Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today's headlines - Tues 3/25/2008

Daily Nation
Kenya: Most Citizens Optimistic Accord Will Bring Peace
AllAfrica.com, Washington - 18 hours ago
A new poll shows that 90 per cent of Kenyans are confident that the deal will lead to a peaceful Kenya. Only two per cent are skeptical while eight per cent ...

Kenya: Politicians Shed Sheep Skin AllAfrica.com

Kibaki and Raila must save Kenya the burden of a bloated Cabinet Daily Nation

Kenya: Because Middle Classes Blinked, They Avoided Catastrophe AllAfrica.com

AllAfrica.com - AllAfrica.com
all 56 news articles »

Voice of America
Despite Kenya peace deal, ethnic tensions simmer
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 6 hours ago
By Andrew Cawthorne ELDORET, Kenya, March 25
(Reuters) - Nearly three months after the worst massacre of Kenya's post-election violence, children's shoes ...

Ethnic tensions simmer despite Kenya peace deal

Tue 25 Mar 2008, 10:10 GMT
-] Text [+]
By Andrew Cawthorne

ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - Nearly three months after the worst massacre of Kenya's post-election violence, children's shoes and charred clothes remain in the ashes of a rural church where about 30 people were burned to death.

Wreaths of dried-out flowers lie where a mob set fire to the Assemblies of God building with 100 or so terrified villagers cowering inside. A cow nibbles grass around a fallen yellow tape reading: "Crime Scene, Do Not Cross."

All around the church, torched and trashed homes litter countryside outside the western town of Eldoret, one of the epicentres of violence that killed at least 1,200 people and uprooted 300,000 others after Kenya's December 27 election.

President Mwai Kibaki and his main challenger, Raila Odinga, have since made their peace, burying their dispute over who won in a power-sharing agreement. They have taken tea and even watched golf together at a colonial-era country club.

But on the ground, wounds from the worst bloodletting in the east African nation since independence in 1963 remain sore and many fear violence could erupt again if the deeper roots of the troubles are not tackled.

Communities are suspicious of one another. Tens of thousands of people still live as refugees. And there has been a massive population shift as Kenyans from different tribes return to the safety of their ancestral heartlands.

Less than a mile from the burnt church in Kiambaa village, police are building a new base to prevent repetitions of the attacks by Kalenjins -- who are in the majority in the Eldoret area -- on Kikuyus, members of Kibaki's ethnic group.

"We will hold the peace, and we will catch the perpetrators," one policeman said, nailing planks to new huts.

A few nervous-looking Kikuyus are back to check their plots.

"Some fear to return, some want to sell their land, some might come back and re-settle here if there is peace," said Francis Waweru, 23. His sister scorched her arm escaping from the church and has gone far away to the Kikuyu town of Limuru.

"It is hard to forget," he said, standing next to the church and describing how hundreds of Kalenjin warriors barred the refugees inside before burning the building and hacking those who tried to escape with machetes.

Down the road, locals have daubed a new name in their tribal language -- Kipnyiket -- over the Kikuyu word Kiambaa. Authorities say the perpetrators are among hundreds they have arrested nationwide. They plan a memorial at the church site.

On another side of Eldoret, scores of houses and shops are reduced to blackened rubble in scenes more reminiscent of war-riven neighbours Somalia and Sudan.

Huge boulders beside the highway also bear witness to the gangs who took over the area in January. Armed with machetes and bows-and-arrows, they had set up roadblocks to hunt Kikuyus.

"Of course we were angry. They stole the election in front of our eyes," one jobless 28-year-old Kalenjin man said.

"Now power is supposed to be shared 50-50 but they are not willing to share really," he added, echoing a widespread accusation among Kenya's non-Kikuyus that Kibaki's community has monopolised power and wealth.

Another Kalenjin man chided a visiting reporter, saying the media -- like Kibaki and the police -- had focused on deaths of Kikuyus around Eldoret, but not the killing of members of other communities elsewhere around Kenya.

"What about the house burned in Naivasha with 15 people inside? You don't talk about what the Kikuyus did," he said.

"There are no Kikuyus living round here any more. If they come back, it will depend on the 50-50 deal, if it works. Then if they return and are friendly with us, it will be OK."

According to the power-sharing deal, Odinga is set to become prime minister although wrangling remains over other posts.

Further down the line, Kenya's politicians will also have to overhaul the constitution and discuss underlying problems such as land and inequality that were laid bare by the dispute over Kibaki's re-election last December.

At Eldoret showground, 15,000 refugees -- almost all Kikuyus -- live in tents crammed together on the field.

They are either too scared to return home, have nothing to go back to, or are waiting for some way of travelling to their community's heartland in central Kenya.

"Power-sharing has brought peace to the people above, but not to us," said pastor Gideon Mwangi, whose house in Eldoret was torched and whose family fled to Naivasha.

"We are willing to go back, but only when there is real peace. There are still threats going on in the villages."

Refugee leaders are petitioning for compensation for destroyed properties, stolen livestock and lost crops.

Some Kikuyus in the Eldoret area have, however, returned to their former lives. In the centre of town, several dozen stick together for security in streets where they work as mechanics and labourers fixing minibuses.

Joseph Gitau, 23, was born in the area, saw his father killed with a poisoned arrow during inter-ethnic fighting in 1997, and admits taking up a machete to face Kalenjin gangs in January. One day, he saw seven fellow Kikuyus decapitated.

Yet he has returned to work to help feed his mother, and ten brothers and sisters. And he has no intention of returning to a tribal homeland he does not know.

"There, I have no job, no land, nothing. What could I do?"

(Editing by Daniel Wallis)

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/)

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Trouble Builds Behind Scenes in Wake of Kenya Peace Deal Voice of America
all 13 news articles »

Telkom Kenya seeks cash injection - report
Telecom Paper (subscription), Netherlands - 52 minutes ago
Telkom Kenya is reportedly seeking USD 92.42 million from shareholders to deal with its cashflow problems. The EastAfrican reported that Telkom has ...

Foreign athletes seek Kenya running 'magic' ahead of Olympics
AFP - 12 hours ago
ELDORET, Kenya (AFP) — Athletes from the world over are flocking to a training camp perched on the high plateaux of Kenya to rub shoulders with the princes ...

Rwanda: Musician Prosper in Kenya
AllAfrica.com, Washington - 8 hours ago
Rwandan musician Beligne Bizimana who first set his foot on the Kenyan soil in 2004, did not expect to stay in the country for long. ...

US relaxes travel warning to Kenya: State Department
AFP - Mar 24, 2008
NAIROBI (AFP) — The United States has relaxed a travel warning to Kenya following an powersharing deal between President Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic ...

US amends travel warning for Kenya International Herald Tribune

US eases travel warning to Kenya Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

US Amends Kenyan Travel Warning The Associated Press
all 66 news articles »

Daily Nation
Kenya safe for visits, model tells tourists
Daily Nation, Kenya - 19 hours ago
Ms Campbell, who is on holiday in Malindi, said contrary to reports in the international press regarding the security situation in Kenya, she had proved for ...


Kenya: Campbell At Coast to Promote Industry AllAfrica.com

all 5 news articles »

Kenya: KNEC Has Let Nation Down
AllAfrica.com, Washington - 19 hours ago
The handling of last year's Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam is a national embarrassment. While the body has encountered exam leakages in the ...

Kenya: National Outrage Over KCSE Fiasco AllAfrica.com

Kenya: Heads Must Roll At Examination Body AllAfrica.com

Continuous tests methods will dent credibility of certificates Daily Nation

Daily Nation - Daily Nation
all 9 news articles »

Daily Nation
Kenya stand in Russia a drawcard
Daily Nation, Kenya - 19 hours ago
Kenya’s stand at a major international tourism fair in Moscow Monday drew hundreds of visitors seeking information on its products. ...

Kenya: Commission in Plea to Top Film Producers
AllAfrica.com, Washington - 18 hours ago
Kenya Film Commission (KFC) has launched a programme to promote Kenya as a key film-shooting destination in Africa. Managing Director, Mr David Maingi said ...

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