Friday, February 29, 2008

BBC, Reuters & Google news

Special coverage archived links
Click on a news source below for a page displaying all recent in-depth coverage of Kenya's post-election crisis:
> BBC coverage
> Reuters coverage
Reuters also posts all the news stories by country.
> View all Kenya articles from Reuters by clicking here.
> Google News - World carries most of the major news sources (at one click).

Relief work links - 2/29/2008

Focus on Relief Efforts
In this kind of work, one cannot get discouraged by the unmet needs, but must focus on what you have accomplished.
--David Zarembka, AGLI coordinator
> Read more about Quaker Relief Efforts in Kenya
> See photos of Feb relief distribution by Friends

Talking Points & Resource Links - archived 2/29/2008

Talking Points
> Click here to see full text of 10 Talking Points on Kenya's Post-election Crisis.
> Click here for a brief PowerPoint slideshow about Kenya's post-election crisis.
Feel free to show it to your Friends Church or Quaker Meeting.Talking Points:+ Includes brief summary, with analysis in Question & Answer format.
+ Intended as an aid for discussion in small groups, and for speaking or writing to the media and elected officials.
+ See recent posts on this blog for the latest information on the rapidly-changing situation.
+ Click on any of the links in the section below for supplementary maps, visual aids, statistics, background, and other resources.
+ Share these with your Friends Church or Quaker Meeting, and post a link from your monthly and yearly meetings' websites.

Resources to use with Talking Points
NEW * Pambazuka News by Fahamu - Weekly Forum for Social Justice in Africa
NEW * Kenya in Crisis - Report by Intl Crisis Group (Brussels)
NEW * Brief PowerPoint slideshow about the crisis
Reuters Chronology of Kenya Crisis
TV Interview about Kenya crisis - Patrick Nugent 1/20/2008
BBC - Q&A on Kenya Poll Violence (incl 2007 map of ethnicity)
Guardian - Q&A on Kenya Poll Violence
Root causes - US News & World Report on land, class, ethnic tensions
Subscribe to AFSC's PeaceWork magazine - purchase extra copies of current issue with focus on Kenya
Solutions - Newsweek interview with Harvard's Rotberg
BBC - Quotes from Key Players
BBC - Q&A with Githongo on causes of violence
BBC - Analysis on Land & Economics
Ethnic cleansing - US official Frazer
Ethnic cleansing - Alfred Mutua statment to AFP
Ethnicity in Kenya - EA encyclopedia - U Penn
Kenya economy - Nations Encyclopedia
Kenya economy - World Bank figures
Kenya profile - CIA Factbook
Kenya profile (PDF) - Earthtrends
Kenya profile - Lutherans (ELCA)
Rural Poverty Portal - Kenya

Archived quotes & links from right sidebar - 1/29/2008

The postcard Kenya is gone
"The postcard Kenya that everyone sees with elephants and nice sunsets is gone. We have to now deal with the reality of Kenya, which is the majority of people who live in slums with no toilets and have a very hard life."
John Githongo, Former anti-corruption official

Kenya's huge wealth gap
While Kenya's most obvious divisions follow tribal [ethnic] lines, those killed on both sides tend to have much more in common as peasant farmers or slum dwellers than they do with the ultra wealthy Kibaki and Odinga. According to U.N. figures:
+ Kenya has a huge wealth gap
+ 10 percent of Kenyans control 42 percent of the economy
+ The poorest 10 percent hold less than 1 percent of the wealth
+ Almost half of Kenya's 36 million people live on a dollar a day
+ Around 500,000 young Kenyans join the job market each year, but many fail to find work, swelling the number of disaffected youths
+ Poverty is a driving force behind high levels of crime that affect both rich and poor Kenyans.

"If this issue is not resolved, the worst thing we would hear or see is a class war where these people, men and women, say they have nothing to lose."
--Abbas GulletKenya Red Cross Secretary-General Speaking to Kenyan business leaders

A local daily columnist wrote recently that it was naive to expect that pro-Kibaki and pro-Odinga gangs would only fight against each other forever.
> Read the entire Reuters article by clicking here.

Tackle economic disparities
"...The problem is not fundamentally ethnic. The problems are related to class and the tensions between the haves and have-nots. Ethnicity is a symptom of a problem and not the root cause.... If we tackle the economic and political problems facing the country the issue of ethnicity will fade away."
-Hizkias Assefa, Nairobi 1/13/2008
> To see full analysis, click here.

Land, politics, economics - root causes of violence
> Read report from BBC, an interview with a Nairobi-based academic, with incisive analysis of the root causes of the post-election violence affecting the Rift Valley of Kenya.
Three excerpts here:

"...the root cause of some of the violence is hunger for fertile land."

"This displacement [of certain ethnic groups by others, following the colonial era] - or more accurately the historic resentment that politicians can extract from it - is part of the root of today's violence. "

"Focussing on the Kikuyuis easy," he said,"but it's really aboutdeep, long-running income inequalities in Kenya" -and a rapidly growing populationwhich sees land ownershipas a means of survival. "

> To read the full BBC analysis click here.
> To read coverage from The Star click here.

It is a political conflict
“What is happening in Kenya is not, and I repeat, is not an ethnic conflict. It is a political conflict with ethnic overtones.”
Mr Donald M. Payne
Chairman of the United States House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs
Sub-committee on Africa and Global Health

Socio-economic reasons
“They’ve ignored the socio-economic reasons underlying this tragedy… I don’t think most Kenyans wake up in the morning and say: ‘I’m a Kikuyu’ or ‘I’m a Luo.’ I think people wake up in the morning and say: ‘I have to pay school fees,’ or ‘I have to go to work,’ or ‘I don’t have money for rent.’"
Rasna WarahColumnist for Kenya’s
Daily Nation newspaper

Proverbs for Peace
When two bulls fight
it is the grass that suffers.

Sticks in a bundle
are unbreakable.

Do not say the first thing
that comes into your mind.

Because a man has injured your goat,
do not go out and kill his bull.

Talking to one another
is loving one another.

> Kenyan proverbs

African parable for Kenya
A bird laid its eggs in a certain place and flew off. Now in that place were already some eggs left by a bird of a different species. The eggs hatched and the chicks grew up together, learning how to fly despite their differences.
--from Paterne Mombé SJ of the Loyola Hope Centre, Togo
Story shared on 15 January 2008
> Click here to read AJAN newsletter
> Learn more about AJAN & the Jesuits' work on HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Weekend headlines - Sat-Sun 3/1-2/2008

1 - KENYA: "Real work" begins after political deal - UN's IRIN service
2 - From Tutu to Kikwete-World leaders who came calling - Nation
3 - What would have happened had the peace talks failed? - Nation

1 - KENYA: "Real work" begins after political deal

NAIROBI, 29 February (IRIN) - While lauding the agreement between Kenya's two main political parties on power-sharing, humanitarian actors say the hard work has yet to begin - resettling the displaced and reconciling all Kenyans.

"We still have 200 camps [for the displaced]," Bob McCarthy, regional emergency coordinator for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said. "People are being assisted to meet their immediate, short-term needs. The challenge now is to establish whether conditions are conducive for IDPs to return to their homes."

Describing the agreement signed between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga on 28 February as a starting point, McCarthy said now was the time to move forward "in a very robust way with recovery programmes".

Besida Tonwe, the head of the regional support office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said: "Let's hope IDPs [internally displaced persons] can go back home to the places they left, not their 'ancestral lands'. there has to be a well-managed return. businesses should receive some kind of compensation for their losses. there should be a constant dialogue between those returning and those who perpetrated acts that led them to flee and with local officials."

She said now money needed to be pumped into early recovery efforts in areas that were severely hit by the post-election violence, which started soon after the announcement of poll results in late December 2007.

"The agreement between the two leaders came as a relief to all Kenyans but my worry is; 'what next'? Will these leaders remember the thousands of people who are still displaced?" questioned John Shikuku, a reverend with the National Alliance of Churches, who coordinated the alliance's secretariat in the IDP camp at the Nairobi showground.

Shikuku said that after the government's recent closure of the camp, about 148 IDP families had gone to the nearby compound of the Dagoretti district officer while another 48 families had gone to the compound of the Kibera district officer.

"Taking a displaced person from one camp to another does not help; we now need to focus on ways of getting these people settled and we hope the politicians will make this a priority," he said. Shikuku said the National Alliance of Churches was raising funds to pay rents for the displaced in urban areas and to begin peace and reconciliation programmes when all are settled.

Francis Mwangi, an IDP from Kuresoi in Molo district, Rift Valley Province, said: "It is good that the agreement has been signed; what we need right now is to stop suffering, we need to feel safe to return to our homes, right now we are still spending the nights at a primary school as we wait for security to improve."

Under their agreement, Kibaki and Odinga will share power, with the creation of a prime minister's post to accommodate Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement.

In Nakuru, IDPs had mixed reactions to the deal. "Most IDPs here in the camp [almost entirely Kikuyu] feel President Kibaki has sold them out - they see this agreement as strengthening their enemies," Jesse Njoroge, the camp's coordinator, told IRIN.

"Similarly, many Kalenjin people in town feel shortchanged - the post of prime minister, they feel, should have gone to William Ruto, and so they feel all the hard work they did in the run-up to the election has been lost to Nyanza Province."

The Nakuru Showground is hosting at least 12,800 IDPs.

"The announcement has had no major effect here," Njoroge said. "The IDPs feel that an agreement at the national level does not guarantee their safety and security at the grassroots level - these agreements don't always trickle down."

He said the IDPs would only consider returning to the homes once the security situation improved significantly, "to a point where they are able to live safely side by side with the people who evicted them. A few IDPs are ready to leave the camp yet they are waiting to see if they will be compensated for what they've lost," he said.

He added: "What is important is not co-existence of leaders, but co-existence of Kenyans."


2 - From Tutu to Kikwete-World leaders who came calling

Publication Date: 3/1/2008

On January 29, Mr Kofi Annan predicted that the squabble over the disputed presidential results would be solved within a month.

Turns out he still had a day to go when President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga finally inked out an agreement at Harambee House on Thursday, February 28 — with everything else on his mind, the Ghanaian prophet must have forgotten that this was a leap year.

One month? Extra day or not, it sounded like an optimistic bet. After all, Mr Annan was hardly the first — or last — international envoy of repute to visit post-election Kenya with a bouquet of olive branches, most of which were used as firewood. Between all the presidents, ex-presidents, saints and wives of saints, Nairobi has had so many high-profile visitors since December 30 we were in danger of becoming fashionable.

Can anyone remember them all? Say, Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah, formerly the President of Sierra Leone and these days the chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group?

He was the first man to try whispering some sense into President Kibaki and Mr Odinga’s ears, having been in the neighbourhood as an elections observer. But of course we’ve forgotten about him, because on January 2, 2008, Desmond Tutu showed up. The archbishop himself!

“We did not invite him to talk,” said PNU’s spokesman when they heard he was coming. “For us, he came as a tourist.”

Well, that was indeed the stamp they gave him at customs, but one has to wonder which tour company he signed up with. Whoever they were, they landed old Tutu a fine presidential tour of State House. So much for the Mara; perhaps President Kibaki was trying to lure nervous travellers back to the country with this new rare package.

Re-entry pass
Exit Archbishop Tutu, enter Ms Jendayi Frazer, the US assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. No one had much to say about the stamp on her passport, but given the way she came and went over the next two months, she must have had a re-entry pass at least.

By this time, Ghana’s President (also the African Union chairman) John Kufuor had expressed his interest in joining the party, but presidential protocol meant he needed a formal invitation from President Kibaki, who was reluctant to give it.

While thinking it over, he sent his minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Moses Wetang’ula, over to Mr Kufuor’s house for a frank and unbiased briefing on Kenya’s situation.

Thus informed, it was January 8 before Mr Kufuor finally got the nod, and even then President Kibaki’s chin hardly budged.

According to Dr Alfred Mutua, Mr Kibaki’s wily spokesman, President Kufuor was simply “coming to have a cup of tea” with his buddy Mwai. There was “nothing to be negotiated.” This was before the tea estates were razed and their workers sent into refugee camps — the death toll hadn’t reached 600 yet.

Later that same day, a delegation flew in from the Forum for Former African Heads of State — a sinister sounding group if there ever was one.

But apparently they came in good faith. Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia), Mr Ketumile Masire (Botswana), Mr Joaquim Chisano (Mozambique) and Mr Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) all knocked at State House that evening, a visit they followed with another to Mr Odinga the next day.

The tea must have tasted bitter all around, because President Kufuor and his retired colleagues all left shortly without managing to get the two rivals to sit down together. The best Kufuor could manage was convince them to work with his countryman, Mr Annan.

To fill the time between President Kufuor’s departure and Mr Annan’s arrival, the EU Commissioner for Development, Mr Louis Mitchell, flew into Nairobi on January 19. He met briefly with Mr Odinga and President Kibaki, accomplished nothing, and left.

Spurred by failure
Mr Annan finally appeared on January 22, the same day as Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni — who, it must be said, received much less applause.

We were more than three weeks into the crisis now, and President Museveni was the only African leader to have congratulated President Kibaki.

But Mr Annan didn’t waste much time. Spurred, no doubt, by his failure in 1994 to prevent Rwanda’s genocide, he promised not to leave until Kenya had found a way out. Two days later, President Museveni was on his way out, and Mr Odinga and President Kibaki were shaking hands for all the world to see.

Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi had been thoughtful enough to send his own Secretary of African Union Affairs that day as a gesture of goodwill — Dr Ali Abdul Salam Triki came bearing humanitarian gifts for the countless displaced victims in the country, but if he wanted to capture the spotlight, his timing was poor. All eyes were on the handshake. By the time you finish reading this sentence, I bet, you’ve already forgotten his name.

Britain’s Foreign Office minister Mark Malloch-Brown was a touch more memorable when he came on the 28th.

“The British Government doesn’t have a horse in this race,” he said, perhaps to calm PNU’s disgruntlement over suggestions that the UK considered Mr Kibaki’s presidency illegitimate. It wasn’t quite that, he said, they simply weren’t ready to recognise its legitimacy either.

Two days later, the UN’s secretary-general, Mr Ban Ki-moon, hopped down from the AU summit in Addis Ababa. He squinted, smiled and left.

Uneasy calm
February turned the corner, and Mr Annan’s mediation hit its stride. An uneasy calm prevailed across the country.

He had Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela’s wife, and Mkapa at his side, but everyone knew it was Mr Annan all the way.

Progress was good, and just when it seemed it might be flagging, Ms Condoleezza Rice popped in to give him a boost from Uncle Sam on February 17. Not everyone was happy to see her. Mr Wetang’ula, her Kenyan counterpart, warned her not to “make any mistake of putting a gun to anybody’s head,” since as everyone had learned by then, that was a job for the police.

When her turn came, Condi met with all the principals and, in much more subtle terms than Mr Wetang’ula’s, let it be known that the US was ready to pull its six-shooters if necessary.

“I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr Annan said a few days later.

Mr Jean Ping, the new chair of the AU Commission, had arrived by then, followed a few days later by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

The mediation had come to within millimetres of a close, then seemed to fall apart when Mr Annan announced a suspension in talks.

And then, out of the blue, came February 28. President Kibaki shook Mr Odinga’s hand, and signed over the prime ministership. Just what Mr Annan said behind closed doors in those final hours will be the source of endless speculation — I’ve already invented a few conversations myself — but for now let’s just hope the deal sticks.

Put your guns down, Kenya, and your bows and arrows too. Save those pangas for the harvest.

3 - What would have happened had the peace talks failed?

Publication Date: 3/1/2008

Although there is some breakthrough in the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks, more work needs to be done to ensure they succeed. It is important, therefore, to reflect on the consequences if they had failed, or if the process falters.

ODM’s earlier threat of mass action if a political settlement was not reached is laughable. When will our politicians judge the mood and spirit of the people they claim to represent? Surely, the mood and spirit were about the success of the mediation.

ODM leader Raila Odinga perhaps captured that mood when he called off mass action. But it would have been interesting to see how many Kenyans would have answered the mass protest call had police commissioner Hussein Ali kept his violence machinery in check.

If the talks failed the country would have faced partitioning. Eldoret could easily have become the capital of the ODM government, and Kenya a failed state without the rule of law to talk about as ethnic barons and warlords would have used their ill-gotten wealth to tear the country apart.

Central Province and parts of Eastern would mostly likely have been President Kibaki’s only area of jurisdiction, surrounded by the rest of the country that has allegiance and pays taxes to ODM.

Regional trade routes through Kenya would not have been viable. And with two parallel governments, a vicious civil war pitting the Gema (Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association) communities against the other 38 would have been unavoidable.

This tragic scenario would not perhaps have been allowed to happen by the regional and international communities. Grapevine has it that Kenya would have been invaded by one or more of its regional neighbours, and international intervention would not have been ruled out.

Possibly, the regional forces would have acted as proxies for the international forces and Kenya’s independence and survival would have been in serious jeopardy.

Are Kenyans always scared of imagining the worst scenarios? Are they always hoping that things will turn out well? Probably, because we are a fanatically religious nation and are constantly seeking divine intervention. Well, Annan is part of the divine intervention, yet some Kenyans are yet to show support for his mission.

If secular and religious lobby groups and Kenyans in general understand the dangers and internalise the gravity of the situation, it is our duty to show that we have faith in Mr Annan and his team. We should hold mass action for them. Let us carry out mass action against President Kibaki and Mr Odinga and the parties they lead so that they keep their eyes on the prize — the success of the talks.

Kenyans need not march or do anything to invite Maj-Gen Ali’s violence machinery, and they could be creative by showing their support for Mr Annan and his team as well as venting their anger on the two party leaders.

Demonstrators driving past Serena Hotel, the talks venue, could honk their horns twice. Those walking past could wave paper national flags.

These actions could be repeated near State and Pentagon Houses. As the movement grows, Kenyans would be creative in their mass action and other actions would follow.

The message Kenyans should give to both President Kibaki and Mr Odinga and fellow travellers is that the people need a political settlement that goes beyond the sharing of political power between ODM and PNU. Economic, security and social reforms are fundamental to peace.

While sharing power and having a time frame for the presidential election are important, the implementation of economic, social and security reforms cannot wait. Illegal militias and criminals must be brought to justice.

Politicians and business people involved in the creation of illegal militias must be prosecuted, and the displaced resettled and given the right to return to their land accompanied by robust security. Constitutional and legal reforms that underpin the political settlement must be carried out.

A programme that immediately deals with youth unemployment must be implemented forthwith. There are no longer any other political short-cuts for diffusing the tensions that threaten to tear the country apart. Mass action in support of Mr Annan and his team is the thing.

Key points & next steps - BBC 2/29/2008

1 - Key points: Kenya power-sharing deal

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have signed a power-sharing agreement which will see the creation of a prime minister post.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who mediated the negotiations, said the deal would be known as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, and "entrenched in the constitution".

[Annan] outlined the key points of the agreement as follows:
  • The post of prime minister will be created, with the holder having the authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of government functions.
  • The prime minister will be an elected member of parliament and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition if the largest party does not command a majority in parliament.
  • Two deputy prime ministers to be appointed, one to be nominated by each member of the coalition.
  • The prime minister and deputy prime ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no-confidence with a majority vote.
  • A cabinet to consist of a president, vice-president, prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and other ministers.
  • The removal of a minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and agreement in writing by the leaders.
  • The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance, and reflect the parties' relative parliamentary strengths.
  • The coalition will be dissolved if the current parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/28 17:41:00 GMT© BBC MMVIII

2 - Next steps: Odinga pledges to rebuild Kenya

Prime minister-designate Raila Odinga has told the BBC his priority will be to rebuild Kenya after a deal to end the two-month political crisis.

He pledged to help those who had been displaced, lost their property or lost their jobs during the violence in which some 1,500 people died.

Many Kenyans have been celebrating the power-sharing deal between Mr Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki.

But some of those displaced question whether ethnic hatreds can be healed.

"It's become a habit of saying 'peace, peace, peace' every now and then and after peace we see flames of fire," a woman living in a displacement camp in the western town of Eldoret told the BBC.

But in nearby Kisumu, Mr Odinga's home town, thousands of dancing and cheering people poured onto the streets to celebrate the deal brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Mr Odinga also pledged to reconcile Kenyans, after the violence took on an ethnic dimension, forcing some 600,000 from their homes.

"You have seen the ugly face of ethnic confrontation in our country. I feel confident that the experience we have gone through has been a teacher and everyone is going to ensure that this coalition does succeed," he told the BBC's Today programme.

Negotiations between the government and opposition, which lasted more than a month, stalling several times, have resumed to discuss long-term reform of land ownership, the economy and the constitution.

These discussions are expected to last more than a year.

'Two kings'
Mr Odinga said the agreement was "just a piece of paper" - the most important thing was the will behind it.


  • New two-party coalition government to be set up
  • Cabinet posts to be divided equally between parties
  • Raila Odinga to take new post of prime minister, can only be dismissed by National Assembly
  • Two new deputy PMs to be appointed, one from each member of coalition

"It means we recognise Mr Kibaki as president and he recognises that there were some flaws in the elections," he told the BBC.

And, he said, the coalition had a lot of work to do - constitutional and legal reforms as well as land reforms to address "historical injustices".

"There has be to be trust and confidence developed on both sides. It is important for us to forge a firm foundation for a united country," he said.

But some doubt whether the two bitter foes can now work together.

In Mr Kibaki's home town of Nyeri, one man told the BBC he was against the deal:
"They're two kings sharing one power - that can never happen. You cannot have two husbands for one woman in one house."

Mr Odinga said he hoped for a new constitution within a year and fresh elections within two as Mr Annan had given the coalition a maximum life of two years, after which it should be reviewed.


After 8 weeks of uncertainty in the political atmosphere, as well as peace, there is somehow a glimpse of hope and light to the beautiful land of Kenya.
Edward, Nairobi

The new coalition will be headed by President Kibaki, with Mr Odinga - whose Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the largest in parliament - set to take the newly created post of prime minister.

Each party will nominate a deputy prime minister, with other ministerial portfolios being divided equally between the two parties.

Correspondents say both parties are now likely to begin wrangling over who gets what position in the new government, with the post of finance minister likely to prove the most contentious.

After the deal was reached, Mr Annan said: "Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country."

He urged all Kenyans to support the agreement, saying: "The job of national reconciliation and national reconstruction is not for the leaders alone. It must be carried out in every neighbourhood, village, hamlet of the nation."

Speaking after the signing, Mr Kibaki said: "This process has reminded us that as a nation there are more issues that unite than that divide us."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/29 16:50:40 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Analysts' views on agreement - Thurs 2/28/2008

INSTANT VIEW-Kenya rivals sign power-sharing deal

Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:51am EST

NAIROBI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement on Thursday intended to end a post-election crisis that left 1,000 people dead.He are some analysts' views:


"Uncertainty is one thing that international investors hate, so the closer you get to a resolution, the better. The question is now the magnitude of the damage done to companies and the economy. Investors will be homing in on corporate earnings for the quarter to gauge the precise impact of the political violence in the past few months. We need to get greater clarity on company earnings to see if we need to further revalue assets.


"We don't have any choice. We have to make it work. We are all hopeful, but we have to be cautious."

"I'm more concerned that it becomes a concrete agreement. There needs to be an awful good amount of goodwill if it needs to work."

"We are all hopeful, and I think one has to be cautious. There are many potholes and I think we can just hope. The country has got to a stage where we really couldn't carry on like this. Let us hope that it is going to work."

"We are all concerned in terms of a more concrete agreement so that it doesn't become another MOU."

"We've still got some way to go. The country needs it like yesterday. The damage that has been inflicted is enormous.


"Kenya's leaders have reached a power-sharing agreement that represents a triumph for peace and diplomacy, and a renunciation of the violence that has scarred a country of such enormous potential. Common sense has prevailed, and the Kenyan people have the outcome for which they have hoped and prayed."

"I applaud the courage that Kenya's leaders have shown in taking the tough decisions necessary to put Kenya back on the path to the prosperity, democracy and stability which it is so richly deserves."

"The hard work must continue. Kenyans need help to resettle and rebuild. Real leadership, patience and tolerance is necessary to ensure that the agreement sticks."


"The really hard part begins now because this has to go to parliament. I think both sides will really have to show good faith and whip their MPs into line to make sure that whatever is proposed in parliament passes without a hitch."


"This is the step forward Kenya needed. We were hoping it would be a transitional government leading towards elections and longer term review of the constitution, and of the key structures and institutions," he said.

"A major challenge will be to see whether the MPs themselves can put aside their own personal ambitions for the good of the country. Not all MPs will be accommodated in the cabinet. The cabinet will have to be leaner and should not contain hardliners."

"It is too early to talk about a new Kenya."

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

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Kenyans must seize democracy for themselves

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Highlights from this issue

FEATURES:- Pambazuka editors take on the Kenya power-sharing deal- An interview with Wangui Wa Goro on the fragile nature of peace in Kenya

COMMENTS & ANALYSIS: - Pius Adesanmi on the recent Raila Odinga visit to Nigeria- Christopher Nizza and Dara Kell on their documentary 'Dear Mandela'
PAN-AFRICAN POSTCARD: Kangsen Feka Wakai on Cameroon's power drunk Paul Biya
OBITUARIES: Activist Johnnie Car dies
BOOKS & ARTS: Mildred Barya reviews Shimmer Chinodya's novel, StrifeBLOGGING AFRICA: A round-up of South African blogs
PODCASTS: An interview with Peter Hallward
AFRICAN UNION: AU Monitor weekly round-up
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: Civil groups in SA intensify protests at Zimbabwe embassy
WOMEN AND GENDER: Social Watch Gender Equity Index 2008
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Deadly violence rages in Cameroon capitalHUMAN RIGHTS: Campaign demands Darfur arrests
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Migrants' rights clinic forcibly shut down
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Protests spread in Burkina Faso
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Breakthrough in Kenya crisis
DEVELOPMENT: UN panel urges punishment for buyers of DRC rebel ore
HEALTH AND HIV/Aids: Insecurity hampers Chad HIV efforts
EDUCATION: Thousands of Darfur children not in school
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Editorial on Kenya's past & future - Thurs 2/28/2008

Kenya: Model Or Myth?

Fahamu (Oxford)

28 February 2008
Posted to the web 28 February 2008
Annar Cassam

The present void as exists in Kenya, says Annar Cassam, is very dangerous for it renders both the elections and the observer missions irrelevant and robs the voters of their democratic rights twice.

Nearly two months after Kenya's rigged elections and Kibaki's "victory" claim set the country on fire, there is one question that has been on everybody's lips and it has still to be answered.

How can it be that this "model" African country,this island of stability, democracy, good governance, economic excellence and humanitarian solidarity in an otherwise chaotic, conflict-ridden and backward part of the continent, can so quickly collapse into tragedy? And this as a result of rigged elections which take place all the time and all over the world, but seldom with such horrendous consequences?

This perception of Kenya being the exception, the model, is widespread, among Kenyans especially and in the outside world but is it really justified, is it not more fiction than fact?

It is difficult to square this image with one simple truth universally acknowledged, that, Kenya is one of Africa's most corrupt countries. Its history of state corruption is not a secret, nor is it complicated to understand, thanks to the country's vibrant and vigilant press and to well-documented investigation reports of major financial scandals, such as the Goldenberg scam (under Moi) and the recent AngloLeasing scam (under Kibaki).

For those who wish to know more about Kenya's endemic culture of corruption at the highest level,a seminar with John Githongo would be useful. Githongo is the former head of the country's anti-corruption unit, now living in exile in London, having fled Kenya in fear for his life in 2005. The myth about Kenya's economic status has long been promoted by representatives of the World Bank and IMF who imagine that Kenya, by virtue of its hosting the "most powerful economy" in East Africa and the UN Office in Nairobi, exists in some other parallel universe, far away from African realities.

However, the people of Kenya are now poorer than ever. According to the Financial Times, in 1990, 48% of the population lived below the poverty line. "Today, four decades after independence, 55% of Kenyans subsist on a couple od dollars a day"(FT.1/1/2008).

Since independence in 1963, the international donor community, led by the UK, has contributed some $16bn in aid. It is also under their watch that Kibera, so-called "the largest slum in Africa" has expanded and festered in the capital city where about 1.2mn people live without clean water and sanitation amenities, many of them without employment or adequate medical care. Vast amounts of Kenya's arable land are owned by the three ruling families,namely, Kenyatta,Moi and Kibaki. Half of the nation's wealth is in the hands of 10% of the population.

Kenyan MPs earn allowances amounting to tax-free salaries of more than $10,000 per month. This is a democratic model very few African countries can afford to emulate. The international community, so massively present in Kenya, has been complicit in fabricating the "model" country myth, to the detriment of the suffering of the Kenyans.

The parallel universe complex referred to earlier afflicts the UN Office in Nairobi, the only UN HQ to be based in a developng country, the others being in New York, Geneva and Vienna.

UNON is also the seat of two Specialised Agencies, UNEP (environmental programme) and HABITAT (human settlement) and to an ever-expanding network of international organisations, NGOs and commercial enterprises providing financial, policy and logistic support for the many conflict ad disaster-prone populations in the region.

But the plight of the ordinary citizens seems not to be in the mandate of the leadership of this privileged group of international experts who live in daily contact with Kenyans who look after their children, drive their cars, provide security for their property, etc. In the last 10 years, Kenya has become a major exporter of fresh vegetables and flowers to European markets. In the Lake Naivasha area, acres of land lie covered under green-houses where a water-intensive, high-tech industry produces millions of fresh roses to be flown to Holland (for very low prices). The environmental damage caused to local water resources and the hardship this means for the local rural population's ability to grow food crops is a case study for our experts.

Myths can take on a life of their own, unaffected by concrete realities which in Kenya are only too visible. The so-called economic success story should be seen in context. For, however impressive may be the gains on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, the tonnes of agricultural exports, the thousand of tourists, the millions of dollars in aid funds and the 6% growth rate since 2006, this cannot hide the misery and the humiliation of over half the population which used to live on $2 a day before the current breakdown.

It is time to re-consider the continued presence of the UN Office in a country whose government holds such a record of mismanagement and corruption ... and now of election fraud. Kenya's Central Bank, the main beneficiary of the money the UN and allied networks spend in the country will feel the loss,(the "UN business" is said to provide 20% of Kenya's annual forex earnings) but the UN's leadership must surely demand some basic standards of ethical behaviour from the host government, both for its own integrity and credibility and for the sake of the millions of Kenyans now in obvious distress and disarray.

As for the spread of democracy, the Kenyan debacle provides an opportunity for a fresh look at the role of observer missions which arrive in developing countries as watchdogs for the godess of free and fair elections. Is it really enough to fly in, observe, declare this or that and then vanish? Some serious attention needs to be paid to a code of ethics and follow-up mechanisms which can apply in situations where a mission's verdict on rigged elections is ignored and power is grabbed by the faudulent party.

The present void as exists in Kenya is very dangerous for it renders both the elections and the observer missions irrelevant and robs the voters of their democratic rights twice.

Finally, a word about the man who would be president for the second time. By having the elections rigged and then clinging to the trappings of power, Kibaki has shown an abysmal lack of moral principle and leadership. While the country self-destructs and his people turn on each other, while children are burnt to death, women and girls raped and many thousands become refugees in their own land, Kibaki has contributed strictly nothing by way of a solution. This is dereliction of duty and reponsibiity which is contemptible and which must be condemned. Kenya, after all is no man's personal property and elections, even when rigged, are not a passport to impunity.

* Annar Cassam is Tanzanian, former Consultant at UNESCO/PEER Nairobi and former Director, UNESCO Office, Geneva

Reactions from Kenya - Fri 2/29/2008

Some initial responses about how the nation is receiving the announcement of the power-sharing agreement.

From a missionary in Western Kenya:

Friends report big celebrations in Kisumu -- and that is what last night's TV showed as well. Elsewhere, cautious happiness seems to be the by-word... We all know that the bitterness of the last months will take a long process to reconcile.

From a Kenyan peace activist in Nairobi:

Things are calm, some people are celebrating already. We hope to sustain the agreement and look forward to a reconciled Kenya.

From a young medical student at Moi University in Eldoret:

i'm happy to inform u that our "unworthy" leaders hav finally come to an agreement. we were all worried, but "phew", its now a thing of the past. the town campus is organising a joint activity, encompassing all religious and non-religious organisations, that will see the delivery of humanitarian aid to the internally displaced persons camping at the red cross camps. i'v been put in charge of raising money for buying some of the material needs required-its quite a task,but i hope i'll manage to see it through. on behalf of my family i'd like to thank you and your family for ur prayers and concern.

Today's headlines - Fri 2/29/2008

Happy Leap Year Day!

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From Suspension of Talks to Fragile Success

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)NEWS
28 February 2008
Posted to the web 29 February 2008
By Kwamboka Oyaro

The signing of a power-sharing agreement to end the political crisis in Kenya has elicited a variety of reactions.

"It is a historical moment for Kenyans and we need to celebrate," political analyst Grace Mbugua told IPS.

"There have been hurdles and the two leaders were actually the impediment to the talks," she added, in reference to head of state Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who have been locked in a dispute over the Dec. 27 presidential polls. Odinga claims that Kabaki rigged the vote to earn a second term in office, while international observers have expressed concern about the conduct of both sides during the ballot.

"But, since they have agreed, I am optimistic that the chaos will end and will never come up again," Mbugua said.

Motorists in the capital, Nairobi, hooted to express their appreciation of the deal, which came after more than a month of talks and was broadcast live. A number of people in Harambee Avenue, opposite the president's office, sang -- becoming the target of tear gas fired by police -- while in Odinga's western stronghold of Kisumu people immediately took to the streets to celebrate the accord between the opposition Orange Democratic Movement and Kibaki's Party of National Unity.

Other observers were more circumspect, emphasising that implementation of the deal was likely to be a delicate matter, and that many obstacles still had to be overcome in resolving the crisis.

The agreement, initialed Thursday in Nairobi, provides for the creation of a prime minister's post with "authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs" of government. The position must be filled by an elected legislator who is parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly -- or of a coalition, in the event that the largest party does not constitute a majority.

Under these terms, Odinga will become Kenya's new prime minister.

Posts for two deputy prime ministers have also been created. The ODM and PNU will each be allowed to nominate someone from the National Assembly to one of these positions.

The prime minister and his deputies can only be removed from office through a motion of no confidence passed by majority vote in parliament.

Other aspects of the arrangement include a stipulation that the coalition government "will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance" and reflect the "relative parliamentary strength" of the coalition partners.

The deal is to be integrated in the constitution, which currently does not allow for a prime minister. Kenya's new joint government will only be disbanded if the current legislature is dissolved, if parties agree to the dissolution in writing, or upon the withdrawal of one of the coalition partners.

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, who has been mediating in the talks, said that the PNU and ODM had agreed to take the agreement to parliament as soon as possible. It is expected to be put into effect through the 'National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008'.

Talks put on hold
The deal came after an exasperated Annan suspended talks on Tuesday, citing lack of progress. Negotiators from the two sides had reportedly deadlocked on a number of issues, including the extent of power that the new prime minister should exercise.

The PNU is said to have wanted a prime minister with limited powers -- and the ODM a head of government with considerable clout. To date, executive power has been vested in the presidency.

The erstwhile U.N. head then bypassed negotiators to start direct talks with Kibaki and Odinga, to give discussions new impetus.

"In all negotiations there is give and take. To those who feel their leaders gave too much I must say compromise was necessary for the healing of this nation," Annan said, Thursday.

For their part, Kibaki and Odinga struck a conciliatory note.

"My government will fully support the agreements reached until we realise what we have set out to," the president said.

Odinga indicated that he was committed to the agreement, noting that Kenya now had an opportunity to find "a firm foundation for a united country."

Dignitaries present at the signing included Tanzanian President and African Union chair Jakaya Kikwete, who joined negotiators Tuesday to help find a solution to the impasse.

"At long last you have an agreement to deal with the historical accident that occurred in December. It can now become a thing of the past," he said, urging leaders to ensure implementation of the accord. [??!!]

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa and leading children's rights activist Graca Machel have also assisted in the mediation effort.

Root causes
Annan said his team would resume talks Friday on ways of addressing poverty, constitutional change and land reform: "These issues underlie the tragic events that followed the December 27 elections and must be addressed once and for all."

The difficulties are also acknowledged in the preamble to the power-sharing accord, which notes that "The crisis triggered by the 2007 disputed presidential election has brought to the surface deep-seated and long-standing divisions within Kenyan society. If left unaddressed, these divisions threaten the very existence of Kenya as a unified country."

More than 1,000 people have been killed and up to 600,000 displaced in clashes sparked by the controversial polls, which have caused ethnic tensions in the East African nation to flare.

Kibaki is a member of the Kikuyu, Kenya's largest tribe, while Odinga is a Luo. The Kikuyu have considerable political and economic influence in this multi-ethnic country, making them a target of resentment on the part of other tribal groups.

The post-election violence has also dealt a blow to the economy, which grew at a brisk rate during Kibaki's 2002-2007 term, even though corruption continued to flourish in Kenya.

Hovering over Thursday's events was the spectre of an earlier, failed agreement between Kibaki and Odinga.

This deal, reached by the leaders ahead of the 2002 polls, was to have made Odinga prime minister in exchange for his support of the National Rainbow Coalition, which Kibaki led to victory. However, the agreement crumbled amidst increasing acrimony between the two men.

"Having witnessed another agreement just before the 2002 elections between the same leaders which was trashed soon after winning, I think now they must keep the public in the know about the progress," said Mbugua. "For sure, this will reduce the tension that has been building up in the country."

Copyright © 2008 Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Google News Alert for: Kenya
2/29 - noon

International praise for Kenya's rival leaders for long-awaited ...
The Canadian Press - NAIROBI, Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya's opposition leader said Friday he expects a new power-sharing agreement that will make him prime minister to succeed in ending a ...
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Kenya leaders thrash out reforms after the pact
Hürriyet - Turkey
Washington, London, Tokyo and the UN chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed the deal and called for its swift implementation to save Kenya from fresh political agony. ...
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Cholera kills 43 on Kenya-Somali border
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) - Cholera has killed 43 people in the last two weeks along the remote border between Kenya and Somalia, officials in both nations ...
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In Kenya, A Battle for Words
Washington Post - United States
By Njoroge Wachai There has been a cacophonous debate over whether Kenya’s post-election violence should be characterized as “ethnic cleansing. ...
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Kenya Negotiations Resume; Parliament to Debate Power Sharing Accord
Voice of America - USA
By Scott Bobb Opposition and government negotiators in Kenya resumed talks Friday, focusing on long-term aspects of the country's crisis. ...
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Kenya: Happy Catholic Relief Workers Say Pact Offers Nation Fresh Hope - Washington,USA
The agreement signed offers fresh hope to our nation and presents us with a real opportunity to reflect on and build on the Kenya we want, ...
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Kenya: Consolata Missionaries Hold Mass for Two Recently Dead Priests - Washington,USA
The two priests left Kenya this month. Consolata Regional Superior, Fr Franco Cellana, celebrated the mass, which was attended by members of the religious ...
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Google News Alert for: Kenya
2/29 - 7 a.m.

And now the hard part begins in Kenya
Toronto Star - Ontario, Canada
27: Millions turn out in relatively peaceful balloting, despite campaign clashes that killed hundreds in western Kenya. Early results indicate Odinga is ...


While tensions were visibly soothed once Kibaki and Odinga signed the deal, it remains to be seen whether the promises made will be kept and if Kenya – torn apart since the disputed Dec. 27 election – can return to its former prospering self.

"I have faith in the agreement, but not in Kibaki's government," said Ezekiel Isanda, who works for a non-governmental organization and lives in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums.
"Let this agreement serve Kenyans and not their politicians' stomachs."

Observers welcomed the deal but warned that some of Kenya's power-hungry politicians may stand in the way of its full implementation.

"If (politicians) start showing a unity of purpose and togetherness, this thing might hold," said Maina Kiai, chair of the state-funded but independent Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

Paul Waweru, 56, among 19,000 people living in a camp in the western town of Eldoret, said "the deal between Raila and Kibaki will help to cool down the situation but I doubt if it will enable us to get back to our homes."

Diana Murugi, 72, whose two sons were killed in the bloodshed, said the deal was meaningless.
"The coalition is about Kibaki, Raila and the big men," she said. "What about those of us here in the camp? How will I reconcile with people who killed my sons? It is impossible, even if Kibaki and Raila are in the same government.''

The deal was a major breakthrough for mediator Kofi Annan, who had suspended stalled negotiations on Tuesday in frustration and demanded the two leaders end the standoff themselves.

Kibaki and Odinga must try to repair the lives of more than a half-million people who have been displaced from their homes and require food, water and medical care. Kenya's Red Cross says it knows of at least 500 youngsters who were separated from their families.

There is also the matter of restoring one of Africa's most promising economies. Kenya, one of the most prosperous and tourist-friendly countries in Africa, has seen up to $1 billion in losses linked to the turmoil.
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Kenya Muslims back protests over Obama picture
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
Incensed at the implication that Obama, whose late father was from western Kenya, did anything wrong on his visit, elders in Wajir have demanded an apology ...
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Google News Alert for: Kenya
2/29 - 4:15 a.m.

TABLE-Kenya Commercial Bank '07 pre-tax profit up 33 pct
Reuters - USA
NAIROBI, Feb 29 (Reuters) - The following are audited company results for Kenya's largest retail bank, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCBK. ...
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Uganda: Citizens Hail Kenya Power Pact - Washington,USA
UGANDA welcomed yesterday's agreement signed between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to end Kenya's post-election violence. ...
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Google News Alert for: Kenya
2/29 - 1 a.m.

Kenya rivals reach peace agreement
International Herald Tribune - France
By Jeffrey Gettleman NAIROBI, Kenya: Kenya's rival leaders broke their tense standoff on Thursday, agreeing to share power in a deal that may end the ...
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Kenya assault the status quo - UK
They have since reached a World Cup semi-final in 2003, but arguably Kenya's finest hour remains their first assault on the status quo, two tournaments ...
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Kenya: Deal Renews Hope for Boom - Washington,USA
A new hope for Kenya was born yesterday after the Government and opposition reached a power-sharing deal, potentially ushering in an era of political ...
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"It is a foundation for reconciliation that aims at restoring Kenya to the rightful place," he added. Annan said he would reconvene the mediation talks this ...
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This partly explains the growing lobby in Kenya in recent times that is attempting to assert a Kenyanness that is ill-defined and plainly illusory. ...
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Growing areas in western Kenya, especially around Kisii are known to witness the worst cases of coffee smuggling into neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda while ...
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Google News Alert for: Kenya


Kenya: Deal Done - Washington,USA
The landmark pact establishes a coalition government, which radically alters the way Kenya would be governed with Mr Odinga becoming independent Kenya's ...
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Kenya: New Chapter Opened, Says ODM Leader - Washington,USA
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga Thursday described the signing of the deal as historic moment for Kenya. Mr Odinga said for the ...
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SOCCER: Caf now omits Kenya from new tournament
Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya
Coming just a fortnight after Tusker FC were dismissed from the Africa Champions League, after the Kenya Football Federation’s failure to pay a Sh450,000 ...
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This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

Beautiful story of peacebuilding across lines of ethnicity:

KENYA: Friends united

Damaris and Nancy were friends and neighbours in Nairobi's Mathare slum before Kenya was plunged into a post-election crisis in late December 2007. They have remained friends despite their different ethnic backgrounds and are now among hundreds of people internally displaced at the Huruma chief's camp near Mathare.

Nancy Wanjiru is a Kikuyu while Damaris Angulu is Luhya. Their communities took opposing stands in the aftermath of the general elections held on 27 December.

"When I reached the Air Force compound on 3 January after our home was looted and burnt, it was Damaris who welcomed me, she shared her mattress with me," Wanjiru told IRIN on 27 February. "Since we were moved to the Huruma chief's camp, Damaris has been there for me, she is like my mother." Their friendship illustrates how ethnicity has ceased to be a key issue in the face of hardship.

Full report

KENYA: Healing the children

One of the greatest challenges following the post-election violence in Kenya is to restore the physical and mental wellbeing of 150,000 displaced children, many of whom have witnessed atrocities and lost contact, in many cases permanently, with their families, humanitarian workers told IRIN.

"The future of Kenya is very dark because the children we are bringing up, the things they saw, we don't know how those things are going to [affect] their lives," said James Riako, a volunteer counsellor with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), working in a transit camp for displaced people in the grounds of St Stephen's Cathedral in Kisumu, the capital of Nyanza Province in western Kenya.

"The children are harbouring a lot. They were drawing pictures for us. One child said: 'Somebody came and killed my parents when I was there. We were burnt and I am the only one who survived.' Another one could not talk.

Full report