12.02.08 18:07 Il y a: 4 yrs

Reflections by Bishop Laiser


The entry to the Kenyan Rift Valley. Fertile land, historical grievances and a very complex tribal situation have turned the valley into the epicentre of the crisis.

Rt Rev. Thomas Olmorijoi Laiser, Bishop of Arusha, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, was part of the Living Letters solidarity team sent to Kenya by the World Council of Churches (WCC) from 30 January to 3 February 2008.


Read his personal reflections on this experience:


I am very pleased, grateful and also thankful to the WCC, for this wonderful opportunity availed to me so that I become part of the team to see and hear what had happened to our brothers and sisters in Kenya, as a result of their general election which took place at the end of last year 2007.  I must admit that when I received a phone call from Geneva informing that I have been considered to become one of those who will form this team, I hesitated because of the general situation prevailing there, but then I recalled the call of God to Isaiah (Chap 6:8):  "Whom shall I send and will go for us…."  and Isaiah responded "HERE I AM SEND ME".  I then responded to this call. 


Following now are my observations, feelings and impressions about what we have seen, felt, heard and experienced when we were there in Kenya.

1.     NCCK

May I express my appreciation to our hosts the NCCK for all what they have done to make sure that our visit was successful.  They have planned and coordinated well.  They have considered carefully every possible item of our visit, reception where ever we have been, accommodation, security, transport, appointments, preparations to engage us with different people in different meetings and places. They have accorded to us a rousing welcome and they were generous, all these without which our visit would have been rather difficult if not impossible.  Bravo National Council of Churches in Kenya.

2.     Meetings

I was not present when our team met briefly with representatives of the Government and PNU led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, and also when the team met with the opposition leader and Orange Democratic Party ODM Raila Odinga; therefore I am not in a position to say much of what was discussed in these two meetings. However I was present when the team met with representatives from a group known in Kenya as PENTAGON at the Pentagon House.  This group was led by the Orange Party General Secretary  Mr. Anyong Nyong. This meeting centered around discussions on three main issues which are thought to have incited greatly to the whole problem Kenya is currently finding itself in, namely; Land, Tribalism, and election rigging.  The Pentagon does not see it as only rigging, but as an outright theft of votes. They even went so far as saying, there will not be peace in Kenya if this matter is not properly addressed, and anything short of president Kibaki stepping down and re-running of fresh election will not be accepted.

3.    Visit to Rift Valley

It was important that arrangements where made for us to visit trouble stricken areas in the Rift Valley; Naivasha, Nakuru, Maucho, Mao forest area and the surroundings. We were able to visit and see multitudes of displaced people around churches, soccer stadiums as well as school compounds. All these manifested the magnitude of the problem currently prevailing in Kenya as a result of rigged elections. We saw on the roads scores of trucks full of property and belongings of the displaced jamming the roads to and from Nairobi heading to their places of origin. The country is in shambles. Those groups we were able to meet were accusing each other for this or that, but all of them accused police, security personnel and even the military for favouritism and for being a major cause for destruction of property and even people's lives.


It was also clear that even some of the church leaders in the area somehow rallied behind their tribal lines. I don't want to skip without mentioning a very important meeting in Nairobi whereby a praying group of women from all walks of life affiliated with YWCA, the AACC and other groups were meeting, discussing and praying to God that God the almighty may bring the lost peace and tranquility to the Nation of Kenya. This group is the only one I saw which was neutral. Their main concern and wish was peace and a peaceful solution to the Nation of Kenya.


My impressions as to what I have seen, heard and experienced personally as one of the members of the group are as follows:


1.      As an outsider and observer, I think there is a lot to be done in addressing those three important issues mentioned at the beginning of this communication; namely Land, Tribalism and the rigging of election which is a crucial issue this time which I dare say this is something which triggered the whole chaotic situation. The way I see it, there is every indication that, opposition won election by far, but then certainly deprived their right simply because the Government have access to police, security officers and the military. These organs are all at their disposal.  The fact that even the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Kenya Mr. Kivuitu at some junction admitted he does not know who lost or won the election cements my argument.


2.      I would like also to call on the international community involved in any move to bring peace in Kenya, to address itself on the issue of those displaced people on matters related to relief supplies, shelter and security especially security to women and children. I am skeptical that at the moment the government of Kenya, will not be in a position of distributing fairly relief supplies and perhaps it will not be able to do so because currently the nation itself is undergoing a very difficult situation politically and economically.


3.      Lastly, I think now it is time to speak the truth on the matter that; A spade is a spade, The white is white, and The black is black.  Had it not been this time for election which was highly rigged, the land problems, and tribalism would have been as they have it have always been in Kenya.  A silent problem.


It is my highest hope that the peace making effort led by the former United Nation Secretary General  Mr. Kofi Annan will be successful in bringing together the two warring parties ODM and PNU in a way that will not deprive the majority of Kenyans of what they have voted for. It is only in that way, this sad situation will be mended before it is past mending.



More information on the Living Letters visit to Kenya


Photo story


National Council of Churches in Kenya


Background information on the Living Letters visits