Re: [holistichelping] Re: Horrible Situation in Eldoret and North Rift Kenya
- Dear Andrius, Wesley, and All,
Wesley, we meet again in a new guise! You may or may not recall that, several years ago, we exchanged letters, in part because of our mutual work on ICTs in Kenya, and in part because you hoped to start a school for orphans on some land which had been donated to your development organization, I believe. Did that ever come about?
Thank you so much for your heartfelt peace work and also for your hope to start peace-makers in mediation work. Eventually there needs to be a whole cadre of peer mediators and others trained in alternative conflict resolution, and it would be great if there are many youth among those numbers.
In the longer term, economic and other supports and solutions will need to be put into place in order to address the frustrations and discontents which have led youth to such violent acts. For now, hopefully the phone credits will help, and if there are other things we can do, we surely will.
With blessings and hopes for your safety and well-being, and with peaceful projections always, Janet
>From: Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...>
>Sent: Jan 7, 2008 1:55 AM
>To: wesley chebii <wespa40@...>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
>Subject: [holistichelping] Re: Horrible Situation in Eldoret and North Rift Kenya
>Dear Wesley Chebii,
>Thank you so much for writing. I'm glad that we're in touch and I will
>work now to confer with Dennis Kimambo and with you and transfer money
>and write more. Peace and Love, Andrius Kulikauskas
>wesley chebii wrote:
>> Dear Andrius Kulikauskas,
>> Thank you for your call yesterday and pledge to assist
>> our youth by dissuading them from engaging in war
>> against other members of the Kenyan community. As you
>> rightly noted, our boys have been barricading the
>> roads thus paralyzing the transport of goods and
>> services to and from Eldoret. In the process, all our
>> towns have run short of food. But we need to reach out
>> to them and help them through giving of incentives as
>> a way of dissuading them to abandon their war-like
>> activities. We have so far identified their leaders
>> and will shortly call for meetings to deliberate on
>> peaceful resolution to the raging conflict.
>> We rightly understand their anger. They had voted
>> their preferred Presidential candidate, Raila Odinga
>> who as you know was rigged out in manner that the
>> International Observers have noted was open and
>> blatant. The youth felt cheated and hence pounced on
>> members of the Kikuyu community, who celebrated upon
>> the declaration by the Electoral Commission that
>> Kibaki had won. The hostility then gripped the entire
>> nation with Mombasa, Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley
>> reacting badly.
>> But we need to dissuade them through their leaders to
>> bear with the situation as international observers try
>> to reach an amicable solution to the problem.
>> I have thus given you a short write up attached herein
>> about the general situation in Eldoret and its
>> immediate environs and how we need to salvage the
>> I will be happy to know your immediate reactions.
>> BUT WE NEED THE PHONE CREDITS AS WELL AS ACTUAL CASH
>> TRANSFERS TO WESTERN UNION, ELDORET. WE NEED MORE THAN
>> US$ 1000 TO BEGIN SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY PEACE
>> MEDIATORS WHO HAVE NO FOOD AT THE MOMENT. THEY WOULD
>> BE ABLE TO SELL THE CREDITS AND USE THE PROCEEDS TO
>> MAKE SOME ESSENTIAL PURCHASES.
>> Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in
>> this matter.
>> Yours sincerely
>> WESLEY CHIRCHIR CHEBII
>PEACE NETWORK- NORTH RIFT CHAPTER
>KAPLIMO HSE, OGINGA ODINGA STREET
>P.O. Box 3713 ELDORET, +254-53-2030356/ 0733-405710 KENYA
>7th January 2008
>THE OVERALL CHAOTIC SITUATION IN KENYA
>Kenya is ending the year on a sad note. This tragic state of affairs has
>been caused by a small clique of power-hungry individuals determined to
>hijack the country’s democratic gains and progress. This is the lot that
>rigged themselves back into power despite all indications that ODM party
>won the presidency and have a majority of MPs- now standing at 100. As a
>result, the country has witnessed a huge post-election violence that has
>destroyed lives and livelihoods and displacement of thousands of people.
>Many people are now holed up in churches, police stations and other
>social institutions. The majority of those suffering are the old,
>children and mothers. The situation is getting worse given that no
>organized humanitarian intervention has been done. Efforts are underway
>by Red Cross to bring food and medical supplies. Also in the pipeline
>are efforts to relocate them to Eldoret Agricultural Show ground.
>SUFFERING IN ELDORET
>Until recently, Eldoret was arguably one of the busiest towns after
>Nairobi. It was also perhaps one of the safest. But this has changed,
>immediately following the disputed presidential election results was
>announced. The town is now deserted. Business has come to a standstill
>due to the post-election chaos. Several people have been killed,
>thousands of others displaced and property worth million of shillings
>destroyed. Among the dead are 13 children burned alive in a church. The
>once serene environment is chaotic as protesters engage police in
>running battles. A town once full of life is now almost empty. By 5pm
>the streets are deserted. However after government tightened the
>security, the town is now slowly calming down. Besides the IDPs from
>within Eldoret and the larger Uasin-Gishu district, the town has been
>used to accommodate other IDPs from Lugari, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia,
>thus adding to the agony of terror, suffering, anarchy and desolation,
>exodus, shortage of commodities, transportation problems, insecurity,
>fear, lack of shelter, appalling sanitary conditions, fear of disease
>outbreak and shortage of food.
>The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) mostly Kikuyus now numbering
>45,000 are fleeing the town. Majority of them are traveling to Nakuru,
>Nairobi and several parts of Central province, under tight police escort
>and sometimes air surveillance. Eldoret International Airport is
>bursting with human traffic, with many of the people using chartered
>planes to various destinations.
>The Kalenjin youth have erected illegal road blocks about 300m apart.
>The youth are protesting the rigging of polls and thus associate this
>vice to President Kibaki’s men and his tribesmen the Kikuyu. As a result
>of the blockage of the roads to and from Eldoret, there are now food
>shortages. The few supermarkets cannot meet the demand of the people.
>Now the management of these food stores have resorted to rationing the
>food as well as asking people to queue for the few and limited supplies.
>It is Ironical that the food in the town is so expensive now despite
>being an agricultural rich area. For example, a cabbage which was being
>sold at Sh20 is now being sold for sh.60. Since there is little movement
>of goods and people, farmers have kept away also.
> From our own analysis, it seems the reaction to the rigging claims by
>the youth is just a trigger to the huge problem of unemployment. Most of
>youth are unable to get jobs upon completing school and even after
>graduating from tertiary colleges and universities. All the blame has
>been heaped on the government for not living to its promise of creating
>500,000 jobs a year. In the absence of the economy not being able to
>employ them, the youth have resorted to heavy drinking, illicit sex and
>hooliganism. That is why when this electoral fraud was discovered the
>youth took to the streets to loot and extort money from motorists and
>lynching some who were seen to be uncooperative. But the worst case
>scenario were incidents where supporters of PNU, the Presidents party
>were targeted with lynching and in some cases death.
>In an effort to control and restore the security situation in these
>troubled areas, the government security forces have been reported to
>have used force in breaking the youth crowds. This has resulted in the
>maiming and death of many Kalenjin boys now in hospitals. It is now
>estimated that over 50 youth are nursing various injuries while over 20
>youth have been killed by security forces alone, thus fuelling claims
>that pro-government forces have been using live bullets to counter the
>youth advancement. The community leaders have voiced concern about this
>by convening various forums to castigate the government for perpetuating
>the conflict. To us in the peace process, this act by government is very
>unfortunate as the elders have refused to heed the call for peace and
>reconciliation, arguing that the fraudulent electoral process and
>indiscriminate shooting of the Kalenjin boys must be addressed.
>SUPPORT TO KALENJIN YOUTH
>As an entry point to cooling their tempers and asking them to down their
>tools of violence, I suggest the following steps be taken;
>1.Identify the injured and assist them with medication, food and mobility
>2.Support families who have lost their boys by buying coffins and
>wherever possible giving them funds to transport the bodies to their
>homes for burial
>3.Assist those youth who may have been wrongfully arrested by seeking
>their release from police custody
>4.Those school going boys and girls who have had their houses and homes
>burned down by Kikuyu gangs are assisted with school fees and where
>possible transport to and from school, as most of them lost both the
>food and clothing in the inferno
>MICRO CREDIT PROGRAM
>A final but sustainable intervention to this problem is the
>establishment of the YOUTH ENTREPRENEURIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (YEAP).
>This scheme will work on the basis of advancing affordable loans to
>groups of youth with collateral being based on the groups that they will
>be asked to form themselves into.
>YEAP will work on the premise that sustainable progress and peace can
>only be achieved through parallel development of the underlying social,
>economic and ecological conditions in Kenya.
>Under this program, YEAP’s work will, in addition to advancing credit to
>organized youth groups, it will also provide education and vocational
>training, create jobs, combat crime and poverty – which are
>intrinsically interrelated. Under the program, YEAP will in the next ten
>years make an effective and visible contribution to rebuilding western
>Kenya’s economy and renewing its social fabric.
>The target of YEAP is to provide assistance to 5,000 young people
>starting their own business by 2009. The progress and success of the
>various business models will be monitored closely. The number of
>Entrepreneurs who will have benefited from this scheme will remain
>linked to the program and will be involved in efforts of mobilizing
>savings but also in encouraging and maintaining new and old recruits and
>beneficiaries of the program.
>Accordingly YEAP will in conjunction with donor partner’s support
>programs designed to teach vocational skills or help young people set up
>their own businesses. Creating jobs by founding new start-ups as an
>effective means of advancing social and economic development.
>To start off, we will require about US$ 5,000 or more to begin with.
>Your offer to send me phone credits is welcome is that we do not have
>phone credits now, following the lack of money circulating in our
>economy. Thus we will use the same to communicate and maintain contacts
>between civil society organizations including churches involved in the
>peace and reconciliation process. On the other hand we want to maintain
>contact and dissuade the youth gangs from taking the law into their own
>hands by sending them credits as well, as a way of building trust and
>confidence between us and them. We will expand our network of peace
>building by incorporating the women as well.
>In addition to using the phone credit to facilitate communicate between
>the various parties, we will also ask them to trade them for food and
>medical aid, where needed. The later proposal is appropriate in that
>money supply has now been seriously curtailed and in many areas now they
>cannot afford to buy essential food supplies like cereals and sugar
>whose prices have escalate so high. Healthcare is public hospitals and
>dispensaries now offer prescription services but no drugs due to
>shortages. Accordingly patients are increasingly being referred to
>private chemist shops where they buy the drugs.
>I am looking forward to receiving your support and promise to give you
>an update every after two days on the progress we are making. In
>addition, we will be very happy to know how your network is able to
>support us to establish the micro credit scheme.
>Thak you for your underastanding and cooperation in this matter.
>WESLEY CHIRCHIR CHEBII
>PEACENET NORTH RIFT CHAPTER
>ELDORET TOWN: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
>The first colonial settlers are believed to have arrived in Uasin Gishu
>District soon after the year 1900. Eldoret, which is the farming capital
>of the district, was referred to as an “unoccupied, foodless expanse of
>grassland, abounding in game”. Of its earliest history, little is known,
>except that in the lore of the Kalenjin and Maasai it was occupied by a
>pastoral people, the Sirikwa – described by both tribes as “the people
>who were here before us.” In many places there are excavations with
>stone sides, commonly called Sirikwa holes, which are believed to have
>been roofed and occupied by the inhabitants of a by-gone age. The tribe
>was dislodged by the Masai, who took over the land for grazing their
>cattle. The Masai were eventually ousted towards the end of the 19th
>Century by the Nandi, after a major battle which took place between them
>at Kipkarren – the Nandi word for “The place of the Spears”.
>Eldoret itself began in 1910 as an isolated post office, established for
>the convenience of farmers who had settled in a large area made
>accessible by the coming of the railway to Londiani. Farm 64 was
>selected as the site for the new township because it was a poor stony
>piece of ground which no farmer wanted and it was a compromise among the
>number of conflicting suggestions.
>A major trek of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans arrived in 1908 and by
>1910 the district had begun to fill up with British settlers. Willy Van
>Aardt, 64’s original owner, turned contractor and built the Post Office.
>The change of name from “64” was decided when the Governor, Sir Percy
>Girouard, announced his decision to establish an administrative centre
>there to serve both the Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia Districts. Farmers
>gathered at “64” from miles around to meet him and many slept under
>their wagons, on what was then described as a “wind-swept, treeless
>plain”. The origin of the name Eldoret is the Masai word “eldore”
>meaning “stony river” – the river-bed of the nearby Sosiani is very
>stony; a “t” was added to make it sound like a Nandi word. The new town
>was proclaimed “Eldoret” in the Official Gazette of November 14, 1912
>with an acreage of 2,770. Its commerce consisted of a row of offices and
>shops constructed of stones laid in mud, and the ‘bank’ was built of mud
>and wattle around the spot where a heavy safe had been dropped off an
>ox-wagon. A packing case counter and extravagantly ornate brass sign
>were added, and the Standard Bank opened its doors.
>The change of name from “64” to Eldoret and its Township status gave a
>spur to development. Two Asians, Noor Mohamed and Dhanji Madhavji, had
>already started trading. A police station, administrative offices and
>official houses were built. A large hanger-type mud and wattle shack was
>erected next door to the Post Office by local farmers Selby and
>Robinson, sold to Wreford Smith and McNab Mundell and sub-divided to
>serve as hotel, bar and general store. The Smith-Mundell building also
>housed the town’s first bank, a branch of the Standard Bank, which
>opened in 1912 in a room adjoining the bar. The safe arrived and while
>being off-loaded fell heavily against the wall and knocked over the
>bank; it was set into position and the bank rebuilt around it.
>Other business started: the Pioneer Hotel was built and in 1920 –
>Barclays Bank D.C.O opened a branch in the town. John Hughes, another
>newcomer, arrived in a new mode T Ford on secondment to the Agricultural
>Department but later resigned to join forces with T.J O’Shea, trakder in
>Fords, hides and skins. They even bartered Fords for standing and
>harvested crops; Hughes personally loaded the first consignment of wheat
>to leave Eldoret Station. Today, Hughes Limited, Kenya’s Ford agent, has
>branches in all the main towns of Kenya.
>The next 12 years saw little progress due to lack of communications.
>Difficulties were experienced in providing township services to keep
>pace with the rapid commercial development; responsibility for town
>services lay with the District Commissioner, helped by a Township
>Committee, which had no legal authority and no means of collecting funds
>April 1929, however, saw the town elevated to the status of a Municipal
>board. The first rate was levied to help meet the cost of the first
>budget, assisted by a Government grant of £ 3,000 and although the
>revenue did not allow for drastic development, the Councilors contrived
>to make many improvements.
>Subsequent years saw the installation of a piped water supply from
>Sosiani river, the installation of electricity supply and the
>construction of low-income housing among other developments. As the
>township grew, churches, schools, clubs and even a cinema were established.
>The face of Eldoret was changing and enhanced civic pride was in
>evidence through improved cleanliness, tarmac roads, public gardens and
>the provision of social services. The Town Hall was built in 1956 and in
>January 1958, the town was elevated to Municipal Council status. The
>first Mayor, J. Wolston-Beard, was elected in November 1959; the
>Governor of Kenya presented the town with its Charter and Mace. The town
>also made history by being one of the first towns in Kenya to elect an
>African Mayor, Councillor A. N. Oloo, who took office on 2nd September,
>Eldoret prosperity continued to grow until 12 years ago, when it
>experienced a downward spiral of development, coming hot on the heels,
>as the government introduced liberalization policies. This is the
>period, when local industries started facing unfair and stiff
>competition from other manufacturers from abroad which were supplying
>cheap goods that were preferred more than the local ones. During these
>trying periods, some major firms then established in the town, began to
>collapse. These included the Raymond’s Woolen Mills, Rivatex textile
>Mills and the Kenya farmers Union (KFA). This unfair situation led to
>redundancies of employees on the one hand but a loss of revenue by the
>local council on the other, thereby making it impossible deliver
>effective services to the people and more importantly that the town
>authorities could not carry planned and expansionist development
>interventions as originally planned.
>With the reverse in development, the town has since experienced a lot of
>problems. There has emerged a number of informal settlements in most
>parts of the town to match with the ever increasing and uncontrolled
>migration of people from rural to urban neighborhoods. The sudden surge
>in the population of the town has put a lot of pressure on the limited
>public services. With this, the town has witnessed a lot of insecurity
>from the four major informal settlements. Along with this, the town has
>witnessed a spiraling of people living with HIV/Aids that are now
>flocking the local hospitals and dispensaries in search of treatment.
>But others unfortunately do not come out and declare their HIV/Aids
>status. They fear the societal stigma that goes with this nature of
>ailment. The result is that there are many more Kenyans suffering out
>there that need to be reached.
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