Tag Archives: Kenya

Flawed Elections-OK-If You Are On Our Side!

A new report by Human Rights Watch denounces hypocritical western nations for accepting flawed election results if the winner turns out to be a friend of the “good guys.” Last year Nigeria experienced an election where there was widespread and credible accusations of election violence and vote-rigging, but not a word of protest emanated from western governments because the winner was viewed as friendly to the West. It is any wonder President Kibaki manipulated vote counts to ensure his victory in Kenya? After the fraudulent vote count indicated he had been “re-elected,” within hours he swore himself in and immediately had his victory recognized by the American government! In fairness, it should be noted the US State Department later had second thoughts, particularly since the entire Kenya nation erupted in violence, rapes, murder and thousands driven from their homes.

Western powers believe the mere fact there has been an “election” means one must acept the fact regardless if the process was fair and honest. Of course, when Hamas gained a victory in Palestinian elections, the US refused to recognize the new government leaders and denounced them for opposing democracy! What would have happened if Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh had been invited for discussions in Washington and accorded respect? Would Hamas have followed the road to violence? No one knows the answer to this question, but, no one has attempted to respect winners who refuse to mouth cliches and platitudes about terrorism and the wonderful war being raged in Iraq.

Another MP Killed In Kenya- Chaos Continues

Another member of the Kenya parliament was killed when a policeman shot David Kimtai of the Orange Democratic Movement. Kofi Annan, former head of the United Nations is trying to get all parties to sit, discuss, and come up with a compromise solution that will end violence which has engulfed a nation that up to this point had escaped such tribal conflicts. Military helicopters have been ordered to shoot and kill any gangs that are engaged in violence or setting up road blocks. They have identified four categories of people who will be shot on sight if they engage in criminal actions–those looting property, those burning houses, or those carrying weapons or trying to barricade roads to prevent free movement of people and goods.

President Kibaki continues insisting he won the election that most observers believe was a fraudulent process in which Kibaki doctored vote totals. More than 800 people are dead and thousands forced into temporary refugee camps. For example, at the Naivasha GK Prison, moe than 5,000 people are seeking safety and although there are no avaialbe restrooms or clean water more people arrive by the hour. History will note this was not the finest hour of President Kibaki on whose head lies the death of hundreds of people.

Key Kenya Issues Outlined By Kofi Annan

Former UN chief, Kofi Annan, listed four key issues that were central to restoring peace in Kenya. First, is an immediate halt to violence and the restoration of fundamental rights and liberties. Second, is promotion of reconciliation between tribes presently engaged in brutal action against one another. Third, resolve the current political crisis that began when President Kibai literally stole the election. Fourth, investigation of long term issues that will prevent future outbreaks of such virulent hatred between tribal groups in Kenya. Annan titled his proposals: “Suggested Agenda for the National Dialogue on the Resolution of the Political Crisis in Kenya.” ODM leader, Raila Odinga asked for the word “mediation” to be substituted for “dialogue.” It is expected that Annan would chair mediation procedures but will be assisted by other leading African figures like the former president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa and by Ms. Graca Machel.

President Kibaki is currently attending a meeting of the African Union and apparently acted as though there were no problems in his nation. Fortunately, the South African delegation insisted on discussing the current situation. Kibaki insists there are some internal problems but they will be resolved. Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told AU delegates, “We can handle the situation and have enough internal capacities to solve the problem. There is no need for external support.”

President Kibaki fears outside support because it will make public his efforts to subvert a free election by doctoring vote counts. No wonder, he wants to “handle the situation.”

Power, Not Leadership Is Issue In Kenya

Billy Khona, writing in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newwspaper, argued the conflagration sweeping Kenya has nothing to do with leadership as it has to do with power. “Never before have we needed legislative heroism as we do now. Alas, parliamentary politics, while making for good theater of the absurd, rarely demonstrates moral courage.” President Kibaki appears indifferent to the killings in all parts of the nation and mainly is concerned with ensuring his “victory” in the presidential election stands against the tide of reason. Khona says the election of an ODM member to the postion of Speaker of the House at least sends a message that Kibaki and his Kikuyu followers were not going so far as to rig that election process.

Mr. Kahona sadly believes the most important matter on the minds of too many members of the legislature is getting a raise. As of this point, parliament has not done much to exert leadership. It has not witnessed members of different tribes coming together and presenting a model of cooperation to the nation.

Kenya’s Cup Of Bitter Tea As Mediation Collapses

International mediation efforts to resolve the electoral fiasco in Kenya that was caused when President Kibaki blatantly stole the election have collapsed. Ghana’s Presdidnet John Kuffour left the nation after being unable to secure cooperation from Kibaki to end the impasse and work toward peace. A government spokesperson for Kibaki said President Kuffour had merely come in order to have a cup of tea with their leader. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement had offered several compromises but all were declined by Kibaki. Despite international suggestions he invite members of ODM to serve in an interim cabinet, the head of Kenya insisted only his loyal supporters would be given places in the cabinet.

Samuel Kiviuti, head of the Electoral Commission admited there was evidence of fraud. In one example, h original vote from the Juja area indicated a vote tally of 48,293 for Kibaki and that was the figure ready to be sent in, but somehow the figure was altered to indicate a vote of 100,390 for the president even though no name appeared as signing the new document. The only people suffering are the people of Kenya.

Kenya’s Unreported Dirty War

Crops rot in fields, farms and schools are abandoned, the black hulks of burned houses dot the landscape. Hundreds of innocent people have been killed and many women raped in a war that wracks the nation of Kenya despite its remarkable success in economic growth and in possessing a working democracy. The murderous Mungiki gang together with ethnic conflict and political discord is devastating the nation. Part of the conflict was generated by opposition of land by the government which led opposing groups to engage in violent conflict. At least 60,000 terrorized people have fled their homes. Many people blame harsh police policies of only enflaming an already unstable situation to become even more violent. At the heart of the conflict are claims by the Soy ethnic group that land was given to the Ndorobos because of their political connections. A Soy militia, the Sabaot Land Defence Force(SLDF) is now battling the police and reports are common of targeted killings.

Ironically, decades after the end of colonialism, its heritage plays out in land conflicts between ethnic groups. As a result, an area that was exporting produce is now importing food. It is just another sad African story.

Criminal Terror In Kenya As Police Go Wild

Reports from Kenya tell of a wave of killings by the police who are attempting to wipe out a criminal gang by the name of Mungiki. Scores of bodies are turning up on the outskirts of Nairobi as well as in the countryside with evidence they were executed by a single shot to the head. The Kenya police are blamed for this outburst of violence. The Mungiki gang began in the 1990s as a semi-religious sect, but apparently saw more productive outlets for their talents in the world of crime. They became major players in protection rackets and other criminal activities. It is believed politicians draw upon their talents to have those opposing them in elections taken care of in a way that would please the old Murder Incorporated gang of New York. The Kenya police have gained a reputation for brutality. Last year they demolished scores of huts in the slums around Nairobi and drove thousands of people back to the countryside. Last June during one of their slum raids, they killed 39 people. As in many developing nations, a brutal police force is a major impediment to peace and security.

After reading of the rising crime in Nairobi, this writer wonders if America might send their boastful former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, to Kenya where he can demonstrate his supposed skills in ending crime in a large city. One doubts if he would walk the streets of Nairobi challenging criminals.

Kenya Muslims Demand Government Keep Promises

The National Muslim Leaders Forum (Namief) criticised some of Kenya’s Muslim leaders for failure to be honest with the government regarding problems encountered by the nation’s Muslim population. They said the government of President Kibaki had treated Muslims with contempt and urged the Muslim community to vote against Kibaki in the upcoming election. Namief was particularly upset at the silence of the Kenya government about imprisonment of Kenya citizens in the Guantanamo prison and supporting American and Ethiopian assaults on the Islamic government of Somalia.

Large areas of East Africa have an extensive Christian population, but there is also a large Muslim presence. The United States and Ethiopia launched an attack that overthrew the Islamic government of Somalia in a war that many African Muslims interpreted to be led by Christians against Muslims. President Bush frequently does not completely grasp the complexities of issues impacting the people of Africa.