Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kenyan Opposition Calls for Another Demonstration Thursday - Voice of America 1/19/2008

By VOA News
19 January 2008

Kenya's opposition has called for another demonstration, following three days of bloody protests against last month's national election that critics say was fraudulent.

Opposition party chairman Henry Kosgey told reporters in Nairobi Saturday the party will resume its peaceful rallies on Thursday.

He said the opposition will use all available means to bring down President Mwai Kibaki.

Saturday's announcement is a reversal from Friday when the opposition said it would end the protests in favor of economic boycotts.

[photo on link below] Caption: Kenyan riot police charge through tear gas at Orange Democratic Movement followers during protests in Kibera slums, Nairobi, 18 Jan 2008

At least 23 people have died since opposition leader Raila Odinga started nationwide demonstrations last week, provoking a violent police crackdown.

African leaders have been shuttling between the feuding factions to try to resolve the growing crisis.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department called on Kenya's political leadership to find a peaceful solution to the situation.

About 650 people have died since the disputed election on December 27.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to arrive in Nairobi Tuesday to attempt to defuse the crisis.

In other news from Kenya, the U.N.'s refugee agency says it has suspended plans to deliver relief supplies to thousands of displaced Kenyans because of the protests and violence in the capital. The agency flew tons of humanitarian supplies from Dubai to Nairobi Friday, but says it is not able to deliver the aid because of the unrest.

An estimated 200,000 Kenyans have been displaced because of the violence. The U.N. Children's Fund estimates about half of those are children.

U.N. officials say the agency will resume the aid operation as soon as possible, but that it is not clear when that will be.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

View full story from VOA.

Five refugees die in Kenya attack - BBC 1/19/2008

Five people have died in western Kenya, in apparent ethnic violence linked to opposition protests against the outcome of last month's presidential election.

The deaths occurred when a group of youths attacked a refugee camp in Rift Valley Province, police said.

It came as the opposition ODM announced that it would resume protest rallies on Thursday.
It had originally called off protests in favour of a boycott of companies that back President Mwai Kibaki.

"We are resuming our peaceful public rallies on Thursday," the chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement, Henry Kosgey, told reporters.

"We will use all available means to bring down the Kibaki regime."

But EU development commissioner Louis Michel, who is in Nairobi for talks with both sides, said such meetings were dangerous and that Kenya needed a "ceasefire" and "active silence".

Post-election violence has left more than 600 people dead, including at least 28 in the last four days.

Weeks of violence
Police said a group of armed ethnic Kalenjins, who generally support the opposition, attacked displaced people from the Kikuyu tribe, which backs Mr Kibaki, in the Rift Valley village of Kipkeleon.

Hundreds of people have gathered in the camp, 180km (112 miles) north-west of Nairobi, after three weeks of violence in the Rift Valley.

Meanwhile correspondents say most of the main trouble spots were calm on Saturday, as international mediation efforts continued.

ODM leader Raila Odinga has demanded a re-run of the election, which he says was rigged by the government.

And on Friday Kenya's National Commission on Human Rights cast doubt on the vote, listing a catalogue of irregularities.

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to lead mediation efforts when he arrives on Tuesday.

View full story from BBC NEWS

Protesters Destroy Railway Line - 1/19/2008

The Nation (Nairobi)NEWS
19 January 2008
Posted to the web 19 January 2008
By Tim Querengesser And Juma Namlola

It took hundreds of them pushing and pulling with their bare hands, but the rail line finally yielded.

Odongo Obinge, a 30-year-old clothing designer who lives in Kibera, said he was part of the group that did it. "We decided to remove the railway because we were told we could not go to the rally," he said on Friday morning as he sought shelter from the rain.

On Thursday, after trapping a cargo train on the rail that runs through the core of Kibera, residents looted it of supplies before being repelled by police who fired teargas at them. Hours later they defiantly returned and flipped over several hundred metres of the track.

Standing beside the twisted rail on Friday morning, many vowed to continue destroying the line, which is part of the rail line connecting the Port of Mombasa to Kampala as well as to other lines branching to several parts of Kenya.

Meanwhile, riot police in Nairobi dispersed a demonstration called by Muslims and arrested veteran politician Martin Shikuku, only to release him later.

Full story from Nationmedia

Today's Headlines - 1/19/2008

Kenya’s Opposition Switches Its Tactics From Street Protests to Business Boycotts

Published: January 19, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — Protests cooled in Kenya on Friday as opposition leaders, still furious about last month’s presidential election, announced that they were switching tactics from street demonstrations to boycotts.

After three days of nationwide rallies that degenerated into battles with police officers, the country was mostly calm, save for a few flash points. Witnesses said police officers shot and killed at least two people in Kibera, a huge slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital. Earlier in the day, vandals uprooted a length of train tracks running through Kibera, where a freight train was looted Thursday.

In Narok, a town near the Masai Mara game reserve, ethnic clashes erupted with men battling in the streets, using bows and arrows and machetes. Witnesses said at least five people were killed, and a Kenyan television network showed images of men dancing around a body in Narok’s downtown.

In Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city and a major port for East Africa, hundreds of protesters emerged from mosques to call for a new election. Police officers responded with tear gas and gunshots. Witnesses said at least one person was killed, bringing the deaths from the week’s disturbances to more than 20, including several children.

The zero-tolerance policy of the Kenyan police is drawing increasing criticism. Western diplomats in Nairobi have urged the government to allow peaceful rallies —currently banned — and to stop using lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.

Opposition leaders and their supporters have been protesting the elections in December in which Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s president, was declared the winner by a narrow margin over Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader, amid widespread evidence that election officials had tampered with results.

On Friday, a consortium of Kenyan election monitors and human rights groups announced that there had been so many glaring irregularities in the balloting that it was impossible to tell who had really won, a position echoed by American diplomats who have done their own analysis. The consortium issued a report called “Countdown to Deception: 30 Hours That Destroyed Kenya.”

David Ndii, a researcher for the anticorruption group Transparency International, said that election officials had siphoned away votes for Mr. Odinga and increased the number of votes for Mr. Kibaki during the tallying process. “The suspicious votes are sufficient to alter the outcome of the presidential elections,” Mr. Ndii said.

It is unclear how much impact this will have because Mr. Kibaki and his tight circle of advisers have insisted that the president won the election fairly and that there will be no rerun.

Full story from NY Times

ODM calls off mass action as deaths rise
Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 1/19/2008

The Orange Democratic Movement Friday ended its three days of mass action and announced a new strategy of economic boycott to protest against the outcome of the disputed presidential election.

The new strategy would involve a call on its supporters to boycott products of certain companies whose owners and leaders were said by ODM to be close to President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity.

The party’s spokesman, Mr Salim Lone, said they had officially ended the peaceful demonstrations countrywide to allow for international mediation which starts next week.

Street protests
The end of the street protests in several towns across the country coincided with renewed hope that the political conflict which has gripped the country since December 30 last year may be resolved across the negotiating table.

On Friday, reports indicated that former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the wife of former South African President Graca Machel are expected in the country on Tuesday as part of the international mediation effort.

There were also reports that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will be in Nairobi next week as part of efforts to end the Kenyan conflict which has attracted worldwide attention.
Sources said that an advance team from Uganda was already in the country.

Mr Museveni is the chairman of the East Africa Community and also the Commonwealth.
It was not immediately clear whether President Museveni, Mr Annan, Mrs Machel and other eminent African leaders will meet President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga jointly or separately.

President Kibaki, meanwhile, named a 10-member team headed by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, to spearhead efforts at national reconciliation.

The team will be free to bring in more people to the effort, the President said in the proclamation. Meanwhile, the death toll from the three days of protests rose to 21 when 12 more people were reported to have died in Narok, Nairobi and Mombasa.

Four of the dead were shot within the Kibera slums in the city as police conducted a house-to-house search to arrest those who destroyed a section of the Nairobi-Kisumu railway which passes through the area.

Reports said three more people had been slashed to death in Nairobi’s Kariobangi North area where TV footage showed men wielding machetes and declaring they had armed themselves for self-defence.

Four others were reported dead in Narok with arrow and spear wounds, while one was shot dead in Mombasa.

Mr Odinga announced the end of mass action when he visited some of the injured people who were being treated at the Masaba Hospital, Nairobi, saying a news conference giving further details will be called today.

Earlier, ODM spokesman Mr Lone said: “We have officially ended the three days of mass action for now. This is to allow for international mediation which starts next week.”

Full story from Nation

Kenya's streets tense after bloody protests

Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:19am EST
By C. Bryson Hull

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan riot police patrolled the capital on Saturday and rival tribes faced off in a southwest town, after 23 people were killed in three days of protests called by the opposition over a disputed election.

Tension stayed high despite opposition leader Raila Odinga's statement on Friday that his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) would take its fight off the streets and use other channels, including talks with African leaders and economic boycotts.

About 650 people have been killed since President Mwai Kibaki won a disputed December 27 election, mostly in police action against banned protests and attacks on tribes seen as backing him.

Odinga says Kibaki stole the closest-ever election in the east African nation from him. International observers say the count was so chaotic it was impossible to tell who won, and the government says the ODM also rigged votes.

In Narok town, paramilitaries guarded empty streets while hundreds of members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe armed with machetes faced pro-opposition Maasais with bows and arrows, a Reuters reporter said.

A total of six people died on Friday as the two sides fought, and homes were torched in the town, gateway to the Maasai Mara game park. Police had to retreat late on Friday when they ran out of tear gas.

Reinforcements arrived early on Saturday.

Kenya's paroxysm of violence, captured in TV images showing police shooting, teargassing and beating protesters, has seriously damaged its democratic reputation, prompted threats of aid cuts and harmed one of Africa's strongest economies.

Roughly 250,000 have been forced from their homes in ethnic attacks, the bulk of them in the pro-opposition Rift Valley. A policeman was killed there on Friday by an arrow, police said.

In Nairobi, paramilitaries in riot gear marched through the central business district, where for the past three days business closed early as police fired teargas and chased protesters through the streets.

Nairobi's Mathare and Kibera slums were quiet, and in Kisumu, scene of some of the worst police action and earlier rioting, was coming back to life.

"Shops are open, people have flocked into the streets but there is no money," vendor Silwa Opido, 42, said as she balanced a basket of bananas on her head. "People have nothing in their pockets because no one has worked since Kibaki stole the votes."

The opposition and human rights groups blame Kenyan police for most of the killing during the protests, including the deaths of schoolchildren in Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu, heart of the opposition.

In Kibera, scene of the worst violence on Friday, police killed a 15-year-old girl who looked out her door as they fired outside. Her father told Reuters the officer aimed at her.

Both of Kenya's main newspapers in editorials on Saturday blasted police conduct. "The full magnitude of their misdeeds will take long to come out, but it is simply horrific," the Saturday Nation wrote.

Police maintain they have followed Kenyan law, only shooting rioters and looters, and deny shooting indiscriminately.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told reporters 510 people had been killed since violence erupted around election day, and of those 87 died at police hands. He said 70 percent of deaths were in the Rift Valley.

The government, in a statement on Friday, said it planned to form a truth and reconciliation commission and ask the government's human rights commission to carry out independent investigations into the violence.

Several African leaders are shuttling between Kibaki and Odinga's camps, and former U.N. head Kofi Annan is due to arrive on Tuesday to begin talks.

(Additional reporting by Guled Mohamed in Kisumu; editing by Andrew Roche)

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

Full story from Reuters

Friday, January 18, 2008

Richmonds - News from FTC Kaimosi - 1/18/2008

18 January 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

We praise God that the area for about 15 kilometers around Kaimosi – where we are located – has remained an island of calm in the midst of all the chaos that has resulted from Kenya’s election vote counting debacle. Some other communities have even complained that this community has failed to participate in the upheavals, and wonder why.

Nevertheless, what is happening throughout Kenya cannot help but also affect us. Food is scarce, and what there is has increased in price, often to double what it was prior to the election! Other things, such as fuel and cell phone airtime, remain scarce and higher in price, as well.

Of the staff and students we have been able to reach since these troubles began, all have reported that they remain alive and well. However, a number of them have spoken of difficulty getting food, and some have reported very close family members who have had their homes burned or broken into with everything removed. Family members had to flee for their lives. These are parents, and brothers and sisters of our friends, so you can imagine that everyone is feeling a great deal of stress.

Several students have reported to us that the fund-raising they had planned for their college fees has been impossible due to the turmoil. For instance, one student had been depending on a generous contribution from his aunt, but a couple of weeks ago she had to flee from her home and is now having to start life over as an internally displaced person. Even if things stabilize soon, the impact of the last few weeks is going to be very difficult for everyone, including on the financial life of Friends Theological College.

FUM has announced an emergency appeal that will help all its Kenya-based projects: go to and see the January 8 “Update” under Kenya.

It is a very sad thing to witness a people’s hope and trust in democracy being destroyed. (Read the pastoral letter from the Friends Church in Kenya, also on the FUM website.)

We have not written sooner as we have been watching and waiting to see if the situation here would become more stabilized in time for our students to return on Monday 21 January. We already postponed the opening of this semester by a week, in the hope that the situation would have truly calmed down with the extra week of delay. Instead, mass actions and harsh police response this Wednesday – Friday has kept the country paralyzed, with major travel routes throughout the Western Province sealed off. Matatus have stopped running; even travelers in private vehicles have been unable to get through.

On the other hand, today (Friday) Ben was able to drive with some staff by back roads to deliver a package to a delivery company, and had no problems. Early next week, we hope that the immediate situation will have become calm, and our students will have been able to travel and get to class.

Thanks for all your prayers and support! We are doing okay but depend on your prayers.

Jody and Ben

Amnesty International condems killings

Kenya: Amnesty International condemns excessive use of force by police
18 January 2008

Amnesty International today condemned the reckless and excessive use of lethal force by the Kenyan police, as reports emerged of the killings of at least twelve people -- including a 13 year old boy – by police during protests called by the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

“We recognise that the Kenyan police are trying to contain what in some cases have been violent protests in Kenya. However, by firing live ammunition into crowds the police have far exceeded what is acceptable use of force. The firing of live ammunition into crowds can not be justified,” said Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme.

In one incident, captured on video by a local television station, an unarmed protestor in Kisumu was shot at close range by a Kenyan police officer who then kicked him while he lay wounded on the ground. The man reportedly died later from the bullet wound.

In a number of other incidents, protestors and bystanders in Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi, were reported to have been shot by police who were preventing residents from travelling to the city centre for the mass protest rally called by the opposition. Kibera, inhabited by many of the opposition party’s supporters, has been the site of considerable post-election violence.

The government must immediately send clear instructions to the police to stop this excessive use of force, conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into the police killings, and prosecute any police officers who have used excessive force against protesters,” said van der Borght.

Amnesty International is also concerned at reports that journalists covering the protests and the police response have been harassed, and that human rights defenders protesting the use of excessive force by Kenyan security forces have been arrested.

"The Kenyan government must respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly throughout Kenya,” said van der Borght. “It is only through the respect for human rights that the country will be able to resolve the political crisis it is now facing,”

Background information
Since 30 December 2007, over 600 people are reported to have been killed and thousands injured during violence that erupted following the announcement of the disputed election results. Over 250,000 have been internally displaced.

Under the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials:

See also related report from Human Rights Watch Africa.

See also new links under 'Kenya Country Profiles' category on right sidebar for more background information from these two organizations, surveying human rights records for Kenya in previous years.

United Nations humanitarian update from IRIN - 1/18/2008

Latest News and Features

KENYA: The Rift Valley’s deadly land rows
NAIROBI, 18 January 2008 (IRIN) - Kenya's breadbasket Rift Valley Province has experienced some of the worst ethnic clashes since December's disputed polls. But there is nothing new to the violence in this volatile region. full report

KENYA: Florence Gundo: "How will we feed the children?"
NAIROBI, 18 January 2008 (IRIN) - Florence Gundo is the coordinator and founder of the Orongo Widows and Orphans Group, which cares for 288 orphans in western Kenya's Nyanza Province. Gundo told IRIN/PlusNews how the political unrest had affected the group.full report

KENYA: Police under fire over live rounds
NAIROBI, 17 January 2008 (IRIN) - Human rights activists in Kenya have dismissed as meaningless police plans to launch an inquiry into the use of live rounds during protests against December’s controversial presidential elections. full report

GLOBAL: First two years in a child's life key to adult development
NEW YORK, 17 January 2008 (IRIN) - The first two years in a child’s life are crucial in determining its well-being in adulthood, according to a series of five papers launched in The Lancet on 17 January. Maternal and child under-nutrition in the first two years is the underlying cause of 3,5 million deaths a year, 35 percent of disease in young children and a host of longer-term ills, states the report.full report

KENYA: Pledges high but millions more needed in humanitarian aid
NAIROBI, 16 January 2008 (IRIN) - Close to US$30 million has already been pledged by international donors for humanitarian operations to assist people affected by Kenya's post-election crisis, but millions more are needed, according to UN and non-governmental aid agencies. full report

UGANDA: More refugees flee from neighbouring Kenya
BUSIA, UGANDA, 16 January 2008 (IRIN) - Kenyans fearing more political violence are continuing to seek refuge in neighbouring Uganda, according to aid workers. full report

Kenya faces boycott, strike wave

Stephanie McCrummen, Nairobi
January 19, 2008

KENYAN opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for strikes and boycotts of businesses owned by President Mwai Kibaki's inner circle to pressure him to tackle the nation's post-election crisis.

The boycotts would be aimed at businesses owned by Mr Kibaki's close advisers, Mr Odinga said, including the largest Kenyan bank and certain bus companies and milk producers.

"Our supporters are the biggest consumers," Mr Odinga said, "so that is a weapon we have."

Strikes could include security guards and hotel workers, bringing more harm to an already-battered tourism industry.

With talks led by African leaders producing little so far, more opposition demonstrations were due yesterday and a likely flashpoint was the mostly Muslim coastal resort of Mombasa.

But a spokesman for the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said street protests over Mr Kibaki's disputed re-election would end after yesterday's demonstrations.

At least eight people have been shot dead by police during two days of demonstrations called by Mr Odinga, who says Mr Kibaki stole victory.

Opposition leaders accused police of killing seven protesters on Thursday in Nairobi, but the figure could not be independently verified. More than 600 people have died across the country in violence since the December 27 election.

Full story at The Age (Australia)

'Massacre' by police in Kibera - MSF Doctors without Borders official - 1/18/2008

At least 13 dead in day of Kenya protests
Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:12pm IST
By Nick Tattersall and Barry Moody

NAIROBI (Reuters) - At least 13 people were killed in Kenya on Friday when police fired into a Nairobi slum and ethnic groups clashed during protests against the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

The worst bloodshed was in the huge Kibera slum, an opposition stronghold, where at least seven people were killed and a dozen were wounded by police automatic gunfire. The French medical charity MSF called it a "massacre".

Police also opened fire and lobbed tear gas in the port of Mombasa, where one person was killed in protests after Friday Muslim prayers, and the southern town of Narok.

Friday's deaths were the worst toll from three days of protests called by opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) against Kibaki's re-election.

At least 21 people have been killed in the demonstrations, which were due to end on Friday. About 650 people have been killed since the disputed Dec. 27 election.

The opposition and human rights organisations accuse the police of using excessive force and firing indiscriminately at unarmed protesters. Police say they only fire at rioters and looters.

Reuters journalists counted seven bodies from the Kibera shooting, including a man with the back of his head blown off and 15-year-old girl, Rosa Otieno. Both were carried to the nearby Masaba hospital morgue in a pickup truck.

Otieno's aunt, Martha Mtishi, told Reuters:

"If they can kill a little girl let them kill us all." [see below for more text]

At least 11 wounded people were brought to the hospital. "We need more doctors because ... we cannot handle an emergency of this magnitude," said a medical official who gave his name only as Joe.

Outside the hospital a crowd shouted: "Murderers and killers."

In Kibera, a Reuters reporter saw police shooting protesters. One man in a red baseball cap and black T-shirt dropped to the ground, blood gushing from his knee.

Protesters built a burning barricade in the slum, and boys hiding in shacks and firing stones from slingshots played a cat-and-mouse game with police.

"They were trying to uproot railway lines. The police came to stop them and started shooting. They started howling and running away," said James Muga, an unemployed 45-year-old as repeated bursts of automatic gunfire rang out.

In southwest Kenya, officials said five people were killed on Friday in clashes between Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and Maasai anti-government protesters in Narok town, gateway to the Maasai Mara game reserve.

They were killed with arrows and machetes.

Maasai and Kikuyu had been fighting in the area since Thursday with homes and shops burned and at least 23 wounded, the police said. Riot police had to be sent in to clear barricades erected by Maasais, a Reuters journalist said.

The opposition said police fatally shot two protesters in Mombasa, Kenya's Indian Ocean port. Officials could confirm only one death there.

In Kibera, MSF official [Doctors without Borders]
Ian Van Engelgem told Reuters:

"We have seen violence over the last two weeks
but today it has really exploded.
Young guys -- 13 years -- have died,
young women, young men, this is unbelievable ...
this is like a massacre."

Kenya's swift slide into crisis has dented its democratic credentials, horrified world powers, scared off tourists and hurt one of Africa's most promising economies.

Kibaki's disputed victory unleashed a wave of political and ethnic violence. Around 250,000 people have fled their homes.

A statement by envoys from nine countries including Britain, the Netherlands and Australia, urged Kibaki and Odinga to meet for direct talks without delay or preconditions, and called on Kenya's security forces to show restraint.

"We have seen clear and disturbing footage of the use of lethal force on unarmed demonstrators," it said.

Protests also resumed on Friday in the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu, where more than 300 youths set fire to a fuel tanker to block the road.

ODM said earlier it would call off street protests after Friday and switch its campaign to small strikes and boycotts of companies run by Kibaki allies.

This story from Reuters India.

(Additional reporting by Bryson Hull, Nick Tattersall, Bosire Nyairo, Joseph Sudah, George Obulutsa in Nairobi and Sue Pleming in Washington)

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

[Similar story with some new details from Reuters International:]

Bodies lie in slum after Kenya police shootings

Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:30pm EST
By Nick Tattersall

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Rosina Otieno, 15, was watching television with her family when police fired on anti-government protesters outside her house in Nairobi's vast Kibera slum.

She opened the door to see what was happening and immediately fell back into the small room with a bullet in her stomach, her father Thomas told Reuters.

"The gun was aimed at her, it was not a bullet that just came and hit her," Otieno told Reuters as his daughter's body was driven to nearby Masaba hospital in a white pick-up truck.

"The policeman turned at her and directed the gun."

Rosina shared the journey with a neighbor, his skull shattered by another bullet.

For three days security forces around Kenya have blocked banned demonstrations against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election at a December 27 poll the opposition says was rigged.

Authorities say demonstrations would lead to looting and more violence.

At least seven people were killed on Friday in Kibera, where corpses lay in the muddy alleys of the sprawling shanty-town.

Human rights groups and the opposition accuse police of firing indiscriminately at unarmed protesters. The authorities say they only shoot looters and rioters.

Youths armed with stones and slingshots hid among the tin-roofed shacks of Kibera, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with scores of heavily armed officers.

Some tried to uproot a railway line running through the slum, but scattered when police started shooting.

Bursts of automatic gunfire triggered women's screams and residents tried to scamper to safety.

One man in a red baseball cap and black T-shirt fell to the ground, blood gushing from his knee.

Charles Omuse, 27, said he and his neighbors were forced out of their homes after officers fired tear gas.

"We heard some bullets and we tried to come out of our house because of the tear gas, but they shot," he said as he arrived at the Masaba Hospital with three wounded people.

Doctors said they were overwhelmed and running out of saline solution, antibiotic drips and bandages."The number of doctors we have cannot handle an emergency of this magnitude," said one hospital administrator called Joe.

Outside, a crowd chanted "Murderers. Killers." Amid the chaos, Kibaki's rival Raila Odinga arrived at the hospital.

"These are school-going children, shot in front of their houses," he said. "This is genocide in the making and this is what the government is doing all over the country."

Rosina's aunt said she was also ready to die.

"Let Kibaki kill us in Kibera. If he told police to come and kill us in Kibera, let them do so," Martha Mtishi told Reuters. "We are ready for anything now. If they can kill a little girl let them kill us all."

(Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Barry Moody and Elizabeth Piper)

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

This story posted from Reuters International.

24 killed in protests - more unrest in Kisumu

Kenya police disperse protesters for third day

By Daniel Wallis and C. Bryson Hull
38 minutes ago
Posted here 11:26 a.m. EST 1/18/2008

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police killed a protester in the port of Mombasa, the opposition said, and a man died in ethnic violence in the southwest on Friday, the third day of demonstrations against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.

Police also opened fire in Nairobi's Kibera slum and fired tear gas at Muslim protesters in both the capital and Mombasa.

"The police shot dead a young man who was peacefully demonstrating," opposition legislator Najib Balala told reporters. Local police chief Wilfred Mbithi said he had heard reports of a death but could not confirm them.

Earlier, police in the Indian Ocean port fired tear gas at several hundred protesters marching from the main mosque after Friday prayers.

Police also fired tear gas at around 100 protesters outside Nairobi's central mosque, on the last day of scheduled demonstrations that have seen at least nine people killed, mostly when police opened fire.

In Kibera, an opposition stronghold, Reuters reporter Nick Tattersall said he could hear both pistol and automatic rifle fire followed by women screaming.

"People are really afraid. They were shot yesterday and others were beaten seriously," said Kevin Shihafu, a 20-year-old unemployed resident.

Protesters built a burning barricade in the slum....

...Protests also resumed on Friday in the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu, where more than 300 youths set fire to a fuel tanker to block the road.

Another road was blocked with telephone boxes [ie, booths].

But it was quieter in the city than on previous days when police shot several protesters.

"The police have not shot at us today. It looks like there has been a reversal of orders and a change of tactics. This is a positive and a plus for democracy," said protester Milton Mao.

Raila Odinga's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), said earlier it would call off street protests after Friday and switch its campaign to small strikes and boycotts of companies run by Kibaki allies. ...

View full story from Reuters.

Kenya police kill five on last day of protests

by Bogonko Bosire

32 minutes ago

Posted here at 11:20 a.m. on 1/18/2008

NAIROBI (AFP) - Kenyan police shot dead five protestors Friday on the last day of rallies against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election before the opposition launches a threatened boycott of government-linked companies.

The fresh violence came as the United Nations said former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan would fly to Kenya on Tuesday to help mediate in the political crisis.

Four people were shot dead in Kibera, Nairobi's largest slum, and another shortly after Friday prayers in Mombasa, Kenya's second [largest] city, police said, bringing to 24 the number of people killed since rallies kicked off Wednesday.

"The demonstrators (in Kibera) were charging at the officers with stones and that is when police fired at them. Four of them have been killed," a police commander told AFP.

At least 19 other Kenyans have been killed over the past two days, including four in overnight clashes in the Narok area, northwest of the capital.

Police found the bodies of four members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe with arrow or machete wounds. They were killed by Maasai youths who supported opposition leader Raila Odinga in last month's disputed presidential poll.

Demonstrations were also held in the western towns of Kisumu and Eldoret, the worst-hit by the wave of violence that shattered Kenya's image as a beacon of stability in the restive region.

Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said it was ending the protests because civilians were paying too heavy a price.

"Today is the last day of demonstrations. We have seen a lot of suffering caused by reckless police action against peaceful protestors," ODM spokesman Salim Lone told AFP.

Full story on Yahoo News (AFP).

Kenya's Opposition Vows More Pressure - 1/18/2008

By TODD PITMAN – 1 hour ago
Posted here 11:11 EST 1/18/2008

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — With days of protests failing to budge Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki from power, a weakened opposition said Friday it would turn to economic boycotts and strikes to keep up pressure over the East African nation's disputed election.

The third and final day of planned protests saw clashes erupt a few dozen miles from the country's premier Masai Mara game reserve in Narok, where one man died after being struck by an arrow in the chest and 25 others were wounded, local police chief Patrick Wambani said.

The clashes pitted Masai tribesmen against ethnic Kikuyus and both groups were armed with arrows, clubs and knifes, Wambani said, adding that homes and shops were burned. Kikuyus, who mostly backed Kibaki in the poll, have been chased from the west of the country by other tribes.

Elsewhere, police opened fire on protesters in Nairobi's Kibera slum, and a man and a woman were shot and killed.

Skirmishes also broke out between police and thousands of demonstrators in the coastal tourist town of Mombasa, leaving one dead.

And a man died of gunshot wounds at a Nairobi hospital.

The latest violence brought the toll from three days of protests to at least 16.

Police in Mombasa fought running battles with protesters as they tried to scatter thousands of young men who marched from a downtown mosque. The protesters carried leafy twigs in a symbol of peace even as they chanted "Kill! Kill!" Police used tear gas and fired live bullets over the protesters' heads, then chased them down alleyways.

Overall though, the rallies' strength had largely evaporated with turnout down exponentially from recent days. As protests have fizzled, Kibaki's hold on power has become more entrenched.

His mandate, however, is thin and local and international observers have questioned his victory at the polls.

But there is no money to rerun the election and sorting a recount through the courts could take years.

The opposition's best hope may rest in wrangling a power-sharing agreement from the government, which could possibly give a prime ministerial post or vice-presidency to its leader, Raila Odinga.

The U.S. and other allies consider Kenya a vital partner against terrorism and as a regional economic and military powerhouse whose stability has stood in stark contrast to war-ravaged neighbors like Sudan and Somalia, where Islamic extremism is rife.

The United States blamed both leaders for the unrest.

"There are clashes because of the political deadlock," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, adding it was "beyond time" for Kibaki and Odinga to reach a compromise.

Kenya exploded in violence after the Dec. 27 election. Furious over the alleged vote rigging, Odinga's supporters rose up, burning homes, clashing with police and exposing long-simmering ethnic tensions. More than 600 people have been killed since then, the worst violence since a failed 1982 coup attempt.

Opposition spokesman Salim Lone said Odinga would call for a "boycott of companies owned by hard-liners who are around Mr. Kibaki," including one of Kenya's biggest banks, a prominent bus company and a major dairy producer. Lone also said they would work with unions "to organize strikes in selected industries."

"We are completely ready to negotiate in good faith. We want peace in the country," Lone said. "Our people are suffering."

Kibaki's government has made similar statements, but efforts by the U.S. and the African Union have failed to even bring Odinga and Kibaki together for talks.

On Thursday night, police arrested three foreigners they accused of suspected terrorist activities.

One, German jazz musician Andrej Hermlin-Leder, is a friend and supporter of Odinga, opposition spokesman Lone said. A Dutch freelance journalist arrested, Fleur van Dissel, recently filmed a documentary about Odinga that was aired on independent Kenya Television Network days before the elections, he said.

Asked whether the arrests were linked to their connection to Odinga, police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said it had "nothing to do with that." He charged the three arrested "had footage of security installations in the country" and were detained "purely on criminal suspicion."

In Mathare, mobs attacked and wounded eight people and killed another, resident Alice Nduko, 35, said Friday. An Associated Press photographer saw the slain man's body lying by the side of a road, the back of his head split open.

Nduko said she fled to a neighboring air force base with about 200 other people. In a muddy plastic bag at her feet was a neighbor's severed hand, which she said had been hacked off by mobs last night. She had retrieved it from the slum "as evidence," she said.

"They've been killing our neighbors," said Nduko, an ethnic Kikuyu like Kibaki. "We came here because we are afraid."

Associated Press writers Katharine Houreld, Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi; Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Eldoret; and Katy Pownall in Kisumu contributed to this report.

Today's Headlines - 1/18/2008

Kenya opposition vows economic boycott after 'final' protests

by Bogonko Bosire 20 minutes ago

Kenya's opposition said Friday it would launch an economic boycott of companies linked to the government after staging a final day of protests over the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

Riot police and paramilitary units kept a tight grip on Nairobi and opposition strongholds in western Kenya as they prepared to face off with protestors for the third day running.

According to police, 16 people have been killed since the nationwide rallies kicked off on Wednesday, sparking international fears the east African nation -- once a beacon of regional stability -- would further sink into chaos.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said it was ending the protests because civilians were paying too heavy a price.

"Today is the last day of demonstrations. We have seen a lot of suffering caused by reckless police action against peaceful protestors," ODM spokesman Salim Lone told AFP.

Kenyan police opened fire on crowds, used tear gas and beat protestors, drawing accusations from the opposition and rights group of random and excessive force.

Odinga says he was robbed of the presidency in December polls, accusing Kibaki of rigging his re-election. His party described the 76-year-old president as "an eminent thief".

More than 700 people have been killed in riots, police raids and ethnically-driven clashes since Kibaki was declared the winner of the election on December 30.

On Friday, no incidents were reported in Nairobi by noon (0900 GMT) but some 200 demonstrators had gathered in Kisumu, a western opposition bastion and the country's third city, an AFP correspondent reported.

Chanting "No Raila, no peace", protestors lit bonfires as riot police deployed en masse.
The ODM announced it would seek to undermine a government packed with Kibaki's closest allies by targeting their sources of funding.

"We are now moving on to a new phase of the struggle and this will include initiating (an) economic boycott by consumers of large companies owned by hardliners around Mr Kibaki," Lone told AFP.

Among the brands targeted by ODM, Lone mentioned Brookside Dairies -- a large company owned by Local Government Minister Uhuru Kenyatta -- as well as the Citi Hoppa public transport company, Kenya Bus Services and Equity Bank.

All the companies are owned by leading members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, which has dominated the country's political and economic life for years.

The government dismissed the boycott call.

"It's the right of the people of Kenya to choose what to do. But I bet it will fail," government spokesman Alfred Mutua said in a statement.

While no major foreign power has come out strongly against Kibaki, the international community has voiced concern over flaws in last month's polls and urged feuding factions to engage in dialogue and stop the bloodshed.

Full story from AP at Yahoo News.

Kenya protesters to mount boycott

Security forces have been patrolling Nairobi's Kibera slum
Police crackdown

Kenya's opposition says it will change tactics to protest against the outcome of last month's presidential election, following three days of mass rallies.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) says it will boycott companies run by senior allies of President Mwai Kibaki.

At least 600 people have died in violence since the poll. In the latest unrest police have been firing tear gas and bullets at protesters in Mombasa.

Kenya's National Commission on Human Rights has also cast doubt on the vote.

At a news conference in Nairobi, the state-sponsored body listed a catalogue of irregularities in the tallying and announcement of results.

At least 360,000 votes could not be verified, the commission said. About 230,000 separated the two candidates.

27 December: Presidential and parliamentary elections
30 December: President Kibaki declared winner, triggering widespread unrest
10 January: First international mediation effort fails
16-18 January: three days of mass opposition rallies

The officials results have outraged supporters of ODM candidate Raila Odinga, who has demanded a re-run.

The movement is holding a third and final consecutive day of nationwide protests on Friday.

Full story from BBC.

Kenya police disperse protesters for third day

Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:54am EST
By Daniel Wallis and C. Bryson Hull

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police killed a protester in the port of Mombasa, the opposition said, and a man died in ethnic violence in the southwest on Friday, the third day of demonstrations against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.

Police also opened fire in Nairobi's Kibera slum and fired tear gas at Muslim protesters in both the capital and Mombasa.

"The police shot dead a young man who was peacefully demonstrating," opposition legislator Najib Balala told reporters. Local police chief Wilfred Mbithi said he had heard reports of a death but could not confirm them.

Earlier, police in the Indian Ocean port fired tear gas at several hundred protesters marching from the main mosque after Friday prayers.

Police also fired tear gas at around 100 protesters outside Nairobi's central mosque, on the last day of scheduled demonstrations that have seen at least nine people killed, mostly when police opened fire.

In Kibera, an opposition stronghold, Reuters reporter Nick Tattersall said he could hear both pistol and automatic rifle fire followed by women screaming.

"People are really afraid. They were shot yesterday and others were beaten seriously," said Kevin Shihafu, a 20-year-old unemployed resident.

Protesters built a burning barricade in the slum.

The opposition, which says Kibaki stole the December 27 election, accuses the police of using excessive force. The police say they have only shot at rioters and looters.

In southwest Kenya, police said a man from President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe was killed with a poisoned arrow by a group of Maasai anti-government protesters in Narok town, gateway to the Maasai Mara game reserve.

Maasai and Kikuyu had been fighting in the area since Thursday with homes and shops burned and at least 23 wounded, the police said.

Kibaki's disputed victory unleashed a wave of political and ethnic violence, in which more than 600 people have died and around 250,000 fled their homes.

Kenya's swift slide into crisis has dented its democratic credentials, horrified world powers, scared off tourists and hurt one of Africa's most promising economies.

Protests also resumed on Friday in the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu, where more than 300 youths set fire to a fuel tanker to block the road.

Another road was blocked with telephone boxes.

But it was quieter in the city than on previous days when police shot several protesters.

Full story from Reuters.

Outrage at Kenya police tactics

By Noel Mwakugu BBC News, Nairobi

Kisumu in west Kenya is one of the key flashpoints

Shots leave man dead

As Kenya's opposition protests enter a third day, people are increasingly questioning the actions of the police, who are accused of shooting dead protesters.

The killings have sparked outrage across the country.

On Thursday, human rights activist Okia Omtata chained himself to the barriers of the Nairobi police headquarters and, as bystanders watched, clutched a rosary chanting: "You are killing people in this country. That is wrong.

"The sanctity of life must be protected."

He was soon arrested.

Earlier, television footage had suggested a policeman in Kisumu may have shot dead in cold blood an unarmed man taking part in opposition protests against last month's disputed elections.
The protester was making faces at the anti-riot unit when an officer approached him, armed with a rifle.

I am convinced among [the police] there are those who do not approve of what is happening

Onyango Oloo, human rights activist

The young man fell down and the policeman is shown kicking the prostrate man in the back.

Within minutes, bullets were fired at close range. The protester was later pronounced dead.

In defence, police spokesman Eric Kiraithe insists officers are well aware that they are dealing with innocent people being "used by politicians".

"Some are drunk on alcohol and others are high on drugs and it is obvious they are innocent, so we are not using excessive force to disperse them," he said.

The police chief in Kisumu said officers had disobeyed orders to only use tear gas and truncheons and were investigating the incident.

Full story from BBC.

Frustration and anger of Kenyans

As fresh political violence erupts in Kenya, the BBC News website hears the views on the crisis of two ordinary Kenyans from different sides of the track.


I threw stones at the police. Many, many actually.

In return they fired live shots into the air as some started approaching us and then others began gassing us.

Even though there were so many of us the live bullets are still a worry. They should aim up but they don't - they aim right at us.

I was not frightened.

When you are faced with the reality of life, when it comes to this, you can't be afraid, not now.

Guns, shields and batons
What frightens me is that I'll die of hunger.

We should be allowed to express our feelings as citizens. We don't need the police to come and invade our lives and our basic needs.

They have arms and are all dressed up in combat gear wearing their red berets. I don't know a lot about guns but I think the ones they have are AK-47s. The ones who don't have guns, have shields. Some of them have batons.

Someone managed to set fire to a few tyres between us the crowd and the police. They were blazing


All we have is stones.
They have power.
No-one even listens to us.

Full story from BBC

Boy's death exposes Kenya's tragedy

By Karen Allen BBC News, Kisumu, western Kenya

Salim Hamed was out playing football in a poor neighbourhood of Kisumu when three stray bullets, fired by police, struck him in the back.

He died, aged just 13 - another casualty of Kenya's post-election violence.

He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up as protesters were repelled by a volley of gunfire.

Salim had wanted to be an engineer. Now this life cut short is a tragic statistic in the history of 21st Century Kenya.

The people who have come to pay their respects are terrified that their country has been plunged into such chaos.

As men prepare to load the child's body, wrapped in a simple blanket, onto a truck, his father, Ahmed Ibrahim Hussein, expresses fears that there will be bitter recriminations.

"Such a thing will bring hate to both sides. If his excellency the president does not resign, I fear people will keep on dying," he says.

The Luo community... are feeling angry. Angry that 'their man' is being 'cheated' out of the presidency. They want to protest but they are told they can't

The grieving is interrupted when what should have been a sombre procession to honour a young boy turns into a political rally.

Full story from BBC

8 More Killed in Chaos

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS18 January 2008

Posted to the web 18 January 2008 Nairobi

Eight more people were killed in Nairobi and Kisumu as police battled with demonstrators on the second day of rallies called by ODM to protest at the disputed results of the December Presidential election.

Police shot a man identified by relatives as Felix Okong'o in Nairobi's Mathare North area in what they said was a confrontation between them and demonstrators.

Another man was killed in Kibera while a third was burnt to death in a house in Nairobi's Ruaraka area.

Meanwhile, the European Union Parliament Thursday passed a resolution to freeze aid to Kenya until the election dispute is resolved.

Anti-riot police were engaged in running battles in the city's Mathare, Kibera and Dagoretti areas in an effort to stop ODM supporters from making their way to Uhuru Park, the venue of the rally, which was sealed off by GSU officers.

Calm was reported in other parts of the country as the ODM protest rallies entered a second day.

The party claims its Presidential candidate Raila Odinga won the elections but the polls were rigged in favour of President Kibaki.

Full story from Nationmedia on

ODM to Call Off Protests

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS18 January 2008

Posted to the web 18 January 2008 Nairobi

The Orange Democratic Movement is expected to call off mass action after today’s protests and change strategy in their push for justice over the contested re-election of President Kibaki.

At the same time, sections of the rail line to western Kenya have been destroyed by mobs shouting “No Raila! No Rail” in the third day of demonstrations. Sections of the rail has been removed at Nairobi’s Kibera slums and at Kibos, near Kisumu.

The Reuters news agency has quoted ODM spokesman Salim Lone saying that the protests will end after demonstrations today.

"These last three days have been very painful and we have seen a lot of needless deaths and suffering ... but today is the last day of the protests and we are now going to move on," Mr Lone said.

Kenya's rapid slide into crisis since the December 27 election has dented its democratic credentials, horrified world powers, scared off tourists and hurt one of Africa's most promising economies.

Lone said ODM would switch to other forms of action like small strikes and boycotts of companies run by what he called government hardliners backing Kibaki.

"One of the purposes is to weaken the hardliners and strengthen the moderates," Lone said, mentioning Brookside Dairies, Equity Bank and Citi Hoppa Buses as possible targets.

ODM supporters have fought running battles with police firing teargas and live ammunition since the start of the three-day protests on Wednesday.

The Government has banned rallies called by ODM despite calls from Western nations, including the United States and Britain, for it to allow peaceful protests.

The United States, in a statement late yesterday, blamed both sides of the political divide for the violence.

"That violence springs from the fact that there are clashes because of the political deadlock," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"More than anything else they need to come together for the Kenyan people and for Kenya's future."

Former UN head Kofi Annan is due to lead the latest peace push after African Union talks failed last week. He was set to fly in this week but fell ill with flu. The UN says he is recovering but has given no date for his arrival.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Mr Gerishon Ikiara said five trains taking fuel to Uganda were yesterday halted after the rail line was destroyed at Kibera and Kibos areas following mass demonstrations.

He said transport in various areas was also disrupted. In western Kenya major highways were barricaded.

Full story from Nationmedia on

Observers criticise post poll standards

Publication Date: 1/18/2008

The December 27 General Election failed to meet international standards on human rights and civil liberties, an international observer mission has said.

In its final verdict, the Commonwealth Observer Mission maintains that the election had major flaws which occurred mainly in the post-polling period.

“It is therefore our view that the election process following the closing of the polls fell short of acceptable international standards,” says the group.

The Kenya General Election report says the events that have unfolded since the polling day had eroded the confidence of the Kenyan people. The manner in which the results were announced had raised suspicion and caused widespread mistrust, it states.

Full story from Nationmedia

Kenya's Protests: A Moment of Truth?

By Nick Wadhams/Nairobi
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008

Protesters clashed with police on the second day of what Kenya's opposition leaders had billed as three days of mass action over Kenya's flawed election. The turnout across the country, however, was limited to poor areas and far below what the organizers sought. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who claims he was robbed of the country's presidency in a December 27 vote, said that at least seven people had been killed on Thursday in the western city of Kisumu, a stronghold of his that has seen some of the worst of the post-election violence. Another two were reported killed in the giant Nairobi slum of Mathare.

During a news conference in which he showed television footage of a policeman shooting two protesters, who were later said to have died, Odinga called President Mwai Kibaki's government "a fanatical, crazed group of people who, in their lust for power at any cost, have taken leave of their senses." Odinga said, "The government and the police have turned this country into killing fields of the innocent."

While Odinga displayed evidence of police abuses, it was unclear how many of the people who voted for him were willing to join in his cause. Despite the violence in Nairobi's slums and in Kisumu, a town dominated by Odinga's Luo tribe in the western part of Kenya, most of the workers in the capital carried on with their lives. Across the country, people seemed weary of a crisis that has now lasted for more than two weeks without face-to-face negotiations between Kibaki and Odinga.

In Kibera, a group of women shouted down a man who approached reporters and told them that Kenya would only see peace once Odinga was named President. That reaction may be a bad sign for Odinga because Kibera is a key stronghold for him and the constituency that elected him to parliament.

When he announced the three days of protests, Odinga called on supporters to meet him for a mass rally in Nairobi's Uhuru — or Freedom — Park. On Wednesday, Odinga's chief advisers, known as "The Pentagon," got as far as a few of Nairobi's finer hotels before police with truncheons and shields barred their way to the park. Eventually, they gave up and went home. The main police targets just across from the park were journalists, who were repeatedly tear-gassed and charged by police on horseback.

Government officials have pointed to the low turnout for the days of protest as signs that support for Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement is waning. They have justified their ban on public rallies by claiming that ODM supporters are raping women in Kibera, and that the group's leaders are simply fomenting violence. "They are just waking up at 10 o'clock, eating eggs and sausages, giving interviews and planning how to disrupt people's lives," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told reporters.

Like Odinga, Mutua insists that the government is open to dialogue, and the world will see how far both sides are willing to commit when former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrives in the coming days. Annan had originally planned to arrive on Tuesday night, but postponed his trip when he fell ill with the flu.

While many Kenyans clearly do want to get on with their lives, there are signs that suggest the police are also using firepower to intimidate and harass Odinga's supporters. Odinga, after all, got 4.35 million votes in the election, and one mystery has been that so few of those who cast ballots for him have heeded his call for action. On Thursday, the police allowed only women to leave the Kibera slum, and any man who came too close was threatened with four-foot-long wooden sticks. Many were beaten.

"We are fighting for justice in Kenya," said Roland Peterson, who wore a bright white woolen hat embroidered with a New York Yankees logo, dancing around a flaming barricade in the Kibera slum. "It was peaceful but now they are killing our people, we can't maintain peace while they are killing our people. We ought to fight."

In a clear sign of international displeasure, the United States has said that it will not allow "business as usual" in the East African nation, and several countries including the U.S. have threatened to suspend development aid if Kenya does not address the political crisis. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack criticized both sides for the violence that has killed more than 600 people. "Both sides bear responsibility for the fact that there is still violence. That violence springs from the fact that there are clashes because of the political deadlock," McCormack told reporters. "More than anything else they need to come together for the Kenyan people and for Kenya's future."

Perhaps the most discouraging sign for the protesters came from Odinga himself. On Wednesday, he had scolded reporters when asked if he would risk arrest and march on the park, telling them that he was not afraid and reminding them he had spent nine years in the jails of autocratic President Daniel arap Moi.

Yet on Thursday, the man with a reputation as a fiery, charismatic populist struck a sour note when he told reporters that his advisers had warned him that it was too dangerous to try to march, even though central Nairobi had been quiet.

Asked how he felt not being able to join his supporters, Odinga replied: "I feel great." [interesting]

This is the full story from Google News, Time magazine. See related links at CNN.

Protesters Clash With Police in Kenya and Loot Train

Published: January 18, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — Law and order seem to be steadily deteriorating in some parts of Kenya, like the Kibera slum here in Nairobi, where on Thursday protesters hijacked and looted a freight train bound for Uganda.

Police officers responded by storming the area, and witnesses said officers shot several unarmed civilians.

Residents of Kibera said they had blocked the train tracks, which snake between rows of iron shanties, because nearly three weeks of postelection turbulence had left them with closed stores and dwindling supplies.

“The people are scared,” said Joseph Owira, a barber in Kibera. “There is no food.”

On the second day of a new round of nationwide protests, the situation in Kenya seemed as gloomy as ever, with opposition supporters fighting the police in several cities and Kenya’s political leaders still miles apart. The opposition is protesting the Dec. 27 election, in which President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of a new term by a wafer-thin margin over Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader, who says the election was rigged.

On Thursday, Mr. Odinga held a news conference deploring the tactics used by the police to break up demonstrations, which the government has deemed illegal. Mr. Odinga had called on supporters to hold protests on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. “Police are executing innocent citizens at will while the world watches and talks about dialogue,” Mr. Odinga said. “How do you dialogue with killers?”

Police officials said the only people harmed had been hooligans bent on robbing and looting.

Full story from NY Times.

Kenyans Hope for Quick Conflict Resolution

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
18 January 2008

Clottey Interview With Paul Mbatia
Listen to Clottey Interview With Paul Mbatia

Some Kenyans are reportedly hoping a compromise could soon be reached to end the post-election violence that has plunged the country into a political crisis. This comes after police again fired live bullets yesterday at protesters. Today (Friday) is the last of three nationwide rallies called by the main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to protest the results of the December 27 elections. The opposition has accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging those elections. ODM leader Raila Odinga Thursday accused the police of turning the country into killing fields of the innocent during the opposition’s organized protest marches. The police have denied the charge.
Paul Mbatia is a Kenyan political science professor at the University of Nairobi. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that both the government and the opposition have failed to come to a compromise.
“The latest development is that the stalemate is still on. The ODM and PNU (ruling Party for National Unity) have not come to agree on how to resolve the stalemate. And ODM a few days ago, announced they would have three consecutive days of protest marches in Nairobi, and in other selected towns including Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombassa and many others. Security has been beefed up in all these towns, so eventually we had confrontation between the police and the crowd as the police tried to disperse the crowd. In some places it became very confrontational, and out of that I think about three people died. And that explains why Honorable Odinga was complaining that the police used lie bullets and not the rubber bullets,” Mbatia pointed out.
He said the police used force after they accused the protesters of turning the rallies into violence.
“The media reported that some people died, and that they were shot by the police. It was very clear that in some situations it was very dangerous confrontation because some youths were also stoning the police, but you cannot rule out the fact that at some point the police might have been provoked beyond any patience to actually shoot in defense of themselves or to just chase away the youths who are actually charging on them,” he noted.
Mbatia said although the protesters have a right to march to express their displeasure with the elections results, they should not go about destroying the people’s property.
“We know the law is the law and people have the right to mount a protest march. But again, that has to be done with an assurance that as they do that they don’t interfere with the lives of others, and they also don’t destroy properties of other people,” Mbatia said.
He said it was unfortunate that the recent protests have turned violent.

Full story from Google News, Voice of America

Kenya's Odinga keeps fighting

Long a political rival, he remains determined to lead the nation after losing an election he calls tainted. 'Surrender is not an option,' he says.

By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 18, 2008

NAIROBI, KENYA -- Raila Odinga built a career as a political outsider.

As a young man, he watched as his father, a fighter for independence and Kenya's first vice president, was outmaneuvered by political opponents and eventually jailed. Odinga pursued his own path of dissent, spending much of the 1980s in jail or under house arrest for his alleged role in plotting a 1982 coup. Later, as an outspoken government critic, he masterminded a 2002 opposition coalition that put Mwai Kibaki into the presidency. But their partnership disintegrated, and Odinga found himself locked out of government again.

In an interview Thursday, Odinga said his credentials as an outsider are exactly what Kenya needs and pledged not to abandon his decades-old dream of leading this East African nation."I represent change," the politician said at his party headquarters in the capital, Nairobi, appearing bleary-eyed and tired from fighting a political war that began with the disputed Dec. 27 presidential election. "People voted for me because they want change."

Seven more demonstrators died in clashes with police around the country Thursday, the second day of a three-day "mass action" called by Odinga to protest the election, which he denounces as fraudulent. Odinga said that as many as 500 people had been killed by police during the last three weeks, many shot in the head.

Government officials have defended their handling of postelection riots and ethnic clashes, saying many of those shot were looting or killing innocent people.

Kibaki, who was declared the victor and inaugurated Dec. 30, says the protests are illegal and has called upon Odinga to cancel them. Undeterred, Odinga said he would expand his campaign next week to disrupt the government and economy by calling for boycotts of banks, bus companies, milk factories and other businesses that are supporting the Kibaki administration. He said he also would attempt to organize strikes among sympathetic unions in the hotel and security industries.

Postelection chaos has tarnished Kenya's reputation as a model for African democracy and cost the economy more than $1 billion. Tourism, a key industry, has screeched to a halt.But Odinga scoffed at the notion of giving up his pursuit and spending "another five years sitting outside the fence."

"To say we will surrender is not an option," he said. "It's not for me. It's for this country. It's for prosperity. If we just give up because we are doing things that destroy the economy, then change will never come."

Full story at Google News, LA Times

Kenya Opposition to End Demonstrations, Target Talks, Economy

By Karl Maier and Eric Ombok

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya's opposition plans to end street protests against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election after rallies today and will begin calling for economic boycotts and talks with international mediators, a spokesman said.

Today is the last of three days of demonstrations called by Raila Odinga, leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, to protest the Dec. 27 election that he says Kibaki rigged. Odinga said yesterday police shot dead at least seven demonstrators and that 1,000 people have died in post-election violence.

``This is the end of the demonstration phase and we are now going to target economic boycotts of companies owned by hardliners and to ask unions to strike,'' ODM spokesman Salim Lone said in a phone interview today from Nairobi, the capital.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to arrive in Nairobi on Jan. 20 to begin his bid to mediate a settlement to the crisis, Lone said. The election result sparked clashes, forced 250,000 to flee their homes and exposed tensions among the more than 40 ethnic groups in the previously stable East African nation.

``The protests have shown that the government will use quite brutal force and live rounds to kill protesters,'' Lone said. ``This has quite alarmed the international community and Kenyans themselves.''

Police and ODM supporters clashed yesterday in Nairobi's central business district as well as in the western cities of Kisumu and Eldoret.

The Kenyan Finance Ministry estimates that the violence has cost the economy, East Africa's biggest, about $1 billion.

Mediation Team
Annan's mediation effort will include former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, the wife of South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela. Mkapa and Machel are already in Kenya, the Foreign Ministry said today.

The European Parliament called for freezing of aid payments to Kibaki's government until the political standoff is resolved, in a nonbinding resolution passed yesterday in Strasbourg, France.

Kenya must respect democracy and hold a new election if there is no recount by an independent body, the elected assembly of the 27-nation European Union said in a statement.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said both sides bear responsibility for the violence.

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Post-Election Violence Displaces Over 100,000 Children - Unicef

UN News Service (New York)
NEWS17 January 2008

Posted to the web 18 January 2008

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that at least 100,000 children have been forced to flee their homes due to the wave of violence that swept through Kenya following last month's disputed elections.

The agency said that as many as 75,000 children are now residing in over 100 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), while many thousands more children are believed to be living temporarily with other family members.

Almost 600 people have lost their lives and some 255,000 others displaced during the crisis which began after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in the country's polls late last December.

UNICEF has prioritized the provision of life-saving interventions - including water, sanitation, shelter and nutrition - as well as the protection of children and facilitating their return to school.

In the largest camps in the capital Nairobi and the western towns of Nakuru and Eldoret, the agency has established water and sanitation facilities by providing temporary latrines, water storage tanks, buckets and chlorine. This is expected to help 50,000 people.

Also in Kisumu and Eldoret, UNICEF is sending emergency health supplies to benefit more than 100,000 people.

It is assisting Kenya's Ministry of Health to operate screening centres in camps to identify and treat malnourished children. An emergency polio and measles vaccination programme, de-worming and vitamin A distribution are also underway.

Despite the re-opening of schools, the agency reported that far fewer pupils are attending. It has set up over 30 classroom tents and supplied school-in-a-box kits.

Recreation supplies to cover 7,000 children in camps in Nairobi, Nakuru and Eldoret have been dispatched, while UNICEF expects to send more kits to other badly-hit communities.

Child protection poses great challenges, and the agency has partnered with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to create systems to report abuses and identify at-risk children, with priority being given to reuniting families, establishing safe play areas and protecting girls and women from violence.

Approximately 1,500 treatment kits to prevent HIV infection as a result of rape have been dispatched to Eldoret and other areas.

Yesterday, the UN launched a $42 million appeal to supply food, water, shelter and other priority needs to some 500,000 people over the next six months.

The Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan 2008 includes dozens of projects to be carried out in the coming months to provide key services and supplies which have been identified by 22 aid partners, among them the UN and NGOs, with the participation of the Kenyan Government.

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

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