The recent election in Kenya was an opportunity for Kenya's first peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from Britain in 1963. Kenyan voters became suspicious when Odinga, sitting president Kibaki's challenger, lost an initial lead of hundreds of thousands of votes. The US, Britain, and EU have withheld congratulations to Kibaki due to concern regarding 'voting irregularities'.
Unfortunately, concern gave way to anger and violence as mobs took out their frustration along tribal lines. According to the AP, "Kibaki's Kikuyu people comprise the largest ethnic group in Kenya and are frequently accused by other tribes of monopolizing business and political power. Chief among the critics are members of another major tribe, the Luo. The president's rival, Raila Odinga, is a Luo." At this point, over 250 people are said to have been killed, including at least thirty burned to death while seeking refuge inside a church.
As an American, it's difficult to understand the desperation that comes from a lifetime of poverty and tribal tension. While Kenyans should certainly have the right to express their need for a fair election, it's heartbreaking to see people turn on one another to the point of killing the innocent.
Our church has a missionary family inside Kenya at this time, they wrote me to say:
"We are about 45 minutes to one hour from Nairobi... We are in the bush a bit so we are safe and it is quiet here but we know people whose families have been affected... The stores are closed and there are a lot of people who are feeling desperate. Please pray for a quick resolution to this situation. Our daughter was suppose to head off to school today but they have postponed everything until the 7th and we are praying there will be peace by then. This is something God needs to deal with. Thanks for your prayers. Pray specifically for the Slums areas where a lot of the violence is happening."
Please pray for a swift and fair political resolution, as well as provision and safety for those stuck without food and water.
You can read more about the story here, here, or here.