With a smile, a wave and an exhortation to Kenya's 38 million people that they alone controlled their future, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden left Nairobi on June 10 to represent the United States at the opening of the World Cup in South Africa. Reform is good, he said, and a planned vote on August 4 to overhaul the independence-era constitution is in the country's best interest.
"As you prepare to write a new history for your nation, resist those who try and divide you based on ethnicity, or religion, or region and above all, fear," Biden said.
His admonishments appear to have gone unheeded. Just three days later, at a rally and prayer meeting for the campaign against the reforms, three stun grenades exploded. At least six people were killed and another 75 injured, and the pages of Kenya's competing dailies were awash in images of violence, chaos and anguish, under banner headlines reading "Bloody Sunday."