Friday, 29 February 2008

Details of the deal are being worked out,start of chapter two in Kenya

Representatives on Friday began working out details of a power-sharing agreement aimed at ending two months of ethnic violence that killed more than 1,000 people after a disputed presidential election.Under the agreement, Odinga will become prime minister and have the power to "coordinate and supervise" the government — more authority than Kibaki wanted to yield.It was unclear when Odinga would take over as prime minister. Kibaki said he is reconvening parliament next Thursday to begin work on the needed constitutional changes.
Representatives for the two sides were meeting Friday to work out details and start hashing out some of the longer term reforms.

If Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki does not meet the terms of a power-sharing agreement it could lead to the disintegration of the country, opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Friday.
But Odinga said Kenyans had learned the lesson of their violent post-election crisis and would do all they can to make Thursday's peace deal work.
Asked by BBC radio what would happen if Kibaki's side didn't fulfil the deal, Odinga said: "That would be most unfortunate.... The coalition would break up and in my view that would lead to disintegration of the country."
But he added: "I feel confident that this period that we've gone through has been a teacher and that everyone is going to try and ensure that this coalition will work and succeed."

"We say we want to get a new constitution within one year. Kofi Annan has given it a maximum of two years life," he said.
"After the two years we will review. After the two years, if we have completed everything else, we would want to go for an election then ... We don't want to go beyond two years."

The main points
· The constitution will be amended to allow a coalition government to be formed. Cabinet posts will be divided based on the parliamentary strength of the respective parties, with the important portfolios balanced among the coalition partners.
· Mwai Kibaki remains president. As head of the largest party in parliament, opposition leader Raila Odinga will occupy a new post of prime minister, and will be responsible for running the affairs of the government. There will also be two deputy prime ministers elected by members of the coalition government.
· The prime minister and his deputies can only be removed by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. If Kibaki wishes to sack a cabinet minister he requires the written consent of the opposition leader. The coalition can be dissolved when parliament's term expires in 2012, if the parties agree in writing, or if one party withdraws from the coalition.

The power-sharing deal is a significant step forward, but the details of how power will be divided between Odinga and Kibaki and within the cabinet will be contentious, and the coalition government will be fragile and prone to deadlock. Worse, the threat of violence -- in places motivated by issues beyond the disputed election -- does not disappear with the announcement of a deal.

I wonder how this deal will be implemented, and wait to see what the cabinet will look like.

Nancy Wanjiru tells her story of how she was chased out of Mathare, yet some of her attackers were Kikuyu, and she says that the violence was more out of jealousy than tribalism.

Related articles:Kibaki,Odinga have a long history

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Kofi Annan attempts to push for a deal in Kenya

Kenya's opposition leader on Wednesday backed off plans for mass protests at the request of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is pushing the two rivals to share power.

Nathan Nyanjom feels that sharing presidency won't pacify Kenyans.

Annan and Rice argue that by having Kibaki and Odinga share power, peace will be ensured since both of these men's tribes will have an equal say in government.While it can be argued that the plan of shared power will bring peace to Kenya the quickest, peace will also come if Odinga is made the country's sole leader. After all, that was the form of presidency voted on by the majority of Kenya in the Dec. 27 election.Even if peace would ensue with Rice and Annan's plan in the short term, would it continue in the long run? Eventually Kikuyus would voice their frustration that Kibaki was only a co-president, and Luos similarly would be angered that Odinga shared his office seat.Since neither the solution of an individual president nor a shared presidency will eliminate all tribal tension, and since peace will arise regardless of the decision to have Odinga gain power that is sole or shared, the most democratic action should be taken, and that is installing the election's winner - Odinga - as Kenya's sole president.When people want change, they vote for it - that's the democratic way. American voters know this, and our government upholds it.Although the going in Kenya right now is tough, democracy must not go. The world community must uphold Kenya's democratic election and support a vision of Kenya led by only Raila Odinga.

Britain yesterday said that the Kenyan army is now "by far the best option" to stop a sectarian bloodbath as peace talks in Nairobi between the government and opposition were suspended.
The foreign office minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Mark Malloch-Brown, said that there was a serious risk of renewed bloodshed if talks broke down irrevocably. About a thousand Kenyans have been killed since disputed elections in December and 600,000 have fled their homes after rival gangs, organised largely on ethnic lines, went on the rampage. .

I never thought that I would consider this as an option, but right now, the way things stand I am not opposed to the army taking control temporarily.

On Monday, the PNU side came up with a totally different agenda items from what had been agreed the previous week. Progress had previously been made on the creation of the post of prime minister, who would be the leader of the party with majority MPs in Parliament and who would exercise reasonable power, including supervising ministries.
Consistency in matters agreed upon during a negotiation is not only a sign of good faith, but is the clearest testament to a desire for a speedy resolution.
The to-ing and fro-ing by PNU, which has openly exasperated the Annan team, leads many Kenyans to ask whether Mr Kibaki truly wants the best for this country - whether he cares for the thousands of displaced Kenyans languishing in refugee camps, the numerous others who paid with their lives for electoral ineptitude, whether he worries about an economy limping to a slump and if he is alive to the threat of civil war which hangs darkly over Kenya's deeply divided population.
We reject the fundamental objection of the PNU to the power-sharing proposal which had been fleshed out. We would like to state, yet again, that any new structure of government brokered by Dr Annan must be supported by a Constitutional amendment.
For one, any changes to the presidency as it exists today is itself an alteration of the Constitutional clause which created it, therefore the changes must go back to Parliament for a Constitutional amendment. They must be defined and sanctified with the same legal weight as the document it seeks to alter.
Secondly, the leaders of ODM and Mr Kibaki's side have a history of political betrayal. Surely, one can understand the insistence on a watertight agreement from a group of politicians who have yet to recover from the trashing by the President of the memorandum of Understanding they had reached in the previous election.

Thirdly, these changes are strictly not just about Mr Kibaki and Mr Raila. This is a golden opportunity for Kenya as a nation to tackle, in various phases, some of the lopsided political arrangements and economic injustices widely acknowledged to have caused the crisis we find ourselves in.

Related article: Kenya Post-Electoral Violence Wipes Out Businesses; Jobs

ODM says it is not to blame for stalled talks

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Kofi Annan suspends talks in Kenya

Mediator Kofi Annan said he has suspended talks between Kenya's government and the opposition to end the country's deadly postelection crisis.
The talks have dragged on for weeks with no tangible progress. Annan said he will speak to the rival leaders personally to try to rejuvenate them.

Do we know what the future holds for us as Kenyans?

Where are we going?

I was talking to a colleague at work today, who is from Ghana. His view on the situation was that maybe the burning and purging of Kenya needs to happen for a new beginning.

At this point, I don't know what to think, but I am very anxious.

Whatever I, or some others think, feel, say, or do makes no bloody difference. There are a small group of people who call the shots, and that is the way it is.

Lead us into an abyss why don't you?

Wondering whether Kenya will survive

The U.N. humanitarian chief warned of the prospect of escalating violence in Kenya if the African nation's post-election turmoil is not resolved soon.
"If there is no quick resolution to the political crisis, the risk of a fresh surge in violence, more displacement and further polarization of society is very high," John Holmes, the United Nation's undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the U.N. Security Council on Monday

An environment of fear for Kenya Human Rights Chairman Maina Kiai, as he continues to receive death threats.

God Bless you Maina, you are a patriot, and you stood up to be counted.

Kofi Annan has threatened to leave if a quick agreement is not reached.

The search for a political settlement out of the post election crisis stalled after the Government side walked back several steps, changed positions on issues already agreed and threw the talks into a spin.
The Standard reliably learnt that when the talks resumed after an eventful weekend break, the Party of National Unity (PNU) made it clear it was no longer interested in sharing power. Last night, the task of making the hard choices appeared to lie with President Kibaki and bitter rival Mr Raila Odinga.

Yesterday's developments also meant that a deal may not be announced tomorrow or even later in the week as earlier anticipated and that the now increasingly perpetual state of uncertainty could still hold.

Until the dramatic twist of events yesterday, both Government and ODM had agreed in principle to create a prime minister's post and also appeared to have covered considerable ground on the sharing Cabinet positions.
But that changed at the weekend, but things went completely off tangent yesterday.

The talks also stalled after the negotiators failed to agree on whether the prime minister should have the authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of Government, including those of ministries and departments of the Government.
According to the Government document, the prime minister is to co-ordinate the performance of the ministries and perform any other duties as may be assigned to him by the President from time to time.
In the Legal Working Group document, any change in the Government affecting a person nominated by a parliamentary party of the coalition shall be made only after prior consultation and concurrence in writing with the leader of that party.
But yesterday, the PNU side went back on this by suggesting that the President have absolute discretion on who would be in Government.

It is a question of whether the state survives .

God help Kenya.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Raila Odinga says that the report was malicious

Raila Odinga has taken exception to reports alleging that he went to Nigeria to ask President Umaru Yar’Adua to join the efforts to find a political settlement to the crisis in Kenya.
The Lang’ata MP said the report was "very malicious and aimed at creating disharmony in the mediation talks led by former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan."

The talks must now assume a serious sense of urgency and conclude a political settlement within this week, mediators were told on a day Party of National Unity (PNU) threw another tantrum over the ongoing mediation.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said it acknowledged the difficult task of brokering a deal out of the impasse but insisted it was time Kenyans were given a solution.

Pentagon member Mrs Charity Ngilu said a deal to end the crisis should be reached quickly to ease tensions.
"Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for the government of their choice and should not be denied a chance to see their dream come true," said the Kitui Central MP, adding that the proposed grand coalition should be crafted in a "just and fair manner" with ODM and PNU sharing Cabinet slots according to their parliamentary strength.

We may have a deal this Wednesday.

However, Kibaki is a stumbling block to popular reforms.What this means is that if Kibaki is allowed to have his way, it will be practically impossible to effect the substantial constitutional and economic changes that Kenyans yearn for. Moreover, one can reasonably expect that a government that is so cavalier in its approach and so inimical to issues of consensus building will bring into Parliament legislative changes that, in content, are partisan, questionable and provocative, and which will have no chance of success. After all, it seems it is Kibaki’s primary tactic to stall any reforms through feet dragging and polarisation so that he can maintain the status quo. And why not, the prevailing constitutional and legal circumstances favour the imperial presidency that Kibaki seems to so much enjoy. Reforms will only take away some of the prestige that are bestowed in the presidency yet Kibaki has shown that he is not magnanimous enough to accede to the changes that lops off some of his powers for the sake of the country’s posterity.
In the end, Kenyans are faced with a simple decision. They will either have to let Kibaki — who only has at most less than five years of political life — maintain his egotistical hard line position and be ready to witness the breakdown of the State, or in the alternative, they will have to issue a stern ultimatum to him and his lieutenants that he has to concede to the popular dictate of the times and accept a genuine and real arrangement of power sharing which will facilitate meaningful and sustainable reforms.

I am feeling weary,and anxious about the situation. I read Mohsin Ahmed's article about the Pakistan election, and how it had given him hope that one day the country can once again become his home. Pakistan managed a free and fair election, and I am envious. I am left wondering what the future of Kenya will be, and also whether it will be a future of a sad and steady decline.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Waiting for a deal in Kenya

A deal ending the impasse could be announced mid this week, if the parties agree on the sole divisive issue remaining at the talks chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Dr Kofi Annan.
If the two parties agree on Monday or on Tuesday, the fate of the country will remain in the hands of President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.

President Kibaki and his PNU brigade seem to be borrowing from Chinese war strategist, Sun Tzu, to navigate through the current crisis.
Tzu, a decorated military general and one of the great Chinese thinkers of ancient times, says if you have an upper hand over an opponent, you must crush them totally. You must have no mercy; you must give them nothing to negotiate, no hope, and no room for manoeuvre.
By default or design, PNU is in the driver’s seat and is increasingly making it difficult for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to gain political ground.
Even as ODM politicians maintain Kibaki stole Raila Odinga’s victory, the ODM leader is vulnerable as hardline PNU tightens the noose. The party has placed a host of hurdles in the way and does not appear to be in a hurry to conclude the former United Nations Secretary-General Dr Kofi Annan-led negotiations.
But the rival ODM has apparently lived up to the grand law of physics; "To every action there is always an opposing reaction of equal measure". Indeed, it is because of these tough positions that the current political stalemate is yet to be unlocked.

Outside the negotiation room, "learned friends" are espousing the PNU agenda. Garsen MP, Mr Danson Mungatana, leads the hardliners.
He told The Sunday Standard that there was no way the party would allow ODM to walk away with executive premiership. He says Section 23 of the Constitution, vests executive powers only in the presidency. But he forgets this presidency is disputed.
Although President Kibaki and the PNU brigade have amplified this position, there has been a remarkable climb down by the party’s negotiating team.

I continue to hope for the best and expect the worst.

Related articles:Following IDPs moving from Tigoni to the Western Region

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Kibaki will be judged on how he resolves this crisis

Today, he stands at a junction as a man who could be this country’s most important historical figure over how he handles the current crisis and nothing else may matter over the rest of his term and this will is also the true test of his leadership. This test is not whether he can steer an impressive domestic policy agenda to underwrite economic prosperity—which is probably a cake walk for him—but whether he can manage a decent foreign policy agenda. His foreign policy agenda will mainly be driven by how he resolves the current political crisis. For his economic agenda to succeed, it matters a lot that he reunites the country. In the short term, this will be by meeting his political enemies halfway and long term by enacting sweeping constitutional changes that will ensure that the current political crisis never happens again.

However, given that the current negotiators have all been experienced opposition politicians and agitators for democratic freedoms under the oppressive leadership of former president Moi, it is perhaps easier to look at the problem from the perspective of the kind of compromises they would seek at the same negotiating table if the tables turned assuming a worst case scenario. Would the Party of National Unity (PNU) want to be in opposition under the same terms of settlement they are proposing if the other party came into power and vice versa?Then it would be easy to unravel the hardened positions and start expanding the list of favourable options that would benefit the entire country in perpetuity. This is where the leadership of President Kibaki comes in to ensure that the negotiators move away from merely stating positions, but expanding the range of options.

Quotes from Kibaki will be judged on how he resolves crisis. I sit and wonder whether Kibaki has any concerns about how he will be judged at all.

Wangari Maathai, criticised politicians allied to the Party of National Unity, saying they were trivialising the suffering of Kenyans and playing politics with sensitive issues.

Kibaki says that a political solution to the current crisis must be constitutional. He is willing to share power with ODM, but clearly on his terms.

There is more bloodshed,as we wait for a solution,and rioters attacked a minibus in Mathare today, in response to police arrests for unpaid rent.

A positive sign to all this, is that Parliament may have the last word.

Related articles:New Danish aid to displaced persons in Kenya

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

John Githongo answers questions on whats the matter with Kenya

FP: What is the root cause of the past few weeks of violence in Kenya? Is it economic, social, or tribal?
JG: The seeds of the current crisis were sown long ago, but the determined weeding took place between August 2004 and December 2007. Inequality is at the heart of it. In a place like Kenya, people can express their anger over economic inequality in regional or ethnic terms when the ruling elites aren't able to give people reasonable confidence that there is (or at least will be) equal access to economic opportunity and justice. Issues that give inequality meaning—the use of violence for political purposes, genuine land grievances, conspicuously corrupt leadership—have been bubbling under the surface for decades. These factors combined with rapid urbanization, high unemployment, especially among young males, ethnic political mobilization, the free flow of information, huge democratic expectations and, finally an incompetently rigged election, to ultimately boil over into a crisis. So, it's not just a 'tribal' thing.

FP: The international community has been a steady backer of President Mwai Kibaki. In June 2007, the United Nations even awarded the Kenyan government its "Global Prize for Progress in Governance." Do you think the international community—the U.N., the World Bank, Western governments—got Kibaki and Kenya wrong?
JG: Sections of the international community did not necessarily ‘get it wrong’ because they were well intentioned. But to an extent, they didn't ‘get it’ at all. It's not as though between June, when Kenya was awarded the governance prize, and December, when the election took place, things changed dramatically. Up to the last minute, the World Bank was effusive in its praise of Kenya’s development, despite its own statistics that showed something was wrong on the governance front, as did reports by other organizations. So, the analysis was not wrong. The underlying assumptions were.
They were also overly excited by the growth statistics. It’s true that the private sector is the key to the future of Africa, but one has to ask carefully what the private sector means politically in different contexts. In relatively small economies, it tends to be dominated by small groups of individuals linked together in a series of incestuous relationships that stretch across all sectors of business and into the political, security, and bureaucratic realms. In highly diverse societies with a history of structural domination by minorities, such as Kenya’s, 'growth' can lead to widespread ethnic or regional resentments when people start to compare their economic status with that of other groups. With enough repression, this can be sustainable. But Africa democratized in the 1990s as rapidly as it joined the global economy in the late 1980s.

FP: What do you think the West always gets wrong about Africa? What does it get right?
JG: Africans’ experience of the modern state is of an insecure, fierce, and secretive creature that extracts economically on behalf of an exclusive identifiable minority using disproportionate violence. This creature has too often served Western interests. The West is most effective in Africa when it engages around issues that cause the rest of the world to admire it: individual freedoms and liberties, the rule of law, rewarding private innovation etc. The lives of African women, for example, have been greatly transformed by Western encouragement. But when the West gets it wrong it tends to do so reverberatingly, such as backing dictators during the Cold War who laid parts of the continent to waste and oppressed their populations to the extent that the initial release from these contrived and externally backed conditions was accompanied by tremendous violence and dislocation. Similarly, the West remained steadfast in its support of apartheid in South Africa for too long. This explains in part the continuing ambivalence of the continent's leaders when confronted with the excesses of Robert Mugabe, who is an increasingly decrepit icon of the continent’s struggle against minority rule.

Quotes from Seven questions:What's the matter with Kenya?

Condoleeza Rice answered questions to reporters yesterday and outlined four items to which Kofi Annan, ODM, and PNU have agreed to. She acknowledged that a political settlement is urgent, but recognised that some of the reforms will take time to put in place.

This is ODM's proposal on how to stop the crisis.

Reforms could see the return of the powerful Prime Minister post.

Diplomats say Kibaki's strategy of playing for time in the hope of entrenching his position as opposition anger dissipates is dangerous. There are reports that some militia groups that caused much of the initial ethnic violence and subsequent reprisals in western Kenya and Nairobi are restocking their arsenals.The ODM needs to be able to show something tangible to their supporters soon," said one European diplomat. "If not, the violence could easily restart and neither they [the ODM] nor the government will be able to stop it."

Samuel Mohochi executive director of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit. With the help of the local cell phone company, his organization has set up a toll free service for people to report missing or dead relatives.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Condoleeza Rice says that a power sharing deal will enhance Kenya's relationship with the US

I'm going to emphasize that there is a lot to be gained in a relationship with the United States through resolution of this political crisis," Rice said.
To the president, President Kibaki, I will say power-sharing means real power-sharing and the United States, as a friend of Kenya, expects that power-sharing to take place to show that you can make the electoral and constitutional reforms that frankly should have been made several years ago," she said before her meetings.

She added: "To Mr. Odinga, I will be saying that we understand that the election was problematic, the United States has said that, but again power-sharing does need to take place."

President Bush told reporters Sunday that the United States was looking at "how best we can help the process. Not what we should do to dictate the process but what America can do to help the process move along." Bush is in neighboring Tanzania, the second stop of a five-nation Africa tour.

While Kenya's political leaders have welcomed help from abroad in trying to end the crisis, the foreign minister insisted Sunday that any solution must come from Kenyans themselves.

The result of the talks "must be a Kenyan solution. Anything less will be superficial and perhaps counterproductive," Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, who is on the government's negotiating team at the talks, told reporters.

No one, he warned, should "make a mistake of putting a gun (to) anybody's head."

On Saturday, the top U.S. State Department official for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, warned that the U.S. is considering targeted sanctions against anyone who stands in the way of a power-sharing deal

Quotes from Deal in Kenya will enhance US ties by Tom Maliti of Associated Press.

In the meantime Meru elders have convened a meeting to discuss the incident where Gitobu Imanyara says Lucy Kibaki attempted to punch him.

Ida Odinga has said that Lucy Kibaki has not visited displaced Kenyans to address their plight, she questioned why Lucy Kibaki remained silent as innocent Kenyans suffered. She added that Lucy should come out of State House and join hands with other leaders in finding a solution to the political crisis.

My hunch is that Lucy is not coming out,as her behaviour is inappropriate,and she has some issues with anger management, discretion, tact and diplomacy.

Related articles: Kenyans seek safety of ethnic numbers.

Executive power in the Bomas document.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

PNU reject US pressure over power sharing

The Kenya government issued a veiled threat to the US not to put a gun to anyone's head.

This was in response to George Bush's warning that Kenya needs to agree to a power sharing arrangement with the opposition.

Kilonzo's party faces a credibility test, is it in a postion to play referee between the main combatants, when Kilonzo is in bed with PNU.

I am waiting to see what deal will be made this week.

Samuel Kivuitu may face the music.

Twenty civil societies have given the Attorney General, Amos Wako a two-week ultimatum to prosecute Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu.

Under the umbrella, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice Initiative, the civil societies also want the 21 commissioners and another 21 senior staff to answer criminal charges for their conspiracy in the bungled presidential election.
A charge sheet prepared by the civil societies, accuses ECK of 112 offences including forgery, conspiracy to commit a felony, and making false documents.
The NGO’s spokesperson, Mr Haroun Ndubi led colleagues in presenting a petition to the AG’s office, on Friday.

He said the people named in the petition allegedly committed a series of criminal offences.
They said after the two-week ultimatum, they would initiate private prosecution against those who not only bungled the elections, but also those who incited people to violence.

Quotes from Prosecute Kivuitu, Wako told .

Samuel Kivuitu needs to take responsibility for his actions.

Is the attention that the West is giving Kenya to protect democracy?

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Does the Kenyan government want validation from the West?

I share Hapa Kenya's sentiments on the government's reaction to diplomats who have not given them any recognition.

If the Kenya government does not give a damn about the West, why is it threatening the West with remedial measures?

It may be my imagination, but the tempo seemed to change when diplomats stated that they would impose visa bans.

I have mixed feelings about the West intervening, but then I read stories like this, and this, and this, and I wonder whether we have the capacity to resolve our own problems without assistance.

Or do we watch ourselves self destruct?

Next week is crunch time, and I continue to wait and see what the future holds for Kenya. One thing I know for sure, Kenya will never be the same.

Related article: Village mourns as Were's body arrives.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Kenyan political rivals will review vote

Kenya's political rivals have agreed to an independent review of the disputed presidential election, according to a copy of the deal obtained Friday.

The agreement called for an independent committee "to investigate all aspects of the 2007 presidential election." The committee will include Kenyan and non-Kenyan experts, start work March 15 and submit its report within three to six months. The report will be published two weeks later.

In the agreement, the government also acknowledged that the dispute cannot be resolved in court because the deadline for complaints has expired earlier this year. Kibaki's government had insisted the opposition take its complaints to the courts, while Odinga had argued he stole the vote and should step down.
The 10-point agreement also provides for a comprehensive reform of electoral laws and institutions and the creation of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission.

The report also said politicians must examine how long-standing land grievances, accusations of ethnic favoritism and frustration over poverty and corruption contributed to the violence.

Quotes from Kenya political rivals to review vote.

On its part, the European Union again warned it would sever all trade and bilateral links with Kenya if political leaders did not move fast to resolve the country's political crisis.
"The electoral process had a negative impact on the country, and until there is a willingness in the two opposing factions to work things out together, it will not be business as usual as regards EU member countries," Mr Harvey Rouse, the union's head of political and trade section in Kenya, said.

International election observers say there were numerous discrepancies in the way the votes were counted and results announced. The human rights groups have urged the Attorney General to order an investigation and warn that if their pleas are ignored they will opt for a private prosecution.

This is Debteraw's view on how Mwai Kibaki could say sorry to the Kenyan people.

Mwai Kibaki could very well apologize to the people of Kenya in the following terms:
“Beloved people of Kenya, I am sorry for proving you right and being just a genuine corrupted copy of Arap Moi. That I was not able to rig the election in such a way as to cheat you senseless is a weakness and I am sorry. I was also a failure when it came to doing a Zenawi on you. Sorry again for being pushed to negotiate and agree to share power with the opposition I had hoped you detested but I am sorry I read you wrong. A thousand dead and a few hundred thousand displaced: I know it compares not with what is seen in the Horn of Africa and I am sorry for being a disappointment. Give me some more years and I shall make you proud

enough to compete with the Ethiopians and Somalis in misery, poverty, chaos and casualties. Again, I am sorry. “

Quotes from If "Sorry, Sorry" was to spread.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Kenyan Rivals sign deal and 45 years too long

Rival factions in Kenya's political crisis reportedly agreed Thursday to write a new constitution, a move that could allow for power-sharing as part of a deal aimed at ending weeks of violence in this East African country.

This came about after

President Bush said Thursday he will dispatch Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya to demand a halt to the violence that has left more than 1,000 people dead.

The Kenya government is going to probe radio hate speech.

Kenya may take "remedial measures" against the British high commissioner for failing to recognise President Mwai Kibaki's government, a minister says. I wonder what Moses Wetangula means by this.

In the run-up to the 2007 General Elections I came across a ghastly hate email against the ODM leader, written and undersigned by the son of a (re-elected) hardline minister. The same minister is widely seen as being associated with Mungiki. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the inferiority of leadership in Kenya is concerned.

They had 45 years to address the burning land question in the country, but all they did was to steal and acquire huge tracts of land for themselves.

They had 45 years to prove to Kenyans that they are all equal in their aspirations, opportunities, human rights and cultural traditions, but all they did was to protect - at any cost as we now see - a resented Kikuyu-dominated hegemony and the selected rich from other tribes they need to spread their tentacles all over the country, while regional disparities and abject poverty (including among ordinary Kikuyus) continue to pester.

They had 45 years to respect and promote freedom and democratic rights, but all they did was keeping their flocks in bondage in order to control them in the pursuit of selfish interests and to issue death threats to heroes like Githongo, Maina Kiai, Muthoni Wanyeki, David Ndii and others.

The assassinations of Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya, G.M. Kariuki, Alexander Muge, Robert Ouko and many others were all based on the same script: To defend an entrenched Mafia hegemony. They are those, who right now do not want the Kofi Annan mediation to succeed and sit tight in and around State House, those, who don't mind burning more of their flock, those who cling to their extremist stands and allow hate messages to circulate and protect their vernacular 'Mille Collines' radios, those who allow parochialism to erase better judgement, those who have completely lost semblance of human beings.

It is time for the still sober but shocked Kenyan citizens to stop their helpless praying or gently laying flowers at freedom corner. They should in their millions march to State House and stay there peacefully until the mayhem ends and the culprits are brought to The Hague. The tragedy is that this won't happen.

Quotes from 45 years too long by Philip Kiarie.

Related article: Beyond the politics of polarization.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Martha Karua expresses her anger at Kofi Annan over his comments

Martha Karua expressed her anger over comments that Kofi Annan made, hinting that both sides had agreed on a transitional government. She said this had never been discussed, and Kofi Annan had undermined the government's position at negotiations.

Kofi Annan has defused the row saying that his statement represented his perspective, and does not imply a formal agreement between the two parties.

Graca Machel has said only a political solution can haul Kenya out of this crisis. She said that Parliament must lead the process by passing reforms that will lay the foundation for lasting peace.

Muthoni Wanyeki has also pinpointed some reforms to resolve the crisis.

In the meantime a diplomat talks about the tribal divide reaching the police force.

Analysts say Kibaki has been reluctant to use the military more fully to stop the violence because he is worried about losing control over it. He has also become alarmed by divisions in the police force, according to one high-ranking Kenyan diplomat with close ties to the country's security apparatus. A recent transfer of police commanders in western Kenya was intended to rid the force of Kalenjin officers whose loyalty to Kibaki was in doubt, the diplomat said.

It is no longer a national police force, or even a national armed force," he said on condition of anonymity because of his involvement in ongoing negotiations between the two sides. "It is skewed in terms of composition and command."
Analysts say the military and the security forces -- which include the police and a paramilitary force known as the General Service Unit, or GSU -- became heavily politicized when Kibaki took office in 2002. Both forces had previously recruited according to census. But Kibaki's government drew heavily from his own ethnic group and began placing Kikuyus in high-ranking positions, causing some resentment among the rank and file.

Many Kenyans had treated the police who patrolled their communities like neighbors, but that trust has nearly disappeared.

Quotes from Kenyans say tribal divide has reached police force by Stephani McCrummen of the Washington Post.

Karuti Kanyinga a senior research fellow explains why analysts have concluded that the December 's presidential election was rigged. He says The bottom line is that this election was fraudulent... that this election appears to have been rigged in favor of a certain presidential candidate, and all evidence seems to point fingers to President Kibaki's strongholds.


The noose is waiting to be put around the necks of individuals who sabotage ongoing talks for a political settlement out of crippling crisis, The Standard can report.

The United Kingdom and Switzerland once again demonstrated that the international community is in no mood to entertain failure by issuing the sternest warning yet, to personalities perceived as pushing sectarian instead of national interests.

In Nairobi, British High Commissioner Mr Adam Wood maintained that his government still did not recognise President Kibaki as legitimately elected.
"Our pledge is to recognise states not governments. This has also been expressed by other British ministers. But given the irregularities reported by observers around the presidential elections, we do not recognise the Kenyan Government as presently constituted as representing the will of Kenyan people," Wood said in an interview with our sister television station KTN.

Even more assertive was the position taken by Switzerland in the matter. "To ensure success, Switzerland urges all parties to remain fully committed to the negotiation process," a statement issued from the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi read.
"If the mediation efforts nevertheless fail to resolve the crisis, Switzerland would consider taking appropriate measures such as restricting access to its territory to individuals responsible for the failure of the process."

Quotes from Renewed pressure as saboteurs warned.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Kofi Annan a deal could be announced in 48 to 72 hours

Kofi Annan has announced that a deal could be struck between 48 to 72 hours. There is a media blackout on the talks, and they have been moved to a secret location to ensure confidentiality. All parties have been urged not to discuss negotiation issues outside the negotiating room.

Five foreign diplomats have warned that any party sabotaging the Annan-led mediation talks would earn the wrath of the international community.

One thing that is definite is that there will not be a recount of votes.

I share Sir Ken's sentiments on power sharing.

As we talk ceasefire and peace, let us commit ourselves to eliminating the injustices and disparities in wealth that is all too evident everywhere. Then we can begin to walk towards sustainable peace and nationhood.

The United Nations believes that the number of displaced has reached 600,000. This is tragic.

Here is a snapshot of the situation in some of the worst spots hit by post election violence.

Dorothy Kweyu argues that respect for the constitution, should start with the custodians.

Charles Mwanguhya says that the question everyone should be addressing: will stability be achieved in the face of such blatant intransigence by Mr Kibaki despite abundant evidence that this election was flawed.

Related articles: Post poll violence hurts global Pyrethrum trade.

African safari airways resumes UK charter flights, as things have been calm at the coast since December 30th.

UN postal body has cancelled its congress in Kenya.


Related article :Mungiki behead Luo men and use their heads on roads as barricades, one woman was given her husband's head to take with her, and she carried it to a camp in Kisumu.

Update 2

Related articles: Raila wants the High Court to strike out petition.

Maina Kiai and Muthoni Wanyeki on a deal we can live with.

Requesting your ideas and support for Kenyan youth

I had this email forwarded to me yesterday from a friend. The man who is in charge of the project has been involved in youth work in Bradford, and South Africa for over 20years. He is involved in training for sustainable community work.

Greetings from Moshi, Tanzania, where I’m temporarily resident whilst the situation in Kenya remains volatile. Amongst other things, I’m doing my best to support a network that I’ve been involved with called Nairobi Young People for Peace. The network is made up of about 15 youth formations and several NGOs spread across the city, especially in Eastlands, where most of the slum areas are located, including Huruma where I work. The network has undertaken a number of activities, so far including training, community dialogues and support for humanitarian efforts of other organizations, such as the Red Cross. The basic purpose of the network is to assist in the peace and reconciliation process through community based participation and youth empowerment. In the short to medium term, the network would like to develop a well-trained and supported team of youth peace builders, who implement a range of activities at community level that are appropriate to their different contexts and which assist in the re-building process.

I’m writing this to each of you to request your support and assistance. No, that doesn’t mean money (although the network does need that also!!!). Most of all we need your ideas, your contacts and your support. For example, can you please share any useful or relevant contacts with peace building / conflict resolution or transformation organizations that can potentially give project support to our network – for example, Quakers, Bradford Uni Peace Studies Dept, Responding to Conflict (Birmingham) all come to mind. Also, what ideas do you have that can give assistance to the network and its activities. For example, an adapted version of CARAS training on Anti-Oppression and ICA’s training methodologies on participation. Finally, what personal commitment are you able to give the network? For example, are you able to assist us with developing proposals and/or relationships with potential donors or commit your project to developing partnership with young people in Nairobi…. Etc etc etc!!!!

Hope to hear from you all soon – we are looking for practical and creative and innovative ideas of supporting the youth of Kenya to progress beyond this terrible point in the country’s history. Many thanks in advance!!

If anyone is interested in supporting this project send me an email, so I can provide you with details of who to contact.

Most of the violence in Nairobi, has been in the slums and has involved the youth which I pointed out here in point 3, and I think it is important that the youth are involved in negotiating peace, and rebuilding Kenya.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Ford Kenya threatens to quit PNU

Ford Kenya has threatened to pull out from PNU over nominations in parliament. They feel they are being short changed by PNU.

It seems like the clashes in Molo were routine before the election, some Molo residents say that these clashes have been going on for the last two decades.

Thugs, and thieves have taken advantage of the situation in Kenya, to make some money.

The UN humanitarian chief repeated his call to continue assisting the displaced in Kenya.

Seven ODM and PNU MPs have accused the government of biased allocations of funds for victims of post election violence.

I find this sad if this is true, as unfair distribution of resources is one of the reasons why we find ourselves in this situation.

If it is true then the government is behaving in a way that it always has, but reassuring that some PNU MPs are not colluding with the system.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Holding my breath for Kenya

Nothing has been finalised yet, and more talks continue next week.

If a joint government is an option, I wonder what that will look like in practice.

Raila Odinga has assured his supporters that he is committed to talks, but will not settle for a solution that betrays their cause. William Ruto said that changing the constitution was one of the resolutions that ODM had presented to the Annan team as a resolution to the crisis.

ODM have said they will seek consent from their supporters before committing their party to the resolutions of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation committee.

Here is a hilarious alternative, cultural foolproof peace formula that Jarius K'Onyiego proposes will not fail.

I believe that his approach is inclusive, but whether something like this could ever happen is another matter. He makes some good points.

I don't know where Kenya is going, but can only hope that peace will return to my country, and that constitutional reform, and distribution of resources are on the agenda, so that we can avoid another tragedy in future.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Kenyans agree on Joint government

The two sides were still discussing who would lead the government and what roles each party would play.

"We have finally agreed there is a problem in the country and neither side can proceed on its own," said William Rutto, a lawmaker from the opposition Orange Democractic Movement. "We have agreed to form a joint government. Details of that government, its time and how to share it are under discussions."

There was no immediate comment from the government or President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity. But former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who is heading talks aimed at resolving the crisis, was expected to make a statement later Friday.
Word of the power-sharing government came hours after Kibaki said he was "committed" to the negotiations.

Speaking at a prayer meeting in Nairobi, Kibaki said he was "encouraged" by progress in talks and reiterated "my personal support and that of my entire government to this process."

Quotes from Kenyans agree on joint government.


Annan says no Kenyan deal yet.

Are you you going to bury your head in the sand Mwai Kibaki

How long must Mwai Kibaki bury his head in the sand?

Bringing the entire building down on himself.

There is no easily enforceable way for outsiders to impose such sensible conditions on Mr Kibaki. Certainly, the United States and the European Union, if not the African Union, should impose targeted sanctions—with asset freezes and travel bans—against a clutch of the most venal ministers, some of whom Mr Kibaki has even promoted since his fraudulent re-election; they should be named, too. Kenya should be suspended from the Commonwealth and aid reconsidered.

But the most powerful pressure against Mr Kibaki is the sight of his country's economy threatening to implode. Many of his keenest Kikuyu supporters must realise that his refusal to budge is leading all Kenyans, whether supporters of himself or Mr Odinga, into a bloody and bankrupting dead end from which it may soon become impossible to retreat.

Quotes from Stop this descent into hell.

Watching the chaos that is threatening to tear Kenya apart today, it is easy to forget that just over a month ago Kenyans lined up in the millions to cast their votes in peace. If those voters’ rights had been respected to begin with, the members of this Committee would likely have been able to join the world in congratulating Kenya on a tremendous stride towards consolidating its democracy. Instead Kenyans are faced with a sudden tide of violence that threatens to derail hopes of socio-economic progress in Kenya and damage the prospects of democracy across the continent.

Of course, Kenya’s violence has roots that run far deeper than the disputed polls of last December. Underlying causes of the anger and division that have boiled over in recent weeks include longstanding injustices related to land ownership and political marginalization; the failure to enact important constitutional reforms; the political manipulation of ethnicity; impunity for past episodes of violence; and other core issues that successive Kenyan governments have completely failed to address. Whatever way forward Kenya finds from the current impasse must include serious and credible efforts to tackle these issues. It should now be belatedly clear to all of Kenya’s leaders just how dangerous a mistake it was to let these issues fester over time. At the same time, however, the complexity of the ongoing violence must not distract Kenya’s leaders or the international community from the problem that was the immediate trigger for the violence— the rigging of the Presidential polls. The solution to the broader crisis must include a guarantee that the right of Kenya’s voters to have their freely expressed choice of government respected is upheld in the end. Because of the number and complexity of the underlying issues and because of the terrible intensity of the ongoing violence, Kenya’s leaders and the international community may feel tempted to cobble together a political bargain that sweeps the causes of the chaos back underneath the rug. This would be a serious mistake. Such an attempt would lay the groundwork for future crises, just as the failure to address underlying causes in the past set the stage for today’s upheavals. The international community, including the United States, has a crucial role to play in seeing to it that any political settlement lays the foundations for lasting peace; ensures accountability for the crimes that have destroyed so many lives in recent weeks; and is grounded in an unequivocal respect for human rights and the principles of democratic governance.

Kenya’s December elections should have been an important milestone for Kenya and for Africa. After a closely-fought campaign Kenyans turned out in massive numbers to cast their votes in peace. There were serious irregularities reported on both sides in some areas. However, the most damaging acts of fraud were committed during the final stages of tallying, when the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) presided over what was by all appearances a desperate last-minute attempt to rig the Presidential contest in favor of incumbent Mwai Kibaki. In the closing hours of the tabulation process a lead of over one million votes for opposition candidate Raila Odinga evaporated under opaque and highly irregular proceedings and was transformed into a razor-thin margin of victory for Mr. Kibaki. The result was also entirely at odds with the ODM’s successes in the parliamentary vote. The entire process quickly fell apart in confusion. In the face of public outrage and mounting pressure to reverse the move, four electoral commissioners publicly denounced the apparent fraud. Even the head of the ECK later said that he could not determine who actually won the vote. Nonetheless Mr. Kibaki tried to pre-empt any challenge by having himself hurriedly sworn in to a second term in office before Kenyans even had time to register their outrage. Violence erupted even before the announcement of results as concern and suspicion about delays spread through the country. Within hours of the results’ announcement Kenya began to slide headlong into the violent chaos that has steadily grown worse ever since.

The violence that has followed Kenya’s disputed Presidential poll presents a complex picture that varies considerably across different parts of Kenya. Aside from opportunistic violence and looting the crisis so far has taken on three central dimensions. First, scores of Kenyans have been shot by police officers in circumstances that were generally unjustifiable and in some cases amounted to extrajudicial killings. Second, the announcement of the Presidential election results sparked ethnic violence which at first was primarily directed at members of Mr. Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe. That violence has now spawned a proliferation of ethnic-based reprisal attacks, some of them in communities that had been peaceful in the immediate aftermath of the elections. These reprisals are degenerating into a self-perpetuating cycle that has become more difficult to stop with every passing day. Third, violence has been accompanied by a rapid deepening of polarization characterized by attempts to silence, threaten and intimidate voices of moderation and dissent including human rights defenders, political dissidents and ordinary people. The most important fact that must be taken into account moving forward is that most of the violence cannot be seen as spontaneous. In many cases attacks were actively incited and in some cases directly organized by community leaders, local politicians and others. At the national level, the efforts of political leaders on both sides to rein in the excesses of their supporters have been woefully inadequate at best. Worse, there are allegations that prominent individuals on both sides have been actively involved in fomenting violence.

The first priority for Kenya is bringing about an end to violence and attending to the urgent needs of the thousands who have been affected by the crisis. But beyond a prolongation or worsening of civil strife there is another immediate danger: the temptation to attempt to secure short-term peace without addressing the real causes of the crisis. Such an attempt would likely end in failure and would certainly prove destructive in the longer term.

The Kibaki government has until now reacted to mediation efforts with cynicism and intransigence, clinging to the untenable position that it won the election fairly and will therefore not contemplate any settlement that does not legitimize its hold on power. Instead of working to resolve the issues the Kibaki government has occupied itself with using the violence as a tool to bludgeon the ODM leadership with as-yet unsubstantiated accusations of sponsoring ethnic cleansing and other international crimes. Practically speaking, progress on resolving the election issue is a prerequisite for progress on all of the other issues. The Kibaki government clearly stands as the primary obstacle to addressing that issue and must be pressured into giving ground so that broader progress is also possible.

Quotes from the immediate and underlying consequences and causes of flawed democracy in Kenya by Human rights watch.

Healthcare in Kenya may be threatened by the political crisis.

Internally displaced persons leave the city for their ancestral homes after they received leaflets threatening them with death.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Maina Kiai urges the US to push for an interim government

Photo from

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairman has called for a transitional government to oversee reforms and organise repeat presidential elections in two years.

Mr Maina Kiai, who appeared before the US Congressional Committee on Africa and Global Health yesterday, urged the US to freeze military aid to Kenya until an interim government was formed.

In a speech The Standard obtained, Kiai said the assets of hardliners should also be traced and frozen to push the leaders to negotiate a political settlement.

Kiai said Kenya was at a crossroads and the Annan-led talks were the last hope.
"At this constitutional moment that Kenya has reached, the way forward must be centred on truth and justice as the only sustainable road to peace and development," he said.

He urged Congress to buttress the mediation talks by banning anyone who delayed the negotiations from travelling to the US.

Kiai asked America to give aid to Kenya through NGOs, an approach EU member countries had adopted.

The proposed interim government with limited powers, he said, should also be charged with the process of reconciliation through a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

Kiai also said the killing of nearly 1,000 people could not be labelled genocide.
"The violence is neither genocide nor ethnic cleansing: The root of the problem is not that different ethnic groups decided they could no longer live together. The root of the problem is the inability of peaceful means to address grievances," he said.

For it to be regarded as genocide, Kiai added, there would have to be State complicity or collapse.

"Instead, we have uneven and selective policing with emphasis on preventing ODM's Mr Raila Odinga from holding protests in Nairobi rather than protecting displaced people and others at risk," he said.

Kiai claimed that the alleged rigged presidential election triggered the violence.
"We have documented some facts and analysis that make it clear that flaws in tallying presidential votes rendered untenable the conclusion that Mwai Kibaki was validly elected," Kiai said.

Britain has defended the Kiai team and journalists, and Lord Malloch Brown has expressed his concerns over threats against journalists and human rights champions in Kenya.

Lord Malloch-Brown spoke as he met the head of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, Mr Maina Kiai.

He reiterated his support for the commission and expressed "Britain's deep concern at the threats received by leading human rights defenders and media figures." He also met Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London and asked leaders to seek peace through the Kofi Annan-led mediation. Last week, several journalists received Short Text Messages allegedly from outlawed Mungiki sect members.

Those threatened included Nation Media Group managing editor Joseph Odindo, Robert Nagila, Macharia Gaitho and Muchemi Wachira.

Standard Group journalists threatened include Mr Kipkoech Tanui and Linus Kaikai.

Nairobi Star writer Mr Paul Illado also received the threat and has since left the country to an unknown country.

Officials of the Committee for Protection of Journalists have protested and called for thorough investigations into the threats and their sources.
Mr Tom Rhodes called newsrooms to confirm the names of the threatend journalists and promised to complain elsewhere and also arrange for their safety if need arose.

The world is watching, and when the Mungiki start sending journalists and human rights champions threats, it gives you a good idea of the times we are living in.

Sadly there may be a price to pay when you stand up to be counted in Kenya today.

I salute you Maina Kiai, John Githongo, Kipekemoi arap Kui, and all the journalists who are divulging what is really happening in Kenya.

I read this article Pandora's box of bugs which made me think about Kofi Annan's hotel room being bugged.
Update 2

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Kofi Annan's hotel room is bugged

Kofi Annan's hotel room is bugged.

So much for the peace talks.

But the opposition said a planned meeting between regional foreign ministers with Kibaki in Nairobi would be tantamount to recognising him as head of state and vowed to hold protests.

"The very legitimacy of Kibaki's position as president is in itself in question at the mediation talks," said Anyang Nyongo, the secretary general of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) on Tuesday.

The government has banned protests and police have opened fire and used tear gas against demonstrators since the December elections that the opposition claims was rigged.

Quotes from Kenyan crisis talks continue, opposition threatens protests.

"It was too hot," Mr Kofi Annan, the former UN chief tasked with brokering a deal out of the crippling impasse, declared soon after adjourning the afternoon session.

Like hot bricks, ODM is said to have dropped the matter of the allegedly stolen presidential election complete with alleged evidence and a raft of demands for electoral reforms.
Sources also intimated that the issue of a transitional government briefly featured, forcing an immediate stalemate.

For the first time, the two teams ate lunch separately.

Earlier in the day, The Standard reliably learnt that the delay to put the issue of the disputed presidential vote, which to a large extent is to blame for the crisis that has engulfed the country, was beginning to cause jitters within sections of the mediation circles.

The sense of unease appeared to stem from concerns - according to sources - that someone or a group of people seemed to be succeeding in bogging down the talks with the unfolding humanitarian crisis at the expense of the equally more urgent matter of what triggered it.

ODM stood its ground that President Kibaki steps down, arguing that its candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, won the election but it was stolen from him.

ODM's clarion call has been: "Truth, Justice and Reconciliation" - which they expound to mean that though the party is for peace and reconciliation, truth and justice must first prevail.
On its part, PNU dug in with the oft-repeated call that the Orange party should take its grievances to court.

Both sides are said to have tabled proof of a stolen election. Evidence and exchanges prompted Annan to adjourn the session and said they would be examined once Machel and Mkapa rejoined the team today.

Quotes from Disputed election results were too hot too handle in the mediation talks.

The US is preparing a visa ban for Kenyan officials who played a role in the violence.

The violence is slowing down relief efforts.

Related article: Uganda-Kenya crisis a lesson for country's opposition.

Different ways of expressing your anger towards the crisis in Kenya today

There are some Kenyans who are not angry about the election results, and I do not share their feelings.

Some of us are angry, and have different ways of expressing that anger.

There are questions about what is an appropriate way of expressing your anger in this situation.

1.Signing up for petitions about the crisis.

2.Reporting acts of violence on Ushahidi.

3. If you are a youth the only way in which you may feel empowered is by going out and causing havoc, as you have nothing to lose, as you live in the slums, are jobless and educated.

4. Going onto sites like Mashada as a troll, or Kumekucha and expressing hate.

5. Setting up your own blog like D, Joseph, Gerald, Jac to express yourself.

6. Internalising your anger, and doing nothing.

7. Setting up initiatives.

8. Considering going to court to seek justice (sigh).

9. Funding militia groups to kill innocent Kenyans.

That is all that I could come up with at the moment.

Feel free to share what you feel Kenyans are doing, and what you feel is appropriate.

There are Kenyans out there who are trying to do everything in their power to try and get the country back on track.

I think that whatever we do, we need to think about the consequences of our actions.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Is it realistic to expect the internally displaced in Kenya to return to their homes

There was a discussion on the need to move people to where they're safe, whether it is to their original regions or back to where they've been displaced from, but the issue in all cases is security," she said.

In a statement following the day's session, the Kenyan parties said that they would "assist and encourage displaced persons to go back to their homes or other areas and to have safe passage and security throughout."

The UN's top official on the human rights of IDPs, Walter Kälin, told IRIN said that basic principle for any movement of IDPs should be their own "free choice". However, he pointed out "you can only freely choose if you have different options available". It is "very common", he added, that IDPs "end up threatened from all sides and become political pawns". As well as efforts from the international community, "[national] authorities have the responsibility to create conditions that allow for such freedom to choose", he said, referring to rights and responsibilities laid out in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Abbas Gullet, head of the KRCS, told IRIN that organised relocation of IDPs to their places of ethnic origin had to be considered, even though it raised political, ethical and legal issues.

"We are at a critical point ... this is an issue that needs to be seriously considered." He proposed that at least IDP women and children could go "back" voluntarily until things improved.

"We haven't said we're going to do it," Abbas said, acknowledging the dilemmas. "We don't want to be involved in any form of ethnic cleansing," he stressed. However, he argued that the IDPs themselves were asking to be moved to their areas of origin, and for those economic migrants without property, land or businesses, the relative security and opportunities for earning a living at "home" were compelling reasons to move voluntarily.

But while the IDPs' wishes should be paramount, the rule of law needed to be applied to prevent a domino effect: those returning to their ethnic homelands in need of land and livelihoods should not then forcibly displace minorities already there, said an international official working on IDP issues. He cited the example of Bosnia, where a division of the population along ethnic lines due to insecurity became a "fait accompli".

An analyst familiar with the legal issues told IRIN that "reinforcing evictions" by assisting relocations posed major ethical questions, especially where families had owned land for a generation or more outside their "homeland". Nevertheless, private citizens have been helping their ethnic kin to get out, he said, by providing cash or trucks. Unless continuous pressure is maintained to enforce IDPs' right to return to their land, a dangerous precedent would be set, where in future any group might feel able to say "well it wasn't their land 40 years ago" and make further violent land grabs. "We shouldn't go down that road," the analyst said; people are "choosing between poor options".

Lwanga said "having them [IDPs] in police stations is not right. [In the short term] maybe it's better to have them go back to their homes ... if it is voluntary".

Quotes from Officials grapple with implications of sending IDP's home.

I think that sending the internally displaced back to the areas where they have fled from is insensitive. If those areas were safe, the internally displaced, would not have fled from them. The issue is security.

How would you feel about returning to the area where you were raped, beaten and witnessed your friends and family being butchered?

I know that if I had been in that situation, I would never return to that area, and could never live alongside the perpetrators.

I think to suggest this to the victims of torture, is insensitive. I thought that the government(sigh) had set up a fund to accomodate the victims.

Healing for torture victims, or people who are traumatised can only take place if the victims are in a place of safety, and anyone who has done any work with people who are traumatised should know this. Returning the victims to the place where they were tortured can cause a secondary form of trauma, in my view.

I have not been in any of these areas, but am very clear that when I go back to Kenya, there are certain areas that will be on my no go list.

I believe what tribe you are does matter now.

I am not fooling myself that things can go back to the way they were, yet. I believe Tribal paranoia is healthy at this time.

Related articles: Kenya rivals to discuss power sharing proposals.

Kenyan death toll reaches 1000.


Related article: Peace corps suspends Kenya operations

Monday, 4 February 2008

I wonder what this week will have in store for Kenya

The peace talks have resumed, but their are still clashes in the Rift Valley.

I hope that we have not returned to an era of assasinations. It is important to note that none of the political murders since independence have been conclusively solved.

Oduor Ong'wen has an interesting article on the role class and kinship has played in this crisis.

Ugandan opposition leaders are urging President Museveni to respond to persistent rumours that his country has military involvement in Kenya.Reports published in Uganda's media show that Ugandan troops are now attached to the Kenyan police. These reports have not been refuted and reveal that Mwai Kibaki is now guarded by members of the Ugandan Presidential Guard Brigade.


Related articles: Kenya government forces out key mediator in political talks.

Interesting point in the article about Gitobu Imanyara resisiting attack from Lucy Kibaki. I thought it was a rumour when I heard it weeks ago, but it seems like there was some friction between the two.

Update 2

Foreign troops should be deployed through UN or AU to restore peace because local soldiers are partisan," he added.

Under the UN rules, foreign troops can only be deployed to other countries as peacekeepers during civil war or when the local military has no capacity to maintain law and order.

Foreign troops can also be deployed when the local military is non-existent or has lost control and moral authority to discharge duties with fairness.

ODM has previously said the military should be restricted to the barracks and the police entrusted with the maintenance of law order and peace among the civilians.

Raila admitted that police officers had the capacity to deal with acts of violence, but claimed that they were allegedly acting on wrong orders.

"Police officers have been poisoned. They are anti-citizens and this is why they have failed to deal with acts of violence that have claimed many lives and left thousands homeless," he added.

The Lang'ata MP also hinted that several European countries, including France, Italy and Spain, and the US, supported his quest for the presidency.

"Countries like America, France, Italy and Spain among others have urged me not to relent nor surrender," he said on Sunday.

He noted that ODM supported a local solution to the political crisis and once again appealed to ODM supporters to maintain peace and avoid violence that subjected innocent people to unnecessary suffering.

"We know our supporters are angry. I urge them to maintain peace. Let us respect Annan's call for peace," he said.

Raila added: "ODM supports peace, but the peace must be based on justice. Kenyans have moved from Mt Sinai and are now in Jordan and should be patient as a solution is around the corner," said Raila.

He told ODM supporters not to engage in acts that could undermine Annan's work.
He dismissed Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, as a traitor, adding that he was ready for a repeat presidential election between him and President Kibaki-Kalonzo side.

Raila was addressing his supporters outside Bondo ACK Church after a service. His wife, Ida, Kisumu Town West MP, Mr Olago Aluoch, and the Chairman of the Luo Council of Elders, Mr Riaga Ogalo, also addressed the meeting.

There was drama at the service as hundreds of ODM supporters cut short a sermon by pastor Silas Owala demanding that Raila address them.

"Maliza kuhubiri, rais ana haraka na tunataka atuhutubie (finish the sermon, the President is busy and we want him to address us)," they shouted at Owala.
The preacher cut short the sermon and prayed amid cheers from the congregation.

Quotes from Deploy foreign troops says Raila

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Some of the power dynamics of the Kenyan crisis

Kibaki's handling of the crisis, so far limited to one brief visit to displaced people and reading out a few pre-written statements insisting he won fairly, has invited fierce criticism. The normally pro-government Daily Nation newspaper warned Kibaki: 'If Kenya disintegrates, history books will record that the collapse of a once great, united and prosperous country happened on your watch'. The Nairobi Star was headlined: 'Where is Kibaki? ... as Kenya slips into anarchy'.

Even with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in Nairobi this weekend, supporting mediation efforts chaired by Kofi Annan, Kibaki made a speech to the African Union that could hardly have been more antagonistic towards opposition supporters, already on edge after the murder of two opposition MPs last week. He reiterated that the election result was fair and that the opposition was to blame for the violence. It should take its election grievances to the courts, he said, and blamed unnamed foreign countries for suggesting a power-sharing. This hardline stance at a time when towns like Kericho are in flames - and his quiet dismissal of Murage a fortnight ago - means there is an increasing body of people who now believe that Kibaki alone must take the blame for the country's mess. 'I honestly believe he is the man driving the whole operation; the ineptly rigged election and the aftermath,' said David Ndii, a Nairobi-based analyst. 'Kibaki very much knows what is happening, and must be held responsible.

Quotes from wave of anarchy blamed on Kenya's general coward by Xan Rice for the Guardian.

A priest in Nakuru said that Mungiki were on the prowl last week under police protection, and there will be more blood.

Honourable Raila Odinga has called for the deployment of foreign peacekeepers, because the police have often been misused, and he does not trust the army to be neutral. He stated that ODM have confidence in ongoing mediation talks, but has a fall back plan if talks fail.

Canada have spelled out what their stand is on the position in Kenya. They will not conduct business as usual. Canadian law precludes the admissibility to Canada of foreign nationals considered responsible for subverting democratic institutions and processes.

Related article: Family members and colleagues insist that Honourable David Too, was not having an affair with the woman who was shot with him.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Shocked MP's in Kenya call out for protection

Mr Magerer Langat,Kipkelion MP urged the Government to provide adequate security to MPs following the deaths of two opposition MP's.

More people died today after clashes in Anamoi, the home town of Honourable David Too.

Kenyan police scoured villages in Western Kenya trying to seek stolen weapons.

ODM has asked the Government to evacuate the displaced people stranded in Central province, Naivasha and Nakuru.

In a statement released at Orange House in Nairobi after the party's Parliamentary Group Meeting, ODM said thousands of people stranded in Nyahururu, Naivasha, Nakuru, Tigoni, Githurai, Kibera, Thika, Ruiru and Juja were at the mercy of security forces and criminal gangs.

The party therefore says the State should use military and NYS trucks to move those people to safer areas, as was done with those in other areas.

Quotes from ODM tells the state to evacuate the displaced.

The government should evacuate the displaced across the board, and not only in certain areas.

Kenya is criticised in Human Rights Watch Report.and, the UK and US are accused of hypocrisy over despots.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Kenyan policeman hanged by mob

A Kenyan policeman was lynched by a mob in the Rift Valley, in revenge for the shooting of Honourable MP David Too.

The FBI has offered to probe the killing of the two ODM opposition MP's.

Then we have desperate Kenyans turning to gangs for protection.

I wonder how we are going to break this cycle of violence.

Revenge is breeding revenge.

Related article: Mayhem to mediation

A Kenyan in denial about this crisis

Never in my life of attending this bi-annual event have I seen so many Kenyans. They came in droves; they are busy telling the world what has been in our purview for a month now. They have met whoever has weight on the continent to deliver their disquiet.

But even beneath this you get the feeling that Kenyans are divided even outside their country. One individual took to the podium and painted the glossiest picture about Kenya. He was mocked off the stage. He eloquently defended the government, saying the pictures we see on television about the dead and wounded were concoctions by international media meant to hurt the economy.
He said the dead bodies shown on TV around the world were taken from the main mortuaries in the country. He went on to say that no one had been killed in the post-election violence. Somehow he was cut short, told that if he continued his litany, he was going to be lynched. He fled for dear life.

So I asked other Kenyans where this particular individual came from. Without blinking they told me he was a Kibaki supporter. I asked how they knew that. The answer was chilling: "His name is Mwangi and he for sure is a Kikuyu". And what tribe are the others; "we are Luo," they said.

I attempt to ask them whether all Kikuyu supported Kibaki, considering that I know two Kenyans about to lose their lives for speaking against the election. Those are exceptions, I am told.

Indeed the head of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, Maina Kiai, has been told in clear terms that he will be eliminated for the stance he has taken on the violence in Kenya. But for Maina, that has always been his life. He believes that truth is to be upheld at whatever cost, even if it's against your tribesmate. Yes, that cost that he is staring in the face right now.

In this conflict there are things that one will always remember. As a kid I read virtually all books written by James Ngugi, a.k.a. Ngugi Wa Thiong. His narrations in books like 'The River Between' or 'A Grain of Wheat' spoke volumes about a country ruled by a few at the expense of the majority.

But now, in this year and age, Ngugi my hero has turned his course. He has joined those who think that the Luo wronged the Kikuyu and that Kibaki won the elections fairly. As I finished reading his expose on the conflict in Kenya, it suddenly occurred to me that reason which we all aspire to have and use, is an illusion, a mirage! For if Ngugi can turn on tribal sentiments to assuage a government that he knows is illegitimate, then for sure things are no longer at ease.

Quotes from the country now reminds me of 1994 Rwanda by Dismas Nkunda

Mwangi, who the writer mentions in his article,who claims the pictures we have seen in the media have been concocted, clearly has a different perception of reality. He must have gone to the same school as the police officer who claimed the video of the policeman killing the two men in Kisumu, had been altered like the Rambo movies.

Each to their own.

I believe Mwangi is the type of guy who sees a green light, when the light is red.