Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tension after MP shot dead
People are fleeing the western Kenyan town of Eldoret after an opposition MP was shot dead by a traffic policeman in disputed circumstances. The police say that David Too was killed in a domestic dispute unrelated to the political crisis but the opposition call it an “assassination”. A local police chief says Mr Too was having an affair with the girlfriend of the policeman, who shot them both. The killing has led to the postponement of peace talks in the capital, Nairobi.
Proposed benchmarks of accountability for the mediation process
Kenyans for Peace through Truth and Justice: Mediation Process Accountability Benchmarks and Principles
Benchmark 1: Clarity of Mandate
[There is need for agreement by all parties on the problem, proximate and historical. The mediation process should identify, frame and address the salient issues in the crisis in a manner that conforms with international/universal standards of democracy, good governance and human rights. Both Parties should formally submit themselves acknowledging the mandate of the Mediation Team. Clarity in this regard needs to be made on terminology: Dialogue? Negotiation? Mediation?
- It is imperative that the terms of reference of the Mediation Team are unequivocal beforehand to all parties, stakeholders and the Kenyan public.
- Do the stakeholders know of the mandate of the mediation process?
- What issues did the parties and other stakeholder identify as contested?
- In what way did the mediation process address/resolve all these issues?
- What are the universally accepted international best practices in addressing these issues?
- How does the determination/agreement from the mediation process compare with the universally accepted best practices?
Political crisis in Kenya: defining the way forward
Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
Draft concept note
1. On Thursday 27 December 2007, Kenyan trooped to the polls to vote for Presidential, Parliamentary and Civic candidates. The December General Election was different from the previous ones in many ways. High voter turn out characterised the poll and the electoral process during the polling day was generally peaceful. Supporters of different political parties and candidates queued together to cast their ballots.
2. This context considerably changed when it came to counting and tallying of presidential votes at the tallying centre manned by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). The vote count for the presidential election was hotly disputed. Members of political parties, accredited domestic and international observers, as well as civil society organisations and wananchi tabled evidence of irregularities and fraud.
The root problems
This account, from Aggrey Omondi, Director of Ugunja Community Resource Center, in Kenya’s Siaya District, supports the findings of human rights monitors. The militia being deployed by politicians in Kenya to carry out attacks on particular communities, are made up of impoverished young men. They join the militia for income, activity, and a sense of purpose - they are told they are “defending” or “avenging” their communities.
Observers detail Kenya vote count irregularities
The spark for Kenya’s firestorm of ethnic violence was lit inside a cavernous meeting hall in downtown Nairobi, where election officials over four days doctored vote counts, dismissed eye-popping irregularities and thwarted monitoring by independent observers to deliver a razor-thin victory to President Mwai Kibaki. Observers who were allowed into the vote-tallying center on Dec. 29 and 30, hours before the results were announced, said there was so much systematic fraud by Kenya’s government-appointed election commission that it’s impossible to know who really won.
US Backs Off ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in Kenya
The State Department backed away Wednesday from its top African envoy’s description of postelection violence in Kenya as “ethnic cleansing,” saying it was too early to characterize the situation in such terms. In comments aimed at easing emotional reactions to the phrase and potential comparisons to Rwanda’s genocide and the ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, department spokesman Sean McCormack indicated that Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer had been speaking for herself when she used the term “ethnic cleansing.” “She made some comments based on her firsthand assessment from a trip several weeks ago,” McCormack told reporters, pointedly refusing to repeat the words, which refer to targeted attacks on and forcible displacements of specific ethnicities by people from other ethnic groups.
Donors suspend key funding
Donors have suspended funding worth millions of dollars to one of the most important government programmes. The affected programme is the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector Reform Programme. State agencies benefiting from the programme dating back to 2005 will lose funds to the tune of Sh2.9 billion. The decision follows the post-election crisis sparked by the disputed vote tallying of the December 27 General Election, in which the Electoral Commission is perceived to have favoured Mr Mwai Kibaki for President against Mr Raila Odinga.
US threatens to intervene in post-poll violence
Foreign countries may impose a solution on Kenya to end the post-election crisis if its leaders fail to reach a workable settlement, the United States warned Wednesday. Its tough message came as international pressure mounted on the rival factions led by President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to reach settlement to the poll dispute, which has left more than 850 dead and over 350,000 displaced in one month. Dr Jendayi Frazer, the US top diplomat for Africa, said she planned to consult African leaders meeting in Addis Ababa this week on the way forward, and warned that a solution from outside the country could be imposed on Kenya if it does not solve its own problems. “We’ll find an international mechanism if they can’t find it internally,” she said. Her comments were echoed by the Secretary of State, Dr Condoleezza Rice, who stressed the urgency for Kenyan leaders to find a solution.
At one-sided UN briefing, UK Is focused on expressing present concern, not past responsibility
More than a month after Kenya’s disputed election, which has led to violence and at least 800 dead, the UN Security Council finally had a meeting on the matter, albeit behind closed doors. The meeting was triggered, or in UN-speak legitimated, by a request from the Kibaki government, in the form of an “aide memoire” which states that “Honorable Mwai Kibaki was declared the duly elected President… the election results reflected the will of the people.” These are, of course, positions contested in the real world. But in the UN, where only those hold power in a country can speak, often only one side of a story is heard.
U.N. council deplores Kenya violence, backs Annan
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday deplored the post-election violence in Kenya and expressed support for former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s efforts to mediate between the country’s president and his main opposition rival. A month of political and ethnic violence has killed 850 people in Kenya since President Mwai Kibaki was returned to power in a Dec. 27 election that brought widespread charges of vote rigging and set off a wave of instability and protest. “Council members deplored the continuing violence following the disputed elections in Kenya,” the council’s president, Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi of Libya, said in a statement.
Children bear the brunt of post-poll violence
“You will fall,” Maureen Mbone, 23, warns her two sons who are playing nearby. She is a mother of three. Her youngest child, who is eight months old, is still suckling. The young mother is concerned about her five and three-year old sons who are playing, oblivious to their predicament. Ms Mbone and her husband have been residents of Nairobi’s Jamhuri Park showground, one of the 300 Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in the country , for the last two weeks. She and her children had gone out to buy vegetables for supper when they met a gang of young men who asked her to say whom she had voted for in the December General Election.
Military accused of brutality
A group of army officers frog-marched and whipped youths while forcing them to remove illegal roadblocks in Eldoret. The officers caught on camera, used sticks and gun butts to beat up youths, who had allegedly erected the roadblocks at Ngeria along the Eldoret-Nairobi highway. An officer was seen kicking one of the youths as they frog-marched them from one roadblock to the next for about five kilometres. The youths raised their hands in surrender but the officers continued whipping them and forcing them to walk on their knees.
ODM barred from addressing the AU meeting
African Union (AU) Commission chairman, Mr Alpha Konare, said the Opposition would not be allowed to address the Summit on the ongoing violence in Kenya. ODM Secretary-General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, said on Monday that party leader, Mr Raila Odinga, would have liked to be given an opportunity to address the gathering of African leaders to solidify the AU mediation.
Annan lists agenda for mediation over crisis
Former UN chief, Mr Kofi Annan, has tabled a list of four issues to be discussed during the mediation talks between President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga. The Standard has learnt that top on the agenda is an immediate action to stop violence and restore fundamental rights and liberties. The second agenda is immediate measures be taken to address the humanitarian crisis, promotion of reconciliation and healing process. According to the third agenda, the protagonists are expected to discuss how to resolve the political crisis. Discussions would include power sharing, constitutional review and reform of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. The fourth agenda is the discussion of long-term issues and solutions.
Faces that hold key to Kenya’s future
The fate of the country appeared to lie with the ‘Big Six’ picked by bitter rivals PNU and ODM to sit around former UN chief Kofi Annan’s mediation table. On Wednesday night, the Party of National Unity (PNU) side that hinges around Justice minister, Ms Martha Karua, Education minister, Prof Sam Ongeri, and Mbooni MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, were understood to be still studying the Annan talks framework and terms of reference. It was yet to complete its report. However, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) side, led by Pentagon members, Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr William Ruto, and MP, Dr Sally Kosgei, are said to have concluded and submitted their report to the Annan team.