Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today's Headlines - Tues 2/26/2008


Tues 2/26/2008


It does not look good today--talks stalled, Kofi Annan ready to throw in the towel, and threats of more demonstrations (calls for a "general strike") by the opposition party ODM to begin on Wednesday (ie, tomorrow!).

Action: write or call elected officials today for the US government to step up pressure on the members of the negotiating teams (high-ranking Kenyan politicians), to be issued with a travel ban, and to freeze their assets held in banks and investments abroad.

And keep praying!

Mary Kay



Google News Alert for: Kenya

2/26/2008 - 12 NOON

Kenya crisis talks suspended

Aljazeera.net - Qatar

Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, has suspended talks in Kenya that were aimed at ending the country's political crisis. ...

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Kenya World-Class Runners Accused of Fueling Violence

ABC News - USA

10, 2008, in Kuinet near Eldoret, western Kenya. Sang, who was a runner in the 1988 Olympics 4 by 400 relay, was killed by machete during recent troubles ...

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Kenya: Healing the Children

AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

One of the greatest challenges following the post-election violence in Kenya is to restore the physical and mental wellbeing of 150000 displaced children, ...

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Kenya: Roselyne Anyango - "If There is No Peace, We Kenyans Are ...

AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

Roselyne Anyango, 32, is an HIV-positive single mother who moved to Naivasha five years ago to work on a flower farm. When violence broke out after ...

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Kenya's Bamburi Cement pre-tax profits up 42 pct

Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's Bamburi Cement Group, majority owned by France's Lafarge, posted a 42 percent increase in pre-tax profits to 5.4 billion ...

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1 - Bid to salvage Kenya peace talks - BBC


Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete is due in Kenya to try to salvage deadlocked talks between the government and opposition.

President Kikwete, who is also African Union chairman, arrives a day after mediator Kofi Annan expressed his frustration at the lack of progress.

The talks stalled after the government changed its position on the question of power-sharing.

Police say at least 1,500 people have been killed since the disputed poll.

Opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Raila Odinga says he was cheated of victory by President Mwai Kibaki.

Military training
Tension is high as the says it will hold mass protests on Thursday unless parliament is reconvened to amend the constitution to pave the way for power-sharing.

In Kitale, in the west of the country, police have arrested some 200 youths believed to be undergoing military training on a private farm.

"We arrested the youth and recovered wooden carved guns but are still searching for real weapons. The boys say they were being trained as security guards," senior regional police investigator Issa Mohammed told the BBC.

Mr Issa said investigations were still ongoing to verify claims that militia groups were being formed in readiness for war if the mediation talks fail.

In Nairobi, Mr Annan held separate talks with both negotiating teams before the joint sessions resumed.

The former UN secretary general met both Mr Odinga and Mr Kibaki on Monday to urge them to reach an agreement.

Prisoner of peace
Mr Annan has been in Kenya for more than a month trying to resolve the crisis - the longest period he has spent on any conflict resolution.

Afterwards he said the mediation team had "done its work - I'm now asking the party leaders to do theirs".

Mr Annan is reported to have said that he feels like a prisoner of peace - unable to achieve an agreement but unable to leave Kenya.

Last week, both sides agreed to create the post of prime minister, which would be taken by Mr Odinga, leading to hopes of a final deal soon.

However, they still needed to finalise which powers he would have.

The government now says the president should appoint the prime minister, which would not be an executive post.

As well as how to divide powers between a prime minister and a president, the rivals are also split on sharing on cabinet positions and the possibility of a new election if the coalition collapses.

Story from BBC NEWS:


Published: 2008/02/26 11:22:01 GMT


2 - Rice demands action to end Kenya crisis - Reuters


Tue 26 Feb 2008, 14:12 GMT
[-] Text [+]
(Updates with Condoleezza Rice statement)
By Duncan Miriri and Giles Elgood

NAIROBI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticised Kenyan leaders on Tuesday for failing to end their political stand-off and said Washington would take "necessary steps" if a solution was not reached.

Government and opposition negotiators were meeting in Nairobi with no clear sign of a breakthrough on a power-sharing deal, while the opposition has threatened to resume nationwide protests.

The talks being mediated by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan had come to a standstill on Monday with both sides saying President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga needed to step in to overcome the deadlock.

Rice, who is on a trip to China, said that while there had been some progress, "I am disappointed by the failure of leadership necessary to resolve all the remaining issues."

She added: "I want to emphasise that the future of our relationship with both sides and their legitimacy hinges on their cooperation to achieve this political solution.

"In that regard, we are exploring a wide range of possible actions. We will draw our own conclusions about who is responsible for lack of progress and take necessary steps."

She did not elaborate.

Rice, who visited Kenya earlier this month to urge progress, said the United States would also "exercise leadership" to press for a political solution through the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.

Both Kenyan leaders have come under international and domestic pressure to compromise over Kibaki's disputed re-election in a Dec. 27 vote, an event that triggered ethnic violence in which 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 forced to flee their homes.

Annan met Kibaki and Odinga separately on Monday night but negotiators could not say whether the two men were any closer to a deal.

"I think there is some agreement on some (issues) and not on others but we are still talking," Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said after the two sides broke for lunch.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was due to arrive on Wednesday in his capacity as African Union chairman to talk with Odinga, Annan and Kibaki.

Mediator Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general, is ready to leave Kenya if there is no progress soon, according to a source close to the talks.

The opposition has said it will stage nationwide protests beginning on Thursday if there is no deal. Police had no comment on whether they would permit the demonstrations.

A top official of Kibaki's party said the protest call was not in the interests of the Kenyan people.

"When you say mass action the message that people hear is war. There has been enough suffering," said Danson Mungatana, Secretary General of the Party of National Unity.

Earlier protests descended into riots and looting that were met with a deadly police response, while simultaneous rounds of ethnic killings and revenge attacks took place in different parts of the east African country.

The bloodshed damaged Kenya's reputation as a prosperous trade and tourism hub and a haven of stability in a volatile region.

Against this background of violence, the government has agreed in principle to create a prime minister's seat demanded by the opposition.

But the parties are split on the premier's powers, the sharing of ministries and the possibility of a new election if the coalition collapses.

Police on Monday arrested at least 200 youths said to be undergoing military training at a farm owned by a former legislator, near the Mt. Elgon area, local media reported. A police spokesman gave no immediate comment.

(For in depth coverage on Reuters Africa Web site: http://africa.reuters.com/elections/kenya/ )

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Ralph Boulton)
© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.


3 - Google News Alert for: Kenya

Annan: Kenya factions 'not capable' of agreement

CNN International - USA

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Kofi Annan has threatened to leave as mediator in the tense Kenyan power-sharing talks if a quick agreement is not reached, ...

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Kenya: Annan - It's Now Up to Raila And Kibaki

AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

"I believe that the Panel of Eminent African Personalities working with the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation has done its work. ...

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Senior UN official warns of fresh violence in Kenya

Xinhua - China

25 (Xinhua) -- A senior United Nations official warned here Monday that fresh violence could erupt in Kenya if there is no quick resolution to the political ...

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Kenya: Chaos Mar Mayoral Elections

AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

Outside Central and Eastern - which was dominated by ODM-Kenya mayors - PNU only managed to capture mayoral seats in Kisii and Webuye. ...

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Kenya: Kalonzo Acting Alone, Say MP

AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

"ODM-Kenya was never consulted when the party joined the Government. Although there were a few discussions, there was no party stand on the matter," they ...

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Kenya chaos affected region

Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya

Recent political unrest in Kenya had spillover effects on neighbouring countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and even Southern Sudan, ...

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4 - Kenya can't solve it alone - Guardian UK

International help to end the crisis is not meddling but a moral duty, and our leaders must embrace it
Wangari Maathai
The Guardian,
Friday February 22 2008

This article appeared in the Guardian on Friday February 22 2008 on p35 of the Comment & debate section. It was last updated at 00:22 on February 22 2008.

The post-election crisis in Kenya remains unresolved. The damage being done to the country's economy is severe: tourism, horticulture, and other industries that depend on trade beyond the Kenyan border are reeling. Thousands of livelihoods, along with investments throughout the region, are threatened and collapsing.

As the situation in Kenya escalated - with murders, rapes, burning of property, looting, and the displacement of thousands of people throughout the country - the international community was urged to help. Many countries responded, providing essential humanitarian assistance and logistical support. For this, I and many other Kenyans are very grateful.

The international community has also endeavoured to persuade the two rivals, Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, to negotiate a political settlement in the wake of the contested presidential election. But a resolution still eludes Kenya, despite the efforts of Kofi Anan, the former UN secretary general, and his team, which includes the former Mozambiquan first lady, Graça Machel, and the former president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa. Over the past weeks a number of other prominent Africans have participated in the mediation efforts, including Ghana's president and African Union chairman John Kufour, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

However some Kenyan politicians claim these efforts represent an unwarranted meddling in the country's affairs. According to them, Kenyans should be left alone to solve their problems. While this may appear to be patriotic, it is just the opposite. These politicians know how dependent Kenya is on the international community - and the degree to which other nation states in the region depend on Kenya.

Moreover, to be worthy leaders of an independent and sovereign state, Kenya's politicians should have demonstrated a capacity to manage the crisis. Leaders of the business community, civil society and religious organisations, among others, appealed to politicians to end the violence. But they would not budge, even as the carnage escalated.

In Rwanda, the international community in large part left politicians to sort out the mess they had created, only for a horrific genocide to take place in which close to a million people were killed. When it was over, the world wondered why it had taken so long to react.

Today, millions of people are urging intervention in crises in Darfur, Somalia, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name only a few. In the 21st century, the world should not stand and watch as citizens are incited to kill and maim each other because politicians cannot agree on how to manage the state. The international community has a moral responsibility to intervene when life and human rights are threatened on such a scale.

To allow our egos as Kenyans to be offended by international involvement is a misrepresentation that can only give comfort to the hardliners in Kibaki's and Odinga's camps. As US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said while visiting Nairobi earlier this week: "The time for a political settlement was yesterday."

The focus must now be on and support given to the UN's Kenya national dialogue and reconciliation team so that a lasting solution is found. Responsibility for resolution lies in the hands of the rival presidential mediation teams. It is up to these leaders to put Kenya first. I, along with millions of other Kenyans, urge them to find an enduring settlement based on justice, fairness and the common good.

· Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel peace prizewinner, was a member of Kenya's parliament from 2002 to 2007. She is the author of Unbowed: A Memoir



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