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Kenyans Work to Rebuild Shattered Lives, Communities

The United Nations Thursday urged Kenya to prosecute those responsible for the worst of the country's recent post-election violence. Margaret Warner reports from Kenya on how citizens and businesses are working to recover from the politically fueled unrest.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next tonight, Margaret Warner reports from Kenya on efforts to come back from the collapse into violence.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    This new tent city in the Rift Valley town of Nakuru was an agricultural showground, where farmers from around the region brought their prized animals and crops.

    But today it is home to 15,000 displaced Kenyans, farmers and business people alike, who were driven off their land and homes farther west by marauding gangs of other tribes. They are among the 250,000 Kenyans displaced by the recent post-election violence.

    The tents are new, and there's enough donated food and water, but life is hard and the memories are painful. And their plight today shows how challenging it will be for Kenya and its new government to bring the country back from this crisis.

    SISTER ANNE, Catholic Diocese of Nakuru: Most of their property was destroyed. Their homes they treasured are no more. The animals they treasured, they are no more, even the villages. And they are still fearing because they were told to move away.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Sister Anne and Father Daniel of the local Catholic diocese minister to these children and their parents, who find themselves in no man's land, told they're no longer welcome in the Western Rift Valley and should relocate to their Kikuyu tribe's ancestral home in the central region.

    Father Daniel says that kind of ethnic separation should not be what Kenya is all about.

    FATHER DANIEL, Catholic Diocese of Nakuru: This thing happens to be very political and politicized, to the extent that people are being zoned. But I don't think this is going to work in our country. We have people who have lived together since independence, and it is something which we have to treat maybe even — as Kenyans to see the possibility of being co-existing.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The ethnic tensions remain so combustible that here in Nakuru, as elsewhere in the country, aid agencies have felt compelled to set up separate camps for different tribes. And despite the political deal reached in Nairobi, the residents of this stadium camp, like those in the show grounds camp just down the road, say they're still waiting for real evidence that it's safe to go home.

    This rugby stadium is home to about 1,000 non-Kikuyu homeless, Luos, Kalenjins and Luhyas. Luo shop owner Jane Atieno is now sharing two tents with her sister's family. In late January, a Kikuyu man came into her Nakuru shop and demanded to know her tribe.

  • JANE ATIENO, Shop Owner:

    I told him I'm a Luo. So he told me I have to move out and go away because this is not my homeland. I told him I can't move out because I have my property here. Those people took me out of the shop. They beat me terribly. I cried and the neighbors came and helped me. That's why I ran away and came here.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    She says, without government help, she can't rebuild her business or her life.

  • JANE ATIENO:

    My shop, they took everything, throwing it outside. The things like sugar, cooking oil, they were just taking and throwing them outside.