Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today’s Headlines: Stories 14-26 – Tues 2/05/2008

14 - 12,000 Kenyan refugees now in Uganda - UNHCR
15 - 'Hard' Kenya crisis talks resume - BBC
16 - Annan: Kenya solution not about Kibaki or Raila – Nation
17 - Climate 'could devastate crops' - BBC
18 - Call for Kenyan truth commission - BBC
19 - Shortages as Fleeing Families Crowd Camps – Nation
20 - Farmers Fail to Reach Markets As Crisis Persists - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
21 - Two Journalists Shot While Covering Riots, Another Assaulted And Her Camera Taken, Several Others Threatened With Death - International Federation of Journalists (Brussels)
22 - Experts Launch Probe Into Killings - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
23 - Serious Potato Shortage Looms at City Restaurants - The Nation (Nairobi)
24 - 'Everyone has a weapon' – Guardian Podcasts
25 - Kenyan foes tackle key political issues – AFP
26 - Kenya Unrest Points to Deeper Underlying Issues - VOA

14 - 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.

15 - 'Hard' Kenya crisis talks resume - BBC

Kenya's political foes have begun discussing crucial political issues to try to end to weeks of violence.

Kofi Annan, who is brokering the negotiations between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, warned they would be "hard".

The local Red Cross says in the five weeks since disputed elections more than 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 displaced in violence.

Top business figures are seeking quick action to help the ailing economy.

Mr Annan highlighted the impact of the crisis on the country's economy when he addressed the 300 or so participants at a conference of leading business figures in the capital, Nairobi, whose businesses together account for about 80% of the country's GDP. Tourism and agriculture have been especially hard hit.

Earlier, the former UN chief warned that there would be no easy resolution to the crisis.

"The crisis arising out of the December 2007 elections, that is going to take hard negotiations, understandably give and take," Mr Annan told reporters.

Every day that there's another delay more business is lost and
becomes irrecoverable

Michael Joseph, Safaricom (mobile phone company)

A framework for the negotiations was agreed on Friday, and on Monday the two sides agreed immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis, including helping those displaced by violence to return to their homes.

Mr Annan also called for a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation committee to investigate the political and ethnic violence.

But the negotiation process was dealt a blow when the man Mr Annan hoped would lead the talks, South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, withdrew from the mediation panel after Kenyan government objections.

Tuesday's talks will focus on the political crisis - though both sides have expressed deep reservations about any power-sharing deal.

Issues relating to land distribution and historical injustices are also set to be debated later in the negotiations.

Business warning
The Kenyan business people meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday will highlight the urgency with which a political solution must be found, reports the BBC's Adam Mynott in Nairobi.

"Every day that there's another delay, more business is lost and becomes irrecoverable," Michael Joseph, the chief executive of the mobile phone company Safaricom, told our correspondent.

"People can say we're putting profit first, but we're not putting profit first - we're putting our country first, because without our businesses there's no jobs," he said.

Mr Annan said he was "extremely delighted" at the initiative.

Streets in western Kenya - scene of much of the recent violence - appeared calm on Tuesday.
But the Kenya Red Cross has said it believes more than 1,000 have died, and about 304,000 displaced since the 27 December elections, which were marred by irregularities according to local and foreign observers.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7227866.stmPublished: 2008/02/05 10:39:47 GMT© BBC MMVIII

16 - Annan: Kenya solution not about Kibaki or Raila - Nation

Publication Date: 2/5/2008

Mediator Kofi Annan has warned that a resolution of Kenya’s disputed presidential poll will not be about individuals as the parties begun discussing crucial political issues today.

Speaking when he met company chief executives before today’s session of the talks started, Mr Annan said the mediation process between the Government/Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement will focus on building of strong institutions and not on individuals.

The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation team which he is facilitating will be working on possibilities of coming up with a whole package whose key pillars will be land and constitutional reforms as well as ways and means to fight poverty.

“Resolving of the current crisis is not about individuals. It is not about Honourable Raila Odinga or President (Mwai) Kibaki but about strong institutions that will ensure the country will not have to return back to this kind of crisis every couple of years,” Mr Annan said.

Mr Annan said both PNU and ODM party leaders will be expected to mobilise their MPs to push the necessary legislation through Parliament.

He is optimistic that once this is achieved, the country will be able to move out of the current crisis.

Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph warned political leaders that there might be no country to govern or any businesses to tax if they do not work to ensure peace and stability in the country.

Mr Joseph called on Kenyans to exert pressure on their leaders to guarantee peace in the country.

The CEOs Forum organised by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and sponsored by both Safaricom and General Motors worked on a draft document that was expected to be presented to the major political parties and their leaders as well as the Dialogue and Reconciliation team as the way forward.

Kenya was thrown into a political crisis that has lasted over a month now when the December 27 presidential election was disputed with many observers describing the tallying of the votes as flawed. Though the Electoral Commission declared President Kibaki the winner, his opponent Raila Odinga of ODM accused the incumbent of rigging.

At the same time, both the PNU and the ODM have now formally added a negotiator each to the mediation process.

Foreign Affairs minister Mr Moses Wetangula joins the Government side with ODM has brought in Ugenya MP James Orengo.

Mr Annan welcomed the two to the talks at the start of today’s session in the morning, according to a statement by the spokesman for the process, Mr Nasser Ega-Musa.

Mr Ega-Musa also said the two other members of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities leading the National Dialogue, Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and Benjamin Mkapa, the former President of Tanzania, are scheduled to arrive back in Nairobi today to rejoin the talks.

17 - Climate 'could devastate crops' - BBC

Climate change could cause severe crop losses in South Asia and southern Africa over the next 20 years, a study in the journal Science says.

The findings suggest southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030.
In South Asia losses of many regional staples, such as rice, millet and maize could top 10%, the report says.

The effects in these two regions could be catastrophic without effective measures to adapt to climate change.

The majority of the world's one billion poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Yet, said lead author David Lobell, it is also "the human enterprise most vulnerable to climate change".

The researcher, from Stanford University in California, US, added: "Understanding where these climate threats will be greatest, for what crops and on what timescales, will be central to our efforts at fighting hunger and poverty over the coming decades."

'Crushing' losses
The study used computer models to assess the impact of climate change on farming in 12 world regions where the bulk of the world's malnourished people live. This included much of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

"To identify which crops in which regions are most under threat by 2030, we combined projections of climate change with data on what poor people eat, as well as past relationships between crop harvests and climate variability," Dr Lobell explained.

The scale and speed of the effects on agriculture surprised the scientists.

"For poor farmers on the margin of survival, these losses could really be crushing," said co-author Marshall Burke, also of Stanford University.

All the models agree that there will be adverse effects on maize in southern Africa and rice in South-East Asia, but the picture is less certain in other areas such as parts of West Africa where it is unclear how global warming will impact the local climate.

Early investment
"For these regions, you get half of the climate models telling you it's going to get wetter and the other half giving you the opposite," said Dr Burke.

"As a result, our study raises the potential for very bad impacts in these regions but with much less certainty than in other regions."

A few developing regions, such as the temperate wheat-growing areas of China, could actually benefit in the short run from climate change, he added.

Since it typically takes 15 to 30 years for major agricultural investments to be fully realised, work must start soon to help subsistence farmers increase their yields or switch crops, the study says.

While relatively inexpensive changes, such as switching crops or altering planting seasons, could trim the losses, "the biggest benefits will likely result from more costly measures, including the development of new crop varieties and expansion of irrigation," the authors wrote.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/01/31 20:05:08 GMT© BBC MMVIII

18 - Call for Kenyan truth commission - BBC

Former UN chief Kofi Annan has called on Kenya to establish a truth and reconciliation commission to help end the crisis following disputed polls.

A similar body in South Africa helped shed light on apartheid-era crimes and ease tensions.
Mr Annan, who is mediating talks between rival political leaders, also said UN investigators should look into alleged human rights abuses in Kenya.

Political and ethnic violence has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless.

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

Joint peace rallies should be convened by all leaders of parties
Kofi Annan
Talks mediator

At the weekend, scores more were killed despite an agreement signed by Mr Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

In another development, Kenyan authorities have lifted the live broadcast restrictions imposed after the election.

At the time, the government said it was imposing the ban to ensure public safety.

South African role
As talks resumed in Nairobi, Mr Annan called for "immediate measures to promote reconciliation and healing".

"Joint peace rallies should be convened by all leaders of parties to promote peace and reconciliation," he said.

My heart aches for Kenya. Your countrymen and women have
suffered greatly

Bishop Desmond Tutu

A framework for the negotiations was agreed on Friday, but the man he hoped would lead the talks, South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, has been dropped from the mediation panel after Kenyan government objections.

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

Meanwhile, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, who led South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has appealed for an end to the "totally unacceptable" violence and called on Kenyans to back the talks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Mr Kibaki and his supporters continue to accuse the opposition of fuelling the unrest.
"This is a politically instigated situation," said information minister Samuel Pergisio.

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

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

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/02/04 18:06:35 GMT© BBC MMVIII

19 - Shortages as Fleeing Families Crowd Camps - Nation

The Nation (Nairobi)

5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008 Nairobi

Camps for internally displaced people in the North Rift region are faced with food and shelter shortages, and possible health hazards as the numbers seeking assistance increase.

The seven camps sheltering more than 100,000 victims of violence spawned by the disputed presidential election results have recorded an increased number of people seeking refuge in the last three days over fears of fresh attacks.

Statistics from the Kenya Red Cross Society indicate that the number of displaced people at the Eldoret showground has increased from 14,000 to 18,000 in the last three days.

"The number of displaced people at the camps keeps fluctuating as those who had sought refuge among relatives come in. We have, however managed to provide them with relief food, tents, water, medicine and non-food items," Red Cross governor Paul Birech said.

In Trans Nzoia District, 20,000 people are camped at Kachibora, 20,000 others are at Wamuini, 17,000 are at Endebess and 7,000 are at the Kitale showground.

More than 10,000 displaced people are camping at the Burnt Forest in Uasin Gishu District and 3,000 others at Bishop Muge in Timboroa area.

Mr Birech described the humanitarian situation in most camps as fair, but called on other well-wishers to assist.

"We have not experienced a serious crisis in any of the camps, but there is fluctuating food supply, among other basic needs," Mr Birech added.

But some of the victims disputed this, saying they faced food shortages and complained of poor hygienic conditions. They appealed to well-wishers to help in the construction of latrines and provision of health services.

"We are faced with starvation. We have not received food rations in the three days we have been in the camp," Ms Joyce Wanjiru from Kapsabet, who is camped at the Eldoret showground, claimed.

"We are experiencing a lot of suffering here. The food rations are inadequate and general hygiene is poor. We pray for peace to return to enable us go back to our farms," Mr David Maina said.

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

20 - Farmers Fail to Reach Markets As Crisis Persists - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Benson Kathuri

For the last three weeks, Mr Gitau Macharia, a seed and farm inputs supplier has spent sleepless nights wondering how he is going to deliver his products to Kitale in the North Rift.
Macharia, who doubles as the chairman of the Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK), is also expected to help his members who cannot access markets in the violence-hit north rift and western regions.

Experts in rural development are also worried whether the farmers will buy the inputs at a time when some of them are displaced while others have no money because they are yet to sell last season's crop.

The National Cereals and Produce Board is yet to re-open its stores in the troubled regions to purchase the maize and pay the farmers to prepare for the coming planting season.

Seated at his office at Kilimo house in Nairobi, Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Dr Romano Kiome, is wondering how thousands of tonnes of processed sugar will be transported from the sugar belt markets mainly in the urban centres.

"The situation on the ground is bad and if the farmers do not prepare land and get farm inputs on time, the country can easily experience food shortages," says Macharia.
"The ministry of Agriculture should tell us whether the farmers have prepared their land for planting next month," he says.

Farm input suppliers who met for a crisis meeting in Nairobi last week were concerned that they would not be able to supply inputs, and mainly seeds should the current political impasse persist.
Besides the impassable roads, courtesy of marauding gangs who have blocked the roads at various points, a big number of farmers are displaced from their land.

The North Rift, commonly referred as the country grain granary is the worst affected by post-election violence that threatens to disrupt maize farming.

Analysts predict an economic slow down if the political crisis is not resolved urgently to enable the over 200,000 displaced farmers to go back to their land.

"Land preparation is far behind schedule and CNFA/AGMARK is concerned over the effect of post-election violence to the supply and distribution of inputs," says Mr James Mutonyi, a director with an international NGO in the agricultural sector.

Mutonyi, who is the national director for business and financial services at CNFA/AGMARK, says if allowed to persist, the crisis can easily cripple the sector.

CFNA, a global Washington-based NGO is working closely with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK), a local NGO to facilitate the supply of farm inputs to the rural areas.

Besides affecting maize farming, the violence has also affected cash crop production mainly in tea, dairy, sugar and pyrethrum sub-sectors.

"The Government should be worried about the displaced people because if they do not return to their farms on time, they will not prepare the land for the planting season," says Dr Dickson Khainga, a senior policy analyst at the Kenya Public Policy and Research Institute.

The agricultural sector that employs more than 80 per cent of rural folk grew by 5.6 per cent in 2006 with the value of marketed horticultural produce rising from Sh39 billion in 2005 to Sh43.1 billion.

According to last year's Economic Survey, almost all sub-sectors in the sector recorded modest growth though the diary sector recorded impressive growth with marketed milk rising by 6.2 per cent to hit 361 million litres.

The Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) has already issued a warning that the violence would affect tea production as already 20,000 tea workers have been displaced in tea producing districts in the Rift Valley.

"The projected drop in production is attributed to dry weather conditions and interruptions in tea plucking and processing owing to skirmishes experienced in the month of January," says Mrs Sicily Kariuki, TBK managing director.

"This has resulted in labour displacements and interruption of ground logistics," she says.
According to TBK, the export volume is projected to drop to about 320 million kilos from 345 million kilos recorded last year.

The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Managing Director, Mr Lerionka Tiampati, says some tea factories have been affected as workers have been displaced.

Processed tea in some cases cannot be transported to Mombasa because of the transport crisis caused by the blocked roads leading to and from the tea growing areas.

"There is nothing to celebrate when the economy is bleeding due to the disruptions to economic activities caused by the post-election violence," says Tiampati.

Last year, tea production was highest in tea growing areas, where output was 20 per cent higher from 179 million kilos in 2006 to 215 million kilos.

Multinational tea companies such as Finlay and Unilever that operate in the region are facing a crisis due to displacement of workers.

As a result, the Export Promotion Council (EPC) says the country is likely to lose more than Sh19 billion in exports if the post-election uncertainty persists.

Last year, Kenya earned more than Sh270 billion from the exports mostly agricultural to the traditional markets in the European Union and Asia.

"Importers and export oriented investors may adopt a wait-and-see attitude in the short run due to the uncertainty," says Mr Matanda Wabuyele, EPC chief executive officer.

"Our concern at the moment is how exporters can fulfil their contractual obligations, under the current environment where

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

21 - Two Journalists Shot While Covering Riots, Another Assaulted And Her Camera Taken, Several Others Threatened With Death
International Federation of Journalists (Brussels)

4 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Kenyan government to launch an immediate investigation into a wave of death threats against journalists after at least 8 senior journalists were targeted by a group accusing them of creating rifts in the country

"The Kenyan government must act swiftly to end these threats and ensure that journalists are not targeted during this volatile time," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office.

"These accusations are totally unfair and false and just put more pressure on our colleagues who are already working in very difficult conditions."

On Wednesday the journalists all received the same e-mail, which said it was from the violent Mungiki sect, accusing them of using their media outlets to create rifts in the country.

The threats came after photojournalists Hezron Njoroge of the Daily Nation and Robert Gicheru of the Standard were shot while covering riots in a Nairobi slum on 29 January, according to a Daily Nation report. The report adds that rioters assaulted a foreign journalist and stole her mobile phone and also stole three cameras from a local television station.

According to the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), the threatened journalists include Nation Media Group Managing Editor Joseph Odindo, Talk Show Host and Anchor of the program News Bulletin Julie Gichuru, Managing Editor in Charge of Special Projects Macharia Gaitho and political journalist Robert Nagila.

Also threatened were four other journalists from Standard Group: Editorial Director Kwendo Opanga, Weekend Edition News Editor Denis Onyango, Managing Editor Kipkoech Tanui and News TV director Linus Kaikai.

Paul Ilado, a journalist with radio Kiss FM and the Nairobi Star newspaper was also targeted by the group.

The IFJ is calling on the government to ensure that journalists are not targeted with impunity during the crisis and are allowed to report independently on events as they unfold.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries.

Copyright © 2008 International Federation of Journalists. All rights reserved.

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

22 - Experts Launch Probe Into Killings - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Patrick Mathangani

Eight experts brought by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) have begun gathering evidence on the post-election violence.

KNCHR Media and Communications Officer, Mr Victor Bwire, said the team would tour Rift Valley, Nairobi, Central and Coast provinces.

He said the experts, who started interviewing displaced people in Nairobi and Kiambu on Monday, would tour Nyanza when security was assured.

The team, which comprises prosecutors, lawyers and experts in NGOs management, is expected to make a report in 43 days, Bwire said.

The investigation comes in the wake of claims of ethnic cleansing in parts of Rift Valley, where people from one community were killed and others forced to flee.

There have also been claims that the violence, which has left about 1,000 people dead and more than 350,000 displaced, was planned.

The chaos escalated after the Electoral Commission declared President Kibaki the winner in the December 27 poll.

However, ODM has denied claims that the skirmishes were premeditated.

It also refuted reports by an international watchdog, Human Rights Watch, that party leaders fuelled violence in the Rift Valley.

The eight experts have been involved in conflicts in Darfur, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, East Timor, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Ivory Coast and India.

One, Mr John Ralston, investigated crimes committed by Germany's Nazi regime.

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

23 - Serious Potato Shortage Looms at City Restaurants - The Nation (Nairobi)

5 February 2008 Posted to the web 5 February 2008
By Michael Njuguna

A shortage of potatoes is expected to hit restaurants in Nairobi and other towns in the next few weeks because of the violence that has crippled the Rift Valley Province.

Nairobi has more than 800 restaurants and over 40 local processors of crisps [‘potato chips’ in US] whose operations are expected to be severely affected by the shortage.

Potatoes, which are mainly grown by small-scale farmers now rank second to maize in terms of food security.

Adversely affected
The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers Nakuru Chapter chairman, Mr Samuel Gitonga told the Nation yesterday that a 110kg bag of potatoes was fetching Sh3,000.

During harvest time, the bag costs as little as Sh600 in towns such as Nakuru.

Mr Gitonga said that most areas in Rift Valley where farmers grow potatoes had been adversely affected by the violence that flared up after the December General Election.

Farmers in districts such as Bomet and Kericho produce about 10,000 metric tonnes of potatoes annually each, while neighbouring Molo and Nakuru districts exceed those figures.

He said operations at the potato research sub-station at Marindas in Molo had been suspended after the establishment was raided and its property looted.

"The disruption of research work at Marindas will definitely have an adverse effect on seed potato production, especially considering that there is a shortage of seed," he said.

Mr Gitonga said that farmers had no potato storage facilities on their premises, which meant that ware (uncertified seed) potatoes that were not transported to market would be lost.

The Agricultural Development Corporation had put up a seed potato coldstore in Molo in the mid 80s when the parastatal was the major seed potato producer in the country. But the coldstore has been in disuse for years due to lack of seed potato, a situation that has been forcing farmers to grow wares.

Mr Gitonga said that transporters would not risk sending their trucks to the potato growing areas for fear that their vehicles would be burnt. "This has also affected wheat farmers because harvesting contractors do not want to go to areas they consider insecure," Mr Gitonga said.

Some of the harvesting contractors who were willing to take risks were charging wheat farmers Sh2,000 per acre, reducing producers' profit margins considerably. Mr Gitonga said that a 90kg bag of wheat was fetching Sh3,000 and yet farmers had to meet the high cost of transportation and drying.

Feeding population
According to Mr Gitonga, a lot of farmers in the Mau Escarpment have yet to harvest their wheat.

"Farmers want peace to be restored everywhere so that they can continue feeding the rest of the population," he said.

Meanwhile, an official with an agricultural machinery firm is worried about the preparations for this year's planting season because of the post-election violence.

Mr Zaddock Khayumbi, who works with FMD machinery services, wants the Government and the opposition to ensure that normalcy is restored in affected parts of the country.

"It is upon the Government to restore law and order to allow farming activity to continue as normal," he said, pointing out that unless drastic measures are put in place to restore normalcy, the country's future food security is doomed.

Copyright © 2008 The Nation. All rights reserved.

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

24 - 'Everyone has a weapon'

Violence ongoing in Kenya
January 29, 2008 9:13 AM
Xan Rice reports from Nairobi in Kenya where diplomats are trying to halt the escalation of ethnic violence. [2min 10sec]
or download to your computer

25 - Kenyan foes tackle key political issues - AFP

4 hours ago
NAIROBI (AFP) — Kenya's rival factions on Tuesday began tackling key political issues in a bid to find a negotiated settlement to the deadly conflict that erupted after disputed December elections.

"Today we are tackling the political issues and the controversial elections. I hope we move as expeditiously as possible because we have no time," said former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who is leading the mediation effort.

The Red Cross said Tuesday that the violence has left at least 1,000 people dead and displaced around 300,000.

Attacks were continuing in western Kenya, the epicentre of the post-election violence, pitting ethnic Kisiis against Kalenjins, a police commander told AFP.

"We have killed two people who were trying to burn down a restaurant near Chelibat," a village in the ethnically mixed area, said the commander who asked not to be named.
"The fighting is going on in the rural area (...) but our security forces are trying to calm them down," he said.

In Nairobi, negotiations began last week between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose dispute over the December polls ignited the violence and rattled the east Africa's largest economy.

One possible solution to end the deadlock would involve a power-sharing deal in which Kibaki would remain as president, albeit with fewer powers, while Odinga would become prime minister, even though the position would have to be created through a constitutional amendment.

The rivals have officially rejected such an arrangement but Annan suggested Tuesday that the negotiations could broach "necessary legislations and laws."

Uganda, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia decided to dispatch their foreign ministers to Nairobi on Wednesday to show support for "government efforts to restore stability," said a foreign ministry official.

But the opposition urged the ministers to stay home, saying they could not meet with Kibaki when "the very legitimacy" of his position was in question, said Anyang Nyongo, secretary general of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement.

The talks resumed after Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's chief apartheid-era negotiator, pulled out after the government rejected his bid to help broker a final deal, accusing him of favouring the opposition.

On Friday, Annan announced that the negotiators had agreed on a roadmap for the negotiations to end the weeks of turmoil triggered by Kibaki's disputed re-election.

Negotiators have proposed holding joint peace rallies and setting up a South African-style truth commission to promote reconciliation.

"There are no band-aids," Annan told journalists. "We are looking at the root causes to reduce tensions and reach results that will stand the test of time."

But the Rift Valley remained tense with 74 people dying in weekend clashes involving ethnic Kisiis and Kalenjins while an exodus of Kikuyus continued.

About 4,000 Kikuyus, the group which has dominated Kenya's politics and business since independence in 1963, have fled their Rift Valley homes in recent days, a Red Cross official said.
"The movement continues," said the official.

Annan has set a deadline of seven to 15 days to resolve the Kenya crisis triggered by the outcome of the December 27 election that the opposition said was rigged while international observers have cited serious flaws.

Kibaki's tribe, the Kikuyu, suffered heavily in the first wave of violence following the vote at the hands of Odinga's Luo tribe and other ethnic groups, but there have since been numerous revenge attacks.

Weeks of turmoil have delivered a major blow to Kenya's tourism industry, the top foreign currency earner, while tea production and agriculture have also been hard hit.

26 - Kenya Unrest Points to Deeper Underlying Issues - VOA

By Jackson Muneza Mvunganyi Washington04 February 2008

Kenya Analysis - Download (MP3)
Kenya Analysis - Listen (MP3)

The issue is at the top of the agenda as the African Union holds its summit in Addis Ababa. David Masai, a university student in Nairobi, says life in Kenya since the crisis began has been terrible.

He says goods coming from the port in Mombasa have slowed because of possible danger, leading to high prices for commodities such as food and fuel. Even neighboring countries, which often depend on the ports of Kenya, have been affected by a crisis that doesn't seem to let up.

Gaterestse Fredric, an Africa security analyst based in Washington, says there is more to Kenya’s post-election violence than politics; he says, “Other underlying conflicts and tensions are coming into play.”

Fredric says tribal animosity finds its roots in the unequal distribution of resources in Kenya and it is “all manifesting itself now.”

Kenya has more than 40 tribes and many believe the crisis has taken on an ethnic face. Vicent Makori is a Kenyan journalist who works for the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. He blames Kenyan leaders for using tribal affiliations over the years to serve their political ends.

“This is a failing of the leaders, because in as much as they preach nationalism, at the time of elections, they do fall back to their ethnic base during election campaigns.”

The largest loss of life occurred when 200 people took shelter in a church that was set alight by rioters, burning 35 of them to death. Most of the victims were Kikuyu. Such incidents have led to comparisons with Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

Most of the protestors in Nairobi’s slums like Kibera and other impoverished areas places belong to the Luo and Klenjin tribes. They are targeting Kikuyus, who they say have had the lion’s share of the country’s resources since Kenya’s independence. Makori says the crisis demonstrates the historic patterns of uneven resource distribution in Kenya, starting with Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, who gave land belonging to other tribes to his fellow Kikuyus. “There are age-old grievances being played out in this crisis…mainly the question of land ownership.” Makori says.

He says there are lessons that other African countries can take from the crisis in Kenya, including the need to build strong institutions that protect citizens against the “excesses of the executive branch.” He adds, “What we are witnessing now is where the laws and the constitutions of the land have been manipulated by the politicians to serve their interests.”

Both David Masai and Vincent Makori say that for there to be any lasting solutions to this crisis, there has to be willingness for both warring parties to compromise.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern and sadness over the violence but said he is "reasonably encouraged" by President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga’s pledge to resolve the crisis.


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