Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today’s Headlines: Stories 1-13 – Tues 2/05/2008


Let us know how you are using the Talking Points and what you are doing to promote peace in Kenya in your local churches and communities--we need some good, hopeful news and ideas to share!

You can post a comment here or contact Friends United Meeting with feedback.

Here is a brief summary of the news highlights:
  • The talks between the government (PNU) and opposition (ODM) party leaders continue. This week they are approaching tough issues of the disputed poll and the steps required to end the violence. Commentators seem hopeful that Kofi Annan will continue to make progress with the negotiating teams, in spite of the setback yesterday (when the Kibaki government officials refused to accept South African Cyril Ramaphosa as mediator). BBC articles focus on this angle.
  • Although the dead now number over 1,000, the violence is less widespread today, perhaps as the nation waits to see the outcome of the talks. It seems the fighting between Kalenjin and Kisii around Kericho has subsided after a very bad weekend of violence in the tea-growing region between Nakuru and Kisumu. Reuters, AFP and AP cover western Kenya.
  • The economic impact of the crisis is receiving a lot of attention by the press now, with more details on the current and projected losses in tourism, industry, and agriculture--due to cancelled bookings by tourists, increased cost of fuel, shortages of raw materials, transport interruptions for export crops like tea, vegetables and flowers, along with labor reductions of displaced people fleeing their places of work in Rift Valley. Investors have been in a "wait-and-see" mode, but concern is rising that if the crisis is prolonged, investors may pull out. See articles from AllAfrica.com for what Kenyan business and government leaders are saying about the economic and agricultural impact of the crisis
  • Food insecurity and hunger are major concerns now for the 304,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), as most Kenyans are subsistence farmers and have been unable to access inputs (fertilizer, seed, pesticides) or prepare the soil for planting; some farmers have not even harvested last season's crops. Aid agencies are struggling to get food, shelter, clothing, and medical care to the displaced in camps scattered across the nation. Furthermore, IDPs--especially pregnant women, children and the elderly--are at greatest risk for malnutrition and infectious disease, and aid workers are particularly concerned about HIV positive refugees. Women and girls have experienced an increased number of rapes within and outside the camps. See Reuters AlertNet for resources used by the humanitarian aid organizations seeking to provide relief and care for the refugees.
There is a lot of fresh material today, and a lot of follow-up. So I am posting the headlines in two separate postings.

Sometimes the stories are arranged in order of importance, but today they are just in the order I found them. I usually provide a link to each story--I neglected to do so today. But all the stories come from one of the International News Sources (see links on right sidebar, about halfway down).

Please keep praying:
  • for the talks to succeed,
  • for the continuation of Friends projects and safety of Quaker field staff in Kenya, and
  • for the welfare of the IDPs who are struggling with harsh conditions in the camps as the heavy rainy season approaches.

Mary Kay


Stories 1-13:

Overview 1 - Kenya rivals to discuss power-sharing proposals – Guardian (UK)
Overview 2 – Kenyan talks continue after mediator leaves – AP (in USA Today)
1 - Kenya: South African Bows Out of Mediation – NY Times (AP)
2 - Kenya Talks Enter Crucial Stage – Voice of America
3 - Robert Calderisi on Kenya, the role of foreign aid - Globe and Mail – Canada
4 - White House: 'long way to go' on Kenya conflict - Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
5 - Talks to End Crisis Resume Amid Continuing Unrest - UN News Service (New York)
6 - Warning on Kenya - Bangkok Post – Thailand
7 - In Kenya, development is no miracle solution to violence – Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon
8 - Kenya's middle class feels pinch in crisis – Reuters
9 - 12,000 Kenyan refugees now in Uganda – UNHCR
10 - Kenya death toll hits 1,000, parties talk – Reuters
11 - Kenya crisis death toll hits 1,000 - Red Cross – Reuters
12 - Kenya Red Cross says more than 1,000 die in crisis - Reuters
13 - KENYA: No place to call home – UN’s IRIN


More links from Reuters AlertNet (news service for humanitarian aid agencies):
Related articles
AlertNet insight
Africa Kenya crisis jeopardises Africa's emergence from poverty
Author: Peter Apps (29 days ago)
Author: Peter Apps (1 minute ago)
Aid agency news feed
In place for the long haul back to recovery
Source: Concern Worldwide - Ireland (9 hours ago)
Source: Concern Worldwide - Ireland (1 minute ago)
Africa Kenyans feel horror at what they've done
Author: Raphael Marambii (18 days ago)
Author: Raphael Marambii (1 minute ago)
Africa MAP: Kenya: Displacement and Humanitarian Response (as of 28 Jan 2008) - Situation Map Source: ReliefWeb (5 days ago)
Source: ReliefWeb (1 minute ago)

More links from AllAfrica.com:
Kenya: Support the Displaced to Ease Their Burden [editorial]
Kenya: CEOs Meet Over Post-Poll Crisis
Kenya: Pyrethrum Industry Hard Hit as Farmers are Displaced
Kenya: Groups Invited to Inspect Oil Firm's Findings
Africa: Minister Defends Kibaki Over Speech

11am GMT
Overview 1 - Kenya rivals to discuss power-sharing proposals - Guardian

Matthew Weaver and agencies
Tuesday February 5, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

The rival sides in Kenya's bitter post-election dispute are due to discuss the possibility of power-sharing today in talks aimed at ending the violent unrest that has claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people.

The proposals on the table are thought to involve Mwai Kibaki continuing as president with the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, serving as prime minister.

But in public the two sides remain at loggerheads, with Odinga accusing Kibaki of stealing the election and Kibaki accusing the opposition of orchestrating the ensuing bloodshed.

The talks in Nairobi come as the Kenya Red Cross highlighted the continuing tribal fighting in western Kenya, sparked by the disputed poll. It said more than 1,000 people had been killed since the conflict started.

The discussions are being led by the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who said last night: "We begin our work on the political issues. The crisis arising out of the December 2007 elections, that is going to take hard negotiations, understandably give and take."

In a speech to business leaders, reported by Reuters, he said: "We all have a responsibility to get Kenya back from the brink. No society can remain prosperous without the rule of law and human rights. Let your leaders know that you want peace and stability. Keep your voices high."

Yesterday, Annan's choice of chief negotiator, the South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, was forced to withdraw from the talks because of alleged business links with Odinga.

The two sides signed a two-page agreement on immediate measures, including helping more than 300,000 displaced people return to their homes.

They also welcomed a UN human rights team to investigate the violence, and agreed on Annan's plan for a truth and reconciliation commission.

Overview 2 – Kenyan talks continue after mediator leaves

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Talks to end weeks of postelection violence in Kenya resumed Tuesday on difficult political issues, a day after rivals agreed on humanitarian aid and a leading mediator left the team because of government opposition.

The fighting has killed more than 1,000 people and made 300,000 homeless since the Dec. 27 presidential election, which foreign and local observers say was rigged. Protests have deteriorated into ethnic clashes, with much of the anger aimed at President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, long resented for dominating politics and the economy.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who last month brought together Kibaki and his chief rival, Raila Odinga, warned that Tuesday's agenda would be tough.

"The crisis arising out of the December 2007 elections, that is going to take hard negotiations, understandably give and take," he said.

On Friday, the two sides agreed to take immediate action to end the violence and said they would complete talks within 15 days on measures to resolve the political crisis. Annan said it would take up to a year to solve the deeper problems.

Although both sides have expressed faith in the Annan-led process, chief mediator Cyril Ramaphosa — Annan's choice — withdrew on Monday because of objections by Kibaki's government and ruling party.

Ramaphosa, a South African businessman who had played a leading role in talks to end apartheid in his own country, said he could not function as mediator "without the complete confidence" of both parties. Annan said he would continue to seek a new mediator.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger expressed Washington's concern, saying the postelection aftermath "revealed deep underlying problems that must be addressed as well," according to an interview published Tuesday in The Standard newspaper.

He was quoted as saying that the U.S. respects the Annan-led talks, but revealing reservations.
"There is serious concern whether leaders can come together to work out a solution acceptable to Kenyans," he was quoted as saying.

On Monday, the two sides signed a two-page agreement on immediate measures, including helping people return to their homes safely and providing food and shelter for the displaced.

They welcomed a U.N. human rights team to investigate the violence, and agreed on Annan's plan for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission with local and international jurists.

Separately, Britain announced it would double aid to Kenya, providing 1.2 million pounds (euro1.6 million; US$2.4 million) for humanitarian relief.

In western Kenya, scene of some of the worst bloodshed, thousands fled their homes Tuesday leaving behind burned houses and rubble. At least seven people were killed in battles between Kisii and Kalenjin communities in a region 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of the capital, Nairobi. Hundreds of youths — armed with bows and arrows and machetes — have fought there for nine days, forcing 2,000 people to flee.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged Kenyans not to arm themselves.

"If you are asked to take up arms, reject that call," Tutu said Monday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. "By putting down your arms you will demonstrate the character that God gave to each of you, and to which I now appeal. It is in your power to stop the violence — if you act as one," he added.

The Kenya Red Cross on Monday put the official toll at 1,000 killed, thousands injured and 304,000 homeless.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


1 - World Briefing Africa Kenya: South African Bows Out of Mediation

New York Times - United States

He arrived in Nairobi on Friday to help Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, broker talks between Kenya’s opposing politicians. ...

Kenya: South African Bows Out of Mediation
Published: February 5, 2008
Cyril Ramaphosa, a South African businessman who led the African National Congress’s negotiations to end apartheid in his country in the 1990s, withdrew as a mediator in crisis talks in Kenya after the government of President Mwai Kibaki said he would not be impartial because he had had business dealings with the top opposition leader, Raila Odinga. Mr. Ramaphosa denied that. He arrived in Nairobi on Friday to help Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, broker talks between Kenya’s opposing politicians. Talks continued without him.

The sides pledged to help people return to their homes and to provide food and shelter for those displaced by the ethnic violence that broke out after with the Dec. 27 presidential election. The government also lifted a monthlong ban on live television broadcasts.

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Kenya Talks Enter Crucial Stage
Voice of America - USA
By Peter Clottey Talks between Kenya’s government and the main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) enter a crucial stage today after both parties ...

2 - Kenya Talks Enter Crucial Stage

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
05 February 2008
Clottey Interview With Mustapha Ali - Download (MP3)
Clottey Interview With Mustapha Ali - Listen (MP3)

Talks between Kenya’s government and the main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) enter a crucial stage today after both parties agreed Monday to end the escalated violence that is threatening the country’s stability.

Discussion today could focus on the controversial December 27 vote, which the opposition claims was rigged by embattled President Mwai Kibaki. The talks spearheaded by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan aim to resolve the post- election violence blamed for the loss of lives and property. From Nairobi, political analyst Mustapha Ali tells reporter Peter Clottey that Kenyans are fed up with the ongoing violence.

“Today the Kofi Annan mediation begins the most sensitive and what could be a make-or-break session in the mediation that is ongoing between the ODM and the government. The mediation team has already finished the first item that is on the agenda that was regarding the violence. From today they begin to tackle the second issue and that is the contestation in the presidential election,” Ali noted.

He said both the opposition and the government need to compromise in order for a solution to the current political crisis to be found.

“First of all, I think it’ noteworthy that the two groups will stick to their hard-line positions and the Kofi Annan team will have difficulties and they will have to use a lot of tact to move them from positions to interest and then on to need,” he said.

Ali said there are few options available to find a lasting solution for the chaos in the country.

“There are only three options that I can see in this situation, and one is regarding the issues that have been raised.

One is re-tallying, and that is almost out of the question with the ODM team as they believe and most Kenyans actually believe that the documentation by ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya) has been tampered with. And they cannot trust any documentation that is a report with the Electoral Commission of Kenya. The other choice could be a rerun of the presidential election I think the situation now is too volatile and insecure. I do not think that there could be any worthy election that can be done with the current environment. This leaves the only option, that of power sharing on a fifty-fifty basis,” Ali pointed out.

He said there is need for a solution to be found in the ongoing talks between the government and the opposition.

“It’s difficult to tell, but at the end of the day we will see how the two parties will agree to engage on how to deal with the issues of the stolen presidential election. To be honest with you, we are waiting earnestly, and if they fail, I think the country may just relapse back into violence,” he said.

Ali said Kenyans unanimously are looking for an opportunity for peace.

“What Kenyans do want now is an end to the violence. The violence has reduced in most of the parts of the country, but has increased in one part of the country that is western Kenya. Today more than 10 people were killed and in other areas and talking to people today we realized that it’s now moved to the middle class. Some landlords are evicting tenants who belong to one ethnic community and this is affecting the lives of people here. There is a lot of suspicion between one ethnic group and another, ” Ali said.

Meanwhile at least 10 people were reported dead yesterday in western Kenya as violence between rival ethnic gangs continues.

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3 - Robert Calderisi on Kenya, the role of foreign aid

Globe and Mail - Canada

"If Kenya burns, there will be nothing for tomorrow." The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, favours a military coup d'état. "It might not be fashionable," ...

Earlier discussion
Robert Calderisi on Kenya, the role of foreign aid
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
February 4, 2008 at 2:00 PM EST

In the last few days, a number of outside voices have offered advice on the crisis in Kenya, Robert Calderisi wrote Saturday in his Globe essay
High time to lose patience in Kenya

"We can't just sit by," said the chairman of the African Union, opening its annual meeting in Addis Ababa on Wednesday. "If Kenya burns, there will be nothing for tomorrow."

The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, favours a military coup d'état.
"It might not be fashionable," he says, "but in situations where institutions have lost control, I wouldn't mind such a solution."

Related Articles
• UN's Ban throws weight behind Kenya peace drive
• African leaders alarmed over Kenya violence
• 2nd opposition legislator killed in Kenya
• Annan pleads for end to bloodshed in Kenya
• U.S. envoy calls violence in Kenya ‘ethnic cleansing'
Internet Links
• Globe essay: Make foreign aid more openly political

Mr. Calderisi argues that Less draconian approaches may also work — but only if Kenya's problems are seen in a larger light.

"So how can the international community respond to Kenya's — and Africa's — impatience for progress?" he asks.

"It can seize the assets of senior officials who, until now, have salted away their loot in Western banks with total impunity.

"The world can continue to provide direct support to community groups, human rights activists, democratic reformers, and those promoting a free press.

"And, in a number of cases, the answer may be to make foreign assistance more openly political . . .

"Making aid more political does not mean using it as a convenient instrument of foreign policy. But if the goal is to fight poverty, the way a government treats its citizens — including its journalists, entrepreneurs and small farmers — should be central to the level of aid it receives."

Whether you agree or not, it's a provocative thesis, so we're glad that Mr. Calderisi was online to answer your questions on his essay, on his arguments and on the situation in Kenya.

Your questions and Mr. Calderisi's answers appear at the bottom of this page.

Mr. Calderisi has worked on Africa since 1975, mostly at the World Bank, where he held a variety of senior positions including Chief of the Bank's Regional Mission in Western Africa based in the Ivory Coast (1991-94).

He also served as the Bank's international spokesman on Africa (1997-2000) and Country Director for Central Africa (2000-2002).

He is the author of The Trouble with Africa

Editor's Note: globeandmail.com editors will read and allow or reject each question/comment. Comments/questions may be edited for length or clarity. HTML is not allowed. We will not publish questions/comments that include personal attacks on participants in these discussions, that make false or unsubstantiated allegations, that purport to quote people or reports where the purported quote or fact cannot be easily verified, or questions/comments that include vulgar language or libellous statements. Preference will be given to readers who submit questions/comments using their full name and home town, rather than a pseudonym.

Estanislao (Stan) Oziewicz, Foreign Editor, globeandmail.com: Robert, thank you for being with us today as troubling events continue to unfold in Kenya. Some of our readers are eager to challenge your ideas, so let's start.

Terry Maurice, from Guelph, Ontario: The World Bank has an atrocious record with respect to how it delivers 'world aid.' Draconian economic measures are put in place, ostensibly to 'open markets' but in reality are aimed at gaining control of the economy, banking, and privatizing essential services such as water and then forcing cutbacks on social services to pay interest on the World Bank debt. Read Michel Chossodovsky's 'The Globalization of Poverty' and John Perkins' 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man' if you want to find out how almost every major conflict in the Third World goes back to the measures implemented by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is a disgusting display of greed by wealthy nations, especially the United States, to gain control of the third world's resources, labour and money supply. Your comments please.

Mr. Calderisi: The World Bank certainly has a bad reputation in progressive circles but if you asked the approximately 50,000 professionals who work within the United Nations system or for national foreign aid agencies (like Canda's CIDA), the response would be much more positive, or at least more mixed.

Not about the quality of all its decisions or the successes of all its projects, because people in the field know how hard it is to translate good intentions into concrete results on the ground. But most of them would probably acknowledge that the Bank has the best talent and the greatest resources to do the kinds of things every aid worker wants to accomplish.

It also has no foreign policy or trade interests to protect, like most countries that give aid. And it has a big "bully pulpit" from which it can try to affect international perceptions and policy on sensitive issues like industrialized countries' trade policies, especially in agriculture, that limit the opportunities for poor countries to literally grow their way out of poverty.

The Bank under Jim Wolfensohn (1995-2005) was as energetic about promoting common sense on this subject, as well as corruption and debt relief, as his predecessor Robert McNamara (1968-1981) was in arguing that aid was a fraction of the amount the West spent on weapons.

Over the years, the World Bank has had many arguments with the International Monetary Fund -- usually, but not always, behind closed doors -- on how best to serve the interests of developing countries. The issues are sometimes complex and the debates are worthwhile.

One last point: The World Bank has not really added to the debt burden of the poorest countries recently. Since 1985, all of its lending for Africa has come from a special fund -- topped up by about 30 countries in the world, including Canada -- that offers interest-free loans over 40 years. By the time these credits are repaid, 80 per cent will have been a grant.

The debate about the respective roles of markets and governments in creating wealth and distributing it fairly remains lively, and the Bank and the IMF are good targets for the frustrations of those who think that globalization always hurts the poor or that rich countries can always dominate poorer ones. But these institutions are only reflecting the views of their member governments, all of whom are represented on their Boards. China and India, for example, have their own seats there. Partly because the Bank and IMF are the creations of governments, they believe in the importance of public policy, globally and nationally, in helping the poor. If they were simply serving the corporate interests of the West, I assure you that they would be shut down. Some right-wing thinkers see the Bank as interfering with the "free play" of market forces.

Finally, those education and health services were not cut back because of World Bank advice. Africa lost half its shares of world markets in the 1970s and 1980s to other developing countries. That represented a $70 billion loss of income every year. The Bank had only $3 billion a year to help countries deal with the consequences.

Nimmi Thind, from London, Ontario: As a social worker who has worked in the slums of Bombay, I believe the only word that comes to mind is 'accountability' in every ministry of the government. Restoring peace is the first step, and the Western world should realize that the concept of a country having boundaries is difficult where the people's first allegiance is to their tribe. Reforms can take place only when people have food to eat and jobs. Education and health at the grassroots level is extremely important.

Democracy cannot be established on an empty stomach. People should
be made self reliant

Do you agree?

Mr. Calderisi: I agree wholeheartedly. At a conference in South Africa, I heard Nelson Mandela say the same thing about "democracy on an empty stomach" and no one can question his democratic credentials. In fact, rudimentary forms of accountability are being introduced wherever possible. For example, in Uganda people in the rural areas have insisted that the list of materials delivered for improving a clinic or school be posted on the front door of the establishment, down to the number and weight of the bags of cement, so that everyone can track their use. This has cut down on the amount of public resources "lost" to other purposes. Africans across the continent are fighting hard for greater public accountability and we must not discourage them by bailing out bad governments, or spreading our aid so widely that it waters the weeds as well as the flowers.

A. Kim, from Canada: What role can the African Union play in stabilizing the current political conflict in Kenya?

Mr. Calderisi: Unfortunately, the African Union does not always have the moral, let alone military weight to intervene effectively. The Chairman of the AU (the President of Ghana) visited within days of the outbreak of violence but left empty-handed. In parts of the continent, like Sudan and Somalia, the AU depends heavily on financial or logistical support from Western countries, and this takes time.

Trixie Belden, from Canada: Guess what? The money flowing out of Canada (and the United States and the United Kingdom) already is politicized. It has been for a long time. The question is: Do Canadians understand that and what to they want to do about it?

Even though informal financial flows outstrip Official Development Assistance (ODA), a majority of Canadians still think of aid as government-to-government transfers. The World Bank estimates that in 2005 global remittances exceeded $200 billion (U.S.). Together with ODA, the total amount of money as a percentage of our GNP that moves to developing countries is much higher than the touted 0.7-per-cent development assistance benchmark used to rank OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. That total is also greater than the aid budgets of the Scandinavian countries that typically hold first rank in foreign aid measurements, but which also lack the demographic diversity that makes diaspora remittances possible.

Perhaps it's time we had a better understanding of how private financing fuels both conflict and peace building in developing countries. A majority of Canadians believe that Canada has a moral obligation to help the poorest of the poor. However, that claim to universality is challenged by a belief that Canada should focus on fewer countries, while tying our carrots to basic performance measures. Such choices come with trade-offs. Focusing our aid on fewer countries means having a better sense of how our aid is used. A Senate Committee report on the mission to Afghanistan recommended that CIDA hand over $25 million to the military apparently because our forces are better positioned to deliver aid. Another Senate report challenged CIDA to make good on its efforts to help stabilize sub-Saharan Africa, arguing that our aid is spread too thinly without demonstrable results. The Manley report also recommended better targeting in Afghanistan. What do you have to say?

Mr. Calderisi: I agree that private flows are more important than public ones, and that has probably always been true. They are also more likely to reach poor people. The volume of remittances, i.e,., money outside Africa, Latin America and Asia that people send home, mostly to their relatives, now exceeds $300 billion. This is three times the total aid the rich countries provide. This does not include all the private charities that are active in Africa. Their work is not always efficient, but they make a great difference to individual peoples' lives and, just as important, boost their morale and express values of international solidarity much better than the mega-million projects people hear about on the radio.

Fanya Kazi, from Toronto: While we all share the concerns on the current crisis facing Kenya right now, it is very unfortunate that you have chosen to take advantage of this situation to make his case that aid to Africa needs to be tied to unspecified political agendas. Your choice of Kenya to pursue this argument actually undermines it because first, as you have noted, Kenya for the last couple of years has not needed foreign aid to finance its budget and, secondly, Kenya has pursued and implemented the major reforms he considers necessary as conditions for receiving aid.

Kenya has been able to do this largely due to the major reforms by the Kenya Revenue Authority. The tax collection has dramatically improved since President Kibaki's government came to power. The government was able to achieve an astounding increase in tax revenue by stopping tax fraud and corruption. As well, due to major economic reforms implemented by Mr. Kibaki's government, Kenya had a strong growth rate above 7.0 per cent before the elections in December 2007, up from 0.6 per cent growth in 2001. This was the highest growth rate experienced in Kenya for more than 30 years.

Furthermore, last year Kenya won the United Nations Public Service Award for improving transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in the public service. Also in 2007, Kenya received an international award, for reforms that have made it easier to do business in the country, from the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank. Therefore, Kenya has been able to achieve major reforms and progress without having political conditions to any foreign aid it receives. Attaching political agendas to this aid, which mostly goes to assisting in the fight against AIDs, TB and malaria, is not only uncalled for but also immoral.

Mr. Calderisi: Many countries have made progress in introducing clearer rules and greater public accountability, sometimes -- but not always -- because of outside pressure. It is important to give credit where credit is due. But one of the people who knows the most about Kenya's remaining shortcomings is the former anti-corruption chief, John Githongo. I doubt that he has much confidence in the degree of change so far, as he is in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom, following threats to his life after submitting a report on internal corruption to President Kibaki last year.

Two of the three ministers [Githongo] charged with gross thievery
of public resources are now back in the Cabinet.

Doomsday Machine, from Canada: Two things come to mind in implementing these kinds of strategies. First, the single biggest impediments in pursuing a politicized and targeted aid policy are at home. In particular, there is pressure from those who cling to the artificial 0.7 per cent mantra and who fail to take into account the flow of remittances that generate income for peoples back home and that often contribute to conflict there. The money flowing out of Canada now easily exceeds that 0.7 per cent mark when remittances are included, but it is not targeted and often undermines are efforts abroad (Sri Lanka, for example).

A second domestic pressure comes from those who see aid's primarily goal as poverty reduction and one that should be applied everywhere without consequence. Moreover, if targeted aid is a primary objective, then donors will need a better set of evaluative tools for evidenced-based decision making. They need to know if they are having the impact intended and if they are generating unintended consequences through their actions.

Mr. Calderisi: I doubt that most remittances fuel conflict (although Sri Lanka and, some years ago, Irish-American contributions to the IRA, are certainly cases of that). As for public opinion in the West, there is virtual unanimity that aid should be to reduce poverty, including fighting disease. What other reason could there be -- that public opinion would support, or that would constitute good foreign policy? As for basing ourselves on objective evidence, 40 years of data from the major aid organizations' own evaluation departments indicate that aid only works only with governments that share the aid givers' values and have adopted good policies for their own reasons rather than to impress outsiders. Most other aid is wasted or even counterproductive -- by discouraging domestic reformers who are pressuring their governments to change.

Mr. Oziewicz, globeandmail.com Foreign Editor: Robert, I guess this debate will continue as long as we have foreign aid. As you can see, our readers have a deep interest in this subject as well as conflicting views. Do you have any final thoughts before I end this discussion?

Mr. Calderisi: Thank you for arranging this discussion. All I would add is that I agree with Fanya Kazi that there are moral issues involved here, that should inspire us -- but not drag us too far away from our common sense. I still believe in trying to improve the way we provide foreign aid. Doing anything less would be like giving up the search for a cure to cancer. But, as with cancer, sometimes tough medicine is required, and the people who have advocated that consistently to me are the young Africans I have talked to over 30 years.


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White House: 'long way to go' on Kenya conflict
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Resolving the conflict in Kenya has a "long way to go," but negotiations between Kenya's government and the opposition were a ...

4 - White House: 'long way to go' on Kenya conflict

Tue 5 Feb 2008, 2:12 GMT

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Resolving the conflict in Kenya has a "long way to go," but negotiations between Kenya's government and the opposition were a start, White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley said on Monday.

Kenya's government and opposition begin detailed negotiations on Tuesday to try to end political and tribal conflict that has killed at least 900 people and brought one of Africa's brightest economies to its knees.

Under the mediation of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the two sides agreed on Monday on immediate steps to help the hundreds of thousands displaced by the violence and said they would start work on the political impasse.

U.S. diplomatic efforts were also underway, with an objective "to put pressure on both leaders to recognize what their dispute is doing to their country and to agree, if you will, to a time out, an agreement between the two sides that will stabilize the situation," Hadley said.

The goal is to have the leaders call on followers to not resort to violence, allow humanitarian assistance in and reach a point where elections could be held, he said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"Many people believe that to go to elections now would not be a prescription for bringing stability," he said.
"I think we have a long way to go," Hadley added.

"It is a great tragedy. This is a country that we have all looked to as a model. It has fallen on hard times," he said.

President George W. Bush will travel next week to Africa, including neighboring Tanzania, to highlight efforts to boost economic development and fight AIDS and other diseases.

He will also visit Benin, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia during the Feb. 15 to Feb. 21 trip.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Todd Eastham)
© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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Kenya: Talks to End Crisis Resume Amid Continuing Unrest - UN
AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA
Following a weekend of more killings and turmoil in various part of Kenya, efforts to resolve the post-election crisis resumed today under the leadership of ...

5 - Talks to End Crisis Resume Amid Continuing Unrest - UN

UN News Service (New York)

4 February 2008
Posted to the web 4 February 2008

Following a weekend of more killings and turmoil in various part of Kenya, efforts to resolve the post-election crisis resumed today under the leadership of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

More than 800 people have already lost their lives - and over a quarter of a million have been displaced - in intensifying ethnic clashes triggered by the aftermath of December elections in which Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga.

As head of the Panel of Eminent African Persons, Mr. Annan has been leading the mediation between the Government and the Opposition.

Even as talks resumed today, the UN Country Team confirmed that Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who had arrived in Nairobi on Friday to assist in the mediation efforts, left the country after the Government raised concerns over his impartiality.

Meanwhile, amid the persisting violence, UN agencies and their partners are continuing to assist the Government and the Kenya Red Cross in providing relief to those affected.

On Saturday, a joint UN team visited the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Eldoret town and reported that sewage facilities and drainage systems must improve at the overcrowded local IDP camp, home to some 19,000 residents.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has noted that the post-election violence has led to a humanitarian crisis that is "unprecedented" in Kenya, and has called on all political leaders to look beyond individual or partisan interests and resolve their differences peacefully.

"The people and leaders of Kenya, particularly political leaders, have the duty, and the responsibility, to wake up and reverse this tragic path before it escalates into the horrors of mass killings and devastation we have witnessed in recent history," he said during a visit to the strife-torn nation.

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

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6 - Warning on Kenya

Bangkok Post - Thailand
UNREST :The Foreign Ministry has advised Thai citizens to avoid travelling to Kenya due to growing unrest there. Quoting a report from the Thai embassy in ...


Warning on Kenya
UNREST :The Foreign Ministry has advised Thai citizens to avoid travelling to Kenya due to growing unrest there.
Quoting a report from the Thai embassy in Nairobi, the unrest which erupted after the general election last month has been compounded by the murder of senior opposition politician Mugabe Were on Jan 29. The embassy said 28 Thai people in Kenya are safe but it is prepared to send them back if the situation gets out of control.

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In Kenya, development is no miracle solution to violence
Daily Star - Lebanon - Beirut,Lebanon
By Jean-Michel Severino A month ago, Kenya fell prey to a sudden burst of post-electoral violence that has left over 1000 dead and hundreds of thousands ...

7 - In Kenya, development is no miracle solution to violence

By Jean-Michel Severino
Commentary by
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A month ago, Kenya fell prey to a sudden burst of post-electoral violence that has left over 1,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The intensity and scale of the violence have stunned the world. Of course, Kenya had lived through tense electoral periods before, and few people who know Africa were blind to the many difficulties the country continued to face. But things seemed to be going well recently. This year's campaign was exceptionally peaceful, and millions of citizens voted on December 27 - at times walking and queuing for hours to cast their ballots.

Perhaps more fundamentally, Kenya was unanimously seen as the "good student" of development, sometimes referred to as a symbol of an African renaissance. The "Kenya vision 2030 framework," a set of ambitious macroeconomic, legal, and constitutional reforms, was being implemented in close partnership with the World Bank.

Cherished by the donor community, Kenya received almost $1 billion of official development assistance in 2006 - up by 250 percent since 2002. Its booming horticulture and tourist industries were hailed as models for other African states in their efforts to integrate into world trade. The country's economic expansion, which averaged 5.5 percent in the last four years and fueled the progress of neighboring economies, appeared to prove that vigorous growth is possible in Africa even without mineral or fossil resources. Today, this economic miracle is up in the air.

All is not lost, and there are strong reasons to believe that Kenyans will surmount the current political crisis and put the country back on its promising track. Nevertheless, as we sit on the brink of the abyss, it is worth re-examining our assumptions that since poverty breeds conflict, socioeconomic development must foster political stability and reduce recourse to violence.

The first lesson we should draw from this month of civil strife is that development, however well-managed, cannot solve everything. Some tensions are deeply ingrained in societies, and peace requires more than any development agency can deliver. Parallel to the growth agenda, there is a specific role for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy to play in support of improved governance.

In fact, development itself generates a number of
strains on societies that lie at the very roots of conflict

Fast-paced changes of identity caused by urbanization, the empowerment of women or exposure to foreign media tend to weaken traditional norms and social networks.

And, at least initially, economic growth tends
to increase inequalities within a country, as some communities or individuals
benefit from rising income and others don't.

By displacing traditional centers of power, development can nurture collective resentment. Ethnic manipulation is a small step away, which many political leaders are disposed to take.

None of this, however, disproves the link between development and peace, or inverts the correlation. At both the micro and the macro level, development projects and economic growth can do much to alleviate some of the structural causes of political violence.

But development professionals, whose first duty is
to "do no harm," should be more conscious of the complex strains brought upon
developing societies

In Kenya too, this sensitivity has not sufficiently infused our organizations and projects.

Ultimately, the enhanced economic activity that development generates is the only way to reduce inequalities, particularly in a context of rapid demographic growth: It is easier to work on a fairer distribution of a growing pie than of a shrinking one.

Moreover, fast-paced but ill-distributed economic
growth can be accompanied by programs that focus on those who are left behind,
thereby mitigating grievances.

It is no coincidence that much of Kenya's
ongoing violence is occurring in the slums of its large cities.

Had more attention been given to the country's
most glaring inequalities in access to water, shelter, or jobs, this population
might not have chosen violence as an instrument of change.

Let us draw the right lessons: Socioeconomic progress remains our best tool to prevent conflict in the long run. But the relationship between growth and political stability is subtler and less linear than we like to believe. Development is no miracle solution to violence, and may create its own set of grievances - particularly when done without regard to the abrupt changes it brings to societies. Kenya isn't an illustration of development failing, but of development at work: complex, powerful, and yet fragile.

Jean-Michel Severino, a former World Bank vice president, is CEO of the Agence Francaise de Developpement and a founding member of www.ideas4development.org . THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate (c) (www.project-syndicate.org ).

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8 - Kenya's middle class feels pinch in crisis - Reuters

05 Feb 2008 13:25:10 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Jack Kimball

NAIROBI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Swahili rap music thumps in the background as Bobby Gichoni tries to order another beer at a packed downtown nightclub.

Crowds of Kenyans throng tables with animal-print counters. It takes 20 minutes for the beer to arrive.
The post-election bloodshed in Kenya seems a world away.

Fighting has killed at least 1,000 people mostly in Kenya's slums and poor rural areas since President Mwai Kibaki's won a disputed Dec. 27 election.

The crisis has cost one of Africa's most promising economies hundreds of millions of dollars, and middle-class Kenyans say they too are feeling the pinch.

"I was going to get a very promising job, and the next day the violence broke out and all the guests left," Gichoni says of his job offer at a coastal resort hotel.

"In the hotel industry, our concern is Maasai Mara and Mombasa. There is no violence there, but outsiders think the whole country is in chaos," he says of two of Kenya's most popular tourist destinations.

Middle-class Kenyans have been among the biggest beneficiaries of an economic boom since Kibaki came to power in 2002, which has seen east Africa's largest economy grow an average of 5 percent annually.

But some critics say they've opted for material comfort instead of flexing growing political muscle.

Several newspaper columnists have taken issue with the middle class silence during the crisis.

Nation newspaper columnist Tom Mshindi attacked them as "the most unconscious of their historical role as instigators of change."

"They have been lulled by a false sense of security, they have enjoyed sheltered in their homes and clubs where inevitably they whine about everything that is wrong with the system and its leaders and yet remain content to do nothing about it."

Commentator Tilan Lele, in a newspaper piece on why the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)'s plans for mass protest would fail, said it was because the middle class "does not have the guts to join the revolution."

Kenya is one of the few countries on the continent whose post-independence history has not been stained by coups or major ethnic conflict, but the now-exposed divisions over wealth, land and inequality stretch back to the British colonial era.

"A whole lot of people shed blood at independence, we don't need to do it again," Joan Walumbe said, seated in a trendy downtown Nairobi cafe.

Walumbe said despite the crisis and the ethnic bloodletting, she has not seen too much change nor have her friendships with people from other tribes been affected .

"Life has been back to normal except I try as much as possible not to be out very late," says Walumbe, who works for a non-governmental organisation. "We're going about our daily lives, but you pause and think things aren't normal."

Taking a bite of a chicken pie, Walumbe says she felt a change after she saw pictures of charred bodies burned in a church in the Rift Valley -- part of the ethnic violence that spiralled out of control with elections as the spark.

"Tears just came to my eyes. I used to think this was something I'd have sworn to you was something that'd never, ever happen in Kenya," she says.

Many in the middle class blame the media for giving a distorted impression of the violence.

"How do you say it's fair when business is back to normal, but the media is showing the worst images from weeks ago," says Chris Rwengo, a foreign exchange dealer in Nairobi.

(For special coverage from Reuters on Kenya's crisis see: http://africa.reuters.com/elections/kenya/)
(Editing by Peter Millership)
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9 - 12,000 Kenyan refugees now in Uganda - UNHCR

05 Feb 2008 12:49:06 GMT
Source: UNHCR

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

Ugandan authorities report that some 12,000 Kenyan refugees are now in the country after fleeing the post-election violence in their homeland. A UNHCR emergency team arrived over the weekend in Uganda and has been deployed to Tororo, in the south-eastern part of the country along the border with Kenya. The team will lead emergency response and coordination with the local and central authorities.

We are registering new arrivals. According to Ugandan authorities, there are presently some 6,500 Kenyans in Tororo, Manafwa and Busia districts in the south-east, and another 5,500 in Bukwa district, 180 km north of Tororo town.

Late last week, a joint mission to Bukwa district found that most of the refugees there were from the Mt. Elgon and Eldoret areas in Kenya. Most are being accommodated by local communities. They appear to be in good condition, but local resources are running out to care for these people.

The joint mission also looked into a possible relocation of the newly arrived Kenyan refugees to Mulanda transit centre, about 160 km from Bukwa. Road conditions are extremely bad – taking about 3½ hours with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. In addition, some Kenyan refugees in Bukwa expressed concern over the ethnic composition of the refugees already at Mulanda transit centre and indicated that they may not be prepared to relocate to there. UNHCR plans to address these issues by providing more information to the refugees about conditions at Mulanda.

Since 23 January, we have moved 1,334 Kenyan refugees to Mulanda, mostly from Busia, Malaba and Lwakhakha villages on the border with Kenya. A UNHCR team is in Mulanda to provide a range of services for the refugee community there. Over the weekend, the Ugandan Red Cross and UNHCR distributed rice, beans, posho (kind of local porridge), oil, maize, tins of beef and sugar. Today we plan a distribution of second-hand clothes donated by several NGOs and charities.

Meanwhile, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, this morning met with Kenya's Minister for Special Programmes, who is overseeing the internal displacement operation in Kenya. She also met the Director-General of the Kenya Red Cross Society. Cheng-Hopkins assured the Kenya government of UNHCR's continued readiness to support ongoing efforts to help an estimated 300,000 internally displaced people. She welcomed the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenya Red Cross Society and called for the quick implementation of the agreement.
UNHCR news

10 - Kenya death toll hits 1,000, parties talk - Reuters

05 Feb 2008 09:00:00 GMT
Source: Reuters

[Photo] A member of the Kalenjin tribe is seen before a battle with the Kisii tribe in the town of Chepilat, west of Nairobi, Feb. 3, 2008.
REUTERS/Peter Andrews
(Adds Red Cross, U.S. envoy, details)
By Duncan Miriri and Helen Nyambura-Mwaura

NAIROBI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The death toll from Kenya's post-election bloodletting has risen to 1,000, the Red Cross said on Tuesday, as political rivals began the toughest part of their negotiations so far.

Fighting in west Kenya in recent days between rival ethnic gangs had increased the number of deaths, the Red Cross said.

"One thousand plus have died since the conflict started," Red Cross head Abbas Gullet told a conference in Nairobi.

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

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

Some 304,000 Kenyans have been displaced by the crisis, the Red Cross said, though that figure was likely to rise.

The internal humanitarian crisis is a shock to Kenyans, more used to receiving refugees from neighbouring hot-spots like Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. The troubles have also badly damaged Kenya's image as a stable and promising economy.

Under the mediation of former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, the government and opposition agreed on Monday on principles to stem the violence and help those displaced.

On Tuesday, they began agenda item number three -- "the political crisis arising from the disputed presidential electoral results."

That is the toughest matter to be resolved by Kibaki's government and Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) within a mid-Feburary deadline given by Annan.

"We all have a responsibility to get Kenya back from the brink," Annan told business leaders in Nairobi before going to the talks. "No society can remain prosperous without the rule of law and human rights. Let your leaders know that you want peace and stability. Keep your voices high."

Odinga says Kibaki stole the vote, but the president points to his declaration as winner by the electoral board.

International observers said the count was so chaotic it was impossible to tell who won.

Increasing evidence is emerging that the violence was not all a spontaneous reaction to the election, but that local politicians and elders had planned and directed some of it.

"Certain people incited others. There needs to be an impartial investigation," Michael Ranneberger, U.S. envoy to Kenya, said in a newspaper interivew published on Tuesday.

"A lot of violence was planned and organised, but it would have occurred no matter who won, because it took the dimension of land disputes," he told the Standard.

Washington, and some other Western powers, are considering travel bans against some Kenya politicians for stirring violence or violating democratic norms, diplomats say.

While the Annan team wants immediate issues resolved fast, it has set a year's deadline for the resolution of underlying issues like constitutional reform, settling land differences, and tackling poverty.
The crisis has battered the economy.

Hotels stand empty in the $1 billion a year tourism industry, Kenya's position as the leading exporter of cut flowers to Europe is under threat, and transport routes to landlocked African neighbours have been disrupted.

The violence and election dispute have also tarnished the democratic credentials of a nation previously seen as a bulwark of stability and a peacemaker in turbulent east Africa.
(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne, Editing by Jack Kimball)
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11 - Kenya crisis death toll hits 1,000 - Red Cross - Reuters

05 Feb 2008 08:06:46 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds details)

NAIROBI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - More than 1,000 people have died and 304,000 people been displaced in Kenya's post-election crisis, the local Red Cross said on Tuesday.

"As of yesterday, we have over 1,000 people (dead) including the latest killings in Kisii, Migori and other places over the weekend," Kenya Red Cross spokesman Tony Mwangi said.

The figure of 304,000 refugees did not include displacements over recent days and so would probably rise, he said.

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

The internal humanitarian crisis is a shock to Kenyans, more used to receiving refugees from neighbouring hot-spots like Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia.

(Reporting by Wangui Kanina; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

12 - Kenya Red Cross says more than 1,000 die in crisis - Reuters

05 Feb 2008 07:57:05 GMT
Source: Reuters

NAIROBI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - More than 1,000 people have died and 304,000 people been displaced in Kenya's post-election crisis, the local Red Cross said on Tuesday.

"As of yesterday, we have over 1,000 people (dead) including the latest killings in Kisii, Migori and other places over the weekend," Kenya Red Cross spokesman Tony Mwangi said. The figure of 304,000 refugees did not include displacements over recent days and so would probably rise, he said.

(Reporting by Wangui Kanina; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

13 - KENYA: No place to call home – UN’s IRIN

05 Feb 2008 13:35:13 GMT
Source: IRIN

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

THIKA, 5 February 2008 (IRIN) - Jennifer Atieno was mourning the death of her daughter when the family received threatening leaflets warning members of her ethnic group to leave the town of Thika as the post-election violence and inter-community intimidation spread to central Kenya.

"Well-wishers have just donated money for the coffin. It is still not enough, but I hope we can bury her today," Atieno, one of about 900 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Thika municipal sports stadium, told IRIN on 4 February, almost a month after her daughter, 22-year-old Alice, died of malaria and typhoid.

"Mortuary fees accumulated to 12,000 shillings [US$170] which we could not raise because my husband and I can no longer work. Today the Red Cross convinced the hospital to waive the charges so that we can bury her," she said. "We will bury her in the cemetery here although we would have liked to lay her to rest in Siaya [western Kenya]," said Atieno, whose household was looted on 28 January. The marauding gangs burnt what they could not carry, she said.

Atieno and her family, members of the Luo ethnic group, have lived in Thika, an area inhabited mainly by Kikuyu, since 1983. Her five surviving children were born in Thika and speak Kikuyu.
The violence that erupted after the declaration on 30 December of the disputed presidential election results was initially confined to the Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces of western Kenya and the capital Nairobi. The victims were mainly members of the Kikuyu community.

Revenge attacks by Kikuyu youths against communities they perceive to be rivals have, however, spread to areas not initially affected by the unrest, such as Thika, where those displaced have sought refuge in the stadium.

Most of the displaced would like to leave the town, but the majority are destitute, unable to meet the transportation costs, according to Michael Orawo, chairman of the Thika stadium IDP camp.
"The majority want to leave," said Orawo. "They have been threatened and landlords have been told their properties will be burnt if they continue providing accommodation to people from western Kenya," he added.

Said Lillian Awino: "They [the attackers] gave us four days [to leave], but they came on the third day and looted and burnt everything. They told us to leave as we came - with nothing," she said. "We would like to leave, but how do we get there [Siaya district]. And how do we survive when we get there now that everything has been burnt or stolen?"

Three days after she had a baby by Caesarean section on 10 January, Caroline Akinyi, 30, was sleeping rough with the baby and five of her other children in a tea plantation in the chilly Tigoni area of Kiambu district, where opportunities for work in the tea and flower farms have attracted labour from western Kenya.

"We feared being beaten and robbed because we are Luo. We hid in the plantation for three days and three nights until the farm owner put us in a lorry at night and brought us here," said Akinyi, one of an estimated 6,000 people, mostly labourers from the tea plantations, who have sought refuge in Tigoni police station. She also appealed for transport to go back to Homa Bay, on the shore of Lake Victoria.

Many of the workers fled their homes in the plantations without their wages and are too intimidated to go back to ask for their money, said Kenneth Ambani, 27 and a father of two, who arrived in Tigoni with his parents 20 years ago.

"They attacked people with pangas, hoes and clubs with nails sticking out," said Mary Otieno, 54, who asked for help to travel to her ancestral home in Ahero, Nyanza Province.

Samuel Munyuhi Mwangi, 97, fled the Timboroa area of Rift Valley Province in early January after raiders attacked his farm, stole his herd of sheep and two cows and threatened to kill him and members of his extended family. He and two daughters and their children have found shelter at the Karura Community Chapel, next to the leafy Runda suburb of Nairobi.

"We bought the farm from white settlers in 1967. I do not know whether we shall be able to return," said Mwangi, a cheerful man who supported his slight stoop with a walking stick. "We shall stay here until the government finds alternative settlement for us. Our fate is now in God's hands."

The two rival parties in Kenya's political conflict have pledged, during talks mediated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to "assist and encourage displaced persons to go back to their homes or other areas and to have safe passage and security throughout".

The UN's top official on the human rights of IDPs, Walter Kälin, told IRIN that the basic principle for any movement of IDPs should be "free choice". However, he pointed out, "You can only freely choose if you have different options available." It is "very common", he added, that IDPs "end up threatened from all sides and become political pawns". As well as efforts from the international community, "[national] authorities have the responsibility to create conditions that allow for such freedom to choose", he said, referring to the rights and responsibilities laid out in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.


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