Pulling back from the abyss

Kenyan commentators in the blogosphere are calling for responsible reporting on the violence taking place in Kenya in an effort to prevent a Rwandan style genocide which was incited by inflammatory radio broadcasts.

Sara Nics blogging here says that as far as she knows radio stations are not being used in this manner. She called one of Kenya’s popular radio stations and was told that they are not reporting any news on the ethnic dimension of the killings to avoid inciting further bloodshed.

Carol Radull at Kiss FM said, “We’ve not given politicians a complete blackout, but we are selecting carefully what to run and what not to run. If a politician says something that we know will lead to more bloodshed, we will ignore it. We will also ignore those calling for peace yet they’re doing nothing about it.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says he believes Kenya’s election was rigged. Speaking on RTL Radio he said,”It is said that it is an ethnic battle. Yes, without doubt, in Africa it is often that. But it is also a battle for democracy.”

Mental Acrobatics says

Whatever you think about the long term roots of the current situation, economic inequality, ethnic tensions or even perhaps that everyone has been possessed by “devils” we all need to recognise that what sparked this violence was a political crisis and that crisis is that we have what many Kenyans consider to be an illegitimate president. That is not a partisan statement, even members of Kibaki’s cabinet say that we simply do not know who won the election.

The Kenyan governments position on dialogue with Odinga appears to be softening. Yesterday it reacted angrily to Odinga’s proposal to hold a fresh election but today Alfred Mutua, spokesman for President Mwai Kibaki said “We would accept even another election as long as the constitution is followed. If the courts decide it, we would accept that.”

Thinker’s Room believes that “Asking judges appointed not a fortnight ago to expel their benefactor is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.”

In further news Kibaki has met Desmond Tutu at last. Tutu believes that there is a great deal of hope that a resolution can be found to the political stalemate between Kibaki and Odinga.

“There is a great deal of hope since both the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and government have indicated they are open to negotiations,” the cleric said. “They are still putting conditions … but I think there is this eagerness.”

After meeting with Kibaki he said,

“The president was not averse to the formation of coalitions — but clearly there has to be an acceptance that there is a governing authority in the country.”


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