Letter: Violence and chaos in Kenya

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Sir: In this season of 'goodwill and peace to all', we are writing to express our concern for the victims of political violence in Kenya.

Since the election date of 29 December was announced, Kenyan people, particularly in the Rift Valley Province, have been killed, terrorised, burnt out of their homes and generally kept in extreme anxiety. These acts of terror are perpetrated by armed groups linked to Youth for Kanu '92, Operation Moi Wins, and other such groups campaigning for the return of President Moi and Kanu. Thousands of people, mostly women, aged people and children, have taken refuge in churches.

Our own family has been affected by the spate of violence in and around Eldoret. Our mother, Elizabeth Matenjwa, in an interview with the BBC World Service and Voice of America, told how she and other supporters of opposition candidates had been stoned and prevented from leaving a nomination centre on 9 December. They were saved from certain death only when they were escorted out of the centre by administration police. Two days later, 14 people were reported killed and thousands made homeless in Burnt Forest.

We would like to correct the predominant view that the ethnic violence is between Kalenjins and other Kenyan nationalities. The campaign of murder, arson and terrorism is directed at those opposed to Moi and Kanu, whatever their nationality. We know of a number of Kalenjin opposition supporters whose homes have been burnt and who have gone into hiding; some have taken refuge in Eldoret.

We are appealing to all friends of Kenya to act before the situation degenerates into the kind of chaos existing in Somalia.

Yours faithfully,

WANJIRU MATENJWA

NJERI MATENJWA

WAHU MATENJWA

NISH MATENJWA

London, SE24

23 December

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