life back to normal especially for my two innocent daughters. Remember that for us to lead a normal life again like there before, we really rely on your virture of goodwill. If you are touched by my predicament and wish to make cash donations, kindly use the western Union Money Transfer facility or family bank account below which we jointly operate with my wife.
Telephone Number: +254 722 809 690
Any form of assistance will highly be appreciated and we will acknowledge all donations received. Please continue praying for us and for peace to be restored in our beloved country Kenya. Thanks and God bless you.
Yours faithfully, Ken Chelimo