December 29th, 2007

I am stifling a yawn every now and then, in vain. No, I am not hungry. I am not bored either, its 9am for crying out loud. I did not get enough sleep – that is the culprit. I have never been a morning person, for which I make up for by being a night owl. I can stay up to 3am and this bad habit has me shuffling through some days in a daze (did you see that?!)

The reason I stayed up late last night was in order to watch the documentary “Kenya’s Darkest Hour” which was showing on one of our local channels. This was a documentation of the events surrounding the post election violence worst political crisis in Kenya between December 2007 to February 2008. I had to watch it because of the hullabaloo surrounding the now infamous “Ocampo 4” who are proceeding to trial for crimes against humanity committed during that period.

The documentary was splendidly done. It brought back the ugliness of a nation that was hitherto a peaceful people. The contrast between the voting and the unrest that came afterwards was incredible astounding!

December 29th, 2007 is when the madness began. This date was pasted on the TV screen as the documentary went on, to show the unrest that ensued when the election results had not been announced 24 hours after voting. December 29th, 2007; Kenya’s darkest moments began on this day.

Seeing this date plastered up there on the screen made my stomach churn a notch and it was hard not to feel sad, offended and shortchanged all at once. I was taken 4years back when I lay in bed, sore, after eight hours of labor to bring forth our beautiful first born daughter. On this day December 29th, 2007- her birthday, she was born at 1035hrs, just when things were getting ugly in the streets of Nairobi, and all over the country. Great timing, huh?

With the onset of post-election violence, the perpetrators rained on my parade. It’s a baby girl! But did anyone care about that or their safety? We welcomed our baby to a world of violence, hatred and discrimination. I said, “Welcome to the world beautiful! This is Kenya, your home, your motherland” Some motherland indeed! I followed the news as people turned off their humanity and slashed each other to death. I read about the killings, the looting and gender based violence of rape and sexual assault as her father tried to find the safest way in and out of the hospital.

Hailey slept peacefully (She was a sight to behold!) oblivious of the chaos that tore the nation apart. She was oblivious of the men and women who were hacked to death by their neighbors because they belonged to the wrong tribe, not that they changed tribes just the other day but because someone influential conceited said so!

As she smiled in her sleep, she wasn’t aware of that woman who was gang raped and left for dead as the perpetrators used her body as a battlefield to celebrate conquest of the ‘enemy’. She did not even know that there were scores of women being used to humiliate their community and their husbands as they were sexually assaulted in public and their kin forced to watch. She was oblivious of that man who was too overcome by weakness and powerlessness to protect his wife and children.

She slept through it all, but I knew it would only be a matter of time before she became aware of her world. Soon, she would speak. She would learn and she would interact with the world. With the tribes. With the government. With Kenya. Is this the Kenya we want our children to be born to?

I pray for justice. I do not have time to smother the culprits responsible for this with political allegiance because they do not realize what is expected of them. Watching that documentary and witnessing a woman running for cover with her two children, one in each arm, was not a sight to behold. It was deplorable, unacceptable and it was not a joke! Lives were lost! It. Is. Criminal!

Four years on, I am still mad furious! I will therefore not take part in turning the “Ocampo4” to luminaries. All I want is for those responsible for the violence to be locked up and the keys thrown away. All I want; all I crave and cry for (believe me I do) is for justice to be done. For the sake of that child that was born on December 29th, 2007 who never got the ululation that she rightfully deserved, and for all the children of this motherland.


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