Monday, February 4, 2008

Today's Headlines - Mon 2/04/2008

Overview - Kenya rivals resume peace talks - BBC

1 - Kenya rivals return to talks but mediator pulls out - Reuters
2 - Kenya talks resume as violence continues - Guardian
3 - Govt Rejects Ramaphosa - Nation
4 - Killing Kenya - LA Times
5 - Opposition ODM Condemns Kenya Violence, Says It Favors Peace - Voice of America
6 - Halting Kenya's chaotic spiral - Statesman Journal (Salem, OR)
7 - Kenya cops take on youth gangs - The Times (AFP)

8 - Trial No 2 for a ‘toff’ rekindles Kenyan anger - Times online
9 - Kenyan government rejects mediator - AP
10 - Kenya lifts ban on live broadcasts - govt spokesman - Reuters AlertNet
11 - Kenya unrest stalls rail traffic with Uganda - Reuters AlertNet
12 - Kenya legislator says first lady assaulted him - Reuters AlertNet


Overview - Kenya rivals resume peace talks

Houses in western Kenya are still being torched

Talks aimed at resolving Kenya's post-election crisis have resumed in the capital Nairobi.

Scores of people have been killed in the last two days despite an agreement signed by President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Odinga called on Sunday for foreign peacekeepers, saying he does not trust national security forces.

Weeks of political and ethnic violence have left hundreds dead and driven many thousands from their homes.

Mr Kibaki claimed victory in the presidential vote on 27 December but the opposition says the vote was rigged.

The unrest has blocked many of Kenya's main road and rail links, which are vital for Uganda, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region.

A delegation of Ugandan ministers has travelled to Tanzania, to discuss importing goods via its port of Dar-es-Salaam, instead of Mombasa in Kenya.

South African role Former UN chief Kofi Annan on Friday brokered a deal between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga, setting up a framework for the negotiations.

But the man he hoped would lead the talks, South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, has been dropped from the mediation panel, because of objections by the Kenyan government.

We are committed to ending this violence but it will
not happen in a day or two or three or a week

Opposition official
William Ruto

Mr Ramaphosa played a key role for the African National Congress negotiating with South Africa's last minority white government.

Meanwhile, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, has appealed for an end to the "totally unacceptable" violence and called on Kenyans to back the talks.

"My heart aches for Kenya. Your countrymen and women have suffered greatly," he told the BBC.

"It is in your power to stop the violence if you act as one. You have an opportunity now to stand up for peace."

'At the brink'
The discussions are due to last a month and aim to halt the bloodshed within two weeks.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee

The two sides are due to discuss the key allegations of electoral fraud this week.

Other issues that the two parties agreed to address are the humanitarian situation, the political crisis, and land and historical injustices.

But politicians have rapidly resumed their war of words.

A senior colleague of Mr Odinga, William Ruto, told the BBC that without foreign intervention there would be no peace.

"We are committed to ending this violence but it will not happen in a day or two or three or a week," he said.

"You should understand the situation in this country is that we are literally at the brink."

'Police misused'
Mr Odinga called for peacekeepers from the UN or the African Union "because the police have often been misused and we do not have faith in the army to be neutral."

But Mr Kibaki and his supporters continue to accuse the opposition of fuelling the unrest.

"This is a politically instigated situation," said information minister Samuel Pergisio.

"It is a process that requires these politicians to go back and speak to their people."

Meanwhile, the violence has continued.

On Sunday, pitched battles between youths armed with bows, arrows, machetes and rocks were reported in the west of the country.

In Nyanza province, police trailed fighters after they razed more than 100 houses and a primary school, Reuters news agency reported.

Story from BBC

1 - Kenya rivals return to talks but mediator pulls out

Mon Feb 4, 2008 10:40am EST
By Duncan Miriri and Nick Tattersall

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan brought Kenya's rival sides together on Monday to try to end a month of post-election bloodshed, but his efforts to solve ethnic strife hit a new setback when a top mediator quit.

Annan brokered a deal between feuding politicians on Friday to act within 15 days to halt violence that has killed 900 people and negotiate an end to a political standoff triggered by President Mwai Kibaki's disputed Dec 27. re-election.

He said the two sides would then tackle a longer term solution to the deep ethnic divisions laid bare by the political impasse and selected South African business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa to head that stage of the negotiations.

But Ramaphosa pulled out on Monday after complaints from government officials that he had business links to opposition leader Raila Odinga.

"I thought I should withdraw and go back to South Africa so I don't become a stumbling block myself," said Ramaphosa, the chief negotiator for South Africa's African National Congress in talks that brought a peaceful end to apartheid in 1994.

But he denied having business links with the opposition.

Underscoring the challenge for mediators, Kibaki and Odinga have continued to trade harsh words, accusing each other of trying to sabotage talks. Clashes between groups of youths backing one side or the other raged over the weekend.

Kibaki says he fairly won the vote that returned him to power and accuses Odinga of fanning violence. Odinga says Kibaki stole victory and refuses to recognize him as president.

Kenya's image as a stable and prosperous African state has suffered badly as a result of a crisis.

What started as a political dispute has uncorked decades-old divisions between tribal groups over land, wealth and power, dating from British colonial rule and stoked by Kenyan politicians for personal gain during 44 years of independence.

At least 900 people have been killed in ethnic violence and clashes with the security forces.

Some 300,000 have been forced to flee their homes in one of modern Kenya's worst periods.

Talks between the rival sides resumed on Monday with a Red Cross briefing on the extent of the bloodshed, officials said.

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, just back from an African Union summit where Kenya was in the spotlight, said the east African regional bloc IGAD -- chaired by Kenya's government -- would be involved in efforts to end the crisis.

But an opposition spokesman dismissed the invitation to IGAD ministers as an attempt by the Kibaki government to win recognition from neighboring states.

Wetangula said both sides had made statements "that could spoil the mediation talks" and urged a rapid solution.

"We cannot afford to be a permanent feature on television screens for all the wrong reasons," he said.

In the volatile and ethnically mixed western region, gangs fired arrows and threw rocks at each other in front of police who were unable or unwilling to intervene on Sunday.

On Monday, residents said calm had returned save for a little looting, and urged the politicians to get to work.

"Raila and Kibaki must be serious. They must not talk together and then go to the press saying something different. They should agree on what they tell Kenyans. We are confused," farmer Sylvester Barake said, sitting in an empty gas station.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

Story from Reuters

11.45am GMT

2 - Kenya talks resume as violence continues

Matthew Weaver and agencies
Monday February 4, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

Talks between Kenya's bitter political rivals resumed today amid opposition calls for peacekeeping troops to be sent to tackle the continuing violence sweeping the country.

The former UN general secretary Kofi Annan will again chair today's meeting between representatives of the disputed president, Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

Yesterday, Odinga said UN or African Union troops should be deployed to help end the violence.

On Friday, the two sides agreed to a two-week plan to stop the bloodshed. However, violence continued over the weekend and overnight, when at least seven more people died in fighting between the Kisii and Kalenjin communities in Sotik, 150 miles west of Nairobi.


Story from Guardian

3 - Govt Rejects Ramaphosa

The Nation (Nairobi)NEWS
4 February 2008 Posted to the web 4 February 2008 Nairobi

South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa has withdrawn from the Kenya mediation following his rejection by the Government side.

Mr Ramaphosa, who had been invited by Kofi Annan, announced his withdrawal from the talks shortly before 1pm today. He said he withdrew following reservations by the Government/ PNU adding that he could not join the process without the consent of both parties involved in the negotiations.

‘My experience in Northern Ireland and South Africa convinced me that a mediator can be effective only when he has full consent and support of all parties. Unfortunately that is not the case,’ he said.

Mr Annan expressed regret over Ramaphosa’s withdrawal saying that the South African was the most experienced and qualified for the job. He said the search for another mediator will continue and hoped it would not set back the ongoing dialogue.

Sources from the Party of National Unity (PNU) had earlier accused Mr Ramaphosa of being a key ally and business partner of opposition leader Mr Raila Odinga.

Mr Ramaphosa denied any links with the ODM leader. He also denied accusations that he had funded Odingá’s presidential campaign. Last week Odinga termed the allegations as ‘wild and unfounded.’

Copyright © 2008 The Nation. All rights reserved.

Story distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

4 - Killing Kenya

In the spiraling tribal violence, the moderates who are its best hope for the future are the first to die.

February 4, 2008

Melitus Mugabe Were was a rarity among Kenyan politicians, a moderate who straddled the divides rending the country. A freshman lawmaker in parliament, he was a man who could have mediated between extremists in both the ruling party and the opposition, those who are fueling the violence that has left about 800 people dead in the past month and wrecked the infrastructure that turned Kenya into one of Africa's most promising and prosperous democracies.

He could have, that is, if thugs hadn't pulled up beside his Mercedes as he stopped at the gate in front of his Nairobi home last week, dragged him out of his car and pumped bullets into his eye and heart. He had just turned 39.

Kenya's problems have roots that go much deeper than a spat between rival parties. When President Mwai Kibaki was reelected Dec. 27 in a tally riddled with fraud and other irregularities, it touched off a tribal and class conflict that had been simmering for years.

Kibaki is a member of the dominant Kikuyu tribe, which makes up about 22% of the population but enjoys a disproportionate share of the country's land, wealth and political power. The other 40-odd tribes have long resented the Kikuyu, especially the Kalenjin and Luo, who feel they were victimized by an unequal land distribution policy during the colonial period that benefited the Kikuyu.

Opposition party leader Raila Odinga is a Luo (as was the father of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, prompting Odinga to complain that Americans would elect a Luo president before Kenyans would).

Were was a member of the Luhya tribe, from Odinga's opposition party. Yet he rejected the tribal politics that have prompted other Kenyan leaders, including both Kibaki and Odinga, to incite their followers to further violence, telling supporters not to join in the ongoing protests of the election results.

A successful, Italian-educated entrepreneur who built a small soccer stadium in the Nairobi slum where he was born and founded a home for AIDS orphans, he was married to a Kikuyu woman and seemed a living embodiment of a future when ethnicity would cease to define Kenyans.

Ironically, his murder was used to promote yet more violence, with Odinga implying that the killing was a political assassination by his adversaries. At least seven people died in the subsequent riots; the slaying of another opposition lawmaker two days later sparked more uprisings.

One of the tragedies of a deeply divided society like Kenya's is that when the shooting starts, the peacemakers and moderates are often the first to fall.

Kibaki and Odinga have both amply demonstrated that they're unfit to run the country, but for now, its best hope is that they can agree to some sort of power-sharing arrangement. In Kenya's immature democracy, the demagogues are in charge; someday they'll give way to people more like Were. If any survive.

Story from LA Times

5 - Opposition ODM Condemns Kenya Violence, Says It Favors Peace

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
04 February 2008

Clottey Interview WIth ODM'S Anyang Nyongo - Download (MP3) Clottey Interview WIth ODM'S Anyang Nyongo - Listen (MP3)

Kenya’s main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) says it is committed to finding a lasting solution to the escalating violence blamed for the loss of lives and property.

This follows reports of gangs from rival ethnic groups clashing in Kenya's Rift Valley. Faced with clubs, bows and machetes, Kenyan police were no match for the throng and seemed underpowered to intervene. The ODM blames embattled President Mwai Kibaki’s recent rhetoric at the Africa Union summit in Addis Ababa for undermining peace talks between the government and the opposition.

The negotiations, spearheaded by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan are aimed at resolving the December 27 disputed presidential election, which is blamed for the escalating violence. From the capital, Nairobi, ODM secretary general Anyang Nyongo tells reporter Peter Clottey that his party abhors all forms of violence.

“We have always rejected violence. Not just the current one,” Nyongo said.

He condemned a recent statement by President Kibaki at the just ended Ethiopia summit as unfortunate and contemptible.

“Kibaki is not normal, Kibaki is mentally impaired. Kibaki is mentally impaired. That is why he says such nonsensical things,” he noted.

Nyongo said all seems to be set for the next round of peace talks.

“We have agreed on the rule of engagement. We have agreed that current issues, like the violence, like the militias, and who finances the militias. We want to dispose of these issues within one week and by Wednesday go to the real issues that brought Annan here, and that is to sort out the stolen vote. What happened? We want to know the truth. And we want to know why the person who stole the vote is in power. Those are the real issues that we want settled through the mediation talks,” Nyongo pointed out.

He said President Kibaki’s recent statement is undermining the Annan-led peace talks.

“He says things that even undermine the position of his own government. Once they had agreed and he appeared with Raila in public to endorse the mediation, he should be faithful to his public appearance. Not go somewhere and undermine the public appearance by words that have obviously undermined the process. He should watch his words and keep his brains above his shoulders,” Nyongo said.

Despite the drawbacks, Nyongo says the peace talks are generally proceeding according to the opposition’s expectations.

“The prospects are high on our side because we believe that the mediation has to succeed if there is going to be justice and peace in this country. And we expect the PNU (Party of National Unity) side to respond likewise. I don’t like calling the PNU side the government. We know that there is a government made of civil servants in this country. The usurpers of political power like Kibaki don’t have the legitimacy to speak on behalf of Kenyans,” Nyongo noted.

Story from Voice of America

6 - Halting Kenya's chaotic spiral

February 4, 2008


Allegations of vote fraud in Kenya's closely fought presidential election have sparked riots and demonstrations throughout the country.

Kenya's crisis, however, "has mutated from an electoral dispute into much deeper problems with a high potential for recurrence," former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told a reporter with Nairobi's East African Standard. Annan went to Kenya to try to mediate the political dispute and calm violent tribal passions.

All too often in the developing world tribes and ethnic groups form the core of political parties.

With ethnicity for tinder, minor political squabbles -- much less issues involving the control of national institutions like a presidency -- risk igniting deadly ethnic conflict.

In Kenya, East Africa's "stable nation," ethnic fighting has ignited.

Diplomats and cooler Kenyan leaders are trying to confine the ugly violence. Kenya matters.

Kenya has provided a stabilizing political influence in a war-wrecked region -- violent conflicts tear its neighbors Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda. Kenya has been a reliable American ally, with its port of Mombasa welcoming the U.S. Navy. It is a regional economic powerhouse.

Still, the inter-tribal violence recalls impoverished Rwanda and its ghastly 1994 genocide.

Annan may be the best mediator available. A former secretary-general underscores global concern, and his presence appeals to the egos of Kenya's two rival leaders, President Mwai Kibaki (who claims he won the presidential election) and opposition leader Raila Odinga (who claims Kibaki won by fraud). Annan attracts international media attention.

While an intense media spotlight certainly doesn't stop violence in some circumstances, it can have a dampening effect. Kenya, with its comparatively free press and relatively high literacy rate, may be one of those circumstances where shameful images of self-destruction and eloquent pleas for restraint reinforce the sensible.

Charges of cronyism and corruption tag Annan, however, the United Nations' fraud-riddled Oil for Food program being the most noxious case in point. Annan mentioned "deeper problems" and doubtlessly referred to Kenyan tribal divisions. But tribal cronyism and its frequent companion, debilitating government corruption, are also deeper problems that stunt Kenyan modernization and exacerbate the current crisis.

Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) outpolled Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) in parliamentary races, giving both parties a governmental power base. Kenyan's presidency, however, is a very strong institution.

In the past, both Kibaki and Odinga have professed anti-corruption agendas. In the 2002 presidential race, Odinga supported Kibaki. Last year, Odinga denounced Kibaki's failure to control corruption and ran a populist campaign that targeted "the wealthy." Odinga is from the Luo tribe. Kibaki is a Kikuyu. In the election aftermath, it appears that to some ethnic Luo rioters "the wealthy" may be a code word for Kikuyus. The Kikuyu are Kenya's "business tribe," and tend to be wealthier and have more access to education opportunities. The Kikuyus' critics charge them with cronyism. The Kikuyu respond that their success incites envy.

Sensational comparisons to Rwanda's 1994 nightmare neglect the vast difference in scale. Eight hundred thousand died in Rwanda's genocide. Up to this point Kenya's death toll is between 600 and 700. Yes, that's a terrible bloodletting and a warning, but also establishes perspective.

Demonstrations continue nationwide, but the worst violence remains localized. Annan wants to help keep it that way, and there is time to encourage sober compromise.

As for the future? There is cause for hope. On a visit to Kenya six years ago, I acquired a copy of "Inside Sudan: The Story of People to People Peacemaking in Southern Sudan." Published by the New Sudan Council of Churches, the book described in detail peacemaking strategies pursued in the midst of southern Sudan's complex tribal and religious war.

The strategies included using tribal reconciliation rituals to coax tribal leaders into negotiating or to help amenable leaders draw antagonized and alienated tribesmen into a peace process with their enemies.

The book was published in Nairobi.

Austin Bay, an author and colonel (retired) in the U.S. Army Reserve, writes for Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. Send e-mail through or

Full story from Statesman Journal (Salem, OR)

7 - Kenya cops take on youth gangs

Published:Feb 04, 2008

NAIROBI - Kenyan police vowed Monday to confront armed youth gangs in volatile western Kenya after clashes at the weekend left at least 74 people [dead].

"They are still roaming in the countryside armed with bows and arrows but we are determined to ensure security is restored," a police commander, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Police fired warning shots in the air to disperse gangs in the tense Kisii-Kalenjin border overnight, said the commander. "No major incident was reported last night because our officers were able to repulse a gang of youths who were armed with machetes and arrows," said Nyanza provincial commander Anthony Kibuchi.

Ethnic fighting between villagers armed with bows and arrows, spears and machetes spiralled in western Kenya after the killing of David Kimutai Too in Eldoret on Thursday, the second opposition MP killed in two days.

Near the town of Kericho, villagers returned five guns they had stolen during a raid on Friday on a small police station, razing it to the ground and killing a police officer. Officials said thousands of villagers, who fled the area out of fear of police reprisals, were hiding in nearby mountain ranges.

Police were conducting house-to-house searches to recover the weapons, said a local police commander. "They have returned all our guns...Now they have to return the more than 400 rounds of ammunition that they stole or we will not let them go," said the police commander.

Police reported at least 61 new deaths over the weekend, on top of 13 on Friday, as President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga traded barbs despite a tentative peace accord.

Odinga claimed Kibaki robbed him of the presidency in closely fought December 27 elections amid widespread concerns from local and international observers over the vote-counting process.

Story from AFP in the Times

8 - Trial No 2 for a ‘toff’ rekindles Kenyan anger

Rob Crilly, Nairobi
The Sunday Times
September 24, 2006

FOR the past four months Kamiti maximum security prison has been home to the Honourable Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley, heir to the fifth Lord Delamere, as he awaits trial for murder after shooting a poacher on his family’s 56,000-acre estate.

Visitors to the prison are shocked by his skeletal figure as he survives on a diet of maize porridge and spinach.

When Cholmondeley goes on trial tomorrow, it will be the second time in little more than a year that the Old Etonian has faced the death penalty for murder.

The case has split Kenya along racial lines and excited lurid headlines. Politicians have accused the Delamere family, regarded as Kenya’s most famous white settlers, of acting with arrogance and impunity on their ranch two hours’ drive north of Nairobi.

But this weekend Cholmondeley’s girlfriend, Sally Dudmesh, denounced the portrayal of the 38-year-old aristocrat as a trigger-happy racist toff.

“He’s been brought up as an African. He was an only child and grew up playing with African children,” she said. “He’s not a redneck white Kenyan.”

Many ordinary Kenyans have little sympathy for Cholmondeley. He was arrested in April last year after killing Samson ole Sisina, who was leading an undercover investigation into the illegal bushmeat trade.

He claimed he was acting in self-defence, believing he had stumbled upon an armed robbery on his land. The charges were dropped.

The Masai community mounted demonstrations around the Delamere property. The roads were blocked again last May when Cholmondeley was arrested for killing a second man.

He claims he stumbled across Robert Njoya among a group of poachers and shot him by accident while trying to kill the poachers’ dogs.

That explanation is dismissed by Njoya’s family and others who claim to have been beaten by farm workers for gathering wood on Delamere land.

Some report being “dive-bombed” by crop-spraying planes during a dispute over squatting rights.

“Tom’s almost become a Christ figure, a sacrificial lamb,” said one friend. “All the problems of this country are being blamed on him and the white population.”

Although he faces a death sentence if convicted, in reality such prisoners are condemned to life in jail.

Story from Times Online

9 - Kenyan government rejects mediator

By MATTI HUUHTANEN, Associated Press Writer 2 minutes ago

NAIROBI, Kenya - Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said his efforts to broker talks in Kenya's deadly postelection crisis hit a snag Monday when the government and the president's party rejected his choice of a mediator.

Annan said Cyril Ramaphosa, a South African businessman who had played a leading role in talks in his own country to end apartheid, withdrew "in the face of reservations by the government and Party of National Unity."

It was not clear what effect Ramaphosa's departure would have on the negotiations, which a U.N. spokesman said were continuing without him.

No immediate comment was available from the government or the opposition.

More than 800 people have been killed in violence that has engulfed Kenya since the Dec. 27 election, which narrowly returned President Mwai Kibaki to power after a tally that the opposition, as well as foreign and local observers, say was rigged. About 300,000 were made homeless in a country once considered among the most stable on the continent.

Protests have deteriorated in many cases into ethnic clashes, with anger aimed at Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, long resented for dominating politics and the economy.

Representatives of Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed Friday to take immediate action to end the violence and said they would complete talks within 15 days on measures to resolve the political crisis. Annan said it would take up to a year to solve deeper problems.

Kibaki has accused his opponents of orchestrating the violence. Odinga insists Kibaki step down, but Kibaki has said his position as president is not negotiable. U.S., British and other officials have suggested the two share power to resolve the crisis.

Ramaphosa said he could not function as mediator "without the complete confidence of both parties."

"I leave with regret because like any other country in Africa, Kenya is a very special country and I believe that it is important that the people of Kenya should find solutions to their problems," he said. "I am confident that they will find those solutions."

Ethnic fighting flared in western Kenya, scene of some of the worst bloodshed.

At least seven people were killed overnight in battles between Kisii and Kalenjin communities in a region 155 miles west of the capital, said Humphrey Nakitare, the district commissioner for the town of Sotik.

Hundreds of youths — armed with bows and arrows and machetes — attacked one another Monday in an area where 2,000 people have fled during nine days of clashes, Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan Noor said.
Associated Press writers Katy Pownall in Chebalat, Katharine Houreld in Eldoret and Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi contributed to this report.

Story from AP

10 - Kenya lifts ban on live broadcasts - govt spokesman

04 Feb 2008 16:17:27 GMT 04 Feb 2008 16:17:27 GMT
Source: Reuters

NAIROBI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Kenya's government on Monday lifted a ban on live broadcasting imposed after President Mwai Kibaki's disputed Dec. 27 re-election in what it said at the time was an effort to prevent the incitement of violence.

"The ban has been lifted," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told Reuters. Rights groups and the opposition had criticised the ban as an attack on free speech.

(Reporting by Bryson Hull, Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Story from Reuters AlertNet

11 - Kenya unrest stalls rail traffic with Uganda

04 Feb 2008 13:09:38 GMT

Source: Reuters
(Adds detail)
By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A private consortium managing the railway line between Kenya and Uganda said on Monday Kenya's post-election unrest had paralysed traffic, severing landlocked Uganda's trade lifeline to the port of Mombasa.

"RVR has suffered extensive losses following the wave of political protests occasioned by the post-election violence ... which we've assessed at more than 15 million (Kenyan) shillings ($210,500) per day," Roy Puffet, Rift Valley Railways' (RVR) managing director, told Reuters.

Unrest erupted in Kenya after President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election on Dec. 27. During the ensuing chaos, parts of the railway in Kenya leading to Uganda were vandalised, crippling services between the two countries.

The disruption has paralysed a large chunk of landlocked Uganda's imports and exports, especially to the port at Kenya's coastal city Mombasa.

Puffet told Reuters in an email that RVR had incurred a further cost of 20 million shillings to repair lines damaged during the protests in the capital Nairobi and western Kenya.

(Editing by Tony Austin)

Story from Reuters AlertNet

12 - Kenya legislator says first lady assaulted him

By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A Kenyan legislator on Monday accused President Mwai Kibaki's wife, Lucy, of assaulting him at the official State House residence three weeks ago and said he planned to sue her. The government denied the charge.

Government-allied legislator Gitobu Imanyara, a lawyer who unsuccessfully sued the first lady on behalf of a television cameraman who said she slapped him in 2005, told reporters he had been the latest target of Lucy Kibaki's ire.

But the government fiercely denied the claim, saying Kibaki had instructed her lawyers to take legal action against Imanyara and "any other individual or outlets that perpetuate or communicate the wild allegations made today".

"(The allegations) border on character assassination, blackmail and are part of a wider political scheme aimed at besmirching the office of the First Lady," a statement from the Presidential Press Service said.

The president is currently wrestling with a national crisis over disputed elections that have ignited opposition calls for his removal and widespread ethnic bloodshed.

"I will be bringing proceedings against her this week, so we can give her an opportunity to come to court and tell the Kenyan people why she thinks that she has control of State House, that she can run amok," Imanyara told reporters.

He said he was in State House for a meeting about the race for parliament speaker when the first lady became angry at his presence because he had been involved in the earlier lawsuit.

"She was in pyjamas and not wearing any shoes. She immediately started throwing punches at me shouting 'nobody goes here without my permission'," Imanyara said.

Lucy Kibaki, known to be fiercely protective of her husband, has been at the centre of controversy on several occasions.

In December, local media reported that she slapped a protocol official who called her by the name of a woman widely reported to be the president's second wife.

In 2005, she entered Nation Media's newsroom to complain about a story and slapped cameraman Clifford Derrick while her security detail and police looked on helplessly as she kept journalists there for hours.

In fact she had the wrong newsroom, as the source of her anger was a story by the rival Standard media group.
In 2004, she publicly upbraided Vice President Moody Awori, who called her the "second lady".

She also shouted down a former World Bank country director for playing loud music at a party at the home he had rented from the Kibaki family.

(Writing by Bryson Hull, editing by Ralph Boulton)

Story from Reuters

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