Thursday, February 28, 2008
Mr. Mwai Kibaki and Mr. Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement the reports said. The agreement creates the post of PM who will have executive powers, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said at the signing ceremony in Nairobi. Talks will continue tomorrow on issues such as land, poverty and constitutional reform, he said. ``Today we have reached an important staging post, but the journey is far from over,'' he said. ``The real challenge is for President Kibaki and the honorable Raila Odinga to work together to heal and reconcile this nation.'' More than 1,000 have died and an estimated 600,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the violence erupted after a Dec. 27 disputed election. The success of the accord will depend on laws passed in Parliament to implement it, the reports said.``The constitutional amendments will dictate exactly who does what, what the prime minister can do precisely, because right now all we have are principles,'' said the reports. ``Until we have practical answers, we're in a situation in which a small incident can escalate into a large-scale confrontation.''
Under today's agreement, the prime minister will be chosen by the largest party in Parliament, Annan said. That is Odinga's ODM, which won 99 seats in the 222-member assembly. The prime minister and two deputies will be included in the cabinet, he said. ``What this agreement now represents is a distribution of seats, but what is needed is a sustainable end to the crisis,'' Grignon of ICG said in a telephone interview from Nairobi. ``Unless we have a clear program of government, this power- sharing won't hold.'' Parliament will meet on March 6 to begin considering legislation to implement the accord, known as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, Kibaki said. Both Kibaki and Odinga said at the ceremony that they were committed to making the agreement a success. ``We have began a journey and this journey we will walk together,'' Odinga was reported to have said. ``I can see light at the end of the tunnel.'' Annan led efforts to mediate in the dispute between the two sides with a team that included former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, the wife of South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela. ``This process has reminded us that as a nation, there are more issues that unite us instead of divide us,'' Kibaki said. Long live kenya!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The violence has subsided recently as the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has brokered negotiations registered progress, but he called a pause to the talks yesterday after several fruitless weeks. He said he would now hold direct talks with Mr. Mwai Kibaki and the ODM leader Mr. Raila Odinga.
However, western observers believe that gangs on both sides have used the lull to regroup and prepare for another, and potentially bloodier, bout of violence should the talks fail.
"We're going to have to stop the violence,"Mr. Malloch-Brown said. "The Kenyan military is by far the best option. The question is, can the army be brought in in a non-divisive way?"
He argued that the army is still respected by the Kenyan public as a genuinely national and multi-ethnic institution, unlike the police, but that its generals are reluctant to get involved because they want to maintain its status and unity.
Annan is believed to have issued an ultimatum to Kibaki and Odinga yesterday, telling them they were facing their last chance to contain the conflict before it tore their country apart.
"The talks have not broken down," Annan told reporters later. "But I am taking steps to make sure we accelerate the process and give peace to the people as soon as possible."
He was backed by coordinated statements from the US and European Union threatening sanctions against leaders on both sides if they did not agree to share power.
The EU statement also emphasized "that a means of effective power-sharing in Kenya must be found and that individuals who obstruct the dialogue process will have to face the consequences".
Potential sanctions include travel bans aimed at the political elite on both sides, who holiday and send their children to school in Europe and America.
The EU statement emphasized "that a means of effective power-sharing in Kenya must be found and that individuals who obstruct the dialogue process will have to face the consequences".
Mr. Annan suspended talks between the PNU-government and ODM negotiating teams after it became clear they were going nowhere. "It was bad on Friday, and it just got worse," said one diplomat. Annan has attempted to broker a solution in which the president maintained control of foreign affairs and defence but devolved control over domestic affairs to prime minister. One of the reasons for the breakdown has been Kibaki's insistence on keeping a grip on the finance ministry.
There are also dissenting thoughts about bringing in the army to control the violence should the situation get worse. Mr. Dowden, the director of the Royal African Society, said the deployment of the Kenyan army could be extremely risky. "The army has always been non-political. It's very professional, it does a lot of peacekeeping, well trained, and it is a regular contingent in UN forces," he said. "The last thing they would want to do is step in. But the bigger danger to them is that as this gets more ethnic and tribal, a middle ranking officer finds his grandmother has been killed and takes off, and once bits break off, the whole army unravels. The whole army holding together as a non-ethnic entity is the last barrier between Kenya and complete meltdown."
Meanwhile A visibly frustrated Mr. Annan cautioned that the mediators could not go on "as if it was business as usual". He emphasized that there would have to be constitutional and legal amendments to support the political settlement reached in the talks. His colleague, former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa said the talks appeared to be going round in circles. And of notice was also the arrival of Mr. Kikwete. His visit comes just a week after he met Mr Bush who toured Tanzania and several other African countries.
Their remarks coincided with that from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who said the "legitimacy" of the parties in the talks depended on a political settlement.
"I want to emphasize that the future of our relationship with both sides and their legitimacy hinges on their cooperation to achieve this political solution. In that regard, we are exploring a wide range of possible actions," she said. "We will also exert leadership with the UN, Africa Union, European Union, and others to ensure that the political solution the Kenyan people deserve is achieved."
Mr Annan Tuesday gave the following verdict of the talks as it transpired that the talks were not moving forward with new demands being made every time the negotiating teams met: Nothing is moving forward; there is no urgency in reaching solutions; no change in the mood of the two sides as the atmosphere is acrimonious.
A new twist was introduced when the Government team turned up at the Monday meeting with a draft agreement on the coalition. The new draft gave fresh guidelines on the membership of the Grand coalition, its policies, how the parties would work together in Parliament and how they would resolve their disputes among other issues. But he called on Kenyans to remain calm. "I am appealing to the public not to panic. The talks have not failed."
Also as no surprise to many are the reports that, investigations have found out that most people killed during the post-election violence in Western and Nyanza provinces died of bullet wounds, according to a report released Tuesday. But in the Rift Valley where most of the deaths occurred, the report found out that majority of the victims were either beaten to death, hacked with machetes or shot with arrows. ODM leaders have been accusing police of misusing firearms while cracking down on protesters especially in western Kenya.
Amnesty groups have said they will demonstrate in solidarity with the people of Kenya and call on the Kenyan Government to protect people from politically motivated and ethnic violence."
The actions will further demand that Kenya's leaders "end the cycle of impunity that perpetuates the violence.
In the United States, vigils will be held outside the Kenyan embassy in Washington and the Kenya consulate in Los Angeles. Another protest is scheduled to take place in Denver, the Colorado city that has a sister-city relationship with Nairobi.
Gatherings in solidarity with Kenya are also planned in the United Kingdom, Australia, Uganda and Kiribati, a Pacific island country.
Amnesty International is likewise urging Internet users to join a "Reach Out for Kenya" group on Facebook, a highly popular social networking site, and to send e-mail messages to Kenyan politicians urging an end to the violence.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has pledged to assert its presence in Kenya if the political situation deteriorates.
In a brief to the UN Security Council on the situation in Kenya on Monday, under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said that the international community should press for solutions both in short-term political problems and the long-term questions.
Sir John said that in his assessment, major humanitarian needs would have to be addressed for many months to come.
"We are currently looking at least a year ahead, even on the basis of a quick and 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 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 effective political settlement of the immediate issues. We will strengthen our own presence further, and reinforce our work alongside the Kenyan Red Cross on the basis of a strategic analysis of the needs, a clear action plan, and contingency planning in case things deteriorate," he said.
Sir John, who is also UN's emergency relief coordinator, suggested that the UN will also need to look hard at how to reorient its development programmes for Kenya to reflect the need to deal with the deep underlying problems which have come to the surface.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
Monday, February 25, 2008
Negotiators from both sides said Mr. Mwai Kibaki and Mr. Raila Odinga must now make the hard decisions on sharing power themselves. The negotiating teams had met early on Monday to try to finalize agreement on ending post-election crisis.
While ODM deadline to resume street protests expires on Wednesday. The PNU-government had agreed in "principle" to create a prime minister's post and was reported after last week's meetings, but it appears the parties are split on the PM's powers, sharing of ministries and the possibility of a new election in two years or sooner.
By early monday afternoon, both sides said they were unable to agree and had to push the decisions up to their bosses through mediator Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary general. "We have isolated a number of items that require our chairman's consultations with our principals,"Mr. Mutula Kilonzo told reporters. While Mr. William Ruto of ODM said it was time Kibaki and Odinga "rolled in their influence". "On many of the issues that are outstanding, we are unable to agree, so they have been referred to the principals in the hope that they enjoy greater leverage and can be able to thrash out those issues," Ruto said. Annan confirmed the decision.
The crisis over Kibaki's disputed re-election, the worst since independence in 1963, has hurt Kenya's image as a stable democracy and prosperous trade and tourism hub. It has laid bare rifts over land, wealth and tribes that were born under British colonial rule and since exacerbated by politicians. In the hope of addressing the long-held grievances and improving Kenya's institutions, revising Kenya's 45-year-old constitution has come to the fore.
Both sides have agreed on the need for changes to the constitution, which gives immense powers to the president and which analysts say contributes to a divisive winner-take-all mentality at election time. Annan wants an immediate political settlement before deeper negotiations over the constitution, with rights groups warning that ethnic militias are regrouping ahead of the renewed protest threat.
In the face of a rigged Dec. 27 election, ODM has proposed a powerful premier's post and a 50-50 split in the cabinet. Kibaki says he won fairly and accuses the ODM of instigating riots and ethnic violence instead of following Kenya's legal avenues to challenge an election.
Mr. Kibaki also wants any changes to be made under Kenya's current constitution. Majority of Kenyans want a quick truthful and a just end to the two-month-old crisis.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
They want to "act-like" indeed they have ceded some ground. But wait a minute, they have also insisted nonetheless that the deal with ODM should not be entrenched into the Constitution. Citing the "supreme law" that the constitution is. Even if "the supreme law" has ceased to serve and has thus become a dinosaur.
Shouting "constitution!" may well be part of the PNU-Government game-plan. They are creating room and environment for possible legal challenges in court. As ODM insists such landmark changes be executed through an amendment to the Constitution so that the likes of MOU'S are avoided.
There are reports of court cases being lined up to derail the Annan-led deals once they are finalized. Some of the challenges in the bag of legal options includes; the annulment of parliamentary elections as well — a move that could send shivers down the spines of all MPs. In the meantime, PNU-government continues to give mixed signals over the Annan talks. Although its negotiators seem to be softening their stand, the same is not true in its parliamentary group.
While conceding the Constitution has been amended over the years, Mungatana maintains Kenyans must mandate key changes such as the creation of a PM'S through a referendum.
The other ploy up in PNU-government hand-bag is openly dragging their feet in the negotiation. For instance, last Friday PNU-negotiators skipped the morning session to consult President Kibaki and a day earlier to attend a funeral.The negotiations did not start until well into the afternoon hours.
While ODM want an immediate political solution, including appointment of a PM, PNU-governmen wants a comprehensive constitutional review that will culminate in effecting ODM's demands within a year. PNU politicians also argue creation of PM post requires time to enshrine it into the constitution with the necessary structures and budget.
A lengthy and tiring process is bound to work against ODM, and the country that needs to reclaim its peace. The PNU-government is banking on the premise that, the longer it hangs on the more they will be entrenched.The Kenyan people will just throw in the towels into submission.
With PNU's leader having taken an oath of office as President and its politicians bent on preservation of status quo, the Annan talks serve political interests of the country and ODM more than PNU.
This probably explains why the party has given a cold shoulder to a number of world leaders keen on supporting the mediation.
1)South Africa's Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first to arrive, waited for two days to secure an appointment with Kibaki.
2)Indifferent Government officials were later to derogatively describe the mission of Ghanaian President and immediate former African Union chairman, Mr John Kufour, as having "come for a cup of coffee or was it tea?" with his age-mate Mr. Kibaki.
3)South Africa's renowned mediator and former African National Congress Secretary General, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, followed suit when he left in a huff after PNU negotiators alleged he had business dealings with the ODM leader,Mr.Raila Odinga. The list is long.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The announcement came a day after ODM statement said they would resume peaceful mass protests unless action is taken quickly to reform/amend the country's constitution. This is to allow the "ongoing arrangements" made in the negotiations to be incorporated into law.
"The PNU sub-committee on legal affairs has agreed on the creation of the post of a non-executive prime minister with substantial responsibilities." Mr.kilonzo said on Thursday. But this offer is safe to say, is highly unlikely to be accepted by the ODM. Simply because the post is a non-executive.
Mr.Anyang Nyong’o said that he expected an agreement by the end of Friday. "The negotiators are at the table, so we must give them time," he said. "If you are going to have real power-sharing, you must separate the head of state from the head of government ... Which has been a proposal made by Kenyans since 1992.
"It is a response to the demands and wishes of Kenyans for more effective and democratic government so that the state runs properly." he added.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Kibaki said on Tuesday that any political settlement should be made within Kenya's existing constitution, but ODM said the need to reform the colonial-era treaty was the crux of the problem.
The party accused Kibaki and his Party of National Unity (PNU) of "a deliberate ploy to delay decisions" at the talks. It said, "the ODM does not see a serious partner in the PNU in negotiation for a peaceful settlement."
ODM also has proposed that parliament is summoned within the next one week to enact the necessary changes in the constitution to implement mediation proposals."If that does not happen ODM will resume peaceful mass action." Mr. Anyang' Nyong'o said.
On Tuesday, Kibaki said he was "willing to work together and share responsibilities in government" with ODM, but that any deal "must be in tandem with the current Kenyan constitution".
The PNU-government's insistence on sticking to the constitution - a colonial-era treaty which everyone agree is long overdue for reform, is another attempt/tactics among many designed by PNU to block any special new arrangement to accommodate ODM and solve the country's crisis.
Many Kenyans fear a return to bloodshed if a final deal is not struck soon, and local media saying that gangs in some conflict-hit areas have been re-arming for a possible showdown.
The United Nations has also warned of looming food shortages as the unrest affected crop planting, particularly in the Rift Valley where about half of country's foods are grown.
A deadline set by Annan for a political deal by mid-February has since passed, but the former UN chief has vowed he will stay until the talks reach an "irreversible" point.
It would be in order at this point in time to say that the PNU-allied side be made aware that it is in the best interest of all Kenyans to implement the power-sharing arrangements and undertake these reforms so that the country can move forward.They should put aside their selfish needs and put Kenya and her people first. It cannot be any more clear.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Talks resumed at a slow pace Tuesday with reports of major rifts between PNU and ODM teams. The negotiators failed to agree on a power-sharing or a coalition deal favoured by majority of Kenyans and the international community. Any reasonable sane- Kenyan will tell you that it is the best alternative to the current crisis. PNU are said to have insisted that ODM should accept that Mr. Kibaki won the elections. A stand they have taken from the beginning.
There are reports that PNU is determined and seem to think that they can ride this crisis long enough or until ODM steam wears out. Western diplomats agree and say openly that Kibaki's strategy of playing for time in the hope of entrenching his position as opposition anger dissipates is dangerous.
There are also reports that militia groups that caused much of the initial ethnic violence and subsequent reprisals in parts of Rift Valley, Nakuru, kisumu, coast, western and other areas including Nairobi are restocking their arsenals in readiness to the unacceptable outcome.
PNU were quoted as saying that "the President would use his generosity and mercy" to appoint a number of ODM MPs to the Cabinet. And ODM must be grateful, start behaving appropriately and know there's a government in Kenya. The party should agree that Kibaki won.
The MPs from PNU and its affiliates, including ODM-K said their rivals in ODM should be fitted in Government without sharing power with Mr. Kibaki. "This has happened before," Garsen MP Danson Mungatana, who is the secretary for PNU MPs, told the press in Nairobi. He was speaking on the MPs' behalf after they held a meeting at Parliament Building, during which they were briefed on the progress of the talks led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
The idea of power-sharing was first floated by Mr Annan and his team of eminent persons, and it has since been backed by world powers, including the US.
Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka led the PNU negotiators to the meeting with the MPs where the power-sharing proposal was discussed. The PNU-allied MPs, a source said, also expressed concern at the proposal to create the office of executive prime minister.
They claimed the idea of sharing power was being foisted on Kenya by Western powers keen on safeguarding their own interests. The MPs told the PNU Government negotiators to be firm, saying that the Annan team appeared to be too demanding. They complained that Mr.Kibaki appeared to be soft and needed to stand up to the super powers.
But Mr. Annan, who has pledged to lead the mediation effort in Nairobi until a solution is found, sought to assure Mr. Kibaki that despite all the diplomatic pressure, the international community was acting in Kenya's best interest. "There are political leaders who are unhappy by what they see as international interference," he said. "No one is here to dictate. We are here in solidarity."
Monday, February 18, 2008
MS. Rice does not expect to come away with a final deal from her mission to Kenya the reports indicate. However, the US secretary of state has arrived in Kenya to bolster efforts aimed at ending the country's post-election crisis.
She is the highest-ranking US official to visit the country since a disputed presidential vote in December 2007 election. Mr. George Bush, the US president, said Rice will be bolstering efforts by Kofi Annan, the former UN chief, to mediate a lasting political solution to one of the darkest chapters in Kenya's post-independence history.
But on the eve of Rice's visit, Kenya's foreign minister,Mr Moses wetangula had strong words for anyone trying to force a deal on the PANU government. "We encourage our friends to support us and not make any mistake of putting a gun to anybody's head and saying 'either/or', because that cannot work," he said. He went on to say, "Even if we get visitors to help us in any way possible, the answer to the problem in Kenya lies with Kenyans themselves."
Mr. Bush, who is on the second leg of a five-nation Africa tour, says Washington wants to help the talks, not dictate a solution. Reinforcing that, a White House spokeswoman said Rice did not expect to come away with a final deal, nor would she offer incentives to encourage the feuding sides to strike a pact.
"But I do think ... they are inching their ways closer and they need a little bit of help to get there," she said.
Mr. Annan has reported considerable progress in last week's talks with the two rivals.
Rice is expected to meet Annan, Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, on Monday.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
By MILDRED NGESA
There was a lone woman seated at the corner of the road last Friday, her baby cradled in her arms. I stole a quick peek from her bent head and solitary movement as she fed her child on some food from a polythene bag.
It was easy to tell that she was in lamentation pose.
Lamentation as is the poise of the country at the moment.
On that Friday while an obviously homeless woman sought refuge in the wind without the slightest idea of where she would lay her head that night, the world was waiting with bated breath for news from the dialogue team.
Self-control is something that most Kenyans will tell you is their greatest challenge so far — the self-control not to explode at the team that is currently holding us to ransom and in essence, holding the fate of a nation in its hands.
There might be no solution as yet. There might not be a solution for a long time to come. What Kenyans do not want to know or hear is that the mediated talks have collapsed.
Ask the woman by the roadside or the manager in the air-conditioned office or even the child playing on the swing; what we dread the most are headlines that read; “Talks collapse” or even “ Deadlock”.
These are the headlines which we in the media would agonise over even as we splash them because we know what the repercussions would be.
I salute Kofi Annan, in whose humble stewardship the sanity of the talks still holds.
Yes, you were right sir, contrary to popular belief, what we in the media have been clamouring to report — what we are still hopeful to report is exactly what you said sir: “We have a deal”.
The past few weeks since the negotiators began their sittings have been awash with suspicion, careless public declarations, adamant hard-line stances and a general indication that what this team gets into behind closed doors may not be exactly pretty.
We never assumed that it was going to be easy. This is about power over a whole country is it not? Well, wrong!
When both sides picked out the team to determine the fate of over 30 million Kenyans, it was not for them to sit rooted over their own selfish party loyalties and affiliation, it was to make sure that every night Kenyans go to bed assured of sun-rise the following morning.
We are aware that they must have jostled and cajoled both sides so as to be chosen to speak on behalf of their parties.
We are aware that they walked up to their roles with confidence and the sheer belief that they hold the key to holding this country together or let it slide into perpetual anarchy.
We are also aware of the sheer arrogance, chest-thumping and ego-boosting tirades most likely to occur when digressing opinions are seeking the top price. But lest they forget, let it now be known to the negotiators that they are deliberating over the fate of this nation and its people. Period.
We have watched the circus of the absurd in the form of verbal exchanges sugar-coated in intellectual and academic discourse poised to derail the focus of the talks.
We have been alarmed and downhearted as diehard stances take root and assumed stubborn poses.
We have heard accusations and counter accusations as demands from both sides glare back expectantly.
Kenyans sit back through these desperate scenarios played on our screens and cringe on the prospects of any indications that the process might sire cracks.
Still the very same Kenyans whose very core of moral survival has been so shaken in the past two months are desperate for a solution — a peaceful solution and nothing less. This is a fact that the Annan team should never ever forget.
Their mandate is signed by the fact that the fate of 33 million Kenyans is hinged on it. Arrogance, power greed and cultivated stubbornness just will not do, nay; this is not the time for a show of might.
This is the time when Kenyans demand that the peace-seekers who represent the two divides across which Kenya is split, will rise above all indices of pride and come down to that level of peace and stability which is the essence of a surviving nation.
They should not allow anything to stand in the way of peace. The negotiators, as lawyer P.L.O. Lumumba puts it, may not allow their arrogance to stand on the way of peace.
It is a plea of desperation that mirrors the sagged shoulders of the homeless woman on the side of the road — a desperation felt by a nation on the brink of losing its most vital breath of survival.
Will the negotiators put their pride aside and bring back the peace solution we so much crave?
Where are leaders who can put country first?
So, the giants of this world are in town? The presumed super-powers whose verdict is feared and causes ripples the world over?
Kenya is in a crisis matters to the rest of the world, and that is why the “whole world” is in the country to help solve the crisis, says Uncle Sam.
What would be nice to see is not the continuous lambasting directed at those scampering to assist in bringing back the peace. What would be nice and encouraging to see and hear is a different kind of leadership displayed by those we have entrusted both in government and the opposition to stabilise a nation that is almost on its knees.
Let those who purport to be leaders seize this moment to declare and display their uttermost dedication to the survival and wellbeing of this nation. I like the sacrificial stance taken by Kofi Annan that spelt out his dedication towards finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
“I will stay as long as it takes to get the issue of a political statement to an irreversible point. I will not be frustrated or provoked to leave,” he said.
If there were other words to describe hope from the former UN secretary-general then these were the words. Where then are our very own leaders both in government and the opposition who “will not rest until a peaceful solution is found?” Where are they who will lay down their commitment to peace regardless of the stakes they claim in a win or a loss?
Where are the leaders who will put selfish gains aside and accede to the higher commitment to serve and honour a country’s craving for peace?
Waiting for poisonous kiss
This prose is dedicated in sadness to all those who live in fear and are being threatened every day for being from a different community.
Yesterday, we woke up against the backdrop of the madness of violence to pick leaflets strewn in the compound by my brother.
He had written to warn of his coming.
“We are coming. We shall revenge the killings of our people. If you know you are not from our tribe, be prepared”.
And so we sit and wait. In our tiny makeshift houses, we pray the most we can. We recall prayers yanked from our bleeding souls, trying to remember all those like us, scattered across the country who await a brother who comes with a kiss laced in poison.
Just when did we get to this crossroads of anguish and pain? When did we begin to sink so low?
Election day was victory day. The determination of the people to vote won the heart of freedom and democracy. On Election day, we marched to tell the world that Kenya is of a different breed — that Kenyans know better about mutual respect, justice and democracy, when expectations for sobriety were high enough to help us sleep well at night.
But that was the last night we slept well — the very last night we smiled in our dreams.
Today Kenya burns with a vengeance that has eclipsed the history of our existence. Violence rocks the very heart of a country that had gained the reputation of being a peace mediator in the region, a country that has for eons been a safe haven for refugees fleeing anarchy in their countries.
The polling was free and fair. Kenyans knew the fate of the next five years lay in the little ballot paper they would slip through the box. And so Kenyans flocked the polling stations in droves, as early as before the birds found their voices.
The devil was dead during voting day, but he resurrected on vote counting day. He waved his evil wand and greed for power seeped through.
Today we have become the country that has lost its soul as we burn children in churches, rape fleeing mothers and slash fellow men whose ethnic community happens to be different.
Kenya bleeds to the shock of the world. Democracy dies as the intricacies of the power game and the power hungry plays on inflated egos.
The Bomas Draft says the President appoints the leader of the largest political party in Parliament as the PM. But if the leader of the party with the parliamentary majority or coalition is unable to command the confidence of Parliament, the President shall appoint an MP, who is the leader of the second largest parliamentary party or coalition.In case the two options are not viable, the President may also propose another MP and Parliament may approve such a member as PM.
The Bomas Draft denies the President powers to fire the PM and other ministers. It says the President may propose to the House the dismissal of the PM. The President can only sack the PM if such a proposal is approved by 50 per cent of the MPs.
According to the Bomas Draft, the Cabinet, which is approved by the President but constituted by the prime minister, consists of the premier, two deputy prime ministers and ministers. All members of the Cabinet must be MPs. To prevent a bloated Cabinet crafted for political expediency, it limits the number of ministers, saying they should not be less than 15 and not more than 20.
Parliament can push for the removal of a minister if a Motion of no confidence is approved by more than 50 per cent of MPs. The President, on the recommendation of the prime minister, shall appoint a Secretary to the Cabinet. To be implemented, the President and Prime Minister must sign a Cabinet decision. The President assents to Bills passed by Parliament, but the Prime Minister is expected to implement the Acts of Parliament.
The Bomas Draft fixes the election date for the President on the second Tuesday in August of every fifth year. He/she shall be elected by direct suffrage through a secret ballot. Every presidential candidate would be required to nominate a running mate, who would automatically become the deputy President in the event of victory for the camp.
The winning presidential candidate should garner more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast and, in addition, receive a minimum 25 per cent of the votes cast in more than half of the regions. If none of the candidates meet this requirement, a re-run shall be conducted within three weeks between the top two candidates and the one who receives majority votes declared winner.
Presently, the candidate who gets majority votes and in addition garners 25 per cent of votes cast in at least five provinces is declared winner. Members of the largest parliamentary party or coalition that does not form the Government shall elect the Official Leader of Opposition from their ranks. The Bomas draft proposes the district as the principal level of devolution and establishes a district government for each district. The Senate provides an institution through which the devolved levels of government formulate and enact national legislation and protect the interests of the regional, district and locational governments.
The President’s functions are largely ceremonial and include presiding over State functions such as addressing the opening of each Parliament. Mayors and their deputies would also be elected directly by the electorate if the Bomas draft were to be enforced. Currently, councillors conduct mayoral elections.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The crisis back home has exacerbated the divide and cemented the existing divisions. Political opinion closely mirrors ethnic origin, which is a reliable indicator of support for or opposition to the major political camps in Kenya. And the views expressed are strikingly similar to those heard from spokespeople of both camps.
Most PNU supporters in the diaspora valiantly say their man won fair and square, and that he is a victim of a well orchestrated smear campaign by people from western Kenya.
In the contrary,ODM supporters — and the less sympathetic to that line of argument — are quick to retort. They reel out figures and dismiss the PNU line as an exercise in phantom arithmetic, which cannot stand scrutiny.
They accuse the other side of playing fast and loose with 'facts’(lying) and of being in denial. Once in a while, decorum is cast aside and harsh words are thrown about. It can get tense. This scene is said to be playing out in many locales across the US,Canada,Europe and other foreign lands.
Non-Kenyans with friends on both sides are learning to navigate the tricky waters between the fissures. Sometimes, the mischievous among them transmit opposed points of view between the groups. They solicit views from one side and pass to the other in a manner likely to provoke a visceral response, which they duly report to other side.
The split is finding its way in American politics. Some PNU supporters have no time for Mr Barack Obama, the Democratic Party nomination contender. They prefer Mrs Hillary Clinton. ODM supporters in US are in the Obama camp. Those among them who have the vote, and some who don’t, have contributed to the Obama campaign repeatedly. They are all very proud of their effort. Whenever they get an opportunity, they nettle PNU supporters, who are less inclined to support Obama. According to a source, a similar situation obtains back in Kenya. At the end of the day though, lessened interface between the groups does not translate into much disruption of social relations because all along, there has not been much dealings between the groups.
This probably reflects the situation back in Kenya where people, including the middle class, tend to limit their social dealings within their own ethnic groups. Visit many entertainment places in Kenya’s multi-ethnic urban areas and you will see ethnic solidarity on vivid display.Especially now.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Mr Annan said while he had not expected to stay so long in Kenya, he will stay to the end – until a new broad-based Government is in place. He said the rival parties had so far agreed on the need for a political settlement on the crisis.
I) An independent review of the presidential election to start by March 15,2008.
II) A wide range of reforms on the Constitution and in the judiciary, police, Electoral Commission and Parliament.
The former UN chief also announced he had requested for a meeting with Mr.Mwai Kibaki and ODM’s Raila Odinga on Monday so that he can ask them to give their negotiators a clear direction.
Parties also agreed to form independent team to oversee the reforms in the Electoral Commission and will be informed by the outcome of the independent review of the presidential poll, which is to be conducted by a team of local and foreign persons to investigate electoral malpractices.
"We agreed there was no way of determining the outcome of the 2007 presidential election, but the facts have to come out", Mr Annan said on the need for the independent review of the election. The poll probe team once established, will have between three and six months to conclude their work, after which their report should be published within 14 days.
Mr Annan said that while agreeing on the need for a broad based Government, the rival parties had requested for time to consult with their principals on the structure of such a government. The talks will resume in Nairobi on Tuesday.
The prediction is that a deal may be done by end of next week.
The Electoral Commission declared President Kibaki the winner of the December 27 presidential election, a fact that has been disputed by the ODM and international election observers. The announcement provoked riots across the country.
The violence in parts of Coast, Nairobi, Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza provinces has left more than 1,000 people dead and over 600,000 displaced.
Meanwhile, heavy troop presence continue to build in Kisumu and sorrounding arrears.
“Kenya born, Kenya bred, strong in the arm, and thick in the head”, goes the rhyme about the Kenya ‘cowboys’, the bazungu. Jokes about Kikuyu revolve around money, and Luo about vanity and brains.
Stereotypes amuse, and are always unfair, but Kenyans enjoy them, or used to; they’re part of Kenyan life. Nairobi must be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Africa; people from a wide variety of backgrounds live side by side. The country has opened its arms to thousands of refugees and visitors, and countless tourists make annual visits.
Kenyans, and not only the educated ones, have been marrying across ethnic divides for generations. Masai took Kikuyu wives; Luo and Luhya will fight on the soccer pitch and after the match, but have no problem inter-marrying; it’s said that many Kisii men prefer to marry outside the group; a few Asians and Whites too have married Kenyans.
Kikuyu and Luo marriages are not at all uncommon, especially among the younger generation. Among educated people “inter-marriage” is no big deal. Town kids grow up hardly aware of which ethnic group they belong to; even when they find out it doesn’t matter much.
So, what has been happening in Kenya in the past days is not easy to understand, apart from the land issue. Now it has become much more than that. It is all-out killing of the “perceived enemy”.
Gangs have taken over parts of Nakuru and the area near Naivasha. Road-blocks, sometimes manned by hundreds of rowdy, machete-wielding youth, screen passengers and let them pass, or beat or kill them on the spot. The police, meanwhile, have looked on helplessly.
What started out as driving away “the others” because they “occupied” our land has now turned into something much more sinister: orchestrated vengeance killings, which can go on for ages, often using the most brutal methods.
Kenya’s ethnic groups are very different among themselves. The British noticed this, and used some for administration, trained others as teachers, and placed the ones good at fighting in the police and the armed forces. This is Kenya’s strongest point: the rich kaleidoscope of its peoples.
The Kikuyu, Kisii and Kamba, good at business, trading and farming; the Kalenjin, hardy men who can conceal their emotions, perfect soldiers –and athletes, as it happened; Luo, excellent debaters and academics; Luhya, with their winsome “people skills”; the Coast peoples, warm and easy-going. The perfect combination.
So, what has gone wrong? In the run-up to previous elections, militias were training in forest areas in the Rift Valley; property was burned, hundreds of families camped in church compounds, people were murdered.
At the Coast, in 1997, politicians set local troublemakers against people from up-country, and tourism went into the doldrums for a few years, and was now picking up nicely.
But there has never been anything on this scale; some areas of the country have become civil war zones, with families fleeing with whatever belongings they can salvage, and these are the lucky ones.
Can Kenyans go back to their quiet, but generally good-natured relationships of old? During the Jomo Kenyatta years and the early years of Daniel arap Moi, all high schools accepted students from all corners of the republic, and were considered “national schools”.
However, schools in areas favoured by the previous regime –Central and Nairobi- had been recording the best national results. This called for “affirmative action”, and provincial schools henceforth had to admit 85% of students from their areas; and this requirement remains until today. This has meant less student mobility, and less cultural interchange.
Boarding schools are the norm in Kenya, and many a conversation in the mess, dormitory, changing rooms or just waiting for a teacher to appear, ended up discussing ethnic and cultural differences and peculiarities; and so many prejudices and myths, picked up during one’s formative years, were laid to rest. Many of those cross-ethnic friendships, which continued to university and the professional world, have remained to this day.
This is not the short-term solution. The quick solution may be nothing short of a presidential resignation and re-run, or the intervention of the military, if the present Kofi Annan-brokered negotiations fail. But long-term the return to the “national school” system will certainly help.
A Kikuyu married to a Luo- When his mother died, his father, instead of marrying again, adopted two Rwandese children, orphaned in the 1994 genocide. This is the kind of Africa we can hope to see in future: A one people- no tribe, all God’s children, and we can carry on with our jokes about ethnic stereotypes, as before.
It seems that everyday, the stalemate in the peace negotiations between the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) continues. Mediators from all walks of life have a field day coming to see some two Kenyan groups of Leaders, who seem not to know whether they are going or coming. One of them "Claims to be the President", while the other "Claims to be the legitimately elected President."
From these two, we climb down to the desperate, auctionable politicians – the MPs under PNU, while on the other hand, we have the DIE HARD Unshakable truthful MPs under ODM (unshakable because some have already been killed, but the remaining have sworn to soldier on), they are determined to see the truth and most of all, the call for change comes from the vast majority of Kenyans. What a conviction they have!
Climbing down the ladder from here, we get the foot soldiers in the form of the murderous outfit called Mungiki (a proscribed militia group), carrying out the ideas and intentions of Kibaki Tena (Kibaki Again) group to the letter. On the drawing board are the "evil minded" pre-planners of the massacres in Kisumu and the hell bent "revenge architects" who planned the Naivasha massacre, and who are still out to cause mayhem and havoc throughout Kenya. They still keep thumping their chests that the Kalenjin and the Luo are the cause of this violence; and so they are going to butcher these two communities till they are finished.
The other side of this flip coin is the "DIE HARD TRUTH AND JUSTICE SEEKING MISSILES", ARMED ONLY WITH STONES AND SLINGS, AT TIMES WITH BARE HANDS, BUT WHO ARE DELIRIOUSLY DETERMINED TO SEE JUSTICE AND TRUTH ONCE AND FOR ALL. They are willing and ready to fight to death anytime. THEY ARE LIKE A TIME BOMB WAITING TO EXPLODE. THE CLOCK PUTTING THEM ON HOLD IS ONE ODM LEADER IN THE NAME OF RAILA ODINGA. WHAT I DON'T KNOW IS HOW LONG WILL HE KEEP THIS BOMB DORMANT BEFORE EXPLODING?
Every time they see this bogus Government representative, the pressure keeps building up. If Raila is not strong enough that pressure will reach what is called MAIP (Maximum allowable injustice pressure). After that, it will definitely be an explosion, which can take any dimension. I mean it will be an explosion that one cannot predict as to which way it will go or end.
Unfortunately, the grass between the EVIL REVENGE ARCHITECTS (THE KIBAKI TENA GROUP) AND THE JUSTICE SEEKING MISSILES AND TORCH BEARING WARRIORS are hundreds of hapless destitutes who have been forced out of their homes by the "Torch" or the panga (machete) wielding goons, who were ready and more than willing to dispatch them to the next world. They only managed to escape death by a whisker. These people are spread all over the Republic not knowing what to do next. They cannot venture out of the police stations where their safety for the next minute is guaranteed, but not certain as matters can change in a flash. Those trapped in the Rift Valley continue to be hoodwinked and fooled that all their misery was caused by the Luo. The truth is these people really are victims of both parties, and more so PNU.
Now amidst all this, nobody seems to come up with a solution. That is the reason why I am writing this piece. I am a KENYAN, and Kenyans have been known over the years, to conjure some ideas that can be very elusive to the ordinary eye, especially when it comes to peace. Not to mention they can also manufacture intricate corruption plans only second in nature to Nigerians (though at the present rate, Nigeria's capability in this area will soon look medieval).
Now let us talk serious peace. Do you remember the political crisis in the 1990s between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress (ANC) both of South Africa? It was a Kenyan who brokered peace between them before the first post-apartheid elections. A Kenyan diplomat Professor Jalang’o Okumu comes in mind. How about Sierra Leone? Does not the name of UN Commander General Daniel Opande ring a bell to you? But why go far? Just cross the border to the north and find Southern Sudan where people now live in abundance of peace, and the construction of the country is in full progress. They, whose peace was elusive for 15 years, but now live in harmony. Well, if you don't know General Lazaro Sumbeiywo (another Kenyan), then you must be living in another world. The only place where Kenyans have failed to broker true peace was in SOMALIA, because a MR KALONZO MUSYOKA, (leader of the ODM-Kenya), he of the Traitor Faith and Doctrine, was as usual, doing the traitor manoeuvre and Miracle act, instead of negotiating and seeking the real peace.
Cultural disdain, a peace proposal
Ladies and Gentlemen, the whole issue why we are currently in this quagmire, started as a cultural joke, you know! "Raila is not electable because he is a Luo", then he "IS NOT CIRCUMCISED" then "he doesn't have money because Luos are poor and do not have lower six teeth". In fact all arguments that were presented against Raila's possible Presidential candidacy, had nothing to do with his Leadership abilities, but it had every factor to do with "OUTRAGEOUS COWARDLY ARROGANCE" mixed with tradition to diminish the man's quest, on grounds that he happened to have been born by Luo parents, as though any of us ever had the ability to choose who to parent us. In any case, why would a Luo be treated as a second class CITIZEN in a country that he/she is native of and he/she fought for its independence?
Leaving Raila’s case, let us for a moment turn to Kibaki. He of the KAZI IENDELEE FAME, (THE WORK THAT YOU REALLY NEVER SAW), BUT WHICH WAS DRUMMED INTO YOUR HEAD LIKE THE GONG OF A CHURCH BELL AT NAIROBI’S HOLYFAMILYBASILICABEHINDCITY HALL). IT WAS "KAZI" OF HARDSHIP AND HEAPS OF PRICE INCREASES ON ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES AGAINST THE "haba" (scarce) shilling! This Kazi iendelee (work should continue) man is surrounded by other arrogant tycoons who think only about two things; namely LOOTING THE STATE AND MURDERING THOSE AGAINST THEM, AS WELL AS IMAGINARY ENEMIES.
So right there, we have a super stalemate, which is not easy to resolve. But I being a Kenyan OF FAITH IN PEACE, A BASIC INGREDIENT THAT HAS HELD US TOGETHER FOR 44 YEARS AND NOW SEVERELY THREATENED, I of the basic but crafty ideas, I do hereby present to you a Peace Initiative that if pursued, will bring everlasting peace to the communities in Kenya.
You see "Tradition and Customs" to the African, especially the Kenyan, is like Religion to the Muslims and so called "Christians". I mean it is what they breathe. It is life in itself, and no matter how much education a Kenyan has received from the Western world, when a crisis arises, and an important decision has to be made, the Kenyan will take all that education, be it a permanent head damage (PhD), throw it out of the window, then remain bare naked in his mind. He will then reason and argue like someone who never heard of school, let alone stepping inside a classroom. For it is the Traditions and Culture that govern these people's lives.
Having this in mind, my peace proposal will be like this:
1. IF KIBAKI AND RAILA REALLY FEEL THAT THEY ARE THE RIGHTFUL LEADERS OF KENYA AND IF THEY ARE MEN ENOUGH, I PROPOSE THAT THEY BE BROUGHT IN THE OPEN AT UHURU PARK, WHERE TRADITIONAL RITUALS WILL BE ADMINISTERED TO THEM IN THE OPEN. THIS IS SO BECAUSE WE WANT THEM TO BE ACCEPTED BY THE VARIOUS COMMUNITIES, SO THAT THE WINNER OF THIS PROPOSAL WILL RULE KENYA IN HARMONY.
2. AT UHURUPARK WE WILL PERFORM THE RITUALS ON THEM ONE BY ONE. Any tribes people who feel that they need to coronate their leader or elder will appoint their man (be it a traditional medicine man or healer or elder or witch, whatever the case), to come and perform their desired ritual on both Kibaki and Raila.
Circumcision, which is ritual held dearly amongst other communities, will be carried out by that famous traditional circumciser, on both the men and their women (because the women will also go to occupy the State House. The rituals must be done in accordance with a clinician and or a medical doctor present. It must be hygienic to the extreme.
Secondly, they will have to undergo the physical removal of the SIX LOWER TEETH (a waning tradition dearly loved by the Luo, and also a way to determine how long a true warrior can withstand pain). You see this process could last from one hour to two days before all the teeth are gone. The process involves tying a string around a huge stone almost 10 kg. It is then placed on the unfortunate person undergoing the ritual. The extension of the string is then secured to the root of the tooth to be uprooted. The ‘traditional architect’ then goes to work with a prick-like chisel, working on the root of the tooth till it becomes loose. He would at intervals be pushing the stone off one’s head to see whether it uproots the tooth off the jaw. If the one being operated on is unlucky, then the process can be repeated several times before the tooth is uprooted. Woe unto you if you have dregs of fear in you.
All that process is carried out without anaesthesia whatsoever, SO THAT THEY (RAILA AND KIBAKI) ARE BOTH ACCEPTABLE TO THE LUO COMMUNITY. AFTER THIS, IT IS MANDATORY THAT THEY GO THROUGH THE FACE MARKING CEREMONY, FAMOUS WITH THE POKOT WARRIORS, THEN THE MORAN SESSION OF THE MAASAI. NO NEED TO SPEND TEN YEARS IN THE BUSH, BUT THE RITUAL STEPS WILL BE SYMBOLIZED. THEREAFTER, WE WILL SYMBOLICALLY PARADE THEM, BARE BUTT, ALONG THE UHURU PATHS TO SIGNIFY THE BUKUSU AND THE LUHYA RITES OF PASSAGE. ALL THE 42 TRIBES MUST PERFORM THEIR RITUALS ON THESE LEADERS. WE WILL NOT FORGET THE WAZIMBA OF KILIFI'S (IN COASTPROVINCE) RITUAL OF LITERALY KILLING THEIR FIRST BORN AND FEEDING ON THE CORPSE. SO THEY SHOULD GET READY TO GIVE OUT JIMMY (KIBAKI’S) AND CASTRO (RAILA’S), TO THE WAZIMBA'S KNIFE.
FINALLY, THE TRIBAL ELDERS WILL BE ASKED TO CONSULT THEIR PEOPLE TO SHOUT OUT THE NAME OF THE PERSON THEY WANT TO LEAD THEM, BETWEEN THE TWO. WHOEVER WINS, THE APPROVAL BECOMES THE PRESIDENT AND ALL KENYANS WILL BE ASKED TO RALLY BEHIND THAT MAN. NO MORE FIGHTS! DISPLACED PEOPLE MUST THEN BE RESETTLED AND THE GOVERNMENT BE ASKED TO REBUILD BOTH KISUMU AND ELDORET AS WELL AS TIMBOROA, NAIVASHA AND NAKURU.
THIS PEACE INITIATIVE CAN NOT FAIL TO WORK. THE ONLY THING THAT MUST BE TAKEN CARE OF IS: KALONZO MUST NEVER BE ALLOWED NEAR THOSE TALKS OR AT UHURU PARK. HE IS FAMOUS FOR READING SCRIPTS FROM TRAITOR DOCTRINE BOOK, WHILE WHAT WILL BE NEEDED IN THESE TALKS SHOULD COME FROM TRUTH AND JUSTICE BOOK, NOT THE ONE DISPENSED BY GICHERU, BUT ONE COMING FROM KENYANS.
TERMS OF REFERENCE: ANYBODY USING LOOTED MONEY TO INFLUENCE THE PEOPLE'S DECISION WILL BE DISQUALIFIED, BUT LOBBYING WITH THE VIEW OF ENLIGHTENING THE ELDERS ON PROMISE OF A BETTER FUTURE LIFE, FOR ALL COMMUNITIES CAN BE ALLOWED.
After going through those rituals then, we Kenyans will determine who between the two is brave enough to lead the country and subsequently we will shout the name out without rigging it: NO MOU, NO RE-ELECTION, KIBAKI DOES NOT HAVE TO STEP DOWN, HE WILL ONLY BE REQUIRED TO MANDATORILY DO SO, IF HE IS NOT APPROVED BY THE PEOPLE GATHERED ON "TRADITIONS DAY." SO NAMED BECAUSE AS IT IS, IT WILL BE THE BEST WAY AND DAY TO SELECT OUR PRESIDENT. THIS DAY THEN, MUST REPLACE OUR NATIONAL DAYS LIKE Jamhuri and Makadara (Republic and Independence) or is it Kenyatta and Moi days, and all those other meaningless days, for these days do not reflect our culture, traditions and customs as a Kenyan people.
A true Kenyan
Kenyan traditions would then be the best ticket to the Presidency. The citizens’ votes are nothing compared to the traditions. If you are thinking by the Gap left by your removed lower teeth whether they are two or six, or if you keep thinking by the missing foreskin on your genitals then join me in urging those two to agree to go through this peace process. It is the only way to heal Kenya.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
There are reports and concerns about partisan nature of aid distributions by Kenya Red Cross. When Jamhuri Park was full of Kikuyu IDPs, aid was distributed very quickly. Now that other groups are there, Red Cross says there isn’t enough staff to cook food.
When asked to provide unga(cornmeal) etc for IDP’s to cook, they stalled. The National Alliance of Churches is now in trying to help but also seems compromised.
In Tigoni, Luo communities and other ODM leaning groups were only provided with transport for themselves and had to leave all their possessions behind. Red Cross is saying it will only work in Govt approved camps.
All camps in Rift Valley are approved,why? because these camps are occupied by mostly kikuyus. But camps in Central province(PANU government supported ethnic group) are full of others and have yet to be recognized by the Govt as camps, meaning supplies and other relief not going there. So there are claims about bias in the treatment of IDPs even as the country is trying to heal. The government still seems ill-bent into stroking divisions among the communities even at this critical times. What a shame!
As efforts to evacuate internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Central Province continue, grim stories are told of killings, trauma and despair among the non-Kikuyu people herded in makeshift shelters. Below are narratives from rescue workers, friends and medical personnel on the ground.
A medical worker in Kisumu said:
The number of refugees from Central Province to Nyanza and Western Province is just increasing. I did not know that there were a lot of these people living there. About 500 people arrive daily by bus from Central Province to Kisumu. The Red Cross is doing a wonderful job. Some refugees are so much traumatised by the situation that they hardly talk about it. Some said that in Central Province, some road blocks were erected using heads of the Luo. The Mungiki (a banned sect) beheaded Luo men and used their heads on roads as barricades/road blocks. One Luo woman was given her husband’s head to take with her along the way, and she carried it up to a camp in Kisumu.
Some refugees gave birth in the buses evacuating them, while some in the camps; in fact life continues to spring even under worse conditions. The problem is so big that even the people working with those refugees are overstretched. They constantly budget for over 500 new people daily in terms of food and other items. There are Luos who know very well where their homes are, or where they should go, so they are provided with means of transport. Unfortunately, there are some who have lived in Central Province for over 25 years and hardly know the origins of their spouses or families. In cases where one or both parents have been killed, kids do not know where to go. There are camps at the Kisumu Municipal Stadium, Saint Steven’s Cathedral Church and some in Siaya District.
For those who know where they are heading, transport is offered to take them to parts of Western Kenya and Nyanza, like South Nyanza etc. They are also given a small amount of money for food to buy their children something along the way. The money is hardly enough for somebody to start a living with, if her/his home people do not assist further. Some necessary items are also bought for the newborns in the camps and at least some small things for their mothers (nappies and other hygienic products). The Red Cross is also supplying food. The toilets are mobile, but not enough; the sanitation is indescribable.
A rescue worker: from Tigoni to Kisumu said:
I have just come from the St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church where we didn’t sleep for 2 days while coordinating relief and transport for the IDPs. I travelled with the sick and tired from Tigoni in Limuru to Kisumu. I had a convoy of 13 buses and two trucks. I was later offered the best reception from a Kisumu medical doctor and his wife. My best regards to them.
I saw people who were cut with pangas (machetes). I heard stories of the slit throat and bared stomach. People who needed help from the Red Cross were being beaten by a Camp Manager right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t react and just offered help within my powers. Some Red Cross staff members stole food and refused to give the IDPs food in Tigoni and Kisumu. We heard stories from people who we affected and I must tell you that I have learnt a lot. Tomorrow I am going to follow up on those who promised us buses to carry more evacuees.
some reports coming from Kisumu said:
The situation is as sad as reported on the Luo language radio (Ramogi FM). There are people stranded in Naivasha Prison just because there is no vehicle to take them to their rural homes.
One Woman’s story: the husband passed away before the fracas and the body is lying at the mortuary - she does not have any means to transport the body to their rural home. She consulted the authorities, but the answer was: “that is a personal matter”.
I believe in miracles and one did happen - this woman was highlighted on KTN (Kenya Television Network). We have heard sad stories, but who is there to tell the tales? We do not have the machinery to tell or else it is rumours! I prayed when a friend of mine told me about this woman's story, then yesterday she was on TV. Whoever has a heart can go and help this woman with her children. What she wants is to go home with or without anything and be able to bury her husband: (transportation from Naivasha Maximum Prison).
People camping at Naivasha according to the special programmes minister have to wait. The government is still organising for transport to take them to other refugee camps. These people do not want to go to another refugee camp; they have their homes in rural areas - in Western Kenya, Kisumu, South Nyanza, Homa Bay etc.
There are situations where you cry when you see them. Who is promoting tribalism here? When the clashes started in the Rift Valley, people were flown to Nairobi – Lorries/trucks were there to ferry people. Have you asked how much has been used in ferrying and uplifting such people to safer places? Billions of shillings from our taxes. Are we all not paying taxes? We are not promoting tribalism. It’s the HAVES (rich people’s) game to promote the same tribalism.
There are people who were forced to walk from Naivasha to Ahero when they were attacked at night. They walked through the bushes for 3 days without food or water until they reached Ahero, almost 300 kilometres away. It is so, so sad if you hear the tales. There are children who lost their parents and they had never been to their rural homes since they were born. What they remembered their parents talking of is a local market. When both parents died, they walked from Nakuru through tea farms to Kericho, Narok, Kisii - then Homa Bay. One would ask why they had to pass through all these towns! IT WAS FEAR - FEAR OF HAVING SEEN THEIR PARENTS HACKED TO DEATH THEN BURNED - who could they turn to or trust? Maybe to ask in HOMA BAY the market their parents used to talk about! They survived all the cold nights, the animals - GOD IS GREAT ALL THE TIME!
I saw Kalonzo (our vice president) telling you guys out there to promote Kenya - Is he serious? He has never gone to any refugee camp; he has never sat down with these people to know what they are going through! I wonder what you guys in EU countries are promoting Kenya for? He was able to fly to London and not able to fly to Kisumu, Rift Valley, Kisii and Homa Bay to calm the violence. Has he ever come out and asked what people are fighting for, yet we have ‘a good secured government’ in place? Or have I just missed his article?
We are hungry; we need food. We need our kids to go to school. We need back our jobs taken away from us, because we belong to another tribe. We need security. We need freedom. They are not affected in any way because they have their jobs; they have cash to run them for sometime/years! They have security to guard them and their children 24/7!
Let us preach peace in a good way. It is not Raila or Kibaki; it is the anger; it is the pain; it is the hunger; it is the jobs we are losing; it is death we are seeing with our own eyes; it is the lack of security; it is the old fashioned way of running our country; it is the lack of medicine when you belong to a certain region/community. Why can't they be asked about this?
For the poor, death is better than going through this - give them food and they will stop the violence; give them back their jobs and they will stop the violence; treat them equally in the eyes of the Lord; they will know they deserve living and stop violence, and have a place in the same community. Let them know there is hope and future for them; they will stop the violence; talk to them in a better way without tear gas and bullets, they will stop the violence.
They are people fighting to make their lives either better or worse; they do not have much to lose because they believe in poverty all their life - and no one to turn to. Let us preach peace!
Kenya's current constitution was crafted in the lead-up to independence from Britain in 1963 and has been revised repeatedly, giving the president sweeping powers. Kenyans have repeatedly said they want a constitution that would reform how their country is run following decades of abuses by successive governments.
Kilonzo did not give details of any other aspects of the agreement, which is likely to be just a first step in negotiations. He spoke just hours after a spokesman for Annan announced the sides had signed a deal but gave no details.
The international community kept the pressure on as President George Bush said Condoleezza Rice will fly to Kenya to support Kenyan negotiators and to build on the agreements that were reached during the talks in an effort to try to end the post elections violence that erupted after the disputed presidential election. The former U.N. leader Kofi Annan said he will outline the agreement on Friday,the reports said.
President Bush did not specify when Rice will travel, but negotiators have said they will continue talks next week. Nasser Ega-Musa, spokesman for the panel of eminent African personalities on the national dialogue of reconciliation said on Thursday that Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general who was asked to help settle the dispute, will outline the agreement on Friday.
Ega-Musa said Annan will release the text of the agreement that was signed by both parties at a news conference.
Earlier this week, both sides agreed not to pursue a recount or audit of the votes in the December 27 disputed election.
Both sides have also agreed to the creation of an independent committee to investigate irregularities in the December 27 election and suggested other reforms.
Meanwhile, the PANU government has ordered an investigation into claims that radio stations broadcast hate speeches to fuel ethnic violence.
Information Minister Samuel Poghiso said that politicians who had used hate speech would face the law.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Maina Kiai the chairman of (KNCHR) makes an impassioned plea for seriousness and commitment from all actors in the pursuit for a resolution to Kenya's political crisis. He presented the Kenya's case to the US congress recently. Below is his presentation.
Kenya is at a cross-road that will mean either the complete disintegration of Kenya or the beginning of a new, more democratic, sustainable nation suited to the needs and aspirations of the Kenyan people in the 21st Century. In a deeply painful and costly manner-in terms of lives lost and destruction wrought--the crisis in Kenya has given the country a unique opportunity to move forward in a way that we have been advocating for the last 20 years. In a sense, Kenya is at its "civil war" moment that the US was at in 1861. Just as that war was pivotal in establishing and solidifying the democratic credentials of the US, this moment could lead Kenya to much greater heights if properly handled both domestically and internationally.
In this context, the mediation currently going on under the leadership of Kofi Annan, Graca Machel and Ben Mkapa is the last best chance for Kenya to move forward. Whatever can be done to keep the players at the table, and keep them there in good faith, is critical. And efforts that delay, or subvert the talks--whether through insensitive statements and actions or by trying to prolong the talks through acts of filibustering--must be condemned. Consistent regional and international pressure is necessary especially on the hardliners who think that the crisis will blow over. The consequences of the failure of the mediation efforts are too dire to imagine not just for Kenya but for the region.
What is going on in Kenya is a political crisis with ethnic manifestation because politics in Kenya is organized ethnically. Clearly there are cleavages and differences in Kenyan society that have erupted brutally to the surface. But these have erupted due to the failure of peaceful means of resolving and addressing these differences, including the failure of elections and political reforms promised to Kenya in the 2002 elections.
The crisis in Kenya was foreseeable. In March 2007, the KNCHR submitted a memorandum to President Kibaki urging him to maintain the "gentleman's agreement" that had been in place since 1997 whereby all parliamentary parties made nominations for appointment to the Electoral Commission of Kenya. We argued that unilateral abandonment of the agreement would likely invite chaos and instability were the elections disputed. Moreover, since January 2006 we witnessed consistent attempts by the state to reduce democratic space and instill fear in society.
THE EXTENT OF THE CRISIS
Some 1000 people have been killed in the one month since violence erupted on December 30, 2007. Note that 3000 people were killed between 1992 and 1998 in the state instigated clashes in the country. During that same period, more than 300,000 people were internally displaced, most of whom have not returned to their farms and homes. In the month since the elections, an additional 300,000 people have been internally displaced.
Part of the reason why militia--on both sides--have been so potent and dangerous is that they arose from the earlier violence of the 1990s and were never de-mobilized. Nor was there a process to deal with the root causes of that violence, with the Kibaki government choosing to sweep the matter under the carpet, despite campaign promises to the contrary. With grievances bubbling and fermenting close to the surface, it was relatively easy to reactivate the militia using methods similar to those of the 1990s. Most important, the paymasters and planners of the 1990s clashes were never held accountable.
It is estimated that in the month since the crisis started the Kenyan economy has lost about US $3 billion and about 400,000 jobs. Moreover the crisis has severely affected the economies of Uganda, Rwanda, Eastern DR Congo, and Southern Sudan and could bring them to ruin if not checked. All these nations have a history of conflict and violence that could be reawakened by economic collapse.
We have observed 4 forms of violence:
i)Spontaneous uprisings of mobs protesting the flaws in the presidential elections. These mobs looted, raped and burnt down buildings in an anarchical manner.
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ii) Violence organized by ODM-supporting militia in the Rift Valley that was aimed at perceived political opponents. The initial militia action attracted organized counter-violence from PNU supporters especially in Nakuru, Naivasha areas of the Rift Valley, and Nairobi.
iii) Excessive use of force by the police in ways suggesting "shoot to kill" orders against unarmed protesters mainly in ODM strongholds including Kisumu, Kakamega, Migori, and the Kibera slum of Nairobi. Policing has been uneven in its implementation. In some strong ODM areas, the police have been shooting to kill, while when confronted with pro-PNU militia, they have opted to negotiate with the groups. However, in the Eldoret area, the police largely stood by and watched as pro-PNU supporters were killed and their houses burnt.
iv) Local militia in pro-PNU areas, on receiving internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Rift Valley, have mobilized in sympathy and turned on perceived ODM supporters, killing them, and burning their houses.
The Political Crisis in Kenya - a Call for Justice & Peaceful Resolution
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. For this to be genocide there would have to be either state complicity or state collapse and the first obligation would be for the state to provide adequate security for those at risk. Instead we have uneven and selective policing with emphasis on preventing Raila Odinga from holding protests in Nairobi rather than protecting IDPs and others at risk across the country. We therefore believe that the quickest and most effective way to reduce the violence is progress in the current talks.
THE ELECTION TRIGGER
It is clear that the flagrant effort to steal the presidential election was the immediate trigger for the violence. All independent observers have said that the tallying process was so flawed that it is impossible to tell who won the presidential election. Since 1992, Kenya's elections have been progressively better and fairer, culminating in the 2002 elections which were the best ever, and the 2005 constitutional referendum. The effect of this progression is that Kenyans finally believed in the power of the vote as a way of peacefully resolving differences, a fact confirmed by voting trends in the recent parliamentary elections that saw almost 70 percent of incumbents lose their seats. When this sense of empowerment was subverted, and peaceful legal spaces for protests were disallowed, it is not surprising that frustrations boiled over and violence ensued.
We have documented some of the facts and analysis that make clear that the flaws in the tallying of presidential votes rendered untenable the conclusion that Mwai Kibaki was validly elected. With the benefit of hindsight, there were steps taken that paint a picture of a well orchestrated plan to ensure a pre-determined result. These include:
i) President Kibaki's decision to abrogate the agreement of 1997 on the formula for appointments to the Electoral Commission ensuring that all the Commissioners were appointed by him alone; ii) An administrative decision within the ECK to give responsibility to Commissioners for their home regions, something that had never been done before, meaning that they appointed all the election officials in the constituencies in their home regions, in a manner that created conflicts of interest; iii) The rejection of an offer from IFES to install a computer program that would enable election officials in the constituencies to submit results electronically to Nairobi and then on to a giant screen available to the public making it virtually impossible to change results; iv) A decision to abandon the use of ECK staff in the Verification and Tallying Centre in favour of casual staff provided by the Commissioners directly; and v) A refusal to ensure that election officials in areas with large predictable majorities for any of the candidates came from different areas so as to reduce the likelihood of ballot stuffing.
WAY FORWARD AND ROLE OF US CONGRESS AND GOVERNMENT
At this "constitutional moment" that Kenya has reached, we believe the way forward must be centred on truth and justice as the only sustainable road to peace and development. This is the time for Kenya to end the impunity that has been a feature of our history since independence, and also to end the "winner take all" "first past the post" system. Specifically, we call for:
i)An international independent investigation into the 2007 presidential election process in order to come to closure on the elections, find out who did what and why; who ordered it; and promote accountability;
ii) An international independent investigation into the post election violence--from citizens and police-so that there is accountability on all sides.
iii) An interim transitional government to be formed with limited powers of governance and for a limited time-between 1 and 2 years--with Kibaki and Odinga exercising equal powers.
iv) The primary duties of this interim government should be to undertake constitutional reform, and especially explore ways of reforming the current Imperial Presidency; motivate electoral reforms, police reforms, judicial reforms, land reforms, civil service reforms, devolution of power; and conduct new elections at the end of its term.
v) The interim government should also be charged with cooling passions and starting the process of reconciliation through a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission that starts operations immediately after the new elections. It is important that presidential elections be held at the end of the interim government to inspire confidence in Kenya's electoral processes, and as a sign of the new Kenya.
vi) It is also important to note that significant work in all of these areas of reform has already been done in various constitutional drafts and also by Government Commissions and Task Forces so Kenya would not be starting from scratch.To ensure that there is good faith in the mediation it is imperative that the U.S. Government work with the rest of the international community to maintain pressure on Kenya's leaders to treat the mediation with utmost seriousness. To this end, we welcome U.S .leadership in raising the crisis in Kenya at the UN Security Council, and call for pressure at this level to be maintained and increased.
We also urge Congress to request the release of the exit poll conducted by International Republican Institute (IRI) without delay so as to maintain pressure on all sides to negotiate in good faith. In addition, we urge Congress to work with the EU to have the EU Observation Mission Report released immediately.
In case of continued intransigence from any of the parties we call on Congress to impose travel bans on the hardliners on both sides and especially those implicated in instigating violence whether through militia or through the police. These travel bans should extend to hardliners in the civil service and to their immediate families. Moreover, assets of the hardliners and those involved in violence should be traced and the assets frozen.
Finally, it is important that U.S. military and security assistance be frozen immediately. All US assistance to Kenya should be channelled through non-governmental sources.
Maina Kiai is the Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights KNCHR), an independent state body charged with protecting and promoting human rights in Kenya. He writes on behalf of the KNCHR, as well as for Kenyans for Peace through Truth and Justice (KPTJ), a coalition bringing together more than 50 human rights, legal and governance groups in Kenya
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Mr. Annan also said the situation in the country was too volatile for a new election to take place for at least a year. The Annan-led talks, now in their third week, between PANU government and ODM teams were moving from Nairobi to an undisclosed location to get out of the public eye, Annan said.
Mr. Annan also indicated that a new agreement may include constitutional, judicial and electoral reforms. The Orange Democratic Movement, led by Raila Odinga, and Kibaki's Party of National Unity reportedly tabled proposals for a power-sharing agreement.
The former U.N. secretary-general cautioned against speculating about any proposals, saying a deal may be struck as soon as three days.
"The current crisis is a big challenge but it provides an opportunity for Kenyan leaders to steer the country to a new level of stability," Annan told the country's members of parliament.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Annan’s mediation and diplomatic skills look set to be stretched to the limits in a week that could re-define the future of Kenya---whether Kenyans finally put behind them the bloodletting and anarchy that has seen 1000 lives lost and 350,000 people displaced– or remains moored on a nihilist course.
The weekend provided a glimpse into just how tricky and treacherous the discourse could be as opposition and government delegations meet for what has been billed a make or break session. This can be attested to given latest assertions by ODM leader Raila Odinga that the country’s executive power rests with him and that he will not betray the party supporters.
But this position was countered by 12 Central Province legislators meeting in Nyeri on Sunday where they re-stated that Mwai Kibaki won the December 27 presidential elections genuinely and ODM should accept that.
Led by Mathira MP Ephraim Maina, the MPs, while supporting Annan’s mediation efforts, were emphatic that it was fait accompli as far as election results were concerned. And in remarks first made on Saturday at the burial of slain Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too and repeated yesterday, Raila said ODM will settle for nothing less than a deal that gives them control of executive powers.
Speaking in his trademark parables, Raila is reported to have made clear what he wants from the negotiations when he told mourners in Ainamoi that: “How can someone steal your cow and hope to invite you to share with him the milk from the same cow? You must get back your cow first!” The ODM chief reiterated his stand that Kibaki’s government is illegitimate despite having expressed willingness to shift from such hard-line positions last week after it was said that Mr Annan had lost patience with repeated claims of victory in the December polls from both Raila and Kibaki’s camps.
“What we have always said is that we are not going to let our people down. ODM will not betray its supporters,” Raila told journalists yesterday moments after attending a church service at Nairobi’s All Saints Cathedral.
If Raila maintains this position and seeks to push it through the negotiation process, it will be interesting to see how his protagonist responds as speculation in foreign media suggests that the two feuding sides are likely to settle for a power-sharing deal through an interim government that would hold brief pending far-reaching constitutional reforms that promise to dismantle the status-quo and significantly change the conduct of politics and governance in Kenya.
It is understood that the ODM will push for a power-sharing deal based on party strength in parliament, a position the government side is seemingly uncomfortable with. But plans for a power-sharing deal, if any, seem to have met stiff opposition from no less a person than President Kibaki’s deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka, who says such a deal could kill the spirit of multiparty democracy in Kenya.
The same sentiments were expressed by visiting Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who told reporters in Nairobi, Sunday, that there is need for a strong and vibrant opposition in Kenya to guard against the excesses of government.
Hence, the thread in Kalonzo and Sentamu’s argument tend to suggest that a deal that brings President Kibaki’s PNU and Raila’s ODM in government would leave the country without a worthy opposition.
But whereas Sentamu’s position is understandable, Kalonzo’s sudden concern over a strong opposition come as a total surprise given that he is Vice President and leader of government and having come to parliament on the ODM-Kenya party ticket that opposed Kibaki at the general election.
Nonetheless, Raila’s hard-line remarks seem to go contrary to the reconciliatory spirit that had characterised his Thursday’s meeting with President Kibaki in which PNU had dropped its position that the court option be pursued by ODM if they thought Kibaki’s election was fraudulent.
The ODM leader yesterday also repudiated reports that he was willing to enter into a joint government with President Kibaki, saying PNU and ODM negotiating teams were yet to table their respective proposals for a political settlement to the current crisis. Said he: “We will support a political settlement to the crisis, details of which will be negotiated by the respective teams. We will give support to the proposals made though at the moment there are no proposals.”
He added: “At the moment I do not know who is going into government or who is going out. We are yet to reach that stage.” Reports of a proposed joint transitional government were carried by Western media including Associated Press and BBC international, which indicated that a breakthrough had been achieved in the on-going negotiations after both sides agreed to enter into a power-sharing pact that will be sanctioned by Parliament.
Meanwhile, Raila has once again lashed out at the conduct of security agents deployed to deal with the post-election violence. He accused the Police of being used by government functionaries to execute cold blooded murders against ODM supporters in the pretext of maintaining law and order. He termed as “hypocritical” the arraignment in court of Constable Edward Kirui, the policeman captured by television cameras in Kisumu allegedly gunning down two unarmed protesters in Kondele, and Constable Andrew Moache who shot dead Ainamoi MP David Kimutai. “It is important that security forces ensure a peaceful environment to all.
But instead, the Police are being paid by an illegitimate government to kill Kenyans,” said Raila. Claimed he: “What is the need for arresting one Police officer for killing David Too, when the OCS of Kericho is still killing so many of our people? He has killed over 70 people.” “Why arrest one and leave the others to perpetuate cold blood murders?
It is hypocritical that the government appears to be doing something just because Constable Kirui was the only one captured on tape.” “In Kibera, they have killed 50 people and no one has been arrested and charged in court,” Raila said.
Raila was accompanied to the Church service by his wife Ida. The service was presided over by Archbishop John Sentamu, a Ugandan who heads England’s See of York.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
PRESIDENT Mwai Kibaki has ruled out the possibility of sharing political power with Opposition leader Raila Odinga, with his spokesman saying that would be “unconstitutional”.
“I don’t foresee power-sharing because that would be unconstitutional,” the Kenya government spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, said on Thursday.
In an interview with 93.3 KFM’s Hot Seat programme, Dr Mutua said for Mr Kibaki’s Party of National Unity to share power with the Orange Democratic Movement leaders would be tantamount to allowing the Opposition party to “eat the piece of the cake that does not belong to one”.
Added Dr Mutua: “You cannot have more than one President in a country. Mr Kibaki was validly elected and legally sworn in. He is the people’s choice and [at least] 102 leaders across the world have recognized him as the [duly elected] President of Kenya.”
In a follow-up interview yesterday afternoon, Dr Mutua said that the position of executive Prime Minister that ODM was clamouring for does not exist in the country’s legal framework and would necessitate a constitutional amendment to provide for it.
Dr Mutua accused ODM politicians of “greed, ignorance about democratic practice and plotting ethnic cleansing” against Mr Kibaki’s Kikuyu kinsmen and women. It was not immediately clear what the import of such declarations would be on the on-going mediation efforts led by the former UN chief Kofi Annan.
Dr Mutua, however, reluctantly accepted proposals for an international inquiry into the disputed results of the December 27 poll that controversially returned Mr Kibaki to State House. “If anyone wants to come in and re-tally the results, we have no problem,” he said.
Giving an account of events in the run-up to the official declaration of the election results, Dr Mutua said ODM leaders initially sought and were granted a vote recount for 16 hours after they alleged electoral theft.
That exercise, he said, gave victory to Mr Kibaki, something that infuriated the Opposition politicians to allegedly incite violence. The spokesman also admitted that the Electoral Commission of Kenya grossly mismanaged the vote tally process.
“The ECK failed in its central duty,” he said. “It is not excusable.” This indictment, which forms the basis of ODM contention that the party’s presidential victory was after all “stolen”, is but just one of the confusing litany of public statements by Kenyan officials on the elections. ECK Chairman Samuel Kivuitu started it all in early January when he told the media in Kenya that he was not sure who had won the presidential election.
In the same radio interview, Dr Mutua said that the US and Canadian governments had blacklisted some ODM officials for instigating “ethnic cleansing” and slapped a travel ban on them. He said the culprits could be named as early as next week and then be arrested to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
On charges of extra-judicial killings levelled against the police by human rights groups, Dr Mutua said an independent international panel would be constituted to establish the facts and those found to have shot dead protestors would be tried for murder.
“Yes, police killed people to stop them from killing others but let us have an international inquiry to find out who planned the ethnic cleansing,” he said.
The government publicist, who was in Uganda on a two-day charm offensive, conceded that graft had remained endemic in the public sector during Mr Kibaki’s first 5-year tenure in spite of serious government efforts to end the vice.
Meanwhile, the Kenya London News reported that several Kenyans marched to the Ugandan High Commission in London yesterday afternoon to protest what they termed as interference by Uganda in Kenyan matters.
Protestor Ronald Onyango is quoted to have said: “It is sad that Uganda which has enjoyed cordial relations with Kenya from time immemorial should be the one to promote chaos in Kenya.
What President Museveni is doing is not only breaking the International rules on sovereignty but biting the hand that feeds him. Let him respect our borders and the lives of Kenyans, his short sightedness will undermine the very principle of the proposed East African Community.”
Repeated talk that Ugandan security is involved in Kenya on Mr Kibaki’s side have been dismissed by the Ugandan government, the Kenyan government and by ODM, which was the first group to raise the issue.