Thursday, February 7, 2008

Today’s Headlines – Thurs 2/07/2008

1 - Sharp Divisions Over Disputed Poll Results - Nation
2 - Security Council Voices Concern Over Continued Post-Election Violence – UN’s IRIN service
3 - UN council demands end to Kenya ethnic violence – Reuters
4 - Outlawed Gangs Exploit Poll Protests to Terrorise Estates – Nation
5 - Murder charges for Kenya police – BBC
6 - Healthcare Threatened By Political Crisis – UN’s IRIN
7 - Economic Doom Looms - CBK – Nation
8 - Come back to Kenya, government urges foreigners – Reuters
9 - Cargo Bound for Uganda Held Up - The Nation (Nairobi)
10 - Country Backs UN's Progress Report On Kenya – Bua News (Pretoria, South Africa)
11 - Britain Defends Kiai Team And Journalists - The Nation (Nairobi)
12 - Cut Pump Prices, Says Kiraitu - The East African Standard (Nairobi)
13 - Villagers keep off forest due to frequent dumping of bodies – Nation
14 - US bars 10 leading Kenya politicians – AP
15 - Clergy and MPs pray for peace – Nation politics

1 - Sharp Divisions Over Disputed Poll Results

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 By Bernard Namunane and Lucas BarasaNairobi

While the Government insisted that the matter should be sorted out using legal means and through constitutional changes, ODM argued for an arrangement where the two sides would share power briefly to prepare for a fresh presidential race.

But both sides were agreed that there should be no recounting and retallying of the Presidential votes, whether the matter is sorted out through an election petition or a judicial commission of inquiry.

The Government adopted legal reasons to oppose a recount and retallying, while ODM questioned the independence of the Judiciary and integrity of the Electoral Commission.

The two sides were tackling the most contentious issue of the negotiations, which entered the seventh day. The talks were made necessary by violence that has led to the death of nearly 1,000 people and uprooting of 270,000 others from their homes after President Kibaki was declared winner of the General Election.

The two sets of negotiators had held early morning meetings with their principals to brief them on the progress of the talks and the positions they were to advance in the mediation meeting at Serena Hotel.

President Kibaki met Cabinet ministers Martha Karua, Sam Ongeri, Moses Wetang'ula and Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo at his Harambee House office for one hour from 9.30am.

The Government team of Cabinet ministers Karua, Ongeri, Wetang'ula and MP Kilonzo hinged their arguments on legal grounds to disagree with and rule out the options on the table of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee.

They ruled out a re-count of Presidential votes on grounds that such an exercise can only be conducted if the aggrieved candidate demands it at a polling station or through a court order in the case of a petition. ODM, they argue, has not pursued any of the options.

They also state that re-tallying of the presidential votes from Form 16As for every constituency in the country was not legally possible. Re-tallying, they argue was permissible once the aggrieved candidate petitions the ECK within 24 hours of the tallying and the commission is obliged to make a decision within 48 hours on receiving the petition. "No re-tallying was demanded by ODM according to Regulation 36 (of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act)," they say.

The Government negotiators held that a re-run of the Presidential election was out of question since none of the candidates in question - President Kibaki and Mr Odinga - failed to score 25 per cent of the votes in five provinces.

Also, the Government rules out the possibility of a forensic audit of the pre- and post-election environment on grounds that a civilian has already filed a case in court on the matter. They state that before the High Court is case EP No. 2 of 2008 filed by Mr Elphas Wesangula against President Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

"It would be sub judice to discuss the matter that is before a court of law," they state.

Similarly, they advance that a judicial commission of inquiry into the Presidential elections cannot be established because it has not been sought by ODM through a petition. "Besides, ODM's lack of confidence in the Judiciary defeats this option," they add.

In respect to what they regard as the last option, the Government argues that the electoral court process cannot be applied because ODM decided not to file a petition. "And by all means, the time for such an action has lapsed," they state.

Meanwhile, ODM leader Raila Odinga held a meeting with his team of negotiators that is made up of his deputy Musalia Mudavadi, Pentagon member William Ruto and MPs Sally Kosgei and James Orengo at the Pentagon House in Lavington, Nairobi.

Sources at the two meetings said that stakes for each side were high and constant briefing and de-briefing sessions with their party leaders were necessary.

Lunch sessions
So hot is the item of how to overcome the presidential elections dispute that even the lunch sessions that were hitherto attended by all members of the dialogue team were Wednesday skipped for the second day with representatives dashing to inform their leaders on the progress.

The talks have entered the crucial stage this week after easy agreements on ending of violence and speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance last week.

On Wednesday, the talks, chaired by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, were boosted by the return of former Tanzania President Mkapa in the morning and of former South African First Lady Graca Machel in the afternoon.

Emerging from the talks Wednesday evening, Mr Moses Wetang'ula and Mr Ruto sounded optimistic that the talks were heading in the right direction.

Said Mr Wetang'ula, the Foreign Affairs minister: "The general feeling is that we have to move forward with the talks."

On his part, Mr Ruto said they were satisfied with the pace. "The talks are going on well and we are satisfied with the progress," he said.

ODM were the first to make their presentation on Tuesday afternoon during which they tabled their audited figures showing that Mr Odinga should have won by a margin of 246,987 votes.

Their audit, they submitted, had found out that President Kibaki scored 4,109,014 votes while Mr Odinga got 4,356,001. The ECK announced that President Kibaki won the elections by garnering 4,584,721 votes against Mr Odinga's 4,352,993.

In the light of that, they sought formation of a transitional government in which it will share executive authority with PNU. The government would be made up of ministers from the two parties based on their strengths in Parliament.

They said the government would be in power for between three and six months during which it would put in place far-reaching reforms in preparation for an election.

The reforms include: reconstitute the Electoral Commission of Kenya, clean up the voters registers, and enact essential constitutional and other legal reforms that would support the transitional government and pave way for elections.

Essential reforms reflect the 10-point minimum package at the centre of debate between the Opposition and the Government just before the last elections.

Among the proposals were to reduce the excessive powers of the Presidency, requirement that a winning presidential candidate garners 50 per cent plus one vote, empowering the ECK to deal with election malpractices and giving Parliament powers to control its own calendar.

Also in its submissions, ODM says that a re-run of the Presidential elections is "absolutely" necessary to determine the clear winner between President Kibaki and its leader Mr Odinga.

Final results
ODM negotiators were clear that a re-count of the Presidential vote was untenable in the face of the questionable integrity of the ECK. They refer to the alleged manipulation of the votes at the ECK, the discrepancies in Form 16As and lack of unanimity among the commissioners on the accuracy of the final results.

The ODM delegation at the negotiations was categorical that their party would not take their case to the law courts as they had no confidence in the Judiciary.

But the Government team argued that the way forward to ending the political crisis was a raft of Constitutional, legal and institutional reforms to meet the expectations of the public.

Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said the Government was fully committed to dialogue in the spirit of peace and national reconciliation.

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

2 - Security Council Voices Concern Over Continued Post-Election Violence

UN News Service (New York)
NEWS6 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008

Despite the announcement of progress in negotiations between the Government and the opposition, the Security Council today expressed its concern over the continued violence in Kenya which first broke out after last December's contested polls.

"The Council deplores the widespread violence following the elections, which has resulted in extensive loss of life and serious humanitarian consequences," the 15-member body said in a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, which holds the rotating presidency this month.

It also noted that "civilians continue to be killed, subjected to sexual and gender-based violence and displaced from their homes."

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, more than 1,000 people have lost their lives and over 300,000 have been displaced since the 27 December 2007 elections in which President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Today's statement underlined the need for "dialogue, negotiation and compromise" as the only avenue by which to resolve the current crisis. It also urged the East African nation's leaders to promote reconciliation.

Welcoming the 1 February announcement of advances - such as the adoption of a road map and an agenda - towards finding a solution, the Council expressed its full support for the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The body called for all parties to "meet their responsibility" to resolve the crisis, as well as taking immediate measures to curb the violence, which includes ethnically-motivated attacks, and to restore human rights.

Regarding Kenya's "dire" humanitarian situation, the Council called for the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as aid workers and UN personnel.

Also today, a fact-finding mission deployed by High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour arrived in Kenya, and during the next three weeks the team will investigate allegations of grave rights violations in the post-election period.

Yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he was dispatching his top humanitarian official to the violence-wracked nation.

John Holmes, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, is scheduled to arrive in the capital Nairobi on Friday, 8 February, for a three-day mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the country.

He intends to meet with Government authorities, opposition leaders, UN staff, aid agencies, donors and diplomats.

Mr. Holmes, who also serves as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will travel to the Rift Valley, where most of the recent fighting took place, to speak with IDPs and others who have been impacted by the violence.

In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has supplied enough food for one month for close to 4,500 IDPs in the eastern town of Turbo.

Also, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that there are more than 7,000 displaced people at the Nakuru camp in the Rift Valley, while there are some 12,000 IDPs residing in more than two dozen camps in Nairobi.

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

3 - UN council demands end to Kenya ethnic violence - Reuters

Thu 7 Feb 2008, 6:27 GMT
By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday demanded an end to what it described as "ethnically motivated attacks" in Kenya, where a wave of post-election violence has left over 1,000 people dead.

In its second non-binding statement issued since the violence began over a month ago, the 15-nation council ordered Kenya to "immediately end violence, including ethnically motivated attacks, dismantle armed gangs, improve the humanitarian situation and restore human rights."

The clashes in Kenya were sparked by a dispute over the December 27 re-election of President Mwai Kibaki which opposition leader Raila Odinga says was rigged.

Most of the more than 1,000 deaths have come from ethnic killings, adding to fatalities from police clashes with protesters.

Last week a U.S. official suggested the violence in Kenya constituted "ethnic cleansing", but U.N. officials have said there was no point in applying labels to the situation.

The council statement, much more strongly worded than last week's, also expressed "strong concern at the continuing dire humanitarian situation in Kenya and (called) for the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons."

It also reiterated the council's support for mediation efforts led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan.

An earlier version of the statement drafted by France and Britain said the council "regrets the abuses in the presidential election noted by international and domestic observers." But this was removed due to Russian objections, diplomats said.

The statement did not say what further steps the council might take if the violence continues.

Separately, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, sent a mission to Nairobi on Wednesday to investigate allegations of "grave human rights violations committed in Kenya in the recent weeks," her office said in a statement.

The mission will speak with victims and witnesses, government and opposition officials, civil society representatives and others during its 3-week stay in Kenya, Arbour's office said.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes is scheduled to arrive in Kenya on Friday for a 3-day visit to assess the humanitarian situation there, Holmes' office said in a statement.

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

4 - Outlawed Gangs Exploit Poll Protests to Terrorise Estates -Nation

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 Nairobi

Outlawed gangs have re-emerged and are spreading violence under the guise of post-election protests.

They are roaming villages and towns, in Kiambu District and parts of Rift Valley, prompting thousands of young men to arm themselves and join them in evicting perceived "outsiders."

The groups were spotted in Naivasha at the beginning of last week and were at the forefront of the violence in which 26 people died.

In Naivasha, a gang of about 30 men suspected to members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, moved from door to door searching houses belonging to their community.

Any youthful male was forced to pick either a machete or a club and join their campaign of evicting all those who could not speak their mother tongue.

The gang caught police unawares and military was called in to restore law and order.

Accounts by residents abound, but they requested anonymity afraid of reprisal from the gang members.

Those who spoke indicated the gang was carrying out revenge after members of their community were attacked and displaced in the Rift Valley and western Kenya.

Stormed my compound
The Nation also learnt, the acts were bank-rolled, mostly by businesspeople who entrusted the security of their premises to the gang members.

"I was doing my laundry when a group of youth stormed my compound and demanded I join them. They later forced me to burn household items looted from houses belonging to targets from (a particular community)," said a resident.

He added: "It was completely against my wishes but I was threatened with dire consequences if I failed to heed their command."

Separately, another youth said he was forced barricade a section of the road in Naivasha Town. "My job was very specific. I was to identify the houses belonging to members of a certain ethnic group and remove their properties, which were later set ablaze."

He went on: "I was warned my own house would be set on fire if I refused to comply."

Three days into the violence, soldiers from the Lanet barracks used helicopter gunships to quell the chaos that threatened to go out of control.

Hundreds of young men had marched on the streets, while erecting boulders to block traffic.

The town was brought to a standstill as after traders closed their shops.

The situation was worse on the Naivasha highway as other members of the gang flagged down motorists and inspected the vehicles, looking for their targets.

Those who could not speak in their mother tongue were flushed out and hacked to death. Many other motorists were robbed of money and other valuables before being allowed to pass. At least 10 illegal roadblocks had been erected on the highway manned by armed youths.

The chaos also spread to Karagita and Kihoto areas on the town's outskirts.

Similar scenes were repeated in Kikuyu and Limuru towns later in the week.

Indications were that the same outlawed gang had been ferried there to cause mayhem. Close to 8,000 people, mainly from Western Kenya, were evicted from their homes within two days.

Like in Naivasha, the group "conscripted" local youths into their campaign to eject certain people.

Scientists were among hundreds of professionals evacuated from the district. The evacuations almost stalled operations at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri), according to the institution's security officer John Mutua.

Staff from Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari) based in the Muguga part of the district were also evicted.

A deputy director at one of the Kari centres, Dr Ben Lukuyu, warned their operations may be grounded if the situation fails to improve soon.

At least 500 workers were evacuated from the institutions in two days.

Prior to the evacuation, a group of about 200 youths had surrounded the institutions, and threatened to raid them and flush out their targets.

Three days before, said Mr Mutua, leaflets had been circulated warning some of their staff to leave. "They told people from certain communities to leave. Operations will be affected greatly."

An elderly man who said had lived in Muguga area for his entire life noted:

"The young men you can see are our sons. We know them too well and I can say those behind the chaos arrived from elsewhere and are operating behind the scenes."

Residential estates
Like in Naivasha, more groups had erected about 10 illegal road blocks manned by armed gangs between Gitaru and Limuru junction.

In Nairobi, the gangs have concentrated on providing security in parts of residential estates, where the landlords have requested their services, at a fee.

The gangs are active in Kariobangi, Huruma, Kibera and Mathare.

They are believed to be responsible for killings in the slums. Property owners are also using the gangs to evict tenants who occupied their houses forcibly at the onset of the electoral chaos.

The Nation found out that house owners had been unable to collect rents from new occupants who moved in without their consent to replace those who had fled. Some families said they arrived in the city after Christmas only to find new occupants in their houses.

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

5 - Murder charges for Kenya police - BBC

Footage of shooting

A Kenyan policeman is to be charged with murder after being filmed shooting at two men who were later found dead during election protests, police say.

The shooting in the western city of Kisumu shocked the country and led to an official enquiry.

Constable Edward Kirui was identified from footage which was broadcast on national and international television.

An estimated 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 others fled their homes during the clashes.

Meanwhile, talks between the government and opposition aimed at ending five weeks of unrest are on the brink of collapse, says the BBC's Noel Mwakugu in Nairobi.

He says the two sides could not agree on a proposal to share power while fresh presidential elections were organised.
The United States has put a travel ban on 10 MPs from both sides for allegedly being involved in the violence since dispute elections.

Kenya's KTN television, which broadcast the footage of the protesters allegedly being killed, reports that Mr Kirui has been arrested and transferred to Nairobi, where he is to appear in court.

The policeman was seen firing his gun as protesters taunted police during protests at alleged election fraud in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu on 16 January.

He then went over to one of them as he lay on the ground and kicked him in the back.

George William Onyango and Ishmael Chacha were later found dead with bullet wounds.

The opposition has accused the police of having a shoot-to-kill policy.

The UN humanitarian affairs coordinator Louise Arbour has sent a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations during the violence.

The US envoy in Kenya Michael Ranneberger said those affected by the travel ban had been notified by his office and the move would also affect their immediate family members.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua welcomed the move and urged the US to name those affected to avoid speculation.

"This is a commendable move and it exhibits the American government's strong stand on crimes against humanity and genocide," he said in a statement.

The opposition Orange Democratic Movement is yet to respond.

Both sides have accused their rivals of ethnic cleansing after attacks on members of ethnic groups seen as backing either President Mwai Kibaki or ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Kibaki was declared the winner but Mr Odinga says he was cheated of victory.

The talks led by former UN chief Kofi Annan were adjourned on Wednesday amid sharp disagreements.

The government team insisted that the dispute be resolved through legal means or constitutional reforms.

Both sides were however in agreement that re-tallying or a recount of the presidential votes should not be done.

The ODM has questioned the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

Mr Annan says tough issues have returned to haunt the talks but both groups have found common ground on the need to disband and reconstitute the ECK.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council called on Kenya's political leaders to solve the crisis there through "dialogue, negotiation and compromise".

In its first official response to the unrest sparked by December's disputed election, the council expressed concern at the "dire humanitarian situation".

Foreign ministers from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Somalia have arrived in Nairobi for a meeting of the East African regional group, Igad, on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/02/07 11:49:07 GMT© BBC MMVIII

6 - Healthcare Threatened By Political Crisis – UN’s IRIN

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 Nairobi

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

"The most worrying issue is that of drug resistance among patients of chronic diseases," Ian van Engelgem, the medical coordinator of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), told IRIN on 5 February.

He said HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) patients who had missed out on their regular medication for up to a month due to displacement and violence could develop resistance to the drugs.

"Right now a lot of HIV patients are on first-line drugs; they could require second-line drugs, which are more expensive, if they develop resistance as a result of skipping their ARV [anti-retroviral] medication for a period of time," Van Engelgem said.

The fact that internally displaced persons (IDPs) have better access to healthcare compared with the host community where the camps are located is another concern.

"If IDPs have access to free healthcare, the same should also apply to them [host communities] as they are equally affected by the unrest," Van Engelgem said.

Displaced health workers
Joanne Greenfield, malaria adviser for the UN World Health Organization (WHO) in Nairobi, said displacement and ongoing violence in parts of the country could lead to a crisis in the provision of healthcare in the affected regions.

"The security situation, especially in the Rift Valley [Province], is affecting the provision of health services to the general public as a significant number of health workers are either displaced and/or cannot report to their duty stations," Greenfield said.

WHO, the lead agency for the health cluster of humanitarian actors - comprising UN agencies, NGOs and government organisations - has also expressed concern over the health of thousands of IDPs, mostly women and children, in the Rift Valley.

On 6 February, newspaper reports indicated that chicken pox and diarrhoea had broken out in two IDP camps in Naivasha, a town in Rift Valley Province, which has been severely affected by the violence.

"The number of sites hosting IDPs appears to increase by the day," the agency said in a statement. "Initial WHO assessment has found that these sites are very crowded, with poor shelter, water supply, sanitation (in some camps, toilet to person ratio is 1 for 500), food shortages, no cooking fuel, precarious access to healthcare and shortages of antibiotics, children's medicines, malaria medicines and life-saving drugs for chronic illness. Nearby hospitals are also facing similar shortages of drugs and supplies."

Sexual violence
In a worrying development, WHO said, hospitals in the region had reported dramatic increases in cases of sexual violence. The agency said counselling services in most IDP sites were not available, including for reproductive health, sexual violence or HIV/AIDS.

"In many settings, survivors have no access to even the minimum health and psychological support, leaving them vulnerable to a range of potential negative health problems, including HIV/AIDS," WHO stated.

George Mugenya, the medical superintendent of health at the Rift Valley General Provincial Hospital in Nakuru, said services were slowly returning to normal but the displacement remained a key concern.

"When the violence was intense, we put elective cases on hold to handle only emergency cases; now that it is calmer, we are noticing that some services are still affected because of the displacement of some of the medical staff," he said. "Some workers have not reported to duty while others come irregularly and this has affected services such as those offered in the maternity section but, overall, things are returning to normal."

He said the challenge was in re-stocking the hospital's medical supplies and reviving clinic services for patients of chronic diseases.

Teams led by WHO officials visited the towns of Eldoret and Nakuru to coordinate the health cluster activities. The teams visited IDP camps and hospitals to monitor disease outbreaks as well as the availability of medical supplies and health workers.

According to WHO, the biggest worry at all sites was diarrhoea in children as well as acute respiratory infections [eg, pneumonia].

It was also concerned about irregular access to malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB medicines, while patients with asthma, hypertension and diabetes also lacked access.

Kenya's Ministry of Health, together with WHO, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Kenya Red Cross Society and other health NGOs, undertook a joint health assessment on 30 January of Uasin Gishu district in the Rift Valley, which is hosting 150,000 IDPs in 11 camps.

As a result, the medical officer reported that a mass immunisation against measles and polio, as well as the de-worming of children and provision of Vitamin A supplements, would begin in February.

The health officials also discussed the possibility of introducing mobile services for areas where normal services had been disrupted.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Copyright © 2008 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

7 - Economic Doom Looms - CBK - Nation

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 By Patrick NziokaNairobi

Kenya can expect no new foreign investments any time soon as the world adopts a wait-and-see attitude in the wake of the political crisis engulfing the country.

This was the assessment of the Central Bank of Kenya, whose governor Njuguna Ndung'u says the crisis has contributed to increased investor uncertainty.

He says in a statement to the media: "The current crisis is likely to delay investment decisions (as investors adopt) a waiting option."

And fresh government policies will now be required to change the perception by potential investors, once the full magnitude of the political crisis on the economy is established.

Exchange rate
The bank will also monitor adverse developments in the exchange rate and the level of reserves. But the governor says CBK has sufficient foreign exchange that can be used to stabilise the market.

Kenya has the capacity to regain its economic position in East Africa as well as register the growth pattern witnessed in the last five years, he added.

In the statement, Prof Ndung'u also informs the media that the bank is ready to support growth and provide cover for any risk once the full extent of the damage to the economy is quantified.

It will fight for lower inflation to promote long term real economic growth in the coming months, he says.

Prof Ndung'u attributes the loss in the Kenya shilling against major currencies partly to statements by donors that they will withhold aid, as well as the expected decline in economic performance, but not to any "fundamental changes", a situation which indicates the exchange rates will stabilise with time.

Food prices, are expected to go up following rain failure in most parts of the country and the uprooting of people from areas considered food baskets.

In addition, disruption of supply will lead to increased food and energy prices, which is in turn expected to drive overall inflation and erode real incomes in the coming months, he predicts.

And the projected economic growth of eight per cent will not be forthcoming following the negative impact on tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, transport and communication.

Economic activity will further be affected as commercial banks restrict lending.

The statement confirms fears by chief executive officers on Tuesday that the economy would register a lower growth rate than predicted. The CEOs who met to assess the impact of violence warned that the economy could record zero per cent growth or less.

Prof Ndung'u is of the opinion that a monetary policy might not be appropriate as the impact of the increase of money resulting from election-related spending to demand is not clear. It be difficult to assess the full impact of the crisis if the situation persists, which in turn will make it difficult to come up with policy guidelines and timely solutions, he warns.

Prof Ndung'u says the impact of the violence will be felt for long, since those displaced may not resume normal economic activities soon.

"Hiring will be based more on location preference and ethnicity than merit," he says. And the practice must be reversed to prevent it from taking root in the labour market, the statement adds.

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

8 - Come back to Kenya, government urges foreigners - Reuters

Thu 7 Feb 2008, 7:56 GMT
By Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Information Minister Samuel Poghisio said on Thursday the violence in Kenya was diminishing and that most of the country was unaffected, so investors and tourists should not take fright.

"Come in and hold hands with Kenyans and say 'We are with you' and let not the images beamed internationally be the ones to guide you," Poghisio said in an interview with Reuters.

But he acknowledged Kenya had been through what he called a dark period in its history.

More than 1,000 people have been killed -- mostly in ethnic clashes and some by police during protests -- and about 300,000 displaced since violence erupted after a disputed Dec. 27 election in which President Mwai Kibaki was returned to power.

The violence has prompted tourists to shun Kenya and some businesses have made contingency plans to relocate should the bloodshed between government and opposition supporters go on.

Poghisio said the world had an exaggerated image of the violence as most of Kenya was not affected, life was back to normal for many, and political foes were now talking.

"The international community needs to know that it is still very possible to travel to Kenya," he said.

"It's not what you hear and what you see."

But Poghisio said he was under no illusion about the gravity of events.

"It is a period in our country that will always remain as a black hole. It is a dark period in history," he said.

"We went into elections very normally. Turnout was good and everything looked good. And then bang, the announcement, and almost all hell broke loose literally. Neighbour turned against neighbour, friend against friend."

Nevertheless, political polarisation among local media and the repeated use of gruesome images by foreign media had worsened the impact on Kenya's reputation, said Poghisio.

"If on a daily basis they show pictures of demonstrations, and riots and mutilated bodies, of war and burning houses ... that has tended to give a bad image," he said.

"What's going on in Kenya is an isolated case of some politically instigated violence ... If you put it in perspective, 80 percent of Kenya's land mass is not experiencing violence. There are many people going about business as normal."

Poghisio, who has just lifted a government ban on live broadcasting introduced when trouble first flared, said his ministry was preparing legal action against provincial radio stations accused of inciting violence.

Recalling Rwandan broadcaster Radio Television Libres del Milles Collines' incitement prior to that country's 1994 genocide, he said some Kenyan radio stations had been playing war songs and stirring communities to action.

"I have understood the Rwanda situation ... And we're saying let's be careful as a country that we do not have this repeated," he said.

"When you go into the realm of crime, directing people even on how to punish somebody else, how to burn houses and do all these things ... it is crime."

Poghisio said the world should give Kenya a chance to resolve the election dispute rather than rushing to condemn it and "push it down".

Violence was slowing, mediation led by former U.N. head Kofi Annan was progressing, and some government and opposition legislators were going out together to preach peace, he said.

"Knowing Kenya's history, and the way that Kenya has been gradually climbing and not declining, sometimes a small valley is a prelude to a very good, steep climb ahead."

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

9 - Cargo Bound for Uganda Held Up - The Nation (Nairobi)

NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 By Oliver MathengeNairobi

More than 500 containers with goods bound for Uganda are still held up in the country due to the election-linked violence, Transport PS Gerishon Ikiara said Wednesday.

Mr Ikiara, who is chairing an interdepartmental committee on transport, said the Government was intensifying road operations by providing more military escorts to convoys.

However, he denied reports that Uganda was using its own security forces to escort cargo. The reports had appeared in a section of the Ugandan press, claiming that the country had resorted to having its own escort for cargo in Kenya.

Mr Ikiara said transport in the country was normalising, adding that the Nakuru-Malaba route through Eldoret was now passable for both commuter and cargo transporters. He, however, noted that they were still avoiding the Kericho-Busia route that was still insecure.

The Transport PS, who was speaking at the ministry's offices in Nairobi, said that it was impossible for the Ugandan forces to operate in the country without the knowledge of the Kenyan Government. He added that the information should be treated as a rumour as Kenya had enough security personnel to handle the crisis.

Violence that erupted in the country after last year's election had nearly brought the transport network in the country and the region to a standstill.

The violence, which has seen rowdy youths erecting illegal roadblocks and vandalising the Kenya-Uganda railway, has caused transport delays.

Transit point
In turn, several cargo and fuel trucks bound for the neighbouring countries have been stuck in Kenya, which is a transit point for several countries including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Mr Ikiara also said the repairs on the railway had commenced, and that the Nairobi-Kisumu route through Nakuru was now operational.

"The line on the Eldoret-Malaba route is now being repaired and is expected to be complete by the end of the week," said Mr Ikiara.

He added that the construction of a 17-kilometre railway bypass to supplement the portion that passes through Nairobi's Kibera slum has already started, and is expected to be complete after six months. The railway line that passes through the slum will also be fenced.

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

10 - Country Backs UN's Progress Report On Kenya – Bua News (Pretoria, South Africa)

BuaNews (Tshwane)
NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 By Michael AppelPretoria

South Africa has expressed its support for a statement drafted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday, detailing progress on the current situation on the post-election situation in Kenya.

"The UNSC is finalising and is likely to adopt a statement on the current situation in Kenya, and South Africa supports this statement as we think it is important that the SC should comment on what is happening in Kenya," said Foreign Affairs Chief Director for UN Political Affairs Xolisa Mabhongo, Wednesday.

Mr Mabhongo said the statement would welcome the progress being made in Kenya, in particular the adoption of a four point roadmap that has been agreed upon by both Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.

The roadmap - which includes a three-phase short term solution to the post-election situation - is the brainchild of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who is currently heading the mediation efforts of the panel of Eminent African leaders in Kenya.

"The statement that is expected to be adopted today is likely to welcome the efforts of the African Union and pledge support to the panel of Eminent African personalities led by Mr Annan," said the chief director.

Politically motivated violence that erupted in Kenya following the announcement of disputed election results on 27 December 2007 is threatening to divide the country along ethnic lines.

The country once hailed as east Africa's pillar of democracy, peace and stability is facing a process of national reconciliation following weeks of tribal clashes between the Kikuyus and Luos.

Mr Odinga maintains that the elections were rigged and that his rival - leader of the Party of National Unity (PNU) - must resign.

Mr Kibaki has however said anyone who wanted to challenge his election victory must seek judicial redress.
Kenya's economy has lost over $1 billion since the beginning of the year and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is losing 2 million shillings a day in corporate tax.

Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) are some of the hardest hit enterprises in the country with many facing closure as Kenya's economy grinds to a standstill

Over 1 000 Kenyans have been killed in fighting in the country's rural areas and some 300 000 people have internally displaced as a result of the conflict.

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

11 - Britain Defends Kiai Team And Journalists - The Nation (Nairobi)

NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 By Kennedy OgosiaNairobi

The British minister for Africa Lord Malloch-Brown has expressed concern over threats against journalists and human rights champions in Kenya.

He pledged continued support by the British Government for human rights programmes in Kenya and for investigation into those instigating the threats and inciters of election violence.

Human rights
Lord Malloch-Brown spoke as he met the head of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, Mr Maina Kiai.
He reiterated his support for the commission and expressed "Britain's deep concern at the threats received by leading human rights defenders and media figures." He also met Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London and asked leaders to seek peace through the Kofi Annan-led mediation. Last week, several journalists received Short Text Messages allegedly from outlawed Mungiki sect members.

Those threatened included Nation Media Group managing editor Joseph Odindo, Robert Nagila, Macharia Gaitho and Muchemi Wachira.

Writer fled
Standard Group journalists threatened include Mr Kipkoech Tanui and Linus Kaikai.

Nairobi Star writer Mr Paul Illado also received the threat and has since left the country to an unknown country.

Officials of the Committee for Protection of Journalists have protested and called for thorough investigations into the threats and their sources.

Mr Tom Rhodes called newsrooms to confirm the names of the threatend journalists and promised to complain elsewhere and also arrange for their safety if need arose.

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

12 - Cut Pump Prices, Says Kiraitu - The East African Standard (Nairobi)

NEWS7 February 2008 Posted to the web 7 February 2008 By Kimathi NjokaNairobi

Oil marketers have been urged to reduce pump prices in line with falling international crude oil prices.
Energy minister, Mr Kiraitu Murungi, said his ministry was concerned over the exploitation of Kenyans by oil marketers in high pump prices.

"We are closely monitoring the price mismatch between international crude oil prices and local fuel pump prices", said the minister.

The warning comes at a time when fuel pump prices in the country have hit a record high despite the price of crude oil falling after spiralling to an all time high of $100 a barrel in December last year.

On Wednesday, the international crude oil prices extended their decline to below $88 a barrel as poor U.S. economic data reinforced fears that the world's largest economy is on the brink of a recession, knocking stock markets lower.

U.S. light crude for March delivery fell 87 cents to $87.54 a barrel, after tumbling nearly 2 per cent the previous session.

London Brent crude fell 75 cents to $88.07.

However, despite this decline, the local fuel pump price has spiralled upwards. Petrol and diesel are retailing at an average of Sh89 and Sh80 a litre respectively from Sh76 and Sh 68 three months ago.

While acknowledging that oil marketers have faced a myriad challenges in their distribution following the aftermath of the ongoing political crisis, Kiraitu maintained that there was need to adjust prices downwards as normalcy returns.

The minister said the Government had upped its efforts in oil exploration efforts and had allocated blocs in Isiolo, Coast and North Eastern Provinces for exploration purposes.

He said the exploration was ongoing and was optimistic there was oil reserves in Kenya.

He was speaking while on a working tour at Kenya Pipeline Company to evaluate performance and operations of the parastatal as per the energy policy framework.

KPC Managing Director, Mr George Okungu, said all projects being undertaken by the parastatal as per the performance contract were ongoing and that they were set for commissioning as scheduled.

Without disclosing figures, Okungu said the parastatal's profitability was on a strong footing this first quarter, although a strong shilling had wiped out its foreign reserves in dollars.

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

13 - Villagers keep off forest due to frequent dumping of bodies - Nation

Story by JOHN NJAGI Publication Date: 2/7/2008

Tagwa villagers are afraid, indeed very afraid. Their Ngonde forest neighbourhood in Nyeri North District has become the dumping ground of bodies by as yet unidentified killers.

Although the forest is of huge benefit to the neighbouring communities, the villagers rarely venture into it these days due to the frequent dumping of bodies.

They regard dumping spots in forest as “fields of death”.

The residents say they have been avoiding the forest like a plague ever since the charred remains of a man were found, about five metres from the edge of the forest, in November last year.

Since then, 11 other male bodies have been found at various spots in the forest, having been burnt beyond recognition.

The villagers blame the Government for failing to get to the bottom of the deaths.

The police, they say, have made it a routine to collect the bodies and not investigate the killings.

Expedite investigations
“We are living in fear because we neither know where the bodies come from nor who the victims are,” says Ms Jane Wangari.

Tagwa village borders the forest and is separated by a tarmac road that leads to Sagana State Lodge.

The residents want the Government to launch and expedite investigations and bring the culprits to book. It’s the only way to end their fear, they say.

According to 58-year-old Wangari, the bodies are burnt using a highly flammable liquid and a tyre.

“Last week, we found three bodies. This is the highest number so far discovered in a single week. We are terrified of venturing into the forest despite the fact that it is of huge economic importance to us,” she states.

She said it appears the victims’ hands and legs are tied with ropes before they are burnt. A jerrican used to carry petrol and tyre remains are normally found at the scenes.

Ms Wangari, who is a farmer, told the Nation that every time the residents find a body, a report is usually made to the nearby Kiganjo Police Station and the officers respond by picking up the body.

The residents say the police initially were hesitant to collect the bodies but were now responding promptly.

“The first time we made a report, it took up to four days by which the body had decomposed,” says Mugambi Kiama.

People avoid venturing into the forest because they fear that the killers may be residing in the forest.

Mr Kiama says that even though no one from the area had been reported missing, there was apprehension among the residents that one of them could be next on the executioners’ list.

Ms Wangari says women who usually fetch firewood in the forest are the most traumatised by the killings.

“Everyone is fearful of being accosted by the ghosts (of the dead) seeking to avenge,” she says.

Horrifying moment
The mother of six, whose 30 cows graze in the forest on a daily basis, says she at times is too scared to fetch and the animals spend the night in the forest. This happens whenever the men in her household are late in driving them home.

“About 300 head of cattle graze in the forest but not beyond 4pm because it is believed that is when the enemy could be laying in wait for victims,” says Ms Wangari, her sentiments clearly informed by fear.

Her long-time friend and neighbour, Ms Mercy Njeri, says the most horrifying moment for her was when she found a body still burning in the morning as she went to fetch fire wood.

The 60-year-old grandmother’s experience of the last three months have filled her mind with horror.

She urges the provincial administration and the police to carry out thorough investigations to end the killings.

Ms Njeri is optimistic that with the coming closer of the provincial administration, measures will be put in place to apprehend the culprits.

The area is under the newly-created Nyeri North District which was hived off the larger Nyeri District. The headquarters is Chaka Town.

The district was created in January last year alongside Nyeri South District as President Kibaki implemented the split of several expansive districts in Central Kenya.

Security meetings
District commissioner Francis Komen, says he has organised security meetings with area residents to map out strategies of dealing with the situation since the police cannot be on the ground all the time to monitor the area.

According to Mr Komen the residents are expected to keep an eye on suspicious vehicles plying the route at odd hours and furnish authorities with such information.

“With the necessary induction, the residents will be able to monitor any suspicious activities and report the matter immediately to the authorities,” he says.

The concept of community policing, DC says, will be handy in dealing with the situation. It is the best strategy of getting to the bottom of what looks like a well coordinated murder syndicate, he states.

The bodies, he says, are usually dumped at two-week intervals but is shocked after the discovery of three bodies in a week.

Identities of victims
Nyeri head of police Sebastian Kirunya says his office has been unable to establish the identities of the victims since their fingerprints are usually destroyed by fire.

Carrying out DNA tests on the bodies, he says, could help in identification but this option is expensive as it is usually undertaken in South Africa when the state is under intense pressure to reveal the identity of a dead person.

“We have no choice but to pick up the bodies which are eventually disposed of as there are usually no claims to compel the State to pursue other options,” he says.

Police patrols, Mr Kirunya says, have been increased in the area to crack the murder syndicate.

He says initial investigations indicate that the individuals are killed elsewhere and their bodies dumped in the forest at night.

14 - US bars 10 leading Kenya politicians - AP

By MATTI HUUHTANEN, Associated Press Writer 26 minutes ago

NAIROBI, Kenya - The United States said Thursday it was barring 10 leading Kenyan politicians from entering the U.S., the first time Washington has blamed them for the postelection violence that has brought the African country to the brink of collapse.

U.S. Embassy spokesman T.J. Dowling said lawmakers from both the president's party and the opposition were advised in letters that they would not be allowed into the U.S. because they had been involved in or incited violence.

"We don't give visas to criminals," Dowling told The Associated Press, declining to give names. "Inciting violence is a criminal act."

President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement denied being behind the clashes, looting and arson that have caused more than 1,000 deaths and forced 300,000 Kenyans from their homes.

The U.S. announcement came as pressure mounted on negotiators from the rival parties to come to terms in peace talks mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Opposition leaders say Kibaki stole a Dec. 27 vote and should step down. Kibaki has said his position as president is not negotiable, though foreign and local observers say there was election rigging. Clashes sparked by the dispute disintegrated into ethnic fighting pitting other tribes against Kibaki's Kikuyu.

Foreign observers have reported evidence of orchestrated violence and accused both sides of fomenting clashes.

In a statement, Kibaki's government welcomed the U.S. decision "to bar people who participated in ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity during the post election period." But his party denied any involvement.

Albert Muiruri, of Kibaki's Party of National Unity said, "I can't think of one PNU member of Parliament or top official who was involved in or incited violence."

Opposition Orange Democratic Movement politicians also were not involved, said party spokesman Ahmed Hashi. "We categorically deny that any ODM leader was behind any kind of violence anywhere in the country," Hashi said. "ODM leaders condemn anyone who uses violence to push for political agendas."

The U.N. Security Council deplored the violence and urged political leaders to resolve the crisis "through dialogue, negotiation and compromise," in a statement issued in New York on Wednesday. It expressed concern at the "dire humanitarian situation" in the country and gave strong backing to the Annan-led talks that began Jan. 29.
The European Union also expressed support for the talks.

Visiting EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel "had a very positive meeting with Kofi Annan in which he expressed the EU's full commitment and support to Kofi Annan's facilitation efforts," EU spokesman John Clancy said in Brussels.

Later Thursday, Michel was to meet separately with Kibaki and Odinga.

Also, foreign ministers of IGAD, an East African bloc of countries, arrived to meet the peace negotiating team, including government and opposition members. But they canceled a planned foreign ministers' meeting to which Odinga's party had objected, saying holding such a meeting would have implicitly recognized Kibaki's government.

A U.N. fact-finding mission arrived in Kenya on Wednesday to look into reports of brutality and serious abuses in the weeks of deadly violence since the disputed election.

The three-week mission — sent by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour — will gather information from the government and the opposition, along with victims and witnesses. The findings will be made public.

The top U.S. diplomat for Africa said last month she saw the violence as ethnic cleansing, but the State Department backed away from her statement, saying the U.S. had not yet concluded whether atrocities had been committed.
Associated Press writers Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

15 - Clergy and MPs pray for peace – Nation politics

Publication Date: 2/7/2008

Government and opposition MPs Wednesday attended inter-religious peace prayers at Uhuru Park, and intensified demands for justice in the mediation led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

The prayers centred on the urgent need for reconciliation, repentance and forgiveness among communities.

The secretary-general of Universal Peace Federation, the Rev Mwalagho Kililo, conducted the prayers.

Other leaders drawn from the Council of African Apostles asked those in the mediation talks to accept that fresh presidential elections take place so that the country can return to normal.

The Rev David Muriithi said in a statement: “Kenya, which has been known as the peaceful jewel of Africa, has undergone immense tragedy.

“Hidden in this calamity is a great opportunity for all to work collectively in stopping the violence and restore Kenya to her former glory.”

Former United Nations prosecutor at the Rwanda tribunal Duncan Mwanyumba praised the proposal for a truth and reconciliation committee, saying it was time the truth was confronted.

He said the councils of elders among various communities should be given constitutional recognition and a National Council of Elders created to create bridges of reconciliation.

Councils of elders
Mr Mwanyumba said the elders could broker unity and cohesion by summoning political leaders for the common good of the country.

The lawyer said the constitutional review should be undertaken urgently to create a mechanism of handling foreseeable electoral mistakes, power arrangements and conflict resolution programmes.

MPs who accompanied religious leaders to the grounds laid wreaths in remembrance of 1,000 Kenyans killed in the post-election violence, included Kajiado Central’s Joseph Nkaissery and Maragwa’s Elias Mbau.

Concept of love
Mr Nkaissery said clinging to power was not worth the blood that has been shed. Any person with a clear conscience would let Kenyans re-write their history through fresh elections, a transitional government and radical surgery at the Electoral Commission of Kenya, he added.

He said Kenyans must uphold the concept of love and avoid running battles, killings and destruction of property since the contentious issues were being negotiated in Nairobi.

The MP said as the chairman of the Kenyan chapter of the Great Lakes region parliamentary forum on peace, he felt crestfallen that the great image of Kenya he used to show in the areas they visited had been shattered.

“It is not easy for a presidential candidate to accept to forfeit over 4 million votes because politics keep changing,” Mr Nkaissery said.

Power game
He said injustices planted among Kenyans include irregular resource allocation, domination of government jobs by one community, and ethnicity being the emotional factor tagged since independence in the country’s power game.

Mr Mbau said it was painful to watch Kenya sink through greed for power and asked leaders to stand up and be counted in the search for peace and respect for the rule of law.

Religious leaders called for unity and trust among all communities instead of falling prey to the devilish machinations of people seeking leadership.

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