Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Today’s Headlines – 1/22/2008

"Short of getting them both in chokehold and banging their heads together, Mr Annan has very little leverage on either President Kibaki and Mr Odinga or their respective entourages of myopic warmongers and sycophants,"

columnist Macharia Gaitho wrote in the Daily Nation, Kenya's leading newspaper.

But diplomats hope Annan, a Nobel Peace laureate whose negotiating experience ranges from Israel to Darfur, can help bring Kibaki and Odinga into some sort of power-sharing arrangement, possibly before a fresh vote.

"They just need some time to cool down their nerves," former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, who has also tried to mediate in the Kenyan crisis, told Reuters.

Full story from Swissinfo

Odinga seeks international help

Story Highlights
  • Opposition files complaint against government with International Criminal Court
  • Moves comes after police use tear gas to disperse President Kibaki's supporters
  • Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan due to arrive in Nairobi Tuesday
  • Annan will act as "facilitator to dialogue" in talks between Kibaki and Odinga

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Kenya's opposition has filed a complaint against the government with the International Criminal Court following the country's disputed presidential election, which triggered riots and ethnic fighting.

"We have filed a case at the international court of justice," said Salim Lone, a spokesman for the opposition Orange Democratic Movement.

He called a news conference for later on Tuesday to reveal more details.

The announcement came soon after reports that police fired tear gas to disperse dozens of supporters of President Mwai Kibaki, hours before former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was due in Kenya to mediate the dispute.

Full story from AP at CNN

The plight of Kenya's refugees

Story Highlights

  • Violence over disputed election has cost many their homes and livelihoods
  • Border camps in neighboring Uganda struggle to cope with mass of refugees
  • More than 600 children are at risk of malnutrition says children's charity
  • More than 255,000 Kenyans have fled their homes since elections

BUSIA, Uganda (AP) -- With one baby strapped to her back, another in her arms and a posse of other grandchildren clinging to her skirts, Mary Nyawera stood in line for food rations.

The explosion of violence over Kenya's disputed election has cost Nyawera her home, her livelihood and all four of her sons. She is now the sole provider for 22 grandchildren, all refugees at a border camp in neighboring Uganda.

The 74-year-old was lucky to be called to the front of the line here recently, where she received some ground corn and dried beans.

But the rations fell short of the children's needs.

"The young children need some milk and sugar. They don't eat maize and beans," Nyawera explained.

More than 600 children who have sought refuge in Busia are at risk of malnutrition unless their diets improve, according to James Male of Save the Children.

Full story from AP at CNN

Signs in Kenya That Killings Were Planned

KERINGET, Kenya — At first the violence seemed as spontaneous as it was shocking, with machete-wielding mobs hacking people to death and burning women and children alive in a country that was celebrated as one of Africa’s most stable.

But a closer look at what has unfolded in the past three weeks, since a deeply flawed election plunged Kenya into chaos, shows that some of the bloodletting that has left more than 650 people dead may have been premeditated and organized.

Leaflets calling for ethnic killings mysteriously appeared before the voting. Politicians with both the government and opposition parties gave speeches that stoked long-standing hatred among ethnic groups. And local tribal chiefs held meetings to plot attacks on rivals, according to some of them and their followers.

As soon as the election results were announced, handing a suspiciously thin margin of victory to Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki — whose policies of favoring his own ethnic group have marginalized about half the country — all the elements lined up for the violence to explode.

Full story from NY Times

At Least 7 Killed in Violence Across Kenya

Published: January 21, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — At least seven people were killed in Kenya over the weekend in reverberations from last week’s nationwide protests, and police officials have begun investigating the officer seen on television shooting an unarmed demonstrator, police officials said Sunday.

Four men were hacked to death in the slums ringing Nairobi, the capital, and three people died from arrow wounds while they were seeking shelter near a monastery in the western part of the country, said Eric Kiraithe, a spokesman for the Kenyan police.

[NB: figures from other sources are running higher than government figures]

Kenya Television Network and other local news media outlets said the death toll from fighting at the monastery, which began Friday, was much higher, with as many as 22 people killed and dozens of homes burned to the ground. Witnesses said a group of more than 1,000 people attacked families who were trying to escape what appeared to be a cycle of ethnically driven violence.

Full story from NY Times

More die in Kenya clashes

22/01/2008 13:25 - (SA)

Nairobi - Six people were killed in fresh tribal clashes in Kenya, said police on Tuesday, as authorities broke up a pro-government rally ahead of the arrival of former United Nations chief Kofi Annan to mediate the deepening crisis.

With the political stand-off threatening to spiral into a bitter tribal settling of accounts, the international community increased the pressure on the Kenyan government to quell the violence and investigate human rights violations.

The six latest victims, including a father and his two sons, were killed late on Monday in the volatile Molo district of the Rift Valley, where rival tribes had been clashing in recent weeks.

Their deaths brought to at least 63 the number of people killed since opposition chief Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party called for nationwide protests last week over President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.

Full story from 24.com

Rival Groups' Terms for Talks

The Nation (Nairobi)

NEWS22 January 2008

Posted to the web 22 January 2008

By Nation Team


The Government and ODM have given hints on what they would put on the table when talks aimed at ending the current political stalemate start in Nairobi.

The Government will first ask ODM to name its negotiating team to promote national reconciliation and also push to have any disputes arbitrated in court, according to a statement from the Vice President's Press Service.

ODM leaders, on the other hand, said they would seek President Kibaki's resignation and a rerun of the presidential vote.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka who heads the government mediation team said: "Let us not disown our courts. It is crucial that we uphold the independence of the Judiciary and follow due process; it is our responsibility as a regional bloc to respect the rule of law."

Full story at Nation

US dismisses Kenyan 'propaganda'

The US ambassador to Kenya has strongly rejected accusations that the international community has been stirring up post-election violence.

Michael Ranneberger said government adverts which have appeared over the past week in local newspapers were "scurrilous propaganda".

He said that condemning electoral fraud was not an incitement to violence.

Former UN chief Kofi Annan is due to arrive in Kenya later to mediate in the crisis which has left 650 people dead.

President Yoweri Museveni of Kenya's neighbour Uganda has also arrived in Nairobi to hold talks with President Mwai Kibaki.

"It is irresponsible to say, as the advertisement does, that speaking the truth provides incitement to ethnic violence"

Michael Ranneberger US ambassador to Kenya .

Full story from BBC

AFX News Limited

Kenyan police tear gas pro-president demo, ahead of Annan arrival

01.22.08, 3:33 AM ET


(Thomson Financial) - Kenyan police on Tuesday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators supporting President Mwai Kibaki in the capital, an Agence France-Presse correspondent said.

Protestors marched through the centre of Nairobi in support of Kibaki, who has been accused of rigging his re-election last month, which sparked nationwide rioting that has left more than 700 dead and displaced some 260,000.

The protest came hours ahead of the arrival of former UN secretary general Kofi Annan in Nairobi to try and launch dialogue between Kibaki and opposition chief Raila Odinga, who claims Kibaki rigged the Decr 27 polls.

The protest organiser, Ndura Wairunge, said: 'We want to world to know that Kibaki was voted in. He did not install himself, but we voted for him.'

Wairunge is a former head of the banned politically-linked Mungiki sect that was blamed the grisly beheading dozens of people last year.

Opposition chief Odinga said on Monday that he planned to file a case in the International Criminal Court for police killing of demonstrators in the western city of Kisumu.

The government has also vowed to file a case in the International Criminal Court against Odinga for the burning of a church in the western town of Eldoret this month in which 35 people were killed.
Police have banned all demonstrations in a bid to restore stability.

At least 63 people have been killed since Wednesday when Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party called for nationwide protests against Kibaki.

Full story from Forbes


Kenyan police fire teargas at pro-Kibaki crowd

Matthew Weaver and agencies

Tuesday January 22, 2008

Guardian Unlimited

Police in Kenya today fired teargas at supporters of the disputed president, Mwai Kibaki, with the violence coming as Kofi Annan was due to start attempts to broker a deal to end the unrest.

In what is thought to be the first instance of its kind since the post-election violence began, police broke up a pro-Kibaki crowd.

The crowd, of around 100, had been shouting: "Lead on, Kibaki," in Nairobi's central district, Reuters reported.

Full story from Guardian

Raiders Kill Six As They Besiege Monastery

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS20 January 2008

Posted to the web 20 January 2008

By Sollo Kiragu And Peter Ng'etichNairobi

Six people were killed near a monastery in Kipkelion District that was last night besieged by armed youths.

Local DC Mr Abdi Halake confirmed the deaths and said the raiders 50 houses had been burnt down.

Fr Dominic Vincent Nkoyoyo, a priest at the monastery, told the Sunday Nation that the youths armed with bows, arrows and machetes attacked the institution from Morou, Kasaeen, Kamusyan, Mutagoron and Kutung areas.

The monastery is currently housing over 600 victims of post-election violence.

"The police have collected five bodies from the area around the monastery. They have also brought in four wounded victims of the violence. The victims whom we are treating at our (health) facility here have arrow wounds," Fr Nkoyoyo said.

The priest who spoke to the Sunday Nation on phone said he had called the DC to send in more policemen to the institution as he feared the few officers there were likely to be overwhelmed by the attackers.

He said he had called the local DC who promised to send in security personnel by helicopter help them. Mr Halake last night confirmed that policemen had been sent to secure the area. He however said the youths were still burning houses.

The priest said they had been receiving threats of attack in the past two weeks.

Journalists could not access the monastery as a group of youths had blocked the road.

The monastery has 23 monks, two of them from Tanzania and seven from Uganda. The rest are Kenyans. Its health centre has three nurses from Sisters of St Mary Congregation.
In a related incident, about 100 arsonists yesterday burnt down seven houses in Ilula area in Eldoret.

The arsonists armed with bows, arrows and spears struck at around 1.30 pm. A resident of the area, Mr John Kamau, said: "The one who set our house ablaze is a neighbour we have lived with since we were young and I even asked him if it was justified for him to burn our home." Mr Kamau said they settled in the area in 1978.

Most homes have been deserted since the violence began on December 30.

In Eldoret town, the people went on with their normal business as calm returned.

Mr Joash Kipsiele, a local farmer, said he hoped that peace would continue to prevail so that farming could continue uninterrupted.

"Though the Electoral Commission of Kenya let this country down, we hope that President Kibaki and Raila Odinga will look for a solution, for they have already polarised country," he told the Sunday Nation in Eldoret town.

Copyright © 2008 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Full story from Nation at AllAfrica

Spreading the Word of Hate

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

NEWS22 January 2008

Posted to the web 22 January 2008


Inflammatory statements and songs broadcast on vernacular radio stations and at party rallies, text messages, emails, posters and leaflets have all contributed to post-electoral violence in Kenya,
according to analysts. Hundreds of homes have been burnt, more than 600 people killed and 250,000 displaced.

While the mainstream media, both English and Swahili, have been praised for their even-handedness, vernacular radio broadcasts have been of particular concern, given the role of Kigali's Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines in inciting people to slaughter their neighbours in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

"There's been a lot of hate speech, sometimes thinly veiled. The vernacular radio stations have perfected the art," Caesar Handa, chief executive of Strategic Research, told IRIN.

His company was contracted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to monitor the media coverage given to the main political parties in Kenya in the run-up to the 27 December presidential and parliamentary elections.

Full story from UN’s news service IRIN

No Retreat, Says ODM At Service

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

NEWS22 January 2008

Posted to the web 22 January 2008

By John Oywa, Peter Atsiaya, Allan Kisia and Joel Okwayo


An emotional Mr Raila Odinga flew to his violence-battered hometown of Kisumu and declared that nothing would deter Kenyans from their quest for justice.

Making his first visit to the lakeside town since the post-election violence broke out across the country after President Kibaki's disputed re-election, Raila ran into thousands of equally emotional supporters, many of who[m] broke down and wept.

Full story from East African Standard

No Let-Up in Kenya Violence As Political Crisis Continues, UN Reports

UN News Service (New York)

NEWS21 January 2008

Posted to the web 22 January 2008

Deadly violence continues across parts of Kenya and the police presence remains heavy, the United Nations reports today, as the country reels from the crisis sparked by last month's disputed election.

The bloodshed continued unabated over the weekend with 10 people hacked to death in ethnic violence, mainly in Kericho, Nakuru, Nairobi and Mombasa, and tens of houses torched, according to UN security officials on the ground.

They said the worst incident appeared to be in Kericho, where six people were killed and 50 houses burned last Saturday night. In Nairobi, at least three people were killed in the Huruma slums and 13 admitted to hospital with machete cuts on Sunday.

Violence first erupted in the East African nation a few weeks ago, after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in the December polls. Nearly 600 people have been killed and some 255,000 displaced in the ensuing crisis.

According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF),
approximately 1,000 displaced persons
arrive in Nakuru each day

from violence-affected areas in the Northern Rift Valley.

Also in Nakuru, UNICEF says 18 of 134 schools
remain closed,
and some 240 teachers have failed to report to work.

In Molo, the agency reports that 60 per cent of the region's 151,000 children are absent from school due to insecurity and displacement - nearly 400 schools in the area were burned, looted or vandalized.

Full story from UN news service IRIN

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