Archive for February, 2008

Power-sharing deal struck

Kibaki and Odinga have finally agreed to and signed a power-sharing deal this afternoon after talks that lasted five hours. Kudos to Kofi Annan for his unstinting commitment to keeping the negotiations going and to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

The agreement will see the creation of a new post of Prime Minister for the first time in Kenya’s history and two new roles of Deputy Prime Minister, one to be nominated by each party of the coalition. Odinga is expected to get the post of Prime Minister which will give him wide-ranging powers over government business. Kibaki will not have the power to remove Odinga, this can only be done by a vote of no confidence passed by parliament. Government posts will be divided between the parties on a fifty fifty basis with ODM getting key positions. As there is no provision for post of Prime Minister in Kenya’s constitution amendments will have to be made.

However, the deal will have to be passed by parliament when it reconvenes next week. Hopes rest on the deal being adhered to and to the deal being received positively at grass roots level following the deaths of over 1000 Kenyans and the displacement of 500,000 others following violence that flared up due to the “disputed” election. A BBC 4 reporter said that many in the IDP camps did not look on power-sharing in a favourable light for understandable reasons.

Salim Lone was interviewed on a “stop-over” trip to London by BBC 4 claimed that the reason for his visit was not due to personal death threats it has been rumoured he received but because of the lack of security in Kenya. Asked whether he thought that the deal would stick given the bad blood that exists between Kibaki and Odinga, Lone said that Odinga was a forgiving man who had cooperated with Kibaki in the past. However, it remains to be seen how the PNU treat the agreement when it reaches parliament.

“We have began a journey and this journey we will walk together,” Odinga said hopefully. “I can see light at the end of the tunnel.” These talks have given Odinga the opportunity to buff up an image tarnished earlier by demagogic speeches and appeals for mass action which Kenya’s GSU brutally suppressed with live rounds of bullets leading to scores of people being killed.

Here is the full text of the agreement

ACTING TOGETHER FOR KENYA: AGREEMENT ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PARTNERSHIP OF THE COALITION GOVERNMENT.

Preamble:
The crisis triggered by the 2007 disputed presidential election has brought to the surface deep-seated and long-standing divisions within Kenyan society. If left unaddressed, these divisions threaten the very existence of Kenya as a unified country. The Kenyan people are now looking to their leaders to ensure that their country will not be lost.
Given the current situation, neither side can realistically govern the country without the other. There must be real power-sharing to move the country forward and begin the healing and reconciliation process.

With this agreement, we are stepping forward together, as political leaders, to overcome the current crisis and to set the country on a new path. As partners in a coalition government, we commit ourselves to work together in good faith as true partners, through constant consultation and willingness to compromise.

This agreement is designed to create an environment conducive to such a partnership and to build mutual trust and confidence. It is not about creating positions that reward individuals. It seeks to enable Kenya’s political leaders to look beyond partisan considerations with a view to promoting the greater interests of the nation as a whole. It provides the means to implement a coherent and far-reaching reform agenda, to address the fundamental root causes of recurrent conflict, and to create a better, more secure, more prosperous Kenya for all.

To resolve the political crisis, and in the spirit of coalition and partnership, we have agreed to enact the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, whose provisions have been agreed upon in their entirety by the parties hereto and a draft copy is appended hereto.
Its key points are:

* There will be a Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya, with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya.

* The Prime Minister will be an elected member of the National Assembly and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition, if the largest party does not command a majority.
* Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the National Assembly to be appointed a Deputy Prime Minister.

* The Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers and the other Ministers. The removal of any Minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.
* The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no confidence with a majority vote.

* The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect their relative parliamentary strength.

* The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

* The National Accord and Reconciliation Act shall be entrenched in the Constitution.
Having agreed on the critical issues above, we will now take this process to Parliament. It will be convened at the earliest moment to enact these agreements. This will be in the form of an Act of Parliament and the necessary amendment to the Constitution.

We believe by these steps we can together in the spirit of partnership bring peace and prosperity back to the people of Kenya who so richly deserve it.

The mood towards the agreement by bloggers is somewhat ambivalent.
Thinking Kenyan says

“The deal sounds almost too good to be true. Mwai Kibaki is known for breaking promises. Until the agreement is entrenched in the constitution or passed by parliament, the deal is still a ‘gentleman’s agreement’.”

A view echoed by Macharia Gaitho, a Kenyan journalist who says

“The really hard part begins now because this has to go to parliament. I think both sides will really have to show good faith and whip their MPs into line to make sure that whatever is proposed in parliament passes without a hitch.”

Maina Kiai, the chairman of Kenya’s national human rights commission, warned that it was too soon to celebrate.

“The cabinet will have to be leaner and should not contain hardliners,” he said. “It is too early to talk about a new Kenya.”

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Hope in Kibera vs. Serena Grandstanding

The International Crisis Group has outlined a number of recommendations on how to tackle the Kenyan crisis amid worrying reports that armed groups on both sides of the conflict are preparing to mobilise

Serious obstacles remain, however. Armed groups are still mobilising on both sides. ODM, which won a clear parliamentary plurality in December, has put on hold its calls for mass action and is using the talks to restore prestige it lost internationally in the violence. It is under pressure from its core constituencies, however, to demand nothing less than the presidency, and its supporters could easily renew violent confrontations if Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) coalition remains inflexible.

The Kibaki coalition is buying time to wear down both the opposition and the international community’s resolve. It benefits from the presidency’s extensive powers, including unlimited access to public resources. It insists the situation is under control and there is no power vacuum, tends to treat Annan’s mission as a side-show while sponsoring alternative reconciliation processes, seeks to have Kibaki’s election recognised by neighbouring countries and continues to resist genuine sharing of executive power.

Their recommendations include:

Three complementary sets of issues must be addressed to finalise a detailed power-sharing agreement. The first are the legal and constitutional reforms needed during the transition period, including a complete overhaul of the electoral framework. The second are the economic policies to be implemented during the transition. The third are the concrete details of the process to be followed to end the violence and to deal with the humanitarian crisis, including the institutional framework and timelines. The ODM and PNU do not control the local violence. There is a chance to restore state authority and prevent renewed major fighting only if local leaders understand that their grievances are being addressed and concrete measures are being rapidly implemented. Civil society and economic stakeholders should also be associated with the negotiations on institutional reforms and economic policy.

Annar Cassam, former Consultant at UNESCO/PEER Nairobi and former Director, UNESCO Office takes a hard-nosed look at the myth of Kenya as a model African state. He reminds us that Kenya is one of the most corrupt countries in the world headed by the very same corrupt elites who are presently frustrating Koffi Annan attempts to broker a power-sharing deal.

Sara Nics has just written an excellent article which allows us to hear the voices and enter the world of women affected by the uprising in Kibera. They recognize that the violence was not inter-tribal but based on more deep seated economic issues which continue to be over-looked by commentators on the crisis. In terms of peace initiatives, the hardest work is being done by women at grass-roots levels who completely embody the will and hopes of reconciliation for all Kenyans regardless of ethnicity. Nics’ report provides a ray of light.

Although the group is small and self-funded, Hamza and her partners work to curb conflicts across Kibera. Every week women bring reports from the slum’s 12 villages. They talk about people who are struggling, about a community’s conflicts and needs.

Together, the women come up with a plan to address those conflicts. Often pairs of women will go to where there is a disagreement and work with the residents to try to resolve the dispute.

Hamza says part of their work is informal community policing. She estimates there are only 150 police officers for all of Kibera. Many of those officers, she says, are corrupt. When an issue is very serious and can’t be resolved through peer mediation, members of the group will act as representatives for women, taking their concerns to the local district office or the chief.

Sometimes they petition for food or money for a family, Hamza says. If no money is available, they will reach into their own nearly-empty pockets to pool a few shillings for maize meal, sugar or cooking oil.

Over the years, many women have come to meetings of Interfaith Women for Peace and Development but most do not return. Hamza says because there are so many NGOs and aid agencies at work in Kibera, people often expect an organization to dole out money or goods. When most women hear that they are expected to give a few shillings to help other Kiberans, they do not come back to meetings.

Kenya’s poorest women are doing this in Kibera in the most abject conditions while the elite grandstand in the comfort of Nairobi’s Serena Hotel and let’s face facts, these men are not interested in doing anything to address the problems facing Kenya’s poorest nor are they capable of doing anything because they are part of the problem.

Since independence in 1963, the international donor community, led by the UK, has contributed some $16bn in aid. It is also under their watch that Kibera, so-called “the largest slum in Africa” has expanded and festered in the capital city where about 1.2mn people live without clean water and sanitation amenities, many of them without employment or adequate medical care. Vast amounts of Kenya’s arable land are owned by the three ruling families, namely, Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki. Half of the nation’s wealth is in the hands of 10% of the population.

However, I hold Kibaki responsible for all the deaths and displacements of Kenyans since the election. Kibaki, unlike Odinga, has offered absolutely nothing in the way of solutions to the problem other than to let loose Administration and GSU police on Kenyans and order Kenya’s displaced to go back to their burnt homesteads. I also hold him fully responsible for the glacial pace at which negotiations are taking place and for the latest stall. International pressure must be brought to bear on him for all of this.

Update

About one hundred Kenyans in London presented what was described as “a strong worded statement” to Gordon Brown at No.10 Downing street on 8th February 2008 asking him to support the government of Kenya.

It is a poorly conceived tribalistic document riddled with grammatical errors that claims to speak for Kenyans in the diaspora. It reflects the stereotypical and simplistic thinking of its creators and I am ashamed that any Kenyan could put their signature to this document. This is how Kenya’s entire “history” is described …

Luhya’s occupy Western Province and are mainly farmers and office workers.

Kalenjin’s & Maasai’s occupy Rift Valley and are good at keeping cows, goats and sports.

Kikuyu’s dominated the business world; commerce/trade and usually work hard and as a team.

Luo’s occupy the Lake Region. Their main activities are fishing and office working.

Naturally Kikuyu’s are wealthy by all standards because of working hard. When Kenya got independence from the British, many Kikuyu’s bought land from the British and settled in Rift Valley and elsewhere.

Jared Odero submits a report on Kenya’s internally displaced with eye-witness reports from humanitarian workers who describe the horror.

The number of refugees from Central Province to Nyanza and Western Province is just increasing. I did not know that there were a lot of these people living there. About 500 people arrive daily by bus from Central Province to Kisumu. The Red Cross is doing a wonderful job. Some refugees are so much traumatised by the situation that they hardly talk about it. Some said that in Central Province, some road blocks were erected using heads of the Luo. The Mungiki (a banned sect) beheaded Luo men and used their heads on roads as barricades/road blocks. One Luo woman was given her husband’s head to take with her along the way, and she carried it up to a camp in Kisumu.

Kofi Annan is thinking of moving the ODM/PNU mediators out of the glare of the media to sleepy Lamu. Earlier conciliatory statements made by Raila Odinga in which he claimed that he had dropped demands for Kibaki to step down were contradicted when he spoke to supporters in Nyanza. He said Kibaki “must step down or there must be a re-election – in this I will not be compromised.” . His supporters have threatened to burn down his home and his molasses factory if he does not return to Nyanza as Kenya’s president.

Kibaki has tried to put the “Kenya open for business as usual” sign up in the shop by announcing free secondary school education for all. A welcome move but during the mediation and when there is no security or stability yet? What planet is he on?

In Chepilat, a small trading town in western Kenya an MP Lorna Laboso visited the scenes of the recent battle between Kisiis and Kalenjins. Photobucket

“The police are killing people, right left and centre instead of protecting them and their lives and property,” Ms Laboso said.

Eyes on Kenya describes the strain on Kenya’s health care system by the recent violence and displacement of people. Latest estimates put the number of IDPs at 600,000. This displacement has also affected many health workers which makes the job of consolidating health provision more complicated. Many women need treatment for rape and trauma. Health workers are carrying out an arduous task to make sure anti-retroviral drugs get to these women.

The situation on the ground is much worse than the media representations that I have read so far.

“The number of sites hosting IDPs appears to increase by the day,” the agency said in a statement. “Initial WHO assessment has found that these sites are very crowded, with poor shelter, water supply, sanitation (in some camps, toilet to person ratio is 1 for 500), food shortages, no cooking fuel, precarious access to healthcare and shortages of antibiotics, children’s medicines, malaria medicines and life-saving drugs for chronic illness. Nearby hospitals are also facing similar shortages of drugs and supplies.”

In Tigoni the situation is diabolical. Red Cross workers are accused of stealing food that is meant to be distributed to the people most in need of them. People are being abused.

I saw people who were cut with pangas (machetes). I heard stories of the slit throat and bared stomach. People who needed help from the Red Cross were being beaten by a Camp Manager right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t react and just offered help within my powers. Some Red Cross staff members stole food and refused to give the IDPs food in Tigoni and Kisumu.

It pains me to reprint this but something really must be done to protect people from this abuse. It’s an abuse on so many levels. People donate to help the needy not to put food in the bellies of officials.

Kenya’s ban on live media reports and public assembly has been lifted. Kenyan Minister of Internal Security George Saitoti said that the security situation had generally improved

Found: the boy caught in Kenya’s bloody hell

UPDATE: 28 February 2008.

If after you have read this and you feel compelled to help please go to VUMA Kenya where you will be able to leave a donation for Jeremiah Mungai and his baby Brian. Joseph Karoki and Lilian Muthoni were able to trace Jeremiah and I am pleased to say that so far money has been raised to help Jeremiah with the mortuary, post-mortem and funeral costs. However, donations to help with the care of Brian will be most appreciated at this time.

A reporter for the Guardian traced the toddler who was photographed screaming as his mother lay on the floor of their home, murdered. Tracy McVeigh discovers that the culprits responsible for killing her were police officers who moments before had ordered all the women and children in the Komokomo slum of Naivasha to go indoors before they sprayed their homes with bullets! This was a cold-blooded and calculated murder of innocent women and children by Kenya’s uniformed police.

The woman was called Grace Mungai. She was a Luhya who had married a Kikuyu named Jeremiah and they had a baby who they named Brian. The officer who shot Grace Mungai was also Luhya. She was killed by a single bullet to the head.

This report exposes so many wrongs – the police official who laughs heartlessly on hearing about Grace’s death being caused by a bullet, the bribes that must pass hands, the financial poverty that prevents the aggrieved from seeking justice, all these things stick in the throat.

It is heartbreaking to think that the policeman who caused the death of baby Brian’s mother might never be punished for this crime.

‘My wife was dead on the ground and the two officers came and looked at the body. Then they went and picked up their bullet cartridges all around. They told everyone to leave the house but we didn’t want to leave my wife’s body there, so we refused.’ The officer told his sister-in-law to shut up the four screaming children and then muttered an apology. ‘The Swahili word he used was not a sincere version of apology, it was the word for sorry you use when you burn a pot.’

Photobucket

Baby Brian with his father Jeremiah Mungai

There are no photographs of Grace Mungai in life. A slightly built, shy 19-year-old, she wasn’t wealthy or particularly successful, but everyone says she was happy and doted on her 15-month-old first-born baby, Brian.

For the past four months she had lived in a rented room in the Komokomo slum in Naivasha, an hour’s drive out of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Made of corrugated sheeting and oil drum bases battered on to a wooden frame, the house is directly across from some cooking stove makers who clang and hammer all day. But it was her own four walls, with a lock on the door, a dirt floor but a proper wooden bed, two chairs, a few scraps of white nylon lace to spruce them up, and magazine pictures stuck up.

Her husband adored her. True, he had another wife elsewhere in Naivasha, but he was a kind man; he had just bought her some pretty sandals. She had plans for the future. She was of the Luyha tribe, and her husband Jeremiah was a Kikuyu – in an ethnically diverse Kenya neither gave it a second thought.

She was by all accounts pretty. But in death her face is disfigured and swollen with none of the quiet dignity her name suggests. The photograph of her final moments, shot behind the ear and lying in a bloody sprawl in front of her screaming baby, made the pages of newspapers she had never heard of. Even the photographer did not know her name. ‘A woman lies dead during ethnic clashes in Kenya’ was how Reuters photographer George Phicipas captioned his shot .

It took some time to discover Grace’s identity – and what became of Grace and Jeremiah’s son, Brian Shfutu Mungai. Her body – labelled number 33 – was among 36 of 45 victims of the violence whose corpses are still in white zip-up bags piled four high on the blood-puddled concrete floor of the Naivasha hospital mortuary. It was her skirt that first identified her as the woman in Phicipas’ photo. Though just one of more than 1,000 people who have died since 27 December when the Kikuyu President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory in a rigged election, opening long-dormant tribal divides in the teeming towns of Kenya’s Rift Valley, Grace’s death, and Jeremiah’s pain, are especially symbolic.

Even as African and UN mediators this weekend suggested that the deadlock in the political crisis had been breached with Kibaki meeting opposition ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) leader Raila Odinga for face-to-face talks on Friday, it is too late for Grace, just as it is already too late for the 300,000 Kenyans directly affected by the bloodletting. It’s too late to return to their homes, or to reclaim burnt houses and businesses.Tens of thousands have already fled and more are still on the move back to ‘ancestral’ lands – outlying places many will never even have visited, in an ethnic shift that will have dramatic consequences that cannot be undone by a handshake between politicians.

The makeshift refugee camps dotted all over Nairobi’s outskirts and up into the Rift Valley are emptying. The population of one camp of Luo people from Naivasha which sprung up around the town’s police station has in the past five days been reduced from 7,000 people to about 600 as families opt to abandon 20 or 25 years of life here, chased off to far-flung regions only their grandparents knew. How these desperate people will fend for themselves in areas which are unprepared for such an influx and far poorer than the fertile lands of the Rift Valley is unclear. What is certain is that while these often dazed refugees have left their land, homes and possessions behind, they carry their anger and bitterness with them.

Grace Mungai was killed on 28 January, not by a gang with a thirst for tribal retribution, but by a single bullet fired deliberately into her home by an officer supposed to be protecting innocent people like her from Kikuyu rioters who were moving through Naivasha’s six slum districts. He was even on the same tribal side as her – although not of her Kikuyu husband. ‘Perhaps it was mistaken identity,’ says Jeremiah. ‘Perhaps they wanted me.’

Jeremiah had gone for a stroll at the time. Grace, his sister-in-law – also called Grace – her three daughters and baby Brian were inside eating when two uniformed men came along the street in the early evening, shouting for people – it was mostly women and children who were around – to get inside. Then they started spraying the area with bursts from their AK47 assault guns.

‘I heard the screams and came running,’ said Jeremiah. ‘My wife was dead on the ground and the two officers came and looked at the body. Then they went and picked up their bullet cartridges all around. They told everyone to leave the house but we didn’t want to leave my wife’s body there, so we refused.’ The officer told his sister-in-law to shut up the four screaming children and then muttered an apology. ‘The Swahili word he used was not a sincere version of apology, it was the word for sorry you use when you burn a pot,’ said Jeremiah, who is too confused and hurt by this explosion of hate between fellow Kenyans to begin to contemplate forgiveness.

The hut is empty now, the bloodstain still visible on the floor. Jeremiah has taken Brian and his extended family and moved them all out to his mother’s smallholding, some 30km from Naivasha. It is, ironically, the very same type of small farm that the Kikuyu rioters were fighting to protect from people of other tribes who, short of work in the towns, are increasingly buying into the Rift Valley’s smallholdings in an effort to make a living. It was Odinga’s pre-election promises to share out such scarce resources among non-Kikuyu tribes that inspired so many impoverished people to vote for him, and left so many disenfranchised when their votes counted for nothing as Kibaki seized a second term.

Jeremiah hopes his family may have found some refuge. ‘They should be safer out there, there is no security in the town for anyone, for any tribe. I am Kikuyu, I am supposed to be the aggressor, but my wife is dead,’ he said. His former neighbours in Komokomo nod in agreement. One man shows a handful of cartridges he picked up from another spot in the County Council District slum. He and more than six unrelated witnesses we spoke to say that on the morning of the day Grace was shot 16 young Kikuyu men had been rounded up. They were taken out to a piece of wasteland, ordered to lie down and shot in the back by Naivasha prison guards drafted in to help overstretched police officers.

A 24-year-old survivor showed The Observer the bullet wound in his chest. The family of 22-year-old accountancy student Patrick Miriha produced a post-mortem certificate confirming he died in such a way. His father Robert, a retired schoolteacher, said: ‘My son was due to be in college on Monday, but on Tuesday we buried him. He was a good boy, not violent, scared of the violence.’

Leading the way to the waste ground, he pointed out the bloodstains in the dirt and said: ‘Seven boys died here and three later in the hospital. The rest are wounded except one Luo man in the group that the prison officers told to get up and walk away. If I had a gun, maybe we would go after these men, we know who they are. But only police and prison officers have guns. Our young men were simply trying to defend their sisters and mothers in their homes, they were standing outside their homes with just sticks in case the gangs came past.’

That was confirmed by the deputy police chief of the district, Grace Maiuashia, who said police at some point would investigate Jeremiah’s wife’s death, although she laughed when asked about the executions in County Council District. ‘If that is what you have been told, it is not true. There were no innocent people killed by gunshot. The rioters do not have guns, only primitive weapons, pangas or sticks. Only police and the prison officers who were assisting us had guns. People were unhappy about these prison officers, so maybe they make up these stories. We had only four or five people killed by gunshot in the commotion, but we are allowed to use our firearms if people are rioting. You can shoot one or two and the crowd will fall back, so it is a good way to control the situation,’ she said.

‘I know of this woman, Grace Mungai. Her husband says she was an innocent and has made a complaint and we sent police officers to take her body to the morgue, but until there is a post mortem we don’t know if she was shot. Maybe it occurred during the commotion.’

Maiuashia’s insistence on a post-mortem examination provides a get-out for any police investigation and an agony for Jeremiah. The hospital will only perform an autopsy if Jeremiah pays and will not release Grace’s body without one. He has been quoted 5,000 Kenyan shillings, about £40 -Jeremiah is a night watchman and does not have that kind of money. On Thursday, he had to give mortuary officials a bribe of 2,000 shillings to move her from the stacks of white bags in the hot storeroom into a space in one of the four refrigerated units. With 36 as yet unclaimed corpses here, relatives in a similar position to Jeremiah are coming in each day, and as money changes hands so bodies switch positions as everyone desperately tries to preserve the remains of their loved ones to buy time to raise cash for post mortems and funerals.

It’s a losing game. The authorities will give Jeremiah another week or so, and then his wife’s remains will be thrown into a communal grave, without any attempt to recover the government-issue bullet in her head – there are already five or so bodies in a not-so-deep hole that ensures the area smells as bad as the mortuary itself.

It’s likely that Jeremiah will just have to live with the injustice of Grace’s death, a young woman who never had a camera pointed at her when she was alive. In the midst of such turbulent times, the Kenyan police are unlikely to investigate a killing witnessed only by a handful of slum-dwellers.

The whole family think that Brian is too young to be affected by his mother’s murder in front of him, and he will now be brought up mostly by Jeremiah’s brother’s wife, who has three other daughters to support, in the cold, two-roomed shack on his elderly grandmother’s smallholding. Jeremiah will continue to work in Naivasha and travel out to see his son and work on the farm as often as he can.

‘She will love him,’ says Jeremiah of his sister-in-law. ‘But no one can love him like his late mother. She was proud, she would do anything for this boy, her first born, she named him, she spoilt him. Grace was beloved of me and my son.’

So Brian and the Mungai family now face an uncertain future – as does this deceptively beautiful, lush, green valley.

Kenya’s Path to Peace

I am reproducing Jacqueline Klopp’s article here, link for link but if any don’t work please check the original posting below:

Kenya’s path to peace

Ms. Klopp has assembled together a number of non-partisan grassroots organisations which are working under very difficult circumstances to do something that Kenya’s political elite are incapable of doing.

Amid violence and displacement, Kenya’s relief agencies and citizens’ groups are working to aid their compatriots and repair their country. They are the hope for Kenya, but they need help, says Jacqueline M Klopp.

7 – 02 – 2008

Many people and forces are feeding Kenya’s current crisis: politicians and their informal militias, intellectuals disseminating hate on the internet, police shooting at innocents, young men at roadblocks killing people with machetes. Who will move the country back towards the rule of reason, institutions and a civil national society?

This is a key question as Kenya faces a “tipping-point”. The daily toll of the dead has not let up; it has come to exceed 1,000, and there may be many more uncounted. Whole regions of the country are off-limits to people with certain names on their identity-cards. Arms continue to circulate and revenge-killings persist. If weapons continue to flow and are obtained by informal militias, if the police continue to take sides and the military fractures, if politicians fail to stop their orchestration or exploitation of violence, then maybe much more horror is yet to come. Kenya could even degenerate into civil war.

Jacqueline M Klopp is an assistant professor of international and public affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. She is currently working on a project on democratisation, civil society and the internally displaced in Kenya

A torn fabric

A political agreement bringing resolution to the disputed presidential election held on 27 December 2007 will be key to averting this frightful prospect. But in itself it is not enough. Angry youth need to lay down their weapons. They need calming and diversion into constructive activities. Agents of violence must be brought to book. The tens of thousands of displaced people, often bewildered and traumatised as well as dispossessed, need immediate assistance and counselling and a plan for a future life. Moreover, deep divisions created by the current violence require healing through measured and empathetic dialogue, national mourning for all the dead and creative conflict-resolution and peacebuilding.

This demands not just national but local action and a strong network of peacemakers. The potential for such a network is visible in the many Kenyans, alone or as part of community groups, who have sheltered and protected their fellow citizens regardless of the name on their ID card. It is visible in the tireless advocates for the multi-ethnic collection of victims of current and past violence such as the national Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) network and its supporters. If Kenya is to move forward and beyond the current cycles of violence – backed by deep angers linked to past wrongs, real or imagined – these voices of reason and compassion must grow stronger and ultimately prevail. Rather than counting on politicians to lead the way, initiatives from below need support now.

Besides a complete investigation into the violence and an end to impunity, dampening and eventually ending the cycles of violence is absolutely necessary to avoid a civil-war dynamic. Yet ending the killing and displacement is no simple task. As people are forced to flee their homes to some imaginary “homeland” they take their trauma and tales of terror. They also create stresses on existing services and scarce resources in many local communities. This generates new tensions and feelings of rage, which translate into revenge-attacks that push more people out to new areas – and so the devastating sequence gets repeated. This must stop.

Fortunately, despite the current propensity to blame and hate whole cultural communities for election-rigging or economic “domination” or violence, many Kenyans refuse to indulge in this pernicious discourse. Stories of human decency are little lights in Kenya’s dark times. A friend tells me of how his brother, a Kisii schoolteacher, and his Kikuyu colleague were courageously sheltered by their Kalenjin friend and fellow teacher in Eldoret as youths with machetes threatened him. Another friend tells me of a kind Kalenjin teacher who had adopted a “Kikuyu” child as his own son. With heavy heart, he had to send the child on a truck convoy out of Eldoret with written instructions to some unknown kind soul to take care of him. One displaced Kikuyu woman entrusted her precious children to a Kisii neighbour who was lucky enough to get space on a truck out to her “homeland”. Another story tells of a Kikuyu bus-driver who was a passenger in a bus that hit s a roadblock. Even though he was not the target of the youth, he calmly replaced the terrified driver and drove everyone back to Nairobi, saving many people in the process.

As Simiyu Barasa, who has written his own moving obituary, points out, Kenyans also do not fall into any neatly bound and defined communities. Rather, they are woven together into a rich social fabric through love, friendship, professional relationships and common interest. Although this fabric is under enormous stress and is torn apart in many places, it is worth emphasising that during this time of troubles many Kenyans have reached out to each other with great humanity. The idea of Kenya has not yet unravelled.

At a more systematic level, many organisations and their leaders – Keffa Magenyi Karuoya (IDP Network), Father Feiliyx Otieno Atinda (Koru Catholic Mission), and Aggrey Omondi (Ugenya [Ugunja] Community Resource Centre) to name only a few I have professional knowledge of – are working to protect and assist citizens regardless of their ethnic affiliation. Under enormous stress, these remarkable people engage aggressors in dialogue, help protect and tend to the displaced (often while the aggressors hover around) as well as assist the displaced from other parts of the country coming into their locations with tenuous historical links but no real families or friends. These overworked peace activists are facing deep and multiple problems: among them where to put the newly-arrived, how to collect information on them, how to prevent even more conflict between newcomers and the community, how to feed everyone as a food crisis looms, how to fit displaced children into local schools, how to promote peace and reconciliation.

“Non-violent peace forces” as they are called in Ugenya are found everywhere in the country. Mwamko in Central Province, Upendo Peace Committee in the Coast, the IDP Network and the National Council of Churches of Kenya in the Rift Valley, the Civil Societies Coalition for Peace, the Jamii Bora Emergency Fund and Ecosandal’s “Kicks for Peace” in Nairobi’s slums all represent important efforts to bring people back together to solve the difficult problems faced by communities affected by violence and the impacts of forced migration.

Kenya’s local peace groups need to be encouraged and supplied with moral and material support. Donors could help here rather than simply cut off aid. Father Feiliyx and Aggrey Omondi both emphasise the importance of support for programmes targeting unemployed and angry youth, helping them get involved in constructive ways in their communities. Further, a role exists for Kenya’s diaspora – to stop hate speech circulating on the internet, to avoid lending resources to destructive politics and instead support the internally displaced and peace activities. As Aggrey Omondi points out: “The Kenyan community abroad raised large sums of money for political campaigns. Now, we need all their effort to help communities in Kenya manage this crisis”.

These local peace groups need help to get coordinated, to share information and strategies and raise broader awareness of all the victims of Kenya’s current humanitarian crisis and their continuing plight. As a network they can also more effectively pressure politicians to negotiate and do all they can to stop the violence.

Finally, the way forward will involve puncturing the impunity of perpetrators of violence through painstaking investigations into the violence; a commission for truth, justice and reconciliation; institutional reforms that strengthen transparency, accountability and the rule of law; a meticulous strategy for the internally displaced that reflects their voices and priorities; and conflict resolution efforts in the worst hit areas.

This is the path to lasting peace and for Kenya to move in this direction, many more of us will need to join Kenya’s peacemakers. It is just too important to wait, as Kenyans say, for “orders from above”.

Odinga Dead in the Water

Interesting interview with Oxford University’s Professor David Anderson on Kenya’s political crisis and how ethnicity has been brought into the conflagration. You can read an earlier insightful interview he gave to Sara Nics when she was in London recently here.

This is political violence of the most classic kind. Ethnicity is how you mobilise it: that’s the modus operandi, not the rationale.

Political manipulation rather than ethnic hatred is driving Kenya’s post-election violence, says a leading author and scholar on the east African nation.

Oxford University’s Professor David Anderson also criticised both sides of Kenya’s political divide, saying President Mwai Kibaki was “playing Russian roulette” with Kenya’s democracy while opposition leader Raila Odinga was “dead in the water”.

Anderson — author of “Histories of the Hanged”, about the Mau Mau revolt during British colonial rule in the 1950s — said he was worried for the future of Kenya, where about 1,000 people have died in unrest following the Dec. 27 vote.

“I’ve always felt that Kenya’s middle classes and civil society were strong and robust, and would eventually overcome the problems created by their political elite,” he said.

“At the moment, I’m probably at the most pessimistic I have been in my entire life. I do not see an easy way forward.”

Anderson said the media’s portrayal of the Kenyan violence as inter-tribal fighting did not tell the whole story.

“Describing it as ethnic violence is not quite right. This is political violence of the most classic kind. Ethnicity is how you mobilise it: that’s the modus operandi, not the rationale.”

In the worst-hit Rift Valley area, where the majority of deaths have occurred, Kalenjin “ethno-nationalist” leaders had been waiting for an opportunity to reclaim land settled mainly by Kikuyus in the years after independence in 1963.

“Yes, they did organise it … They have had a long-standing agenda of violence. It is political instrumental violence of the worst kind,” Anderson said in the interview on Wednesday.

“If you map it, if you look at where it takes place, virtually every bit of violence has been on a settlement scheme … Quite deliberate, quite purposeful. You could argue that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the ballot. This might have happened even if (the opposition) ODM had won.”

“NO GOOD GUYS”

On the other side, one of the main motives for violence by Kibaki’s Kikuyu community against other groups — most notably in the towns of Naivasha and Nakuru — was the Mungiki gang’s desire to preserve its grip on extortion rackets.

Supported by some high-level politicians, Mungiki took advantage of the situation — and the justification of revenge for killings of Kikuyus by Kalenjins and others — to kick out other communities whose own protection gangs opposed Mungiki’s grip on the local transport and retail businesses, he said.

“Mungiki run those rackets not against non-Kikuyu, but against Kikuyu. They prey upon their own people. So they seek to exclude non-Kikuyu from those areas so that they can ‘protect’ their own people,” he said, adding that the notoriously murderous gang had supporters and enemies in Kibaki’s cabinet.

“If this (violence) was rooted in deeply-ingrained racial and ethnic hatred, why is there not violence all over the country? It is happening in very specific places which, if you know Kenya well, you could pretty much predict.”

Anderson lamented that both Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) led by Odinga had put hardliners in their teams for negotiations over the disputed vote.

“Both sides decided to play hardball,” he said. “I don’t see that either side is willing to take the step towards the other.”

Kibaki hopes time will strengthen his position, he said.

“Mwai Kibaki has nothing to gain by negotiation. He can only be asked to roll back. So he and his advisers know that by sitting tight, hunkering down and hoping all of this will eventually go away, they win,” Anderson said.

“They are playing Russian roulette with Kenya’s democracy. They don’t give a damn. They just want to win.”

On the other side, Odinga’s ODM had been “supremely and idiotically naive” to think they could run a civil disobedience campaign without it leading to violence, he said.

And Odinga’s poor judgement plus lack of gravitas in handling the crisis had shattered his would-be image as a pan-African statesman able to carry Kenya forward, he said.

“I think he’s dead in the water,” Anderson said.

“One of the problems for the international media analysing the Kenyan situation is that there are no ‘goodies’, there is no one you can say wears the white hat.”

Maina Kiai’s statement to US House of Representatives

Maina Kiai, Chiarman of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, made a statement to the US House of Representatives on the political crisis in Kenya on 6th February 2008. Njoki Ndungu’s contribution is also included further down the page. Ms Ndungu is the CEO of the Center for Legal Information and Communication, Kenya.

SUBJECT: THE POLITICAL CRISIS IN KENYA; A CALL FOR JUSTICE PEACEFUL RESOLUTION – Maina Kiai

1. Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the crisis in Kenya. My name is Maina Kiai and I am the Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), an independent state body charged with protecting and promoting human rights in Kenya. Previously, I served as founding Executive Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, a non-profit organization based in Kenya; Africa Director at Amnesty International in London; Africa Director at the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights) based here in Washington DC; and Research Fellow at TransAfrica Forum also here in Washington DC. I speak on behalf of the KNCHR, as well as for Kenyans for Peace through Truth and Justice (KPTJ), a coalition bringing together more than 50 human rights, legal and governance groups in Kenya.

2. Kenya is at a cross-road that will mean either the complete disintegration of Kenya or the beginning of a new, more democratic, sustainable nation suited to the needs and aspirations of the Kenyan people in the 21st Century. In a deeply painful and costly manner–in terms of lives lost and destruction wrought—the crisis in Kenya has given the country a unique opportunity to move forward in a way that we have been advocating for the last 20 years. In a sense, Kenya is at its “civil war” moment that the US was at in 1861. Just as that war was pivotal in establishing and solidifying the democratic credentials of the US, this moment could lead Kenya to much greater heights if properly handled both domestically and internationally.

3. In this context, the mediation currently going on under the leadership of Kofi Annan, Graca Machel and Ben Mkapa is the last best chance for Kenya to move forward. Whatever can be done to keep the players at the table, and keep them there in good faith, is critical. And efforts that delay, or subvert the talks—whether through insensitive statements and actions or by trying to prolong the talks through acts of filibustering—must be condemned. Consistent regional and international pressure is necessary especially on the hardliners who think that the crisis will blow over. The consequences of the failure of the mediation efforts are too dire to imagine not just for Kenya but for the region.

4. What is going on in Kenya is a political crisis with ethnic manifestation because politics in Kenya is organized ethnically. Clearly there are cleavages and differences in Kenyan society that have erupted brutally to the surface. But these have erupted due to the failure of peaceful means of resolving and addressing these differences, including the failure of elections and political reforms promised to Kenya in the 2002 elections.

5. The crisis in Kenya was foreseeable. In March 2007, the KNCHR submitted a memorandum to President Kibaki urging him to maintain the “gentleman’s agreement” that had been in place since 1997 whereby all parliamentary parties made nominations for appointment to the Electoral Commission of Kenya. We argued that unilateral abandonment of the agreement would likely invite chaos and instability were the elections disputed. Moreover, since January 2006 we witnessed consistent attempts by the state to reduce democratic space and instil fear in society.

THE EXTENT OF THE CRISIS

6. Some 1000 people have been killed in the one month since violence erupted on December 30, 2007. Note that 3000 people were killed between 1992 and 1998 in the state instigated clashes in the country. During that same period, more than 300,000 people were internally displaced, most of whom have not returned to their farms and homes. In the month since the elections, an additional 300,000 people have been internally displaced.

7. Part of the reason why militia—on both sides—have been so potent and dangerous is that they arose from the earlier violence of the 1990s and were never de-mobilized. Nor was there a process to deal with the root causes of that violence, with the Kibaki government choosing to sweep the matter under the carpet, despite campaign promises to the contrary. With grievances bubbling and fermenting close to the surface, it was relatively easy to reactivate the militia using methods similar to those of the 1990s. Most important, the paymasters and planners of the 1990s clashes were never held accountable.

8. It is estimated that in the month since the crisis started the Kenyan economy has lost about US $3 billion and about 400,000 jobs. Moreover the crisis has severely affected the economies of Uganda, Rwanda, Eastern DR Congo, and Southern Sudan and could bring them to ruin if not checked. All these nations have a history of conflict and violence that could be reawakened by economic collapse.

9. We have observed 4 forms of violence:

i) Spontaneous uprisings of mobs protesting the flaws in the presidential elections. These mobs looted, raped and burnt down buildings in an anarchical manner.

ii) Violence organized by ODM-supporting militia in the Rift Valley that was aimed at perceived political opponents. The initial militia action attracted organized counter-violence from PNU supporters especially in Nakuru, Naivasha areas of the Rift Valley, and Nairobi.

iii) Excessive use of force by the police in ways suggesting “shoot to kill” orders against unarmed protesters mainly in ODM strongholds including Kisumu, Kakamega, Migori, and the Kibera slum of Nairobi. Policing has been uneven in its implementation. In some strong ODM areas, the police have been shooting to kill, while when confronted with pro-PNU militia, they have opted to negotiate with the groups. However, in the Eldoret area, the police largely stood by and watched as pro-PNU supporters were killed and their houses burnt.

iv) Local militia in pro-PNU areas, on receiving internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Rift Valley, have mobilized in sympathy and turned on perceived ODM supporters, killing them, and burning their houses.

10. The violence is neither genocide nor ethnic cleansing: The root of the problem is not that different ethnic groups decided they could no longer live together. The root of the problem is the inability of peaceful means to address grievances. For this to be genocide there would have to be either state complicity or state collapse and the first obligation would be for the state to provide adequate security for those at risk. Instead we have uneven and selective policing with emphasis on preventing Raila Odinga from holding protests in Nairobi rather than protecting IDPs and others at risk across the country. We therefore believe that the quickest and most effective way to reduce the violence is progress in the current talks.

THE ELECTION TRIGGER

11. It is clear that the flagrant effort to steal the presidential election was the immediate trigger for the violence. All independent observers have said that the tallying process was so flawed that it is impossible to tell who won the presidential election. Since 1992, Kenya’s elections have been progressively better and fairer, culminating in the 2002 elections which were the best ever, and the 2005 constitutional referendum. The effect of this progression is that Kenyans finally believed in the power of the vote as a way of peacefully resolving differences, a fact confirmed by voting trends in the recent parliamentary elections that saw almost 70 percent of incumbents lose their seats. When this sense of empowerment was subverted, and peaceful legal spaces for protests were disallowed, it is not surprising that frustrations boiled over and violence ensued.

12. We have documented some of the facts and analysis that make clear that the flaws in the tallying of presidential votes rendered untenable the conclusion that Mwai Kibaki was validly elected.

13. With the benefit of hindsight, there were steps taken that paint a picture of a well orchestrated plan to ensure a pre-determined result. These include:

i) President Kibaki’s decision to abrogate the agreement of 1997 on the formula for appointments to the Electoral Commission ensuring that all the Commissioners were appointed by him alone;

ii) An administrative decision within the ECK to give responsibility to Commissioners for their home regions, something that had never been done before, meaning that they appointed all the election officials in the constituencies in their home regions, in a manner that created conflicts of interest;

iii) The rejection of an offer from IFES to install a computer program that would enable election officials in the constituencies to submit results electronically to Nairobi and then on to a giant screen available to the public making it virtually impossible to change results;

iv) A decision to abandon the use of ECK staff in the Verification and Tallying Centre in favour of casual staff provided by the Commissioners directly; and

v) A refusal to ensure that election officials in areas with large predictable majorities for any of the candidates came from different areas so as to reduce the likelihood of ballot stuffing.

WAY FORWARD AND ROLE OF US CONGRESS AND GOVERNMENT

14. At this “constitutional moment” that Kenya has reached, we believe the way forward must be centred on truth and justice as the only sustainable road to peace and development. This is the time for Kenya to end the impunity that has been a feature of our history since independence, and also to end the “winner take all” “first past the post” system. Specifically, we call for:

i) An international independent investigation into the 2007 presidential election process in order to come to closure on the elections, find out who did what and why; who ordered it; and promote accountability;

ii) An international independent investigation into the post election violence—from citizens and police–so that there is accountability on all sides.

iii) An interim transitional government to be formed with limited powers of governance and for a limited time–between 1 and 2 years—with Kibaki and Odinga exercising equal powers.

iv) The primary duties of this interim government should be to undertake constitutional reform, and especially explore ways of reforming the current Imperial Presidency; motivate electoral reforms, police reforms, judicial reforms, land reforms, civil service reforms, devolution of power; and conduct new elections at the end of its term.

v) The interim government should also be charged with cooling passions and starting the process of reconciliation through a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission that starts operations immediately after the new elections. It is important that presidential elections be held at the end of the interim government to inspire confidence in Kenya’s electoral processes, and as a sign of the new Kenya.

vi) It is also important to note that significant work in all of these areas of reform has already been done in various constitutional drafts and also by Government Commissions and Task Forces so Kenya would not be starting from scratch.

15. To ensure that there is good faith in the mediation it is imperative that the U.S. Government work with the rest of the international community to maintain pressure on Kenya’s leaders to treat the mediation with utmost seriousness. To this end, we welcome U.S .leadership in raising the crisis in Kenya at the UN Security Council, and call for pressure at this level to be maintained and increased.

16. We also urge Congress to request the release of the exit poll conducted by International Republican Institute (IRI) without delay so as to maintain pressure on all sides to negotiate in good faith. In addition, we urge Congress to work with the EU to have the EU Observation Mission Report released immediately.

17. In case of continued intransigence from any of the parties we call on Congress to impose travel bans on the hardliners on both sides and especially those implicated in instigating violence whether through militia or through the police. These travel bans should extend to hardliners in the civil service and to their immediate families.

18. Moreover, assets of the hardliners and those involved in violence should be traced and the assets frozen.

19. Finally, it is important that U.S. military and security assistance be frozen immediately. All US assistance to Kenya should be channelled through non-governmental sources.

Thank you for this opportunity to address these matters affecting democracy, peace and security, not just in Kenya but also in the East African region.

Contributions to the House of Representatives from Ms Njoki Ndungu can be read here

In general most of the displaced are women and children who have horrific stories to tell of the mayhem and violence. Almost 1000 lives have been lost and over 500,000 persons are displaced.

Of particular concern are the sexual attacks on women. In initial attacks (Violence category 1 and 2) many women were gang raped in their homes or while fleeing to safety. Many have had no access to Post Exposure Prophylaxis or ARV’s which should be administered within 72 hours without which the risk of infection of HIV is very high.[7] Many rapes and sexual assaults are now happening the IDP camps, where the environment is still high-risk. Further many Women and Girls are being sexually exploited in exchange of food, clothing and medicine. Further degradation of women has been seen by attempts of some gangs to strip women wearing trousers.

The current crises in Kenya, prima facie, seems to be an Electoral dispute but a close study reveals a Country that been forced to own up to a deep rooted simmering conflict affecting political, economic, social and cultural aspects of the Nation State itself.

The cause of the current political crises in Kenya is two pronged. First, the poorly managed electoral process dealing with the Presidential Poll result. This acted as a trigger for the Second more entrenched and deep rooted problem that manifested itself in the explosion of violence of a magnitude unknown in post-independent Kenya. The simmering anger that was ignited is a result of a combination of historical injustices from the time of Kenya’s colonial past, and the failure of successive governments of Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki to address comprehensively the problems of inequality of its citizens.

In particular the challenges presented by landlessness, gender inequality, youth unemployment, the widening gap between the extremely wealthy and extremely poor citizens and the marginalization of some communities. Further political campaigns hyped up expectations of Kenyans in promising to redress these issues overnight whereas a structured and systematic approach with realistic time-lines is required to do so. Resolving the issues around truth and justice, particularly around issues of corruption and past violence also meant that the political class on both sides of the divide would have to give up their own in a no “sacred cows” policy which neither was/is willing to do.[1]

Signs of trouble were evident long before the Election in 2007. Most notable is the recurring violence, murders and evictions that happened in the Rift Valley, just before the General Election in 1992[2] and 2002, and in Likoni, Coast Province in 1997. All these events were politically instigated, with none of the main organizers, although they have been identified by the Akiwumi Commission, prosecuted.[3] There has been no concentrated efforts address peace building among different communities and to return or resettle displaced persons. Both these factors have lent to the impunity that is being witnessed of those who started the violence in Kuresoi in November before the General Election and eventually in Eldoret in December 2007. Hate Speech was and is still rife in political rallies, on vernacular FM Radio stations, SMS (short text messages), Emails and in the blogsphere.

Further, politicking and posturing on narrow agendas, such as the contentious MOU[4], rather than focusing on national interest, led to the rejection by oblivious Kenyans of the new draft Constitution in 2005, who threw away its proposed new structures for power sharing between a President and Prime Minister, the reduction of presidential powers, increased parliamentary vetting of public appointments and institutions to deal with the land question, devolution of resources, and addressing the inequalities of the marginalized. If that Constitution was in place, the tragedy of the last few weeks would have been avoided.

The same politicking and posturing but from the opposite end frustrated the enactment of the minimum reform package which would have ensured inter alia the professionalism and independence of the ECK, and would have reduced the powers of the winner-who-takes-it-all.[5] Finally, the political class dillydallied and did not adopt the Recommendations by the Task Force led by Professor Makau Wa Mutua, to set up a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission which would have resolved many past injustices through a peaceful mediation.

    The Election:

The Spark that was to ignite the violent unrest was the presidential poll result. There were ominous signs that the poll would be problematic. Over the last 4 months before the poll media houses were reporting weekly Opinion polls that indicated that it was a tight race between Kibaki and Raila and many coined the phrase ‘too close to call’. In Kenya, this should have sent out a blaring warning that it was too close for comfort. And indeed both Kibaki and Raila got over 4 million votes each(out of over 8 million votes cast) but neither got over 50% of the vote. Conversely this also meant that over 40% of the electorate rejected either candidate. Both sides engaged in electoral malpractices: there was abnormal voter turnout in both Kibaki’s and Raila’s strongholds. In addition to this tense situation, the Electoral Commission of Kenya proceeded to tally the presidential vote in a manner so careless that no reasonable person can be certain, (including all observers present), who actually won the presidential poll.

Many serious questions were raised during the tallying and the announcement of the Presidential results as there were clear discrepancies, illegalities, and disparities with regard to the results released by the ECK. The ECK Chairman himself had during the process of tallying, continually referred to the possibility of results “being cooked” and voiced concerns about the unexplained disappearance of polling officers with the results in certain areas. However, with all these anomalies he still went ahead and declared a result. Kibaki’s PNU are convinced he won and that Raila was never going to accept loss anyway. Raila’s ODM are convinced the poll was stolen with the help of the ECK. What a powder keg and then top it up with the fact that the winner of this election (which is too close to call, with all manner of confusion unprecedented in a Kenyan Election), takes all.

    The Violence.

The Reported violence can be categorized in five distinct types:

1. Spontaneous outrage and protest against a result perceived to be massively flawed.

Many demonstrations, some organized and others sporadic riots in protest of the poll result. Many of these took place in mainly cities and towns often leading to running battles with security forces (police). Some protestors vented anger in the destruction of property and lives were lost. Some fighting in this instance took place between known PNU and ODM supporters. Most of these incidents were recorded between the nights of the 28th December 2007 to the 6th January 2008 and were widespread all over the country with hotspots in Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, and Nairobi’s Slum Areas.

2. Organized and orchestrated violence targeted at certain communities living in their opponents strong hold;

These violent incidents composed of organized groups of youth (read ODM) targeting and killing other Kenyans on the basis of their ethnicity and perceived although not necessarily real supporters of their opponents (read PNU)[6]. The youths traveled around in Lorries, targeting specify properties and attacking persons based their identification cards. There were leaflets printed and circulated warning families to leave. The violence started in Eldoret spreading to other areas of Uasin Gishu District and Spilling over into Nakuru District. Similar attacks are reported in Nyanza, Western and Nairobi. There is sufficient intelligence to suggest that such violence particularly in the Rift Valley was planned, financed and implemented with the knowledge of some political actors. There is further evidence to suggest that some vernacular FM Radio stations had prior to the Election sent coded messages that pointed to the eviction of particular communities from their homes, whatever the outcome of the election – a damning indictment that the election result was used as a pretext for pre-planned evictions. It is clear that many crimes against humanity have taken place.

3. Revenge attacks following (2) above;

As revenge attacks began they take on the same features as the first attacks, only this time PNU versus ODM. Evictions, robbery, destruction of property, loss of life and limb. Preceded by leaflets and SMS sent to would be victims. It is also clear that crimes against humanity are taking place during the revenge attacks.
4. Police violence and excessive use of Force As the police struggle to cope with the rising violence and insecurity, they have in some places been overwhelmed and state they have used live ammunition as a last result. However there have been many cases of cruel and excessive force, use of live bullets and rogue officers killing innocent protestors. In particular the forces used in Kisumu during the first 2 weeks after the elections should be subject to an inquiry to establish whether crimes against humanity have taken place.
5. Criminal Gangs and general lawlessness. Criminal Elements have taken over many parts of Kisumu, Eldoret and elsewhere. There is wanton destruction of railways and road, where gangs rob and extort money from members of the public. Concerns have been raised as to whether increasing unemployment has led to the increased crime (There have been massive job layoffs in the formal sector- an estimated 500,000 jobs on the line, and many casuals have been laid off. The unemployment in the Informal Sectorwill increase this figure ten-fold).

In general most of the displaced are women and children who have horrific stories to tell of the mayhem and violence. Almost 1000 lives have been lost and over 500,000 persons are displaced.

Of particular concern are the sexual attacks on women. In initial attacks (Violence category 1 and 2) many women were gang raped in their homes or while fleeing to safety. Many have had no access to Post Exposure Prophylaxis or ARV’s which should be administered within 72 hours without which the risk of infection of HIV is very high.[7] Many rapes and sexual assaults are now happening the IDP camps, where the environment is still high-risk. Further many Women and Girls are being sexually exploited in exchange of food, clothing and medicine. Further degradation of women has been seen by attempts of some gangs to strip women wearing trousers.

    What next?

1. The Arbitration team lead by Kofi Annan must stay in place not only during the mediation but to ensure the outcome of any agreements that may be reached. Although the ultimate responsibility lies with local leaders there are too many vested interests amongst them to assure the Kenyan Citizens of complete compliance. The Arbitration team must supervise the entire process to the end. ie. until the next Presidential Elections are held.

2. The political settlement reached by the two Parties must contain specific constitutional and legal proposals that should be in an agreed packaged to be immediately passed into law as soon as Parliament re-opens.

3. The political settlement should also contain clear reforms dealing with Security, Civil Service, and Judicial Reform.

4. The settlement must also contain a mechanism for Transitional Justice and a Commission on Land that should be entrenched in the Constitution.

WHAT THE POLITICAL SETTLEMENT SHOULD CONTAIN:

    A. CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL REFORMS.

ELECTORAL REFORMS

The Electoral Commission of Kenya as currently constituted should be dismantled and a new independent body reconstituted, staffed by a professional secretariat and headed by a leaner number of Commissioners. The Members should be nominated from the parliamentary political parties, through a proportional representation formula to be declared by the Speaker.

The Commission should be set up within 30 days of the passing of the Constitutional amendments and embark immediately on key electoral reforms including the redrawing of constituency boundaries (which should be its independent mandate) and redress of past gerrymandering and inequitable distribution of constituency and wards in the Country.

The Commission should then begin preparations for a General Election, of Presidential, Parliamentary and Civic Elections to be held within 24 months from the date of the passing of Constitutional Amendments. (This date should be incorporated in the constitutional amendments package and in the written political settlement).

Parliament should ensure that Electoral Reforms contain a clause to introduce together with the Constituency First-past-the-post, a formula for distribution of seats on a Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) to ensure representation of minorities and marginalized groups, and a specific reference to gender equity.

EXECUTIVE POWER REFORMS

A power sharing arrangement must be introduced, where the Head of State and the Head of Government share the reins of power. The more powerful Ministries should be held equally by their individual parties. The Provisos of the Executive Chapter in the Bomas Draft Constitution as read with the Naivasha Accord as agreed by the Parliamentary Select Committee in November 2004 (with or without negotiated changes) should be adopted, and passed by Parliament through the Constitutional Amendments Package.

JUDICIAL SERVICE REFORM

The already drafted Judicial Service Bill should be part of the legal package of proposed legislation agreed during the political settlement and immediately passed into law when Parliament reopens. This will give the Judiciary the necessary financial Independence it needs from the Executive. Further the powers of the Judicial Service Commission should be amended so as to give Parliament the necessary vetting powers in the appointment of Judges.

CIVIL SERVICE REFORM.

Permanent Secretaries and Ambassadors should be appointed through a Process of Parliamentary vetting. The Head of State and the Head of Government should apply a power sharing arrangement on Ministries that have security and defence oversight and accordingly decided the appointment of key positions in the Military, Police and Security Intelligence.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission should be entrenched in the Constitution to ensure strict independence from the Executive and other arms of Government.

B. LAND REFORMS.

This is a critical issue that must be addressed urgently and comprehensively. An independent Constitutional Commission on Land must immediately be set up. On its immediate agenda is the urgent need for land redistribution. In order to do this the Government would have to purchase land from private individuals and multinationals that own large tracts of arable land and create new settlement schemes. To his credit President Kibaki did introduce ranking of the neediest through a poverty index. This must be used inter also to ensure land resources are used to help the poor. However a work ethic must also be engineered so that the beneficiaries of such settlement extract bounty from the land. Justice must also be done. Where in the past sale of land took place between willing buyer, willing seller, there can be no justifiable excuse for the latter to evict the seller. While addressing the past and comprehensive land policy is urgently needed and needs to be placed before parliament for adoption. Finally there is need to rethink the Kenyan culture with regard to land ownership. Dialogue should be encouraged to think about title of property that is not necessarily land. Housing development and High rise apartment buildings away from agricultural must be the way into the future.

C. TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE.

In 2003 a taskforce on the establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission went around the Country taking views from members of the Public. The public was unanimous that there was urgent need for such a Commission. The terms of reference for the Commission are to investigate political assassinations and killings, Massacres and possible Genocides, Political Violence, Politically instigated ethnic clashes and violations of economic, social and cultural rights. (The full report of the Task Force is herewith attached). The urgency of the need to set up this Commission is self explanatory. It is a critical institution through which Kenya can find itself and learn to forgive.

D. OTHER IMMEDIATE ACTIONS.

1. Immediate Demobilizing of gangs of youth: Recognizing that 89% of the population are Kenyans under age 31, many without gainful employment there is need for immediate implementation of the Marshall Plan for the Youth, This must include a modernized ‘Swyneerton’ Plan where young people can engage not only in gainful employment but in ownership of assets and property.

2. The intergenerational gaps must be closed: There is need to retire from public service any person who was a young Kenyan at the advent of independence. There has been a tendency of the ‘wazee’s to sit on jobs and opportunities which were available to them when they were younger, creating a traffic jam effect: anger and frustration of a waiting in the line younger generation. An attractive package for retirement should be offered to encourage outward movement of the older generation. The same should be done in terms of holding of political office.

3. Masculinity in crises: For the last decade it has become obvious that many men are finding it difficult to move from traditional and cultural to modern roles in a fast growing developing economy such as Kenya. Increasingly women are breadwinners, while young men, particularly in the rural setting spend their time in the market places, mostly discussing politics. The movement from the marketplace to the road blocks for violence should then not come as any surprise. As we focus on the advancement and empowerment of women, an intervention must be made to reinstate the new male model around engaging in gainful employment and equal relationships as a part of society’s expectations of a progressive and modern Kenyan man.

4. Finally, there are immediate challenges of Reconstruction, Resettlement of displaced, Reinvestment, Restoration of our national Image, and validation of traditional and Cultural mechanisms for peace and justice and for national healing.

Finally I would like to state firmly and categorically that Kenya is not another Rwanda. Many peace initiatives and humanitarian interventions are being done by Kenyans for Kenya. To this end international pressure should not in any way involve sanctions that will hurt the poor. The pressure to act should be on the political class in redeeming the image and reputation of Kenya as a stable and peaceful country. As Koffi Annan has said the leaders on both sides must make hard choices; the pressure to act then must affect them directly as individuals to ensure that this is done.

Thank you.