Saturday, February 2, 2008

More headlines - Late Sat 2/02/2008

Kenya rivals agree on effort to halt strife

President, foe sign pact, but killings go on

By Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post February 2, 2008

NAIROBI - President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday agreed on a plan to end weeks of postelection violence that has brought this East African country to the edge of disaster.

With international pressure mounting, the death toll rising, and the economy in various stages of collapse, the two leaders signed an agenda that includes a pledge to resolve the underlying political crisis within 15 days.

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan has been mediating between the two sides to end fighting that has killed more than 800 people and displaced 300,000 since the disputed Dec. 27 election. At least nine people were killed yesterday.

Annan said the military might have to be deployed to end the bloodshed. "The first [step] is to take immediate action to stop the violence and restore fundamental liberties," he said.

According to a document signed by both sides, the agreement might require "adjustments" to the constitution - suggesting a power-sharing arrangement that would give opposition leader Raila Odinga a new position of prime minister, the Associated Press reported. The two sides had come under international pressure to reach such a deal.

Meanwhile, UN humanitarian officials expressed alarm over the rising number of sexual assaults in the hundreds of informal camps for displaced people that now dot the Kenyan countryside.

"Whatever the motivation, the perpetrators are exploiting the conflict in order to commit sexual violence with impunity," said Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The agreement signed yesterday calls for the disarming of militias accused of ethnically based attacks in western Kenya and the opening of roads that have been blocked by demonstrators. It also requires the government to investigate charges that the police used excessive force.

Odinga's spokesman, Salim Lone, called the deal "a real breakthrough."

"It showed two sides with a vast difference between their position coming together to agree on something that is not central, but things that are very important," he said.

But the political impasse between the two leaders remains.

Odinga has accused Kibaki of rigging the election, a charge bolstered by international observers who have said the tally was so flawed it is impossible to know who won. Odinga has proposed a recount or an interim power-sharing agreement until a new election can be held in one or two years.

Kibaki has rejected any proposal that implies he is not the duly elected president, and he reiterated yesterday that the dispute should be handled in court. Odinga has rejected that idea, saying the courts are stacked with Kibaki loyalists.

According to one source close to the talks, Kibaki's government is beginning to feel pressure from the United Nations, the United States, France, and countries in the region where economies are suffering because of Kenya's troubles. In Uganda, for instance, gasoline now costs $15 a gallon because supply routes through Kenya have been disrupted.

"Absolutely the government is feeling the pressure," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. "The government feels very isolated. The economy is in a free fall."

Mediation is to resume Monday, when the two sides will discuss humanitarian issues. Talks on the most difficult political issues will begin Wednesday.

In neighboring Ethiopia yesterday, Kibaki told leaders at an African summit that "the security situation in the country is under control."

But the violence continued in western Kenya, much of it retaliation for the killing of lawmaker David Kimutai Too on Thursday. Opposition protesters blocked roads in Odinga's stronghold of Kisumu, and police shot and killed a protester.

In Too's hometown, a mob of 3,000 men armed with bows and arrows and machetes killed a police officer. Six people were hacked to death and two were killed with poisoned arrows in a nearby village.

Across the Rift Valley, apparently well-organized militias have been burning houses and villages to drive out people from Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe.

More recently, Kikuyu gangs have begun taking revenge in two western towns, Naivasha and Nakuru, hunting down people from Odinga's Luo tribe, torching houses and hacking or stoning people to death.

As a result, Kenya is increasingly segregated along tribal lines, with Luos and members of other tribes that supported Odinga heading back to their ancestral homeland in western Kenya and Kikuyus moving east toward their homeland in the country's lush, green central region.

Material from the Associated Press was included in this report.
© Copyright

Full story from

More stories:

ODM takes offence at Kibaki’s remarksDaily Nation, Kenya - 4 hours agoODM has accused President Kibaki of undermining the ongoing talks to find a lasting solution to post-election violence in the country. ...

Kenya killings overshadow peace hopesAFP - 4 hours agoNAIROBI (AFP) — Dozens died in clashes in western Kenya, police said Saturday, shattering hopes for an accord by political rivals to make efforts to end ...

High time to lose patience in KenyaGlobe and Mail, Canada - 8 hours agoIn the past few days, a number of outside voices have offered advice on the crisis in Kenya. “We can't just sit by,” said the chairman of the African Union, ...

Several killed as clashes overshadow Kenya peace plansTimes of India, India - 6 hours agoNAIROBI: Dozens more died in renewed clashes in the west of Kenya, police said on Saturday, despite feuding political rivals agreeing the day before to a

Violence follows Kenya peace planBBC News, UK - 11 hours agoMore than 20 people have died in fresh violence in western Kenya, since Friday's agreement by government and opposition on a framework peace plan. ...

Kenyan rivals strike deal to try and stop violenceReuters South Africa, South Africa - 17 hours agoBy Duncan Miriri NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's government and opposition struck an agreement on Friday to take immediate steps to try and end tribal bloodshed ...

Fresh Violence In Kenya Leaves At Least 34 Dead, Disrupts The ...AHN - 9 hours agoNairobi, Kenya (AHN) - The latest clashes in the western region of Kenya on Saturday could hamper the efforts by the country's government and its main ...

From Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper online
ODM takes offence at Kibaki’s remarks ODM has accused President Kibaki of undermining the ongoing talks to find a lasting solution to post-election violence in the country....

Protect activists, says Amnesty Amnesty international wants President Kibaki and Attorney General Amos Wako directly petitioned over threats made to a number of ...

ODM hands UN chief document to back rigging claims The Orange Democratic Movement has presented the UN secretary general with what it calls a dossier containing details of ...

More Pressure Needed to Stop Violence
AfricaFocus (Washington, DC)ANALYSIS1 February 2008 Posted to the web 1 February 2008 Washington, DC

"The deep frustrations that are felt on all sides of the Kenyan divide are understandable. There is no doubt that much more work remains to be done for Kenya to become a more equitable and democratic society. But Kenya has come too far to throw away decades of progress in a storm of violence and political unrest. We must not look back years from now and wonder how and why things were permitted to go so horribly wrong.- Senator Barack Obama, on Kenyan radio, January 29, 2008

The African Union, the United Nations, and foreign donors are joining Kenyan civil society and human rights groups in calling for an end to the violence, laying the blame clearly on political leaders for failing to take decisive action for peace and for tolerating organized violence by militia and hate groups. But after the murders of two opposition members of parliament, talks mediated by Kofi Annan, Gra‡a Machel, and Benjamin Mkapa broke off again this week.

Increasingly, donors are threatening to cut off aid unless the Kenyan government takes action to resolve the crisis. But critics say that time is short, and some, such as Kenyan scholar Ali Mazrui, are suggesting steps such as sanctions against overseas bank accounts of leaders who fail to promote peace. U.S. statements on the crisis have been ambiguous, and critics still suspect Washington of reluctance to put sufficient pressure on its military ally, the Kibabi government.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains several new commentaries from Pambazuka News, the weekly African electronic newsletter. that has been particularly active in focusing attention on the crisis. These commentaries include the most recent statement by Pambazuka editors Firoze Manji and Mukoma Wa Ngugi, both Kenyans; excerpts from a statement by Kenyan women's groups to the international mediators, a speech given on Kenyan radio on January 29 by U.S. presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, and a commentary by Ali Mazrui.

For additional commentaries posted by Pambazuka News, visit and

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Kenya and links to additional news and background, see

Editor's Choice
Recommended Books on Kenya (last updated January 2008)

Kenya Today
B. A. Badejo, Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, 2006.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
Godwin Murunga and Shadrack Nasong'o, Kenya: The Struggle for Democracy, 2007.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Wizard of the Crow, 2007.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)

New Insights from History
David Anderson, Histories of the Hanged: Britain's Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire, 2005.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
Caroline Elkins, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya, 2004.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
Angelique Haugerud, The Culture of Politics in Modern Kenya, 1997.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
Wangari Maathai, Unbowed: A Memoir, 2007.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
E. S. Odhiambo, Mau Mau and Nationhood: Arms, Authority, and Narration, 2003.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
Koigi wa Wamwere, I Refuse to Die: My Journey for Freedom, 2003.
(check prices at Powell's Books or Amazon)
* Support AfricaFocus
* Purchase book No Easy Victories at a discount
The Violence in Kenya Must Stop Now
Firoze Manji and Mukoma Wa Ngugi
Pambazuka News 340, January 29, 2008:
Firoze Manji and Mukoma Wa Ngugi are Pambazuka News editors.

Each people at some point in history are threatened by great social upheaval. It is usually an accumulation of smaller events, seen and ignored, an accumulation of injustices that erupt at that present moment - a delayed consequence from history.

Whether a nation plunges into bloodshed depends on the leadership and whether they have the political imagination to deal with history that has caught up with their present times.
So in the France of the 18th Century, the revolutionary leadership answered the civil war with the guillotine. In Rwanda the answer was the genocidaires machete and the Rwandan Patriotic Front's gun.

In the Congo, at the cost of over six million lives since 1994, the issue has as yet to be settled.

Kenya finds itself in such a decisive moment - the slide to a civil war along ethnic lines is in motion, but it has not yet accelerated to catch with up Rwanda - or indeed Bosnia and Serbia where ethnic 'cleansing' of populations was carried out. But the violence is getting a furious rhythm of revenge and counter revenge.

The small window history had left us, of past cooperation and anticolonial resistance across ethnic lines, is closing fast.

Reports and documents we have received here at Pambazuka News indicate that the Gikuyu community is being galvanized, ostensibly to defend the Gikuyu community. At least two documents are currently circulating in Kenya and amongst the Kenyan diaspora that can be described only as hate literature.

One purporting to be the declaration of 500 supporters of GEMA in the UK incites Kikuyus to provide funds for the 'war'. "if you don't join and register at this crucial time you are of no use to the community," they threaten. Another document, purporting to come from the 'The Thagicu Renaissance Movement' names a host of human rights activists - including the head of the Kenyan National Commission for Human Rights - as 'traitors'.

In their turn, a hate statement of a similar kind has been published by a group calling themselves 'Kalenjin Online' state "We shall defend ourselves and our interests to the bitter end. If they [the Kikuyu] want to bring clashes to Nairobi, they can go ahead. They will regret why they ever started it in the first place. We urge our people to ensure that every family is fully equipped with our normal tools; if we can afford, ferry two warriors from upcountry fully armed and house them until we have this thing sorted out." We have little doubt that similar hate literature from the Luo and other communities is also in circulation.

The intention of such groups is to stir up hatred and raise finances to support the carnage that has been perpetrated by the organized armed militia in several parts of the country. The western media - especially the BBC - has sought to portray this as 'tribal violence', neatly side-stepping the need to assess the political motives of who is behind the armed militia, who benefits from creating a climate of fear and distrust, and who are behind the distribution of the hate literature that is currently circulating from all sides.

But these are not ethnic clashes. These are acts of violence that are perpetrated by those who, devoid of any political solution to the crisis, reach for the ethnic card. But it isn't all Kikuyus, or all Luos or all Kalenjins who have robbed others of their land or carried out massacres on each other. These crimes have been perpetrated by a minority who have reaped the fruits of land grabbing. This is no land reform program, but rather the incitement of hatred for political ends, and to allow a small elite to benefit. The fruits of Uhuru have long been enjoyed by that minority

But in the present crisis, nobody will win - not even the rich who so far have been spared from the bloodshed. But as in all conflicts, it is the poor who will do the killing and the dying.

One would expect leaders worth their people's mandate to be using this space between ethnic killings and a full fledged civil war to provide a clear vision for the way forward and to speak to and beyond their immediate constituencies. But both Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga have hesitated instead of acting decisively, placing their self-interest before that of millions of their constituents.

They have sought to use the crisis to maneuver better positions at the negotiation table. Both have been found wanting. Both claim victory in the presidential elections when it is abundantly clear that no one will ever know what the real result was.

If peace is to be restored, there is an urgent need for the militia to be forcibly disarmed. There is an urgent need for the GSU to be pulled off the streets, and for the police to be restrained from acting judge, jury and executioner with impunity. There is an urgent need to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations. Lifting the ban on live media coverage is vital so that all citizens can know what is happening in the country.

And those responsible for the circulation of materials that incite ethnic hatred and conflict through hate radio; print media or the Internet should be immediately arrested and prosecuted.

If either PNU or ODM were serious about the interests of the citizens of Kenya, these would be their immediate priorities. They would agree to the immediate formation of an interim government that would oversee the return to peace, disarming and bringing to account all those responsible for the crimes and carnage witnessed over the last month. But who will make them do this? Have we reached a level of humiliation that we are to be dependent on an outside force to intervene to sort out our mess?

It is clear that the interests of citizens, whatever their political or other affiliations, are far from the minds of the leadership of PNU or ODM or any other of the 'paper parties'.

Citizens cannot stand by idle waiting for divine inspiration to hit the skulls of the leaders. It is time that the voices of citizens are heard. Are we going to sit watching while the carnage continues? We face a challenge: if our so-called leaders are unable to point the way forward for a solution, then isn't it time that we found a way to discuss, debate and achieve consensus on what future we want? We did so at the Bomas conference. We can do so again.

And that brings us to those many of us citizens in the diaspora - in Europe, USA and elsewhere.

Are we going to add to the carnage by supporting those who have been circulating the kind of hate mail referred to above? Citizens in the diaspora have a critical role to play: we have duty of solidarity for all Kenyans, irrespective of their political beliefs, origins, cultural identity or creed.

Our solidarity has to go out to those who have been injured, who have been evicted from their homes violently or who have fled in fear, to those families who have lost members of their families. We must vociferously oppose those amongst us who are seeking to divide us. Our distance from vortex of the crisis should allow us to think about constructive ways forward that are built on a respect for human dignity and justice for all. We can play a role in bringing peace through justice and truth. Or we can add to the spiral into civil war.

To the international community and media, we say that you need to first and foremost understand that massacres against the Gikuyu, the Luo, the Kalenjin and others are politically motivated and premeditated acts of violence and terror.

We have to name the problem correctly if we are to counter it. Calling the violence 'tribal clashes' only lends credibility to the genocidaires and gives their propaganda mileage. It sends the message to the aggrieved on all sides that there will be, and can be, no justice. It only strengthens the hands those who want to stir ethnic hatred for political ends.

If we are to move ahead, we have to proclaim out loud: WE ARE ALL KENYANS. AND THE FUTURE BELONGS EQUALLY TO ALL OF US!

Women's Memorandum to the Mediation Team
Serena Hotel, Nairobi, January 25, 2008
Kenyan Women's Consultation Group on the Current Crisis in Kenya

Your Excellency Kofi Annan Your Excellency Gra‡a Machel Your Excellency Benjamin Mkapa
[short excerpt with recommendations only. For full text visit]

We thank Your Excellencies for the opportunity to address this forum. We make this presentation on behalf of Kenyan women who have been meeting in Nairobi over the last two weeks. Action Aid International, Vital Voices, UNIFEM, Nairobi Peace Initiative and Urgent Action Fund-Africa have facilitated the consultations. A committee of 11 women present here, represents the larger group.
Recommendations on the resolving the Crisis

Immediate: A political solution backed by force of law that assures the following:
An immediate end to the killings.
A public acknowledgement by both parties that the current crisis was triggered by electoral malpractices in the tallying process that culminated with the announcement of results of the presidential election of December 2007.
An acknowledgement that Kenyans are entitled to know the truth and to seek justice over the issue having participated in the electoral process. The problem (and solution to it) is beyond the two political protagonists. Women as a group constitute 52% of Kenya's population and the majority of voters and those most affected by the current crisis.
An independent investigation into the trigger event to establish the truth of what happened: the outcome of which should be tailored to establishing a political solution to the current impasse and restoring public confidence in Kenya's institutions of democracy.

Any agreement should be backed by force of law and ensure women's participation as key actors.

Immediate reinstatement of constitutional freedoms - the right to assemble, right to worship, right of media to broadcast live events. Citizens have a right to assert their constitutional rights without hindrance.
Cessation of violence against civilians by the police, militia and others.
Immediate cessation of hate propaganda currently on all media (by Legislation or administrative action).

Resettlement: should take account of the special needs of women and children displaced by the violence. State should provide security for the civilian population.
End to impunity for violations of human rights (by all parties) by investigating crimes that are being committed and prosecuting perpetrators.

Strengthening of institutions that support democratic constitutional governance (The Electoral Commission, the Judiciary, the Anti Corruption agencies and Parliament). This can be done through immediate legislative reform pending comprehensive constitutional reform.

Medium and long term - Nation Building
Women acknowledge that they must embark on a process of Nation building for sustainable peace to be achieved. Important mid-term solutions include the following: The times call for Women of Kenya call for transformative leadership at this time that brings values and ethics to the management of public affairs
A minimum constitutional settlement and reform that would ensure an urgent reform of institutions that support a constitutional democracy grounded on sound legal framework followed by ;

Comprehensive Constitutional Reform that would ensure equitable distribution of national resources, gender equality, affirmative action, equal rights for minorities and persons with disabilities including rights political participation. .
Transitional Justice mechanisms that deal with the question of historical injustices that include gross human rights violations, massacre, assassinations, economic crimes and corruption , ethnic and political clashes .establishment a historical record, confronting and gaining truth about past injustices, creating accountability for human rights violations and ultimately reconciling Kenyan communities.

Finalisation and adoption of the Peace and Conflict Prevention Policy.
Peace education for prejudice reduction in primary schools.

Recommendations for the Process
That there should be a mechanism for accountability by the mediation team to Kenyan women on the progress of the mediation.
Such mechanism could be spelt out in a public mediation agreement.
That there should be continued engagement with women as key stakeholders in all stages of the mediation.
That a local gender advisor be appointed to provide the necessary expertise to the team of mediators. There is sufficient expertise within the women's movement in Kenya in the fields of gender, children's rights, women's rights, and peace and conflict transformation. - Political parties should have women represented on their teams in keeping with the enabling instruments. - That the mediation continues until such time as peace is restored in Kenya.

This statement is presented and signed by the Committee Nominated by the Women's Organisations 25th January 2008 (For a List of women attending the Women's consultations over the last three weeks, please contact Pambazuka News).

1 Florence Mpaayei -- Nairobi Peace Initiative - Africa
2 Atsango Chesoni -- Member ODM and Consultant, Human Rights
3 Njeri Kabeberi -- Center for Multi Party democracy
4 Mildred Ngesa---Association of Media Women of Kenya
5 Margaret Shava-- International Alert
6 Catherine Mumma --Consultant, Human Rights & Governance
7 Kaari Betty Murungi --Urgent Action Fund-Africa
8 Saida Ali --Young Women's Leadership Institute
9 Rukia Subow --Maendeleo ya Wanawake
10 Josephine Ojiambo - Member of PNU's National Coordinating Committee
11 Margaret Hutchinson --Education Centre for Women in Democracy

Statement by Senator Barack Obama,
29 January 2008
* Sen. Barack Obama delivered this statement on Capital-FM ( at 7:45 a.m. January 29, 2008

Thank you for having me on your show this morning.
I have been following the situation in Kenya closely, and I am deeply concerned by the news and photographs I have seen. I want you to know that my thoughts and prayers - and those of my family - are with all of the victims of the violence, and with all Kenyans who have been displaced from their homes.

Urgent action must be taken to stop this spiral of violence, and to help resolve the current political crisis. Kenya has long been known as a multi-ethnic society. The steps you have taken toward multi-party democracy in recent years have set a proud example for east Africa.

I have personally been touched by your generous, democratic spirit through my ties to my own family, and during my travels to Kenya - most recently as a United States Senator in 2006. This Kenyan spirit rises above ethnic groups or political parties, and was on display in Kenya's recent election, when you turned out to vote in record numbers, and in a peaceful and orderly way.

But recent troubling events in Kenya bear no resemblance to the Kenya I know and carry with me. The senseless and tragic violence poses an urgent and dangerous threat to Kenyans, Kenyan democracy, and stability and economic development in a vital region.

Most troubling are new indications that the violence is being organized, planned and coordinated.
Clearly, Kenya has reached a defining moment. There is no doubt that there were serious flaws in the vote tabulation. There is also no doubt that actions taken by both sides in the aftermath of the election have deepened the political impasse.

Now is not the time to throw Kenyan democracy and national unity away. Now is the time for all parties to renounce violence.

Now is the time for Kenya's leaders to rise above party affiliation and past divisions for the sake of peace. President Kibaki, Raila Odinga, and all of Kenya's leaders - political, civic, business, and religious -- have a responsibility to calm tensions, to come together unconditionally, and to pursue a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them.

This crisis and terrible violence must end. A negotiated solution must be peaceful and political, and should take account of past failures and prevent future conflict.

The rule of law and the rights of the Kenyan people - including freedom of the media and the freedom of peaceful assembly - must be restored.

Recent efforts by African Eminent Persons, like Kofi Annan, have yielded very modest progress, and there is no reason President Kibaki and Mr. Odinga should refuse to sit down unconditionally. To refuse to do so ignores the will of Kenyans and the urging of the united international community. While only Kenyans can resolve this crisis, I urge you to welcome the assistance of your concerned friends in working through this difficult time.

The deep frustrations that are felt on all sides of the Kenyan divide are understandable. There is no doubt that much more work remains to be done for Kenya to become a more equitable and democratic society.

But Kenya has come too far to throw away decades of progress in a storm of violence and political unrest. We must not look back years from now and wonder how and why things were permitted to go so horribly wrong. Kenya, its African friends, and the United States must now be determined pursuers of peace - and this determined pursuit must start today with individual

Kenyans refusing to resort to violence, and Kenyan leaders accepting thei responsibility to turn away from confrontation by coming together.

Kenya's long democratic journey has at times been difficult. But at critical moments, Kenyans have chosen unity and progress over division and disaster. The way forward is not through violence. To all of Kenya's people, I urge you to renounce the violence that is tearing your great country apart and deepening suffering. I urge you to follow a path of peace.

Is Kenya Heading Toward a Civil War?
Ali Mazrui and David Ohito

* Ali Mazrui is Director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, Binghamton University, State University of New York at Binghamton, New York, USA and Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Thika and Nairobi Kenya.

* David Ohito is a Senior Reporter THE STANDARD Nairobi, Kenya

In a question and answer letter, Ali Mazrui and David Ohito grapple with the question of whether Kenya is heading toward a civil war.

Dear Prof Mazrui,

The latest wave of violence is threatening the country. In Nakuru the problem of ethic violence has emerged. Kikuyus are being attacked over land issues as historical injustices become the new phase of protest.

Kibaki insists he was duly elected and sworn in and any election dispute should go to court as spelled out in the Constitution.

Raila Odinga insists he is not going to a court full of Kibaki's appointees. The formula to a peaceful resolution remains elusive.

what is your take on this?

I agree with your predictions that many African Heads of States may have saved their countries from civil war.

In Your opinion how far do you think will the International community wait before serious intervention other than mere statements? Is it good to impose sanctions economic, travel bans to Kenya?

Are there any options the West, US, EU, UK, and even Asia can take to help save Kenya from being a failed state?

Kofi Annan watched and acted too little too late as Rwanda degenerated into genocide. There was little international intervention. He himself later said he acted too slow too late while he was UN Secretary General. Is history repeating itself here? Can Kofi Annan recommend faster options to salvage Kenya?

Would you consider giving your proposals to Kofi Annan for a way forward and what would those options for a solution be?

Give any remarks that would help hold Kenya together without degenerating into genocide or civil strife.

Thank you.
David Ohito

Dear Ndugu Ohito:
In answer to your questions, I have lived long enough to know how civil wars begin in developing countries. I never expected there would be a civil war in Northern Uganda which would last twenty years, and unleash untold suffering and brutality. It has still not fully ended.

When the Sudanese civil war was ending in the South, who would have predicted another civil war in Darfur? Ethiopia has had a variety of civil conflicts, the latest involving ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden. The brutalities of the Sierra Leonean civil war took everybody by surprise.

Can such a bloody breakdown happen in Kenya? I am beginning to be truly fearful. What was once unthinkable is no longer inconceivable. While north of the Sahara the triggers of conflict are often religious, south of the Sahara they tend to combine ethnicity, power rivalry and economic deprivation.

As soon as casualties of a conflict reach a thousand dead, several thousand injured and at least a hundred thousand displaced, speedy action is needed to contain the explosion. A mini-civil war could be in the making. Kenyans and the international community cannot afford to be complacent.

Representatives of the African Union, the European Union, the United States, religious bodies, former African Heads of State, and Kofi Annan have approached the two sides of the Kenya conflict in terms of persuasion and the quest for a compromise. We now need more pressure and threats from the international community.

Initially the threats should be targeted at the elite, rather than the general population.

Withholding economic aid would hurt the wider population, but suspending Kenya's membership of the African Union and the Commonwealth would deprive us of credentials to sit at the summit meetings, or meetings of foreign ministers, of such international organizations. Specific members of both the government and the opposition could be deprived of Visas to the western world if they are identified as extremists against the search for solutions.

Many members of the Kenyan elite also have Bank accounts abroad.

The international community could threaten to freeze such bank accounts if there is no effort to solve the Kenya crisis.

Normally, the international community does not try to intervene in Africa until the problem is truly catastrophic. That has been the situation in Congo-Kinshasa, in Rwanda, Darfur and in Somalia.

Kenya is a situation of trying to prevent a crisis from becoming a catastrophe. There is still time - but not a lot of time to avert an explosion.

Kofi Annan is trying his best, but he needs help in the form of massive political pressure on both sides. If mediation is not working, it may be time to threaten specific international sanctions, beginning with elite-focused threats of consequences.

What is at stake is not just the political stability of Kenya. It is also the economic viability of Eastern Africa as a whole.

Kenya's economy has vibrations of region-wide consequences. How can we avert a region-wide catastrophe?

We are still far from a civil war. But our leaders should start discussing how to secure our borders against gun-running and importation of weapons. The border with Somalia especially needs to be secured, but without keeping out Somali refugees. Our leaders may also have to consider whether or not it is time to seek international help for peacekeeping in the Rift Valley.

The situation is grave. Have we declared a state of emergency in the Rift Valley?

Yours sincerely, Ali A. Mazrui

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More Headlines - Sat 2/02/2008

Violence follows Kenya peace plan

More than 20 people have died in fresh violence in western Kenya, since Friday's agreement by government and opposition on a framework peace plan.

Some were killed by police, others were hacked to death by gangs or shot with poisoned arrows.

A church was burnt down by youths near the Rift Valley town of Eldoret.

The deal between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga aims to end bloodshed in the aftermath of December's disputed elections.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the rival parties had agreed a four-point framework for talks which should end the violence within the next two weeks.

But the BBC's Matt Prodger in Nairobi says so far there is little sign that Mr Annan's optimism is having much effect in the streets.

Slums on fire

Let Annan do his bit but there's going to be no resolution - the clashes will continue
Youth in Kericho

Further clashes were reported in the western Nyanza province and in Anaimoi, a trading post in the Rift Valley's Kericho district, where opposition MP David Too was shot dead by a policeman on Thursday.

In Kericho itself, mobs set fire to slum dwellings inhabited by members of Mr Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, Reuters news agency reported.

"Let Annan do his bit but there's going to be no resolution. The clashes will continue," a youth manning a roadblock near the town, who gave his name as Lefty, told the agency.

Near Eldoret, youths set fire to the Great Harvest Evangelical Church. Two people inside at the time are thought to have escaped.

'Ethnic cleansing'
The violence came as Mr Odinga, who leads the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), responded to Mr Kibaki's suggestion that the opposition should challenge the election result in court.

"Mr Kibaki... is undermining the [peace] process by saying the problems in Kenya can be resolved locally by court action," he said.

The ODM leader says the election was rigged and believes the courts are biased towards Mr Kibaki.

Mr Odinga also denied claims that the ODM had instigated the violence.

"[Kibaki] is trying to cover up the ethnic cleansing that is occurring in his own backyard in central Kenya," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/02 15:48:56 GMT

Google News Alert for: Kenya

Dozens dead as clashes overshadow Kenya peace plans
AFP - NAIROBI (AFP) — The latest clashes in western Kenya have left dozens dead, police said Saturday, a day after the feuding political sides agreed to a ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya leaders talk peace but violence doesn't stop
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South AfricaBy David Lewis KERICHO, Kenya, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Youths burned hundreds of homes in a town in Kenya's Rift Valley on Saturday, sending residents fleeing ...See all stories on this topic

27 killed in fresh western Kenya clashes -- police - PhilippinesNAIROBI, Kenya – Twenty-seven people have been killed in fresh violence in western Kenya, police said Saturday, bringing the toll in the past 24 hours to 37 ...See all stories on this topic

African summit blighted by violence in Chad, Kenya
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South AfricaA three-day meeting of the pan-African body was dominated first by Kenya's month-long crisis, in which nearly 900 people have been killed, and then by the ...See all stories on this topic

Scores dead after Kenya peace plan
Radio Netherlands - NetherlandsNairobi - Fresh violence in Western Kenya has claimed more than 40 lives over the past 24 hours. Most of the victims were killed in ethnic fighting. ...See all stories on this topic

Tourists endangered species in violent Kenya
Reuters India - Mumbai,IndiaBy David Lewis NAIVASHA, Kenya (Reuters) - Gilbert Korir has spent the last two years learning to rattle off bird species ranging from pelicans and ...See all stories on this topic

Mercy Corps on hand in Kenya emergency
Scotsman - United KingdomEMERGENCY workers from a city charity have travelled to Kenya to help people caught up in violence sweeping the country. An emergency team from global ...See all stories on this topic

Park Ridge Peace Corps volunteer forced to end Kenya work
Chicago Tribune - United StatesBy Robert Channick Special to the Tribune February 2, 2008 Continuing violence in Kenya has forced a Peace Corps volunteer from Park Ridge to end a ...See all stories on this topic

This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google

Today's Headlines - Sat 2/02/2008

...Kenya has long been an explosion waiting to happen.
Its economy may be growing fast (by more than 6% last year), but the fruits of development have not been equally shared.
Nearly 60% of the population live in absolute poverty (on $2 a day or less), many [over 1 million] in squalid shanty towns, like Nairobi's Kibera district, Africa's largest slum.
from Guardian analysis (#10)

1- Kenya leaders talk peace but violence doesn't stop - Reuters
2 - Kenyan parties 'agree peace plan' - BBC
3 - UN Boss Asks Leaders to End Killings - Nation
4 - Shooting of second Kenyan MP leads to wave of revenge killings - Guardian
5 - Thousands Risk Losing Jobs If Violence Continues - Nation
6 - Traffic Officer in Court Over Killing of Ainamoi MP - Nation
7 - Army Using Excessive Force in Eldoret - EA Standard
8 - Mob Breaks Into Armoury, Steals Guns And Kills Officer - EA Standard
9 - Insecurity Leaves Crops Rotting - UN's IRIN
10 - What's going on in Kenya? - Guardian [analysis]
11 - Kenyan Talks Resume After Second Killing - NPR
12 - Weighing International Aid for Kenya - NPR

See also Google News headlines and links at end.

1- Kenya leaders talk peace but violence doesn't stop

Sat 2 Feb 2008, 11:10 GMT
(Recasts with homes burned, previous ELDORET)
By David Lewis

KERICHO, Kenya, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Youths burned hundreds of homes in a town in Kenya's Rift Valley on Saturday, sending residents fleeing with all they could carry, despite an agreement between feuding politicians to end weeks of bloodshed.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan brokered a deal between Kenya's rival parties on Friday to take immediate steps to end post-election violence which has killed nearly 900 people and displaced more than a quarter of a million.

But on Saturday, huge flames soared over slum dwellings in the Rift Valley town of Kericho.

Residents dragged out mattresses, cupboards, suitcases and pots and pans, piling them onto carts as they tried to escape the unrest.

"They say these buildings belong to a Kikuyu so they are burning them to tell them to go away," said Victor Kemboi, one Kericho resident, as shacks smouldered behind him.

Riots, clashes with security forces and ethnic reprisals broke out after President Mwai Kibaki was returned to power in a Dec. 27 poll which his rival Raila Odinga says was rigged.

The conflict, which has often pitted Kibaki's Kikuyu ethnic group against other tribes supporting Odinga, has tarnished the image of a nation long seen as one of Africa's more stable and with one of the continent's most promising economies.

It has gone beyond a simple election dispute, taking the lid off decades-old divisions between tribal groupings over land, wealth and power, dating from British colonial rule and stoked by Kenyan politicians during 44 years of independence.

Some Kenyans fear that even if their feuding politicians strike a power-sharing deal, they will struggle to control ethnic tensions which have taken on a momentum of their own.

"Let Annan do his bit but there's going to be no resolution. The clashes will continue," said one youth who gave his name as Lefty, manning a roadblock near the Rift Valley town of Kericho where police opened fire to disperse protesters on Friday.

Near the town of Eldoret further north, a mob surrounded the Great Harvest Evangelical Church, where at least two people were sheltering, and burned it to the ground. A witness said those inside managed to escape unharmed.

"I don't know who it was, but they broke the gate and came in. The pastor's a Kikuyu, the plot belongs to a Kikuyu. Maybe that has something to do with it," said Peter Kaguru, charred beams and bricks smouldering behind him.

On the road between Kericho and Kisii to the west, clashes broke out late on Friday between gangs representing the Kisii and Kalenjin tribes, witnesses said.

They said the violence was a reaction to the shooting of opposition legislator David Kimutai Too, a Kalenjin who was killed in Eldoret on Thursday by a Kisii traffic policeman.

Police called it crime of passion but the opposition said it was a political assassination. He was the second opposition deputy killed this week.

As well as pledging to stop the violence, the parties agreed on Friday to discuss delivering humanitarian aid to refugees and to find a way to tackle the political impasse, hoping this would happen within 15 days of talks starting on Jan. 29.

Pressure on the two sides to reach a deal is intense both from within Kenya and from the international community.

"Both parties now face a historic responsibility: choose dialogue or bear responsibility for a political and human catastrophe," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a statement this week.

(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Tim Cocks)
© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Full story from Reuters

2 - Kenyan parties 'agree peace plan'

Kenya's feuding leaders have agreed on a plan to end the political and ethnic violence gripping the country, former UN chief Kofi Annan has said.

"We have agreed an agenda covering both short-term issues and also long-term issues," Mr Annan said.

The deal was agreed by representatives of both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The announcement came after fresh outbreaks of fighting left at least 18 people dead in the west of the country.

Mr Annan said the rival parties had agreed a four-point framework for talks which should end the violence within the next two weeks.

The BBC's Adam Mynott in Nairobi says the deal is a good start which should have an impact on the level of violence on the ground.

People from the whole village attacked the policeman and killed him
Police commander Walter Aliwa

But the two parties were still very, very far apart, he says, with President Kibaki saying he won December's disputed presidential election fair and square, and Mr Odinga claiming it was rigged.

Hate messages
The talks are due to last a month and items on the agenda include:

  1. ending the violence
  2. humanitarian situation
  3. resolving the political crisis
  4. land and historical injustices
"We believe within seven to 15 days, we should be able to tackle the first three agenda items," Mr Annan said.

"The first is to take immediate action to stop the violence."

Mr Annan said the parties had agreed on 18 action points to end the violence, including demobilising militia gangs, refraining from provocative speeches and ending text messages which have been inciting hatred.

His announcement followed a visit by his successor, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who called on all sides in Kenya to stop the violence.

But there have been further reports of bloodshed, rioting and fighting in parts of the Rift Valley.

Police say a 3,000-strong mob armed with bows and arrows, spears, clubs and machetes, killed at least 10 people, including a policeman, in western Kenya.

The incident took place in Anaimoi, a trading post in the Kericho district of western Kenya.

"People from the whole village attacked the policeman and killed him," says police commander Walter Aliwa.

The area's MP David Too was shot dead by a policeman on Thursday.

Police say the killing was the result of a domestic dispute but the opposition say he was assassinated.

In a separate incident, eight people were poisoned and hacked to death in an apparent revenge attack for the MP's killing.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/02/01 19:57:19 GMT

3 - UN Boss Asks Leaders to End Killings

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS2 February 2008 Posted to the web 2 February 2008 Nairobi

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Nairobi Friday and made an appeal to President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to put aside their personal interests and bring an end to the post-election violence.

In a further sign that Kenya's presidential poll crisis was now attracting the attention of almost all major international organisations, Mr Ban said: "The people and leaders of Kenya, particularly political leaders, have the duty, and the responsibility, to wake up and reverse this tragic path before it escalates into the horrors of mass killings and devastation we have witnessed in recent history."

He added: "This is a message I brought with me from the African leaders I met yesterday at the AU Summit and from all other concerned world leaders as well as the UN Security Council."

Current President
France, the current President of the European Union, has appealed to the UN Security Council to help stop the violence.

A British Foreign Office minister said that troops may need to be deployed on to the streets in Kenya before political stability can be restored.

Lord Malloch-Brown, who visited Kenya recently, suggested the police were no longer trusted after the killings of two opposition MPs.

Warning that the crisis over Kenya's disputed December 27 elections was spilling over into the wider region, the minister said there was "real alarm" at an African Union summit he is attending in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

"Everybody recognises that Kenya was a poster-boy for the continent as a whole with its economic success and apparent peace," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "So everybody is very concerned."

Lord Malloch-Brown said there was much pressure being exerted on President Kibaki to enter talks with Mr Odinga. "Wherever the two leaders look they are going to see a united international community saying sit down and deal with each other and stop this before your country spirals out of control," he said.

France's Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner expressed fear that the country was being allowed to slide into a "deadly ethnic conflict".

At the same time, the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr Ross Hynes, announced that his country would be reluctant to issue visas to Kenya government officials to travel to Canada.

Mr Hynes also said that funding for development projects would be reviewed if a solution to the current crisis was not found.

And the Australian minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Stephen Smith, said his country will limit contact with Kenya's Cabinet ministers in Nairobi "in any situation that may imply support".

He added: "We will also keep under review our development assistance programme provided to Kenya under our African regional programme. In 2006-2007, this assistance was worth US$7.2 million."

The dispute involves claims by ODM that its leader, Mr Odinga was robbed of victory in the presidential race, through flawed tallying and the party has refused to recognise President Kibaki's re-election.

The President's party, PNU, on the other hand, insists that Mr Kibaki was validly elected and any disputes should be taken to the courts.

More than 850 people have been killed in violence which erupted after the results were announced and another 400,000 displaced.

A team of African Union mediators, under former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is chairing mediation talks between PNU and ODM.

Addressing an international press conference in Nairobi Friday, Mr Ban said: "I am encouraged by the constructive spirit that has prevailed throughout my discussions so far. I call on the negotiating teams to persevere and show the courage, vision and leadership to expeditiously find a just and peaceful solution."

He called on the government and ODM teams involved in the talks to expeditiously find a lasting solution to the problems affecting the country.

"The killings must stop, violence must end for the sake of the Kenyan people and the country. This is the message I brought to you from the African Union summit and other concerned world leaders including the UN," he said.

"I am here today first to express my solidarity with the Kenyan people. I am extremely concerned and saddened by the level of civil strife yet unabated in this country. It has led to an intolerable level of deaths, destruction, displacement and suffering. This is unacceptable. It has to stop."

The humanitarian crisis being witnessed is unprecedented in Kenya, he added. Men, women, children, the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people have been uprooted, lost their property, their livelihood and are living in fear.

He added: "This is the appeal I made to His Excellency Mr Mwai Kibaki when I met him yesterday (Thursday) at the African Union Summit and to the Honourable Raila Odinga when we discussed the situation this morning (Friday) here in Nairobi. I also appealed today to the negotiators whom I met earlier with my predecessor, former Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan."

He appealed to members of Kenyan civil society working for peace: The killing must stop, the violence must end for the sake of the Kenyan people, for the sake of Kenya.

Historic grievances
The political crisis has evidently unleashed historic grievances which have led to a spiral of violence, displacement, revenge and renewed displacement, said Mr Ban.

"I am also here to assess the humanitarian situation and the support provided by the United Nations family to the people of Kenya in this difficult time, and to reaffirm, loud and clear, that this support will continue," he said.

Mr Ban said it had been difficult for the people of Kenya, the UN country team and the NGOs trying to provide assistance.

"They have backed the Government of Kenya's response and the rapid intervention by the Kenyan Red Cross Society which has spearheaded the relief efforts, saving lives and alleviating human suffering where-ever it is found, Mr Ban said.

The volatile security situation is making it increasingly difficult for aid agencies to operate. "We call on all parties involved in the crisis to spare no effort to ensure the secure and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all people affected.

"Over the decades since independence, Kenya has shown itself capable of remarkable things.

The Kenyan people have impressed and inspired the world in the stability and the progress they have achieved.

"I appeal to all political leaders to look beyond the individual or partisan interests, look at the common interest for the brighter future of all Kenyans," he said.

Mr Ban added: "Today, I have come to appeal to Kenyan leaders to inspire the world yet again, by resolving differences peacefully and resuming the serious work of building a future for all Kenya's children."

However, as Mr Ban spoke in Nairobi, killings and chaos continued in Kericho, the home town of MP David Kimutai Too, who was shot dead by a traffic police officer together with another police officer Eunice Chepkwony in what was described by police as "a crime of passion" but disputed by ODM who described the incident as a political assassination.

An administration police officer was among six people killed in the violence which erupted when a mob raided the armoury of a police post and took away four rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition.

General Service Unit personnel, regular and administration police were deployed to the area to recover the arms.

Violence also erupted on the Borabu- Bomet boundary.

Transport to and from western Kenya was virtually paralysed after vandals destroyed 11 sections of the railway line leading to the area, and major commuter bus companies suspended operations to the region.

The move puts at risk supply of food from the country's bread basket in parts of Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western provinces.

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4 - Shooting of second Kenyan MP leads to wave of revenge killings

Roxanne Escobales & Agencies in Nairobi
Saturday February 2, 2008
The Guardian

At least nine people were killed in western Kenya yesterday in revenge attacks over the shooting of an opposition MP, officials said yesterday, despite a call from the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, for an end to the violence.

A mob of 3,000 people armed with bows, arrows, spears and machetes lynched a police officer in the Rift Valley village of the MP who was shot by a policeman. In a second village, six people were hacked to death and two killed with poisoned arrows, according to witnesses. A local official said Kalenjin people were killing Kisii people, who are blamed for the MP's death because they are considered government allies.

The lynched officer was accused of wounding a civilian when police opened fire on protesters after news that the MP, David Kimutai Too - the second opposition legislator to be killed in a week - had been shot by another officer. "The police officer injured three attackers before he was overpowered and lynched on the spot," said a police commander, Peter Aliwa.

Ban, who arrived in Nairobi yesterday from an African Union summit in Ethiopia to lend support to his predecessor Kofi Annan, told both sides: "The killing must stop. You have lost already too much in terms of national image, economic interest, you lost many tourists ... This is unfortunate for a country that has been enjoying freedom and stability."

Annan opened mediation talks this week between the Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, but they were suspended after Too's death. At the African Union summit, Kibaki welcomed the mediation effort but suggested the opposition should take its grievances to the courts: "The judiciary in Kenya has over the years arbitrated electoral disputes, and the current one should not be an exception."

Opposition leaders say the courts are loaded with Kibaki's allies and proceedings move so slowly it could take months or years to reach a conclusion.

Full story from Guardian (UK),,2251259,00.html

5 - Thousands Risk Losing Jobs If Violence Continues

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS2 February 2008 Posted to the web 2 February 2008
By Samwel Kumba

More than 500,000 workers could be rendered jobless in the next few days if the violence going on in many parts of the country does not stop, employers have warned.

Some have already been laid off from companies that have either closed, especially hotels in Mombasa, or minimised their operations.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has been conducting a survey to establish the extent of jobs losses and the cost involved.

The federation confirmed to the Saturday Nation that already over 1,000 companies have warned that they may declare redundancies. But that is just the beginning.

"This is only based on institutions that have responded but there are others that have not responded to our survey. And these figures are based on the assumption that violence was to end last week," explains FKE chief executive officer Jacqueline Mugo.

She said that, as at last week, federation members were cumulatively reporting losses to the tune of Sh230 billion.

"This is an average and each day the figure keeps rising. The average is taken from a few sectors including tourism, agriculture and floriculture. The more the situation prolongs, the more things get worse," says Ms Mugo.

On Thursday, about 600 workers from the Easy Coach bus company were declared redundant.

But the company says they will remain on the payroll as the situation is being monitored.

A similar situation has been reported at Kenya Airways where the CEO, Mr Titus Naikuni, confirmed that they are sending employees on paid leave. "We are not retrenching or forcibly sending anybody away. We are asking those whose services are not needed now to go on paid leave as we assess the situation," said Mr Naikuni.

Impact of the violence
The impact of the violence that has rocked the country since the disputed presidential election on December 27 is just catching up with more unsuspecting Kenyans, exacerbating what has, for a long time, been one of the country's catastrophes - unemployment.

In the meantime FKE and the Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) are urging for a speedy and amicable solution through the ongoing mediation talks lest the situation gets out of hand.

"Revenue loss is pushing these players to lay off staff. It is about the bottom line. I understand the fact that in the last month they have had more cancellations than booking which, normally flood in at such a time of the year. However, we are talking to them to send their staffs on leave pending the return of normalcy. Some are heeding to our advice," Mrs Mugo says.

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli shares similar sentiments.

"We have agreed with a number of institutions that layoff is not necessarily the best way forward. What we are experiencing in Kenya is not permanent. The situation would soon return to normal. We are therefore urging them to send their staff on leave," says Mr Atwoli.

Those interviewed have viewed the developments as a recipe for another crisis, unemployment, as attempt to resolve the political standoff kicked off in earnest last week. If a solution is not found, nobody could do much to help the situation.

In fact FKE and COTU recognise that it is at the discretion of the individual companies, upon informing the labour offices and federation as well as COTU offices, to justify any layoffs from a financial standing.

Ms Mugo says, the latest violence in Naivasha and Nakuru added to the number of possible layoffs especially from the horticultural sector.

"We are receiving more figures and I can confirm they are coming in big numbers. Companies based in Naivasha alone have given us a figure of 100,000. Most of them are not operating to the optimum especially those in the flower sector. This has affected other related sub-sectors including those that supply the flower sector," explained Mrs Mugo.

She indicated that the hotel industry alone wanted to layoff about 50,000 from the notifications received from institutions seeking the federation's advice.

The FKE boss said the figures were only for the formal sector. The informal sector is the worst hit, with more than half a million job losses so far.

"Take for instance the transport sector. When buses are burnt, those are jobs lost. The same has happened to a number of businesses which have been razed down. It is a crisis currently," Mrs Mugo said.

Only last week five Easy Coach Company buses were burnt in Kericho forcing the firm to suspend operations.

Mr Atwoli said if the violence was not stopped forthwith, the country was headed to an irrevocable economic doom, destroying 40 years of hard work.

"Normalcy is needed very urgently before we face a crisis we might not be able to solve. A situation where workers are sent away because they belong in a certain ethnic community does not add up. That is taking Kenya to high levels of lawlessness," says Mr Atwoli.

The Cotu says the union has a gentleman's agreement with the employers not to lay off staff but to send them on leave with the hope that the situation would improve sooner than later.

Indeed the Managing Director, East Africa Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Sean Billing, confirms that they are also sending employees on leave.

"We have been sending our colleagues off on paid leaves, allowing individuals to use accrued holidays and future leave, in the hopes that we will see a quick return to normal conditions," Billing told Saturday Nation.

The MD regrets that people have been directly affected by the unrest in the country, saying that the situation, unfortunately, does not seem to be calming down.

"It is our greatest hope that peace could be restored since that has been the hallmark of this country. The prolonged uncertainty of the crisis has forced us to evaluate all options in order to secure the success of the organisation," Billing says.

And fearing that the situation might be fast slipping out of hand, the CEO of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) Mike Macharia has also indicated that most other members are closely monitoring the developments.

He says, apart from the hotels that had closed operations especially in Malindi, the rest were braving on. But for how long?

Continue operations
"We are holding a meeting on Tuesday next week to evaluate the current status and discuss the way forward. Of course if the violence continues, it would prove difficult for most of the hotels to continue operations," Mr Macharia says.

And the acting chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Mr Steve Smith, says although there have been no significant layoffs from the manufacturing sector the firms have had to face the challenges of the crisis.

Smith says most companies have had to reduce their schedules where workers serve minimum hours adding that they have suspended hiring of casual labourers as they evaluate the situation.

"Some manufacturers have had their staff displaced with their houses burnt and have nowhere to go. We are either accommodating them within the factories or take them to displacement camps in which case they would not be coming to work," he says.

Smith is also the chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

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6 - Traffic Officer in Court Over Killing of Ainamoi MP

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS2 February 2008 Posted to the web 2 February 2008

A traffic police officer who allegedly shot dead Ainamoi member of Parliament David Kimutai Too and a female colleague was Friday arraigned before a Nakuru court.

Constable Andrew Mauche, 35, however did not appear before the High Court to plead to murder charges. He was whisked away by CID officers into senior resident magistrate Teresia Matheka's chambers where a charge and cautionary statement was read out to him.

Armed police officers and CID detectives had a hectic time clearing the public and journalists who jammed the entrance to the chambers.

In an unprecedented move, journalists were locked out of the chambers as Ms Matheka read out the charge and cautionary statement in the high-profile murder case that has also attracted international attention.

Defence counsel Julius Ombati, George Mboga and Evans Juma Matunda said the suspect had informed the court that he was not aware that police intended to file murder charges against him.

Mr Matunda said the magistrate had ordered the suspect be remanded in police custody pending his arraignment in the High Court where he is expected to take the plea within 14 days.

"We are expecting that the murder trial will be conducted before the High Court sitting in Nakuru unless police decide to transfer him elsewhere. When the charge and cautionary statement was read out to our client he said that he was unaware that police intended to charge him with murder and had nothing further to say," stated Mr Matunda.

Mr Mauche, who was wearing a white shirt and black trousers, looked composed and seemed unmoved by the crowd scrambling to catch a glimpse of him. The man has instantly become the centre of attention following the killing of the second ODM legislator in a week.

Chatted animatedly
On Tuesday, an ODM newcomer to Parliament, Embakasi's Melitus Were was shot dead outside his home in Woodley estate, Nairobi. Nobody has been charged with the killing.

Mr Mauche chatted animatedly with his colleagues outside the magistrate's chambers as he waited for his turn to have the charge and cautionary statement taken.

The policeman, who was not handcuffed, smiled and perused newspapers carrying the MP's murder in their front pages. At one point he waved at a team of journalists that crammed the corridors outside the chambers.

The suspect is alleged to have gunned down the 40-year-old legislator and his female companion, Constable Eunice Chepkwony, at West Indies estate in Eldoret Town.

Mr Mauche had been brought to the court moments before 8am where he declined to have his charge and cautionary statements read out to him before Ms Matheka arguing that he would only do so in the presence of his lawyers.

He was then escorted to the Nakuru Central police station under tight security where he was locked up briefly, before being whisked to the CID offices.

Rift Valley provincial Criminal Investigations Officer Mohammed Amin said detectives had not completed their investigations into circumstances surrounding the deaths.

At the provincial CID offices the suspect recorded his statement before Inspector James Sunkuli. He was then driven to the Nakuru law courts as a huge crowd of curious on-lookers milled in the corridors to catch a glimpse of the officer.

Conflicting reports
There have been conflicting reports over the circumstances surrounding the MP's killing with police commissioner Hussein Ali saying that initial investigations had pointed to a "crime of passion".

But ODM and the family of the slain officer have disputed this.

Mr Too's death came barely two days after that of Mr Were, the MP for Embakasi in Nairobi.

Mr Were was also a member of ODM.

Both the slain officer's family and ODM insist that Ms Chepkwony was related to the MP and that the two had been killed as they viewed a parcel of land in Eldoret Town which the legislator wanted to buy.

Mr David Kirui, an older brother of Ms Chepkwony, said the MP was a neighbour of the constable and was the master of ceremony during her husband's funeral mid-last year.

Reported by KNA and Kipchumba Some

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7 - Army Using Excessive Force in Eldoret

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
2 February 2008 Posted to the web 1 February 2008
By Vincent BartooNairobi

Police have shot dead 16 people and injured 58 others in four days in Eldoret town.

Among those admitted in hospital with bullet wounds include three Sudanese shot outside their homes at Kapsoya estate.

They were among 26 others rushed to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital with bullets still lodged in their bodies, on Friday.

The victims were shot in protests sparked by the killing of Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too by a police officer.

Mr Makui Maker, 37, a Sudanese was shot by a GSU officer.

"He was sitting in the compound when the officer with a red beret burst open the gate, cocked his gun and shot him twice in the stomach and left leg," said Emmanuel Sebit, a cousin who witnessed the incident.

When The Saturday Standard visited Maker's home, bloodstains littered the compound, leaving a trail to his house.

Army officers have been accused of harassing residents and some of them were caught on camera mistreating arrested youths.

The officers frog-marched and whipped the youths as they forced them to remove illegal roadblocks along the Eldoret-Nairobi highway.

They used sticks, gun butts and their boots to beat up the subdued youths. The incident has sparked outrage from residents who have accused the security officers of using excessive force.

"The action by the army has particularly angered us. How can they deal with civilians that way? Are we at war?" asked Mzee Peter Toroitich, a resident of Ngeria.

"I was walking home at 4pm to Maili Nne estate, when army and police officers arrived and started shooting and I was shot on the right leg," said Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, a businessman in Eldoret.

"They just alighted from their vehicles and started shooting," he said, from his hospital bed.

Others at the hospital nursing bullet wounds were Mr Walter Korir, Ms Peris Chepkosgey, Mr Fred Muhonja, Mr Peter Kagwi, Mr Benjamin Kibet, Mr Reuben Ida, Mr Haroun Kipkirui, Mr James Bosirei, Mr Simon Kiptarbei, Mr Samson Simiyu, Mr John Misoi, Mr Okemwa Ramadhan and Mr Bernard Mariko.

"They came to our estate (Kapsoya) with one mission; to kill. I was not part of the protesters but they shot me on my left shoulder," said Misoi.

One of the victims who sought anonymity said he heard one of the officers saying: "Nyinyi ndio munauwa watu Eldoret kama kuku, hata nyinyi mutauwawa vile vile (You are the ones killing people like chicken. You will also die the same way)."

Meanwhile, a senior officer in one of the police units based in Eldoret, told The Saturday Standard that 200 police officers who hail from Eldoret and neighbouring towns have been transferred. "We have received the letters. They are basing our transfers to re-organisation in the (police) force aimed at enhancing security," he said.

Separately, the North Rift branch of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has condemned the use of excessive force by the police.

The members spoke as the visited the victims at the hospital on Friday.

"Security forces are behaving like bandits. It is unfortunate that they are contributing to the breakdown of the law when they are supposed to safeguard it," said lawyer Eric Ngeno, the branch vice-chairman.

He said the Government should admit that its security apparatus had been overwhelmed, instead of resorting to excessive force to quell protests.

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8 - Mob Breaks Into Armoury, Steals Guns And Kills Officer

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
NEWS2 February 2008 Posted to the web 1 February 2008
By Vitalis Kimutai And Peter Mutai

Four people, including a police officer, were killed in Kericho as arsonists struck at residential estates following the slaying of Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too.

Three of them were shot dead by an Administration Police officer, who was later burnt alive by a mob that broke into an armoury at Ainamoi district officer's office and stole 12 firearms and ammunition.

The incident occurred on Thursday night - the day news of the MPs killing broke out.

A local chief, Mr Richard Bett, and a regular police officer are fighting for their lives at Siloam Hospital in Kericho where they were admitted with serious injuries.

Five other victims were recuperating at various health facilities with gunshot wounds.

Local DC, Mr Wilson Njenga, confirmed that ammunition had been stolen from the armoury.

A major security operation mounted by the General Service Unit personnel, regular and administration policemen has been going on in the area, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes, for fear of being victimised.

The officers have been instructed to recover the stolen firearms and ammunition, said a senior police officer.

Arsonists razed down hundreds of houses in Nyagacho, Baraka, Majengo, Site and Service estates. Businessmen lost goods worth millions of shillings when looters struck on Thursday night. Seventeen business premises were burnt down in the Central Business District, in the melee.

Kericho town was on Friday deserted, as business premises remained closed while police patrolled estates and the town centre. An estimated 3,000 non-locals fled their residential houses and sought refuge at the Kericho Police Station, the local DC's office, and Moi Gardens in the town.

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

Full story at EA Standard

9 - Insecurity Leaves Crops Rotting

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
NEWS1 February 2008 Posted to the web 1 February 2008 Nairobi

Teresia Chebet and hundreds of other small-scale farmers in the western Kenyan district of Nandi North have not been directly affected by the violence that has ravaged the country in the past month, yet their livelihoods are threatened because markets have become inaccessible.

"My tomatoes are rotting in the fields, what we harvest we use to cook, the rest we feed to the chickens and calves because roads going to many markets have been blocked," Chebet, 46, told IRIN on 31 January. "I can't even share the tomatoes with my neighbours because theirs are also rotting."

Chebet's neighbour, Ezekiel Seurei, 52, has five acres of pineapples. "Although the pineapples are not in season, I am now hawking the little that I harvest because I cannot get to the markets in Uasin Gishu [a neighbouring district]," Seurei said. "For now, I am taking my pineapples to [the privately owned] Baraton University as well as selling them in schools and other institutions."

Roads in the district, like others in the Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western Kenya regions, considered the stronghold of the opposition Orange Democratic Party (ODM), have not escaped the wrath of marauding youths who have taken to violence in protest over the outcome of the 27 December 2007 presidential election.

President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner but opposition leader Raila Odinga has disputed the result, saying the poll was rigged in Kibaki's favour. Since then, violence has rocked parts of the country, with the latest fighting taking ethnic dimensions.

The lack of access to markets has affected not only Nandi North but the whole Rift Valley Province, the country's bread-basket, has been hit.

In their latest update on Kenya's post-election emergency, UN agencies and NGOs identify livelihood support for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and others affected by the violence as a priority. This would be done by distributing agricultural inputs and basic construction kits for re-establishing small business enterprises, according to the 4-29 January inter-cluster progress report prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-Kenya).

Planned intervention
According to the report, humanitarian actors and the government are working on an inter-agency strategic framework for early recovery and food security.

As emergency response and recovery efforts continue on the national level, small-scale as well as large-scale dairy and maize farmers count their losses.

Jeremiah Ruto, a maize and dairy farmer who owns a milk plant in Kabiyet, Nandi North District, said poor rains, coupled with the violence, had severely affected his operations.

"Before the violence, I sold about 2,000l of milk daily in Kisumu [capital of the neighbouring Nyanza Province] but now this has dropped to only 500l, and then only if my vehicle can get to Kisumu," he said. "We used to make daily trips to Kisumu but we are now doing the trip once or twice a week depending on whether the roads are clear and if we have sufficient quantities."

Ruto has also had to lay off several workers.

The picture is even worse for maize farming. "There is no maize to speak of this time," Ruto said. "The quantity we harvested was very low due to the poor rains last year; some farmers have not even harvested despite the December-January harvest season drawing to an end. I usually harvested about 1,000 bags from 40 acres under maize but this time I got only 400 bags; this does not even cover the inputs I used."

Costly fertiliser
More worrying is the fact that most maize farmers have not started preparing for the next planting season, mainly because of the prevailing unrest but also due to the prohibitive cost of inputs.

"Last year, a bag of fertiliser went for Ksh2,000 [US$30], now it is being sold for KSh3,500 [$54]; a lot of my friends and I are hesitant to prepare the land because the input might exceed the output," Ruto said.

Due to the unrest, the National Cereals and Produce Board of Kenya, in charge of the country's grain reserves, has not yet opened maize-buying centres across the Rift Valley region this year.

According to a January update by the Kenya Food Security Network, which comprises the UN World Food Programme (WFP), USAID, Famine Early Warning System and the government, the unrest has led to an unprecedented decline in food security among normally food-secure farmers as well as the urban poor.

Overall, the group said, national food security had dramatically declined in just two weeks following the violence that has resulted in hundreds of deaths, displacement of at least 290,000 people and destruction of livelihoods for hundreds of thousands more.

The Kenya Food Security Network is due to conduct a multi-agency food security assessment in the first week of February to determine the extent of food insecurity in the affected areas.

In its humanitarian update covering 21-28 January, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-Kenya), stated: "The next two months are usually a critical period for land preparation and planting, however, with the prospects for return and resettlement being rather dim, many, if not most, of the farmers will not be able to carry out these tasks. Rising prices are also affecting farm inputs and availability of basic commodities in the markets throughout the country."

Farmers who depend on short rains and those in drought-prone areas are likely to experience significant crop failure, OCHA-Kenya stated.

Going it alone
Nick Moon, the managing director of KickStart - which produces water pumps and oil presses - told IRIN on 31 January that the demand for the company's portable water pumps had risen in the past month. He attributes the high demand to farmers' need for greater self-reliance in the face of poor access to markets to buy food.

The small pumps cost Ksh2,490 [$35] and weigh about 4kg. He said farmers could bounce back to productivity, with time and the technology, such as the portable irrigation pumps, which are affordable for many farming communities.

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

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

Full story from IRIN

The question

10 - What's going on in Kenya?

Julian Borger
Thursday January 31, 2008
The Guardian

The eruption of violence in Kenya has come a shock to outsiders who had always thought of the country as a safe place for a safari, a relatively prosperous island of calm on a turbulent and impoverished continent. The ferocity of the carnage has demonstrated just how much anger and resentment has been boiling below the surface.

The immediate spark was the blatant rigging of the December 27 election by President Mwai Kibaki. With the vote count approaching completion, he appeared to be losing to the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, until paramilitary police stormed the counting centre and Kibaki was declared the victor.

However, Kenya has long been an explosion waiting to happen. Its economy may be growing fast (by more than 6% last year), but the fruits of development have not been equally shared. Nearly 60% of the population live in absolute poverty (on $2 a day or less), many in squalid shanty towns, like Nairobi's Kibera district, Africa's largest slum.

Kenya's post-colonial history ensured that when the lid was blown off, the violence would be tribal. Kibaki is a member of the Kikuyu, which is Kenya's largest tribe but far from a natural majority. It accounts for less than a quarter of the population, but controls a disproportionate share of the country's land and business. When British settlers left at independence in 1963 they sold their farms mostly to business-savvy Kikuyu.

The first president, Jomo Kenyatta, was a Kikuyu, and his rule solidified his tribe's advantage. Kikuyu ascendancy was checked by the succession of Daniel Arap Moi, from the Kalenjin tribe, but the 24 years of his corrupt, autocratic rule only helped to stoke the underlying tension. Moi was ousted in 2002 by a broad pro-democratic coalition, but within a year Kibaki began to pack his government with cronies and Kikuyu kin, setting the stage for the conflict now taking lives by the hundred.

Full story from Guardian (UK)
The question,,2249620,00.html


11 - Kenyan Talks Resume After Second Killing

by Steve Inskeep and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Listen Now [3 min 51 sec] add to playlist

[Photo] A man holds his two daughters as they seek refuge at a police station in Thika, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. AP

Morning Edition, February 1, 2008 · U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has joined efforts to calm post-election violence in Kenya. Negotiations to end the crisis were postponed Thursday after a second opposition lawmaker was killed — one of more than 850 deaths in a month of unrest. Those talks are now under way again.

The violence that began as an argument over a national election has drawn out Kenya's underlying ethnic and tribal tensions and created a crisis that may be unprecedented in Kenya's history.

From NPR

12 - Weighing International Aid for Kenya

Audio for this story will be available at approx. 12:00 p.m. ET

Weekend Edition Saturday, February 2, 2008 · John Holmes, Under-secretary general of the U.N. for Humanitarian Affairs and emergency relief coordinator, talks with Scott Simon about Kenya's post-election violence and what the rest of the world might do about it.

From NPR

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