It’s not an easy New Year for Kenya. The country, which went to the polls to elect a new Parliament and a new President on 27th December, has been plunged into post-election violence amid claims of vote rigging and electoral misdemeanours. The unrest is now being fuelled by three elements, so it seems to me: politics, tribalism and opportunism. Those who are genuinely seeking political change via the democratic process are largely calling for a peaceful solution to the problems through dialogue and legal means. Then there are those who are exploiting the current situation to persecute their fellow countrymen along ethnic lines (the main clashes occurring between the Kikuyu – the largest tribe, to which the incumbent, President Kibaki, belongs, and the Luo – the second largest tribal grouping, to which Raila Odinga, the main opposition challenger belongs). Finally, there are the opportunists: those people who think that the instability provides an excuse to loot shops and rob their fellow Kenyans at will. The saddest thing is that Kenya, as a whole, is the loser, and unless a solution is found quickly and peace is restored, Kenya will lose its position as the shining light of East Africa, known for its stability, economic progress and successful fledgling democracy. It is indeed a sad time for this country.
Back here at Kulafumbi, however, the river remains tranquil, the animals are at peace and if it wasn’t for the news programmes, we wouldn’t even know there was trouble afoot. The Village Weavers have been bringing their fledglings to feed at the bird table, we’ve also seen a Grey-headed Kingfisher with a chick, newly out of the nest. The plants in our balcony gardens continue to grow – a new growth has sprouted at the foot of the sanseviera in our flowerbed – we’re not sure if this is something to do with the sanseviera or merely some other succulent that has self-seeded there. We watch and wait…
Outside, there are still new flowers blooming, including a blue thistle-like plant, which is very pretty, if somewhat prickly. The crocodiles are still lurking in the reeds on the opposite side of the river – it would be interesting to know if one of these is the mother of the little mites we saw on the hippo’s back on 24th December – crocodile parents are known to look after their newly hatched young.
The resident baboon troop seem to like the sandbank in the early mornings and late evenings, coming out in the open and just sitting and relaxing there – much the same as we do sometimes!