Friday, February 1, 2008

Today's Headlines - Fri 2/01/2008

Note: new official figures on the dead and displaced:

"...At least 863 people have been killed and 261,000 forced from their homes," the Kenyan Red Cross says.

In story from CNN

1 - Kenya's Kibaki says courts must settle dispute

Fri 1 Feb 2008, 13:09 GMT

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki blamed opposition leaders on Friday for instigating the violence that has killed more than 850 people in the once-stable East African country.

Speaking at a meeting in Addis Ababa of the east African regional grouping IGAD, Kibaki also said the dispute over his re-election that provoked the violence must be settled through Kenya's courts -- something rejected by the opposition.

In remarks sure to upset Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Kibaki said: "Regrettably, although the election results reflected the will of the majority of Kenyans, the leaders in the opposition instigated a campaign of civil unrest that resulted in over 800 deaths."

Odinga says Kibaki stole the election and refuses to accept statements suggesting the latter is the country's rightful leader.

Kibaki, current chairman of IGAD (The Intergovernmental Authority on Development) said "few close to call elections are not marred by allegations of irregularities," adding that Kenya's judiciary must arbitrate in the current dispute.

The opposition says Kibaki rigged the vote and has appointed judges favourable to him. It says the courts will take years to issue a ruling.

Kibaki said the security situation in Kenya, where ethnic killing spiralled this week, was under control.

He seemed to be sticking to the line that the courts would handle the dispute despite mediation by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is trying to bring the two sides together to end the violence.

Current U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon flew to Nairobi on Friday to back Annan's efforts.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Full story from Reuters

2 - U.N. concerned at rising sexual attacks in Kenya

Fri 1 Feb 2008, 12:06 GMT

GENEVA (Reuters) - Increasing numbers of Kenyan women and children are being raped nightly in displacement camps, where sexual violence is being used to threaten and intimidate, the United Nations said on Friday.

Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva said there have been 167 rapes reported to the Nairobi Women's Hospital in the past month.

The youngest victim was 1 year old.

"Aid workers feel that number of cases reported is only a fraction of the actual caseload," Byrs told a news briefing.

It is unclear who is committing the attacks, which have more than doubled in frequency alongside an intensification of Kenya's post-election violence that has killed 850 people.

About 290,000 Kenyans have been uprooted by the riots and turmoil since the disputed Dec. 27 presidential vote, Byrs said, citing the latest Kenyan Red Cross figures.

She said the increasing sexual attacks reflected in part a collapse in the social order in Kenya, where the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki has exposed decades-old divisions between ethnic Groups over land, wealth and power.

Rape is also being used as a tool to threaten and intimidate different communities, Byrs said.

"Perpetrators are exploiting the conflict to commit sexual attacks with impunity," she said, noting that few women are seeking medical attention after attacks, raising their risks of HIV infection and other problems.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved
Full story at Reuters

3 - UN chief arrives in Kenya for crisis talks

With parts of Kenya still gripped by unrest following December's disputed election UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has arrived in the country to help end the turmoil. There have been further clashes between police and opposition supporters following the killing of one of their political leaders.

Several people were reported to have been killed in areas of the Rift valley.
Some of the worst violence is said to have occurred in the western town of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold.

Ban is meeting government and opposition negotiatiing teams and has urged both sides to look beyond their own interests for the welfare of the country.

He has also attended talks in neighbouring Ethiopia where African leaders have been trying to resolve the crisis.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga has accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the election. He has called on the government to allow the FBI to investigate the killing of two of his colleagues in recent days.

Full story from EuroNews

updated 2 minutes ago

4 - Ban meets Odinga, Annan in Kenya

Story Highlights
Ban in Kenya meets with opposition leader Odinga, Annan, mediation teams
NEW: Ban: Death toll from weeks of unrest "intolerable and unacceptable"
At least 120 homes burned in slain lawmaker's hometown, sources say
Kofi Annan suspended talks after opposition lawmaker David Too's killing

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday has called the death toll from Kenya's weeks of bloody unrest as "intolerable and unacceptable" and pleaded with Kenyans to "look beyond individual, partisan interests."

Ban, who also told Kenyan's that "the future is on your shoulders," earlier met with the leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, Raila Odinga, and appealed to both sides of the dispute to halt the violence and resort to dialogue.

"What I would like to ask you is look beyond this individual interest, look beyond party lines toward the brighter future of your country," Ban said.

His meeting with Odinga in a Nairobi hotel came a day after Ban met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In addition Friday, Ban met with his predecessor, Kofi Annan, who has been mediating the two sides in Nairobi, as well as with mediation teams for both sides.

Ban was also scheduled to meet with civic leaders, including 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, an environmental and political activist, said U.N. spokesman Nasser Ega-Musa in Kenya.

Annan suspended talks Thursday after opposition lawmaker David Too was killed in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, the second opposition lawmaker killed in three days. Fellow Orange Democratic Movement lawmaker Mugabe Were was gunned down outside his Nairobi-area home on Tuesday.

Violence has convulsed Kenya since the disputed December 27 presidential election between Kibaki and Odinga and taken on ethnic overtones. Kibaki claimed victory and took the oath of office despite reports of irregularities in the voting.

Don't Miss
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Background: Tribal bonds color Kenyan politics

Since then, members of both men's tribes have attacked each other with guns and machetes. At least 863 people have been killed and more than 261,000 others displaced.

Kibaki's tribe -- the Kikuyu -- has dominated Kenyan politics and commerce since the country gained independence in 1963. Odinga belongs to the Luo tribe. Both men met face-to-face on Wednesday in a meeting Annan facilitated.

It's not clear whether Too's death was connected to the ethnic violence. At least 120 homes were burned there, and at least two people were killed, Kenyan sources told CNN

Odinga has called the lawmakers' killings part of a plan to reduce the number of opposition parliament members. A government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the claim.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department on Thursday announced a travel alert for Kenya, advising U.S. citizens to avoid travel to "the cities of Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha, and defer all non-essential travel to the remaining portions of Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley provinces" due to the post-election violence.

"Road travel in western Kenya remains unsafe," the travel alert says. "Sporadic illegal road blocks by gangs or criminal elements may make travel possible only with police-escorted convoys. American citizens are strongly reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can become violent. Americans should therefore avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings."

The State Department also announced that it had authorized the relocation of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and diplomats' family members from Kisumu to Nairobi.

On Wednesday Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer described the violence as "ethnic cleansing," but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack stressed that was her personal opinion and not the official U.S. position.

Nonetheless, the State Department was closely monitoring the situation for "any incidence of atrocities," McCormack said.

In addition, the United States was reviewing the hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian aid it sends to Kenya.

And a travel ban was being considered against people the U.S. government concludes were responsible for the violence, said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger.

"We will use the full weight of our consular rules and regulations to restrict visas to persons responsible for inciting and carrying out violence," he said. "We have told both sides."

CNN's Zain Verjee and Elise Labott contributed to this story

Full story from CNN

5 - UN Chief Joins Talks in Kenya

By VOA News
01 February 2008

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says feuding political parties in Kenya must look beyond their individual interests and beyond party lines to end the post-election violence in the country.

The U.N. chief arrived in Nairobi Friday and quickly joined talks between the rival parties under the mediation of Mr. Ban's predecessor, former Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Mr. Ban met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki Thursday at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is holding talks today with Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement.

Full story from Voice of America

11.30am GMT
6 - Kenya police shoot dead four rioters in wake of MP killings

Roxanne Escobales and agencies
Friday February 1, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

The violent protests in Kenya continued today with police killing four people who were part of rioting mobs in the west of the country.

The looting gangs were setting fire to houses and businesses in the wake of the death of an opposition MP who was shot by a policeman yesterday.

Meanwhile, the secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, arrived in Nairobi this morning to lend support to his predecessor, Kofi Annan.

Annan opened mediation talks between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga earlier this week, but they were suspended after MP David Kimutai Too was killed.

Resuming the talks today, Ban called on both sides to "look beyond the individual interest. Look beyond the party lines. ... Now the future is on you".

Later today Ban will meet Odinga, who claims Kibaki stole the elections in December -the event which ignited the crisis. Since then more than 850 people have died and 30,000 have been forced from their homes.

Police say Too's killing, the second of an opposition MP in the past week, was a crime of passion. The traffic police officer who shot Too claimed he was having an affair with his girlfriend. A woman who was also shot in the attack has died.

The opposition party claim it was a political assassination. A Too family spokesman accused the police of a cover-up, saying the lawmaker was not involved with the woman and had feared for his safety.

In Eldoret, where Too was gunned-down, hundreds of young men blocked roads with burning tires and rocks Friday in Kericho town, near Too's constituency. "Kibaki must go," they chanted.

Smoke columns rose from smouldering ashes in what remains of the city's poor Nwagocho and Baraka housing estates. There, police said they shot and killed four people and injured five on Thursday evening and Friday morning.

"Those who were shot and killed were participating in looting properties and torching residential houses and business buildings," said John Otieno, the chief of criminal investigations there.

Ban arrived from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he had been attending a summit of the 53-nation African Union. He said that the month-long crisis in Kenya threatened to "escalate to catastrophic levels" and appealed to President Kibaki and Odinga to resolve the stand-off.

Yesterday the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, issued a strong statement from Paris calling on the UN Security Council to act on Kenya. He echoed the US envoy to Africa, Jendayi Frazer, who earlier this week called the crisis "clear ethnic cleansing", as Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe finds itself the target of Odinga's Luo tribe.

Kouchner said France feared what was once the most stable east African country would "sink into a murderous conflict of an ethnic character".

Full story from Guardian (UK),,2250795,00.html

7 - Kenyan Police Kill 4 Looters


ELDORET, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan police killed four people as mobs set scores of houses and businesses ablaze in a western Kenyan town, an official said Friday, after a policeman's killing of an opposition lawmaker sparked clashes in the Rift Valley.

At least three other people were killed in rioting following the shooting of David Kimutai Too on Thursday, adding to the toll of a monthlong postelection crisis that has killed more than 800 people and forced 300,000 from their homes.

Talks aimed at ending the crisis, being mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resumed Friday with an address by Annan's successor, Ban Ki-Moon, who appealed to negotiators to "Look beyond the individual interest. Look beyond the party lines. ... Now the future is on you."

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who accuses President Mwai Kibaki of stealing Dec. 27 elections and demands a new vote. Kibaki has made clear his position as president is nonnegotiable, and the international community is pressing both to share power.

Much of the bloodshed set off by the vote has pitted other tribes, including Odinga's Luo, against Kibaki's Kikuyu. Kikuyus, Kenya's largest ethnic group, have long been resented for their dominance of the economy and politics. Western Kenya's Rift Valley has seen some of the worst violence.

Police said Too's killing in the Rift Valley city of Eldoret was a crime of passion: He was shot by a traffic police officer who discovered the lawmaker was having an affair with his girlfriend, also a police officer. A woman shot in the same attack also died.

Too was the second anti-government legislator killed in a week — Mugabe Were was fatally shot Tuesday as he drove to his house in suburban Nairobi. Opposition politicians said both were victims of assassination plots meant to rob Odinga's party of the parlimentary majority it won in voting the same day as the presidential election. A Too family spokesman accused the police of a cover-up, saying the lawmaker was not involved with the woman.

The spokesman, Julius Langat, said the slain policewoman was a family friend to whom Too, a former teacher and father of two, had gone to seek protection for his family.

Odinga said Friday that the United States has offered to send FBI agents to investigate Were's murder, and urged the government to accept. The U.S Embassy confirmed the offer had been made.

Too's killing added to distrust of police — already accused of using excessive force. Police stations were targeted in three western towns. Britain Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch-Brown, who was in neighboring Ethiopia Friday, suggested deploying Kenya's army, saying Kenyan police "at this stage seem to be seen as no longer neutral and behind some of the killings."

But Kibaki, also in Ethiopia for a continental summit, insisted Friday "The security situation in the country is under control." [??!!??]

In western Kenyan Friday, hundreds of young men blocked roads with burning tires and rocks in Kericho, a town near Too's constituency. "Kibaki must go!" they chanted.

Smoke columns rose from smoldering ashes in what remains of the city's poor Nwagocho and Baraka housing estates.

There [Kericho], police said they shot and killed four people and injured five Thursday evening and Friday morning.

"Those who were shot and killed were participating in looting properties and torching residential houses and business buildings," said John Otieno, in charge of criminal investigations there.

One of the wounded at the hospital, Elizabeth Kones, said she was running from her burning home when she was hit. Her hand was broken.

In Eldoret, 21 people were injured in clashes following Too's killing, including 13 who were shot, of whom one later died.

In another western town, Kisumu, police fired tear gas and then live rounds at scores of protesters trying to block the main road. An AP photographer saw the body of a man shot in the head, who his wailing brothers identified as Joffrey Opiyo, 18. An attendant at Kisumu morgue said the body of a boy aged about 14 years old was brought in with bullet wounds.

Associated Press Writers Anita Powell and Heidi Vogt in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Katy Pownall in Kikuyu Town, and Tom Maliti, Malkhadir M. Muhumed and Tom Odula in Nairobi contributed to this report.

Full story from AP

updated 12:50 a.m. EST, Fri February 1, 2008

8 - Kenya talks to resume

Story Highlights
NEW: Talks to resume Friday morning
NEW: U.N. chief urges Kenyans to stop the violence
NEW: U.S. State Department allows non-essential personnel to leave western Kenya
Red Cross: At least 863 people killed, 261,000 others displaced

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Talks to mediate an end to Kenya's political crisis were to resume Friday morning after being suspended in the wake of a second opposition lawmaker's killing a day earlier, according to a U.N. spokesman.

David Too's killing was the second against a lawmaker in three days; fellow Orange Democratic Movement lawmaker Mugabe Were was gunned down outside his Nairobi-area home on Tuesday.

Odinga has called the killings part of a plan to reduce the number of opposition parliament members. A government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the claim.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was scheduled to arrive in Nairobi on Friday to help bolster the mediation effort spearheaded by his predecessor, Kofi Annan, said U.N. spokesman Nasser Ega-Musa. Ban said he met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday on the sidelines of the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Ban urged Kenyans to "stop the killings and end the violence now, before it is too late."

"Heed the calls, from Mr. Annan and other world leaders, for restraint, tolerance and peaceful dialogue to resolve contentious issues. Demand it from your leaders," Ban said from the summit.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, a co-founder of the group Doctors Without Borders, also denounced the killings and humanitarian toll on Kenya. He announced support for Annan's efforts, while urging the U.N. Security Council to act.

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Background: Tribal bonds color Kenyan politics

"The two main parties are now facing an historic responsibility: Choose the path of dialogue or bear the burden of a political and humanitarian catastrophe," he said in a written statement.

In the wake of Too's killing in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret Thursday, Annan suspended talks between delegations representing Kibaki and Odinga.

"Mr. Annan agreed to interrupt the afternoon session, so that members can meet with their constituents and also offer their condolences," Ega-Musa said.

"Both sides joined as one to express their shock and sadness at the untimely death of their parliamentary colleague, Mr. David K. Too."

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said Washington is "deeply concerned" about Too's killing and offered the FBI's assistance in the investigation. It has also offered assistance in the investigation into Were's killing.

The United States has told the government and opposition it would impose a travel ban on people it identifies as responsible for the violence, Ranneberger said.

Ethnic violence and protests have escalated since the disputed December 27 presidential election between Kibaki and Odinga. Kibaki claimed victory and took the oath of office shortly after results were announced, and international monitors have criticized the election as flawed.

Since then, at least 863 people have been killed and 261,000 forced from their homes, the Kenyan Red Cross says. Kenya had long been regarded as peaceful and relatively prosperous, but the political violence that erupted after Odinga's party declined to recognize the election results has taken on ethnic overtones.

Kibaki's tribe -- the Kikuyu -- has dominated Kenyan politics and commerce since the country gained independence in 1963. Odinga belongs to the Luo tribe.

The two men met face-to-face on Wednesday in a meeting Annan facilitated.

Nonetheless, the bloodletting has shown no sign of abating, said Anthony Mwangi of the Kenyan Red Cross.

"The violence is not stopping," he said. "It could reach a point where it is difficult to reverse."

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department on Thursday announced a travel alert for Kenya, advising U.S. citizens to avoid travel to "the cities of Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha, and defer all non-essential travel to the remaining portions of Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley provinces" due to the post-election violence.

"Road travel in western Kenya remains unsafe," the travel alert says. "Sporadic illegal road blocks by gangs or criminal elements may make travel possible only with police-escorted convoys. American citizens are strongly reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can become violent. Americans should therefore avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings."

The State Department also announced that it had authorized the relocation of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and diplomats' family members from Kisumu to Nairobi.

On Wednesday Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer described the violence as "ethnic cleansing," but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack stressed that was her personal opinion and not the official U.S. position.

Nonetheless, the State Department was closely monitoring the situation for "any incidence of atrocities," McCormack said.

In addition, the United States was reviewing the hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian aid it sends to Kenya.

CNN's Zain Verjee and Elise Labott contributed to this story

Full story from CNN

9 - Second Lawmaker Is Killed as Kenya’s Riots Intensify

[Photo] In Limuru, mourners gathered in memory of a man killed in ethnic fighting that has intensified since an opposition leader’s killing.

Published: February 1, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — A second Kenyan opposition lawmaker was shot dead on Thursday, and riots immediately exploded in opposition strongholds, putting the country increasingly on edge.

The lawmaker, David Kimutai Too, a former teacher from the volatile Rift Valley, was gunned down by a policeman in Eldoret. Kenyan government officials were quick to say the killing was a “crime of passion” connected to a love triangle. Opposition leaders called it an assassination.

“How can police call this an ordinary murder before any investigations?” said William Ruto, an opposition leader. “There is nothing ordinary about having two members of Parliament killed like this.”

Political negotiations brokered by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, were halted on Thursday because of the shooting, and the current secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he would travel to Nairobi on Friday to address the crisis.

Mr. Too was the second member of the Orange Democratic Movement, Kenya’s main opposition party, to be killed this week. It seemed that the bloodletting began after deeply flawed elections in December, claiming more than 800 lives, appears to be pushing Kenya closer to the brink of disaster.

A shock wave of outrage and panic moved across the country as the news of Mr. Too’s death spread. In Kisumu, an opposition stronghold in western Kenya, mobs of young men tore through the streets, burning tires, throwing rocks and blockading roads. Some carried gasoline bombs and vowed to burn down the police station.

The rioters did not appear to accept the government’s explanation of the killing. It seemed that even if Mr. Too’s death had nothing to do with the volatile political situation here, it was bound to be interpreted as being politically motivated, especially coming so soon after the killing of another opposition lawmaker.

“We won’t believe what they say,” said a protester armed with a rock-hurling sling in Kisumu. Referring to Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president, he said: “We know the government is involved. Kibaki’s government will never work in Kenya. We will paralyze this country even if they kill our leaders.”

In Eldoret, shopkeepers shuttered their stores and people dashed home. Protesters massed at the police station, and truckloads of paramilitary officers arrived in town. Hospital officials said the police shot 10 people, killing one. Many people feared reprisal killings in the night.

Police officials in Nairobi, the capital, tried to defuse the situation by quickly announcing that Mr. Too’s killing was in no way political, that officers had arrested the culprit and that he would face murder charges.

According to police officials and witnesses, Mr. Too, who friends said was 39 or 40, spent the morning with Eunice Chepkwony, a policewoman who was dating another police officer, Andrew Moache. Mr. Too and Ms. Chepkwony were driving near the woman’s house on the outskirts of Eldoret when Mr. Moache pulled up next to them on a motorcycle. The police said Mr. Moache had suspected that his girlfriend was seeing someone else and was enraged to find her with another man.

Witnesses said that Ms. Chepkwony jumped out of the car to beg Mr. Moache not to kill them. He shot Ms. Chepkwony in the stomach and Mr. Too in the head several times. Mr. Too died instantly. Ms. Chepkwony bled to death in a hospital a few hours later. The police said they later arrested Mr. Moache as he tried to flee.

“I urge people to remain calm and await the law to take its course,” said a statement issued by a police spokesman, Eric Kiraithe.

But Mr. Too’s ethnicity, Kalenjin, is not likely to help the situation. Kalenjins have overwhelmingly supported Kenya’s opposition leaders, like Mr. Ruto and Raila Odinga, the opposition’s presidential candidate, who narrowly lost the election.

More than any other group, Kalenjins have mobilized since the election to attack ethnic groups that have backed President Kibaki.

Minutes after Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner on Dec. 30, amid widespread evidence of vote rigging, bands of young Kalenjin men swept across the countryside killing Kikuyus, Mr. Kibaki’s ethnic group, and burning their homes. In one attack, a Kalenjin mob burned a church, killing as many as 50 people hiding inside. Most of them were Kikuyu women and children.

Several Kalenjin elders and men who have taken part in the attacks have been unapologetic, saying that the violence is part of an organized plan to drive Kikuyus from the Rift Valley, which Kalenjins consider their ancestral land. Tens of thousands of Kikuyus have indeed left.

On Wednesday, Jendayi E. Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, called the situation ethnic cleansing.

Reuben Kyama contributed reporting from Nairobi, and Abisalom Omolo from Kisumu.

Full story from NY Times

10 - Ban seeks to bolster Kenya talks

Ban Ki-moon is to offer support to Kofi Annan's mission
Statement on Kenya

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in an attempt to boost efforts to end post-election violence.

Mr Ban will meet opposition leader Raila Odinga. He saw President Mwai Kibaki at a summit on Thursday.

The UN chief's predecessor, Kofi Annan, is expected to resume talks with the two leaders, postponed after an opposition MP was killed.

This led to clashes in some towns, in which police shot dead two protesters.

The BBC's Wanyama Chebusiri in the western town of Eldoret says there were running battles overnight between opposition supporters and the police.

Barbaric acts are being committed, civilian populations are being
killed in atrocious ways, with women and children raped

Bernard Kouchner

Eldoret is where MP David Too was shot dead by a policeman on Thursday, in what police say was a domestic dispute but the opposition say was an assassination.

France has called on the UN Security Council to help stop the violence.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed fear that the country was being allowed to slide into a "deadly ethnic conflict."

More than 850 people have died in political and ethnic violence since the 27 December presidential elections, which the opposition says were rigged.

'Special responsibility'
The purpose of the visit was to offer support to Mr Annan's panel and be briefed on the humanitarian crisis, a UN official told Reuters news agency.

At the AU summit in Ethiopia, Mr Ban urged Kenyan leaders to find a peaceful way out.

"President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga... have a special responsibility to solve the crisis peacefully," he told delegates.

And in a statement issued from Paris, Mr Kouchner called on the UN Security Council to act.

"In the name of its duty to protect, it must urgently come to the aid of Kenya's population," he said in a statement.

"Barbaric acts are being committed, civilian populations are being killed in atrocious ways, with women and children raped."

"We fear that this drift could plunge Kenya into a deadly ethnic conflict."

Honey-hunters hit
At the summit, African Union commission chairman Alpha Oumar Konare told African leaders that they should get involved in resolving the crisis.

"We cannot sit here with our hands folded," he said.

"If Kenya burns, there will be nothing for tomorrow."

In Nairobi, substantive negotiations started for the first time on Thursday but were adjourned after Mr Too was shot dead.

Mr Too was the second MP to be killed, and his death raised fresh tensions in parts of the Rift Valley, the scene of serious violence this month.

As well as the trouble in Eldoret, police fired teargas to disperse protestors in the town of Kisumu, and in the MP's home town of Kericho, buildings were set alight.

A small community of honey hunters who live in the mountains overlooking the Rift Valley has also been caught up in the violence.

Some Ogiek houses have been burnt down and many have gone into hiding the forests where they lack food.

"When they are burning Ogiek houses they are saying it is because you voted for the Orange Democratic Movement," Kiplangat Cherugot, who works for a non-governmental organisation in the area, told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

Full story from BBC

11 - Global talks focus on Kenya

Publication Date: 2/1/2008

Kenya’s political crisis dominated discussions as the African Union Summit opened in Addis Ababa, with UN chief Ban Ki-Moon warning of catastrophe.

At least 850 people have died and 300,000 fled their homes since the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

“Violence continues, threatening to escalate to catastrophic levels,” Mr Ban said, adding that President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga must do everything possible to resolve the crisis.

Democratic process
Mr Ban called on the summit to “urge and encourage the leaders and people of Kenya to calm the violence and resolve their differences through dialogue and respect for the democratic process.”

Mr Alpha Oumar Konare, AU’s top diplomat, shared the concern, saying it “had been a country of peace. If Kenya burns, what is left?”

Until a month ago, Kenya was more used to attending summits of the 53-nation AU as a respected regional peacemaker and a refuge for those fleeing wars. Now it is Africa’s biggest crisis, torn by a cycle of ethnic bloodshed that threatens to destabilise a key regional ally of the West and damage the economies of a swathe of neighbouring countries.

Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade said in Addis Ababa: “It’s unacceptable that right next to us, thousands of people are dying and that we should just come here and then leave,” he told Radio France International. “It is Africa’s image which is at stake in this Kenya affair.”

Mr Kibaki had arrived for the summit, but made no comment. He has only been recognised by a small number of African countries.

Mr Wade said he had spoken to Mr Odinga and believed he should be allowed to go to Addis Ababa and address the summit — something vehemently opposed by Kibaki’s government.

Kenya’s crisis presents the AU with the dilemma of either breaking with its traditional reluctance to interfere in the internal affairs of its members, or being seen as ineffectual. An early mediation mission by outgoing AU chairman John Kufuor, the president of Ghana, failed.

He handed over to Mr Ban’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, who has brought Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga together for talks.

A second round of negotiations were planned but a solution still seems far off despite heavy pressure from Western powers alarmed by the crisis.

And on Wednesday, Kenya’s crisis was brought before the UN Security Council, with members of the 15-nation global body calling on the country’s leaders to work together to halt the violence.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe briefed the council at a closed-door meeting in New York. Mr Pascoe afterward told reporters that “the real imperative is to immediately stop the violence, and that is up to the leaders.”

His comments were echoed by the council’s current president Giadalla Ettalhi of Libya. In a statement after the meeting, Mr Ettalhi said council members had “called on Kenya’s leaders to do all what is in their power to bring the violence to an end and to restore calm”.

Mr Ettalhi confirmed that Kenya’s mission to the UN had asked that Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula be invited to brief the Security Council. But he said a date for such a briefing had not been set.

Council members – including the US, Britain, China, Russia and France – are “very concerned” about the safety of 5,000 UN workers in Kenya, Mr Pascoe added. (Reuters)

Additional reporting by Kevin J Kelley in New York

Full story from Daily Nation

12 - Annan team pledges to end violence in 7 days

Publication Date: 2/1/2008

The Government and ODM negotiators Thursday gave hope to millions of Kenyans deeply hit by a political crisis by agreeing that the ongoing violence must end in seven days.

The talks are expected to be boosted Friday by the arrival of United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to offer support to his predecessor, Mr Kofi Annan, who is leading the mediation process.

The two teams will today decide on a proposal to bring on board former African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Cyril Ramaphosa as the chief mediator of the talks.

The six-member team, which will henceforth be called the Kenya National Dialogue Team, emerged from their inaugural meeting chaired by Mr Annan beaming with optimism at progress of the talks.

In a joint statement, MPs Mutula Kilonzo on the Government side and William Ruto of the ODM team were optimistic that a peaceful solution to the political crisis would be arrived at sooner than later.

Said Mr Kilonzo, the Mbooni MP: “The country would be amazed by the speed with which this committee has deliberated on the issues today (Thursday). The committee was discussing the agenda and most of the things discussed have been agreeable.”

Mr Ruto, the ODM Pentagon member, said the committee was determined to go through the issues placed before them by the Annan team with a view to striking a peace deal.

“We are determined to get a solution to the problems facing this country.

We have covered a lot of ground, which is a positive development. A peaceful solution is likely to emerge and you can be sure that nothing will derail us,” he said.

The MP urged Kenyans and the international community to support the committee in its efforts to find a solution to the crisis whose subsequent violence has led to the death of more than 850 people.

Speaking after adjourning the session following the gunning down of Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too in Eldoret, Mr Annan said he was happy with the pace at which the two teams had started the talks, which he described as “constructive”.

“The committee has demonstrated that it is committed to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. We know Kenyans are waiting for results but I would urge that we give these leaders time as they have shown that they can work in reasonable time to resolve the matter before them,” he said.

The Government and ODM appointed their negotiators following a request on Sunday by Mr Annan and his team, which is made up of former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa and Mrs Graca Machel to take the mediation process into the second stage of talks to end the crisis.

The Government named Mr Kilonzo and Cabinet ministers Martha Karua and Sam Ongeri while ODM settled on Mr Ruto, presidential running mate Musalia Mudavadi and Aldai MP Sally Kosgei.

However, the shooting to death of Mr Too appeared to have highlighted the urgency of ending the violence, which Mr Annan stressed has to stop.

However, police described Mr Too’s killing as a crime of passion, saying he was involved in a love triangle. “The violence must stop. There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to take the law into their hands. The Government must move quickly to investigate the matter and bring those involved to justice,” he said.

Mr Ruto and Mr Kilonzo agreed with the position of the former UN boss and called on Kenyans to stop killing each other because their leaders were working on a solution to the crisis.

“The solution to the problem is in this room (the meeting room at Serena Hotel) and we should be given an opportunity to work on peace,” Mr Kilonzo said.

Mr Ruto said the violence would not stop the committee from achieving its target.

“Nothing will derail us; we shall stay the course to find a lasting solution,” he said.

It later emerged that the committee had set for themselves a period of seven days to end the violence and intensify the humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced people who were in camps, churches and at police stations.

End the crisis
It is understood that Mr Annan said the biggest danger to the mediation was the spiralling violence, which had to be stopped.

An end to violence was one of the four items on the agenda that was set for negotiations by the Annan team.

We also learnt that the committee agreed with the agenda that was set and would Friday start going through the proposals by the mediation team on how to solve each item.

The items were immediate action to stop the violence, restoration of fundamental rights and liberties of Kenyans; and immediate measures to tackle the humanitarian crisis, settlement of internally displaced people and promotion of national healing and reconciliation.

The third item on the agenda was how to overcome the current political crisis, which, he observed, was precipitated by issues of power and functionality of institutions.

The Annan team has proposed “some form of power sharing” as a solution to the Presidential elections dispute. He has also suggested review of the Constitution and electoral laws to avoid similar occurrences in future.

The fourth item on the agenda involves long-term issues focusing on land reforms, tackling poverty, widespread inequality and regional imbalances, unemployment and national cohesion.

Both sides have handed in their responses to the proposals with ODM calling for a forensic audit into the prevailing circumstance before and after the elections with a view to finding out whether a free and fair poll was possible.

They also want President Kibaki to accept that he lost the elections to Mr Odinga and promptly resign from office to pave way for a rerun of the Presidential elections.

They also floated as an option formation of an interim government — to include both PNU and ODM — as the country prepares for fresh elections.

The Government has countered that President Kibaki validly won the elections, was constitutionally sworn in and has formed a legitimate Government.

They also question the failure by the ODM camp to move to court to challenge his re-election saying only courts of law — as stipulated in the Constitution — can declare that the President was illegally in office.

The Kibaki team, it is said, has dismissed the proposal of power-sharing saying they cannot sit in the same government with ODM leaders it claims are behind the killings.

Taking charge
On Thursday, sources closer to the talks said the committee debated the possibility of Mr Ramaphosa taking charge as the chief mediator because Mr Annan would be in and out of the country.

The proposal by Mr Annan, was backed by the ODM team, but opposed by the Government side on grounds that there would be a conflict of interest because the former ANC secretary-general had business links with some ODM leaders.

Nevertheless, it was said that Mr Ramaphosa would jet in Friday in readiness for the task ahead of him.

Full story from Daily Nation

13 - Kenya crisis must not worsen Somali unrest - UN

Fri 1 Feb 2008, 10:37 GMT
By Daniel Wallis

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Kenya's crisis must not be allowed to spread like previous African conflicts and should make world powers focus on helping end years of turmoil in neighbouring Somalia, a senior U.N. official said on Friday.

Kenya's sudden slide into riots and ethnic violence that have killed 850 people since a disputed Dec. 27 election has shocked countries used to viewing Nairobi as the peacemaker in regional trouble spots like Sudan and Somalia.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Ethiopia, the United Nations special representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said the unrest in Kenya had to be contained.

"It must not degenerate and link with Somalia," he said. "And fixing it should help draw the attention of the Security Council to fix the Somali crisis without delay."

Africa had seen plenty of examples of turmoil spreading across borders with disastrous consequences, he said.

"We should avoid what happened in the Great Lakes region, where crises are contagious," said Ould-Abdallah, a former Mauritanian foreign minister who has served as a senior U.N. diplomat in Burundi, West Africa and Sudan.

"We should avoid what happened in West Africa, where a crisis in Liberia contaminated Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau and so on. And the crisis in Congo which then spread to Burundi, to Rwanda."

Somalia, which shares a porous 500 km (300 mile) desert border with Kenya, has not had an effective government since warlords toppled dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991, plunging the country into anarchy and clan-based warfare.

But Ould-Abdallah said he was encouraged by last month's appointment of a more streamlined cabinet by the interim government's new prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein. The last cabinet collapsed in December, torn apart by infighting.

Somalia is due to hold elections late next year, but U.N. officials say restoring stability is a greater concern while Hussein's government faces an Islamist-led insurgency.

Underfunded Africa Union peacekeepers have struggled to contain the violence, and the AU hopes to hand over responsibility for the mission to the United Nations.

Marking the first possible step towards that, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a fact-finding team to Somalia and other countries in the region last month.

"We have to be very clear: Somalia has a government that is internationally recognised by the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League," Ould-Abdallah said.
"We have to take that into account and give them the stabilisation force they need. It's the responsibility of the international community not to keep abandoning Somalia."

"I think there is no risk in giving Somalia an amnesty or a pardon for past behaviour. You give it to criminals, you give it to everyone. Somalia deserves that pardon."

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Full story from Reuters

14 - Another MP shot dead [yesterday, on Thursday Jan 31]

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 2/1/2008

A second ODM politician was shot dead Thursday, sparking riots in opposition strongholds as the country reeled under post-election tension.

Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too, 40, was gunned down in a car, together with a woman, Eunice Chepkwony, on a busy road just outside Eldoret Town.

The killing comes only two days after gunmen killed Embakasi MP, Melitus Mugabe Were, another ODM newcomer to Parliament, outside his home in the Woodley suburb of Nairobi.

Police immediately described Mr Too’s shooting as a “crime of passion”, saying they were holding a police constable as a suspect.

But ODM insisted it was yet another political assassination, part of a plan to reduce its majority in Parliament.

Been arrested
Police Commissioner Hussein Ali said Constable Andrew Moache had been arrested in connection with the shooting and would appear in a Nakuru court this morning.

The MP died instantly, but the woman, who was a traffic police officer, was seriously wounded and died while being treated at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital’s Intensive Care.

The MP was shot at close range while the woman was shot about eight metres from the vehicle as she tried to run away from the assailant.

Eldoret police boss Muinde Kioko could not immediately identify the man killed as an MP under questioning from reporters, but he promptly described the circumstances under which the man died as a “love triangle”. “We have received reports that an officer has shot dead a civilian over a love triangle. The lady, who was seriously injured is also an officer,” said Mr Kioko.

He said the assailant fled on a police motor cycle as he was on official duty.

The officer, who was in full uniform, later surrendered at the Soy DO’s office.

Final moments of both Mr Too and his companion were traced by the Nation Thursday.

Relatives and neighbours of Ms Chepkwony spoke of how the two were trailed by the assailant who was a colleague of the police woman.

The Nation learnt from a relative that the MP had spent the night in the house of the traffic officer at a new estate near Langas, some four kilometres on the Eldoret-Kapsabet.

“The MP left for town early in the morning together with my auntie using a private vehicle and we expected them to return home for lunch,” said the relative at the home.

Neighbours interviewed confirmed the two drove to town using the police woman’s car.

It is said moments after the two left the house, the traffic police officer, who had been hovering around the woman’s house on a police motorcycle, rode from behind at high speed towards Eldoret.

“We saw him park the motorcycle outside the gate of the police woman. He made some phone calls as he rode back to town,” said one of the neighbours.

Those who spotted him later said he made several laps around the town streets and at one point stopped near a filling station on Nandi road and made phone calls on his cell phone and then sped towards the main Eldoret-Uganda highway.

A Government official with the Ministry of Information said he met the traffic offer near Eastleigh Street at around 9.50am, speeding towards West Indies estate where the killing took place hardly an hour later.

“I was headed for the garage when I saw the traffic policeman speeding towards Uasin Gishu secondary, which is adjacent to the estate. Moments later, I heard gun shots and then he emerged from the same route,” explained the officer who requested not to be named.

Witnesses said the MP and the police woman had arrived at an open field within the residential estate and seemed to be surveying a plot.

“The two were indeed discussing and at one point, they were pointing at what seems to be a piece of land owned by one of them,” said a female eyewitness who lives some 50 metres from the spot.

“The traffic man arrived on a motorcycle and fired at the woman as they walked towards the parked vehicle. He then turned the gun and fired at the man who was already on the driver’s seat. The woman attempted to run away but she fell down. We screamed as the man on the motor cycle took off,” said another female witness. The assailant then rode his motorbike towards the Eldoret-Webuye highway and surrendered himself at Soy DO’s office.

He was later taken to Nakuru police station waiting to be taken to court.

The woman’s brothers who were interviewed admitted that their sister had been having some relationship with the MP.

“We have been told that the two have been friends although we cannot establish to what extent. They live in Ainamoi while we live at our Chepalungu rural home,” said the slain policewoman’s brother, Mr David Kirui.

Other witnesses who spoke to the Nation at the scene of the shooting said the well-known traffic officer, engaged the two lovers in a chase through the estate before finally cornering them.

“I saw the officer chasing the car at a high speed. I thought the car had been hijacked, but when the car halted, I heard the man (MP) and the lady daring the officer to shoot them,” said an eye witness who identified herself as Fatuma Hussein.

The assailant pumped several bullets into the man, killing him instantly, she said. The eyewitness says the policewoman, who was armed with a pistol, also dared the officer to shoot her too as she attempted to remove her pistol. “Instead, she was shot several times in the leg, thigh and abdomen as she tried to escape,’’ she said.

Sensing that the public might lynch him, the assailant jumped onto his motorbike and sped off.
ODM, however, told reporters at a press conference that the killing of Mr Too was part of a plot to eliminate eight lawmakers from the party — which started with Tuesday’s shooting of Mr Were as he pulled up outside his gate slightly after midnight. ODM and President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity are locked in a dispute, sparked by the announcement on December 30 that Mr Kibaki had beaten Mr Odinga in the General Election, a verdict disputed by ODM.

International election observers say it was difficult to tell who won because of the controversy over counting and tallying of the votes. PNU insists Mr Kibaki won and denies that the poll was rigged .

Protests over the poll outcome have since resulted in bloody attacks between ethnic groups and shootings by police of street protesters, which have claimed more than 850 lives and left at least 350,000 people displaced.

Political enemies
On Tuesday the Opposition condemned Mr Were’s killing as an assassination by their political enemies. On Thursday ODM secretary-general said Mr Too’s murder was also political and constituted a wider conspiracy of terror.

“The MPs are targeted so that the other side can have a majority in Parliament,” Prof Nyong’o told a news conference at Orange House, Nairobi. He spoke in the presence of ODM leader Raila Odinga and MPs Omingo Magara, Jonathan Kiptanui, Zakayo Cheruiyot and Lucas Chepkitonyi.

The MPs’ deaths, together with the election of Emuhaya MP Kenneth Marende as National Assembly Speaker, has [have] changed the balance of power in parliament.

PNU and friendly parties now have a majority of two, with 103 MPs against the 101 MPs of ODM and Narc.

Elections in three other constituencies, Kamukunji in Nairobi, Trans Mara in Rift Valley Province and Wajir North in North Eastern Province have yet to be held afresh and the country will now have to hold by-elections in six constituencies.

News of Mr Too’s death triggered riots in his constituency, with Kericho Town being converted into a battleground. A number of buildings were set on fire.

A 37-year old man was shot dead by men in an unmarked car as protesting youth barricaded a road in Siaya. Protestors also took to the streets in Kisumu Town.

The MP’s body was last evening transferred from Eldoret to Nairobi.

Full story from Daily Nation

15 - Youngsters had banked great hopes on orange party man

Publication Date: 2/1/2008

He was friendly, humble and focused and the hope of thousands of Ainamoi residents.

But their hopes have dashed after their MP Mr David Kimutai Too was shot dead by a policeman in Eldoret Thursday.

Born in 1968 at Chepkoiywo village, Poiywek Location in Ainamoi Division, Mr Too was popular among locals because of his outgoing character, leadership qualities and plans for the constituency.
“He had good plans for his constituents. It is unfortunate we have lost such a good leader,” Keiyo South MP Jonathan Kiptanui said.
Mr Too is credited with uniting Ainamoi constituents and offered them leadership in development.

Full story from Daily Nation

16 - Residents barricade roads using logs and huge stones

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 2/1/2008

Riots erupted in Kericho, Eldoret and Kisumu towns soon after the killing of Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too.

Angry residents barricaded all roads leading in and out of Kericho Town with large stones and logs, while others fell trees on the roads. In Nairobi, his party, ODM, claimed the killing was political.

Secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o alleged after a joint parliamentary group and National Executive Council meeting that six other party MPs were targeted for elimination.

Business came to a standstill in Kericho as traders hurriedly closed their shops. Two buildings housing a posho mill and a hardware shop were torched.

On the Kericho-Nakuru highway, youths barricaded the road forcing motorists to cut short their trips and turn back.

Several houses were set ablaze in Nyagacho and Majengo estates as police shot in the air to disperse the youths.

Six oil tankers ferrying petroleum products to Uganda were burnt at Kapsoit trading centre on the Kericho-Kisumu highway. At James Finlay, two houses belonging to senior managers were set on fire as the protests spread to Buret, Bomet, Kipkelion and Sotik districts.

In Eldoret, a truck ferrying building materials was set on fire at Maili Nne on the Eldoret-Kitale highway.

A furniture workshop next to Sirikwa Hotel in the town was also set ablaze.

Within a few minutes, the town which was earlier bustling with activity, returned to its violent status of recent weeks.

Parents rushed to fetch their children from schools while travellers were stranded after operators parked their vehicles at the police station. Hotels hurriedly shut their doors.

A sombre mood engulfed the MP’s home in Chepkoiyo village. Family members and relatives were overcome by grief as they condemned the killing of their son who was elected to Parliament only a month ago.

Mr Too’s mother, Mrs Sarah Too, and his wife Lina, wailed uncontrollably as neighbours and close relatives consoled them.

Mr Too becomes the second 10th Parliament MP to die in a span of three days and barely two weeks after being sworn in.

ODM said he had flown to Eldoret Thursday morning on his way to Kericho.

Kitale’s Anglican Church of Kenya bishop Stephen Kewasis condemned the killing, saying “the spirit of killing is not for this country”.

Prof Nyong’o, who read a statement on behalf of ODM, said the killing came as Kenyans were still mourning the killing of Embakasi MP Melitus Mugabe Were on Monday night.

Mr Were was shot as he waited for his gate to be opened at Woodley Estate in Nairobi and was pronounced dead on arrival at a city hospital.

Full story from Daily Nation

17 - A Regional Rift

Business Day (Johannesburg)
1 February 2008 Posted to the web 1 February 2008 Johannesburg

THE death of an opposition party MP at the hands of a Kenyan policeman this week has inflamed political tensions that were already running disturbingly high due to the ongoing dispute over the validity of the recent presidential election.

What began as a political issue with ethnic overtones is rapidly turning into tribal warfare, as mainly Luo youths supporting the opposition Orange Democratic Movement alternate between attacking Kikuyus -- the tribe to which President Mwai Kibaki belongs -- and fending off revenge attacks by fellow Kenyans who lost loved ones and possessions in the initial riots.

Kenya is an ethnically diverse nation and, while tribe-related killings have accounted for a disturbingly high proportion of the several hundred deaths that have taken place since the election, wholesale ethnic cleansing [genocide?] of the type experienced by nearby Rwanda and Burundi remains unlikely.

Still, the longer it takes for Kibaki and Orange leader Raila Odinga to agree on a way forward, the more violence there is likely to be and the more ordinary Kenyans will be forced to identify with one or another ethnic camp, if only to save their own skins.

Both Kibaki and Odinga are participating in a dangerous game of brinkmanship [playing 'chicken'], the former refusing to acknowledge that his re-election as president was flawed and the latter insisting on sending his supporters into the streets in the knowledge that doing so will inevitably lead to more death and destruction.

The silver lining to the dark cloud that has gathered over east Africa is that SA is for once getting its foreign policy right. The government has not officially recognised Kibaki's claim of victory, managing to refrain from its usual knee-jerk solidarity with incumbent African leaders. And Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad's recent expression of support for the intervention of former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan is the most constructive approach in the circumstances.

With Kenya too tense for a new election to be feasible for some months, Annan has his work cut out persuading Odinga to calm down and Kibaki to accept that some sort of power sharing is essential.

Copyright © 2008 Business Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Full story from Business Day (Johannesburg SA) on AllAfrica

18 - Too's Killing Sparks Violence And Panic

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS1 February 2008 Posted to the web 31 January 2008 Nairobi

Two people, including a Sudanese, were shot and five vehicles burnt, as youths protested against the killing of Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too.

Unconfirmed reports also indicated that two other people were killed in Eldoret. In Kisumu, a Government ambulance was burnt and a Pajero extensively damaged.

Protesters blocked roads in Eldoret and Kisumu, as police battled to restore calm. Shops and offices in Eldoret were hurriedly closed as General Service Unit officers patrolled the town.
Residents scrambled to leave the town centre, leading to several road accidents.

The two were shot as police pursued protesters who had barricaded roads and attempted to burn houses belonging to a particular community.

The Sudanese, who was identified as Makui Maker, 37, was shot as he stood by the gate of their house, his cousin, Mr Emanuel Sebit, said.

"A police officer who was pursuing demonstrators demanded he (Maker) identifies himself before shooting him at point-blank range," said Sebit.

They were taken to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. Mr John Kiptoo said: "Police officers were shooting live bullets indiscriminately. I was lucky to have survived because there was nowhere to hide."

In Maili Nne, three transit vehicles were set ablaze as youths blocked the Eldoret-Bungoma highway. Matatus on the Eldoret-Bungoma, Eldoret-Kapsabet, Eldoret-Nakuru and Eldoret-Iten routes were withdrawn, leaving commuters stranded.

Chaos also erupted in Kapsabet and Baharini trading centre, where a Government vehicle was set ablaze.

In Kisumu, police fired teargas and shot in the air to disperse arsonists. They battled hundreds of youths who blocked roads and harassed motorists.

The town centre that was bustling with humanity was deserted within 10 minutes. Youths in Nyalenda, Manyatta and Kondele armed themselves with pangas, stones and blocked roads.
Business was also paralysed in Siaya, Oyugis, Kendu Bay, Homa Bay, Rongo and Migori.

Tension also remained high in most parts of Western Province. In Mbale and Chavakali, youths barricaded the Kisumu-Kakamega road with bonfires and stones. [This is 20-30 minutes from Kaimosi Friends Mission.]

Other areas affected were Bomet, Litein, Sotik, Kaplong, Kapsoit, Chepseon and Sosiot trading centres.

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

Full story from East African Standard on PeaceAfrica

19 - Election Merely the Break in Country's Dam Wall

Business Day (Johannesburg)
1 February 2008 Posted to the web 1 February 2008
By Hany Besada And Edward Kariithi

THE violent clashes, political turmoil and mayhem that have gripped Kenya over the past few weeks, following the seriously flawed presidential elections on December 27 , dispel any western-backed notions regarding the country as a model democracy to be replicated elsewhere on the continent. Once the envy of its poverty-stricken neighbours, many of whom are plagued by serious political instability, Kenya has long been regarded as a bastion of peace, hope and progress in a region that borders the Horn of Africa.

The crisis in east Africa's powerhouse has sent shock waves throughout the region and beyond.
With more than 800 deaths, 250000 people displaced and half-a-million more in need of humanitarian assistance, Kenya is living through some of its worst recorded political violence since its independence from the UK in 1963.

Far from being seen as the result of election fraud and an issue of tribal grievances, the violence can best be understood as the result of the gradual , growing frustration of Kenyans with social ills afflicting their nation.

These include social marginalisation of ethnic groups, deep-seated corruption, income disparity along ethnic and regional lines, and a grotesque appetite for power by politicians but, more deeply, the failure of its political system.

The opposition, which constitutes a banding together of member of the Luo , Luhya and Kalenjin tribes, representing roughly 40% of the country's population and led, largely, by opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement , has long insisted that it has been discriminated against by the traditionally dominant Kikuyu ethnic group, led by incumbent President Mwai Kibaki for decades, and going back as far as the early post-independence days.

Although this conflict does run along ethnic lines, it is simplistic to blame historical ethnic grievances for the country's current political turmoil. Rather, its seriously flawed and weak parliament, as well as the structure of its political system, has been a recipe for disaster for a long time coming.

This has produced a situation, similar to those in other African states with weak legislatures, where the presidential elections are regarded as an opportunity for an incumbent president, or the opposition, to utilise every avenue and all available resources to not only contest the presidency but, more importantly, win the presidency at all costs, thus ensuring accessibility to the state's coffers and power structure.

Given the government's apparent reluctance to conduct free and fair elections, its corrupt and abusive security and safety apparatus, its incompetent electoral commission and continued monopoly on power and wealth, coupled with a weak legislature, the opposition has been all the more willing to resort to an anarchic display of public disorder and violence.

Looking at events over the past weeks, it is clear that Odinga and his supporters are equally to blame for the breakdown of the state's security structures, by undermining the legitimacy of the rule of law and due process, while maximising the chaos amongst the frustrated peasantry, eager for a piece of the country's wealth.

Given the weakness of the country's legislature and the obvious pitfalls that are commonly associated with the centralisation of power in the presidency, it is highly unlikely that the opposition will call off violent protests while the government refuses to address the root of the crisis. It is difficult to conceive of a change in government policy in restructuring and strengthening the country's legislature without western-backed pressure for reform, or the west abandoning, even momentarily, its long-standing backing of the regime.

Kibaki -- often characterised in western media as a reliable partner in the US war against terror, a supporter of free-market economic policies, presiding over surging economic growth in recent years, and as a politician who first ran in 2002 on a political platform to curb corruption and open up Kenya's political system to greater democracy -- has had the luxury of western backing despite his apparent dismal track record in both fields.

If the international community is genuinely interested in assisting Kenyans to defuse much of the violence ripping the country apart, it would need to substantially invest in bolstering Kenya's capacity by strengthening its formal institutions, particularly the national legislature.

It is too early to know whether the new face-to-face meetings between Kibaki and Odinga will produce the kind of answers that Kenya desperately needs to defuse the crisis. If mediation talks do succeed in quelling the violence temporarily, and if both sides agree on a comprehensive overhaul of the political system and electoral process, the current crisis will, undoubtedly, offer the country an opportunity to prepare the ground for a more comprehensive social rehabilitation process.

On the other hand, failure will propel the country towards chaos and the risk of ethnic cleansing -- something the international community would want to avoid at all costs, given the recent memories of Rwanda and of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Besada is senior researcher, working on fragile states, at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Canada. Kariithi is chief financial officer of the Unified Financial Group and a Kenyan analyst.

Copyright © 2008 Business Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Full story from Business Day (South Africa)

20 - Kenyan flower workers weigh lives against jobs

Thu 31 Jan 2008, 9:44 GMT
By David Lewis

NAIVASHA, Kenya (Reuters) - Having escaped mobs tearing through his neighbourhood hunting him and his kinsmen, farm worker Jacob Owour is breathing a sigh of relief.

But now his worry has turned from his life to his job.

"I fear I might lose my job on the flower farm as I have not reported for the last few days," he said in the police station of this Kenyan Rift Valley town [Naivasha], now a makeshift shelter for 8,000 people displaced by days of ethnic violence.

As relative calm returned to Naivasha, a farming town where over 40 people have been killed in ethnic fighting since Sunday, thousands of farm workers like Owour face the same dilemma.

At the police station and the prison, Luo, Luhya and Kalenjin men and women have protection and at least some food and water.

Outside the gates, between them and their jobs, remain Kikuyus, some of whom they have worked alongside for years, many of whom now appear ready to kill them.

Vengeance has been on Kikuyu minds for a week now, in retaliation for attacks after the election that targeted their kin at first, especially in the Rift Valley.

The crisis is the worst Kenya's horticultural industry has ever faced, according to one senior official. The sector employs some 30,000 people, mostly around Naivasha, and in 2006 it earned Kenya 49 billion shillings ($690 million).

Naivasha's clashes were the revenge part of a cycle that began after Kenya's Luo-led opposition rejected President Mwai Kibaki's victory in Dec. 27 elections.

Violence since then has killed over 850 people around the country, mostly in ethnic violence. Jendayi Frazer, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, said on Wednesday it had degenerated into ethnic cleansing in the Rift Valley.

The result is clear on the ground. Having completely closed down on Monday, many greenhouses and packing sheds on the lake shore are still working well below capacity. On one farm just 30 percent of the workers turned up to work on Tuesday.

Many Kikuyu workers have returned but those from other tribes have not and growers are having to recruit day workers to catch up with picking as the Valentine's Day rush nears.

With tourism, Kenya's top foreign exchange earner, and tea plantations also being hit by post-election violence, sustained problems for the flower and vegetable farms would be a serious blow to the country's economy.

The precision needed in the industry, which can move a rose bud from the field to a shelf in Europe within 48 hours, means there is little margin for error.

In response, the Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG) and the Red Cross are planning to build a camp for the displaced from where farm workers will be ferried to and from work in safety.

Despite simmering tensions in town, which have seen crowds from both sides try and attack individuals from the other, the LNGG is confident the clashes will not be brought to work.

And the colleagues who they would be returning to work with seem to agree. "If they come back, I'm ready to work with them," said Mary Njoroge, who manages a grading and packing shed.

But for many, the unrest has left deep scars.

"There is nothing to get me to stay here," said Joseph Anyuka, a flower farmer who has worked in the industry for 15 years, sheltering at the police station.

"I bought land but can forget that. I need security. They can bring the flower farms to western Kenya. We have an airport so we can fly them to Europe. Instead of perishing here we can work well there," he said.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved

Full story from Reuters

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