2007 Kenya Elections and Togetherness Supreme

This morning I went to see a VIFF film, Togetherness Supreme, with my husband to reminisce and see what the film had to say about the election violence in Kenya. It’s a fictional story set in December 2007 when Kibaki was re-elected president under peculiar circumstances. I was working in an orphanage in central Kenya and my friend Beth came to visit for Christmas. We spent Christmas at the orphanage and carried bags of sugar and flour with the kids to people’s homes in the community followed by a feast of a meal. A couple days later my friend and I went to Mombasa to get some beach time and see the coast before she went home. I remember watching the votes being counted and the rival party, ODM, winning by a large margin. The news cut out, and the next morning Kibaki swore himself in as president.

In my time there I didn’t get involved in politics. I was living in a largely Kikuyu community that supported the current president and my friends in Nairobi were working with people in Kibera and other slums that supported ODM. They both seemed pretty corrupt to me.

The next morning Beth and I were scheduled to leave on an 8 hour bus ride back to Nairobi so she could catch her flight and I was scheduled to take public transportation back up to my orphanage. Mombasa began to riot, like most other cities that day, and we were stuck on the floor of the bus station office hiding from gunfire and angry crowds of machete wielding young men. We managed to get back and I was on lock-down in our organizations compound for a few days listening to people rioting down the street, gunfire outside our doors, and daily news updates of the death toll and assassinations. I was tired of being stuck in Nairobi and hired a taxi to drive me up to the orphanage where it s safer due to there only being one tribe.

When I left Kenya to fly home in early February I had to sneak out around 3 in the morning. Our driver was a mix of tribes and we were helping our friend who was a Kalenjin escape to Nairobi after some threats made by neighbors. If we had been stopped by any roadblocks we had a pretty good chance of being attacked. We made it safely back and managed to beat any early risers.

It seems that the violence has subsided since that year. With all that being said, I think the film portrayed life in Kibera and the tensions between Kikuyu and non-Kikuyu really well. It was a huge piece of nostalgia for me and brought me back for a while. My husband appreciated the main actor and got a better insight into my time there. With all that said, here are some of my favorite shots. I was there from September 2007 to February 2008.

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~ by Maryanne Wirkkanen on October 5, 2010.

2 Responses to “2007 Kenya Elections and Togetherness Supreme”

  1. Thanks for watching it! I will be in Vancouver fro the rest of the screenigns of the film – 13th and 15th. I will be giving a talk at the Vancouver Film School about the making of the film on the 12th at 7pm. you are invited!

    Mercy Murugi, Producer- Togetherness Supreme

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