Apologies to Mark Twain, for bastardizing the title of his novel about a Connecticut engineer transported back to King Arthur’s time. But it seemed like a nice, phonetic headline for this guest column by Michael Golomb, a University of Washington student who, with his physician fiance Aliza Monroe-Wise, is in Kenya working on a variety of development & health issues. I asked Mike for his perspective on Kenya’s recent elections. More about both of them at bottom.
By Michael Golomb
As an American student temporarily living in Kenya and witness to the recent elections here, I’ve gained a unique perspective on how distinctly different a story looks depending upon how it’s covered and by whom.
Leading up to Kenya’s election, western media mostly ran with headlines playing up the fear of political violence while Kenyan newspapers reported on the problems, but also on the progress being made, the many peace parades and positive political dynamics.
On March 9th, Uhuru Kenyatta was announced the winner of the election by both the Kenyan government and international observers. His challenger, Raila Odinga, condemned the process as fraudulent – but also called upon his supporters to refrain from violence and said that the matter would be taken up by the Kenyan judiciary at a later date.
So far, only isolated demonstrations have occurred. There have been no widespread demonstrations or violence like what took place here in 2007 and 2008. Odinga’s camp has made numerous public statements urging peace and denouncing violence as a roadblock to electoral justice.
In Nairobi, the day after the announcement of Uhuru’s win, one Kenyan told me, “We are just happy to move past this. It is time for Kenyans to go back to our lives.”