An NGO’s efforts to hold a photo exhibition in Kisumu failed when a group of youths pulled down the pictures and threatened to burn them.
The photographs of scenes of the 2008 post-election violence, displayed for public viewing, had been displayed by Picha Mtaani Organisation.
Then a councillor arrived at the scene and asked the residents to reject the photographs, arguing that they brought back bad memories of the chaos.
Cllr Isaiah Onyango claimed that the photographs were interfering with the current voter registration. But police stepped in and calmed the rowdy youths who had caused tension in the area and threatened to beat up the exhibition director.
The head of the Kisumu police, Mr John Mwinzi, asked the residents not to allow themselves to be incited by local politicians.
He asked volunteers of Picha Mtaani, an organisation which is funded by the UN Development Programme and USAid, to keep the pictures until calm was restored.
“It is essential to prepare the residents for what they are about to see because most of these pictures contain emotional scenes,” he said.
Picha Mtaani project director Boniface Mwangi said the photographs were aimed at showing the public the effects of tribal clashes.
Four other towns
The organisation, he said, had held exhibitions in four other towns in Kenya, and that it was aiming at urging the people to embrace peace and reconciliation.
“Residents of other towns in the country had received the photographs well and cooperated in our counselling,” he pointed out.
“We were planning to exhibit the photographs in Kisumu for the next three days, and since we have not been received well, we will proceed to Mombasa.”