As gunfire and screams rang out in her Nairobi neighborhood after last month’s disputed presidential election, Lucy Anyango stepped outdoors and across a tense ethnic divide. The member of Kenya’s Luo minority went to her friend Sheila Kariuki, an ethnic Kikuyu, and walked Kariuki’s two daughters to the safety of her own home amid threats of rape and violence. Angry Luo were rampaging in the streets in protest over the loss of their opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, to President Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu. As calm began to return the next day, Kariuki thanked her friend in a heartfelt Facebook post. “I will forever be grateful,” she wrote. “As I write this my eyes are full of tears. Dear God, when will this madness ever stop?”
It is a question Kenya has been asking for decades. The threat of further violence fueled by ethnic tensions lingered as the opposition challenged the election’s results. On Friday, to the country’s shock, the Supreme Court nullified the vote as unconstitutional and called for a new election within 60 days.
Celebrations, not protests, exploded in the streets. But now a new contest looms. “Let us be people of peace,” the president urged the nation after the court’s ruling.