April 23, 2008

Alex Strick van Linschoten joins the Frontline

Alex Strick van Linschoten has been living and working in Afghanistan on and off for the last five years. He’ll be writing a blog here at From the Frontline called A war reporter on the road. He starts in Kenya, but he’ll also be blogging from Somalia, Chechnya and Iraq over the coming months and […]

March 24, 2008

I Hope It Was Worth It

So, 1500 people died and some 600,000 people were displaced in violence after rigged elections that denied Raila Odinga his chance to become (what his campaign promised would be) the People’s President. He never really specified exactly what the People’s President would do. But the feeling was that he would ensure the dark days of […]

March 21, 2008

Don’t Call It Cattle Rustling

While the love-in between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga continues, so too does the killing. Another 25 deaths in “cattle rustling” incidents in the Rift Valley this week underlining the fact that a political deal between Kenya’s rivals for president has had little impact on long-standing tribal resentments over land and power. As François Grignon, […]

March 6, 2008

When a Spade is a Long-Handled Digging Implement

Reporters Without Borders has reopened the debate on how best to cover the issue of tribe and tribalism during Kenya’s election violence. Its verdict on the Kenyan media is bizarrely damning: …the Kenyan media failed in its duty to report fully on the political crisis and violence that followed last 27 December’s presidential election because […]

March 4, 2008

They’re Not Getting Around

So I finally got something right. Last week I was panicking because colleagues in Joburg had begun calling me to find out if the gentle scent of teargas was once again wafting around Nairobi. This was a concern because my folks had just arrived on holiday. And they had travelled largely because I had reassured […]

February 29, 2008

A New Type of Kenyan Politician

Barack Obama with his Kenyan relatives. Granny Sarah is second from right, front row Barack Obama’s twin messages of “hope” and “change” are playing pretty well in the US. They’re playing even better in Kenya where his relatives are praying for peace. Here, the allure is simple. After years of misrule by politicians whose only […]

February 28, 2008

What Happens When Kofi Goes Home?

So we have a deal to end Kenya’s bloodshed. Great. And it waters down the power of the president, which is an important step to ending Kenya’s winner-takes-all politics of tribalism. But why was Raila Odinga, the opposition leader soon to be installed in the new post of Prime Minister, looking hatchet faced throughout the […]

February 26, 2008

Waiting and Seeing

The storm clouds have been gathering for a few days. Last week the opposition ODM said they would hold “peaceful” demonstrations on Thursday. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan has been looking increasingly like someone who thought he would have been back in time to be guest of honour at the African Cup of Nations final. His rather […]

February 25, 2008

Tom Cholmondeley was back in court today. This time it’s for the latest appeal hearing as his defence team try to overturn the trial judge’s order to hand over their list of witnesses to the prosecution. Like most people I thought that to shoot one person dead was unfortunate, but to be accused of murder […]

February 23, 2008

Lights in Tunnels aren’t Always Good

Kofi Annan. Source: Ricardo Stuckert/ABr On Thursday the endlessly upbeat Kofi Annan, who is mediating Kenya’s peace talks, said he was beginning to see “light at the end of the tunnel”. Well it’s starting to look as if the light at the end of the tunnel is actually the light of an oncoming train. (With […]

February 22, 2008

White Elephants and Windfalls

As African airports go, Eldoret International Airport is one of the finest. The taps in the toilets all work, its runway is long enough for a 747 and there are no queues at check-in. All as it should be for an airport that opened barely 10 years ago and cost $49m. It’s a darn sight […]

February 21, 2008

Things I’d Like to Believe But Can’t

The road from the airport home was mercifully empty tonight. I arrived back in Nairobi at about 7-15pm just when you expect roads to be clogged with cars, matatus and trucks. But apart from three police checkpoints and the inevitable accident (the law requires drivers to leave their vehicles in situ until a police officer […]

February 17, 2008

The Point of Poetry

Call me a Philistine, but I’ve never much seen the point of poetry. Sure the War Poets did some good stuff. But when you are capable of stringing together sentences into a few coherent paragraphs why bother chopping it into lines and verses? It seems a bit, well, contrived. Maybe it takes a war? Whatever. […]

February 16, 2008

Kenya’s Aid Irony

Nairobi is the aid hub for East Africa and the Horn. The city is filled with charity workers flitting to Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and so on. Its vast United Nations complex is reckoned to be one of the biggest contributors to the city’s economy. But when it comes to tackling a […]

February 13, 2008

Not taking any flak yet

The BBC TV war reporter comedy series Taking the flak was supposed to start filming in Kenya this month. Due to the unrest there, the project has been shelved for now. Richard Kay in The Daily Mail has more, Alas the £1million series – called Taking The Flak and starring veteran actor Martin Jarvis as […]

February 13, 2008

Rob Crilly in Nairobi

Nairobi-based freelance journalist Rob Crilly is the latest addition to the blog stable at From the Frontline. Rob started blogging at South of West late last year. He’s been very busy with coverage from Kenya for The Times, Irish Times, Christian Science Monitor and The Daily Mail during the recent violence there. You can listen […]

January 31, 2008

Think Balkans, not Rwanda

Picture originaly uploaded by DEMOSH The last thing a massive news organisation should do is inflame an already volatile situation by using inflamatory words and phrases with deep historical significance. This is, I hope, why almost all of the mainstream media reporting on the current situation in Kenya has tended to steer clear of the […]

January 23, 2008

Kenyan crackdown

Shashank Bengali works for McClatchy newspapers and is based in Nairobi. He blogged about recent events in Kenya and took a number of snaps of the local media on the job recording what was happening. Here’s the clip for the snap above, Photog gets a closeup of the police van that was firing teargas and […]

January 21, 2008

Blackberry at the ready

This week’s ‘My Week’ column in the Press Gazette is written by Paula Newton, CNN International security correspondent, as she heads out to Kenya. Although, despite being a security correspondent, she seems to have snubbed inflight security procedures with excessive Blackberry use on approach to Kisumu airport, As we flew into Kisumu in western Kenya […]

January 18, 2008

Life imitating journalists

Rob Crilly in Kenya wins my vote for snap of the week. Rob, when you gonna start blogging at Fromthefrontline… ???