YOU may well have bought flowers from Naivasha at Christmas. Exotic blooms are available in Europe in winter as the result of the skills of the flower-growers of Africa. Naivasha is in Kenya, 60 miles west of the capital Nairobi. Last Sunday eleven people of the Luo tribe were locked in their house in Naivasha by Kikuyus and burned alive after it was set on fire. Had some of those who died been tending plants on Saturday? You may well have visited Kenya to see its wild animals. Where now are the men and women who served you in your hotel or drove your car on safari?
Have they become victims or oppressors in the awful tribal blood-letting? The only available explanation of what is happening seems to be that “old scores” are being settled between tribes. Kenya has had an apparently functioning democracy for half-a-century; do these old scores pre-date independence or have they been accumulating beneath the surface of what seemed to be a reasonably well-ordered society for the past 50 years? The rigging of the presidential election which initially led to the rioting and killing is no longer the issue. What matters now is that Kofi Annan can persuade the two principal political leaders, or their representatives, to sit down together and agree on how they can use their influence to stop the killing - before “new scores” are added to old ones and Kenya becomes ungovernable.


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