Saturday, January 26, 2008

25 People Killed: Kenya's Flawed Presidential Election

NAKURU, Kenya - Men sobbed as police unloaded 16 charred bodies at a mortuary in this western Kenyan city. People with machete and arrow wounds overwhelmed the main hospital and were forced to share beds. Hundreds of homeless took shelter at a church.

And even as Nakuru struggled to recover from an explosion of political violence, there were signs Saturday that it was far from over. Those whose homes were burned vowed revenge. Gunshots rang out, and youths with sticks manned roadblocks.

At least 25 people were killed when the turmoil over Kenya's deeply flawed presidential election finally reached Nakuru, the country's fourth-largest city that had largely been spared the unrest. Men fought street battles with homemade guns, machetes and bow and arrows, while mobs torched hundreds of homes.

At the city mortuary, police wearing rubber gloves unloaded 16 burned bodies. Men standing by broke down in tears.

"I have never experienced this in my country," one man said, his face marked with grief. "I just pray that our leaders end this thing immediately."

Riots and ethnic fighting following the Dec. 27 vote have killed more than 700 people nationwide and forced 255,000 from their homes.

Kenya's flawed election system with resulting ethic and political violence should make us here in the United States realize that even though the confederate flag is still flying over South Carolina's statehouse, mass killings and violence have not erupted over Barack, Hillary, and John. Thank God.

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