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Political Standoff Fuels Ethnic Violence in Kenya

In Kenya, perhaps the most common word people use to describe themselves and other Kenyans is "wanachi," a Swahili word that roughly translates to "ordinary people." The wananchi of Kenya now have the most extraordinary problem on their hands: A political standoff at the highest level has sparked ethnic violence that has left an estimated 300 ordinary Kenyans dead and many more brutalized.

In the aftermath of the disputed election that returned President Mwai Kibaki to office, those who voted for him have been the targets of attack. Raila Odinga, who narrowly lost the election, has called for his supporters to mount a massive demonstration downtown Thursday, despite a government ban on the gathering.

The Moi teaching hospital in the city of Eldoret has received more than 70 bodies since the election results were announced, including 17 from a church where people were burned alive Tuesday. The acting director of the hospital says 50 more bodies are strewn in the fields along the outskirts of town, and people are scared.

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Gwen Thompkins
Gwen Thompkins hosts Music Inside Out on WWNO in New Orleans.
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