Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More headlines – Tues 2/05/2008

Breaking news - Kenyan opposition makes new protest threat

Overview - Fragile path of Kenya peacemaking -BBC

1 - Peace Corps Suspends Kenya Operations – AP
2 - PNU And ODM Agree On Formation of a Truth Commission - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
3 - Violence Slowing Down Humanitarian Effort – UN’S IRIN
4 - Crisis As IDPs Arrive in Kisumu - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
5 - Support the Displaced to Ease Their Burden - The Nation (Nairobi)
6 - Child Abuse And Cheap Labour At IDP Camps - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
7 - CEOs Meet Over Post-Poll Crisis - The Nation (Nairobi)

8 - Ranneberger Explains U.S. Stance On Crisis - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

9 - Wetangula Dismisses Raila's Call for Foreign Troops - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
10 - Schools in Nyanza Now Open After Three Weeks - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
11 - Flower Farms in Crisis As Workers Flee - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
12 - Mystery of Bodies Dumped in Mortuary - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

13 - Lawyers Push to Withhold Taxes - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

14 - Town sitting on time bomb after burning fire engine - Nation
15 - Kenya Struggles To Find Ways To Make Peace – eFluxMedia
16 - Kenya slammed over Ramaphosa – net24

Breaking news - Kenyan opposition makes new protest threat

Tue Feb 5, 2008 1:25pm EST
By Duncan Miriri and Helen Nyambura-Mwaura

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's opposition on Tuesday threatened new street protests if a meeting of regional foreign ministers chaired by the government goes ahead this week while the two sides are locked in political negotiations.

The rivals on Tuesday began the toughest part of their talks so far to try to end the crisis over a disputed election that has killed at least 1,000 people and hurt the east African country's reputation for stability and economic promise.

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, mediating talks, said the opposition threat should not have been made in light of the negotiations and a pledge by both sides to avoid provocative statements.

"We have a demand that the parties avoid provocative statements outside negotiations," Annan told reporters. "We are going to be vigilant on that. I think there is a clear understanding that it should not have been done and there will be no mass protests."

The opposition had attacked plans to hold a meeting of foreign ministers from the seven-member east African regional bloc IGAD, chaired by Kenya. The foreign ministers are due in Kenya on Wednesday, with talks due the next day.

"If the IGAD meeting goes on in spite of our call for it not to go on, we shall call upon Kenyans to come out in their big numbers for a peaceful demonstration in Nairobi to strongly protest," ODM secretary-general Anyang' Nyong'o said.

The government has banned street protests, and earlier ones have led to looting, rioting and a bloody police crackdown.

What started as a dispute over the
December 27 re-election of President Mwai Kibaki has laid bare divisions over
land, wealth and power, dating from colonial rule then stoked by Kenyan

Most of the deaths, in one of Kenya's darkest moments since independence from Britain 44 years ago, have come from cycles of ethnic killings, adding to fatalities from police clashes with protesters.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga insisted on external mediation, which led to the Annan mission that so far has produced commitments to end violence and help those displaced.

On Tuesday, Annan pushed the two sides to focus on the third item on their agenda -- "the political crisis arising from the disputed presidential electoral results."

Odinga argues the president was illegally returned to office through vote-rigging, and Nyong'o said the IGAD regional meeting would "legitimize Kibaki's position through the back door."

International observers have said the vote counting was so chaotic that it was impossible to tell who won.

The government says Kibaki was elected under Kenya's laws, and has pressed that position through African diplomatic channels including the African Union and IGAD, where it has goodwill from its role brokering peace for Somalia and Sudan.

Finding the country on the other side of the table has been a shock for Kenyans used to hosting refugees from elsewhere.

On Tuesday, Kenya's Red Cross said that
the death toll had risen to over 1,000, while some 304,000 Kenyans have been
displaced by the crisis -- and the figure was expected to rise.

The crisis has also badly harmed the economic boom Kibaki won wide credit for nurturing with a business-friendly approach.

Business leaders on Tuesday met with Annan, and urged action to stop the downward slide that has seen the currency drop at one point to near a three-year low, slammed the $1 billion-a-year tourism industry and choked exports.

"Every day that they continue to pontificate, to strategize, to dance, another little bit of Kenya (is) disappearing," Michael Joseph, chief executive of leading mobile telephone operator Safaricom, said of the protagonists. "We may reach a point of no return when there may be no country to govern."

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

Overview - Fragile path of Kenya peacemaking

By Adam Mynott BBC News, Nairobi

After the first few days of talks intended to find a solution to the Kenyan election crisis, the impressions emanating from the room where the Kenyan government and the opposition have been negotiating were generally quite favourable.

Officials from the government Party of National Unity (PNU) and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) were saying that "progress was being made".

But agreement was being found on straightforward issues; the items at top of the agenda drawn up by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan were non-contentious.

It was almost as if he wanted to get the two sides into the habit of agreeing because he knows the difficult stuff lies ahead, and it will be best tackled by two sides who have at least been able to find common ground on something.

The agreement reached on Friday on an agenda for further talks - in conjunction with a programme to eliminate the appalling violence, which has killed 900 people and driven at least 250,000 from their homes - was billed as a breakthrough.

It was important, but "breakthrough" is probably pushing it a bit.

It did give the vital impression however that progress was being made, because Mr Annan and others in the Panel of Eminent Africans who are overseeing the mediation process realise that time cannot be allowed to drag.

This exercise has to be seen by the people of Kenya as a problem that is heading towards a solution. If not, violence and unrest will continue, or even get worse.

'Political issues'
The agenda gave the negotiating parties about a fortnight from 29 January to come to agreement on sorting out the violence, finding a satisfactory humanitarian response for the tens of thousands living in misery and hunger, and tackling the "political issues".

A fourth agenda item of agreement on deep-seated institutional problems in Kenya was put in a separate category and given a time frame of a year.

The first two on the agenda have been relatively easy to come together on.

The "political issues", number three, centre around the events from the close of the polls in the presidential election at 1800 (1500 GMT) on the 27 December to 1700 (1400 GMT) on the evening of the 30 December when it was announced that Mwai Kibaki had won.

The two sides remain very far apart on this.

Mr Kibaki made it clear when he visited Ethiopia for the African Union Summit that he believes he won the election fairly and all the trouble since the election has been stirred up by the opposition.

The fear is that another election would simply lead to more violence

Mr Odinga says he is in no doubt that he won the presidential poll and it was stolen from him by vote rigging.
The challenge for the negotiating team is in bringing the two men from these widely opposing positions to a point where they can agree on a way forward.

Both parties have said they are open to discussions but neither has indicated it is open to anything that the other might accept.

Of course, you do not go into a negotiating process putting all your cards on the table, but even allowing for a bit of flexibility it is very difficult to see a way out.

This has been the case in other intractable international crises as well, like Northern Ireland, and the very process of negotiation can lead to agreement.

But in the case of Kenya and its election it is hard to be optimistic.

No prime minister
I understand that Mr Annan and his team have rejected one possible solution; a re-run of the election, something that the opposition has said it might favour.

The fear is that another election would simply lead to more violence, and there would be no guarantee that either side would accept the outcome of a second presidential poll.

The government says it is open to anything that "falls within the constitutional and legal framework of Kenya".

This is a very limiting set of conditions.

There is nothing contained in the existing constitution which would satisfy the opposition ODM, and the much repeated advice from government figures that "if ODM have a problem with the vote they should go to the courts" is equally unpalatable.

The opposition says that Kenya's judiciary has been filled with Kibaki-pliant men and women, and even if they were to get a fair hearing, the justice system in the country is so cumbersome and slow it would take an entire parliamentary term to get a decision.

So what remains as the only possible option is a
form of power-sharing; and this is the area where Mr Annan and his team hope
agreement might eventually be found.

At present, most executive power in Kenya is in the hands of the president.

Among other roles he appoints the cabinet, assembles and dissolves parliament, appoints all the parastatal heads and is the commander-in-chief of the military.

There is no prime minister in Kenya's constitutional make-up.

For Mr Odinga to agree on a "power-sharing deal" he must be given a powerful executive position.

He will not settle for anything else.

The government/PNU will only agree to give Mr Odinga a powerful post if they feel it will not undermine the authority of Mr Kibaki.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7226676.stmPublished: 2008/02/04 16:51:06 GMT© BBC MMVIII

1 - Peace Corps Suspends Kenya Operations

45 minutes ago

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The U.S. Peace Corps said Tuesday it had temporarily suspended its operations in Kenya following weeks of violence over a disputed election.

While no Peace Corps volunteers have been targeted in the violence that has engulfed Kenya since the Dec. 27 elections, the Washington-based group has decided to pull out its remaining 58 volunteers, said spokeswoman Amanda Beck.

Another 144 volunteers were sent home in January after the violence first erupted, she said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Business leaders warned Tuesday of an economic downturn in Kenya after weeks of political violence that has left hundreds of thousands homeless and scared off tourists.

The violence, which erupted after a Dec. 27 presidential election that foreign and local observers said was rigged, "has significantly damaged the domestic economy," Boston-based consultancy firm Global Insight said in a report. It downgraded its 2008 economic growth prediction to 4 percent from its previous estimate of 6.1 percent.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with business leaders to hear their concerns before chairing another session of peace talks between President Mwai Kibaki and his chief rival, Raila Odinga.

Kenya had been the region's economic powerhouse, home to a booming tourism industry and the hub for numerous multinational companies doing business in Africa. Now, foreign firms that operate here are considering their options.
"Let's face it, many firms don't have to manufacture here in Kenya," said Steven Smith, the managing director of U.S. battery maker Eveready's Kenya operations. "There are questions already being asked, why are you there? What gives you the advantage to stay in Kenya?"

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance estimates that over the next six months up to 400,000 Kenyans are likely to lose their jobs as part of the economic fallout. It also projects that businesses will lose up to $3.6 billion over the next six months, even if the crisis is resolved immediately.

Protests since the disputed election have degenerated into ethnic clashes, with much of the anger aimed at Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, long resented for dominating politics and the economy. At least 1,000 people have died and 300,000 have been chased to refugee camps. Ugandan authorities said 12,000 Kenyan refugees had crossed the border since the crisis began.
Thousands more fled their burned homes Tuesday in western Kenya, where at least seven people have been killed in nine days of battles between youths from rival tribes, armed with bows and arrows and machetes.

Kibaki and Odina have already agreed to take immediate action to end the violence, help those displaced return safely to their homes, and have welcomed Annan's plan for a truth and reconciliation commission with local and international jurists.

But Annan predicted talks would be tough as the rivals tackle the political disputes that set off the crisis. He was also searching for a new chief mediator after Cyril Ramaphosa, a South African businessman, withdrew Monday because of objections by Kibaki's government and ruling party.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, in an interview published Monday, said Washington respected the Annan-led talks but expressed reservations.

"There is serious concern whether leaders can come together to work out a solution acceptable to Kenyans," he was quoted as telling The Standard daily. "The postelection (situation) revealed deep underlying problems that must be addressed as well."

He also repeated a U.S. decision to deny visas to politicians who foment violence or who work against peace.
"It is important that Kenyans know that people who do not cooperate to achieve peace and those responsible for violence will not be viewed positively. We have identified a number of people that could potentially be subject to these," Ranneberger said, but gave no details.

Britain announced it would double aid to Kenya, providing $2.4 million for humanitarian relief.
Associated Press writers Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi and Katharine Houreld in Sagoi contributed to this report.

2 - PNU And ODM Agree On Formation of a Truth Commission

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Samuel Otieno

Mediation efforts have broken new ground - ODM and the PNU yesterday agreed on the formation of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

The proposed commission would include local and international jurists, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights investigation team, former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, announced last evening.

He said when the mediation team convenes today, the leaders will discuss political issues that arose from the General Election.

"Tomorrow, we begin our work on political issues," Annan, who is leading a group of African personalities in dialogue and reconciliation talks, said.

The team goes into the crucial stage with a backdrop of exchanges between President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.

Annan said he was aware of the statements made PNU and ODM leaders made and called for a compromise.

Annan expressed optimism that the two parties would reach a compromise and deliver Kenyans from the political stalemate that threatens to tear the country apart.

"I am proud of the ladies and gentlemen, particularly on the way they have handled the dialogue and reconciliatory process," Annan told an international press conference at the Serena Hotel yesterday.

He expressed hope that the meeting would end with a consensus as it did yesterday.

"I hope we will proceed tomorrow and by the end of the day hope we will be able to have an agreement," said Annan.

The bone of contention is the presidential election results. While Kibaki says he won fairly, Raila says the presidency was stolen from him.

The controversy brought civil unrest, leading to the killing of close to 1,000 people and the displacement of nearly 500,000 others.

Annan said although politicians were in control, they were unable to reach every part of the country and restore calm.
Yesterday, the panel concluded the agenda aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis. Both teams agreed to help and encourage displaced people to go back to their homes and be accorded safe passage.

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

3 - Violence Slowing Down Humanitarian Effort

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008 Nairobi

Roadblocks and violence across much of western Kenya are putting a strain on efforts to assist hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs), according to relief workers.

"On 14 January, one of our trucks, carrying 17 tonnes of vegetable oil for IDPs, was looted in Burnt Forest [in Rift Valley Province]," Peter Smerdon, senior public information officer for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), told IRIN. "Then on 28 January three of our trucks were stoned; one of the trucks was looted of some of its corn soya cargo."

Another three WFP trucks heading for the western city of Kisumu only managed to reach their destination after security escorts guided them through numerous roadblocks.

"The police are willing to help but often do not have vehicles to give us; they are also overwhelmed by the crisis," Smerdon added. "The number of trucks we can get to the IDPs has been much slower during periods of insecurity."

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), which has a national network of thousands of staff and volunteers and has been central to the relief effort, has also experienced delays to its efforts to get aid to the most vulnerable.

"Yes we get access, but the big problem is that the barricades have slowed our relief work significantly," said Anthony Mwangi, KRCS spokesman. "Because of the violence we have had to do security assessments of every area before we can send personnel and aid there, which takes a lot of time."

Poor access
Over the past fortnight, the main road from the capital, Nairobi, through the Rift Valley towns of Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret and up to Kisumu, has been illegally barricaded by sometimes violent youth. Security forces have thus far failed to bring these blockades to a complete halt, and transport through western Kenya has become increasingly difficult.

According to Jeanine Cooper, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kenya, "Little aid is getting through, and the boulders set up on the roads have severely slowed down the delivery of relief aid.
"IDPs may have supplies at the moment, but the continued delivery of aid to them depends on access," she said. "Another difficulty is that commercial transporters are unwilling to risk putting their trucks on the road, so even getting vehicles is a problem.

"IDPs who had not yet been located or attended to at the time Naivasha and Nakuru broke out - such as those in Transzoia and Molo - are not getting the assistance they need," Cooper added.

The violence is also affecting the relief effort in areas untouched by the ongoing violence - such as the chronically food insecure northeast - where food aid delivery was slowed when goods could not leave the port of Mombasa. Smerdon said a flare-up of violence in the port city could have a severe impact on the delivery of food; WFP typically feeds 2.1 million Kenyans, but since the crisis, it is now feeding more than 300,000 displaced in western Kenya and in Nairobi's shanty towns.

Ethnic profiling
So high is the ethnic tension in some areas that relief agencies have resorted to deploying staff to various areas of the country based on their ethnicity.

"One agency operating in the Rift Valley town of Narok has reported that the local community has refused to accept non-Maasai staff in the camps," one humanitarian worker, who requested anonymity, said. "Non-Kenyans are welcome, but obviously it would be incredibly difficult and expensive to use non-Kenyan nationals exclusively."

The ethnicity of drivers delivering aid has also had to be taken into consideration, particularly when they work for NGOs that are not well known by locals. "We now have to consider how to protect our staff as well as the people we are supporting," the relief worker said.

Mwangi said, however, that his organisation had suffered no ethnic hostility, despite the fact that the agency had continued to be multi-ethnic wherever they operated.

"The Red Cross is understood on the ground to be non-partisan and non-political, and is very well known by most Kenyans, so our staff have not been disturbed," he said.

Continued uncertainty
The pace of displacement - with an estimated 300,000 people displaced in just one month - has been so rapid and unpredictable that NGOs are struggling to accurately predict and meet the needs of people affected by the crisis.

"For example, on 30 January in Tigoni [central Kenya], we had more than 6,000 IDPs arrive at the local police station in a matter of two days," Cooper said. "The other problem is that the movement of IDPs is so fluid; one day there are several thousand IDPs in a camp and the next day they have shifted - sometimes to other camps, which we then need to find and support."

She added that the general uncertainty about ongoing mediations, potential flashpoints and the escalation of seemingly unpredictable violence made planning and coordinating the humanitarian effort even more difficult.

Although many agencies did have contingency plans and had pre-positioned food and non-food items in various potentially volatile spots across the country, few predicted the scale of the conflict or the possibility that it would last more than a few weeks.

"We are trying to analyse what has happened and how best to address the situation based on causes and likely scenarios," Cooper said. "We need to better understand and plan for the implications the crisis and its possible development could have on various sectors such as health, water and sanitation, and education."

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Copyright © 2008 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

4 - Crisis As IDPs Arrive in Kisumu

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Harold Ayodo And George Olwenya

Kisumu is facing a fresh humanitarian crisis after hundreds of displaced people arrived at the lakeside town shortly after midnight.

The 800 passengers, who were transported by a fleet of buses, were yesterday hosted at the St Stephen's Cathedral Church compound in Milimani estate.

The victims said a similar number of people were on their way to the town.

Many were due to travel to far-flung districts in Nyanza while the rest were headed to Western and Rift Valley provinces.

"We left them boarding buses in Naivasha and hope that they will arrive safely because the roads are not safe. They are barricaded with boulders and bonfires," a victim, Ms Rose Atieno, said.

Hungry babies wailed as their mothers requested well-wishers to bring them milk.

Bishop Mwayi Abiero of the Anglican Church and the Migosi Ward councillor, Mr Paul Achayo, who received them, said sanitation was a problem.

"We only have two toilets in the church compound.Catering for this large number of people is going to be a problem," Abiero said.

Mwayi urged the country to be optimistic about the mediation talks.

The Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company ferried tankers of water to assist the victims, who said they had not bathed for days.

Life for Children Ministry is among the non governmental organisations assisting the displaced. The coordinator, Mr Peter Raila, said they were giving food, blankets and clothing to the victims.

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

5 - Support the Displaced to Ease Their Burden

The Nation (Nairobi)
5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008 Nairobi

One of the major challenges arising out of the political turmoil is massive displacement of Kenyans, who have been impoverished and subjected to cruel living conditions.

Official estimates put the displaced at 300,000, but the figures are certainly higher and keep rising by the day, as more people are evicted from their residences because they are not indigenous members of those locations.

Displacement naturally occasions humanitarian crisis, which is what we really have on our hands. The various camps sheltering the displaced are stretched to the limit. In the first place, the displaced are forced to take shelter under make-shift structures or tents, which are unfit for human habitation. There are worse cases where the people have to sleep out in the open and brave the vagaries of nature. Moreover, the camps do not have basic utilities such as water and sanitation, creating major hygiene crisis. An even more critical challenge is lack of food and drugs, especially for children.

There are also the social dimensions like sexual abuse, molestation of the women and children and general insecurity. Children have been locked out of school and even in the few camps where temporary teaching goes on, there is little to write home about.

It is essential to acknowledge that this country was never prepared for a crisis of this nature, which explains the inability to handle the situation. Never in our history did we imagine that people would be uprooted from places they have called homes or ejected from their workplace because of their ethnic extraction.

For now, the challenge is how to manage the crisis and help out the displaced. The first option is to provide transport and security to those willing to go to their ancestral lands. Secondly, there is need to find land to resettle some of those who lost property and have no families to go back to.

In sum, the Government, the public and the international community must give attention to the plight of the displaced and provide material and moral support to ease these people's burden.

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

6 - Child Abuse And Cheap Labour At IDP Camps

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Beatrice Obwocha And Stephen Makabila

The woes of families displaced by the recent wave of violence in Nakuru and its surroundings have assumed a new, but sad twist.

The Standard learnt that the camps scattered across the town have become sources of cheap labour and marriages targeting minors.

Underage girls were being lured out of the camps with a promise of well paying jobs, but end up as house girls or victims of arranged marriages.

An officer in charge of Internally Displaced Persons' (IDPs) camps, Mr Jesse Njoroge, confirmed that they have rescued 31 underage girls from early marriages and cheap labour.

"Some desperate parents even confessed receiving money from people in exchange for their daughters," said Njoroge.
Some of the girls, he said, were offered accommodation by 'Good Samaritans' only to end up as house helps.

"We managed to get all the 31 who had been taken on different dates to various locations in Nakuru town since this camp was started. They are now back in camp," he said.

The Kenya Red Cross Society has since put measures to curb the vice by vetting those entering the camps and putting notices that cheap labour was not available.

'Hatuuzi wasichana na wavulana wa kazi hapa' (we do not have girls and boys for cheap labour here)', reads one of the notices at the Nakuru Showground.

Another notice read: "This camp is not a source for cheap labour."

Njoroge said some people were taking advantage of the displaced people and duped them that they had jobs for their children.

He said some parents were offering their daughters for arranged marriages out of desperation and need for money.

"Some girls were being offered for marriage for as little as Sh2,000," he said. [about $30 USD]

The coordinator, however, said they were educating parents against allowing their children to be taken by strangers.
Investigation by The Standard showed that some people were going to the camps pretending they were visiting the displaced only to end up looking for labour.

One of the IDPs, Ms Jane Njeri, said strangers had on several occasions asked her whether they could get a girl to hire as a house help.

"I once told a woman I did not know and asked her to go to the Red Cross information desk for help," she said.

Meanwhile, many displaced families in Eldoret are not ready to be re-settled by the Government due to fears of fresh attacks.

Some of the victims told The Standard that they could only agree to leave the camps if the Government assured them of their security.

"I cannot go back to the farm because those who attacked us were our neighbours and nothing can stop them from attacking us again," said Ms Veronica Wanjiru, 64, at the Eldoret Showground camp, which is hosting more than 14,000 people.

The victims claimed past experience had shown that those who are re-settled are later attacked despite assurance of security.

"The Government re-settled some of those who were attacked in the 1992 and 1997 clashes only for them to be attacked again," said Mr Ngumo Mwaniki, another victim of the recent post-election violence.

The victims felt although there were many problems at the camps, they were more secure than while in their homes because of the security the police offered.

Uasin Gishu DC, Mr Benard Kinyua had one week ago said plans for the re-settlement of the victims were at an advanced stage.

Kinyua said the Government was finalising the re-settlement plans and that once security was restored in areas affected by the violence, those displaced would be assisted to re-settle.

According to the Kenya Red-Cross Society, about 65,000 people have been displaced by the violence in Uasin Gishu District alone. [around Eldoret]

Kinyua had said those who had made individual efforts to re-settle should report any fresh attacks to the police and local administration.

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

7 - CEOs Meet Over Post-Poll Crisis

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008 Nairobi

The country's top corporate sector executives converge Tuesday in Nairobi at a forum aimed at recommending ways of healing the country following the post-General Election violence.

Over 200 CEOs are due to discuss and recommend economic, social and humanitarian resolutions required to stem the tide of decline currently being witnessed.

Safaricom CEO, Mr Michael Joseph said the resolutions will then be presented to the Mr Kofi Annan-led mediation team as the business community's recommendations on the way forward.

"The private sector initiative would discuss the current situation, express its concern on the economic impact on the country and consider what support and recommendations it would make to the Kofi Annan initiative," said Mr Joseph.

Some of the CEOs expected at the forum include Nation Media Group's Mr Linus Gitahi, Kenya Airway's Mr Titus Naikuni and Stanbic Investment Bank's Mr John Ngumi amongst others.

Mr Naikuni said the current political situation had plunged Kenya into an unprecedented humanitarian and economic crisis adding that businesses had suffered losses that will have an impact not just in economic terms, but more so on people's lives and livelihoods.

"We are expecting this event to be an important milestone in the process of resolving the crisis," he said. Mr William Lay, the General Motors Kenya Ltd MD, said the forum will provide a clear statement from the private sector on "how we can all work together to help Kenya get back to its' rightful place in the world economy."

Mr Annan is leading a team of eminent persons, who include Mrs Graca Machel-Mandela, ex- Mozambique and Tanzanian presidents, Mr Joachim Chisano and Mr Benjamin Mkapa respectively, in resolving the current political impasse between the two main protagonists, that has plunged the country into chaos.

The violence witnessed in the last six weeks has generally affected the country's productive sectors, especially the tourism and transport sectors.

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

8 - Ranneberger Explains U.S. Stance On Crisis

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Alex Ndegwa

The United States has identified high profile personalities - both in Government and Opposition - who will be slapped with a visa ban soon on suspicions of fanning violence, The Standard has learnt.

The ambassador to Kenya, Mr Michael Ranneberger, said the US Government would "shortly" contact the affected individuals who would face visa restrictions alongside their families.

The envoy, however, declined to divulge the names of the individuals during an exclusive interview with The Standard at his Nairobi residence, on Monday.

Should the US make good its threat, it would be joining Canada, which has since announced it would deny visas to individuals who undermine democracy and sabotage ongoing mediation efforts.

Ranneberger described news of the sidelining of South African negotiator, Mr Cyril Ramophosa, from the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks, as "unfortunate", noting that Ramophosa was a "good and effective negotiator".

But the diplomat said as a sign of goodwill the participation of any person in any mediation talks should be acceptable to both parties.

The following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: What is your assessment of the political situation?

We are deeply concerned, particularly by the level of violence. What happened on December 30 (after announcement of presidential results) not only concerns results of the election but also revealed deep underlying problems that must be addressed as well.

There is serious concern whether leaders can come together to work out a solution acceptable to Kenyans.

Kenya is an important country to the US. Our relationship is founded on democratic principles. We want to see the country stable and encourage both sides to promote dialogue and support the Annan-led talks so that Kenya can emerge from the crisis a stronger democracy with stronger institutions.

You cannot apportion blame. Both leaders bear responsibility, perhaps of not having exerted leadership earlier enough. But we are assured that both leaders are committed to resolving the impasse.

Q: What is your comment on the war of words between President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga?

In any negotiations, you are always going to have the private talks, which are more constructive. Then there are public statements of both sides trying to mobilise their supporters.

We urge both leaders to make public statements consistent with what they are doing in the talks. They should send a clear unequivocal message about the need to stop violence and work together to resolve issues that divide them and achieve national reconciliation. These public statements are of certain concern, but my understanding is that progress is being made in the talks and that's what people should focus on.

Q: Is US considering revoking visas of politicians linked to the on-going violence?

A week ago, I stated that any perpetrator, supporting or inciting violence, and their families, would not be issued visas.

We will certainly be in touch with a number of individuals to tell them that they may be affected by that (directive).

We have taken the lead on that and it is
important that Kenyans know that people who do not co-operate to achieve peace
and those responsible for violence will not be viewed positively (by US).

Q: Who are these people?

We have identified a number of people that could potentially be subject to these visa restrictions. Obviously I'm not going to disclose names but suffice it to say that the people in question are from both sides. These are, however, cases being reviewed. Those who jeopardise talks will also be considered.

Q: What about reports that the US senate's foreign relations committee is due on Thursday to discuss the Kenyan crisis?

In fact, it is both the House of Representatives and Senate. Both hearings reflect the serious level of concern that the crisis has generated. The hearings are positive signals that the US is concerned and wants to help.

Q: Is Vice President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka's scheduled visit to the US linked to the discussion?

No, the Vice President is traveling on his own initiative. We did not invite him. He is going to attend the national prayer breakfast meeting. I'm sure he is going to do other things. This is not an official invitation from the US Government.

The Kenya/US relationship is worth $2 billion in
trade, remittances and aid.
We want
peace with truth and justice.

If the country is not stable, that partnership will be affected. At this point, it is important to give dialogue a chance, although politicians have rapidly resumed their war of words.

Q: Ramophosa's involvement in talks has been questioned. What do you say?

It is unfortunate, because he is a good and effective negotiator. We have respect for Kofi Annan and the talks he is spearheading. Ramophosa is credible too, I don't know why the Government rejected his involvement. But it is important that any mediator is acceptable to both parties for talks to succeed.

Q: Why are statements by US diplomat, Dr Jendayi Frazer, and the State Department over the crisis conflicting?

The violence is complex. We have to look at it from two sides; one was spontaneous but part of it was organised.

There was an organised effort to move certain commonalties from land they had occupied. The point is not the term used but what happened.

Q: Raila claims the US is among the countries pushing his quest for the presidency. Is this true?

We are not supporting anyone. In fact, we stated
ahead of the elections that we would remain neutral with respect to the
candidates, but not the process.

We, however, condemned the electoral process, particularly the tallying of the presidential vote that was deeply flawed.

Q: Dr Frazer reportedly said if Kenyans did not resolve the crisis the international community would provide a solution. How is this possible?

If a solution to the crisis is not found, the problem will inevitably become of more concern to the international community. The UN Security Council and the AU will become more involved because Kenya is too important to be left to destroy itself. But we are confident that Kenyans will resolve the crisis.

Q: The US says it supports institutions and Kibaki has instructed the Opposition to take the dispute in court. What should happen?

We respected the ECK's announcement of the winner because the law mandates it. But the ECK is an institution and tallying was flawed, hence the need for a political solution.

Even though the Government has urged those disputing
results to go to court, everyone knows the courts' credibility is questionable
and all petitions have taken too much time to be resolved.

Q: What do you take of the recent murder of the two Opposition MPs?

Certain elements have not been satisfactorily explained. Within hours of each murders, we (US) offered the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigations to work with Kenyan authorities to probe the cases.

Although I have formally notified the Government, it has still not responded to our offer.

Q: Was the post-election violence premeditated?

A lot of violence was planned and organised. But it would have occurred, no matter who won, because it took the dimension of land disputes. Certain people incited others.

There needs to be impartial investigation. We should also ask leaders and the media to shun hate speeches. Kenyans have lived together for long and are ready to end the violence.

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

9 - Wetangula Dismisses Raila's Call for Foreign Troops

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Caroline Mango And Ngumbao Kithi

The government has dismissed calls for the deployment of foreign troops to keep peace.

Responding to ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga's remarks that Kenya needed foreign troops, Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Moses Wetangula, said such a move was out of the question.

"That is not an issue which we can consider. We need to talk to each other and not invite foreign troops into the country," he said.

Addressing the Press a day after he arrived from the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Wetangula said the AU had taken concrete measures to help Kenya.

At the same time, he reiterated President Kibaki's stand that the opposition should follow the rule of law and go to court if they felt aggrieved over the outcome of last year's General Election.

He said Kibaki's views were similar to the AU assembly's decision, which asked both parties to commit themselves to a peaceful solution in conformity with the rule of law.

But a group of religious leaders supported the proposal of inviting foreign peacekeepers. The Mombasa Anglican Church Bishop Kalu said the country needed neutral troops for some time.

And Muslims, through the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, blamed the AU and the UN for doing nothing while Kenyans died in large numbers.

Meanwhile, several pro-Government MPs have rejected a call by ODM to engage the services of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in investigating the murders of two legislators.

The MPs said they were confident with ongoing police investigations.

Kangundo MP, Mr Johnson Muthama, said it was unfair for ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, to ask the FBI to investigate the killing of two people while more than 800 had been killed in the ongoing violence.

"It is not realistic for the State to pay for investigations into the killings of two people while we mourn deaths of hundreds," said Muthama.

He spoke when he and six other MPs toured Nyahururu, Ngorika, Tumaini, and Ol Kalou where displaced people are camping.

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

10 - Schools in Nyanza Now Open After Three Weeks

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Harold Ayodo And Jack Nduri

Learning has slowly resumed in schools in Nyanza following the weekend appeal by ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.

The Nyanza Provincial Director of Education (PDE), Mr Geoffrey Cherongis, said that the next hurdle was for students to recover the lost time.

The PDE said that they would consider having remedial classes over the weekends for students to catch up with the rest countrywide.

He appealed to parents to take their children to school, saying that local political leaders had assured them of support and security.

He also appealed to head teachers to engage the services of professional counsellors to assist students overcome trauma following the post-election violence.

"Nyanza was largely affected by violence and teachers and students need counselling," he noted.

Most parents told The Standard that they were weighing the situation before letting their children attend school today.

Pupils at Highway Primary School, along the Kisumu-Kakamega road, were in high spirits when the deputy headmistress, Mrs Jane Ajowi, addressed the morning assembly.

"I urge you to tell your friends to come to school tomorrow as we are behind in the syllabus," Ajowi told 200 pupils who had turned up.

On Sunday, Raila crisscrossed the province as he campaigned for the re-opening of learning institutions.

The Lang'ata MP addressed youths in Kondele and explained the negative repercussions of illiteracy.

"ODM does not support the sabotage of schools as a way of seeking justice on the flawed presidential election. Let children go to class," he said.

The re-opening of schools in Nyanza aborted twice last month after saboteurs threatened to burn institutions and teachers unless the political stalemate was resolved.

Assurance of security to schools by Nyanza PC, Mr Paul Olando, did not bear any fruit as staff and students continued to stay away.

Maseno School was the only institution that opened on January 14 as scheduled.

Meanwhile, most schools in Southern Nyanza re-opened yesterday following Raila's appeal.

Students streamed into their schools in Homa Bay, Rachuonyo, Suba, Migori and Rongo Districts.

School heads were in meetings to chart the way forward following a delay by the Government in remitting funds for free education.

Transport services to Nairobi and other parts of the country remained paralysed, forcing some parents to book flights to take their children to schools in other provinces.

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

11 - Flower Farms in Crisis As Workers Flee

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Antony Gitonga

Flower farming in Naivasha is in a crisis following massive exodus of workers due to violence that has forced thousands to flee.

With less than a week to Valentine's Day, when lovers and close friends exchange fresh flowers worldwide, more than 3,000 workers have resigned from their jobs due to the violence.

The Kenya Plantations and allied Workers Union (KPAWU) said most of their members in Naivasha town and Karagita estate have decided to quit.

Mr Peter Otieno, the union's local secretary-general, said the move had plunged the industry into a crisis that has already affected production.

"The workers are fearful and have been traumatised by what they saw. They cannot stay in Naivasha anymore," he said.

Otieno, who was also displaced, said that small-scale farms were the most affected.

"The union and the management have tried to talk to the fleeing workers, but many are adamant that they would not stay in Naivasha as their lives were in danger."

Workers said they were not keen to work in Naivasha anymore.

" It is no longer safe. There is hatred and a small incident triggers emotions that lead to death and destruction of property," said Joel Ochuodho.

"What is the need of working tirelessly for
years only to be carried home in a coffin?" [Joel Ochuodho] asked.

Mr Joseph Kibuta, a senior manager with Panda [means 'to plant' in Swahili] Flowers, said more than 200 workers have already left the farm.

"There is a problem and some workers want to go on leave while others have resigned. But this won't affect out Valentine production," he said.

The world's leading producer of rose flowers, Sher Karutuli, has, however, downplayed the crisis, saying only a few workers had left.

One of the farm's directors, Mr Martin Ole Kamwaro said about 20 workers had resigned.

"It's true that the workers are affected and want to leave Naivasha, but I have managed to convince most of them otherwise," he said.

But another firm, Homegrown Company, confirmed that one of its farms, Kingfisher, lost more than 200 workers.
A senior manager said they feared the problem could get worse, if the tense situation continued.

But speaking on the telephone, the farm's Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Mr Richard Fox, said the situation had normalised, but added that the firm would issue a comprehensive statement through the Kenya Flower Council.

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

12 - Mystery of Bodies Dumped in Mortuary

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Francis Ngige

Mystery surrounds the dumping of six mutilated bodies in a mortuary.

According to sources at the Central Provincial General Hospital mortuary in Nyeri, the police from Kiganjo, a few kilometres from the town, took the bodies to the mortuary last weekend.They were marked unknown.

Three of the bodies were burnt, while the others had deep wounds inflicted with sharp objects.

The source said mortuary administrators were waiting for approval from the Hospital Superintendent, Dr Victor Muyembe, before they could dispose of the bodies.

On his part, the doctor said he was waiting for a report from the police about the unidentified bodies. But Nyeri OCPD, Mr Limbitu Kirunya, denied that the police had dumped bodies at the mortuary.

"You will excuse me for now because I am not aware of what you are talking about," said the OCPD, before hanging up the telephone.

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

13 - Lawyers Push to Withhold Taxes

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Maureen Mudi

Some lawyers want people to withhold taxes until the political crisis is resolved.

They asked the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to launch a campaign to urge Kenyans to withhold income and Value Added taxes.

In a statement signed by Mr Charles Kanjama of Muma and Kanjama Advocates, the lawyers will tie white and yellow armbands to support their cause.

"The white ribbon will signify peace, while the
yellow one will signify justice, both of which are in short supply," said

In the letter to the LSK Council, the lawyers said citizens had a right to put pressure on the Government.

"The plan would involve two phases: The first on all small and medium-scale enterprises (for one month) and the second involving bigger corporate enterprises," said the statement.

The lawyer said a written agreement would be made with participating employees, allowing them to change their contracts from monthly to annual or half-yearly.

They also suggested that employees be given loans or advances equivalent to their previous monthly salary.

The plan would ensure that no payroll is prepared during the tax boycott, hence no Pay As You Earn (PAYE) for several months.

This would starve the Government of tax, which is the primary source of its revenue.

Kanjama said several LSK members had been approached and agreed to represent employers taken to court over the issue.

At the same time, the lawyers want LSK to file a suit to seek a declaration upholding their course of action.

"We as the LSK are asking the citizens to starve this Government of cash, to complement the threatened withdrawal of donor support, until its illegitimacy is rectified," stated the proposal.

Other recommendations include the limitation of the duration of the electoral tribunal to reduce costs.

"LSK can appoint a panel of retired or commonwealth judges or eminent counsel to make a decision or findings. LSK would have to establish the rules of this tribunal after appointing the eminent jurists," said Kanjama.

It was suggested that LSK members start wearing white and yellow ribbons daily or three times a week, in court and on the streets.

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


14 - Town sitting on time bomb after burning fire engine - Nation

Publication Date: 2/5/2008

Without a single fire engine, Nakuru Town is literally sitting on a time bomb.

The situation puts in jeopardy nearly 500,000 people and heavy investments in the area in case of a fire outbreak.

The only fire engine that was the town’s saving grace was reduced to a shell two weeks ago during the violence occasioned by last year’s disputed presidential elections.

Consequently, the 25 fire fighters at municipal council of Nakuru are now idle after their 1,600-litre capacity fire engine was burnt when some of their own rushed to rescue the situation in the western part of the town where many houses had been set ablaze by rioters. The firemen escaped from the wrath of rioters to save their lives.

Angry residents
The firemen have several times escaped from angry residents in the past when the old fire engine failed.

Currently, the fire brigade exists only in name, a situation that puts the town at great risk.

Only six months ago, town clerk Albert Leina disclosed that the council required Sh500 million to equip the department and called for Government intervention. The situation that was worse then has turned into a grave matter.

Past fire incidents in the town have led to great losses. The greatest catastrophe struck on March 30, 2003, when fire razed a Sh400 million processing plant belonging to the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (PBK), in which stock worth Sh200 million was reduced to ashes.

The destruction of the plant forced PBK to transport pyrethrum flowers to Rwanda for processing. For the next few years, PBK relied on the Rwanda processing plants to meet obligations to its customers worldwide.

Sources told the Nation that the European Union, which sympathised with Kenya for the huge loss, offered to provide the country with three fire engines on condition that the Government waived duty on the equipment. One of the fire engines would have been stationed at the PBK premises while the other two would have gone to the council.

The exemption of duty was neither pursued by PBK nor the council and the matter is still in abeyance.

Blamed for negligence
In the past, the council has been blamed for negligence after it failed to service two fire engines donated by the Lions Club and the business community.

Early last year, the Lions Club of Swansea in the UK offered Kenya 61 World War II fire engines on condition that the Government meets the Sh30 million shipping fees.

The UK fire engines known as the Green Goddess had been manufactured to deal with fires during World War II but the battle ended before they could be put to use.

Letters Mr Phil Cozens exchanged with senior Government officials between November 2005 and February, last year, indicate that most of the Green Goddesses had done only 5,000 kilometres and were in perfect condition.

One of the letters by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Local Government, Mr Solomon Boit, said in part: “We appreciate the donation and would like to get a confirmation that the fire engines are not more than eight years old. It is Government policy that second-hand vehicles imported into the country should be less than eight years old”.

Mr Cozens argued that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) had exempted fire engines and special purpose vehicles such as ambulances and left-hand drive vehicles from the age rule.

He could not understand why the Government had backed down on its promise to pay the shipping of the fire engines that would have befitted several towns.

“In simple terms, the Kenyan Government who had agreed in writing to pay for the shipping costs suddenly backed out. First they said they would pay in advance and later when the engines arrived in Mombasa. Then they claimed they had no funds and were seeking aid from the British Government,” Mr Cozens said in one of the letters.

All the dithering by the Government had been going on even as the fire fighters faced frustration in their duty.

In many instances, victims of fires would get angry when the engine ran out of water, forcing the firemen to go searching for hydrants, most of which are not functional.

By the time the engine was replenished, the firemen would go back only to meet hostile crowds, forcing them to flee.

A few years ago, concerned members of the Federation of Kenya Employers and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers sent a memorandum to the Government in which they raised the issue of lack of an efficient fire brigade in Nakuru town.

The memo said in part: “Private investors are complaining that this vital service is lacking in Nakuru which means that the investments in Nakuru risk being burnt down to the ground in case of a fire outbreak. We have had several fires in the municipality which destroyed business.”

The investors said they were willing to offer assistance if given incentives to do so and if they were informed of the shortcomings of the problems the fire brigade was experiencing at the time. There has been no response on the same.

Nakuru Town MP Lee Kinyanjui told the Nation that purchase of a new fire engine could not be sourced from the Constituency Development Fund since the current allocations were approved last year.

Fire outbreak
Mr Kinyanjui said the alternative was to source funding from the Ministry of Local Government to urgently buy at least one fire engine with a bigger water holding capacity to deal with any major fire outbreak.

A Nakuru human rights activist, Mr David Kuria, said the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) should buy at least two fire engines and station them at the Lake Nakuru National Park main gate.

“Fires break out in the park during the dry season and KWS need to have fire engines to deal with such situations and assist the Nakuru municipal council when need arise,” Mr Kuria said.

Nakuru is the fourth largest town in the country after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

It connects Nairobi to western Kenya and Uganda and is among the fastest growing towns in Kenya. Lack of fire engines translates into a disaster waiting to happen.


15 - Kenya Struggles To Find Ways To Make Peace – eFlux Media

By Matthew Williams 16:00, February 5th 2008
2 votes

On Tuesday government and opposition politicians began to discuss plans to reach a deal in order to put an end to the deadly conflict which was triggered after the December elections in Kenya.

According to a government spokesman, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was scheduled to meet with senior business leaders. He is present in Kenya in an attempt to try to resolve the crisis.

Annan said: "Today we are tackling the political issues and the controversial elections. I hope we move as expeditiously as possible because we have no time," AFP reports.

On Monday South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew as the chief negotiator from the negotiations table, due to the fact that the government showed some reservations about him.

He said that he couldn’t perform his job to the fullest "without the complete confidence of both parties."

On Tuesday Red Cross announced that the death toll was of 1,000 and that around 300,000 people were refugees.

Since Friday, when the leaders of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement reached a deal with the government to end the deadlock, 140 people have died.

After the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki on December 27, 2007, the country has been swept by violence.

A way to stop the street battles would be a power-sharing, meaning that Kibaki remains president, but with less power, and opposition leader Raila Odinga becomes Prime Minister. In order for Odinga to be Prime Minister, a constitutional amendment will have to be created.

Rivals refused this kind of idea, while Annan said that Tuesday’s negotiations could introduce "necessary legislations and laws."

Uganda, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia announced that on Wednesday they will send their foreign ministers to Nairobi to support the government.

Anyang Nyongo, secretary general of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement, urged the ministers not to come at a time "the very legitimacy" of Kibaki’s position is questionable.

Annan put a deadline of seven to 15 days to resolve the crisis.

At the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Odinga asked for peacekeepers at a meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Salim Lone, spokesman for the Orange Democratic Movement, said: "The level of violence in Kenya is unprecedented. It's on a terrifying scale and it has not really diminished. People who have lived together for generations have, after the fraudulent election, turned on each other. The security forces seem incapable of stopping this carnage, and in some cases, they actually stand by while the killing goes on. For sure, international assistance is needed."

© 2007 - 2008 - eFluxMedia


16 - Kenya slammed over Ramaphosa

05/02/2008 17:12 - (SA)

Pretoria - The South African government on Tuesday lashed out at the Kenyan government for its rejection of
Cyril Ramaphosa as mediator in Kenya's crisis talks.

"South African government strongly rejects the erroneous argument by the government that Mr Ramaphosa could not be an honest broker.

"The reasons given by the goverment are rejected with the contempt they deserve," said deputy foreign affairs minister
Aziz Pahad on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa on Monday withdrew as chief mediator in crisis talks in Kenya. According to reports the Kenyan government suggested he was biased in favour of the opposition, something he denied.

He was appointed by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and only arrived in Nairobi on Friday.
Kenya has undergone weeks of turmoil following flawed elections.

About 1 000 people have died dead and over a quarter of a million have been displaced.


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