Calm Before The Storm Atmosphere In Kenya

The situation in Kenya has become somewhat calm after the fury of outraged Kenyans ripped apart the nation in reaction to the attempt by President Kibaki to steal an election. Over 300 people are dead, including dozens of children, many of whom died trying to get out of a burning church. Several mediators are in Kenya led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. After talking with these negotiators, President Kibaki has finally indicated he is open to the possibility of a coalition government. However, the president made clear, violence against his government must cease and his opponents should seek legal redress in the courts if they disagree with the election results. He flatly rejected the idea put forth by opposition leader, Raila Odinga, for a three month interim government. Kibaki, apparently strongly influenced by Tutu, said, “We would accept even another election as long as the Constitution is followed. If the courts decide it, we would accept that.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed the feelings of most diplomats when he said: “Were the elections rigged? I think so.” Many observers are expressing a desire for Secretary of Rice to fly to Kenya and use her influence over Kibaki who has close ties with the Bush administration.