Kenya so far

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Political and diplomatic solutions

Following Ghana president Kuffour’s unsucccessful visit to mediate for peace in the Kenyan crises, the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, was expected in Kenya last Wednesday to continue negotiations, but was unable to do so due to a health issue. It is still unknown when his trip will be made. The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Fraser, is to return to Kenya to continue talks. Others actively involved in the peace mediation include the former president of Mozambique, Joachim Chissano, Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the former president of Tanzania, Ben and Graca Machel as well as Winnie Mandela who is expected in the Kenyan Capital this week.

The Kenyan Law society has called for fresh elections to address the political crises affecting the country. The European Union also asked for new elections if a fair and credible recount (by an independent body) of votes cast in the 27 December elections proves impossible.

Social issues

The UN has launched a $34 million humanitarian appeal to help hundreds of thousands of Kenyans affected by the crises, which is crossing the ethnic divide at a considerable speed. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced while thousands continue to lose their jobs amid sharp rises in food prices… and it is not yet the end. The opposition has called for a boycott of companies run by political allies to the government, after their call to end street protests on Friday. South Korea has so far contributed $100,000 to the UNICEF office in Nairaobi, conducting humanitarian relief activities for children and women refugees.

Police and mob actions

A television footage showing the police shooting and killing an unarmed demonstrator prompted several reactions leading to a response from police chief in Kisumu, who said that some police officers had not adhered to orders to use only tear gas and truncheons. He also said that investigations were currently in progress. In defence, the police spokesman, Mr. Kiraithe, said that they were aware of innocent people being manipulated by politicans. More than 500 people have lost their lives since the begining of the crises.

Economic issues

Tourism, horticulture and the tea industry earn an estimated $1 billion in foreign currency per annum, an amount that is estimated as lost since post election unrest from 28 December, 2007. Tourism which is considered as the best economic performer has been hard hit. An 85% loss in foreign air transport alone may cost a hundred thousand jobs with a spill over effect, confirmed the chairman of the Kenyan Association of Tour Operators for the coastal area. The country is loosing an estimated $30 million per day. Until now, tourism was not the only sector enjoying economic growth through foreign investments but also telecommunications and the agricultural sector.

After an impressive 7% growth rate last year, it is expected that if things do not return to normal in the soonest possible time, growth will slow down drastically to less than 4.5%.

International community

The European Union Parliament, in the meantime, voted unanimously on Thursday to suspend aid to the country, demanding an end to this political turmail afflicting the country.
Britain, the old colonial master, is being very careful. “We have a lots of business interests here” said an unnamed western ambassador in Nairobi. The Commonwealth officially doubted the election results without making further comments, whereas the United States in alliance with Kenya in its fight against regional violence in East Africa blamed Odinga for the unrest and also asked for a lasting solution.

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