NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – The Rev. Joshua Kimuyu pointed to a scar from an attack five years old. More than 200 young men armed with crude weapons stormed the Africa Inland Church in Nairobi’s sprawling Kibera slum and set a generator on fire.
The explosion tore through the roof, creating one of the most visible scenes of postelection violence after Kenya’s disputed election of 2007.
The dark spot is a constant reminder of the church’s vulnerability during national elections. But for Kimuyu there was no question of keeping its doors shut this Sunday, the day after Kenya’s election commission announced the winner of the East African country’s fiercely contested presidential election.
This time, Kimuyu said, there was nothing to fear after the two leading candidates – winner Uhuru Kenyatta and loser Raila Odinga – pleaded for calm and unity.
“When presidential candidates spoke to the media, they kind of fueled the steam in the people,” he said, looking back on 2007, when more than 1,000 people died in tribe-on-tribe violence.
But this time, although the election was hotly contested and close, the candidates urged Kenyans to respect authority, and that appears to have made a difference, said Kimuyu.
*Pictured above is Rev. Joshua Kimuyu.