Friday, March 21, 2008

Today's Headlines - Fri 3/21/2008

One Reuters story on concerns over how Kenya army is handling Mt Elgon violence, four news summaries with links from IRIN news service (United Nations), followed by many links from Google News:

Kenyans protest at army terror in mountain offensive - Reuters

Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:52am EDT
By Andrew Cawthorne

MOUNT ELGON, Kenya (Reuters) - Church leader Wycliffe Masibo describes seeing an elderly member of his flock whipped to death during a Kenyan army search for militiamen in his remote mountain village.

Having made all the men lie on the floor, soldiers kicked and hit them, demanding they tell them where guns were kept and suspects were hiding, he and others from Chongoywo village on the slopes of Mount Elgon told a visiting reporter.

"They wanted the brother of Isaac Chele, one of my church members, who is about 60, but the brother had fled," Masibo said. "They asked him questions, but didn't care about the answers. They kept hitting him. He died from the whip, I saw."

Authorities deny mistreating locals in a two-week-old military offensive to flush out members of the illegal Sabaot Defence Land Force (SDLF) militia from the caves, forests and villages around Mount Elgon in western Kenya.

But the Kenya Red Cross has treated 1,800 people for injuries -- mostly bruising and swelling -- since it started.

Asked what the cause of those injuries were, Red Cross head Abbas Gullet said he could not go into detail, then added: "It is obvious, my friend."

Refugees fleeing the area give identical accounts of bombardments from the air and truckloads of soldiers rolling into villages and beating them en masse.

The Mount Elgon conflict pre-dates the violence in Kenya after President Mwai Kibaki's disputed December re-election.

But it shares some of the root causes -- land disputes, ethnic tensions, marginalization of remote areas -- and is something of a microcosm of the deep historical problems bedeviling the east African nation.

Since the SDLF took up arms in mid-2006 to fight for land it says was illegally taken from the local Soy community, more than 500 people have been killed and 60,000 displaced.

Many locals are unsympathetic, saying the militia quickly turned into a criminal band, emerging from the forest to loot and kill. The SDLF demands protection money and, at one point, punished drunkenness by slicing ear-lobes, they say.

"They slashed and killed my father, I had to run away," farmer David Nyongeza, 52, said at a charity's food distribution point just outside the military operation zone.

"So I support the operation. It is a good thing."

Local leaders and rights activists, however, say the army has gone too far, inflicting yet more suffering on a traumatized and impoverished local population.

Hassan Omar Hassan, a commissioner with the government-funded Kenya National Human Rights Commission, said
everyone knew in advance when the army offensive was to begin.

"So the militia fled. And based on the frustration of failure, the soldiers just hit at everyone," he said. "They missed their original target then created a wave of terror."

Local member of parliament Fred Kapondi and Mount Elgon county council chairman Benson Chesikak accuse the army of using torture on many of the more than 1,000 suspects held in the first round of arrests.

They, and relatives of those taken into custody, spoke of techniques like making suspects lie face up in the sun all day, walk on their knees, and step on barbed wire.

They also say there have been "tens" of deaths.

Regional police boss Abdul Mwasserah denied that.

"We have not killed anybody. We have not tortured anybody. The security forces are there to help the community, to rid them of the criminals," he said. "Those who are complaining are not representative. Most appreciate what we are doing."

Mwasserah said the offensive had yielded 31 AK-47 rifles and 300 arrests, and would go on as long as necessary. "We are not in a hurry to pull out," he told Reuters.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed, and roadblocks bar journalists from the zone of operations. But Red Cross vehicles go in and out on dusty, winding tracks across the slopes of the picturesque mountain in fertile land near the Ugandan border.

Among the refugees, women also allege harassment.

Ruth Chebed, 27, said scores of soldiers swarmed into her village, Chelebe, at the end of last week. Some demanded the women show where the men kept guns.

"I didn't know, so they beat me here," she said, touching her ribs. "They took my brother. I don't know where he is."
(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Tim Pearce)

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit:

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.


Four IRIN summaries with links:

1 - KENYA: State failed to protect citizens during unrest - UN report

Kenyan authorities failed in their responsibility to protect citizens when violence erupted after disputed presidential elections in December 2007, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

"The scale of the violence and destruction indicates the failure of the Kenyan State to protect its citizens' right to life, security and property during these events," a report by an OHCHR fact-finding mission stated.

[Full report at:]

2 - KENYA: Census plans on track despite displacement

The political crisis in Kenya caused major population movements that may require a repeat of cartographic mapping in some areas before the 2009 census, but plans for the official count are on track, a government official told IRIN.

"We are revising our work plan and looking at areas where we might have to repeat cartographic mapping but we expect to hold the census on 25 August 2009 as planned," said Chris Omolo, the census manager and principal economist at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

[Full report at:]

3 - KENYA: Tension high as hundreds flee clash-torn Laikipia

Hundreds of civilians have fled Kenya's Rift Valley district of Laikipia, where fighting between two communities has resulted in deaths and at least 300 houses being burnt.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said reinforcements and an investigating team of officers had been sent to the scene. According to him, the death toll was 14.

[Full report at:]

4 - KENYA: Human Rights Watch urges inquiry into post-election violence

Kenyan authorities should investigate and bring to justice people suspected of instigating violence following the country's disputed presidential elections in December, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on 17 March.

"In many cases the chief architects of post-election violence were prominent and well-known individuals," stated HRW in a report entitled Ballots to Bullets: Organized Political Violence and Kenya's Crisis of Governance.

[Full report at:]


From Google News:

Kenya: Raila Role in Coalition to Boost Civic Nationalism, Washington - 14 hours ago
Kenya has attained a historic landmark after Parliament enshrined in law the power-sharing agreement between President Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate, ...

Kenya: Canada Withdraws Travel Advisory

Measures that will guarantee peace and prosperity in Kenya Daily Nation

Kenya: Njue Challenges New Coalition

Voice of America -
all 235 news articles »
Turkish Press

Cattle rustling in Kenya blamed for outbreak of tribal killings
Times Online, UK - 14 hours ago
Police in Kenya fear that a recent wave of cattle rustling is fanning the tribal animosity that boiled over this year into ethnic killings. ...

Pastoralists clash in Kenya with 25 feared dead Reuters South Africa

Deaths mount in Kenya over cattle theft AFP

17 killed in Kenyan attack AFP

BBC News -
all 57 news articles »

Kenya: Post-Crisis Agendas, Washington - 21 hours ago
"The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation between the political parties provides Kenya's leaders with a historic opportunity to step back from the ...

UN: No Amnesty for Kenyan Vote Violence The Associated Press

UN team tells Kenya not to grant amnesty Reuters South Africa

Kenya: Greater Accountability, End to Impunity Key to Stability in ...

Malaysia Sun - Earthtimes
all 60 news articles »

Independent Commission to Investigate Kenya’s Disputed Election Friday
Voice of America - 11 hours ago
By Peter Clottey
An independent commission set up to investigate Kenya’s December 27 disputed elections would begin its work today (Friday). ...

Commission starts investigating Kenya election Reuters South Africa

Team in place to probe Kenya poll Daily Nation

Kenya poll probe begins The Times

SABC News - (Pressemitteilung)
all 26 news articles »

Kenya: The Cutting Edge, Washington - 15 hours ago
Who will tell head of Public Service Francis Muthaura that the problem in Kenya is not simply about certain individuals being hell-bent on advancing their ...

Kenyans protest at army terror in mountain offensive Reuters South Africa

Journalists Still Barred from Kenya Military Operation Voice of America

Tanzania: Media Condemns Kenya Military

Voice of America -
all 21 news articles »

Kenya: Food Security - Harsh Lessons From NEP, Washington - 1 hour ago
The vicious cycle that replays itself in northern Kenya is all too familiar. Tens of thousands of people and animals stare at starvation every year. ...

Kenya: Shuttle Buses to Serve City Centre, Washington - 5 hours ago
In the meantime, Uhuru said, the three main bus companies - Citi Hoppa, Double M and Kenya Bus Service - had been asked to agree on one among them that ...

Bus shuttle to the rescue Daily Nation

Shuttles to ease traffic congestion at CBD Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
all 4 news articles »

Kenya: Gov Team Set to Market Country in China, Washington - 14 hours ago
She said the ministry had set up a website in Chinese targeting tourists from the country and offering Kenya's wide range of sites and features. ...

Kenya violence cut tourist numbers almost in half Reuters South Africa

Kenya turns to China, domestic market to rebuild tourism AFP

PS stresses need to aggressively market Kenya's tourism Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

all 11 news articles »
Daily Nation

Kenya: Team Named to Probe KCSE Saga, Washington - 15 hours ago
However, Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) Chairman, Prof Raphael Munavu, said the council had scrutinised the results and confirmed that the ...

Kenya: Weird World of Wasanga, Ongeri, Iwu And Kivuitu

Ministry’s probe team rejected Daily Nation

Ongeri rules out re-marking exam Daily Nation

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
all 11 news articles »

Kenya: You're True Ally, VP Tells China, Washington - 14 hours ago
Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, has commended China and other friendly countries for standing in solidarity with Kenya during the post-election crisis. ...

New! Get the
latest news on Kenya with Google Alerts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Today's Headlines - Thurs 3/20/2008

Kenya relieved after parliament backs power-sharing deal - AFP

17 hours ago

NAIROBI (AFP) — Kenyan media on Wednesday welcomed parliament's ratification of a deal aimed at ending deadly political turmoil while new violence rocked some regions.

A rare conciliatory mood marked Tuesday's parliamentary session in which lawmakers backed the power-sharing deal reached on February 28 but warned that land and ethnic disputes need urgent attention.

The problems were highlighted by the deaths of eight people in East Pokot district as the parliament session went ahead.

Ethnic Turkana cattle rustlers killed eight Pokot rivals and stole around 1,000 animals late Tuesday, local police commander Peter Njenga said.

"The Turkana were armed with rifles and shot six people who died on the spot, and two others shot by arrows died on their way to hospital," Njenga said.

The deaths were not directly linked to the disputed December 27 elections which set off unrest in the east African nation that has left 1,500 dead, but the political crisis has exacerbated many local feuds.

The dire economic impact of two months of tribal killings and police raids has also led to increased crime and heightened tensions between rival communities of herders and farmers.

South African Judge Johann Christiaan Kriegler arrived in Kenya on Wednesday to head a six-member independent panel to probe the disputed polls.

The team, which includes two experts from Argentina and Tanzania and four others from Kenya, will probe election officials and observers as well as analyse the whole voting exercise, officials said.

The panel will start working after a swearing-in by Kenya's chief justice on Thursday, officials added.

While negotiators for President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have barely started hammering out the deal's fine print, parliament unanimously approved the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill and the National Accord and Reconciliation Bill.

The bill, which was signed into law by Kibaki, created the post of a prime minister -- slated for Odinga -- and two deputy prime ministers in a coalition government.

Kenyan newspapers described the parliament vote as historic, but warned of tough times when the country starts tackling deeper constitutional changes.

"The most important lesson was the realisation that the problems afflicting this country require a constitutional solution, because the current governance, economic and social structures were untenable in a multi-ethnic and multi-party state," the Daily Nation said in an editorial.

Meanwhile, security forces searched for a fugitive militia chief who called for a halt to military operations in the restive northwestern Mount Elgon region during an interview with a radio station.

Police were searching for John Kanai, commander of the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), a militia which has been fighting the government over land claims, spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.

"It is just a matter of time, we will get him.... The government is determined to restore law and order in Mount Elgon," Kiraithe said.

In an interview with West FM on Tuesday, Kanai accused the government of bombing civilians in the area, where several hundred people have been killed and 66,000 displaced by bloody clashes since December 2006.

Hundreds of troops backed by helicopters are sweeping the area in a bid to flush out the SLDF. At least eight people have been killed and hundreds arrested since the latest operation was launched on March 9.

"The security officers are looking for something they cannot find. Why are they hurting civilians?" the Standard newspaper quoted Kanai telling the radio station, based in the western town of Bungoma.

Kanai, who is on the police's most wanted list, said the operation had disrupted farming and has been followed by insecurity and inter-tribe clashes.

Police stormed the radio station after the interview in search of Kanai's telephone contact, the Standard reported.

Government forces are also tracking two other militia groups: the Political Revenge Movement (PRM) and the Moorland Defence Force, a militia formed by the Ogiek tribe to counter the SLDF.


Links to more stories:

South Africa: Kenya's President Backs New Constitution, Washington - 7 hours ago
President Mwai Kibaki has pledged his full support for a comprehensive review of Kenya's Constitution within one year. Speaking in Parliament in Nairobi on ...

Kenya: Politicians Have Chance to Remake Their Images

Kenya: King's Son Lauds MPs Over Law

Kenya: Leaders Make History

The Age -
all 211 news articles »

UN: No Amnesty for Kenyan Vote Violence
The Associated Press - 7 hours ago
GENEVA (AP) — Those who committed the worst crimes during the chaos following Kenya's disputed election should "under no circumstances" be granted amnesty, ...

Kenya: State Failed to Protect Citizens During Unrest - UN Report

Kenya: Greater Accountability, End to Impunity Key to Stability in ...

'Kenya unrest fuelled by poverty, impurity' Independent Online

MaximsNews Network - International Herald Tribune
all 105 news articles »

Deaths mount in Kenya over cattle theft
AFP - 4 hours ago
NAIROBI (AFP) — A spate of cattle rustling has fanned tribal animosity in Kenya's Rift Valley and left 25 people dead in the past three days, ...

17 killed in Kenyan attack AFP

Kenyans killed by cattle raiders BBC News

Cattle theft spree leaves 25 people dead
all 38 news articles »
Daily Nation

Kenya poll probe begins
The Times, South Africa - 2 hours ago
NAIROBI - A international team tasked with investigating December presidential polls that triggered deadly violence in Kenya officially began work today, ...

Kenya: Experts Arrive to Investigate Poll Fiasco

SA Judge to start work on Kenya investigation SABC News

Body to probe ECK faulted Daily Nation

Daily Nation - Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

all 11 news articles »

Kenya violence cut tourist numbers almost in half
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 54 minutes ago
By Lisa Ntungicimpaye
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Tourism arrivals to Kenya slumped 44 percent in January due to post-election violence that killed more than 850 ...

Kenya turns to China, domestic market to rebuild tourism AFP

PS stresses need to aggressively market Kenya's tourism Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

all 7 news articles »

World's oldest schoolboy stuck in Kenya refugee camp
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 5 hours agoBy Andrew Cawthorne
ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya's post-election crisis has forced the oldest schoolboy on the planet, 88-year-old peasant farmer Kimani ...

Kenya's top athletes confident in national cross-country team
Xinhua, China - 6 hours ago
NAIROBI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's 800m world champion Alfred Kirwa and junior cross-country champion Asbel Kiprop said the Kenyan team is capable of ...

Kenya drops veterans in junior cross country championships Xinhua

Young Kosgei sets eyes on a hat-trick StandardEight to miss ‘World Cross-Country’ Standardall 7 news articles »

Kenya: Independent MPs Best Bet in Coalition, Washington - 16 hours ago
The coalition Government's ability to make substantial decisions on reforms and renewals depends on MPs from ODM and the PNU/ODM-Kenya alliance showing they ...

Kenya: Kibaki Ties Economic Win to New Constitution

From an imperial presidency to the will of the people: Kenya’s new ... Thought Leader

Kenya: MPs Lobby for Cabinet Positions

AfricaNews - Standard
l 28 news articles »

Econet Wireless to spend USD 300 mln for Kenya roll-out
Telecom Paper (subscription), Netherlands - 2 hours ago
Kenya's third mobile service provider, Econet Wireless has confirmed its June launch and plans to spend USD 300 million rolling out its GSM services. ...
Turkish Press

Eight die in tribal conflict in Kenya
Dispatch Online, South Africa - 13 hours ago
RAIDERS killed eight people in Kenya’s Rift Valley region in a cattle rustling war fanned by tribal animosity which has been responsible for much of the ...

Kenya relieved after parliament backs power-sharing deal AFP

Eight killed in Kenyan attack AFP

all 13 news articles »

New! Get the latest news on Kenya with Google Alerts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Today's headlines - Wed 3/19/2008

Kenya reform bills signed into law, Ireland - 3 hours ago
Kenya's President, Mwai Kibaki, has signed into law two bills passed by the Nairobi parliament to enable a power-sharing deal. ...

Kenya: Church and State Calls for Unity as Bishop Kioko is Buried

World Briefing Africa Kenya: Agreement on Power-Sharing New York Times

Kenya’s President Kibaki Signs Constitutional Amendments Into Law Voice of America -
all 229 news articles »

Foreign interest in Kenya telecom IPO still high
Reuters - 3 hours ago
By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Kenya's biggest stock market listing yet, mobile operator Safaricom SCOM.NR, will attract huge foreign ...

Kenya: Share Prices Drop Ahead of Safaricom IPO

Kenya bourse index down 2.6 pct, traders eye Safaricom Reuters

Kenya's Safaricom handles $145 mln cash transfers Reuters South Africa

Reuters South Africa - Telecom Paper (subscription)
all 36 news articles »

Kenya lawmakers pass power-sharing deal to end election crisis
International Herald Tribune, France - 19 hours ago
AP NAIROBI, Kenya: Kenyan lawmakers unanimously approved a power-sharing deal Tuesday aimed at salvaging a country once seen as one of the most stable and ...

Kenya: Rights' Group Stand On Violence

Kenya: Poll Chaos 'Was Planned'

Kenyan president, opposition leader call for emergency funds The Canadian Press - International Herald Tribune
all 130 news articles »

East Africa: Kenya Crisis Won't Affect EA Federation, Washington - 6 hours ago
THE recent post-election violence that rocked Kenya will not affect the fast-tracking of the East Africa (EA) political federation, the government ...

Rwanda: Moving Towards 24-Hours of Border Openness

Rwanda: Doing Business - Customs to Remain Open Until 10 - 00 Pm

East Africa: Why EAC is Clamoring for Referendum
all 5 news articles »

Daily Nation
Kenya: The Cutting Edge, Washington - 15 hours ago
Telkom Kenya is the mother of all inefficiency, declares Janet Mitu, smarting from disappointment over her telephone, No. 223241, which has been out of ...

Kenya: Uhuru Ban On Matatus Set Aside

Kenya: Chaos As Police Clash With Matatu Operators

Kenya: The Trouble With Nairobi -
all 16 news articles »

British American of Kenya Profit Rises on Higher Domestic Sales
Bloomberg - 6 hours ago
By Eric Ombok March 19 (Bloomberg) -- British American Tobacco Kenya Ltd., East Africa's biggest cigarette maker, said full-year profit rose 17 percent as ...

Nation Media of Kenya Annual Net Rises 40% on Advertising Sales Bloomberg

all 2 news articles » NBO:NMGK

Kenya: Muslim Legislators Pledge to Champion Issues of the Faith, Washington - 5 hours ago
The Muslim Parliamentary Group will defend and articulate the interests of Muslims in Kenya, according to the latest issue of the Friday Bulletin, ...

Kenya: Cardinal Njue Promises to Remain Close to Young People, Washington - 5 hours ago
The cardinal was celebrating the World Youth Day mass that drew young people from 12 deaneries of the archdiocese, from the Kenyan capital and neighboring ...

Kenya: Power Firms Seek Price Cuts, Washington - 15 hours ago
Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) have called for interventions through incentives to guarantee ...

Kenya: KPLC Fetes Its One Millionth Customer
all 4 news articles »
Daily Nation

Kenya: 'Nation' Profit Jumps to Sh1.6 Billion, Washington - 15 hours ago
Operating profit for the period under review rose substantially, driven largely by a strong performance in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and a marked growth in ...

Kenya: Nation Rolls Out Strategy As Profits Hit Sh1.6bn

all 5 news articles » NBO:NMGK

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Breaking News - Parliament backs deal Tues 3/19/2008

Kenya's parliament backs power-sharing deal - Reuters Alertnet

18 Mar 2008 18:04:59 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds background)

By C. Bryson Hull and Wangui Kanina

NAIROBI, March 18 (Reuters) - Kenya's parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved a power-sharing deal designed to end the post-election crisis that killed at least 1,000 people in the east African country.

Legislators passed the legal changes needed for a coalition government in which President Mwai Kibaki can bring in rival Raila Odinga as prime minister following their agreement last month.

Investors in Kenya's economy -- knocked hard by the crisis but still seen as being among Africa's most promising -- are keenly watching whether the deal will go through smoothly.

Violence erupted after Odinga accused Kibaki of stealing the December election. In addition to the killings, at least 300,000 people were left homeless.

Odinga's party and Kibaki's coalition will each name a deputy prime minister. The cabinet will also be split evenly between both sides to form a unity government. It was not immediately clear when that would happen.

The new administration must then tackle the bigger task of changing Kenya's constitution within 12 months to address underlying issues of power, inequality and land which the eruption of political violence laid bare.

"Where we have come to now is a joy," Kibaki told parliament before Tuesday's vote, making a rare appearance in his capacity as a legislator.

"We are genuinely seeking a solution to our problem. I am quite sure myself that we have found an answer."

Odinga also addressed the chamber before the vote:

"We know why we are where we are, but let us get out of this place. We need to feel part and parcel of one and the same. Let us now fuse together as one people who want to do something for the people of Kenya," he said to loud applause.

Matters of land, power and inequality had cropped up during violence in earlier elections, but never on the scale they did this time around -- dealing a big setback to an economy powered by tourism, trade and agriculture.

Parliament has come under widespread criticism from Kenyans in the past.

Legislators have often failed to make the quorum needed for decisions to be taken despite working two days in each week and only 26 weeks a year. With salaries on par with U.S. senators and home loans plus generous car allowances, members of parliament are in the ranks of Kenya's rich elite.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

AlertNet news is provided by

FACTBOX-What next for Kenya's power-sharing deal?

18 Mar 2008 13:30:50 GMT
Source: Reuters

March 18 (Reuters) - Kenya's parliament on Tuesday discussed the legislation needed to enshrine a power-sharing pact between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to end the post-election crisis.

Below are answers to some questions about what happens next with the deal to create a unity government tasked with carrying out reconciliation and overhauling Kenya's constitution to prevent similar crises:

Kenya's parliament must ratify the agreement through passage of a law and a constitutional amendment to put it into the existing charter.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 will establish the office of a prime minister and two deputies and their powers. The act will also establish power sharing, based on a political party's relative strength in parliament, through the apportionment of cabinet posts.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2008, requiring a two-thirds majority (144 of 216 legislators), will amend the constitution so that the prime minister and his deputies will be members of the cabinet.
Both sides agreed to pass the constitutional amendment first and then tackle the bill -- which is likely to involve a lot more debate.

In public, both sides say they are behind the deal and most expect swift passage despite a lot of backroom wrangling and the presence of hardliners in both camps
. Although Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has the most members, Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and affiliate parties have almost as many seats taken together.

A new prime minister's post, along with two deputies, will be created. Odinga, as leader of the party with the most seats in parliament, will take the premiership.
The prime minister will have "the authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the government", the deal says, but exactly what that means will be part of the debate.

Odinga would become Kenya's second prime minister -- founding president Jomo Kenyatta was premier for a brief time after independence in 1963, until his post was changed to president. ODM and Kibaki's side will each nominate one deputy prime minister.

When the cabinet is formed, it must reflect the parties' strength in parliament and the apportionment of key portfolios must be balanced, the deal says. Political wrangling and cutthroat deal-making have long been a feature of Kenyan politics, but already some key figures have publicly given up their aspirations for the deputy prime minister slots -- a sign of the conciliatory mood.

Passing the first part of the deal is the easy part for parliament. Next, the legislators must turn toward amending Kenya's constitution within a year. Since the early 1990s, Kenyans have been calling for changes to the 45-year-old document.

ODM defeated a 2005 draft backed by Kibaki, and many expect a lot of acrimonious debate over the new one. The changes are supposed to address issues of land, inequality, and power that most Kenyans believe the current constitution encourages by placing so much power in the presidency.

The deal says the coalition can be broken three ways -- if parliament is dissolved, the parties agree to it in writing or one party withdraws. Much still depends on good faith on both sides.

(Writing by Bryson Hull; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

Today's Headlines - Tues 3/18/2008

NOTE: See BBC article at bottom of this post for update on political process of implementing agreement brokered by Kofi Annan.

Kenya's Safaricom handles $145 mln cash transfers
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 1 hour ago
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's leading mobile service provider Safaricom said on Tuesday that a phone-based money transfer service it launched 11 months ago ...

Kenya shilling stronger vs dollar, outlook positive Reuters South Africa

Kenya unveils plans for Safaricom IPO Telecom Paper (subscription)

Kenya: Citibank Opens On-Line Channel for Investors to Buy Safaricom -
all 30 news articles »

Kenya: Rights' Group Stand On Violence, Washington - 15 hours ago
The document calls for reforms in the police, Electoral Commission of Kenya, Judiciary and other institutions. To win public confidence in institutions of ...

Kenya: Poll Chaos 'Was Planned'

Kenyan president, opposition leader call for emergency funds The Canadian Press

Kenya: Human Rights Watch Urges Inquiry Into Post-Election Violence

Voice of America - International Herald Tribune
all 117 news articles »

BBC News
Kenya's peace deal goes before parliament
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 45 minutes ago
By C. Bryson Hull NAIROBI (Reuters) - The power-sharing deal to end Kenya's post-election crisis went before parliament on Tuesday and was expected to win ...

Kenya: MPs Lobby for Cabinet Positions

Kibaki, Raila seek donor aid Daily Nation

all 20 news articles »
Daily Nation

Kenya charges 150 over links with militia
AFP - 2 hours ago
ELDORET, Kenya (AFP) — A Kenyan court has indicted 150 people on suspicion of links with a militia group which has been doing battle with security forces in ...

Uganda: Country Hands Over Kenyan Rebels

Kenya: Land Dispute Just Excuse to Cause Terror

Kenya: Hundred Grenades Recovered in Mt Elgon AllAfrica.comVoice of America - International Herald Tribuneall 18 news articles »

Kenya drops veterans in junior cross country championships
Xinhua, China - 6 hours ago
NAIROBI, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya dropped eight veteran runners in this year's 36th IAAF World Cross-Country Championships to be held in Edinburgh, ...

Kenya: Pick Team On Merit

Kenyan runners prepare to sprint to victory in Scotland East African

Eight to miss ‘World Cross-Country’ Standard
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Kenya: AU Council Calls On Kenyan Parties Continue Cooperation ..., Washington - 56 minutes ago
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 115th meeting held on Friday here in Addis Ababa called on the Kenyan parties to continue ...

Kenya: Total Kenya Holds Firm As Most Counters Drop, Washington - 5 hours ago
Total Kenya withstood the slide of prices at the stock market following confirmation of the Safaricom Initial Public Offer last week, thanks to what ...

Uganda: Mobilising National Savings From Pension

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INTERVIEW-India's Essar sees Kenya refinery deal within weeks
Reuters UK, UK - 8 hours ago
BO: Quote, Profile, Research), India's second-biggest private oil firm, aims to complete the purchase of a 50 percent stake in Kenya Petroleum Refineries ...

India Essar oil plant runs normally after shutdown Guardian
all 7 news articles » BOM:500134

Celtel Kenya introduces bonus top-up promotion
Telecom Paper (subscription), Netherlands - 4 hours agoMobile service provider Celtel Kenya has introduced a new promotion in which subscribers will be able to top up from KES 20 to KES 10000 using Jaza Jaza and ...
Daily Nation

Kenya: Chaos As Police Clash With Matatu Operators, Washington - 15 hours ago
Mr Wellin Obbayi, the chairman of the Kenya Commuters and Consignors Organisation, termed the relocation of the matatus as cruel and unrealistic.

Kenya: The Trouble With Nairobi

Matatu owner in court to defy Uhuru's order Daily Nation

Chaos as matatu drivers strike Daily Nation
all 11 news articles »

New! Get the latest news on Kenya with Google Alerts.


Update on political process:

Kenya's MPs to usher in new era - BBC

Tues 3/18/2008

Kenyan MPs are debating two bills that will entrench a power-sharing deal between President Mwai Kibaki and rival Raila Odinga into the constitution.

The amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote and will create a post of prime minister and two deputies.

President Kibaki is expected to appoint a cabinet with Mr Odinga as the prime minister following the changes.

A political deal was reached after violence erupted following December's disputed elections.

Some 1,500 died and 600,000 people were displaced during the violence and many thousands still haven't returned to their homes.

Both President Kibaki and Mr Odinga have urged the MPs to move quickly as they debate the constitutional changes which will bring the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) into a grand coalition.

ODM MPs: 102
PNU MPs: 46
Pro-ODM MPs: 5
Pro-PNU MPs: 61
Vacant seats: 6

The legal changes will be greeted with a huge sense of relief by millions of Kenyans.

Under the deal reached two weeks ago, President Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and the ODM will share power on a 50-50 basis.

Analysts argue that the composition of the new cabinet will be a key indicator of how the grand coalition will work.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which is also being debated, states that the coalition stands dissolved if one party decides not to participate in the arrangement.

It however does not provide for the holding of a fresh election in the event that the coalition collapses.

Both parties have also agreed to form a commission of international experts to probe events during the elections.
President Kibaki last week appointed former South African Judge, Johann Kreigler to head the probe team.

The experts will be sworn in this week and are expected to complete their investigations in three months.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/03/18 11:53:45 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Kenya event at Blue River QM, April 11-13, 2008

Upcoming Event at
Blue River Quarterly Meeting of
Illinois Yearly Meeting

Weekend of April 11-13:


First Day Sunday School attendees at Clear Creek Meeting expressed interest in doing something to help Kenya.

At Quarterly we will be working on craft projects that will then be sold to raise money to contribute to AGLI (African Great Lakes Initiative) a section of the Friends Peace Teams.

Any unfinished projects will be completed before ILYM in June and sold there.

Making wood projects, knitting squares for an afghan, making stationery and making t-shirts are just a few of the possibilities.

Contributions Needed - We will welcome ideas for other craft projects that the children can make to sell. Either bring the project and ALL the supplies needed, or if you cannot attend or prepare supplies ahead of time, send the ideas/patterns to Grayce.

ADULTS who would like to contribute items to sell to add to the Fair to Benefit AGLI are
encouraged to do so.

The Craft Fair for Kenya Relief & Reconciliation will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday morning before worship.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Today's headlines - Mon 3/17/2008

Kenya poll violence 'was planned' - BBC
Mon 3/17/2008

The ethnic violence in Kenya following the disputed presidential elections last December was meticulously planned, says New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Attacks on members of the Kikuyu community of President Mwai Kibaki were organised by local leaders, as were reprisals on rival groups, it says.

The lobby group calls for the prosecution of those responsible to help stabilise the country.

Some 1,500 died and 600,000 people were displaced during the violence.

The report also blames the police for using "excessive force" during opposition street protests.

'Heal wounds'
Former opposition leader Raila Odinga has signed a power-sharing deal with President Kibaki - a move applauded by Human Rights Watch.

But the report's authors say further investigation is needed to determine the extent of the links between national leadership and those that carried out the violence.

"For the new government to function well and earn the people's trust, it needs to first heal the wounds by prosecuting those behind the violence," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

South African judge Justice Johann Kriegler is to start work this week on an official inquiry into allegations of electoral fraud in the election.

The report, based on the testimonies of about 200 witnesses, also backed plans for a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate.

The clashes exposed long, simmering tensions about power, land and distribution of wealth, says the BBC's Karen Allen in Nairobi.

In the Rift Valley, where Kikuyus were attacked, the violence was meticulously organised by local leaders, according to the authors of the report - Ballots to Bullets: Organised Political Violence and Kenya's Crisis of Governance.

But so too, were the reprisal attacks against non-Kikuyus - largely thought to be opposition supporters, claims HRW.

The violence in flashpoint areas such as Naivasha and Nakuru allegedly followed meetings with local businessmen and politicians from the president's Party of National Unity, which directed youths in their attacks.

The report accuses successive Kenyan governments of failing to address a culture of impunity and insists there should be no alternative to criminal prosecution for those responsible for the violence.

Although the report stops short of naming the perpetrators, it says they are well known in the community and are drawn from business and political circles.

Reacting to the report, Justice Minister Martha Karua said the government is committed to ensure that those found guilty of organising and participating in the violence face the full force of the law.

"Both parties, the Orange Democratic Movement and PNU have agreed that no one will be above the law, all perpetrators will be prosecuted," said Ms Karua, who is also a member of the negotiating team at the Kenya peace talks.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/03/17 08:29:30 GMT© BBC MMVIII


BBC News
Kenya faces repeat of violence if impunity stays-group
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 56 minutes ago
By Andrew Cawthorne
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