Friday, January 18, 2008

Kenya faces boycott, strike wave

Stephanie McCrummen, Nairobi
January 19, 2008

KENYAN opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for strikes and boycotts of businesses owned by President Mwai Kibaki's inner circle to pressure him to tackle the nation's post-election crisis.

The boycotts would be aimed at businesses owned by Mr Kibaki's close advisers, Mr Odinga said, including the largest Kenyan bank and certain bus companies and milk producers.

"Our supporters are the biggest consumers," Mr Odinga said, "so that is a weapon we have."

Strikes could include security guards and hotel workers, bringing more harm to an already-battered tourism industry.

With talks led by African leaders producing little so far, more opposition demonstrations were due yesterday and a likely flashpoint was the mostly Muslim coastal resort of Mombasa.

But a spokesman for the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said street protests over Mr Kibaki's disputed re-election would end after yesterday's demonstrations.

At least eight people have been shot dead by police during two days of demonstrations called by Mr Odinga, who says Mr Kibaki stole victory.

Opposition leaders accused police of killing seven protesters on Thursday in Nairobi, but the figure could not be independently verified. More than 600 people have died across the country in violence since the December 27 election.

Full story at The Age (Australia)

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