Tuesday, February 5

Back in Kenya

I'm back in Nairobi after a few weeks in Europe and on the East Coast, and hopefully back to more frequent posting. Needless to say, a lot has changed since I left. The parts of Nairobi I frequent feel pretty much the same as usual. The tone of many conversations is different though. Many, probably most, people have family who have been directly affected by the violence in recent weeks. When I left, asking someone who they were voting for was a sure-fire way to start up a passionate, jovial discussion. Now, not so much.

Now, all eyes are on Kofi Annan, who is camped out at Nairobi's top-class Serena Hotel with representatives of the government and opposition, trying to work out a political solution in the next two weeks. Today he gave a press conference with business leaders. Kenya's strong economy - almost seven percent growth last year - has taken quite a hit since the elections. Manufacturing was 40 percent in January. Tourism, Kenya's top industry, has been a prime casualty. Barney Jopson has more on that for the Financial Times.

Also today, the Kenya Red Cross updated it's estimates to some 1,000 dead and 300,000 displaced since the election. Anna Husarska has a photo essay in Open Democracy on displaced people in the Rift Valley.

With all the activity here, Barack Obama and Super Tuesday are still managing to capture plenty of attention. The Standard reports on how Obama's relatives are getting tired of all the media pilgrimages.

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