Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Headlines - Late Wed 2/06/2008

1 - Kenyan economy reels from crisis

Adam Mynott BBC News, Nairobi

Angela Mukoni shops for fruit and vegetables at Kangemi market on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Last year, her family was living on about 9,000 Kenyan Shillings $130 a month.

Her husband sold bracelets and masks to tourists, but his income has dried up.

Violence across the country has scared off visitors and now the Mukoni's monthly income is down to about $86 a month.

The chaos in Kenya has increased the prices of people's staple needs.

Transport costs have soared, crops are rotting in the fields and the dislocation of agricultural workers has cut farm output.


[Kenyans typically earn 100-200 Ksh per day]
price Dec-07
price Feb-08






As she looks for tomatoes in the market, Angela gasps at the price.

"Everything has gone up," she says, "we cannot afford to feed ourselves properly."

The impact on the purchasing power of Kenya's population of 37 million is just one of the woes hitting the country.

The disastrous effects of the violence and fighting have killed 1,000 people and forced more than 250,000 from their homes.

But the economic damage to Kenya is equally serious and threatens to stretch away into the future.

On the coast, where the blue waters of the Indian Ocean caress white sandy beaches, it is no better.

Tourism was on the crest of a wave. It was the country's top foreign revenue earner and brought in about $1bn last year.

There should be more than 30,000 visitors at the height of the season. But the hotels lie empty.

The industry used to employ a quarter of a million Kenyans directly and about 3m indirectly.

Tourists buy souvenirs, use taxis and dine at cafes and restaurants.

But over the last month, 20,000 people working in tourism have lost their jobs.

The head of the Serena Hotels chain, Mahmud Jan Mohammed, says despite the devastation, holiday venues could recover by the end of this year, but only if the violence stops now.

Kenya's other big earner is horticulture. It used to rely on tourism too.

Sixty-five per cent of Kenya's flowers and vegetables would reach Europe in the holds of tourist flights returning after delivering cabins full of holidaymakers.

Stephen Mbithi from the Fresh Produce Exporters' Association of Kenya says they have lost 20% of the export capacity, because of a cut in tourist flights.

Public transport is operating at 40% of its usual levels - costing operators over $7m a day - and 20,000 employees in the sector have been laid off.

Other businesses
Michael Joseph, the head of the mobile phone company, Safaricom, organised a meeting of more than 300 heads of industry.

They gathered to draw up a list of proposals for the politicians.

Soon there will be no country to govern; and no people to tax Michael Joseph Safaricom

They calculated that the chaos of the past few weeks would cost $3.6bn by the end of the year, and as many as half a million people could lose their jobs.

"Soon there will be no country to govern; and no people to tax", he says.

He says every day of delay in sorting out the election crisis plunges Kenya deeper into trouble.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/07 00:08:41 GMT© BBC MMVIII

2 - MPs Banned From U.S.

The East African Standard (Nairobi)NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 6 February 2008 By Jibril AdanNairobi

Ten high profile PNU and ODM personalities have been banned from traveling to the United States over alleged links to the post-poll violence, The Standard has learnt.

With this, international pressure appeared to shift from initial subtle threats couched in diplomatic language to concrete action on a day the crisis in Kenya featured both in the US Senate and the UN Security Council and mediation talks proper started in Nairobi.

But a dark cloud hung over the talks last night when reports that UN-backed chief mediator Mr Kofi Annan's hotel room in Nairobi had been bugged hit the World Wide Web.

"Detectives have gone there (Serena Hotel) and established that the claims are untrue," Mr Eric Kiraithe, the police spokesman told The Standard when reached on the telephone.

But an independent source said: "Annan's security aides found the device while the talks were in session on Tuesday".

News of the bugging came just 24 hours after skilled South African negotiator Mr Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew as the intended chief negotiator when the PNU made it known that they would not trust the South African's intervention.

On Wednesday, the US Embassy in Nairobi declined to divulge details of the 10 personalities it has lined-up for blacklisting, only saying that five were politicians and the rest prominent business people.

The 10 have already been notified, the Embassy said.

The caution also covers family members of the politicians, including those studying in the US.

US Ambassador Mr Michael Ranneberger said there was credible evidence linking the personalities to the post-election mayhem that ripped the country apart, leaving at least 1,000 people dead and close to half a million others displaced.

The Embassy said it was only waiting for the personalities to turn up with their travel papers to enforce the ban.

Ranneberger said the Embassy was also looking at information on nearly 30 other leaders believed to have funded the bloodletting.

Previously, a number of top Kenyan politicians have been barred from entering the US and some European countries but largely on account of their alleged links to multi-billion financial scams, notably Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing.

Interestingly, this new crackdown by foreign missions on public figures comes at a time when Kenya exercised its own version of sovereignty by declaring Sir Edward Clay, a British national and former UK High Commissioner in Nairobi, persona non grata (not allowed entry into the country)

Earlier in the day a tough-talking Mr Ross Hynes, the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya hinted at the seriousness with which his country viewed the political crisis in Kenya.

"The strong message I want to pass to the politicians is that the ban is real and will happen," Hynes said in Kisumu, which has been laid bare by the violence and which has also witnessed the most brutal police suppression of peaceful protests.

He added: "It's the Canadian legal system that individuals who subvert democracy and do not respect human rights are denied entry to the country."

The US Embassy in Nairobi, however, clarified that the travel advisory may not be an outright ban but is an indication that the individuals may not be welcome in the US.

The Mission also said it will not compile an exhaustive list of politicians to be banned from traveling to the US but would deal with applications for visas on an individual basis.

Earlier, an embassy official told The Standard that they were compiling evidence and would not let those who contributed to the post election violence travel to the US.

"We would look at the applications for visas on an individual basis," the official said.

"Those who supported, funded or in any way aided the violence would not be allowed to travel to the US," he added.

The US is among the countries that have stated that politicians who subverted the democratic institutions or those who encouraged violence would be denied entry.

Canada has also stated that it would slap a ban on such politicians, while Australia has stated that it would reduce contacts with Cabinet ministers.

This is part of the efforts by foreign countries to pile pressure on Kenyan leaders and push them to resolve the deadly post election conflict.

On Monday, White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said resolving the conflict in Kenya has a "long way to go".

Hadley, quoted by Reuters, also said that a re-run might not be in the best interest of the country's stability.

"Many people believe that to go to elections now would not be a prescription for bringing stability."

Comments by American leaders, however, show that they are not all reading from the same script.

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Dr Jendayi Frazer had her reference to the violence as ethnic cleansing contradicted by State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack.

The EU has, however, adopted a more clear approach and has called for a re-run of the elections and has suspended budgetary aid to Kenya.

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

3 - Crisis Looms Over IGAD Meet

The Nation (Nairobi)NEWS6 February 2008 Posted to the web 6 February 2008
By Mike Mwaniki and Bernard NamunaneNairobi

The Opposition party said Tuesday it is opposed to the holding of a meeting to be attended by Foreign Affairs ministers from member countries of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (Igad) in Nairobi on Friday.

ODM secretary-general, Prof Anyang Nyong'o warned that the party will mobilise its supporters to protest against President Kibaki's Government hosting the meeting while the political impasse occasioned by the disputed presidential election remains unresolved.

But Mr Kofi Annan, the chief mediator in the political crisis, warned against the protests, saying they will be an act of provocation.

Speaking on phone, a Foreign Affairs ministry official said Kenya had been chosen to host the regional meeting which will be attended by ministers from the Igad member states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.

Earlier, while addressing journalists at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, ODM MPs led by their chairman Henry Kosgey, said they will mobilise their supporters to hold a peaceful demonstration.

In a statement read by Prof Nyong'o, the MPs said they were against President Kibaki hosting the meeting in Nairobi while mediators, led by Mr Annan, were working to resolve the political crisis.

President Kibaki is the current chairman of the Igad Heads of State summit.

When contacted on phone, the ODM secretary-general said: "As a party, ODM is against Kenya hosting such a regional meeting while the country is gripped by a political crisis." The MPs said they saw the convening of the meeting in the middle of the current political crisis as an attempt to spite their party.

"That is why we plan to mobilise our supporters to hold a peaceful demonstration against President Kibaki's Government hosting the meeting," they said.

Mr Annan said his team had discussed the matter and agreed that there would be no street protests while the mediation process was on course.

"We have discussed it (street protests) and it is clear that there would be no mass action," he said.

He stated that the issue of engaging in provocative activities had been dealt with at length and all parties in the talks had agreed to steer clear of them.

"We demanded that both parties avoid provocation and that issues taking place in our sessions should not be discussed outside out talking table," he said.

Asked whether President Kibaki was overstepping his mandate by inviting Igad ministers, Mr Annan said that the Head of State could call any meetings in as long as they were not aimed at mediating in the country's crisis.

"President Kibaki is free to invite whoever he wants. They are not here to mediate. To the best of my knowledge, there is only one mediation going on and it has the support of the UN, US, European Union and African Union," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Kosgey has asked the Government to provide security to all ODM MPs following the recent killings of Embakasi MP Melitus Were and his Ainamoi counterpart David Kimutai.

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

4 - What Annan Team Discussed

The East African Standard (Nairobi)NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 6 February 2008 By David Ohito And Ben AginaNairobi

Talks towards unlocking the crippling impasse on Wednesday dwelt on the possibility of establishing a committee of inquiry into the presidential election debacle, vote recount, re-tallying and re-run of the presidential elections.

But little progress was reported in this direction.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) put on the table a seven-point proposal whose key pillars are a re-run and the installation of a transitional government, The Standard has learnt.

But rivals Party of National Unity (PNU) swiftly rejected all except one of the suggestions in the draft, putting the talks on a knife-edge only a day after chief mediator Mr Kofi Annan forced an adjournment.

Once again, what the UN-backed and respected Annan on Tuesday described as "very hot issue(s)" returned to haunt the talks after PNU only found common ground with ODM on one account - the need to disband and reconstitute the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

Both sides are also said to have generally agreed on the need for constitutional and other legal reforms to forestall similar crises in future elections.

Last night, The Standard reliably learnt that ODM listed a presidential re-run as "absolutely necessary to restore the confidence of the Kenyan people in democratic elections".

Those who have seen the ODM mediation document said the Orange party was convinced that in view of the evidence of alleged electoral fraud by ECK and its "incompetence, partisan and reckless conduct", a re-tallying or recount was untenable as the integrity of the electoral material has been violated.

ODM is also calling for the immediate installation of a transitional government comprising both ODM and PNU parties based on their parliamentary strengths. This would prepare the country for a presidential re-run within three to six months under a newly constituted ECK and a cleaned-up voter register.

There will also be the essential constitutional and legal reforms to anchor the transitional government and pave way for the re-run. Importantly, this government will be premised upon joint exercise of the executive authority.

But the PNU mediation team, which had just emerged from briefing President Kibaki on the progress of the talks, is said to have rejected the ODM proposals, with PNU reiterating its earlier position on that ODM should have gone to court.

ODM is said to be of the view that its decision not to pursue legal action over the presidential election results was based on the premise that the matter at hand required more than legal administration, and besides, they believe the Judiciary is partial.

No major deals were, therefore, struck nor ground ceded between the two protagonists.
A dispatch from the Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua last night, however, said

President Kibaki had met representatives of PNU at the talks at his Harambee Office to re-assert his commitment to dialogue in the spirit of peace and national reconciliation.

"Today, President Kibaki met ministers and the representatives of Government in the ongoing dialogue meetings at his Harambee House office. Government team was consulting with the

President on the important issues which have arisen in the dialogue agenda," Mutua said of the early morning meeting.

Justice minister Ms Martha Karua, Foreign Affairs minister Mr Moses Wetangula, Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri and Mbooni MP Mr Mutula Kilonzo are in the Government team.

The ODM team comprises Pentagon members Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr William Ruto, Aldai MP Dr Sally Kosgei and Ugenya MP Mr James Orengo.

Liaison persons for Government and ODM are Mr Gichira Kibara and Mr Karoli Omondi respectively.

Annan, a former UN Secretary-General and respected diplomat, chairs the panel of African Eminent Persons that includes former Tanzania President Mr Benjamin Mkapa and Mrs Graca Machel, wife of respected statesman and Nobel laureate Mr Nelson Mandela.

The hard-line positions maintained by both the Government and ODM sides meant that the divide - caused by a presidential election fallout after ECK pronounced Kibaki winner and ODM swiftly rejected the results - stayed.

Yesterday, both ODM and PNU tabled documents supporting their positions to the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation, with the Government side insisting Kibaki "won fair and square" and that any challenge of his election should be filed before court.

"But ODM stood by its public decision announced earlier that it is not interested in going to court over its allegations of electoral fraud and expressed doubts on the Judiciary to fairly address the concerns," a source intimated.

Statistically, ODM won 99 (48 per cent) out of the 207 Parliamentary seats, while Kibaki's PNU garnered 43 (21 per cent). Combined, other parties shared out 65 seats, which represents 31 per cent.

ODM also won 1,053 civic seats out of the country's 2,429 (43 per cent) while PNU won only 437 (18 per cent).

In the afternoon, ODM is said to have defended its case of electoral fraud saying independent election observers queried the tallying at Kenyatta International Conference (KICC) Press Centre.

The party is also said to have pushed its case on falsification and alterations of entries in Form 16As, tabling figures announced by ECK and how these differed from figures announced in 48 constituencies.

ODM said some ECK officials had publicly confessed irregularities and manipulation of results.
PNU similarly accused ODM of planned rigging and violence outbreak in parts of Nyanza and Rift Valley.

Raila's team maintained the party won six of eight provinces (representing 68 per cent) of the registered voters, while Kibaki won only in Central Province.

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

5 - Kiai Urges U.S. to Push for Interim Government

The East African Standard (Nairobi)NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 6 February 2008
By Jibril Adan

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairman has called for a transitional government to oversee reforms and organise repeat presidential elections in two years.

Mr Maina Kiai, who appeared before the US Congressional Committee on Africa and Global Health yesterday, urged the US to freeze military aid to Kenya until an interim government was formed.

In a speech The Standard obtained, Kiai said the assets of hardliners should also be traced and frozen to push the leaders to negotiate a political settlement.

Kiai said Kenya was at a crossroads and the Annan-led talks were the last hope.

"At this constitutional moment that Kenya has reached, the way forward must be centred on truth and justice as the only sustainable road to peace and development," he said

He urged Congress to buttress the mediation talks by banning anyone who delayed the negotiations from travelling to the US.

Kiai asked America to give aid to Kenya through NGOs, an approach EU member countries had adopted.

The proposed interim government with limited powers, he said, should also be charged with the process of reconciliation through a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

Kiai also said the killing of nearly 1,000 people could not be labelled genocide.

"The violence is neither genocide nor ethnic cleansing: The root of the problem is not that different ethnic groups decided they could no longer live together. The root of the problem is the inability of peaceful means to address grievances," he said.

For it to be regarded as genocide, Kiai added, there would have to be State complicity or collapse.

"Instead, we have uneven and selective policing with emphasis on preventing ODM's Mr Raila Odinga from holding protests in Nairobi rather than protecting displaced people and others at risk," he said.

Kiai claimed that the alleged rigged presidential election triggered the violence.

"We have documented some facts and analysis that make it clear that flaws in tallying presidential votes rendered untenable the conclusion that Mwai Kibaki was validly elected," Kiai said.

His proposals come as the Annan-led mediation talks began deliberations on the disputed presidential election results yesterday.

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

6 - Canada to Cancel Politicians' Visas

The East African Standard (Nairobi)NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 6 February 2008 Nairobi

Canada is gathering evidence against politicians targeted for travel bans.

Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr Ross Hynes, on Wednesday said leaders who fanned violence and hampered mediation talks would have their visas cancelled.

The envoy said his Government would ban the politicians once the evidence was available.

"We do not have a specific day when it this will begin," he said. "The message I want to pass to politicians is that the ban is real and will happen."

He, however, clarified that visa ban was not new, saying it was provided for in the Canadian constitution.

"The Canadian legal system provides that individuals who subvert democracy and do not respect human rights are denied entry," he said.

Speaking in Kisumu after meeting Nyanza PC, Mr Paul Olando, Hynes said the ban would not be extended to the politicians' families.

The diplomat also supported mediation talks, which former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, leads.

Said he: "I'm hopeful that a solution will be found so that Kenyans do not continue to suffer."

Early this week, the US Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Michael Ranneberger, said politicians in Government and the Opposition suspected to be fuelling violence would be banned from America.

Four MPs from Kisii met the Canadian envoy to discuss violence along the Borabu-Sotik border.

More than 25 people have died in inter-community clashes in the past three weeks.

The MPs were Mr Omingo Magara (South Mugirango), Dr Onsare Monda (Nyaribari Chache), Mr Chris Obure (Bobasi) and Dr James Gesami (West Mugirango).

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

6 - Ban Ki-Moon to Send Top UN Humanitarian Official to Country

UN News Service (New York)NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 6 February 2008

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced plans to dispatch his top humanitarian official to Kenya, where more than 300,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to violence which has torn through the East African nation following last December's disputed elections.

"With our partners, we have been able to meet the initial basic needs of displaced populations, totalling around 310,000 IDPs [internally displaced persons] spread over 192 sites in the western and central provinces," Mr. Ban told reporters after briefing a closed meeting of the Security Council today on his recent visit to Africa.

"I am going to dispatch Mr. John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to look after these issues."

The Secretary-General recently returned from a visit to Africa, where he met with both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, telling both men that "they bear a particular political responsibility for the future of Kenya."

More than 800 people have lost their lives in the post-election violence.

Mr. Ban said that he underscored the need by all Kenyan leaders to bring an end to the "unacceptable violence and killings" and to settle all problems peacefully.

"I also appealed to all the political leaders to think beyond their individual interests or party lines, and to look to the future of Kenya as one country," he added.

The Secretary-General reiterated his support for the mediation efforts led by his predecessor, Kofi Annan, who heads the Panel of Eminent African Personalities.

During his visit to Nairobi, the troubled nations' capital, last week, Mr. Ban and Mr. Annan conferred on the roadmap for the talks between the Government and the opposition.

"The parties are now talking and discussing practical measures to stop the spiral of violence, to address the humanitarian crisis, and to restore fundamental human rights and liberties," the Secretary-General said.

He noted that he has assigned several members of his staff to assist Mr. Annan's team and pointed out that a UN Development Programme (UNDP) Trust Fund has been created in support of the peace efforts.

"Needless to say, much more needs to be done," Mr. Ban pointed out, urging donors to step up their contributions to address the problem.

In a related development, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour will deploy a three-week fact-finding mission to Kenya beginning tomorrow to assess rights violations committed since last December.

The team will travel around the country to gather first-hand information from victims, witnesses, Government officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and representatives of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, among others.

"Truth and accountability are of critical importance in putting an end to the violence and preventing future human rights violations," Ms. Arbour said.

Meanwhile, an emergency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) team has been deployed to the border region between Kenya and Uganda, where some 12,000 people have fled in the wake of the December elections.

According to Ugandan authorities, these Kenyans are taking refuge in the south and south-east of Uganda.

UNHCR is registering new arrivals, and its team will lead emergency response efforts and coordinate with local and central Ugandan authorities.

The agency's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Judy Cheng-Hopkins met today with Kenya's Minister for Special Programmes who is overseeing the efforts to assist IDPs.

Ms. Cheng-Hopkins assured the Government of UNHCR's readiness to take part in efforts to help the displaced.

Copyright © 2008 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

No comments: