Raila Odinga leader of the ODM speaking to the masses in Kenya. The incumbent Mwai Kibaki is accused of stealing the elections in this east African nation.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 January 2008
By Samuel Siringi And Peter Ng'etich
At least 35 people, most of them women and children, died on Tuesday in Eldoret in the most bizarre killing yet in the ongoing post-election violence.
They were killed when more than 200 youths burnt down a church where residents of two villages in Eldoret South constituency had sought refuge.
The Kiambaa and Kimuri villagers were caught unawares as the youths chanted war songs and surrounded the Kenya Assemblies of God church in Kiambaa in the afternoon.
Those who tried to escape were waylaid and burnt in a nearby shamba.
One of the dead, police confirmed, was a disabled woman in a wheelchair.
A pregnant woman who sustained serious burns on her leg was among 20 survivors who were rushed to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for treatment.
According to a survivor, Mr Joseph Kamande, 47, the killers accused those camping in the church of having voted for President Mwai Kibaki.
"They said we must pay for our decision to vote for President Kibaki," he said.
Mr Kamande said he was lucky to be alive after he fell into a ditch, leading the killers to believe he had died.
But he lost his wife, three children and two grand-children in the incident.
Another survivor, Mrs Elizabeth Wangui Kimunya, 102, had gone to answer a call of nature when the attack occurred.
Peter Munderu, 44, said he lost his three children. "Many bodies are still buried in the debris," he said.
The killings brought to 50 the number of deaths reported around the town on Tuesday alone.
Eleven others had been killed in Langas estate early Tuesday morning.
The town is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crisis in its history.
Kenya Red Cross officials estimated that more than 30,000 families had been forced out of their homes.
The displaced families have packed into police station compounds, churches, schools and mosques to capacity.
But the families, mainly women and children, are facing a serious shortage of food and water as all shops and supermarkets remained closed.
Uchumi Supermarket, which had remained the only open shopping outlet, was closed yesterday after it ran out of stocks. There is also a shortage of medicine and sanitation.
"We are kindly appealing to donors and humanitarian organisations to help supply food items to the women and children that are facing starvation," said Mrs Mary Kiptanui, a volunteer with the Kenya Red Cross.
Calls were being made yesterday that a way be cleared to enable displaced people travel to their rural areas.
"We are facing a critical humanitarian and security situation in Eldoret," said Mr Mohamud Jama an elder in the town.
"There is heavy fighting in the outskirts and there are no signs that the flare-ups will end any time soon," he added.
Many bodies lay at the Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary.
"We need urgent measures to help us collect the bodies from the mortuary for burial," said Mr Jama.
Former State House Comptroller Ibrahim Kiptanui, who helped rescue two children from the hand of killers, described the situation as grave.
In Kisumu, at least 56 people have died and 1,500 others displaced following skirmishes that have rocked the area in the last five days.
Kisumu central and Kondele police stations provided refuge to many of the displaced while others camped at the Kisumu West DC's office after groups of people destroyed their homes and threatened to lynch them.
Their attempts to secure transport back to their ancestral homes hit a snag after vehicle owners refused to ferry them, fearing that they may be attacked along the way.
Nyanza PC Paul Olando said a group of residents had requested the administration to assist them move out of Kisumu.
He said security arrangements had been made among three PCs to hand over the people at their boundaries.
Kisumu DC Jamleck Mbaruga was holed up in a meeting with the vehicle owners for the better part of the morning.
When the press called on him in his office, he said, "We are discussing how to get these people out of this place to a safer zone."
He, however, did not elaborate whether the Government will provide alternative means if they fail to reach an agreement.
The riots that entered the fifth day yesterday have left a lot of damage in their wake. The protesters burnt down several residential and commercial buildings in the town, looted from shops and injured several people.
Mr Mbaruga described the situation as terrible but assured that the Government was doing everything possible to restore normalcy.
Additional reporting by Walter Menya
50 Houses Burnt in Night of Terror
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 January 2008
By Sollo Kiragu And Kennedy Masibo
More than 50 houses were burnt on Monday night in Londiani and Chilchila areas of new Kipkelion District.
The mounting post - election violence being experieced in most parts of the country has created an unprecedented levels of Internally Displaced Persons - IDP's.
In Mogotio, sisal farm machinery worth millions belonging to former Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi went up in smoke.
Also burnt down were sisal products ready for sale and other raw materials.
In Londiani, residents of Urafiki farm bore the brunt of the violence.
More than 200 acres of sugarcane were destroyed by fire, said an elder identified as Geoffrey Njuguna. About 3,600 people were displaced, Mr Njuguna said.
The area is inaccessible as riots have rocked the region since the announcement of presidential results on Sunday.
The displaced people were at Kunyak Secondary School, Kunyak Dispensary, Kunyak Catholic Church and Kunyak PCEA.
Meanwhile, tension remained high in Kericho Town on Tuesday.
For the last two days the town has been hit by chaos as rowdy mobs went on the rampage, looting shops and beating those suspected to be PNU supporters.
Most shops and hotels have remained closed creating a food shortage.
By Monday, at least 23 people had been killed in Kericho. Fear and uncertainty engulfed the busy Kericho Town, which has become a ghost town.
Tension is still high at Nyagacho estate where several houses have been reduced to ashes and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
Many families have sought refuge at Kericho Police Station.
More than 4,000 people are camping at the police station while another 3,000 are at St Mary's Catholic Church.
The Kenya Red Cross Society Kericho branch chairman, Mr Richard Barchok, is appealing for food, water and shelter for the victims, saying the situation was serious and required urgent measures.
Public transport operators kept off the town for fear of being attacked.
In Eldama Ravine Town, hundreds of residents of Shauri Yako Estate camped at the local police station for safety.
Rift Valley provincial police officer Everett Wasige on Monday held a meeting with local security committee. The Press, however was not briefed.
In Nakuru Town, few shops opened in the morning and later closed.
Kibaki, Raila And Kalonzo May Issue Joint Message Over Chaos
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 January 2008
President Kibaki, ODM leader Raila Odinga and ODM-K's Kalonzo Musyoka are close to making a joint statement calling for calm in the country in the wake of its enormous post-election violence, the Daily Nation can exclusively reveal.
Knowledgeable sources said Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka suggested they were open to the idea when they met the head of the Commonwealth observer team to the recently concluded election, former Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, separately on Monday. President Kibaki met Mr Kabbah at State House on Tuesday.
Mr Julius Mucunguzi, the Commonwealth Observer Group's press officer, confirmed to the Daily Nation last evening that the three leaders met Mr Kabbah, although he could not be drawn on the details of the meeting.
Mr Mucunguzi said; "Yes, they met. Kabbah's interest is stability and harmony, and his view is that Kenya has been a good example for Africa that must be supported to return to calm".
According to reliable sources close to Mr Musyoka, he was the first to meet Mr Kabbah at the Serena Hotel. The two agreed that the priority was to restore calm. Mr Musyoka was reportedly "the modest voice" among the three leaders.
Our information suggests that at the meeting, Mr Musyoka said he was willing to be part of a government of national unity that would help heal the country and suggested that the failed Narc-power sharing deal of 2002 could be one formula that might be used to defuse the situation.
Significantly, our sources say, Mr Musyoka said it wouldn't be helpful to have a government of national unity without Mr Odinga, because the latter has influence with large constituencies that would continue to withdraw critical political support from any such government. Mr Musyoka said he was happy to issue a joint statement with the two.
Mr Kabbah met later in the day with Mr Odinga, who was known to have "major reservations". ODM sources said Mr Kabbah broke the ice by telling Mr Odinga about a "mutual friend", former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mr Kabbah, our sources say, made a "compelling" presentation of how Sierra Leone descended into anarchy, arguing that one of the most dangerous political stages for a country is when it begins to be rocked by ethnic tensions.
A much-mellowed Mr Odinga, in the end, reportedly said he would be agreeable to issuing a joint appeal with Mr Kibaki and Mr Musyoka. However, he had reservations about the idea of a national unity government, because by being part of any such project, he would be acknowledging that Mr Kibaki won the election fairly, which he believes he didn't.
Pressed on why he had ruled out going to court, Mr Odinga repeated his position that the courts were stuffed with pro-Kibaki judges who weren't independent. However, ODM and other sources say Mr Odinga said he would welcome foreign judges to conduct an independent inquiry into the elections or to pursue other options of resolving the post-poll standoff.
In a sign that all is not lost, Mr Odinga reportedly said; "Kibaki is largely a good man. The bigger problem are the people around him like [Internal Affairs] minister John Michuki".
The ODM leader, it's reported, also said he would be happy for the Commonwealth to play a leading role, because he "did not trust the leaders in East Africa," after it was suggested that perhaps the East African Community could be a possible mediator.
Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka met later in the day. Mr Musyoka's associates said he "found Mr Odinga much more moderate than when they first spoke a day earlier". Yesterday, State House issued a statement saying President Kibaki had met Mr Kabbah, but did not give any details.
The Daily Nation has learnt from various sources that "the meeting went well".
Mr Kabbah reportedly told the president that for the sake of peace, he had to appoint four rebels whom he didn't agree with and disliked to his government.
President Kibaki, our sources say, told Kabbah he would gladly issue a joint statement or appear together with Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka for calm, and urged the Commonwealth Observer team boss to postpone his travel out of Kenya for a few days to mediate the process.
President Kibaki, we learnt, however told Mr Kabbah that Mr Odinga's demands, particularly that he should step down from power, were unacceptable.
Our sources say Mr Kabbah, after criticising the role that media sometimes play in inflaming political tension, appealed to President Kibaki to reconsider the recent ban on live broadcast and "publishing alarming" material.
He reportedly said the danger with such restrictions, is that messages of reconciliation and hope also don't get out.
Mr Kabbah's initiatives join a list of growing actions by various Kenya peace leaders, after violence consumed many parts of western, Rift Valley, the outskirts of Nairobi and Mombasa following the announcement of Kibaki as winner of the December 27 elections.
The Commonwealth team has been guarded in its verdict on the election, but the European Union and the US have since said the presidential poll, especially the tallying of the vote, was not fair.
Ali Cautions Kenyans Against Attending Rally
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 January 2008
Police Commissioner Hussein Ali has cautioned Kenyans against attending rallies called by politicians, warning that they would be arrested.
Major-General Ali outlawed a meeting called by ODM leaders at Uhuru Park on Thursday, citing the volatile security situation in the country.
The police commissioner said: "After due consideration of the prevailing security situation, the meeting is illegal and any person who will attempt to attend this meeting will face the full force of the law."
He cited the law on the guidelines and regulations for organising and holding such political rallies, processions and meetings.
"After all, the season for political rallies in the country is over. There will be no more rallies and we will ensure that none takes place," he told journalists at Vigilance House, the police headquarters.
On Tuesday, Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said the police directive will be in force until the current security situation normalises.
Maj-Gen Ali warned: "Anybody inciting Kenyans into violence, engaging or procuring others to commit criminal offences will be dealt with according to the law without any exception," he said.
Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said police will not have the capacity to cater for political rallies and at the same time monitor the security situation in the country.
Stop the Violence, ODM Tells Supporters
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 January 2008
By Kenneth Ogosia
The ODM Pentagon members on Tuesday told their supporters countrywide to stop attacking their opponents.
The ODM leaders claimed that more than 500 people had been killed in the protests following the disputed victory of President Kibaki in the General Election.
However, the party said it would continue with mass action rallies planned for tomorrow although police had informed that their meeting planned for Uhuru Park in Nairobi had been cancelled.
The leaders acknowledged that they had received a letter from the police cancelling the rally. But they insisted that the role of the officers was limited to providing security and that they had no authority to reject a public meeting after receiving the notification.
"Police are only to be notified to provide security and should not reply. It is illegal for the Central police boss to send us a cancellation letter. We shall inform them about exactly what the law requires them to do," presidential candidate Raila Odinga said.
The leaders said the people being killed and their property destroyed had a right to support President Kibaki. They blamed the police for allowing what they termed as a massacre.
They insisted that any talks to resolve the crisis in the country should be based on the acceptance by President Kibaki that the elections were compromised.
Mr Odinga said he had spoken with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who had suggested that a mediator be appointed to facilitate talks between him and President Kibaki.
He said he had agreed to talk to Mr Kibaki through a negotiator. He added that several names of had been suggested of people who could play that role.
"It is now up to Mr Brown to reach out to Mr Kibaki. Our position is clear that we won legitimately."
The leaders claimed that a senior police officer was killing people in Kisumu while driving a vehicle bearing foreign registration numbers.
Mr Odinga said many members of communities from Central Province were his supporters and claimed it was part of Government propaganda to link ODM to the killings in several parts of the country.
He said elections were rigged at KICC.
He claimed that Internal Security minister John Michuki and Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu bore the responsibility for the chaos that have engulfed several parts of the company and what he termed as "the civilian coup".
Accompanied by Pentagon members Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Charity Ngilu and Joseph Nyagah, Mr Odinga claimed that the Government had stifled the media and the airwaves, making it difficult for them to communicate with their people to stop the violence.
The leaders said the blame for the chaos lay squarely with President Kibaki, whom they accused of usurping the will of the Kenyan people to impose his "autocratic" rule, supported by a clique of elite.
The will of Kenyans
Mr Ruto told the President to resign for "insulting the intelligence of Kenyans".
"Mr Odinga won in six provinces and Mr Kibaki in two. ODM has over 100 MPs elect, PNU has 37. How on earth can one come to terms with the fact that a loser can announce himself the winner?" Mr Ruto asked.
The ODM leaders claimed that City Mortuary was cordoned off because hundreds of bodies were being sneaked in after the "massacre".