Thursday 26 April 2018

Contagion of suspicion and rage spreads in a flicker and a crowd becomes a deadly mob

Diary

Rising Anger: Supporters of the opposition demand the resignation of a local Kibera police chief over police cruelty. Photo: AP
Rising Anger: Supporters of the opposition demand the resignation of a local Kibera police chief over police cruelty. Photo: AP

Fergal Keane

Suppose they organised an election and nobody came? In the polling station the returning officer was at his wits' end. "Me, I am already being affected by the gas," he said, "I am scared. It is not conducive. We cannot do our work." This belonged to the great statements of the blindingly obvious. Rocks were smashing through nearby windows and bouncing off the corrugated roof. Gunshots were echoing and tear gas drifted in from the alley. Another day of routine rioting in Kibera, Africa's largest slum, and a stronghold of the Kenyan opposition.

Most of the election officials were young, there to do the job they were paid for - but with nobody turning up to vote. On the way down the alley, a woman told us she had been visited by a mob the night before.

"They will burn my house and kill me if I vote" she said.

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