Kenya for so long, one of Africa's more stable nations, albeit due to the iron, not exactly democratic, fist of Jomo Kenyatta, the country's late, long-time leader. More recently, however, Kenya has developed an opposition, but this, unfortunately, created deep divisions and has split the country into what amount basically to two warring tribal factions. Even more recently, of course, after their elections in December, Kenya erupted violently with both sides, the alleged winners and the embittered losers, blaming each other for the destructive savagery that took the lives of more than 1,000 and left hundreds of thousands of others homeless. In a few words, Kenya is literally a bloody mess. Here's Aaron Lewis. And a warning, Aaron's report contains some particularly graphic and disturbing images.
REPORTER: Aaron Lewis
10 weeks ago the streets of Kenya became a battleground. A war broke out between mobs loyal to opposition leader Raila Odinga and the armed forces answering to disputed President Mwai Kibaki.
DR ALFRED MUTUA, GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: I think we were a bit naive as a government, we never thought that people within their own country could plan and execute the destruction and the killing of their own citizens.
The trouble began soon after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory in the election.
MWAI KIBAKI, INCUMBENT PRESIDENT: I thank all of you for the trust you have bestowed upon me in renewing my mandate, which I accept with sincere gratitude and humility.
Yet international monitors, including from the United States and the European Union, condemned the poll, saying there had been widespread vote-tampering to tip the count in Kibaki's favour.
DR ALFRED MUTUA: The election was fair.
Dr Alfred Mutua is the spokesperson for Kenya's President.
DR ALFRED MUTUA: We as a government have very big misgivings with the opposition and also with the ECK, the Electoral Commission of Kenya, for the way they handled the announcements of the elections. We have no doubt that President Kibaki won these elections.
Believing they'd been cheated, Odinga's supporters started the riots that quickly spiralled out of control leaving more than 1,000 people dead. The slaughter ran along tribal lines, ethnic Kalenjins and Luos fighting against President Mwai Kibaki's tribe, the Kikuyu.
GEORGE OTIEN (Translation): So if we had machetes and saw one of them, we would take revenge. All we are waiting for is weapons.
I set out for Kenya's Rift Valley, the scene of the worst of the violence. I want to understand what has turned people on each other, who have lived together for decades. I can only find one driver willing to brave the roads. He's a Massai, a tribe that hasn't taken part in the fighting. We find torched trucks and buses which all belong to members of the President's tribe, the Kikuyu. The roads are being patrolled by politically aligned gangs. This one is called the Baghdad Boys, and they support opposition leader Raila Odinga. They're looking for Kikuyus passing through their territory. Many Kikuyus have been killed at checkpoints like this one.
GEORGE OTIENO (Translation): Are you a Kikuyu? President Kibaki must step down. If you are Kikuyu, you are in trouble.
The Baghdad Boys try to extort a few hundred shillings, $3 or $4 from every car that passes their improvised checkpoints. This money helps fund the violence. George Otieno proudly points out a large Kikuyu-owned hotel across the road that the boys have torched.
GEORGE OTIENO (Translation): Even at this moment no Kikuyus are left here, we have chased them all away and burnt their houses. We don't want to see any Kikuyus.
‘No Raila, no peace' is their war cry, referring to opposition leader Raila Odinga.
GEORGE OTIENO (Translation): For us, only if Raila takes the seat of the President, then there will be no violence and the Kikuyus can come back and go on with their lives.
This area of the Rift Valley is an Odinga stronghold. Much of this land was taken from its tribal owners and handed over to politically connected Kikuyus after Kenya declared independence. Kikuyus make up only 20% of Kenya's population, but today they hold the lion's share of political and economic power. Opposition leader Odinga says it's power that the political elites don't want to relinquish.
RAILA ODINGA, OPPOSITION LEADER: They're the ones who have brought this country to the brink of destruction by rigging the elections, and they see that there's nothing wrong about that. I say to myself sometimes that these people are thieves.
Further west, in the town of Kisumu, there's more damage, Kikuyu businesses looted and burned. But a gleaming Odinga campaign poster has survived the chaos. I go to the aptly named Crater Automobiles. The business was torched by its own employees, Odinga supporters who worked under Kikuyu bosses. James Akayi was left to clean up the mess.
JOURNALIST (Translation): Do you think these political problems will end soon?
JAMES ODUOR AKAYI (Translation): They will go on.
JOURNALIST (Translation) Why?
JAMES ODUOR AKAYI (Translation): Until Raila becomes president there will be no peace.
Amidst the rubble I find Babu. He's just six years old. Babu is scavenging for scrap metal parts that weren't burnt by the fire. I ask how much he gets for the scrap.
ENOCH AKA ‘BABU' (Translation): 30 or 20 shillings. Sometimes I can even eat with it or buy some clothes.
As I'm filming, the police arrive, and the kids vanish. Nearby, at the Kisumu police station, there's a camp for refugees from the violence, one of hundreds of such camps around the country. Here I meet Veronica Adhiambo, a 22-year-old who's still in shock from what she saw. She hasn't offered a word to anyone, until now.
VERONICA ADHIAMBO (Translation): And I saw these girls, they had been killed. I saw an old man from Kabati who'd been killed, he was beheaded and his head was on a stake. But I did not see where they took his body. There is a lady, I don't know if she's still here. I saw her husband murdered and his body was lying on the ground. And they killed another old man from Kabati. We later found more people lying on the sides of the roads where they had set up roadblocks.
For the next few days I visit different camps for so-called IDPs, internally displaced people. Refugees in their own country. The camps are divided along ethnic lines. These are Luos, the same tribe as Raila Odinga.
CLEMENT OMONDI OIR (Translation): They found me in the house and told me Luos should move out. They don't want Luos. Then they beat me, they broke my arms and they burnt all my belongings in the house.
More than 300,000 people have been displaced, the largest humanitarian crisis in Kenya's history. The people in the camps are waiting till it's safe to leave their shelters and head to their tribal land. The Kikuyu moving east, the Luos west, dangerously dividing the country. But down the road, in the town of Nakuru, I find that even within neighbourhoods, the territory is being divided. After the election these slums became a battlefield, and now they've been divided into zones. On my right are the Kalenjin and Luos, on my left are the Kikuyus. These slums are a microcosm for what's happening all over Kenya. The slums' zones have been renamed for the political parties, the PNU zone of government supporters, and the opposition ODM zone. John Wewaru, a Kikuyu, has had to leave his home in the ODM zone, and is now carrying everything he owns across the line of control.
JOHN WEWARU (Translation): It was just hatred that erupted suddenly, then it turned into fighting and suddenly everyone forgot about the politics, and it just became hatred between people. It's not politics anymore. Now it's just hatred.
Across the main road in the ODM zone, Peter Misiko, a Luo, is just as disillusioned. He shows me the shells of burnt-out shacks, and his disgust for the whole situation is obvious.
PETER MISIKO: The zone we are in here is opposition zone, the ODM zone. And the other one is the PNU zone, the government zone. If you are not from the PNU, you cannot past this way. If you are from the ODM you cannot pass the other side.
REPORTER: Is that recent?
PETER MISIKO: Yes, it just started a week ago.
REPORTER: And who decided that?
PETER MISIKO: I don't know who decided that, but we just saw people coming here with pangas, attacking people, cutting people, removing their heads and burning them.
This is where I stayed, this is my house, this is my bicycle. We always light a fire here.
Peter can't sleep in his house for fear of being caught by arsonists, so he and his young family spend every night in the alley outside his door, ready to run away at a moment's notice.
PETER MISIKO: I've seen what I've never seen since I was a boy, tribalism.
REPORTER: So you'd never seen tribalism until now?
PETER MISIKO: Not since I was a boy. Now I'm seeing it happen.
Since the crisis began, Raila Odinga's party, the ODM, has always claimed that the violence was a spontaneous reaction to the rigged election.
RAILA ODINGA: The violence was never premeditated. It was spontaneous country wide. People just took to the streets as a result of anger. No-one could have planned this kind of violence.
But as I travel around the country, a different picture is emerging. I'm told repeatedly that five minutes after the election result was declared, people looked out their windows and saw that the country was already alight. Lucy Wanjiku was chased off her land by opposition supporters and her neighbours killed the night of the election announcement. Her account suggests that this was planned well in advance.
LUCY WANJIKU WA MWANGI (Translation): After Kibaki was declared winner, we saw an aircraft fly over. After half an hour we saw them running. The men fought for about four to five hours. Many attackers were assembled at a certain house. They were eating at the house. When the men got tired, a fresh group would come from the house. While we were running, most of our men were killed.
Lucy claims to have been threatened even before the election and that this is the third time she's been chased off her land.
LUCY WANJIKU (Translation): We asked them, "Where will we go? This property is ours." They said we'd have to move and that the land wasn't ours.
RAILA ODINGA: It needs to be appreciated that that there are some longstanding grievances which have been there a long time. The issue of land in the Rift Valley and the coast has been there. So you can say that people took advantage of the election to also deal with other issues which have been outstanding for a long time.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch doesn't buy that argument. It accuses Raila Odinga's ODM party of premeditated ethnic cleansing, a claim now echoed by the Kenyan Government.
ALFRED MUTUA: The people who were going door to door, killing others in this ethnic cleansing, were organised youth, organised young people paid to do so, facilitated with vehicles and weapons to carry this out. Somebody made them do it, or organised them to do it and they went to do it in the name of the opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement led by honourable Raila Odinga.
Raila Odinga denies this outright, and instead claims that his people were only defending themselves after President Kibaki's security forces started gunning down political protesters.
RAILA ODINGA: The government instructed the security forces to shoot to kill people. So many people lost their lives as a result of that.
To help sift through the accusations that both parties are hurling at each other, I travel back to the capital, Nairobi, to seek out Eric Kiraithe, spokesperson for Kenya's police force.
REPORTER: Your intelligence has suggested for some time that political leaders in Kenya has supported the violence that's been going on in the last month.
ERIC KIRAITHE, POLICE SPOKESMAN: Well, some leaders, certainly some leaders, and if you look at the pattern of violence, it's not very hard to pick them out. There are areas where the violence was spontaneous and evidently spontaneous. There are areas where it was planned and there was evidence of planning.
Nairobi's squalid slum of Kibera is one of the places where the rioting has been well organised. The fighting here has eased, but many people are quietly getting ready for the next round. This is Opete Opete, alias the 'General', seen here organising protesters during the riots that burned large parts of Kibera to the ground.
OPETE OPETE (Translation): When we demonstrate we are ready to die, to be beaten and to fight back. You see? So my role there is as a leader. I have led my people. Sometimes when I leave this place, Katwekera, I leave with over 2,000 people or 3,000 people on the street. I won't just watch tear gas being used on us. We'll fight back.
Raila Odinga denies Opete helped coordinate any attacks against Kikuyus, but amidst the claims and the counterclaims it's clear that both sides of Kenyan politics have fuelled the post-election violence. With the world watching, the two parties have entered into peace talks, mediated by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan. The whole country is hanging on the outcome, but progress has been painfully slow. So far, Annan has convinced Odinga to drop a key demand a rerun of the elections.
RAILA ODINGA: So at the moment our concern is about the political solution to this crisis. We would like to have a transitional government that would facilitate power-sharing.
In the midst of the peace talks, Raila Odinga flies to the town of Kericho to pay his last respects to one of his party's politicians who was killed in the violence. I'm caught in a swell of 10,000 of Raila's supporters. These people have come here not just to mourn but also to listen.
RAILA ODINGA (Translation): We want to unite all the tribes of Kenya. Even Kikuyus are Kenyans.
Political rallies have been banned, so this is Raila Odinga's first public address since the crisis began. But his message today doesn't sound like one of peace and power-sharing.
RAILA ODINGA (Translation): The majority of Kikuyus are not guilty of anything. The guilty ones are a few, they are the thieves like Kibaki and his mates. That's why we're saying we cannot have peace without justice. No peace without justice. There can be no peace without justice.
It is not just the opposition that's sounding belligerent. The government can barely hide its hatred of the opposition.
ALFRED MUTUA: The ODM leaders planned and executed, preplanned and executed ethnic cleansing. These are people who are just as worse as Milosevic, they're just as worse as Idi Amin. They are using the same techniques that were used by Hitler.
If the Annan talks don't succeed and a negotiated peace can't be found, this country is poised to once again erupt in deadly violence.
RAILA ODINGA: There are very many hardliners around Mr Kibaki who do not want any kind of power-sharing. And unfortunately, if Mr Kibaki continues to rely on these people, I see only doom for this country.
GEORGE NEGUS: Kenya, as we said, a real mess. Now, today we hear that, despite the best efforts of former UN chief Kofi Annan, peace talks have broken down and violence looks like erupting again. I guess that's what happens when so-called modern democracy becomes little more than a flimsy cloak for age-old tribalism.