Monday, February 11, 2008

Today’s Headlines – Mon 2/11/2008


Important updates:
  • UN aid official John Holmes estimates 600,000 displaced--half in camps, half sheltering with relatives and others.
  • Talks between rival parties enter crucial phase, with hopes for a compromise to be reached early this week.
As you’ll see from scanning headlines below, there are conflicting reports about the position of Raila Odinga’s opposition party, ODM (Orange Democratic Movement). Late last week, they were moving cautiously toward compromise; but over the weekend, Odinga attended funeral of police officer David Too, killed in Eldoret, and delivered a speech that pleased hardliners. This is the latest word from AP:

Odinga has flipped between harsh rhetoric and conciliatory gestures as the talks have dragged on. On Sunday, he said he was prepared for "giving and taking."

Time will tell—pray for a win-win solution, and a willingness on both sides to compromise.


1 - Optimism at Kenya talks, negotiators urge patience - Reuters

2 - Kenya rivals near deal, tough talks lie ahead - Reuters

3 - Kenya talks resume with hopes for a deal - AP

4 - Talks Hit Trickiest Stretch - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

5 - On the Threshold of a Breakthrough - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

6 - We Will Stop At Nothing But the Presidency, Says Pentagon - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

7 - Kenya's Opposition ODM to Propose Power-Sharing Government - Voice of America

8 - Put Kenya first UK bishop urges teams - Nation

9 - Damage, Displacement a 'Tragedy,' Says Top UN Official - IRIN UN News Service (New York)

10 - UN: 600,000 People Displaced in Kenya - Associated Press

11 - Kenyan crisis to affect food security, health care: MSF

12 - Elections - Children Pay a Heavy Price - The Nation (Nairobi)

13 - Kenya’s Middle Class Feeling Sting of Violence - NY Times

14 - Kenyan militia strike back - BBC

15 - Kenyans Turn Vigilante As Crime Surges - AP

16 - Public universities’ crisis could get worse - Nation

1 - Optimism at Kenya talks, negotiators urge patience - Reuters

Mon Feb 11, 2008 5:08am EST
By Michael Georgy and Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Negotiators for President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga re-started talks on Monday in a mood of national optimism that a political solution to Kenya's worst crisis since independence may be near.

Mediator and former U.N. chief Kofi Annan has predicted the two sides will agree on a formula this week to overcome their dispute over the December 27 election that triggered violence killing more than 1,000 people and displacing 300,000.

Kenyan media, and sources close to the talks, say that will almost certainly be a power-sharing deal.
Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is no longer calling on Kibaki to step down, the sources say, while Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) has dropped its demand the opposition take its grievances over the polls to court.

"On the threshold of a breakthrough," read The Standard's banner headline, one of many predicting success in the talks.

At the Maasai Mara national park, rangers even named a newly born rhino "Kofi Annan" in honor of his role.

Annan himself warned media against "speculation and rumors" at this delicate stage in his negotiating mission.

Both sides also tried to calm premature jubilation around a nation exhausted by violence and acrimony, much of it along ethnic lines among Kenya's more than 40 different groups.

Though triggered by the controversial presidential vote tally, the bloodshed in Kenya has exposed deep divisions over land, wealth and power that date back to British colonial rule and have been stoked by politicians in the decades since.

Government negotiator Mutula Kilonzo, who said last week he was "1,000 percent confident" a deal was coming, urged patience.

"The media is selling a deal. It could be up to a week," he told reporters at a plush Nairobi hotel that has become the centre of international diplomatic efforts to end the crisis.

Odinga, 63, an ex-political prisoner and once a minister in Kibaki's cabinet, also declined to be drawn. "We will not carry out mediation talks through the media," he said at the weekend.

An ODM party spokesman told reporters at Monday's talks the negotiations were not simple.

"They're not just going to be cooked up any second. Negotiations are going to take a bit of time," he said.
"(But) we are very hopeful, like the Kenyan people are."

Both sides are said by sources in their parties to have agreed in principle on power-sharing, and are now focusing on the details.

The opposition says its larger numbers in parliament should give it a bigger share of cabinet posts. But the Kibaki side has the official ruling of the electoral board that he won the presidential vote, albeit narrowly.

The protests and rioting that began immediately after Kibaki's December 30 swearing-in spread to many parts of the nation, especially the Rift Valley and Nairobi slums that saw unprecedented scenes of violence.

The violence has subsided in recent days, but Kenya's image as a stable democracy and a regional hub for business, tourism and transport has been badly damaged.

Kenyan markets have taken a battering. The stock index has dropped about 12 percent and the shilling currency has fallen more than 10 percent against the U.S. dollar since the crisis began.

Both sides have already agreed principles to end violence and help refugees. Annan gave them until mid-February to resolve agenda item No. 3: what to do about the disputed election.

Deeper underlying issues, such as land grievances and wealth inequality, are to be tackled within a year.

(Editing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Tim Pearce)

(For special coverage from Reuters on Kenya's crisis see:
© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

2 - Kenya rivals near deal, tough talks lie ahead - Reuters

Sun 10 Feb 2008, 11:48 GMT
By Daniel Wallis

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's feuding parties look on the verge of striking a power-sharing deal to end a deadly political crisis after narrowing their differences over the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has accused Kibaki of rigging the December 27 poll, triggering riots and ethnic attacks that have killed more than 1,000 people and smashed the country's image as a peaceful business, tourism and transport hub.

Former U.N. boss Kofi Annan, who is leading talks to end the turmoil, seemed on Friday to have made significant progress.

"Apparently, there was a newfound spirit of camaraderie among the negotiators ... giving hope to Kenyans and the world that the resolution was in sight," Kenya's main Daily Nation newspaper said in an editorial on Saturday.
"This goodwill should be exploited to the maximum."

Quoting sources in the discussions, local media said both parties had made concessions, paving the way for power sharing.

When talks resume on Monday, delegates will debate how that might work over a two- to three-year period, the Nation said. It said a truth, justice and reconciliation commission would also be set up to heal the wounds caused by the violence.

Proposals for a recount or swift re-run of the election have been set aside because of persistent security fears and the number of voters uprooted from their homes, the reports said.

Annan's mediators were due to address a special session of parliament on Tuesday to brief legislators on the developments.

Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is no longer calling on Kibaki to step down, local media said, while Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) has dropped its demand that the opposition take any grievances over the polls to court.

"They have reached a deal in principle to share power, but they have yet to work out the precise details," a source close to the Annan team told Reuters.

In a statement, Odinga said he was confident the talks would bear fruit, and Kibaki's office said the president was satisfied the mediation was going well.

Despite the apparent progress, a lasting deal was still far from certain. Kenya's bloodshed has exposed deep divisions over land, wealth and power sown during British colonial rule and stoked by politicians ever since.

In a sign of the tough talks still to come, the opposition-leaning Standard newspaper said Odinga's side was insisting that the make-up of any interim government reflect the strength of the parties in parliament. The ODM won 99 seats to the PNU's 43 in parliamentary elections also held on December 27.

Annan says he hopes delegates will end their discussions on settling the political issues by early next week. But he cautioned journalists against listening to rumours or leaks.

"In negotiations, a deal is not done until it is done," he said on Saturday. "All must understand that selective leaks in the middle of negotiations are not to anyone's benefit."

Both sides have agreed on principles to end the violence and help refugees. Annan had given them until mid-February to resolve a third item: what should be done about the disputed election.

The former U.N. chief hopes talks on the deeper underlying issues, such as land grievances, will be tackled within a year.

The unrest has displaced some 300,000 people, horrifying Kenyans, neighbouring states and world powers alike. That has led to a bigger and faster international response than has been seen elsewhere in Africa.

The latest dignitary to arrive, U.N. aid boss John Holmes, met displaced people in the Rift Valley towns of Nakuru and Molo on Saturday, the sites of some of the worst violence.

"We need to make sure that no one community is being favoured over the other and everyone is getting aid," he said.

Clement Omondi, a 25-year-old attacked by a mob that broke both his arms, told Holmes he wanted to return to his ancestral home in western Kenya, but had no way to get there.

"I have lost my livelihood. I have lost my house. I have no future," Omondi said. "Nakuru is no longer my home."

Odinga was also in a Rift Valley town, Kericho, for the funeral of an ODM lawmaker shot dead by a policeman last week.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Caroline Drees)

(For special coverage from Reuters on Kenya's crisis see:

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved. Learn more about Reuters

3 - Kenya talks resume with hopes for a deal - AP

By MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED, Associated Press Writer
5 minutes ago

A Kenyan government negotiator said Monday the president's party was considering sharing power with the opposition, the first acknowledgment from the government side that such a proposal was on the table.

The international community has been pressing for a power-sharing agreement in hopes that it will end the presidential election-related violence that has killed more than 1,000 in the East African country. A top U.N. official said Monday that up to 600,000 people have been displaced in the turmoil.

"The talks from today on will be a hardball," said Mutula Kilonzo, one of the negotiators on behalf of President Mwai Kibaki, as discussions resumed between the government and the opposition.

"We are talking about the modalities of a political settlement, which can come in different forms. One of them is sharing government; another one is to reform the constitution to create a strong opposition and a capable government."

Much of the violence since Dec. 27 has pitted members of ethnic groups against one another. U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said Monday that up to 600,000 people have been displaced.

"There are something like 300,000 people displaced in camps ... (and) beyond those 300,000 there are probably just as many who are not in camps who have gone back to their homelands ... or are sheltering with friends and neighbors somewhere else," Holmes told reporters in Helsinki after arriving from a visit to Kenya.

The turmoil has gutted the economy of the country, once seen as a model for economic stability and democracy in Africa.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is mediating the talks, said Friday before a weekend break that the two sides had made significant progress toward striking a deal to share power.

Also Friday, an opposition lawmaker on the negotiating team that the two sides had agreed to a power-sharing government. Annan called that "premature," but said significant progress had been made.

Opposition negotiators could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

In a sign of the hopes the country is putting in the talks, rangers at the Masai Maara game park in northern Kenya named a newborn baby rhinoceros Kofi Annan.

Kibaki presided over the launch of a program to provide free nationwide secondary schooling on Monday in Nairobi without mentioning the turmoil, except to decry the looting and burning of homes that has marked recent violence.

On Saturday, opposition leader Raila Odinga told supporters that Kibaki "must step down or there must be a re-election — in this I will not be compromised." Two days earlier, he had indicated he would not insist on Kibaki's resignation.

Odinga has flipped between harsh rhetoric and conciliatory gestures as the talks have dragged on. On Sunday, he said he was prepared for "giving and taking."

Odinga's supporters have applied their own pressure. In his stronghold in western Kenya, they have threatened to burn down his farm and a large molasses factory owned by his family if he returns as anything less than president.
Associated Press writers Katharine Houreld and Heidi Vogt in Nairobi contributed to this report.

4 - Talks Hit Trickiest Stretch - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

10 February 2008
Posted to the web 11 February 2008

Negotiations for a political cure for post-election crisis begin on Monday when parties are expected to present and defend their roadmaps.

It could be the trickiest week, but one which could bear abundant blessing, in the search for peace and restoration of normalcy. Those optimistic about this week include the lead international mediator Dr Kofi Annan, who said as much on Friday and yesterday. The haggling for a political compromise that would only work with the stamp of authority from President Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader Mr Raila Odinga has captured the attention of a nation scarred by killings, displacement and wanton destruction.

Annan yesterday raised the red flag against leakages at the ongoing peace talks and warned against rushed conclusion a deal had been struck. He said: "In negotiations, a deal is not done until it is done. I had urged all parties to refrain from making statements to the public on sensitive matters under discussion."

Annan, the Chair of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, expressed concerned about certain reports in the media Saturday regarding the status of talks within the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation. He reiterated it had not come to a definite conclusion and urged "the public to be patient until agreement can be reached next week."
"All must understand," he went on, "that selective leaks in the middle of negotiations are not to anyone's benefit."
President Kibaki and his Party of National Unity was declared winner by Electoral Commission chairman Mr Samuel Kivuitu, but Raila and his team said their victory was stolen.

International and local observers said the exercise fell below international and regional standards. Kivuitu, too, conceded there were serious flaws in the process and questioned the integrity of ECK records, which he said were being tampered with without his authority.

Yesterday the Presidential Press Service dispatched a statement saying President Kibaki was satisfied mediation talks "were going on well".

"Speaking today at State House Nairobi during a meeting with Ugandan Deputy Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya, President Kibaki exuded confidence that a sustainable solution to the current political situation would be found," it read in part.

At the burial of former Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too, Raila and his team, earlier reported to have climbed down from demanding Kibaki's resignation, said ODM would stop at nothing but the presidency.

"ODM has accepted to enter into talks with thieves but we will not accept a solution that could betray millions of Kenyans who voted for ODM," he said.

He added: "If Kenyans fought the might of the British Empire to secure Independence, PNU with its excessive use of police force is a storm in a tea cup."

"As Annan-led team looks for a solution," he went on, "they should know that there will be no peace without justice."

Kenya is on the spot
His deputy and running mate in the controversial elections, Mr Musalia Mudavadi said: "PNU thought they would steal votes and spark a temporary outcry. Kenyans are determined to give PNU a nightmare. We are committed to the talks led by Annan. Kenya is on the spot worldwide and a solution based on justice will be found."

Mvita MP Najib Balala, who is a member of the ODM Pentagon, said: "ODM will not accept a power-sharing formula where the Othaya MP, Kibaki, will be calling the shots."

Speaker Kenneth Marende is expected to convene an informal session of Parliament on Tuesday for the MPs to be briefed on the progress of the negotiations. If a power-sharing arrangement is reached, it is expected that the House would have to be roped in to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution to give it the force of law.

Tomorrow or the day after, PNU is expected to give its proposal for a political solution to the crisis. That will be after Annan ruled out anything involving the Judiciary or the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

PNU had early Friday insisted on recounting and re-tallying of the votes as a way out of the impasse. But it dropped that position after Annan gave the position that the Judiciary and the ECK were seen to be part of the problem and could not be relied on to provide solutions.

ODM, too, retreated from calls for Kibaki to step down with Raila saying his party is willing to give and take. "Initially our stand was that we won the elections, and Mr Kibaki lost the elections, he should resign, and we should be sworn-in, but we have said that we are not static on that point."

Raila said both sides had agreed to call a meeting of Parliament next week so that MPs could be briefed on the progress of the talks.

Government and opposition party officials were yesterday firm that they had not reached any power-sharing deal. But they both said they made significant progress in settling the dispute over the December General Election.

A breakthrough was not there yet, Government sources said, but there was agreement in principles. "What has been agreed on in principle is that this crisis needs a political solution. What form that political solution takes is what we embark on this week," an opposition official said.

This week, each side is to table its proposals for a political solution to the problem. Each side will also be required to provide possible challenges to the solution it is proposing together with the proposal on how to tackle those challenges.

ODM had provided its proposals for a political settlement, which included provision for a six-month transitional government, reconstitution of the ECK then a re-run.

Sources say the party is willing to support a transitional government that stays for longer than six months during which period there would be serious work on constitutional reforms.

But a rerun in six months faces the hurdle of what to do with the many displaced voters. There are also fears that with such tension, a new round of election campaigns could open fresh wounds and hurt attempts at reconciliation.

There are also concerns that the state of security would not be conducive for another round of election campaigns.

Need for a political solution
The proposal of having a transitional government will also have to deal with the challenge of who to include in that government. Discussions this week will focus on these details, but only after the PNU also presents its version of a political solution.

So far, the one thing that has been agreed on is that the problems that have rocked the country since the December 27 polls require a political solution. What form that solution takes will be the subject when the negotiators meet.

There were conflicting reports on whether power sharing had been agreed on at the end of the talks last week, with some sources saying there was no such agreement.

But it is increasingly seen as an option being pushed particularly by the international community that is not keen to see Kenya slide any further.

On Friday Annan announced that his team had "reached far on the political issues but wait for the details early next week."

"We have agreed that a political settlement is necessary and we are discussing the details, which will be made public early next week. We are making progress and we are asking for a little patience," he said, at the media briefing.

Sources say the effort to brief MPs on the process point to a possible power sharing Memorandum of Understanding that would be sanctioned and signed by Parliament as opposed to the one signed in boardroom in 2002.

A political observer, who works with some of the politicians, said power sharing deals that involve Parliament have proved to be more stable and long lasting than those negotiated in boardrooms, citing the case of Belgium.

In Belgium, he said, forming a government is a two-step process. Parties first hold the election and see the arithmetic of the results. Then they have to negotiate on the coalition, which is not just about the prime minister, but all the other ministers and the overall government mandate. Should the parties agree to a transitional government deal, it would not be the first time it has happened in Africa.

In 2003, the Liberian Government signed a peace accord with the country's main rebel groups in Accra to form a transitional government, paving the way for the end of 14-year-old civil war.

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which brokered the deal, witnessed the signing.

Ghanaian President John Kufuor, whose country held the rotating presidency of Ecowas, was present, with representatives of the United Nations, European Union and the African Union.

Under the deal, all the parties waived any claim to the top posts in the interim government, instead allowing those not involved in the conflict to take up positions. Annan's talks have the backing of the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the United States and Kenyans.

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

5 - On the Threshold of a Breakthrough - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

11 February 2008
Posted to the web 11 February 2008

It will be a unique political solution for Kenya that will be unveiled this week if both sides at the Kofi Annan-led talks agree to final details of a deal already on the table.

Both sides on Sunday gave hints of a power-sharing arrangement tailored to bring both teams into Government, in a settlement delicately balanced to end the post-election crisis, start the healing and build on future stability.

This follows last week's announcement by Annan of an impending political solution, but details of how it would look like remained sketchy.

Four leading political analysts were of the view that given the delicate background behind which the Annan talks are taking place, the expected power-sharing formula may not have to stick to internationally established models but would be one made uniquely for the Kenyan crisis.

The analysts were agreed that the most expected outcome of the talks by Kenyans and politicians is a Government that leaves Mr Mwai Kibaki as the President while creating another top respectable executive position - like the Prime Minister - for Mr Raila Odinga.

They said for a fair deal to be seen to be struck, several ODM members would have to be absorbed into the Cabinet, some as assistant ministers, while Kibaki would have to cede some executive authority to Raila.

Amend constitution
Some of the agreements that may emerge in the talks would call for constitutional amendments to accommodate positions that may be created.

Both Kibaki and Raila are understood to have heeded international pressure and acceded to a demand to share power, the details of which will this morning occupy the resumed sessions of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation team.

But top politicians, including Raila, declined to speculate on the final deal, though they were agreed that the final steps of a political solution were in sight.

Raila, who spoke Sunday afternoon after attending a church service at the All Saints Cathedral, said: "The mediation team agreed on a political settlement and we support it. Details on the kind of settlement will be out soon".

But asked who the beneficiaries of the joint government would be, Raila remained tactically evasive: "We will give our proposals at the negotiation table. We are not going to negotiate through the media. At this point, I don't know who is going into the Government or who is going out, we have not reached that stage yet".

He said the two sides were still discussing who would lead the government and what roles each party would play, and urged the media to wait for official communication from the mediation team sometime this week.

Finance minister Amos Kimunya, a close ally of President Kibaki, indicated that the Government side was flexible to the proposal to share power, even if it meant amending the constitution.

"We are willing to give this effort all our co-operation. When we agree, the rest can be handled constitutionally," said Kimunya.

He added: "The Wako draft has the position of a Prime Minister with certain responsibilities. It has worked in other countries, including the neighbouring Tanzania, why can it not work here?"

Prof Peter Wanyande, the dean of political science at the University of Nairobi (UoN), and Tom Ocholla, a political scientist at the university, concurred that in an ideal parliamentary system, the party with majority MPs would form the government, with its leader becoming the executive prime minister.

But the two doubted that such a straightjacket system could be applied in the Kenyan situation, saying that certain concessions would have to be made.

Said Wanyande: "We must appreciate that if such a settlement were to be reached here, it may include certain concessions that are not necessarily typical of a parliamentary system. For the sake of national healing, all parties could be brought on board in the power sharing arrangement".

Ocholla said the president's role was largely ceremonial in a parliamentary system of government but he doubted that PNU would cede that much ground.

"I doubt whether PNU would agree to an executive prime minister with sweeping powers. I believe they are going to push for the Tanzanian model where the prime minister enjoys limited powers," he said.

In Tanzania, the President is both the head of state and head of government. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the National Assembly.

Once the deal is struck, Ocholla suggested that the present Cabinet be dissolved to pave way for a freshly reconstituted one in line with the proposed agreement.

Multi-party democracy under threat
Lawyer and political scientist Paul Mwangi said the proposed power-sharing could complicate the case for multi-party democracy.

First, Mwangi said, under the current Constitution Kenya is a multiparty democracy. Second, executive power is vested in the president, hence the proposed position of a prime minister must be preceded by a constitutional overhaul.

As regards multiparty democracy, he argued that if ODM were to be brought into government, that would "water down" this principle and contradict what the opposition has fought for all along.

"Who then would be the leader of opposition if ODM were to join Government? Clearly, ODM cannot be both in Government and in the opposition," he posed.

To sidestep the contradiction, he proposed a mechanism for a Government of National Unity that would allow opposition chiefs to be part of government.

"Even then, we should find out a way of constituting an opposition because leaders of the three big parties would then be in Government," he concluded.

Another political scientist, Dr Chris Abong'o, said whatever balance would be struck between the two sides, Annan's team must strive to come out with a 'win-win' scenario.

"For the sake of healing and reconciliation, no side should be seen to come out wielding the big stick over the other. It should be a 'win-win' for both," said Dr Abong'o.

The 'win-win' formula was also echoed by visiting Anglican Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom.

"I am appealing to Kofi Annan to lead the process into a 'win-win' solution for both sides," said Archbishop Sentamu at the All Saints Cathedral. He has already met Raila and Justice minister Martha Karua.

On where a shared government leaves the opposition, both Prof Wanyande and Ocholla had varied views.

Said Ocholla: "The fate of the opposition certainly is an issue of legitimate concern that is not being addressed seriously in case of a power sharing deal."

Ocholla, however, noted that there could be a silver lining to the arrangement given that the parties involved hold radically different ideological differences.

"This factor perhaps will provide internal checks and balances within Government. Moreover, the fact that both parties would seek to meet their respective pledges to the electorate would discourage wayward behaviour," he argued.

But Wanyande differed, saying the power-sharing arrangement would not necessarily deal a deathblow to multi-party politics "because there is no opposition to speak about in the first place".

He explained that ODM was locked in a bitter electoral dispute with PNU over who won the elections and hence had not accepted to assume the role of the official opposition party.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who had spoken a day earlier, said the matter of power-sharing needed further discussion to ensure it did not conflict with the Constitution.

"Our Constitution is very clear that Kenya is a multiparty state. This means that what is arrived at protects this cherished ideal," Kalonzo said.

Other politicians who welcomed the power sharing deal included Laikipia East MP Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri
"I think it would be a good idea if it is the only solution to unlock the political impasse," said Kiunjuri, who declined to comment further.

Seven ODM MPs from Nyanza and Western have indicated that any proposed joint government with PNU should reflect the strength of their party.

The MPs, who on Sunday toured Western to assess the impact of post-election violence, pointed out that ODM should have a major stake owing to its strength in Parliament.

The MPs included Dr Oburu Odinga (Bondo), Mr Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi), Mr Manyala Keya (Lurambi), Dr Simiyu Eseli (Kimilili), Mr Fred Outa (Nyando) and Mr Alfred Odhiambo (Butula).

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

NB: this is the article that seems to contradict the others, it's from Sunday:

6 - We Will Stop At Nothing But the Presidency, Says Pentagon - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

10 February 2008
Posted to the web 11 February 2008
By Vitalis Kimutai And Peter Atsiaya

ODM has reaffirmed its commitment to the ongoing mediation but declared it would go for nothing short of the presidency.

Party leader, Mr Raila Odinga, led 43 MPs in stating they would not relent in efforts to capture the presidency, which was allegedly stolen from them.

Speaking during the burial of the slain former Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too, in Kericho District, on Saturday, the MPs reiterated their commitment to the mediation talks.

They also said they would not betray the trust Kenyans have entrusted on them.

"We have accepted to talk with PNU but we assure our supporters we will not settle for a solution that betrays their cause," Raila said.

He said ODM was aware that millions of Kenyans who voted for him and the party MPs would not accept to be short-changed by PNU in the talks.

Raila also urged Kenyans to give Mr Kofi Annan's team a chance to resolve the political crisis.

He added that Kibaki and other PNU leaders were resisting pressure to relinquish power which, he said, they acquired illegally.

"If Kenyans managed to successfully fight the British Empire and freed the country from the colonial yoke, Kibaki and his foot soldiers will be defeated and when all is settled, this whole thing will look like a storm in a tea cup," he said.

Raila also said normalcy would not return unless justice was done, adding that mediation efforts should be based on peace and justice.

"Too's killing was not as a result of a love triangle as was bandied around by the police who were ill-bent on covering the fact that it was a political assassination. Too's spilled blood will not be in vain as it will be the driving force in our quest for justice," he said.

Raila criticised the police commissioner, Major Gen Hussein Ali for going public on the love triangle angle before investigations were launched into the MP's killing.

Too was gunned down by a traffic police officer in Eldoret a week ago.

In search of justice
Saturday's funeral service was held at Chepkoiyo Primary School grounds. Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Kenneth Marende, his deputy Mr Farah Maalim, ODM pentagon members Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto and Mr Najib Balala were present. Ruto said nothing would stop ODM and its followers from getting justice.

"Change comes through struggle and ODM supporters should not relent in their fight for their deserved victory," said the Eldoret North MP.

He said they adequately represented ODM supporters at the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks. He assured that the party would have a say in the final decision.

The Eldoret North MP said the political crisis was an opportunity to create a new political dispensation in the country and correct historical and present injustices.

Ruto said there was need to enact a new constitution that would put in place structures that would ensure the country would not witness similar chaos brought about by disputed presidential vote tally. Changing of the Constitution, he said, was part of the resolutions ODM had presented to the Annan-led team as a solution to the crisis. Mudavadi said PNU initially believed that outrage from the stolen elections would be short lived but were shocked that Kenyans soldiered on despite Government's use of excessive force on innocent people. He said Kenya was on an international spotlight and that a lasting solution needed to be found to unite Kenyans and restore the country's dignity.

Nyong'o said there was need for a transitional government to be put in place.

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

7 - Kenya's Opposition ODM to Propose Power-Sharing Government - Voice of America

By James Butty
Washington, D.C.
11 February 2008
Butty interview with Nyongo - Download (MP3)
Butty interview with Nyongo - Listen (MP3)

In Kenya, both the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and embattled President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) are scheduled to present new positions Monday to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan who is mediating a resolution to the country’s post-election crisis. This comes after both parties agreed to abandon their original postures in favor of a political solution.

Peter Anyang Nyong’o is ODM secretary general. He told VOA that contrary to reports over the weekend, a deal is far from being reached.

“What happened at the mediation talks is that finally both parties have concurred that a political solution is necessary in principle. Previously PNU was insisting on a legal procedure, on a legal technicality that the only way to deal with the issue is to recount the votes, or if ODM is dissatisfied to go to court. I think Kofi Annan has convinced them that that is a hopeless way to go about things. And that what we needed is for both parties to put on the table what they think are the options for a political solution,” he said.

Nyong’o said the ODM has also modified its previous positions that Raila Odinga won the December 27 elections and that President Kibaki should step down.

“What we are now proposing is that there be a transitional executive authority for six months during which a reconstituted electoral commission of Kenya would be put in place and then later for a presidential election after six months. That is our first option and we shall put that on the table on Monday, and if that is agreed upon so be it. If it is not, we have a second option which we shall also propose,” Nyongo’o said.

He said the ODM would propose the establishment of a co-executive transitional government.

“If a transitional arrangement is to be worked out, there will be a co-executive, that is Raila and Kibaki will have co-executive powers just like Mandela and de Klerk (F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era president) had between (1989) and 1994 when Mandela came out of prison. If you look at the South African presidential executive authority law, it is something that can be repeated in Kenya on a transition basis while we undertake much longer term solutions to our problems subsequently,” he said.

Nyong’o said the ODM has shown much flexibility from its original positions but without compromising the fact that the ODM believes the December 27 elections were rigged by President Kibaki.

“We are flexible precisely because we want to make sure that we have an arrangement which would be supported by all parties. We want a bi-partisan approach to the problem. That does not mean, however, that we have compromised in principle the fact that the election was stolen. That is something that will come up when the truth and reconciliation commission is established,” Nyong’o said.


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8 - Put Kenya first UK bishop urges teams - Nation

Publication Date: 2/11/2008

A visiting Church of England bishop has urged PNU and ODM politicians to put the interests of Kenyans first.
Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, urged both sides of the political divide to give Kenyans hope and carry the ongoing mediation talks to a fruitful end.

The archbishop, who has been in Kenya since Friday, however, cautioned that even in pursuing an agreement to the political crisis, both PNU and ODM should ensure that gains made in the country’s democracy are guarded, citing the multi-party system which he said heavily depends on a strong opposition.

“Even if the two protagonists are to work together, Kenyans should ensure that a strong opposition party thrives to check against possible excesses of the executive,” said the clergyman, who is also a member of the House of Commons in the UK.

He was speaking after conducting a Sunday service at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi. Present was Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, ODM leader Raila Odinga and his wife Ida.

Democracy and peace
Dr Sentamu urged Kenyans to steadfastly hold onto the country’s democracy and peace.

Speaking after the service, Mr Odinga said his party will not let down its supporters in the ongoing dialogue saying the outcome must reflect their wishes.

"They voted for change. We will not betray our supporters even though we are prepared for a give and take,” he said, adding that his team was going to the negotiating table with an open mind and heart.

The ODM leader said former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and his team of eminent persons had briefed him and President Kibaki on the progress and challenges facing the negotiations and sought their cooperation and assistance.
Both parties promised to support the dialogue to the end.

He said ODM had agreed to a political settlement to the dispute, but that details were yet to be negotiated by the parties involved. He explained that ODM had not yet laid any proposals on the table.

The Lang’ata MP complained that trigger-happy police officers had continued to shoot and kill people in the post-election period and that the Government had not done anything to contain the situation.

Meanwhile, the US government has sent letters to five more politicians and business people, which could see them denied entry visas to the country.

This brings to 13 the number of leaders in political and business circles who have so far been targeted by the US, allegedly for instigating the violence that rocked parts of the country or being obstacles to ongoing negotiations.

Speaking in Washington on Friday last week, Deputy Spokesman for the US State Department Tom Casey said: “We had the eight letters that were handed out or distributed on February 5. I understand there have been an additional five letters today that have been given. We can describe them as Kenyan political and business leaders and the letters, just as the previous ones do, indicate that these people are suspected of having been engaged in incitement and promotion of violence in the post-election period in Kenya.”

9 - Damage, Displacement a 'Tragedy,' Says Top UN Official - IRIN UN News Service (New York)

9 February 2008
Posted to the web 11 February 2008

Traveling to western Kenya's Northern Rift Valley to survey the humanitarian toll taken by post-election violence, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today voiced concern over the plight of those forced to flee their homes.

"It is a tragedy that people have been pushed out of the homes by brutal violence," Mr. Holmes, who also serves as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said while touring camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

"For many, their homes and crops have been burned and they have been left with nothing. Now they want to go back, but their security is not ensured."

The Coordinator also stopped in the Central Rift Valley town of Nakuru, Kenya's fourth largest, where gangs armed with machetes attacked residents, razed homes and looted and burned businesses, forcing many to seek refuge in camps.

While in the town, he visited displacement sites at Afraha Stadium and Nakuru Show Ground, where he spoke with some of the 11,000 people from the area are seeking shelter.

Mr. Holmes, who arrived in Kenya yesterday, expressed his appreciation for the cooperation among the communities, the Kenyan Red Cross, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide assistance to IDPs.

"What we now need to consider are the next steps for helping them in the medium term," he noted.

In Molo, one of the most volatile of the Rift Valley's district and the site of 50 displacement camps, the Under-Secretary-General stopped at two IDP settlements and met with inhabitants.

He stressed that no community should be favored over another given the ethnic dimension of the violence. "There is a realization that everybody loses in the end if this continues. Finding a solution is a long-term process but not impossible. It can be done," he noted.

Some 1,000 people have lost their lives and more than 310,000 displaced since last December's elections in which President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga. In addition, some 12,000 Kenyans have fled to neighbouring Uganda.

The Rift Valley, Nyanza, western provinces and slum areas of the capital Nairobi have been hardest hit by the unrest.

Mr. Holmes will wrap up his mission tomorrow, when he will visit Tigoni and Karathimo, two displacements camps near Nairobi, and meet with senior UN humanitarian officials.

Copyright © 2008 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (
10 - UN: 600,000 People Displaced in Kenya - Associated Press

8:09 AM EST, February 11, 2008

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said Monday that up to 600,000 people have been displaced in Kenya during weeks of postelection violence.

"There are something like 300,000 people displaced in camps ... (and) beyond those 300,000 there are probably just as many who are not in camps who have gone back to their homelands ... or are sheltering with friends and neighbors somewhere else," Holmes told reporters in Helsinki after arriving from a visit to the East African country.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.,0,859427,print.story

11 - Kenyan crisis to affect food security, health care: MSF

2 days ago

NAIROBI (AFP) — Kenya could face food shortages and a breakdown of health services in the coming months, caused by the exodus of 300,000 people in post-election violence, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Friday.
Filipe Ribeiro, MSF's emergency aid coordinator for Kenya, told AFP the population movements will have an impact on both urban and rural areas.

"The fact that people are pouring into slums where the population already is struggling to cope will cause a big problem for food security in urban areas," Ribeiro said.

"We will be closely watching the food situation in the months to come."

He noted that planting season had arrived but that no work was being done in the fields of western Kenya.

Kenya descended into crisis following December 27 elections that President Mwai Kibaki officially won but the opposition claims were rigged. International observers have also cited flaws in vote-counting.

More than 1,000 people have died in riots, tribal clashes and police raids, mostly in the western Rift Valley province.
"In hospitals or clinics, the staff has been a victim of violence and they have trouble getting into work."

"The indirect consequence of the violences is that a child suffering from cerebral malaria cannot be treated because there are no nurses in the hospital," said Ribeiro.

He recalled that during similar upheaval in 1992, it took three years to "bring to an end displacements, camps and resettlements" across the country.

12 - Elections - Children Pay a Heavy Price - The Nation (Nairobi)

11 February 2008
Posted to the web 11 February 2008

More than 100,000 children are still suffering in makeshift camps six weeks after the announcement of presidential election results sparked violent protests across the country.

The camps in Eldoret, Naivasha, Kericho, Kisumu, Nyeri, Thika, Nakuru, Limuru and in Nairobi are holding most of the children who make up one third of the 300,000 Kenyans uprooted from their homes by the unprecedented political turmoil

Aid workers say the children, most of who have dropped out of school, bore the brunt of the violence that has left over 1,000 people dead.

Visiting UN head of humanitarian assistance John Holmes said Sunday the children will need a lot of counselling to regain their normal status. He said they were traumatised by the violence, with some becoming victims of abuse.
Addressing a news conference in Nairobi after visiting a number of camps in the country, Mr Holmes said the over-riding need was to provide emergency education in camps.

Psychological trauma
"Children form our top priority and we are concerned about the psychological trauma they are undergoing by staying in camps," he said at Serena Hotel.

In Eldoret, some 4,200 displaced children have been enrolled in makeshift schools in five camps. Aid workers say 2,555 children are at the Nakuru showground and the Afraha Stadium camps. At least 30 babies have been born at the showground camp and were being attended to in makeshift wards.

Kericho has 2,315 children, while Nyeri Town is host to 1,000 children camping at Ruring'u stadium and in two churches. They have now dropped out of school.

Another 590 are in Thika and Juja, while 70 are in Karatina. Kirathimo camp in Limuru and Tigoni now hold 358 while Jamhuri Park and Mathare in Nairobi have 1,000 and 250 children each. Others are scattered in many other small camps.

In Naivasha, where displaced victims of ethnic violence are camping at the local police station and the prison compound, 300 children are living in deplorable conditions.

At the local police station and prison, aid workers and officials warn of a possible disease outbreak due to lack of basic facilities with the children at the greatest risk.

Humanitarian organisations and officials say the number of children in the camps keeps fluctuating but officials in different camps say the children make up at least a third of the entire displaced population.

Some of the children arrived at the camps while only a few days old, while some were born in their new temporary homes. The children have had their education disrupted while some have been dogged by disease.

Congestion in most camps is also worrying those working with the displaced children.

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

13 - Kenya’s Middle Class Feeling Sting of Violence - NY Times

February 11, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — George G. Mbugua is a 42-year-old executive with two cars, a closet full of suits and a good job as the chief financial officer of a growing company.

His life has all the trappings of a professional anywhere. He recently joined a country club and has taken up golf.

But unlike anywhere else, this executive has to keep his eyes peeled on the daily commute for stone-throwing mobs.

When he gets home after a long day, he has to explain to his daughters why people from different ethnic groups are hacking one another to death. Even his own affluent neighborhood has been affected. Some of the Mbuguas’ neighbors recently fled their five-bedroom homes because of the violence that has exploded in Kenya since a disputed election in December turned this promising African country upside down.

“Nobody’s untouched,” Mr. Mbugua said.

Of all the election-related conflicts that have cracked open in Kenya — Luos versus Kikuyus (two big ethnic groups), The Orange Democratic Movement versus the Party of National Unity (the leading political parties), police versus protesters — none may be more crucial than the struggle between those who seem to have nothing to lose, like the mobs in the slums who burn down their own neighborhoods, and those who are deeply invested in this country’s stability.

The well-established middle class here is thought to be one of the most important factors that separate Kenya from other African countries that have been consumed by ethnic conflict. Millions of Kenyans identify as much with what they do or where they went to college as who their ancestors are. They have overcome ethnic differences, dating between groups and sometimes intermarrying, living in mixed neighborhoods, and sending their children to the best schools they can afford, regardless of who else goes there.

The fighting that rages in the countryside, where men with mud-smeared faces and makeshift weapons are hunting down people of other ethnicities, seems as foreign to many of these white-collar Kenyans as it might to people living thousands of miles away.

But the professionals are hardly retreating. Three times a week, a group of doctors, lawyers, former politicians, writers, wildlife experts, business consultants and professors meet in a conference room at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, the capital. They call themselves Concerned Citizens for Peace, and they have taken up projects such as raising money for displaced people, organizing candlelight vigils and bending the ear of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, who met with business leaders during his emergency trip to Kenya this month.

The group begins each session by standing up, holding hands and singing the national anthem.

Mr. Mbugua spoke the other day at one of those meetings about the importance of reconciliation in the workplace. His idea was to keep local languages, which many Kenyans speak in addition to the country’s official languages (English and Kiswahili), away from the water cooler.

“We don’t want people to feel excluded when they’re at work,” he said.

Bethuel Kiplagat, a retired ambassador, praised the meeting’s openness. “We must put everything down on the table,” he said, “however painful it is.”

Many African countries are all about haves versus have-nots, with millions of people toiling in the fields, barely surviving, while a tiny elite holds all the wealth. Kenya is different.

James Shikwati, a Kenyan economist, estimates that of Kenya’s population of approximately 37 million, about four million are in the middle class, making between $2,500 and $40,000 a year. The number of Kenyans enrolled in college has more than doubled in the past 10 years, to more than 100,000.

“There are sizable fortunes in the hands of people of all ethnic backgrounds,” said Richard Leakey, the noted Kenyan paleontologist. “I think the middle class will ultimately prevail on the government authority in one form or the other to just pull itself together and get on with business.”

Business is hurting. Vigilante roadblocks have paralyzed the flow of goods across the country. Vandals have ripped up miles of railroad tracks. Tourists have bolted from the game parks faster than the antelope in them. The estimated losses are now running into the billions of dollars.

Fanis Anne Nyangayi just started her own marketing company in Nairobi, and she has already had to lay off staff because nobody wants to commit to marketing plans. “Everything’s on hold,” she said.

To her, the ethnic clashes that continue to flare in the Rift Valley, less than 100 miles away, are disturbing — and hard to understand. The disputed election, in which President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner despite widespread evidence of vote rigging, uncorked decades of frustrations about land, political power and economic inequalities. Many Kenyans tend to vote along ethnic lines, and much of the violence since the election has taken on an ethnic cast, with members of groups that tend to support the opposition fighting against members of groups that have backed the president. More than 1,000 people have been killed.

But ethnic identity issues are more complicated in the city. Ms. Nyangayi, 36, said she did not know she was a member of the Luhya ethnic group until she was 10 years old. She was born in Lamu, on the Kenyan coast, moved to Mombasa, a port town, and lived in Nairobi and Kisumu, in the far western part of Kenya. “I can’t even speak Luhya,” a shortcoming that is sometimes viewed as snobby, she said.

“It’s not that I think I’m above being a Luhya,” she explained. “I’m proud of being a Luhya. It’s just that we moved around a lot as a kid, and I missed the bus somewhere.”

Wambua Kilonzo is a lawyer, and he broke with his ethnic group, the Kamba, to vote for Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader who is a Luo. Many Kambas voted for another candidate, Kalonzo Musyoka, who is now vice president. “To me, it was more about the issues,” Mr. Kilonzo said, pointing to Mr. Odinga’s vow to fight corruption and restructure the government.

Mr. Kilonzo’s emerging law practice has been hurt by the election fallout. One of his top clients is the owner of a high-priced safari lodge that until recently had celebrities flying in on a regular basis. The resort is now a luxurious ghost town, and Mr. Kilonzo, 31, doesn’t feel right adding to the owner’s burdens.

“How can I take money from my client when his business is like this?” he said.

Mumo Kituku is a 31-year-old dentist in a clinic near a slum. He pulls teeth for the equivalent of $5 and gets a cut of the clinic’s profits depending on how many patients he serves. But the clinic is near Kibera, one of Nairobi’s more volatile neighborhoods, and in the past month, some of his patients have been afraid to venture out of their homes, reducing his workload and his income. “It’s been rough, man,” he said.

It is issues like those that have pushed business leaders into action. They have struggled to be heard, with the young men sharpening machetes grabbing more headlines than the executives’ quiet efforts to wage peace.

But the white-collar profile has risen in the past few weeks. Executives from multinational and local companies recently met with Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga to stress the economic toll that is accruing while the top politicians continue to posture and the fighting between their supporters rages on. Some businesses have taken out advertisements in the local newspapers urging peace.

“Kenya,” read a message from a bank on Monday, “our unity is our pride.”

Some Kenyan journalists have complained that the middle class is not doing enough. “They have been lulled by a false sense of security they have enjoyed sheltered in their homes and clubs,” wrote Tom Mshindi, a columnist for The Saturday Nation.

That said, business leaders have organized reconciliation workshops and gone back to their companies with plans of action. People like Mr. Mbugua do not want to see their dreams disappear. He wants to establish a financial planning organization in Kenya. And travel the world.

“All my life I’ve wanted to go to Hawaii,” he said. “Is there ice there? And what about deer hunting in Alaska? What’s that like?”

Reuben Kyama contributed reporting.

14 - Kenyan militia strike back - BBC

Josphat Makori
BBC News, Nairobi

First they sent leaflets saying they would avenge the killings of their tribesmen when violence flared following Kenya's disputed election. Then they told other tribes to leave certain areas.

People's fears had come true. The Mungiki were back.

Hundreds of men wielding machetes and clubs, attacked their opponents beheading and dismembering them in characteristic style.

We received leaflets warning us to leave or die

The violence has largely abated for now, as politicians negotiate their way towards a political settlement, but the re-emergence of this quasi-religious group could plague Kenya for years to come.

The Mungiki has been outlawed by the authorities, with whom it has been engaged in a protracted battle spanning more than 20 years.

At first they styled themselves as the guardians of Kenya's largest community, the Kikuyu who include President Mwai Kibaki among their number, saying they would re-establish ancient traditions.

Attracting large numbers of jobless teenagers, the group soon became an underground youth wing for politicians who used it to unleash terror on their political opponents.

Mungiki thus became a criminal gang terrorising urban slums and demanding protection money from transport operators.

"We received leaflets warning us to leave or face death," Amunga, a resident of a town in central Kenya told the BBC.
"They said they would behead anyone who supported the opposition. They gave us just seven days to leave."
Amunga says those threats prompted hundreds of people to flock to police stations for refuge.

Rival militia
To counter the Mungiki, residents in the informal settlements formed their own vigilante groups, saying the police had failed to deal with the threat.

One notorious gang is the equally dreaded Taliban which draws membership from the Luo community - who largely back the opposition.

Another militia known as the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) is now harrassing locals on the foot of Mount Elgon in western Kenya.

The SLDF is composed of members of the Sabaot, a sub-tribe of the Kalenjin community.

In the past it was fighting over land with rival clans.

Unlike the Mungiki and the Taliban, which are largely urban based, the SLDF operates in rural areas and has even established a parallel administration system in the Mount Elgon district.

For funding, the group imposed a tax on residents and raided villages for supplies.

The SLDF is now reported to be attacking neighbouring communities.

Its members are normally armed with assault rifles and have been accused of killing more than 400 people.

Before the elections, police vowed to eliminate the Mungiki once and for all.

At one point human right organisations accused the police of executing more than 500 members of the group.

Although the police denied the accusation, the recovery of hundreds of bullet-ridden bodies on the outskirts of Nairobi, made some think the Mungiki had at last been wiped out.

But the post-election violence appears to have breathed new life into this group.

Their re-emergence followed the killing of hundreds of Kikuyu in opposition strongholds in western Kenya.

The Mungiki scented blood and wanted vengeance.

Soon Mungiki gangs attacked other tribes and hacked them to death.

It is not clear who finances the Mungiki, although it has been suggested they are in the payroll of some politicians.

Recently the Mungiki have been confronting women wearing trousers forcing them to change into skirts or long dresses.

They say wearing trousers goes against the Kikuyu culture.

It is feared that if the electoral crisis persists, the gangs could become even more dangerous.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/11 13:37:02 GMT


15 - Kenyans Turn Vigilante As Crime Surges - AP

Associated Press Writer
6:48 PM EST, February 10, 2008

Children clustered around the charred body, its features melted into an unrecognizable black mask. The man, accused of being a thief, was the fourth person to be burned alive this month in this western Kenyan city.

Residents say they are carrying out their own punishments against criminals because police have been too busy coping with Kenya's postelection chaos to prevent theft and looting.

"People are taking advantages of the skirmishes and stealing from other people," said Dorothy Atieno, a primary school teacher, as she stared at the corpse in Kisumu. "This is an example to them."

The vigilante violence is just part of the breakdown of a country once considered a model for political stability and economic growth in Africa. Clashes sparked by a disputed Dec. 27 election have deteriorated in many cases into ethnic violence pitting other groups against the Kikuyu, linked to the embattled president and long resented for their prominence in politics and the economy. Faith has been undermined in institutions including the police, accused of responding to demonstrations with excessive force, and political parties, accused of fomenting violence.

At least 1,000 people have died and homes have been torched across the country, sending hundreds of thousands into refugee camps.

Although there are hopes for a breakthrough agreement in talks between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, the violence has already devastated the economy, scaring off tourists and forcing hotels and other businesses to fire employees.

On one recent day in Kisumu, several hundred youths, some armed with machetes and stones, taunted police loading a corpse into the back of a van -- another victim of vigilante attacks.

"We call the police and they don't come. When we kill them (criminals), that's when they come," said resident Dorothy Sijenyi as she watched the scene.

Two other people accused of stealing were killed and burned in Kisumu this month, and two others were attacked but survived, a health official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Vigilante attacks are not new in Kisumu, a city of 504,000 people, but the health official said he was alarmed by the recent spate of assaults. Usually, he said, there is about one attack a month on an alleged thief.

Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, suffered some of the worst violence after Kibaki was announced as the winner of an election that foreign and domestic observers agree was deeply flawed.

Almost every member of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe fled the city as people from rival ethnic groups took the streets. No Kikuyu-owned shop or business remains open -- all have been smashed, looted and burned. They have been stripped even of their corrugated iron roofs.

Now that the town has been emptied of Kikuyus, gangs are looking for new targets, residents say.

Haroun Wandalo said young men armed with machetes have demanded to search his house three times in the past weeks even though he belongs to an ethnic groups that voted for the opposition.

"Initially it was about Kikuyus. Now looking for Kikuyus is just an excuse to loot your property," said Haroun Wandalo.

Now, the mild-mannered, bespectacled cafe owner guards his house with a machete and his neighborhood has set up its own watch system.

National police spokesman Eric Kiraithe denied that police have been slow to respond to crime, saying officers have been ordered to patrol more frequently and answer complaints faster.

But he acknowledged there was a surge in crime in January, with more break-ins recorded that month than for all of 2007 and the rape rate rocketing to its highest level in six years.

Kiraithe said he could not confirm the vigilante attacks in Kisumu, though he said police were investigating many unexplained murders.

In the town of Limuru, about 12 miles from Nairobi, two men were lynched Wednesday for trying to tell women how to dress, he said. One died and the other was saved by police. The next day, a suspected thief was killed in the town of Naivasha on the outskirts of the capital, he said.

In Eldoret, a town near Kisumu, Joel Kirorei supervised the reconstruction of his hotel after it was burned to the ground in the postelection violence.

"Most of these youths are unemployed," he said. "They have nothing to do and now they are used to free things."


Associated Press Writer Katy Pownall contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.,0,5089302,print.story


16 - Public universities’ crisis could get worse - Nation

Publication Date: 2/11/2008

A few public universities have reopened after more than two months’ closure. However most campuses remain closed due to the political uncertainty that followed the disputed December elections vote tallying. Part of the reason for delaying the reopening was to keep the students away from campuses during the violent weeks, because they could have easily been roped into the mass protests.

Historically, university students have actively taken part in mass protests and injected radicalism that threatened the status quo. For example, university students and lecturers actively supported the aborted 1982 coup and many of them were arrested and jailed for taking part in the plot. The universities were then closed for a year, leading to a major disruption of their calendar that has never been resolved.

In recent times, however, university students have kowtowed and hardly exhibited radical tendencies of the 1970s and 1980s. Since the Government cut financial support in the 1990s, university students have been forced to play the game of survival as opposed to ideological pursuits.

For now, the universities are confronted with serious challenges arising from the long closure. For one, the closure disrupts the university calendar. Academic programmes have to be pushed back and that means that the students have to stay longer at the campus, which in turn, affects new admissions. To be sure, Form Four leavers take two years before admission to public universities due to the backlog that has persisted for years. This is likely to worsen if the current problem is not quickly resolved.

Another challenge is containing students and lecturers at their universities when hundreds of them are seeking transfers due to perceived threats at their campuses. Add to this the shortage of facilities at all the universities and the situation gets worse.

University education has gone through bad times in the past, but we are now confronted with an even worse scenario.

The university authorities together with the Ministry of Education and other interest groups, have to go back to the drawing board to find a more creative way of tackling the challenges afflicting the institutions of higher learning, including governance, admission and placement of students and quality assurance.

Google News Alert for: Kenya

Annan Sees Small Gains in Peace Talks in Kenya
New York Times - United States
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN NAIROBI, Kenya — Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general who is brokering peace talks in Kenya, said Friday that no ...
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Kenya Lifts Ban on Public Rallies
The Associated Press -
NAIROBI (AP) — Kenya's minister of internal security lifted the ban on public rallies imposed after an eruption of violence over the country's disputed ...
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Parties in Kenya Discussing Joint Government
NPR - USA, February 8, 2008 • Kenya's battling political factions were discussing details of a possible joint government after weeks of bloodshed over ...
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Kenya: Testimony of Chris Albin-Lackey on Behalf of Human Rights Watch - Washington,USA
Just over a week ago I returned from a research mission that began our ongoing assessment of the human rights impact of Kenya's post-election crisis. ...
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For love of Kenya, Britons fly in for today's special wedding
Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya
When she first visited Kenya 22 years ago, she promptly fell in love with the people and the country’s beauty. She was 19 and since then, she has been to ...
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Annan optimistic on Kenya agreement
Radio Netherlands - Netherlands
Nairobi - Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is optimistic about finding a solution to Kenya's political crisis. At a news conference today, ...
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Kenya: ECK Rejected Electronic Vote Tallying - Washington,USA
Had Electoral Commission of Kenya accepted a US-funded computerised results reporting system, the country would not have slid into anarchy. ...
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Kenya: IDPs Leave City for "Ancestral Homes" - Washington,USA
Thousands of people displaced from the suburbs on the western edge of the capital, Nairobi, have left for their "ancestral homes" in western Kenya, ...
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Kenya's crisis and challenges of democracy in Africa
Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya
Africa’s democratic honeymoon is fast coming to an end, and Kenya’s sudden drift into chaos is a wake-up call across the continent for a more concerted ...
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This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

From the United Nations’ IRIN service

KENYA: UN humanitarian envoy winds up visit as mediation talks enter "crucial" week

NAIROBI, 11 February 2008 (IRIN) - John Holmes, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, wound up a three-day visit to Kenya on 10 February as African Union-mandated mediation efforts entered what has been described as a "crucial stage".
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KENYA: Clashes, tension "routine" in troubled Molo

MOLO, 10 February 2008 (IRIN) - In Kenya’s Rift Valley town of Molo, about 200km from Nairobi, displacement by conflict has become a recurrent feature of life, and not only at election times. Some of the destitute families sheltering in makeshift camps in church and government compounds in Molo told IRIN that this was the fifth time that they had been chased from their homes in the last two decades.
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KENYA: IDPs leave city for "ancestral homes"

NAIROBI, 8 February 2008 (IRIN) - Thousands of people displaced from the suburbs on the western edge of the capital, Nairobi, have left for their "ancestral homes" in western Kenya, according to humanitarian workers.
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KENYA: Healthcare threatened by political crisis

NAIROBI, 7 February 2008 (IRIN) - Health officials are concerned about the long-term impact of Kenya's political crisis on healthcare, especially in areas hardest hit by violence since the end of December 2007.
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