Todays FT Editorial

Kibaki is in trouble for sure. The Financial Times points out that Kibaki’s government is illegitimate in a scathing editorial which condemns Kibaki’s election as not fair or free while drawing attention to the blatant vote-rigging and ballot box stuffing as incompetent.

It should be made clear to Mr Kibaki that his government is illegitimate. If he refuses to accept that, the western powers should suspend programme aid and devote the money to emergency relief and and supporting any more muscular AU intervention. Visas should be refused not only to corrupt officials, but to Mr Kibaki and his team.

If Mr Odinga and his inner circle are seen to encourage violence, the same sanction should apply to them.

It also mentions that Kibaki and the old guard have a lot to fear from Odinga

they may also fear the personal consequences of an Odinga presidency.

Mr Odinga, a former political prisoner, swore during election campaigning that he would pursue officials for past human rights violations and corruption.

“I think they could not contemplate Raila and his people having the keys to the intelligence files. There are too many skeletons in the cupboards,” said a Nairobi based political analyst.

“I don’t know how you can lower these stakes at this stage.”

Kibaki is blamed for stoking resentment against Kikuyus. Elsewhere in the paper, the International community is blamed too for supporting one of Africa’s most corrupt regimes in a country which has seen the increasing pauperisation of Kenya’s people with 48% of the population living below the poverty line in 1990 having grown to 56% today, despite development agencies being pumped with aid. Attention is drawn to the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, high unemployment, the doubling of the population in 25 years and the lack of land as underpinning the crisis. People have nothing to lose and are now venting their fury at seeing hopes of change that transcend ethnicity being dashed.

Western media continue to portray the breakdown as a tribal division between Kikuyus and Luos, however, it is the Kalenjin who are killing Kikuyu in Eldoret and elsewhere angry reactions can be attributed to the election being stolen. Commentators are asking for pressure to be placed on the government by the EU and chuck Kenya out of the commonwealth. None of these measures should be applied at this stage. Dialogue has to take place between Kibaki and Odinga first and some agreement made on power-sharing until new elections can be held. Odinga and Kibaki need to get off their high-horses and act now.

A woman weeps in front of a Kenya Assemblies of God Church in Eldoret Joseph Karoki

Stories from the church massacre in Eldoret are now coming out. A woman described how women and children were shut in the church and the door locked after it was torched. There was no escape except through windows at the back. She managed to escape through the window with her 3 year old daughter, leaving behind 2 of her other children, only to be met by attackers who grabbed her child and threw her back into the fire.

On Tuesday morning, a mob of about 2,000 arrived at the church, said George Karanja, whose family had sought refuge there.

“They started burning the church,” Karanja said, his voice catching with emotion as he described the scene. “The mattresses that people were sleeping on caught fire. There was a stampede, and people fell on one another.”

Karanja, 37, helped pull out at least 10 people, but added, “I could not manage to pull out my sister’s son. He was screaming ‘Uncle, uncle!’ … He died.” The boy was 11.

Up to 50 people were killed in the attack, said a Red Cross official who spoke on condition of anonymity because her name would identify her tribe, and she feared reprisal. Even first aid workers were stopped by vigilantes who demanded their identity.

Karanja said his two children raised their hands as they left the church and they were beaten with a cane, but not killed. His 90-year-old father was attacked with a machete, but survived, he said.

“The worst part is that they were hacking people and then setting them on fire,” he added.

A Red Cross worker said that psychotherapists are to be brought in to deal with the trauma. People are still fleeing to schools, public building and police stations. At the police station security is extremely tight. The displaced families camped with the police compound are surrounded by police in riot gear who are guarding them.

Riot police are patrolling Nairobi slums after the riots but today has been quieter. Kibera residents are leaving with their possessions, mostly Kikuyus who are worried that they will be attacked. Crowds speaking to a Radio 4 reporter today denied that the clashes in Kibera were motivated by tribal differences. People said they were angry that they voted for Raila Odinga and they had been denied their rightful victory. Members of the crowd said they were ready to die for their rights. The residents insisted they would be going to the mass action rally tomorrow, even if they are killed.

UPDATE: 16:00 GMT Odinga’s stance is softening, Deutsche Welt TV showed him saying that he is not prepared to talk to Kibaki without international mediators. The AU head and Ghanain President is expected in Nairobi today. Today Odinga refused to attend the meeting at State House called by Kibaki and at a press conference criticised Kibaki for the deaths of protestors who have been killed by the GSU since the troubles began.

UPDATE: 19:00 GMT BBC Radio 4 is now reporting that hopes for a resolution to the Kenyan crisis are fading now following remarks by Mwai Kibaki that Kenya’s problems are an internal matter for Kenyans to sort out. A snub to the head of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor who is expected in Nairobi today and who was expected to mediate between Kibaki and Odinga’s parties.


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