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Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - Anti-riot police brought in to control demonstrators during a funeral service for people killed in post-election violence in Ligi Ndogo, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2008. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - Demonstrators throw back tear gas to the police, Mathare slums, Nairobi, Kenya. This was the during the first day of the countrywide mass action that had been called by opposition leaders. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - An angry mob of oppostion supporters demonstrate in Juja Road, one of the main roads of Mathare slum, Nairobi. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - Residents of Mathare slum, fearful for their safety, watch the violent events unfolding from the balconies of a residential building immediately after the election results were announced. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A wounded Kikuyu man being questioned by opposition supporter in Mathare slum, Nairobi. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A mob of opposition supporters stones a Kikuyu man in Mathare slum, Nairobi. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A seriously injured Kikuyu man is dragged away after being stoned by a mob of opposition supporters in Mathare slum, Nairobi. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya -  One of the local bus companies is set a blaze by demonstrators who are against the ruling government in Mathare, Kenya. 2007. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A pregnant woman runs past burning shacks in Nairobi's Mathare slum during post-election violence. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - Opposition supporters hold weapons during a demonstration against the current government, Mathare, Kenya. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A woman preaches in front of anti-riot police sent to quell the skirmishes that had hit Mathare slums, Nairobi. Kenya Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - Police brought in to disperse protesters walk past a poster against the current Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, Mathare, Kenya. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A demonstrator is hit by a stone during clash of rival political party supporters in Mathare slums, Nairobi. Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A Kamba man being beaten up by opposition supporters after President Mwai Kibaki announced the appointment of Kalonzo Musyoka (from the Kamba tribe) as Vice President . Julius Mwelu - Irin - Post-election violence in Kenya - Kenya - A woman sheds tears in agony, after being hit with teargas during the demonstrations in the Mathare slum, Kenya.

Julius MWELU (IRIN) win The Young Reporter Prize sponsored by the Hamsa Press agency and Ligne de Front

Context of realization

Report accomplished from December 2007 to January 2008 in Kenya

Following the presidential election on December 27th, 2007, violence erupted in Kenya after the announcement of the poll results by the Electoral Commission naming president Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, as the winner. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, a Luo, had been predicted to win, and election observers reported widespread irregularities. Long-held ethnic tensions exploded and over 1500 people were killed. Thousands of homes and businesses were torched and about 600,000 people were forced from their homes in the clashes.

Mathare, one of Nairobi’s biggest slums with almost a million inhabitants, is my birthplace and home. It was also the site of much bloodshed and brutality after the election. I am from the Luyha tribe, but I also speak Luo and Kikuyu. This enabled me to communicate with both sides in the political conflict, gain access to their territories and be given the freedom to take photographs.

This selection of photographs is only a small sample of the anger, violence and tragic death that I have witnessed. Photographing these events has not been easy for me but it has been my way of demonstrating. I do not want to confront the police at the roadblocks with machetes and stones, but with my camera. This way I can show the world what is happening and pray that change may come.

Although I am using the Luhya tribe as my ‘cultural identifier’ for the purposes of this application, I would really prefer to be identified as Kenyan. This photography project has taught me that long term peace in my country will only be realised when we put aside our ethnic differences and truly see ourselves as one people, one nation.

 

 

 

Julius MWELU is photographer for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/Integrated Regional Information Network (OCHA/IRIN). He is photographer for the humanitarian news and analysis agency covering urban sustainability and news features in Kenya and the East African region. Editing and uploading photos to the public and private gallery and managing the photo unit office. www.irinnews.org