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

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