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Tensions Rise in Kenya

Stalled negotiations over the naming of cabinet ministers by Prime Minister Designate Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki under the power-sharing deal struck in late February of this year, has given rise to renewed fears the violences may return. A failure to implement the accord could have dire consequences for the country. Pressure is coming from the populace loud and clear for the two to settle the matter quickly, but Kibaki’s ministers said their party was ready for a reelection if the opposition wanted to go for a rerun, a sign the former are not interested in negotiating the cabinet. Sources tell me the military arrived in Molo already three days ago, another sign the state might not be willing to negotiate with opposition ODM’s demands. It also suggests word got out that the opposition is preparing its people on the ground for mass action. Protests in Nairobi’s Kibera slums and Kisumu town yesterday, and minor skirmishes with police were the first signs that Kenya might be heading towards a reprisal of the bloody clashes that erupted across the west after the contested election in December last year between Kibaki and Odinga saw the country divide along tribal lines.

The two leaders kept silent today, and most of the country was quiet apart from Kibera slums, where youths ripped up yet more railway line running from the coastal town of Mombasa to Uganda, an operation aimed at cutting trade routes and thus, further crippling the economy.

A definite beefed up security presence was felt all around Nairobi today, and tensions are running high. Kofi Annan, who was the chief mediator for the talks which led to the power sharing deal, sent a message to Kibaki and Odinga yesterday on his birthday which read “Give me a nice birthday present. Agree on a cabinet,” but made no mention of returning should a neutral party be required. Kenyan lawyers criticised the power-sharing deal, saying it had been poorly written and did not envisage a way to navigate a worst-case scenario such as the current stalemate. If either party pulls out of the coalition, the deal is null and void, which would most likely result in more bloodshed.

While over a hundred thousand internally displaced people continue to languish in camps across western Kenya and Uganda as a result of the clashes earlier this year, and food shortages loom ahead, many feel that now is not the time for political grandstanding and threats of more violence. The international community has put a great deal of pressure on the two parties to make the necessary concessions and move forward, but there is no sign of a compromise in sight.


2 Responses to “Tensions Rise in Kenya”

  1. admin says:

    Hi Zachariah,

    Things seem to be looking up in Kenya now, and let’s hope it keeps going that direction. Despite the difficult times while I was there, I love and miss Kenya terribly.

    -Anne Holmes

  2. zachariah says:

    what i can say is this is my country and am proud of it,what i know is politician dont like us and i dont know why.but the grace of god is with us……..thanks for peace.

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