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The set at gate F9 in Schipol Airport is showing pictures of bodies in Kenya while we sit waiting to board flight KL565 to Nairobi. People are pretending not to watch.

I’ve cut short my Christmas break by a day to get back home and cover tomorrow’s planned demos in Nairobi.

A quick call to colleagues back in Nairobi helps reassure me that I wasn’t the only one to misjudge the level of violence following last week’s elections. I thought there would be some trouble – there always is – depending on the result, but that politics would continue much the same as normal in Kenya’s version of democracy. My friends tell me they were all taken by surprise. One pal is on safari in Amboseli – a long arranged family holiday. Another says eveyone was caught unawares. In short, no-one expected such clear vote rigging.

Tomorrow is the next flashpoint. Raila Odinga wants a million people to join him as he declares himself president. Meanwhile, members of the Kikuyu tribe – mostly supporters of President Kibaki – are making themselves scarce after more than 50 were torched to death.

People are talking about Ivory Coast four or so years ago. Comparisons with Rwanda have begun.

I never thought something like this could get even close to happening. Not in one of the corners of Africa where economic growth, multiparty democracy and a lively press had trumped old ethnic rivalries.


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