Kenyan Elections May Be A Problem

We drove all day long. I resorted to drinking beer all day to keep myself entertained (which created a few more piss stops than needed) but we finally pulled into this Zambian village right off the main road to camp for the night. We played a few camp fire (Camp Noel Porter-type) games after dinner and demolished more than one rum bottle in the process, but everyone was having a good time.

STOP PRESS – KENYAN UPDATE The day Rich and I arrived in Nairobi was the same day the Kenyan Parliament had been dissolved. President Moi – dictator for the last twenty six years – was calling a free election to elect the new parliament. This was a landmark decision in Kenyan politics, for now the opposition, who’d been suppressed for so long, had a chance to get into the government. By the time we left on November 2nd the election date had been set for December 7th, but the opposition sued Moi stating they needed more time to her a candidate put together. The courts upheld the case so the new election date is December 29th – a few days after we’re due to enter Kenya. The election results aren’t due to be released until January first or second, and if they’re not what the people (or the government, who has control of the military) want then who knows what could happen in a volatile environment like that.

Rich made the perfect statement – remember all the strife in Central America in the 80’s and you would hear about these Americans getting abducted by terrorist groups and you’d wonder to yourself, “What were those people doing there anyway?” This is what these people are doing there – it’s Africa of the early 90’s! Here’s a news clipping I found in the Times of Zambia dated 9th December 1992. “President Daniel Arap Moi said he would close Kenya’s border with Uganda until after Kenya’s first multi-party elections on December 29. Moi told a rally in Siaya, western Kenya, that the border would be sealed on Tuesday (Dec 15) on security grounds. — Zana/Reuters.”

We were supposed to be staying in Kumuka’s compound outside Nairobi for New Year, but it looks like we won’t e getting into the country at all. Kenya seems to have an incredibly volatile political environment right now anyway, so no matter who wins this election there might be trouble. The opposition wins and the Moi-ruled military might move it. Moi wins and the people riot over a fixed election result.

Here’s another quote from the Times of Zambia from 3rd December 1992: “Washington – Kenya’s plans for its first multi-party elections are seriously flawed and may be tilted in favor of President Daniel arap Moi, according to a report issued by the international human rights Law Group.” It’s not looking good and we might have to fly from Kampala, Uganda to Nairobi in order to catch our flight to Bombay. We’re talking about going to Zanzibar for a few weeks (the other reported paradise place – next to Malawi) to kill time and let the Kenyan people mellow out after the elections. At this point we’re playing it by ear – I’ll call the Embassy from Bujumbura and my parents to get a better idea of what’s going on.

Comments are closed.