Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today's Headlines - Sun 2/10/2008


There is blessedly little news from or about Kenya this weekend! It's all about humanitarian relief efforts and analysis now--on the negotiation process still underway, the impact on the economy, the causes of the conflict.

This does not mean all is quiet. The violence continues upcountry on a smaller scale, not enough to attract the interest of the international media. The humanitarian crisis is immense, with over a third of a milliion people displaced, living in makeshift camps and vulnerable to attacks, sexual violence, hunger, and disease. Some have voiced concerns about what might happen if Kofi Annan fails--leading to even worse attacks between rivals.

Sign of hope--MPs have been reported as visiting constituencies nationwide calling for peace, unity, and order.

* * * * *

Read the latest views "on the ground" by visiting the Kenyan blogs on the right sidebar (News out of Kenya - Non-Quaker).

earn about Quaker relief efforts on the Quaker Service blog from AGLI by clicking here.

Be blessed,
Mary Kay

Google News Alert for: Kenya

Kenya enters key period in peace deal negotiations
AFP - NAIROBI (AFP) — Kenya's feuding parties on Sunday headed into a decisive week of negotiations on a compromise deal to end the conflict over disputed ...
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Britons defy "misleading" media, wed in Kenya
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
By Antony Njuguna
KISERIAN, Kenya (Reuters) - While many tourists were cancelling trips to Kenya, fearful of being caught up in its deadly political crisis, ...
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Kenya is expecting big drop in tourism
Seattle Times - United States
By Bloomberg News and The Seattle Times
Tourist arrivals in Kenya will probably slump more than 90 percent in the first quarter due to postelection violence ...
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Kenya: Opposition Insists On Taking Presidency EA Standard

Kenya: Vice-President Cautious on Power Sharing Nation

Kenya: Talks Focus On Two Key Proposals Nation

Kenya: UN Envoy Visits Rift Valley Nation

Kenya: How State Land Policy Shaped Conflict Nation

Kenya: Europe Exports Death With Ease IPS

Kenya: Raila, ODM Wants Quick Resolution EA Standard

Kenya: Hope As Kibaki, Raila Break Fresh Ground EA Standard

Kenya: Opposition May Back Down EA Standard

Kenya: Crisis Talks 'Have Reached Far', Says Mediator Nation

Kenya: Annan Meets Kibaki And Raila Nation

Kenya: Displaced Leaves City for 'Ancestral Home' IRIN

Kenya: Vice-President Pleads Against U.S. Sanctions Nation

Kenya: 'No Country Deserves to Go the Somalia Way' [analysis] Nation

Kenya: U.S. Bars Entry to 10 Citizens New Vision



Google News Alert for: Kenya

Kenya opposition trying to satisfy all sides
International Herald Tribune - France
AP NAIROBI: Kenya's opposition leader was involved in a delicate balancing act Sunday, promising not to betray hard-line supporters while assuring ...
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Kenya: Clashes, Tension 'Routine' in Troubled Molo - Washington,USA
In Kenya's Rift Valley town of Molo, about 200km from Nairobi, displacement by conflict has become a recurrent feature of life, and not only at election ...
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AU elections expose Kenya's lack of clear foreign policy
Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya
Kenya’s image as an influential regional and continental player was dented at the February 1 African Union Commission elections in Addis ...
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Parmalat postpones buy of Kenya's Spin Knit due to political ...
Forbes - NY,US
AMILAN (Thomson Financial) - Parmalat SpA, the Italian diary [DAIRY?] group, has decided to postpone the acquisition of Spin Knit, Kenya's third largest milk producer ...
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Kenya opposition trying to satisfy all sides - International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press
Sunday, February 10, 2008

NAIROBI: Kenya's opposition leader was involved in a delicate balancing act Sunday, promising not to betray hard-line supporters while assuring international mediators that he was ready to accept a political solution to end weeks of post-election violence.

"We are not going to betray our supporters, but as far as giving and taking, we are prepared," the opposition leader Raila Odinga told reporters as he left church.

He accuses President Mwai Kibaki of stealing the Dec. 27 election.

But both sides have come under enormous international pressure to accept a solution proposed by an international mediation team so Kenya can start dealing with more than 300,000 people displaced in ethnic violence sparked by the political dispute.

A senior United Nations official warned Sunday that Kenya had a long, hard task ahead in dealing with the hundreds of camps scattered across the country that have absorbed people fleeing attacks on one tribe or another.

"Clearly what we all hope is that people will be able to go home as soon as they can, but ... for a vast majority of them it's not something that we can contemplate in the near future," said John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, told reporters in Nairobi, Kenya's capital.

He said that a political compromise was needed to bring an end to the violence.

Holmes, who visited several of the camps, said that the response to the humanitarian crisis had been "reasonably satisfactory," but that basic services were still only roughly available in many places and called on all those involved in the effort "to do better still."

He said about $22 million of a pledged $42 million had been given so far through the UN for humanitarian assistance.

Odinga, meanwhile, still had strong words for Kibaki's administration Sunday. He accused the government of hypocrisy for promising to bring murder charges against a policeman who was filmed shooting two unarmed protesters then kicking one of them as he lay dying, but not taking action against other officers.

"How many more police officers have killed and not been caught on camera?" he asked.

Scores of bullet-riddled bodies have turned up at morgues after the police fired into demonstrating crowds and heavily populated slum areas.

Odinga has given off mixed messages in recent days, telling supporters on Saturday that Kibaki "must step down or there must be a re-election - in this I will not be compromised."

Two days earlier, he indicated he would not insist on Kibaki's resignation, saying "we are willing to give and take."

On Friday, the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan struck an optimistic note after mediating negotiations between the two sides, and Odinga's own political party said a power-sharing agreement was in the works. Annan said he hoped to complete work on a settlement early this week.

But Odinga returned Saturday to the themes that have rallied supporters, repeating a comparison of which he is fond: "You cannot steal my cow, and I catch you red-handed, and then expect me to share the milk."

In Odinga's stronghold in western Kenya, his supporters have threatened to burn down his farm and a large molasses factory his family owns outside Kisumu if he returns as anything less than president.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 forced from their homes since the election. The fighting has pitted members of Kenya's rival ethnic groups against one another, gutted the economy and left the country's reputation as a budding democracy and a top tourist destination in tatters.

Only 8,000 people visited Kenya in January, far short of the 100,000 that officials had expected, according to the Kenya Tourist Board.

Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune

We Will Stop at Nothing But The Presidency, Says Pentagon

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS10 February 2008 Posted to the web 10 February 2008
By Vitalis Kimutai and Peter Atsiaya
ODM has reaffirmed its commitment to the ongoing mediation but declared it would go for nothing short of the presidency.
Party leader, Mr Raila Odinga, led 43 MPs in stating they would not relent in efforts to capture the presidency, which was allegedly stolen from them.
Speaking during the burial of the slain former Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too, in Kericho District, on Saturday, the MPs reiterated their commitment to the mediation talks.
They also said they would not betray the trust Kenyans have entrusted on them.
"We have accepted to talk with PNU but we assure our supporters we will not settle for a solution that betrays their cause," Raila said.
He said ODM was aware that millions of Kenyans who voted for him and the party MPs would not accept to be short-changed by PNU in the talks.
Raila also urged Kenyans to give Mr Kofi Annan's team a chance to resolve the political crisis.
He added that Kibaki and other PNU leaders were resisting pressure to relinquish power which, he said, they acquired illegally.
"If Kenyans managed to successfully fight the British Empire and freed the country from the colonial yoke, Kibaki and his foot soldiers will be defeated and when all is settled, this whole thing will look like a storm in a tea cup," he said.
Raila also said normalcy would not return unless justice was done, adding that mediation efforts should be based on peace and justice.
"Too's killing was not as a result of a love triangle as was bandied around by the police who were ill-bent on covering the fact that it was a political assassination. Too's spilled blood will not be in vain as it will be the driving force in our quest for justice," he said.
Raila criticised the police commissioner, Major Gen Hussein Ali for going public on the love triangle angle before investigations were launched into the MP's killing.
Too was gunned down by a traffic police officer in Eldoret a week ago.
In search of justice
Saturday's funeral service was held at Chepkoiyo Primary School grounds. Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Kenneth Marende, his deputy Mr Farah Maalim, ODM pentagon members Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto and Mr Najib Balala were present. Ruto said nothing would stop ODM and its followers from getting justice.
"Change comes through struggle and ODM supporters should not relent in their fight for their deserved victory," said the Eldoret North MP.
He said they adequately represented ODM supporters at the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks. He assured that the party would have a say in the final decision.
The Eldoret North MP said the political crisis was an opportunity to create a new political dispensation in the country and correct historical and present injustices.
Ruto said there was need to enact a new constitution that would put in place structures that would ensure the country would not witness similar chaos brought about by disputed presidential vote tally. Changing of the Constitution, he said, was part of the resolutions ODM had presented to the Annan-led team as a solution to the crisis.
Mudavadi said PNU initially believed that outrage from the stolen elections would be short lived but were shocked that Kenyans soldiered on despite Government's use of excessive force on innocent people. He said Kenya was on an international spotlight and that a lasting solution needed to be found to unite Kenyans and restore the country's dignity.
Nyong'o said there was need for a transitional government to be put in place.
Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Why Ramaphosa could not join Kenya’s peace talks

By A STAFF WRITER The EastAfrican

Who invited South African business mogul Cyril Ramaphosa to the Kofi Annan mediation process in Kenya?
Why did they let the man travel all the way to Kenya — complete with a team of aides — only to reject him?
Whichever way one looks at it, Ramaphosa’s exit from the mediation process was not only a setback but a worrisome signal the brinkmanship and intransigence that was beginning to set in on the part of President Mwai Kibaki’s negotiating team as the talks began to deal with the sensitive issue of power sharing.
The EastAfrican has learnt that Ramaphosa was actually invited to Kenya by Annan himself in consultation with the chairman of the African Union and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
Indeed, it was Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Bernard Bebe who was the first to announce — on the sidelines of last week’s African Union Summit in Addis Ababa — that Ramaphosa had been appointed chief mediator in the Kenyan peace process.
Clearly, the irreverent manner in which this internationally acclaimed peace negotiator was sent packing from the mediation process is one of the intriguing sideshows of the talks, now entering their third week.
It does not bode well for the diplomatic relations between Kenya and both South Africa and Tanzania — the current chair of the African Union.
Initially, Kibaki’s team argued that Ramaphosa had business links with Raila Odinga and could not, therefore, play honest broker in the dispute.
They also argued that considering the history of the African National Congress and Ramaphosa’s links with the party that led the liberation struggle in that country, he was likely to be sympathetic to the Orange Democratic Movement.
Thirdly, Kibaki’s team protested that protocol was not followed in appointing Ramaphosa to the mediation team.
They were especially irked by the fact that Bebe announced the appointment in Addis Ababa without reference to the government of Kenya.
So, what business links does he have in Kenya?
According to information available in the public domain, his business links locally include Stanbic Kenya, Rentworks Ltd, Alexander Forbes Financial Services and Helios Capital and Metropolitan Insurance Company.
He sits on the international advisory councils of both the Coca Cola Company and Unilever.
Going by the names of personalities involved in these companies, Ramaphosa’s business links in Kenya would appear to transcend the political divide.
The founder of South Africa-based Shanduka Group Ltd, Ramaphosa is a respected corporate executive in South Africa and has served as chair of large listed South African conglomerates, including telecommunications giant MTN and publishing house Johnnic Group.
Until recently, he was billed as the man most likely to succeed Mbeki as president of South Africa. Ramaphosa, 55, has the reputation of being a tough negotiator and a skilful strategist.
Together with Roelf Meyer of the former Nartional Party, he played a key role in negotiating the end of apartheid and a new constitution in the early 1990s. His mediation skills were to receive international acclaim when, soon after the African National Congress (ANC) took office in 1994, he was called to mediate the peace process in strife-torn Northern Ireland from 1995 to 1997.
“It was his ability to drive people right to the edge and make the stakes really high, so that differing parties had no choice — and it was that quality that drove the negotiations in South Africa in the early 1990s,” said Mark Gevisser, political commentator and author.
“He has ice in his veins — besides, he has also really learnt the art of finding language to express what both sides want without fudging the issues.”
“Cyril is a very clear thinker and is very committed to bringing about a peaceful resolution,” said Meyer, a former minister of provincial and constitutional affairs in the government of national unity that took office in 1994 who has worked closely with Ramaphosa. “He has the ability to see differences almost immediately, and the way forward.”
On Tuesday, Annan accepted his withdrawal from the mediation talks. Ramaphosa told Annan that he was withdrawing his name for consideration for the post of chief mediator in the face of reservations expressed by the government of Kenya.

Ramaphosa said he could not function in the job without the complete confidence of both parties.
“My experience in Northern Ireland and South Africa convinced me that a mediator can be effective only when he has the full confidence and support of all parties,” he said, “Unfortunately, this is not the case.”
Annan expressed extreme regret at losing Ramaphosa, whom he describes as “one of the most experienced and qualified man for the job, with experience in Africa and a knowledge of and deep respect for the Kenyan people.”


Kenya rivals ready to discuss power-sharing - Reuters

Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:11am EST

Kenya's election row refugees

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By Daniel Wallis and Joseph Sudah

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's rival parties geared up on Sunday to thrash out a power-sharing agreement to end a deadly crisis over President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election.

Both sides gave ground last week at talks mediated by former U.N. boss Kofi Annan, paving the way for a deal to stop turmoil that has killed more than 1,000 and uprooted 300,000 more.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga accuses Kibaki of rigging the December 27 poll, triggering ethnic violence that shattered Kenya's image as a peaceful business, tourism and transport hub.

"We are advocating for power-sharing, if need be," Japhet Kareke, a member of parliament from Kibaki's coalition, told reporters. "The president and honorable Raila are talking. For the sake of peace, let them sit down and agree the way forward."

When negotiations resume on Monday, both sides will discuss what form power-sharing might take over a two- to three-year period. Then Annan's mediation team is due to brief legislators on Tuesday during a special session of parliament.

Speaking outside a Nairobi cathedral on Sunday, Odinga said his party supported a political settlement, but gave no details: "We will not carry out mediation talks through the media."

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

For his part, Annan has sounded optimistic since the apparent breakthrough in the discussions on Friday, saying he now expects delegates to reach a deal within days.

But he has urged caution, saying the talks were far from complete and chiding some participants for leaking details.

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

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

The bloodshed in Kenya has exposed deep divisions over land, wealth and power that were sown during British colonial rule and have been stoked by politicians ever since.

"I hope and know that Kenyans do not want to go back to a one-party state," the visiting Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu, a Ugandan former judge, said at the cathedral.

"Forget what is behind this and face forward. This country is capable of rising above the nonsense that has gone on."

(Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Charles Dick)

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

© Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

UN envoy visits Kenyan hotspots - BBC

A quarter of a million people have been displaced since the electionsUN emergency relief co-ordinator John Holmes has called for a peace deal after visiting some flashpoint areas of violence after Kenya's disputed polls.

The envoy's visit comes at a time of renewed hope that a political solution to the crisis can be found at talks.

Mediator Kofi Annan is urging patience but said a deal on political issues could be settled by next week.

About 1,000 people have been killed and more than a quarter of a million people made homeless in the post-poll unrest.

Mr Holmes visited camps in Kenya's western Rift Valley which have seen some of the worst fighting following December's disputed election result.

The envoy told reporters he had come to see for himself the extent of the displacement that has been triggered by inter-ethnic fighting, and was lending support to mediation efforts being spearheaded by Mr Annan.

"Everybody's hoping that there will be some kind of deal done in Nairobi which will help to maintain the fragile calm which we've seen returning in the very recent days to areas like this," Mr Holmes said in Nakuru, where 11,000 people have been made homeless, and many of them are camped out in a sports stadium.

"The alternative, if there's no deal, I think is much more worrying in the sense that that could then serve as a cause to reignite the violence and then we see more people being displaced and this tragedy really getting much worse that it is now," Mr Holmes told the BBC.

[Photo] Mr Holmes has called for a peace agreement

"We are tired. There is no food and no blankets. And I don't think the violence will end," AFP news agency quoted 32-year-old Idi Abubabakar as telling Mr Holmes.

Mr Annan said he expected that the political issues that separated the two sides could be settled by as early as next week.

Although no final deal has been struck it is understood that President Mwai Kibaki's party and the opposition are beginning to talk of an interim power sharing arrangement, but exactly how this would work and how long it would last, are details that still need to be thrashed out.

Any agreement is expected to include binding commitments to land reform, constitutional change and a shake-up of the courts, the BBC's Karen Allen says.

"In negotiations, a deal is not a deal until it is done," the former UN chief warned in a statement.
"While the talks are making progress, they have not come to a definite conclusion."

In Western Kenya, thousands of mourners, including opposition leader Raila Odinga, have attended the funeral of MP David Kibutai Too who was killed during the violence.

The newly-elected MP was shot dead by a traffic policeman in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret.

The funeral is the first public mass gathering since a ban on rallies was lifted on Friday.

Mr Odinga told his supporters at the funeral that any deal struck would not jeopardise "justice for Kenyans".

Annan Sees Small Gains in Peace Talks in Kenya - NY Times

Published: February 9, 2008

NAIROBI, KenyaKofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general who is brokering peace talks in Kenya, said Friday that no deal toward a durable political solution had been reached, but that progress was steadily being made.

Mr. Annan has spent the past week trying to nudge Kenya’s government and top opposition leaders toward a compromise that could end the turmoil and violence that exploded in December after a disputed presidential election. More than 1,000 people have been killed, and Kenya’s economy and reputation for stability have taken a beating.

“We have agreed that what is needed is a political solution,” Mr. Annan said. “We are actively discussing the terms of that solution.”

He added, “I hope next week we’ll have firm details.”

Kenyans had been hoping for more. On Friday, rumors raced through Nairobi, the capital, that a breakthrough had been reached and that the two sides would come together in a government of national unity. People huddled around television sets and fine-tuned the antennas of their radios, eager for news.

Kenya plunged into chaos in late December after the country’s electoral commission declared that the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, had narrowly beaten the top opposition leader, Raila Odinga. Many election observers have said there was widespread evidence of vote rigging. Some observers contended that the government had interfered with the vote-tallying process to give Mr. Kibaki the edge.

A person close to the political negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said Friday evening that the two sides were close to a deal.

The opposition has agreed to recognize Mr. Kibaki as the president and drop its demand for a new election, the person said, and the president’s negotiators have reciprocated by talking of a “broad-based government.”

Many Kenyans have said that a meaningful political settlement is the only way to end fighting between opposition supporters and those who back the government. A power-sharing agreement has been one of the possible solutions floated in recent days, and Western officials, including American diplomats, have tried to throw their weight behind this.

Though Mr. Annan said Friday that talk of a coalition government was “premature,” he emphasized that “there is ground for optimism” and that “we have narrowed down the issues.”

The election controversy has stirred up deep-seated grievances over political, economic and land issues, pitting opposition supporters against members of the president’s ethnic group and groups perceived as supporting the government. Many people in Kenya tend to vote along ethnic lines, and much of the postelection bloodshed seems to have been ethnically driven, though many participants insist that their motives are political.

Western governments have been increasingly alarmed about the unrest in Kenya, which until December was celebrated as one of the most stable and promising countries in Africa. The American Embassy in Kenya recently sent letters to 10 politicians and businessmen in the government and the opposition, warning them that they would be barred from the United States if the embassy determined that they had instigated or taken part in violence.

The Canadian and British governments have said they are considering similar measures.

The pressure may be working. Mr. Odinga said Thursday that he was willing to back off his initial demand that Mr. Kibaki step down.

Ngari Gituku, a spokesman for Mr. Kibaki’s political party, said this could be a welcome step forward.

“The president doesn’t have a problem with a government of national unity, but the modalities of sharing responsibilities have to be carefully worked out,” Mr. Gituku said. “That’s going to take some time.”

Kennedy Abwao contributed reporting.

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