Following the Kenyan crisis on the blogs


Photo: Smoke from burned houses, Eldoret, January 1. Courtesy Afromusing.

Many TEDGlobal 2007 bloggers have been covering the Kenyan election crisis with direct and passionate reports. You can find a constantly updated list of bloggers covering events in Kenya over at White African — where Hash writes, “The traditional media has been shut out and shut down for all intents and purposes.”

Now, while the violence appears to be in a lull (as Bankalele writes, “The police are tired, protesters are tired”), bloggers are finding ways to help those affected by it, and brainstorming ideas for Kenya’s next step forward.

Ory Okolloh, who writes Kenyan Pundit and the Kenyan parliament-watch blog Mzalendo, reported from Nairobi until Thursday, when she flew with her family to Johannesburg. (She writes: “The trip to the airport was one of the scariest moments in my life.“) She’s meeting now with other Kenyans in SA to start rebuilding — and it starts with dialogue. She writes, “This might seem like a very fluffy suggestion, but let me reiterate that emotions are still very charged.” She asks her readers for their own views:

I would like to move away from the “end violence” “peace in Kenya” “Kenya belongs to Kenyans” platitudes — I want you to tell me how you feel about this situation on a personal level … what does Kenya mean to you. … I think it is so important to tell OUR story in OUR voice — not that of the media, of the politicians, of the party, of the tribe … speak YOUR truth.

Afromusing is reporting from Nairobi now, after leaving Eldoret, in the Rift Valley. The Red Cross is in action as of yesterday; donations to the Kenyan Red Cross can be made by wire transfer — or by sending airtime credit to the head of the Kenyan Red Cross, who will redistribute the credit to those who need cell-phone minutes, a vital commodity right now. More details are given in this post and its many comments.

Bankalele writes out a possible scenario for what comes next in Kenyan politics:

One institution we have intact and legitimate is parliament – whose members were gazetted this week. Parliament to be reconstituted -– and they can then vote for the president.

The MP’s are our elected leaders and all (but 3) of the countries 210 constituencies have duly elected their representatives for the next five years. There elections are not in doubt for the most part and they are a legitimate group of people, many of them new to parliament for the first time. The vote can be in public or by secret ballot. And surely it will be easier to tally 210 votes than 10 million votes. This can be done in a week at most and will result in a legitimate president for the country.

There’s much more Kenyan reporting out there. On Global Voices, Ndesanjo Macha has been aggregating and commenting on the blog coverage; while the Berkman Center’s Internet & Democracy Project shows how blogs and SMS have been so vital during the crisis.

Taken together, the bloggers on White African’s list offer a comprehensive look at this terrible past week, in narrative, photos and video, and in heartbreaking personal moments.