On January 5, 2008, the day of his run-in with the mob, Odondi had ventured out in search of food, and was walking alone when the gang spotted him. After one member of the gang, composed exclusively of Kikuyus, identified Odondi as a Luo (that his surname begins with 'O', as in Obama, is one giveaway), they grabbed him. Odondi would soon be subjected to one of the grisliest acts recorded during the violence.
After a few minutes at the clearing, the mob removed Odondi's blindfold, and then his clothes. "First, they took off my pants, and they started mocking me because I was wearing only my underwear. And they ripped off my underwear using a panga," Odondi recalled recently, using another word for machete.
"When the men had pinned me down, the man with the panga pulled my foreskin out and started to play with it. He would slice it a little, and then he started mocking me, and then he would slice a little more, and then mock me some more.
"This cutting lasted for five minutes, and it was the greatest pain I have ever felt in my life. It felt like a million little pins pricking my manhood."
Similar attacks were recorded elsewhere in Kibera and in other parts of the country, including the volatile Rift Valley, up until late February 2008, when Kibaki and Odinga reached a power-sharing deal. The lack of reporting on the part of victims, however, has complicated efforts to arrive at a national total. A government inquiry noted, for instance, that many victims in the Rift Valley were "too traumatized" to come forward.
While Odondi and some other Luos, a tribe that doesn't traditionally practice male circumcision, can describe their individual experiences of forced circumcision with marked candor, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is still struggling to find words for the crime. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is pursuing crimes against humanity charges against six prominent Kenyans in connection with the post-election crisis, moved in December to charge the crime under "other forms of sexual violence," the category used for atrocities such as sexual slavery and forced prostitution.
But judges disagreed, ruling in March that the crime should fall under "other inhumane acts," a separate category of crimes that cause "great suffering" or "serious injury to body or to mental or physical health."
The distinction is by no means strictly academic, according to local advocates for sexual violence victims, who argue that labeling forced male circumcision as a form of sexual violence could raise awareness of the crime and make comprehensive treatment more widely available.
Brigid Inder, executive director of Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ), a Hague-based group that monitors the ICC, said she sees the reclassification as part of a troubling trend -- one in which the court has failed to fully address the sexual violence components of mass crimes.