“You may gain temporary appeasement by a policy of concession to violence,but you do not gain lasting peace that way”.Anthony Eden
DN .The entire top ODM leadership on Thursday skipped the burial of victims of the arson attack on a church in the Rift Valley district of Eldoret during the post-election violence which had been billed as a reconciliation gesture between different communitiesPrime Minister Raila Odinga, deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Agriculture minister William Ruto, ODM national chairman Henry Kosgey and local MP Peris Simam, all failed to show up at the ceremony presided over by President Kibaki. The arson of the Eldoret church was one of the most brutal attacks of the post-election violence which followed the declaration of the 2007 presidential election.
Standard -Burned Kenya Assembly of God Church burials the Orange Democratic Movement boycotted on Thursday, have scoured old wounds in the Grand Coalition.The internment boycotted by Kalenjin leaders has renewed the cat and mouse games between President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement. The groundswell stands out in the Rift Valley – ODM’s stronghold and the hotspot of post-election chaos – where local MPs stayed out of the State burial organised for 36 victims of the bloodletting.Fourteen of those buried in the church compound died in the fire that destroyed the shrine. The other 22 bodies were collected around the area and were not identified or claimed.President Kibaki’s presence at the Kiambaa burial, the first for victims of post-election violence, PNU’s proposal to split Rift Valley Province, plans for a monument at the church, which Kalenjin leaders insist was not destroyed by their youth, and the decision to bring in bodies collected elsewhere, triggered the ODM boycott.Those who did not attend, leaving the burial to members of one community, Government officials and PNU leaders, say they did not want to be accused of displaying double-standards because they were not at the burial of the party youths killed in the violence that was at its worst in January and February, last year.
Others claimed there was favouritism for a section of the Internally Displaced Persons and by attending the burial it would seem they would be endorsing this, courting a political backlash among their communities.At least one MP, speaking in confidence because of the sensitivity of the matter, claimed they would not be part of Kiambaa burials because of the feeling it was hyped to cast their party as the aggressor and PNU the victim.”Why did they bury them in the church? We have public cemeteries. Why bring in bodies that had nothing to do with the church fire? Why build a monument if we are pursuing healing? Should we also erect monuments everywhere our children were killed as a perpetual reminder of what happened?” asked an ODM MP.