Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Is life in Kenya getting better? Jeffrey Gettleman reports in today's NY Times that formerly relocated people (mostly Kikuyu) are returning home.

Kenya’s leaders face a growing economic and food crisis, and they decided that, ethnic tensions aside, now is not the time for miles of productive farmland to go to waste. As part of Operation Rudi Nyumbani (Return Home), the government is promising food, tools, new houses and even cash for those who return to their farms.

To make its plan work, the government has said, there must be genuine ethnic reconciliation. Over the past several weeks, local administrators have held meetings, seminars and soccer games to build trust between the Kikuyu and Kalenjin.

“It’s a process,” said Katee Mwanza, Molo’s district commissioner.

And that process may be bearing fruit. Some Kalenjin elders, who just a few months ago had insisted that Kikuyus leave the Rift Valley, came to the Molo police station on Monday to welcome the Kikuyus back home.

Even this article points out problems:

But are the leaders really working together? Mr. Kibaki, who was declared the winner of the election despite widespread evidence of vote rigging, finally named a unity government in April, appointing his top rival, Raila Odinga, as prime minister. But the government’s first joint exercise, a tour of the turbulent Rift Valley, was marred by protocol wars centering on who was more senior, Mr. Odinga or Kalonzo Musyoka, the vice president and a Kibaki ally.

Serious criticisms are evident in commentary from local newspapers like the Daily Nation.

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