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Humanitarian Stories from Nairobi

The 2007-2008 Kenyan Crises

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, and also the country’s largest city with a population of 3.36 million in 2011. It was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, originally as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway, but quickly grew into one of the largest cities in Africa.

A brief introduction of Nairobi

In only a couple of years, it replaced Machakos as the capital of Kenya. After Kenya became independent in 1963, Nairobi became the capital of the Republic of Kenya. Thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations are located in Nairobi, including two major humanitarian organizations: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). The city is also widely known for having the world’s only game reserve located within a major city: Nairobi National Park. Through the decades, the city has seen some suffering. We want to elaborate on one crisis that shook the country and its capital.

The 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis was a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that erupted in Kenya after President Mwai Kibaki was elected as president on December 27, 2007. Raila Odinga, Kibaki's primary opponent, alleged electoral manipulation. An accusation that was widely confirmed by international observers. Violence emerged quickly after this outcome. The slums of Nairobi saw some of the worst violence, some of it ethnically motivated, some caused by the outrage at extreme poverty, and some the actions of criminal gangs. Governments and humanitarian organizations needed to act before Kenya engaged in an even bigger ethnic conflict. UN Secretary-General, Ban    Ki-moon, issued a statement which expressed concern for the ongoing violence, calling for the population to remain calm and not to resort to violence. Still, the violence went on. The force included the brutal murder of more than 30 unarmed people who were seeking shelter from the violence in a church, including women and children as young as a month old. They were locked in and burned alive in Kiambaa village near Eldoret, on New Year's Day.

On 10 January 2008, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, was chosen as the African Union Chief Mediator. Quickly after he assumed office, he arranged for a meeting with negotiation teams from both political parties, as well as individual discussions with Kibaki and Odinga. This eventually led to the signing of a power-sharing agreement on 28 February 2008. The agreement established Mwai Kibaki as President and Raila Odinga as Prime Minister. This rapid and coordinated reaction by the international community was widely praised as “a model of diplomatic action under the Responsibility to Protect”.By January 28 2008, the death toll from the violence was at around 1300. Up to 600,000 people have been displaced.

We often arrange flights to Nairobi, and because of this, Kenya is close to our hearts. We have been taking compassionate humanitarians to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for many decades. Therefore, our knowledge of this vulnerable country, capital and airport is second to none. Do not hesitate to contact us should you require up-to-date travel information about any unusual destination. We are glad to provide the necessary assistance from any of our 17 offices around the world. Contact a local Raptim office through our quick address locator to gain more insight on the current conditions of Kenya, Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.