ACTING TOGETHER FOR KENYA: AGREEMENT ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PARTNERSHIP OF THE COALITION GOVERNMENT.
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.
President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga Thursday signed a deal that will see them share power through the creation of a Prime Minister position.
The deal, brokered by Africa Union chairman President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Mr Kofi Annan, will see the creation of a grand coalition sharing power according to party strength in Parliament.
The deal provides that the PM will coordinate and supervise Ministers, while Cabinet positions will be shared proportionally according to party strength in Parliament.
The President will have the authority to sack Cabinet members, but only with written agreement from leaders of the respective coalition party.
The Cabinet will comprise the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers.
The coalition will collapse at the end of the current Parliament, or if the parties so agree, or if one partner withdraws.
The signing at Nairobi’s Harambee House was witnessed by diplomats and broadcast live on national television.
President Kibaki and Mr Odinga first signed the agreement, then President Kikwete and Mr Annan appended their signatures as witnesses.
The agreement was the result of a five-hour meeting chaired by President Kikwete involving Mr Annan, President Kibaki and Raila Odinga.
And this is how Kofi Anan explains the deal:
But let us not forget, how it sounded just some days ago:
Still, the coalition depends on the good will of the protagonists. It is a deal between Odinga and Kibaki, but there are many more characters who want their share of the deal. As soon as there is no Kofi Anan in Kenya anymore, the Coalition will become fragile. It all depends how much issues will be dealt with in next weeks before it comes into a standstill.
Many articles in the Kenyan “blogosphere” (see chart below), local and international media have been written about the post-election crisis. The numbers reach into their thousands. This article tries to give an overview about good articles with background information on Kenya and the current political crisis. It is just a selection and we are sure that we may have missed many good ones. It is just the beginning and we will try to keep it updated, so if you see any good ones that would fit into this page, please use the comment function to add them.
(Topics in alphabetical order)
The Draft Constitution of Kenya, known as the Boma’s draft, was adopted by the National Constitutional Conference on 15th of march 2004.
“The potential impact of economic sanctions on the Kenyan government” takes a closer look at the Kenyan economy and delivers useful statistics and numbers.
“Eyes on the World Bank and Kibaki’s economy” takes a closer look at the economic program of Kibaki’s government and at the World Bank’s interest in Kenya.
Antony Otieno Ong’ayo, a researcher at the Transnational Institute, Amsterdam, gives “An overview of the underlying factors” of “The Post-election Violence in Kenya” at Pambazuka News. It is detailed and gives a great historic overview as well .
“Unearthing of the sources of tribal disagreements and ethno-politics in Kenya” takes a closer look at the historic background of tribalism in Kenya.
The US biased NGO Human Rights Watch published a report about the involvement of opposition politicians in the preparation of the Rift valley violence. “Kenya: Opposition Officials Helped Plan Rift Valley Violence” was published on January 24th 2008.
The article “The effect of the Kenyan crisis on Kenya’s health system” tries to summarize the struggles to keep up the Kenyan health system in this time of crisis. It also refers to an article by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs IRIN “KENYA: Healthcare threatened by political crisis”
International Medical Corps addresses the issue “Risk of Long-Term Food Insecurity and Malnutrition” in Kenya.
The Africa Policy Institute published a report by Horace Njuguna Gisemba named “The Lie of the land: Evictions and Kenya’s crisis”. It takes a closer look at the history of land distribution and ownership in the Rift valley and disputes the often heard argument of “land distribution” as the underlying cause for the killings. It is controversally discussed at the Kenya imagine.
Humanitarian news and analysis (IRIN) also writes about “Spreading the word of hate” .
John Barbieri, an independent reporter and the founder of the US Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice in Kenya writes about the “The poverty of international journalism”.
Simiyu Barasa, a member of the Coalition of Concerned Kenyan Writers, wrote an essay on “War journalism: Kenya’s newest tourist attraction” on the kwani blog. Barasa picks up the concept of “peace journalism” by the Norwegian Scholar John Galtun and shows how the local media tries to use their influence to promote peace and fails due to an international “war journalism”. He gives examples how cameras create stories and that media attention is only drawn by violence. This is done by the very same media cooperation which thought it was their responsibility not to show any cruel pictures after 9/11 and during the Iraq war.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) strongly condemned the violation of press freedoms and intimidation of journalists on January 19t.
The Mukoma Wa Ngugi analysis on the differences within the Orange Democratic Movement and the different political approaches by its leaders. “Understanding the Kenyan Opposition” brings to light the differences between the activist-intellectual left, the Moi-ist retrogressives, and the populists within the party.
“Eyes on Kenyan Political Parties: A call for change” looks at the historic background of Kenya’s Parties and the lack of their political profiles.
In the publication “Political Succession in East Africa – In Search for a Limited Leadership” by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Dr. Katumanga Musambayi wrote the chapter: “After the floods – The Rainbow: Contextualising NARC’s election victory – Lessons learnt and the challenges ahead”. It was published in 2006 and gives an overview about the prior election in 2002.
Despite the fact that the different religious communities play an important role in Kenya's society, we have not found any deeper analysis on the role of the churches to promote peace and their role in finding a conflict solution.
United States of America
Here we are still looking for a good article, that analyses the change in the US policies towards the Kibaki government.
Our early analysis on the “The role of the US Department of State in the aftermath of Kenyan Election” sees a change in US policies as the results of a learning process due to the mistakes made in the 2005 Ethiopian election.
Patrick Mutahi asks the Question”What is America's stake in this?” and explains their interest according to their “war on terror” policies.
The “Women’s Memorandum to the Mediation Team” was published on Pambazuka News. It was written by the “Kenyan Women's Consultation Group on the Current Crisis in Kenya” a group of women from various backgrounds who met to discuss a solution to the crisis. Among other important points it stresses the importance of women participation in the finding of conflict solutions adhereing to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
"Violence and women in Kenya" portraits the Kenyans Prof. Wangari Maathai, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi and Gladwell Otieno and takes a closer look at violence against female candidates in the pre-election period.
Again: If you know other background articles on the current situation in Kenya, please use the comment function or the "Contact Page" to add them. If you leave a comment you have the option to be notified for any further comments.
Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga had a surprise visitor this week — a high-ranking politician from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition.
Gernot Erler, Germany’s deputy foreign minister, was secretly flown into Kenya at the request of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General who is mediating between Kenya’s warring factions to resolve a crisis sparked by Kibaki’s disputed re-election last December.
Annan had turned to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to ask for an expert to assist in talks between Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Steinmeier entrusted the job to Erler.
Erler’s task was to explain the workings of Merkel’s grand coalition between her center-right Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, of which the minister is a member.
My visit was a surprise to all,” Erler told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on the last day of his mission. “But then everyone was really interested and had a lot of questions.”
Erler said his job was to explain the complicated arithmetic underlying the power-sharing model in Germany and how such a consensus-based system worked. Germany’s grand coalition came into being after federal elections in 2005, ending two months of political uncertainty after Merkel’s conservatives won a wafer-thin majority.
“My job was to present the model so that the Kenyans can see if a similar system could work for them,” Erler said. The minister had also brought along an English version of Germany’s coalition agreement with him so that the Kenyans could spend time studying it.
The German Coalition
Of course, it is hard to find similarities between the Kenyan crisis today and the post election situation in Germany in 2005. With more than 1000 lost lives lost and more than 300.000 displaced persons, the gaps to over come are tremendous.
Still, in order to look for a conflict solution it is worth to look at the concept of a “grand coalition”, when it makes sense to and whether it lasts.
A “grand coalition” is usually not the preferred model in a parliamentary democracy. The only exception for many years is the oldest democracy in the world: Switzerland. Here, government positions were distributed according to the seats in the Parliament. It worked because of a unique democratic culture, in which the will of power-sharing and consensus decisions are high valued. The position of the head of government was rotated among the ministers. The system worked only as long as Politicians respected certain rules and it failed when the eccentric right wing populist billionaire Blocher broke the political consensus by campaigning with a brutal anti-Immigrants campaign. He crossed the line and forced the other Parties to unite against him. It showed how much the system was depending on the acceptance of democratic rules by Politicians.
The 2005 German general election ended up in a Parliamentary “deadlock” situation. The ruling coalition of chancellor Schröder’s SPD and the Grüne Party lost their majority. But Merkel’s CDU/CSU did not reach more than 50% together with their preferred partner FDP. The 614 seats of Parliament were distributed as follows: SPD 222, CDU 180, CSU 46, Grüne 51, FDP 61 and the Linke 54.
Right after the election both Merkel and Schröder claimed to have the mandate to form the government. Schröder claimed to be the head of the biggest Party in Parliament. Since CDU and CSU are partners, Merkel had was head of the biggest Party group (The CSU is a Bavarian tribalist version of the CDU).
The preliminary condition for the German grand coalition to work was that one had to step down from this position. It was for sure that chancellor Schröder would not take any other position in the government than that of Chancellor and the CDU/CSU would have never accepted a non CDU/CSU chancellor. In order to start negotiations SPD had to call upon Schröder to resign.
Another factor was Angela Merkel. She was much more accepted by the SPD as a chancellor of grand coalition than some other CDU/CSU politicians. Edmund Stoiber, who ran in the previous election for CDU/CSU would have not been accepted by the SPD.
“It is a Grand Coaltion, if it does not move in any direction .” (c) suika
Both Parties are currently not happy about the situation. Every controversial issue, every local election becomes a test how much the coalition can take. Even though the government has a comfortable majority in both Parliament houses, great changes have not been made and issues like the reform of the health system have not been toughed. Both partners announced they do not want to continue the coalition after the next general election.
A German like “grand coalition” is not a good solution, but sometimes may be the only possibility. It works only if both partners step down from radical positions and verbal attacks. It cannot be a solution for a long period and most important is that the crucial changes are made immediately.
One lesson might be learned from another German “grand coalition”. In 1968 protest grew against the SPD/CDU/CSU coalition and ended up in a the formation of the “Out of Parliament opposition” and the growth of a political civil society. This is something that might help the Kenyan political development as well.
Amnesty International urges Kenya’s leaders to ensure the human rights of Kenyan people are protected.
An international day of public and online action this month will demonstrate solidarity with the people of Kenya and call on the Kenyan government to protect people from politically-motivated and ethnic violence.
On 27 February, people can show their outrage at the continuing human rights abuses in Kenya in a series of events organised by Amnesty International; including an online Facebook action and a series of street demonstrations.
The disputed election of 27 December 2007 sparked an outbreak of fighting and a series of grave human rights violations. At least 1,000 people have been killed so far, while more than 300,000 have been displaced.
Amnesty International’s recent visit to Kenya found evidence of unlawful killings, the ethnically targeted forced relocation and burning of homes by armed militias, excessive use of force by security officials, sexual violence against women and girls, and violations of freedom of expression and assembly. Amnesty International has also documented death threats against human rights defenders and activists.
The death toll includes hundreds shot dead by police, who were deployed to quell the post-election violence and break up mass protests against the election called by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) opposition party.
Subsequent violence has seen increasingly organised attacks by ethnic militia and youth gangs against people of Kikuyu ethnicity, which has led to retaliatory attacks by Kikuyu militias and youth gangs.
There is particular concern at the ethnic dimension to the political violence and its possible long-term implications for Kenyan society.
Amnesty International calls on the Kenyan government to protect the people of Kenya, many of whom have endured unrelenting suffering in the last two months. Kenyan leaders must end the cycle of impunity that perpetuates the politically motivated violence in Kenya.
The following text is a statement by the Kenyan Women’s Consultation Group on the Current Crisis in Kenya. For more than two weeks Kenyan women from several Organizations met and discussed the current crisis and approaches to end it. Action Aid International, Vital Voices, UNIFEM, Nairobi Peace Initiative and Urgent Action Fund-Africa facilitated the consultations. The statement was presented to the international mediation team including, Kofi Annan, Graça Machel and Benjamin Mkapa at Serena Hotel Nairobi on January 25, 2008.
The statement has been published before, for example at Pambazuka News.
Since we think it is a very valuable statement, we have decided to quote it in full length:
Women’s Memorandum to the Mediation Team
Serena Hotel, Nairobi, January 25, 2008
Kenyan Women’s Consultation Group on the Current Crisis in Kenya (2008-01-29)
Your Excellency Kofi Annan
Your Excellency Graça Machel
Your Excellency Benjamin Mkapa
We thank Your Excellencies for the opportunity to address this forum. We make this presentation on behalf of Kenyan women who have been meeting in Nairobi over the last two weeks. Action Aid International, Vital Voices, UNIFEM, Nairobi Peace Initiative and Urgent Action Fund-Africa have facilitated the consultations. A committee of 11 women present here, represents the larger group.
Kenyan women assert their rights as citizens of this country to participate in all political processes and initiatives that seek to find solutions to the crisis that currently that our beloved motherland faces. We are mindful of our special responsibilities in all the spheres of nation building including truth & justice seeking, peacebuilding and reconciliation. We embrace all our diversities as we collectively seek solutions. We acknowledge that in the resolution of the current conflict, there has to be ‘give and take’ from both sides of the political divide. We assert that as citizens we must take responsibility for resolving and transforming the conflict and the inclusion and participation of civic groups, including women’s groups at the community level is critical to the success of efforts to resolve the conflict.
The important role of women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts is reaffirmed in The Constitutive Act of the African Union, The AU’s Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, The Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of women in Africa, The African Charter on the Rights and welfare often Child, and by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The resolution stresses the importance of women’s equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision –making with regard to conflict prevention.
The UN Resolution 1325 further calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, including, inter alia
a) The special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post conflict reconstruction.
b) Measures that support local women’s peace initiatives and indigenous processes for conflict resolution, and that involve women in all of the implementation mechanisms of the peace process.
c) Measures that ensure the protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary;
All these instruments recognise the centrality of women to the development of democracy and democratic institutions and the importance of their participation at every level, and in every process. Women are central actors and ‘right holders’ in any process that addresses sustainable development, security and human rights. During this crisis, Kenyan women have been at the forefront in community peace building and mediation efforts in the North Rift and other areas.
(c) by Gado
Is there a conflict? What are The Facts?
A political crisis has engulfed the country following the announcement of presidential results on December 30, 2007.There are allegations of a flawed tallying process by the electoral commission , hence the dispute as to who the actual winner of the presidential vote was. As a consequence, violent conflict broke out in many parts of Kenya from December 30, 2008 and continues to this day. This conflict is expressed in the following ways:
1. Spontaneous and organised demonstrations against the ECK and the government.
2. Killings that have so far claimed the lives of over 700 Kenyans. These killings are by a) extra judicial executions by the police of targeted communities and demonstrators. b) Militia executions, torture and mutilations of civilians targeted at particular ethnic communities (these include forced circumcisions & castrations) and c) by ordinary citizens
3. Criminal conduct by citizens looting, burning and destruction of private and public property.
4. Increased sexual violence against women and children.
5. Suspension of constitutional freedoms including the freedom of conscience, assembly and worship.
6. Violation on the rights of the media and right to information by a ban on media broadcasting of live events.
7. Ethnic and politically instigated evictions of populations of certain communities from their properties resulting in large numbers of internally displaced Kenyans ( approximately 260,000)
8. Ethnically instigated employment displacement of workers in certain regions (tea peckers in Kericho) and eviction rental properties.
This situation has resulted in:
- A breakdown in the rule of law and a lack of confidence in institutions of law and order.
- Breakdown of social relationships and trust among Kenyan Communities and an exacerbation of existing ethnic tensions.
- Human insecurity (including food insecurity).
- Continued systematic and widespread violation of human rights and a lack of respect for the sanctity of life.
- Proliferation of propaganda by all parties including the state and an increase in hate media on all media (FM stations -in particular vernacular FM stations, print, electronic and new media -text messaging, email, internet) that demonises particular communities.
Human Rights watch accuses local ODM leaders in the Rift valley region of organising atrocities
“Human Rights Watch investigations indicate that, after Kenya’s disputed elections, opposition party officials and local elders planned and organized ethnic-based violence in the Rift Valley, Human Rights Watch said today. (Read and comment here)
We are waiting for an official statement from ODM. They have to take actions now.
Number of reported rapes have doubled
Violence against women seems to explode. According to reuters , reported cases of rape and sexual attacks against women have doubled in areas of Kenya hit by political violence amid a climate of impunity for gangs carrying them out, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. In an interview with Reuters, Kathleen Cravero, director of the world body’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, called for aid programs in the East African nation to make sure that vulnerable women and girls were protected from attack. “In Nairobi hospital and in the medical centers and hospitals around the areas of greatest violence, the number of rapes and sexual attacks being reported by women and being handled by medical personnel has doubled,” Cravero said. “What that tells us is that we have a very serious problem indeed because only a small percentage of rapes and sexual attacks are ever reported in Kenya or in many other countries.”Cravero stopped short of directly accusing the Kenyan government of ignoring the problem but said the political violence had led to “an environment that is tolerating very high levels of rape and sexual attack against women”. She said she was sure there was targeting of women for political or ethnic reasons although there was no evidence that either side was particularly responsible. But much of the sexual violence was opportunistic, she said.”Gangs find a woman who’s searching for firewood, gangs find a couple of young girls that are fetching water,” Cravero said. “There’s nothing to stop them, there’s a climate of impunity, they’re sure there will be no consequences, so it happens, and this is what we have to stop.”
We ask for support for setting up Rape crisis centers. For those wishing to contribute to the appeal for rape crisis centres, the bank details are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
The film-maker and member of the Coalition of Concerned Kenyan Writers Simiyu Barasa brings the discussion about the role of local and international media forward with the powerful essay “War journalism: Kenya’s newest tourist attraction” published on the kwani blog.
Barasa picks up the concept of “peace journalism” by the Norwegian Scholar John Galtun and showed how the local media tried to use their influence to promote peace and failed due to an international “war journalism”. He gives examples how cameras create stories and media attention is only drawn by violence. This is done by the very same media cooperation which thought it was their responsibility not to show any cruel pictures after 9/11 and during the Iraq war.
Charity event in Boston
People on the other side of the ocean will have the chance to raise money at a benefit concert in “The Roxy” in Boston, Ma on Feb. 2nd. Numerous Kenyan artist will preform. The money will go to the Kenyan Red Cross. It is organized by “Vuma Kenya”. For more information look up the Joseph Karoki blog.
Because the words “tribe” and “tribal” have had a great recurrence of no less than once in each media reporting about Kenya, Pambazuka Editors try to give a very detailed and lengthy definition that fits. What’s in a word? What does the word “tribe” carry? Here below Pambazuka Editors give you a few snippets of what is a long struggle to get US Mainstream media to stop using a racist and stereotypical lens in its coverage of Africa. One can find the fascinating discussion at www.h-net.org/~africa. They end with an excerpt from an Africa Action essay on the word.
A way forward?
Do we see a way forward in the Kenya’s stale-mate? Nation Media reports the news that the rivals Kibaki and Odinga are actually slated to meet together today at Harambee House.
President Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga have both arrived at Nairobi’s Harambee House for the first face-to-face talks over the political crisis out of disputed election results. No agenda has been given for the talks brokered by a team of international mediators led by former UN chief Kofi Annan. Mr Odinga was accompanied by one of his party’s top officials, Mr William Ruto. President Kibaki arrived with five members of his Cabinet, including Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Ministers George Saitoti (Security), Martha Karua (Justice), Samuel Poghisio (Information) and Ali Mwakwere (Transport).
We eagerly await results of the talks, and cross our fingers for an end to the violence.
The second part of our article Eyes on the International Community concerning elections in Africa about Ethiopia is out now. The next part will be about the election in in the Democratic Republic of Congo and and will be published in the following days.
While Annan, Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel arrive in Nairobi, the killing continues. 7 people died in Nandi, Rift Valley region. At least this time it seems that none of the mediators got insulted by Mr Mutua.We appreciate the presents of Mrs Graca Machel. Finally the UN resolution 1325 on women, peace and security is being taken seriously.
We do not appreciate the Presence of Ugandan President Museveni. Not only that rumours about Ugandan military operating on in Kenya are so hard to kill, that the Uganda army now mad newspaper advertisements in Kenya to say they are not in the country (We still have not found any proof that they have been in the country, but the advertisement almost leads to the question: What do they have to hide?). Looking on the number of Ugandan opposition leaders in exile, his presence during the mediation does not seem to be positively influential. We will take a closer look at how Museveni won his last election in Part 4 of the analysis: “Eyes on the International Community concerning elections in Africa.”
Good news is that both sides said they want the International Criminal Court to investigate the killings. Hopefully actions will follow words.
The Orange Democratic Movement has announced it will file a case against the Government at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In their case, the party announced that they had named President Kibaki and his Cabinet, Roads minister John Michuki, Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, AP commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and his GSU commandant Mathew Iteere as the people they want investigated and tried. Prof Nyong’o said about 3,000 guns and uniforms had disappeared from the GSU camp in Nairobi and were being used by gangs masquerading as police officers, but could not give any evidence.
African women thought she saw a change in the police tactic in the area between Kibera and Ligi Ndogo grounds where ODM prayers were held. It looked like the police forces would manage to keep it peaceful. Unfortunately her hopes were too optimistic
the mourning and grief at the funerals did not.
John Barbieri from the US Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice in Kenya published the interesting article “The poverty of international journalism” in which he analyses the role of the US state department in East Africa and also criticises the role of international media. He quotes from Rebecca Wanjiku’s blog:
“...the mainstream U.S. media appears to send the following double message: we are not interested in Africans or African politics, that is unless there is a full out Rwanda-like bloodbath (with pictures of gruesome machete attacks and all, of course) so we can stereotype all Africans as the savages we think they are.”
The well read blog from Joseph Karoki raises the question whether ODM could have done more to prevent the ethnic clashes especially in Rift valley and states that Raila could have done more. He posted a BBC interview of Raila Odinga, in which he denies that ODM could have done more. We also recommend Wandia Njoya’s post "Maybe Kibaki and Raila Are Powerless To Stop the Senseless Slaughter (But Reconciling Them Is Still Worth A Try)" in which she compares the situation in Rwanda with Kenya, coming to the conclusion that “maybe we would have avoided this tragedy if Kenyans had not deluded themselves that we are not like other African countries.” We do not necessarily agree with all her points, since there are many differences between the history of African nations, but read it for yourself.
There has been a lot of speculation how much the Kibaki government can be influenced by economic or aid sanctions.
Reuters Facts Box reports :
An EU official said on Monday the 27-nation bloc, one of Kenya’s top donors, was considering suspending all aid and imposing sanctions if mediation efforts to resolve the crisis failed. The EU provided 290 million Euro ($430 million) in aid to Kenya between 2002 and 2007. A further 383 million Euro are planned for 2008-2013. A big percentage of this goes to direct budgetary aid.
USAID is supporting more than $300 million in development activities in Kenya, including education, health, economic growth, democracy and governance, and peace and security programs.
In June 2007 the World Bank approved a credit of $80 million for Kenya to expand the fight against HIV/AIDS.
As of September 2007, the World Bank’s portfolio in Kenya consisted of 16 active operations with a total commitment of $919 million.
Lets take a further look into complementary facts:
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Kenya’s revenues as of 2007 were $4.448 billion and the Expenditures $5.3777 billion, including capital expenditures. This leaves a glaring deficit of almost a billion US Dollars. How does Kenya go about patching this? One can include the direct budgetary support by the EU. However, from the figures above, it is not sufficient to cover the deficit.
According to the 2007 budget speech,
The overall budget deficit (including grants) in 2007/08 would be KShs.109.8 billion, equivalent to 5.3% of GDP. Overall expenditures in 2007/08, excluding amortization payments and restructuring costs, will amount to Ksh.580.4 billion, about 28.2% of GDP, up from KShs.427.6 billion or 23.4 percent of GDP in 2006/07.
The government based their calculations on a number of factors. They predicted that:
in line with Government policy, there would be a shift of resources from recurrent to capital expenditures and core-poverty programs
the share of recurrent expenditure was projected to decline sharply from the level of 2006/07, while domestically financed capital expenditures were planned to increase from Ksh.54.7 billion to KSh.85.1 billion or from 3.0% of GDP to 4.1% of GDP.
Net external financing amounting to KShs.39.8 billion or 1.9% of GDP, was expected to cover part of this budget deficit
KShs.70 billion or 3.4% of GDP, to be financed through domestic borrowing (Kshs.34 billion) and net privatization receipts of about KShs.36 billion.
Inflation remaining under control
However not to be ignored is the fact (stated in the budgetary report) that this structure above was based on and set against the background of the medium-term macro-fiscal framework and a continuation of the recent strong economic performance, with real GDP expected to increase by 6.5- 7.0% in 2007/08, largely propelled by continued strong performance across all sectors.
With a review of the post-election situation and the loss of revenue that Kenya has undergone and is continuing to undergo, a retardation and even decline of economic growth, one can see an eventuality of a total collapse of the budget. Point five above would even bite more if the sanctions threatened by the EU are carried out. The government is heavily reliant on the world bank and its projects/ programmes. We do not know how far the World Bank would go to carry out these sanctions in review of their seeming tolerance of the government.
The fear that China would fill the gap without preliminary conditions is in our view over-rated. China’s interest in Africa so far has been hunger for natural resources. Looking again into the CIA Fact Book Kenya’s lack of natural resources stand out. And the little that Kenya has, seems to be already under China’s control: In what the East African called cynically a “an unprecedented act of generosity”, the government of Kenya gave the state-owned National Oil Corporation of China – CNOOC – exclusive rights to its hotly contested areas where oil might be found.
If a co-ordinated freeze aid to Kenya campaign is carried out by all donors in the face of the turmoil and violence, I believe the government and opposition will shape up and sit with the mediators to bring an end to the stale-mate that has cost many a Kenyan lives. It is the most effective way and we urge a consideration of this.
Looking at the current outbreak of violence in Kenya, and thinking about who knows how to end the violence, one should consider that Kenya has two Nobel Peace Price winners.
One is the well known founder of the Green Belt Movement- Prof. Wangari Maathai. She wrote a comment in the Guardian today titled “Time to show greatness”. After explaining the background of the previous election, the disappointment in the fight for a constitution, she calls upon the civil society of Kenya:
“Even as political leaders play their role, citizens should refrain from violence. All 42 communities in Kenya are bound by geography and history to live as neighbours. Killing, destroying property and displacing our brothers and sisters creates a legacy that will haunt our children and their children. Let us stand up for each other, irrespective of our ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions. Injustice to one is injustice to all of us. If we, individually and collectively, are not the conscience of our country, then who is?”
The other Kenyan nobel peace prize winner is the Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, winner of the 2007 Alternative Nobel Peace Price, a prize given out to honour those “working on practical and exemplary solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the world today”. The Jury commended her “for showing in diverse ethnic and cultural situations how religious and other differences can be reconciled even after violent conflict, and knitted together through a cooperative process that leads to peace and development“. Dekha Abdi’s knowledge and work is most important for Kenya now, more than ever. She showed that it is possible to restore peace. It is a slow process and it takes a lot of patience, nevertheless it is possible. You only wished people would have listen to what is a true Kenyan heroines.
Another brave Kenyan woman is the human rights activist Gladwell Otieno. She read a manifest from several activists at the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi on Saturday. She stated 11 demands, among them preparation for a new election, asking foreign governments not to acknowledge Kibaki as a President and not to give out visas to members of the government or their families, in order to prevent them from running away with State money. Gladwell Otieno became famous by fighting corruption and naming names of those with big off-shore accounts. She was pushed to resign as the as executive director of Transparency International (Kenya) by leading members of TI Kenya, who had close bonds with the Kibaki administration (truly one of the darkest chapters of TI’s history.)
It would be easy to continue with this list of Kenyan women having the courage and knowledge to improve the situation in Kenya and it sure is not the lack of trying that prevents their ideas from succeeding.
In almost every violent conflict, women suffer most. It was no surprise that most people killed in the church in Eldoret were women and children. Violation of women’s rights has been a huge problem even in times of peace in Kenya. Within this current conflict situation, rape is being used as weapon, one that destroys women’s lives and their families.
It is of importance that these atrocities towards women are not only attributed to the times of conflict, but to be mapped as they occur and not forgotten and charges brought against those that committed them. There, for instance, has been little coverage of the pre-election violence against women.
The number of women running for Parliament was as big as never, but only a little bit more than a dozen women were elected, less than in the last election. Even two weeks before the election the TV Station Al-Jazeera reported at least 255 cases of assaults against women in connection with the election campaign, leading to exactly 0 charges. (This fact alone is reason enough not to call this election fair.)
Al-Jazeera about violence against Female Candidates during the election campaign aired on the 14th of December 2007
One of the reasons for this violence against female politicians is the persistence of an extremely patriarchal political system since the independence. The system of men (old) taking over power from even older men who are not ready for change (Kenyatta was succeeded by his Vice president Moi, Moi by his Vice president Kibaki, e.t.c) Odinga, who wants to break this monotony and promises change is a serious threat to the seemingly established system. With truly democratic elections the leadership of old men has a lot to lose with more than 50% of the potential voters being women.
It would be encouraging to know that the voices already raised by these women of distinction, voices of credibility, voices that have been appreciated and rewarded by the rest of the world, are not ignored by the people they are now addressing.