Experiments with Truth: Analysis

Kenyan reaction to disputed election is far calmer than last time

In the Kibera slum, where the sun beats down mercilessly on the metal shacks and ribbons of raw sewage snake across the dirt, people are about as angry as they have ever been.

Their preferred presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, lost the election. He claims it was rigged, again. And he is refusing to concede.

But unlike the reaction after the last presidential election, in 2007, which Mr. Odinga also lost amid evidence of vote rigging, Kibera has not exploded. There have been no major clashes this time, here or anywhere else across Kenya, no blockading of national highways or ripping up of train tracks.

The chaos that reigned during the last election dispute cost more than 1,000 lives and shook Kenya to its core, but so far this disputed election seems to have been absorbed remarkably peacefully.

“I am not a happy man,” said John Otieno, a community leader in Kibera and an Odinga stalwart.

A crowd of young men who had gathered around him on Monday morning grunted their support, muttering the words “thief” and “stolen.”

“But there will be no protests,” Mr. Otieno said, and the men around him simmered down. “We will listen to our leader. Raila said he will take this to the courts, and we have faith in the courts. We will wait for them.”

“Kenya,” he said grandly, “has changed.”

More Follow External Link to Jeffrey Gettleman, New York TImes