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One girl’s story: Fatuma, 22, reports from Kenya's post-election conflict

UNICEF Image: Kenya, unrest
© AP Photo/Khalil Senosi
A family waits with their belongings for transport out of the Kibera slum district after days of post-election violence in Kenya.

By Blue Chevigny

KIBERA, Kenya, 2 January 2008 –  At least 300 people have died in conflict that erupted in the wake of last week’s disputed election in Kenya. Much of the unrest has centred around Kibera, a slum district outside of Nairobi.

Fatuma Roba, a 22-year-old Voices of Youth and UNICEF Radio Digital Diarist, lives in Kibera. She spoke with UNICEF Radio about what she has seen over the last several days and her reaction to it.

“The centre of the violence [in Nairobi], in my opinion, is where I live. And it’s affecting everything,” she said from her home.

Fatuma added that nothing in her community was running normally. Conflict has been affecting everything from electricity and water to food supplies. Some people have been forced to leave their homes, fearing for their lives.

“Our lives are at a standstill,” she said. “It’s very tense and I’m scared.”

Schools may be affected

Fatuma fears her studies will be affected. School is scheduled to resume next week, following the holiday break, but Fatuma rarely leaves the house now due to security concerns. 

“We don’t know if we are going to go back to school,” she said. “At the moment I can’t say I’m doing anything. I don’t know who is going to come from which direction.”

Last week’s national election in Kenya was the first one one in which Fatuma has voted. She says she was very excited to vote the first time, but if it comes to a revote, she isn’t sure she would do it again.

“At the moment, you don’t know if you’re going to be the victim of violence due to a political issue. I am scared of voting next time, because I don’t know what will happen,” she explained.

Fatuma is a politically active young woman and regularly participates in activities at a local women’s centre in Kibera. She is very saddened and worried to see what will happen in the coming days. “You don’t want to be a victim of war in your own country,” she lamented. “We are Kenyan, this is our country, but we are behaving like refugees.”




UNICEF Radio correspondent Michael Kavanagh talks to 22-year-old Digital Diarist Fatuma Roba about her experience in the post-election conflict in Kibera, Kenya.
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