Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Today's headlines - Wed 3/5/2008

One story from BBC followed by links to others:

State 'sanctioned' Kenyan clashes - BBC

The BBC has learnt of allegations of state-sanctioned violence in Kenya during the turmoil that followed last December's disputed presidential poll.

Sources allege that meetings were hosted at the official residence of the president between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures.

The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to protect the president's Kikuyu community.

The government denied the allegations, calling them "preposterous".

There's no way any government official would meet openly or even in darkness with the Mungiki
--Alfred Mutua
Government spokesman

"No such meetings took place at State House or any government office," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told the BBC.

He said the government had been cracking down on the sect for the last year, arresting their leaders.

"There's no way the president of any government official would meet openly or even in darkness with the Mungiki," he said.

Gangs with machetes
The allegations come as parliament prepares to open on Thursday, laying the ground for a new coalition government.
Although parliament's focus will be on healing ethnic divisions and creating a coalition government - allegations of state involvement with a banned Kikuyu militia, known as Mungiki, will not go ignored, the BBC's Karen Allen in Nairobi says.

She says there is growing suspicion that some of the violence that led to 1,500 people being killed and hundreds of thousands displaced was orchestrated by both sides of the political divide.

The BBC source, who is a member of the Kikuyu tribe and who is now in hiding after receiving death threats, alleged: "Three members of the gang met at State House... and after the elections and the violence the militias were called again and they were given a duty to defend the Kikuyu in Rift Valley and we know they were there in numbers."

We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go
--Rift Valley policeman

On the weekend of 25 January, the Rift Valley towns of Nakuru and then Naivasha were the focus of the some of the worst post-election violence.

Eyewitnesses spoke of non-Kikuyu homes being marked, then gangs with machetes - who they claim were Mungiki - attacked people who were from other ethnic groups.

Sources inside the Mungiki have told the BBC that it was a renegade branch of the outfit that was responsible for violence, not them.

A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of state complicity.

He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called "matatus", packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.

"When we were there... I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed with men," he said.

"There were no females... I could see they were armed.

  • Banned in 2002
  • Thought to be ethnic Kikuyu militants
  • Mungiki means multitude in Kikuyu
  • Inspired by the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s
  • Claim to have more than 1m followers
  • Promote female circumcision and oath-taking
  • Believed to be linked to high-profile politicians
  • Control public transport routes, demanding levies
  • Blamed for revenge murders in the central region

"We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go."

But Mr Mutua said that the government deployed the military to deal with the Kikuyu youth who had tried to take the law into their own hands.

"The Kenyan government... used helicopters to drive them away, arrested them and actually got to kill quite a few of them torching houses," he said.

"The government stamped on them immediately."

The allegations come at a time of growing concern that there was pre-planned violence on both sides of the political fence, in the aftermath of Kenya's disputed election result.

The International Crisis Group has already raised such concerns and Human Rights Watch is expected to publish its report making similar claims shortly.

There are plans to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the coming weeks to examine claims of election violence.

The allegations are likely to be among the themes investigated by a commission created to address the issue of post-election skirmishes.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/03/05 17:15:13 GMT
© BBC MMVIIIGoogle News Alert for: Kenya

UN chief pushes Kenya deal
The Times - Johannesburg,Gauteng,South Africa
GENEVA - United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki-moon has urged Kenya’s leaders to follow through on a power-sharing deal reached last week after mediation by Kofi ...See all stories on this topic

5:32 am (6 hours ago)
Google News Alert for: Kenya

Uganda: Museveni, Annan Discuss Kenya - Washington,USA
FORMER UN secretary general Kofi Annan has held a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni to brief him about the power-sharing deal in Kenya. ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya cops scour western region
Independent Online - Cape Town,South Africa
Nairobi - Two suspected militiamen were killed and more than a dozen arrested in western Kenya as police searched for a group accused of a village raid that ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya: US Firm to Raise TV Quality With Sh6.9 Bn Broadband Link - Washington,USA
At its January 31 meeting, the OPIC's board of directors agreed to finance media and technology companies in Kenya and Tanzania. OPIC is a US organisation ...See all stories on this topic

Uganda: Markets Shrug Off Kenya Crisis - Washington,USA
The impact of the problems in Kenya on the Ugandan economy is yet to be properly assessed. However, the financial markets have shown considerable resilience ...See all stories on this topic

Rwanda: Gasigwa Heads to Kenya - Washington,USA
After failing to win the Uganda Open title, Rwanda's seed two Jean Claude Gasigwa has shifted his focus to the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Kenya Open/Money ...See all stories on this topic

Rwanda: Ruterana Misses Kenya Open - Washington,USA
Speaking to Times Sport, Ruterana said, "I feel very bad because I have been looking forward to playing in this year's Kenya Open. ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya's Benchmark Coffee Grade Rises 3.2% on Improved Quality
Bloomberg - USA
By Fred Ojambo March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya's benchmark coffee grade rose 3.2 percent at an auction yesterday after the quality of beans improved amid ...See all stories on this topic

9:01 am (3 hours ago)
Google News Alert for: Kenya

US names Somalia al-Qaeda wanted
BBC News - UK
The US missile strike in Somalia on Monday was aimed at an al-Qaeda suspect wanted in connection with simultaneous attacks in Kenya, US officials say. ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya police fire teargas to halt gang protest
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
A new power-sharing deal negotiated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has brought calm to Kenya, and economic activity has resumed. ...See all stories on this topic

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

IRIN headlines - Tues 3/4/2008

4 - GLOBAL: Africa worst affected by shortage of health workers

KAMPALA, 4 March (IRIN) - Poor working conditions and inadequate pay have driven away health professionals from developing countries, thereby undermining medical services, a conference to address the global shortage has noted.

"For too long we have watched this crisis unfold in front of our eyes - this is unacceptable," Francis Omaswa, head of the Global Health Workforce Alliance, told the first Global Forum on Human Resources for Health that opened in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on 3 March.

The deficit, the conference heard, had reached four million doctors, nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals. Of these, one million are needed in Africa alone.

Some 57 countries, especially in Africa and Asia, are particularly affected and unable to effectively provide access to essential health services, prevention and information campaigns, drug distribution and other life-saving interventions such as immunisation, maternity care and treatment of several diseases.

"The world is looking to us and encouraging us to be ambitious in our goals, open to innovation, and determined to implement solutions," Omaswa told the conference. "We want political will of the highest level [to] translate into concrete action."

Uganda's health minister, Stephen Malinga, said his country had lost more than 500 doctors and thousands of nurses, of whom 200 were working in South Africa.

"Our neighbours have also taken them ... they are paid in dollars in Sudan and others with indispensable expertise have gone to Rwanda," he said.

Those who opt to stay in Uganda, Malinga explained, were earning so little they could often not afford to pay the rent. Uganda thus had one doctor for 100,000 patients.

The Global Health Workforce Alliance said one in four doctors trained in Africa was working in western industrialised countries.

"They seek better employment and quality of life. Income is an important motivation for migration [as well as] better working conditions, career opportunities and more job satisfaction," Sigrun Mogedal, one of the conference organisers, said.

"Sub-Saharan Africa faces the greatest challenge and proportionately, is the most heavily affected region of the world. One million health workers are needed to bridge the gap in this region," the alliance noted. "While it has 11 percent of the world population and 24 percent of the global burden of disease, it has only 3 percent of the world's health workers."

The conference aims to produce a 10-year global action plan to deal with the problem, which would require US$3.3 billion per year to train 1.8 million health workers in Africa for the next eight years. Another $27 billion would be required to pay them to stay.


5 - KENYA: Sexual violence continues in IDP camps

NAKURU, 4 March (IRIN) - Residents in a camp for displaced persons in Nakuru, in Rift Valley Province, western Kenya, were deeply shocked when a gang of men attacked and sexually assaulted five boys, but the health officials dealing with sexual violence during the recent political upheaval have had to become immune.

"Since the violence started we are seeing similar numbers of cases to what we would normally see over the same timespan, but there is one major difference: 90 percent of the cases we are seeing since the political crisis began are gang rapes," said Lucy Kiama, head of the Gender Violence Recovery Centre at the Nairobi Women's Hospital. "The gangs range from groups of two men to as many as eleven."

An estimated 300 women have been treated for rape since the year began, many of them women and girls who had travelled from Rift Valley Province to the capital, Nairobi, often a journey of hundreds of kilometres that could take many hours by bus.

The women usually arrive too late for post-exposure prophylaxis, which can prevent HIV infection following exposure, but receive post-trauma counselling and treatment for other injuries. For a few weeks, roadblocks on the highways linking Nairobi to the Rift Valley also prevented many from travelling to hospitals for treatment.

Kiama said she could not rule out the possibility that these gang rapes were planned and ethnically motivated, but said they were also likely crimes of opportunity carried out by men taking advantage of the lack of proper security.

According to Jeanne Ward, an international consultant on gender-based violence (GBV), the spike in gang rape in a situation as violent as Kenya was at the beginning of the year was not unusual. "Most violence is carried out in gangs during times when there is a breakdown of law and order, so gang rape is merely a replication of the other kinds of violence using the same methods," she said.

"There are always pre-disposing factors with the kind of sexual violence we're seeing in the camps, such as a lack of respect for human rights, a sense among perpetrators that it is okay to do it," Ward said.

"However, there are also exacerbating factors in play, such as alcohol abuse, close camp quarters, men whose traditional roles have suddenly changed, limited security - these also create an environment where rape can become common. The basic fact is that they know they are able to carry these crimes out with impunity," she added.

"Legal redress may be available in urban centres like Nairobi, Mombasa [Kenya's port city] or Nakuru, but in the rural areas there is no way women have access to legal services."

Another common thread in many IDP camps is the sexual coercion and exploitation of girls and women by people in positions of responsibility or power.

An interagency assessment of GBV reported that in the early stages of camp development at the Nakuru showgrounds (an agricultural exhibition facility), community members reportedly took girls from the camp to serve as domestic help, likely increasing their risk of sexual exploitation.

The same report said women had stated that men in the community around the camp set up on the showgrounds at Eldoret, another town in Rift Valley Province, were inducing girls to leave the camp with the promise that they would "eat something sweet".

"In some cases, team leaders responsible for handing out food have been making girls give them sex in exchange for the food they are actually entitled to," Kiama said. "So even when the sex is consensual, it is often survival sex - the girls and women don't feel they have a choice."

Psychological first aid not sufficient

She noted that many women appeared to be in a state of shock. "The kind of trauma we are seeing is different; not only are these women raped, but many have lost loved ones, land and property, and suddenly find themselves in the strange surroundings of an IDP [internally displaced persons] camp.

"What we are giving them is a kind of psychological first aid, but handling these cases will necessitate long-term care, but as many of the IDPs are still moving from place to place, this will prove difficult," Kiama said. "One woman came here so traumatised she did not speak for several days - she needed speech therapy; others are suicidal, and others want revenge."

Besides the physical health risks of these crimes, such as HIV and unwanted pregnancies, the long-term psychological health of women who had been attacked was also at risk. "There is still so much IDP movement, and we have no way of tracing these women to provide them with the longer-term counselling they will need," she added. "These are going to be the long-term consequences of this violence."

Improving protection

The continued rape and sexual exploitation has highlighted the need for better protection of women and girls in the camps. In response, several organisations, under the umbrella of the United Nations Protection Cluster, have come together to ensure that new camps are constructed with separate toilets for men and women, sufficient lighting and more organised sleeping quarters.

Kenya's Red Cross Society has been running seminars on GBV. "We were taught about the Inter-Agency Standing Committee [a mechanism for coordinating humanitarian assistance by key UN and non-UN partners] guidelines [on gender-based violence in emergencies]," said John Mbugua, coordinator of health service at the Nakuru IDP camps, whose team also attended.

"After the seminars we formed groups where we could start spreading the message and see how we could protect people." The guidelines outline preventive and curative measures for dealing with GBV in IDP camps, including providing activities for bored young people such as sports, and income-generating projects to keep older men and women busy and able to support their families.

Other initiatives include sensitising camp residents to the inhumanity and risks of sexual violence, strengthening the legal system, and ensuring that the police and other staff handling sexual assault cases were properly trained.

********Now that President Mwai Kibaki and his erstwhile rival, Raila Odinga, have signed a peace agreement, it is hoped that the IDP camps will be disbanded and Kenya's 600,000 displaced people will return to their homes.

However, camp officials in Nakuru said so far few people had left the camp and many would remain until the government could guarantee their safety or provide them with alternative homes.


Quaker Relief Efforts Continue - Tues 3/4/3008

Quakers in Kenya are
combining the efforts
of all international Friends
service organizations--
with those of
all 15 Kenyan Yearly Meetings.

Friends are focusing their relief work on those refugees not being served by the Kenyan Red Cross, which is overwhelmed by the needs of over half a million people on the move, displaced from their homes.

Click on one of the links below if you wish to support further relief and peacebuilding efforts by Kenyan Friends.

The situation is still very tense, the peace is fragile, and the resettlement of IDPs will continue for months to come. Without diminishing your regular giving toward ongoing Quaker projects in Africa, kindly consider making a 12-month pledge to sustain the efforts of Kenyan Friends to serve the needy.

You can donate now online (earmark your gifts "Kenya Relief"):

> FUM - Friends United Meeting: focus on emergency relief, medical care at hospitals and mission stations, and leadership development through Friends Theological College and Yearly Meetings

> AGLI - African Great Lakes Initiative: focus on grassroots peacebuilding through AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project), reconciliation efforts, and trauma healing workshops

Many thanks and heartfelt prayers to Friends in Kenya who are giving life to the gospel by serving as Christ's hands and feet, bringing God's love and care to those who need healing. We praise God for your efforts!

> Click here for previous postings about relief efforts

Tuko pamoja, marafiki! We stand together with you, Friends!

The Lord says: "Do not be afraid. I am your God, your help, your strength and your salvation." (Is 41:8-10)


Quaker Relief Efforts Continue in Western Kenya
Update from Dorothy Selebwa (USFW - Kenya)
Kakamega, Kenya

Subject: Relief Supply - Third Phase

Dear Friends,

As you all know that since the country went into election violence, many people lost their lives property and so on, The friends church through FUM made appeals to all about how to help the IDPs (internally displaced people - refugees). I would like to thank everyone who has participated in anyway to make funds available to help the IDPs.

Since early Feb we have been going round many camps visiting these IDPs sharing with them and also praying with them.

We have managed to visit up to about 11 different camps in Mt. Elgon and some part of Cheptulu which is along the border of Kaimosi and Nandi.

Today we were visiting two camps around Kisii and Keroka and i will compile a report and send it to you. Most of the pictures were taken by Raymond and he has managed to put them up on this link starting with the latest one:

So if you do wish to get a close look of the whole process, then the pictures will tell it all. I want to thank again all groups, USFWI, all the yearly meetings, and FUM in general, not forgetting individuals for all the support and prayers you have given to us.

God Bless you all,

Dorothy Selebwa
Project Co-Ordinator,
P.O. Box 1234 - 50100
Phone +254 56 31519

Today's headlines - Tues 3/4/2008


Kenya President, Opposition Leader Meet

By MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED – 2 hours ago

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's president and the rival with whom he has agreed to share power after weeks of bitter negotiations held a two-hour meeting Tuesday about how to move the country past postelection violence that killed more than 1,000 people.

President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga both claim to have won Dec. 27 presidential elections. Their dispute unleashed weeks of bloodshed, exposing divisions over land and economic inequality.

International and local observers say the vote was rigged and it's unclear who won, and they accuse politicians of fomenting the violence.

"We agreed that we want to heal the wounds which were inflicted during these last two months," Odinga told reporters as he left the meeting, which he described as "very productive."

It was the first meeting between Kibaki and Odinga since they struck a political deal last week to share power, with Odinga serving as prime minister.

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised his predecessor, Kofi Annan, for his role in mediating. Annan had shown "great leadership" in defusing two months of postelection conflict in the east African nation, Ban said.

Despite the deal, many fear the fighting — much of it pitting longtime neighbors against each other — will not wane easily.

On Monday, 13 people were burned alive or hacked to death in what police described as one in a series of clashes over land in the region at the foot of Mount Elgon in Kenya's fertile Rift Valley, some 300 miles northwest of Nairobi.

Bernard Muli, a police chief in the area, blamed the Sabaot Land Defense Force, a militia group fighting for the redistribution of land in western Kenya.

There was no claim of responsibility. A member of the SLDF, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said his group is simply trying to "correct historical injustices."

Some 800 people have been killed in land clashes in the region since 2006, said Ken Wafula, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in the Rift Valley.

The tensions trace back to Kenya's colonial era, when white settlers seized land in the western Rift Valley. The Kikuyus who lived there were dispersed throughout the country, and the British ruled by keeping the groups divided.

At independence in 1963, Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, helped his Kikuyu kinsmen by appointing them to top government posts and easing the way for them to buy land from white settlers.

The Kikuyu quickly prospered, growing into the most powerful ethnic group in the country, running business and politics. The favoritism shown to Kikuyus fueled a simmering anger among the nation's 41 other tribes.

The old bitterness regularly erupts over land, particularly at election time.


Three stories today followed by more links:

1 - Kenyan rivals push ahead with crisis talks

7 hours ago

NAIROBI (AFP) — Kenyan rivals were Tuesday to push ahead with talks on a new deal to share power and tackle root causes of the strife, a day after more than a dozen people were killed in the volatile Rift Valley region.

The negotiations are focusing on reforms to address historical injustices that entail electoral, institutional, constitutional and judicial issues, as well as land reforms at the heart of tribal unrest.

Other issues include measures to address poverty, unemployment, inequity and corruption, and installing a more transparent government.

The negotiators, guided by Nigerian former foreign minister Oluyemi Adeniji who replaced former UN chief Kofi Annan, are expect to end the talks after laying a framework on the way forward.

"The major issues are really out of the way. We are confident that we will wind up the discussions ... tomorrow," government negotiator Mutula Kilonzo said on Monday.

No key agreement is expected from this phase of talks. President Mwai Kibaki and opposition chief Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement last Thursday, signalling an end to two months of violence.

A separate panel is preparing a bill on the creation of the post of prime minister to be presented to parliament when it reconvenes on Thursday. The post is expected to be taken by Odinga.

The government lawmakers agreed Monday to support the bill and entrench it in the constitution while and the opposition is expected to meet later Tuesday to make a similar move.

Meanwhile, police vowed to take action after 15 people were killed in the the Rift Valley region on Monday, the first major violent act since Kibaki and Odinga signed a power-sharing accord.

"We are saddened by these unwarranted deaths of civilians who had just returned home from camps," police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told AFP.

"But our officers are currently combing the ground, looking for the attackers. Let them be warned that these acts of brutality must come to an end and they should expect to be hit and be hit very hard," Kiraithe said.

Kenyan newspapers pressed the government to take action on the attackers, suspected to be Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), a militia group demanding nullification of a government settlement scheme in which they were displaced from their ancestral land, claiming the land was redistributed unfairly.

"This must stop. The government cannot allow this to continue ... The political crisis created room for criminals to cause mayhem under the guise of settling electoral scores. This may get worse unless urgent action is taken to rein in the militias," the Daily Nation said in an editorial.

"This country has suffered; too much blood has been shed, families and property destroyed and the last thing we want to hear is about more killings," the Nation added.

The SLDF land complaints is among the issues to be discussed in the Kenyan crisis talks.

Odinga's claim that Kibaki stole the December 27 presidential elections touched off widespread violence that claimed at least 1,500 lives and displaced hundred of thousands of others.

The post-poll crisis, which has affected the economy, has tapped into simmering resentment over land, poverty and the dominance of the Kikuyu, Kibaki's tribe, in Kenyan politics and business since independence in 1963.

It has also affected the economy, mainly weakening the tourism and agriculture sectors, and tarnished the country's reputation as an island of stability in a region beset by conflicts.

2 - Kenya Rival Is Cautiously Optimistic

Published: March 4, 2008

NAIROBI, KenyaRaila Odinga is a happy man.

On Sunday, he went to the beach and was pictured on the front page of Kenya’s leading newspaper, The Daily Nation, lounging by the waves, wearing shorts and argyle socks.

On Monday, as he polished off a bowl of vegetable soup and sautéed fish at the Nairobi Club, he seemed relaxed, chatty and upbeat — for the first time in weeks.

“Better half a loaf than no bread,” Mr. Odinga said of a power-sharing agreement struck on Thursday that marries his political party to his rivals in the Kenyan government.

Mr. Odinga, 63, is Kenya’s top opposition leader, and his decision to drop his claim to Kenya’s presidency — which he says he rightly won — and to accept the newly created position of prime minister has helped pull this country back from the brink of chaos.

Last week, the governing party agreed to form a coalition government with Mr. Odinga’s party, a breakthrough in a dangerous political crisis that erupted in December with a flawed presidential election. The incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, was declared the winner, despite widespread evidence of vote rigging.

The election set off weeks of bloodshed, destruction and ethnic balkanization, which for a moment put Kenya’s future in doubt.

The political violence has mostly calmed down, though on Sunday night more than 10 people were killed in western Kenya in clashes over contested land. Mr. Odinga, in an interview on Monday, credited the unstinting pressure by the European Union and the United States government with forcing Mr. Kibaki to compromise.

“They knew the game was up,” Mr. Odinga said, referring to Mr. Kibaki’s side, which had insisted for weeks that it would not share power with the opposition, but finally conceded to just about all of Mr. Odinga’s demands except for the presidency.

Mr. Odinga said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had been especially influential — and tough. She visited Kenya last month, and by the accounts of Mr. Odinga and others with knowledge of her meetings, she spoke sternly to Kenya’s president, telling him that his plan to prevent Mr. Odinga’s team from getting any real power was “unacceptable.”

People close to Mr. Kibaki have conceded that the foreign pressure had played a role in Mr. Kibaki’s about-face, especially from donor nations like the United States, which has provided Kenya with more than half a billion dollars of aid each year. And, Mr. Odinga says, that pressure must continue.

“We’re still at a very critical stage,” he said.

The next step is for Parliament to ratify the political agreement signed by Mr. Odinga and Mr. Kibaki. There are many questions to sort through, like how the government will function with essentially two bosses and what will happen to the vice president, a position that now seems to be eclipsed by that of the prime minister. Parliament is to meet Thursday.

But the biggest question seems to be how Mr. Odinga and Mr. Kibaki will get along. The two teamed up in 2002, when Mr. Kibaki won his first term as president. But they soon had a bitter falling-out.

Mr. Odinga said he had no problem working with Mr. Kibaki. He said his only potential problem was “the clique around him.” He said the clique could persuade some Parliament members to skip the vote on the power-sharing agreement.

The agreement needs a two-thirds majority to be put into Kenya’s Constitution through an amendment. So far, Mr. Kibaki’s political allies have said that they will support the agreement, though some have continued to grumble about its ramifications.

Mr. Odinga seems cautiously optimistic. He spoke Monday of the ministries his party wanted to take over, including finance and internal security, and how he planned to provide better housing to improve conditions in Kenya’s slums, which had been incubators of violence during the election crisis.

He also said that he was excited about the American presidential race, and that he was rooting for Barack Obama, who is half Kenyan and whose father was Luo, Mr. Odinga’s ethnic group.

Luos have felt marginalized for years. There is an old joke in Kenya that has caused a lot of chuckles lately, that a Luo will be president of the United States before being president of Kenya.

“We beat them to it,” Mr. Odinga said, laughing so hard that his eyes watered. “I just wasn’t sworn in.”

3 - Kenya in crisis - Telegraph (UK)

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 04/03/2008

More than 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 made homeless since violence erupted across Kenya following a rigged general election nearly 10 weeks ago.

In today's newspaper, we learn that it is not just people who are at risk. The collapse of tourism has left insufficient funds for the security patrols necessary to protect big game from poachers in the Masai Mara reserve.

This latest piece of bad news joins a catalogue of woes. Yesterday, 12 people were killed and six badly burnt in clashes over land ownership near the border with Uganda, a reminder that shortage of good terrain is the greatest threat to stability.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has estimated that the unrest will cost $3.8 billion in the first half of the year.

Although tourism is the hardest-hit, transport and agriculture, from cereal production to flower farming and tea growing, have also been affected.

And Kenya's crisis has washed into the economies of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and southern Sudan. Ethnic militias, whether Kikuyu or Kalenjin, have usurped state control in parts of the country. And the reputation of politicians, who fiddled while Kenya burned, has been further blackened.

The best solution would have been a rerun of the December 27 election under international supervision. But, as the death toll has risen, that ideal has had to cede to a solution promising the speediest end to the killing.

That has turned out to be an agreement mediated by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, whereby President Mwai Kibaki and his challenger, Raila Odinga, will share power.

The devil of any such deal is in the detail, but, as a matter of justice, it should devolve considerable authority from the president to Mr Odinga's newly created post of prime minister. The most urgent task for the duumvirate will be to tackle the vast disparities in wealth by curbing the illegal allocation of public land, as suggested by the Ndungu Report in 2005.

The past nine weeks or so have exposed the frightening fragility of Kenyan society. The political elite, above all Mr Kibaki, are morally obliged to undo the dreadful damage their dishonesty and protracted squabbling have caused.


More links:

A Look Behind the Violence in KenyaBay Area Indymedia - 16 hours ago

Google News Alert for: Kenya
13 Killed in Attack in Western KenyaThe Associated Press - NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Thirteen people were burned alive or hacked to death Monday in an attack blamed on a land dispute, the first major eruption of ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya Rival Is Cautiously OptimisticNew York Times - United StatesBy JEFFREY GETTLEMAN On Sunday, he went to the beach and was pictured on the front page of Kenya’s leading newspaper, the Daily Nation, lounging by the ...See all stories on this topic

After violence, Kenya tourism strugglesChristian Science Monitor - Boston,MA,USAReporter Rob Crilly discusses how Kenya's recent post-election violence has devastated the country's tourism industry. Watamu, Kenya - Hotels are empty up ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya: Inflation Hits New High As Experts Warn of - Washington,USAFigures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that inflation increased to 19.1 per cent, from 18.2 per cent in January, as effects of high food ...See all stories on this topic

Kirsten to become new Kenya cricket coachIndependent Online - Cape Town,South AfricaNairobi - South African Andy Kirsten has accepted terms to coach Kenya until the 2009 World Cup qualifying competition, Cricket Kenya officials said on ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya: Time to Rebuild Bleeding - Washington,USAThe other government departments, the private sector and the wider public, must move fast to restore Kenya's lost glory, business opportunities and the many ...See all stories on this topic

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

Mar 3 (13 hours ago)
Google News Alert for: Kenya
Tourists Still Scarce on Kenya's CoastVoice of America - USABy Derek Kilner The wave of political violence that followed Kenya's disputed presidential election in December has had devastating consequences for the ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya: Chief Adeniji to Release Talks Road - Washington,USAWelcoming the power-sharing agreement, the World Bank expressed optimism that it would revive Kenya's stalled reform agenda to spur economic growth and ...See all stories on this topic

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10:35 pm (9 hours ago)
Google News Alert for: Kenya
Kenya in crisis - United KingdomMore than 1000 people have been killed and 300000 made homeless since violence erupted across Kenya following a rigged general election nearly 10 weeks ago. ...See all stories on this topic
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1:06 am (7 hours ago)
Google News Alert for: Kenya
Aid Group Alerts Kenya Herdsmen of Impending Water CrisisVoice of America - USABy Howard Lesser The onset of a water crisis in Kenya at the time of political instability and ethnic unrest has threatened pastoralists in the far northern ...See all stories on this topic

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4:26 am (3½ hours ago)
Google News Alert for: Kenya
Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey diesSeattle Times - United StatesMr. Di Stefano died at home in Santa Maria Hoe, north of Milan, from injuries sustained in an attack at his family's villa in Kenya in November 2004, ...See all stories on this topic
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7:30 am (56 minutes ago)
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Kenya's crisis talks continueRadio Netherlands - NetherlandsNairobi - The two sides in Kenya's political crisis are continuing negotiations today. Mediator Kofi Annan has handed over the supervision of the daily ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya cuts prices to lure touristsTimes Online - UKBeach and safari holidays in Kenya are being offered at prices reduced by up to 50 per cent in a bid to restore confidence in the east African country. ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya shilling hits 1-1/2 month high vs dollarReuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South AfricaBy Jack Kimball NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's shilling firmed against the dollar on Tuesday, hitting a 1-1/2-month high on the back of more positive political ...See all stories on this topic

Diamond Trust of Kenya Full-Year Profit Rises 52% (Update1)Bloomberg - USABy Eric Ombok March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Diamond Trust of Kenya Ltd., a Nairobi-based lender with operations in Uganda and Tanzania, said full-year profit ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya Fault CAF Over Exclusion From New - SwitzerlandIn a report monitored in East African Business Week newspaper, KFF president Sammy Obingo expressed shock and bitterness that the Harambee Stars of Kenya ...See all stories on this topic

Kenya Data Networks sells 51% stake to AltechTelecom Paper (subscription) - Houten,NetherlandsKenya Data Networks has completed a deal to sell part of the company to South Africa-based Altech. The deal includes Altech buying from Sameer Investment ...See all stories on this topic

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Good news from AGLI - Tues 3/4/2008

David Zarembka and Gladys Kamonya spoke last night about the work of AGLI - African Great Lakes Initiative - at Community Friends Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday, 3/3/2008. In spite of rain and pre-election commitments, a group of about 30 gathered--local Friends and some others who work for peace and social justice in the area. Some Friends drove from over an hour away: Yellow Springs and Kettering, Ohio, and Richmond, Indiana!

The group was very generous, donating over $800 for AGLI to expand its relief and reconciliation work in Kenya.

The talk focused on nine possible interpretations of the recent post-election violence, taking a look at the historical development of Kenya and some root causes of the conflicts and displacement. Dave spoke about AGLI's work in the region - in Burundi, Rwanda, and Congo - describing current AVP (Alternatives to Violence) and listening workshops being held in Kenya, and the potential for AGLI's trauma healing and reconciliation experience to play an important role in Kenya's effort to rebuild trust across ethnic, generational, and class lines. The talk prompted many interesting questions with a lively discussion--and hopefully the text of Dave's talk will be posted soon at his blog.

Kindly tell Friends about David and Gladys' upcoming visits in Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Manhattan, and Maryland!

> Click here to view David Zarembka's blog.

> Click here to view their full schedule.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Today's headlines - Mon 3/2/2008

Three stories followed by links to others:

1 - Kenyan rivals see speedy resolution to crisis issues - Reuters

Mon 3 Mar 2008, 11:44 GMT

By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's political rivals vowed on Monday to hasten talks to resolve longstanding disputes over land and wealth behind a post-election crisis that shattered the country's image as one of Africa's most stable democracies.

Kenyans exhausted by a wave of looting, burning and ethnic killings sparked by a disputed December 27 election have welcomed a power-sharing deal signed last week to end turmoil that has driven away tourists and dampened economic prospects.

Having brokered the deal, former U.N. boss and chief mediator Kofi Annan urged Kenyans to support the agreement and hold their leaders to the promises -- including land and electoral reforms -- made to them.

Annan, who handed over day-to-day mediation to Nigeria's ex-foreign minister Oluyemi Adeniji, had said long-term issues should be resolved within a year, but political negotiators were hopeful they could speed up their work.

"As far as I am concerned we ought to finish this phase, this week," government negotiator Mutula Kilonzo told reporters after discussions chaired for the first time by Adeniji.

Opposition negotiator Musalia Mudavadi also said he did not expect the remaining phase of the talks to drag on for a year.

"We will find a way of moving faster," he added.

Parliament is due to meet on Thursday to pass a constitutional amendment to allow for a coalition government led by President Mwai Kibaki. His opposition rival, Raila Odinga, will take a newly created post of prime minister.

More than 1,000 people were killed and 300,000 left homeless in violence that erupted when Kibaki was sworn in as president. Odinga says he was robbed of victory.

The turmoil was expected to cost Kenya 260 billion shillings in the first half of the year, according to a February 28-dated report by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

It said 100 billion shillings were lost in January alone, compared to the government's estimate of 60 billion.

Washington, which sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Nairobi to shore up Annan's mediation efforts, has given Kenya $14.7 million in aid.

In a "message of hope" published in the Daily Nation newspaper on Monday, Annan saluted Kibaki and Odinga for agreeing to share power and "in that single act of statesmanship, saved your beautiful country, which was about to self-destruct".

Despite the relief felt by most Kenyans, many are sceptical that the two men -- who fell out when Kibaki reportedly reneged on a previous agreement to create a prime minister's job for Odinga -- can overcome differences to work together.

Annan, who spent six weeks in Kenya, said he was touched that a rhino born in a game reserve was named after him.

"I am told that rhinos can live 40 or 50 years. I hope that during baby Kofi's lifespan, he will see a Kenya that only grows stronger, more unified, more prosperous and more peaceful as the years go by."

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

2 - Fifteen killed in Kenya as politicians thrash out reforms - AFP

3 hours ago

NAIROBI (AFP) — Fresh attacks claimed at least 15 people in Kenya's Rift Valley region overnight, police said Monday, while rival political leaders worked out details for reform under last week's power-sharing accord.

"A total of 15 people died: six burnt in their houses, six hacked with machetes and three shot dead," a police commander said after the attack that occurred in the Rift Valley's Trans Nzoia area.

Police said the attackers, armed with machetes and guns, pounced on their victims who were sleeping in the volatile area that was rocked by violence in the weeks after a disputed December 27 presidential election.

"It was horrifying. These people were merciless. They burnt people alive. Aout 10 houses were razed," said another police officer, who asked not to be named.

The government and opposition resumed talks in the capital Nairobi, under a new international mediator, after a weekend break in a marathon talks on the accord to end share power and end violence.

Former Nigerian foreign minister Oluyemi Adeniji replaced former UN chief Kofi Annan who left on Sunday, after obtaining a deal between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Negotiations are now concentrating on reforms to address historical injustices, with electoral, institutional, constitutional and judicial issues to address impunity and corruption and increase government transparency and accountability.

They are also to discuss land reforms, measures to address poverty, unemployment and inequity.

The rival leaders agreed last Thursday to create a post of a prime minister and two deputies under the east African country's current constitution pending a comprehensive constitutional review in 12 months' time.

Odinga accused Kibaki of rigging the presidential elections and the ensuing violence left more than 1,500 dead.

Odinga is set to become prime minister after parliament entrenches the deal in the constitution.

In article published in the Daily Nation newspaper, Annan told Kenyans to hold accountable leaders and urged them to forget the past.

"I know you will support this agreement, even if some of you might feel that your party conceded too much. But compromise was key to success, and this compromise opens the door to a unified, prosperous and peaceful Kenya," Annan said wrote.

"My heart aches especially for you, especially for those who have lost loved ones. We cannot bring them back. But you can, through the way you choose to live your lives without them, ensure that the legacy of their loss is not one of hatred and revenge," the former UN chief wrote.

"You and your country can move forward and find some solace in healing, if there are processes of justice, truth and reconciliation that will take leadership from your new government, but it will also take commitment from all of you."

Government and opposition lawmakers are to meet separately to discuss ways of getting the deal enshrined in the constitution when the 222-member assembly resumes on Thursday.

The crisis tapped into simmering resentment over land, poverty and the dominance of the Kikuyu, Kibaki's tribe, in Kenyan politics and business since independence in 1963.

Besides the civilian toll, the crisis also affected the economy, particularly weakening the key tourism and agriculture, which both sides have pledged to rebuild.

On Sunday, Odinga pressed for foreign countries to lift travel advisories against visiting Kenya.

"There is no need for anyone to fear coming to our country, therefore I make a passionate appeal to the countries that issued travel advisories to the tourists ... to remove those advisories immediately," he told local media.

The state-run Kenya Tourism Board sent a delegation to the International Tourism Bourse in Berlin.

"For us in the tourism industry we welcome the return of peace to our country becuase our industry relies in the perception. Peace and stability is an important influence to potentions consumers of the tourism products," KTB spokeswoman Rose Kwena told AFP.

3 - Deal-broker Annan leaves Kenya - BBC

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has left Kenya after helping secure a deal between the country's rival political leaders.

Mr Annan successfully mediated in talks following the presidential election in December which the opposition said was flawed by vote rigging.

A thousand people have been killed in violence since the poll.

The power-sharing deal gave opposition leader Raila Odinga the post of executive prime minister.

Mr Annan has now gone to neighbouring Uganda before returning to his base in Switzerland.

He has said he will be back in Kenya to monitor progress in efforts to reform Kenya's constitution and institutions.

Air of calm

We want Kenya to return to the old Kenya: stable, peaceful, prosperous and welcoming
--Kofi Annan

Mr Annan urged all Kenyans to take part in building a healed and reconciled country, and not leave it to the politicians.

"I would urge all of you to remain engaged," he said in a message to Kenyans on his departure. "We want Kenya to return to the old Kenya: stable, peaceful, prosperous and welcoming."

"Each and every one of you has a role to play," he added.

Mr Annan arrived in Kenya on 22 January when rival ethnic communities were engaged in horrific acts of blood letting following the disputed election.

He said he would come with no solution to Kenya's problems but to insist that one was found.


  • 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

The BBC's Adam Mynott in Nairobi says his arrival immediately injected an air of relative calm and that was reinforced when, two days later, he persuaded President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to meet and shake hands.

A negotiating process was set up and agreements on ways to end the violence and tackle the humanitarian crisis quickly followed.

The talks then stalled and started to lose ground.

The former UN secretary general insisted that negotiations were always going to be a matter of give and take.
Debt of gratitude

But a week ago they hit a crisis point and on Tuesday he suspended discussions between the panel and negotiators because no progress was being made.

He said Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga had to take responsibility and meet.

Five hours of discussions led to an agreement on power sharing and a path towards a stable future.

Our correspondent says Kenyans owe Kofi Annan and his diplomatic skills a huge debt of gratitude.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/03/02 11:22:58 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Google News Alert for: Kenya
Annan leaves Kenya
Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya
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Aryasova, Moiben win LA Marathon
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Laban Moiben of Kenya won the men's race and $20000 by completing the course in 2:13:51. Aryasova, running with her blond braid bobbing behind her, ...
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Russian Woman Bests Men at LA Marathon
The Associated Press - Kenya's Laban Moiben won the men's division in 2:13:50. Aryasova and Moiben each received $20000 and a car for winning their divisions. ...
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Honesty in coalition will get Kenya back on the right track
Daily Nation - Nairobi,Kenya
To get the country back on track and to the level it was prior to the announcement of the disputed presidential poll results, PNU and ODM must be honest in ...
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Annan leaves Kenya a hero
Financial Times - London,England,UK
By Barney Jopson
Kofi Annan, who last week brokered a political deal to pull Kenya back from the brink of disaster, left the country a hero yesterday as ...
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Euphoria over election peace deal brings Kenya back to work
Independent - London,England,UK
The man who brokered the deal, Kofi Annan, left Kenya yesterday, 41 days after he arrived. Since the televised signing on Thursday afternoon, ...
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Changing Kenya Constitution Gets Priority in Recovery Efforts
Voice of America - USA
By Howard Lesser
With the departure of chief mediator Kofi Annan, Kenya’s parliament will be focusing efforts on implementing the new power-sharing deal ...
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Kenya in Translation: An Interview with Ngugi wa Thiong'o
AlterNet - San Francisco,CA,USA
Kenya's recent political upheaval and news of brutal ethnic clashes need to be understood in terms of the country's political and cultural history. ...
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These female marathoners know their place
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
It wasn't a runner whose last steps came long hours after Tatiana Aryasova of Russia and Laban Moiben of Kenya had won the women's and men's divisions, ...
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Moiben of Kenya gets win
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
Laban Moiben had hopes of overtaking the elite women in the LA Marathon and erasing the head start they had been given in the challenge for a $100000 bonus ...
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Kenya's PNU Party Parliament Members Meet Monday to Consider Power ...
Voice of America - USA
By James Butty
In Kenya, the process to incorporate into the constitution last week’s historic power sharing agreement begins Monday with a meeting of ...
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Kenya Inflation Accelerates to 19.1% in February After Violence
Bloomberg - USA
By Paul Richardson
March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Inflation in Kenya, where more than 1500 people have died in protests following a disputed election in December, ...
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Kenya: Annan Leaves As Talks Team Tackle Agenda 4 - Washington,USA
"Kenya has a lot to offer. As Kenyans you need to work together, heal and unify the nation," said Annan, adding that it was a beautiful country which he ...
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Kenya: How Traditional Somali Garb Became an Issue in US - Washington,USA
The picture, taken during Obama's tour of Wajir, Kenya, in 2006, showed him wearing a white turban and a wrap around white robe, typical Kenyan attire for ...
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Cornrows, Kenya, Obama and yours truly
Newsday - Long Island,NY,USA
For the record, Christianity is the dominant religion in a once- colonized Kenya. Circulating the photo of Obama as he mixed it up with his tribe on their ...
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Kenya: Tortuous Road That Led to Power Deal - Washington,USA
KICC was the vote tallying centre of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). The delay in the announcement of the presidential results and sudden ...
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Kenya shilling strengthens vs dollar, outlook bullish
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
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Kenya: Why Coast Produced Champions in Exam - Washington,USA
The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) partly contributed to the success of candidates and schools from Coast Province in last year's Kenya Certificate of ...
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Kenya crisis talks resume without Annan
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