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“Kenyans will have to wait longer…”

April 6, 2008

The top video on the NY Times home page today (watch it here) about the 300,000+ people who remain displaced and in camps here is a nice but appallingly sad counterpoint to the top story in the Nation newspaper, about the continued dickering and deadlock in the new government about the 40, yes I said 40, new Cabinet positions.

Kenyans wait for a government to know what it is doing, they wait for the business of the country to begin, they wait to find a home to return to, wait to discover where home might be. How long will Kenyans be willing to wait for change now that it’s clear (if it wasn’t already written in the sky) that this government’s so-called leaders will waste as much time as it takes to take everything they can?

When even peaceful demonstrations are met with tear gas and riot police, you wonder what options citizens feel they have, except to live under a lie of unity.

This, and the Nairobi city government workers are on strike because they have not been paid in more than 5 months. Yes, I said 5 months. An official letter from the City Council addressing the union, posted in City Hall, acknowledges their request but answers that it’s a really bad time to be asking for money now because, you know, the country’s economy is in the toilet because of all this mess.

I know this because I went to the office of Social Services and Housing to get my letter of approval (whole other story) to photograph in the main library, and there were all the striking workers, working. Same at the library, though the doors were closed to would-be readers.

There were people singing and shouting outside City Hall that day, and I stopped to talk to a man there who said he was just trying to get some land fee paid. “Business in Nairobi is paralyzed!” he said, sort of stunned.

“Kenyans will have to wait longer…”

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