Mission Aviation Fellowship tells of suffering in Kenya
Throughout the deadly post-election violence in Kenya, Mission Avia
tion Fellowship (MAF) has continued with regular flight operations to help those affected by the turmoil. There are, however, no signs that the painful loss of lives and livelihoods will end soon.
Ethnic clashes have left around 850 people dead since the 27 December election and President Mwai Kibaki’s disputed victory. Machete and truncheon-wielding mobs on both sides of the political divide have since been engaged in an unending cycle of attacks, killings and revenge killings, much to the despair of ordinary Kenyans desperate for peace.
Fiona Waugh, working with MAF in Kenya, writes, “We hear stories of people suffering because of the post-election violence in Kenya. But the real trouble is that they were already suffering.
“They were already so poor they were only just making ends meet.” Men, women and children have been forced to flee the gangs baying for their blood, seeking refuge in prisons and police stations, now impromptu refugee camps. "We're getting out because there is no security here. We're being beaten, we're being harassed, we don't know what else to do," said Moses Odour, clamouring to get into a police truck that would take him away from the lakeside town of Naivasha and a crowd of angry Kikuyus brandishing clubs and machetes. "We just want a vehicle to take us home. We can't remain here - it is impossible," said 36-year-old Luo Karen Achieng as she ferried her son to the police station.
"We've been here for 22 years but we are not many in Naivasha so we can't fight on," she wept.
MAF’s Ms Waugh continued, “For some people, the loss they have suffered from this election is something that will change their lives forever. Children missing out on school, people losing their businesses, losing their homes.
“Some of the people we know have contacts who can help them. But for some of them, all the people they would turn to for help have also lost so much, or never had it in the first place.”
Earlier in the month, MAF pilot Aarno Alanne flew to Kisumu and Eldoret, where some of the worst ethnic violence has taken place, to collect 11 bishops from the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) and transport them to Nairobi for an emergency meeting on the crisis.
After two days of praying and consulting over the crisis, 33 bishops pleaded with Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to submit themselves to mediated dialogue on issues of dispute.
A UN spokesman announced that the formal dialogue process between the rival parties of Kibaki and Odinga would begin on Tuesday, mediated by former UN head Kofi Annan.
In a recent interview with UCB radio, MAF’s Country Director in Kenya Bernard Terlouw stressed the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation, and encouraged unity in prayer among Christians. “In the meantime,” he added, “we just continue to fly.”
By courtesy of Maria Mackay and agencies