Kenya Erupts– 270 Dead Following Vote- 50 Burned Alive in Church
Kenya erupts in violence following a controversial presidential election.
Up to 50 Kenyans were burned alive inside a torched church in Kiambaa.
Elizabeth Wangoi wails near the Kenya Assemblies of God church in Kiambaa, Eldoret, where more than 35 women and children were burnt beyond recognition. (The Nation- Kenya)
Opposition supporters burn a banner during protests in Nairobi December 31, 2007. Police battled protesters in blazing slums on Monday as President Mwai Kibaki began a second term after a disputed vote that has convulsed Kenya, hurt its democratic credentials, and brought a rising death-toll. (REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya)
A mob torched a church sheltering hundreds of Kenyans fleeing election violence Tuesday, killing up to 50 people as four days of rioting and ethnic clashes marked some of the darkest times in this country’s history.
President Mwai Kibaki — sworn in Sunday in a vote that opponents say was rigged — said political parties should meet immediately and publicly call for calm. The opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, refused the offer.
“If he announces that he was not elected, then I will talk to him,” Odinga told The Associated Press. He accused the government of stoking the chaos, saying Kibaki’s administration “is guilty, directly, of genocide.”
The violence, has killed at least 270 people in what had been east Africa’s most stable and prosperous democracy and had erupted from the shantytowns of Nairobi to resort towns on the sweltering coast, has exposed tribal resentments that have long festered in Kenya. Kibaki’s Kikuyu people, Kenya’s largest ethnic group, are accused of turning their dominance of politics and business to the detriment of others
Disgruntled Kenyans took their anger out on the local electronics store.
People run with looted electronic goods from an electronics shop in Kenya’s coastal town of Mombasa, Monday, Dec. 31, 2007, after looting them in protest against the announcement of President Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity as the winner of the December 27th general elections against Raila Odinga of Orange Democratic Movement.(AP Photo)
All Africa reported on the church burning:
The congregation, mostly of women and children, had sought refuge at the Kenya Assemblies of God church, before their aggressors set it on fire. The women and children were fleeing from their homes which had been burnt in earlier attacks.
UPDATE: I just spoke with Ben Tobias on the BBC radio network about democracy in Kenya. The democracy will have to wait. Right now the authorities have bigger fish to fry. They must bring order to the streets before they can focus on the political crisis. It doesn’t sound like the opposition is doing much to help the situation at this point.