According to Reuters, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) member of parliament David Kimutai Too, was killed, along with an unidentified woman, in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret by a traffic Police officer.
“He has been shot dead, by a traffic policeman in Eldoret, we think. The circumstances are very unclear. This crisis is just getting deeper every day,” said ODM spokesman Tony Gachoka.
“He was killed by a traffic police officer,” in a suburb of Eldoret in western Kenya, a police commander told AFP in Nairobi, adding that the killing appeared to be connected to a romantic dispute.
“He was with a girl who is a police officer. He was shot by another policeman believed to be her boyfriend,” he said.
A senior police officer checks the car in which Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too and a policewoman were driving in when they were ambushed and shot dead. Photo/ JARED NYATAYA
The policewoman is currently in ICU in at the hospital of Eldoret. Reports from Eldoret indicate that members of public have jammed the Moi Teaching and Referral mortuary following the incident. Nation reports that Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali assured the public that “the constable will stand charges of murder tomorrow”. He also warned the public against using the incident to incite others.
The death of Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too, happened only 2 days after the assassination of ODM MP Melitus Mugabe Were.
For what ever reason David Kimutai Too was killed, it demonstrates that the government is not providing protection and security for opposition politicians.Only a few days after Nobel Peace Price winner Wangari Maathai criticized the government for failing to provide security for its citizens, the Minister of Internal Security Prof George Saitoti withdrew her bodyguards on Monday.
ODM denies involvement in the violence
ODM officials object the Human Rights Watch report about the involvement of local ODM leaders in the Rift valley violence.
“ODM leadership Friday trashed the report and said that nothing could be further from the truth.
ODM leader Raila Odinga said all communities in the area were equally affected. “That evidence is only from one person. What happened was not premeditated but spontaneous as people reacted to the injustices they suffered after the elections. In addition, the violence could not have been planned because all the communities in the Rift Valley have suffered,” said Mr Odinga.
Separately, the party’s secretary-general, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, told a Press conference that it would be surprising if any human rights violations would be linked to the party. He also challenged the authors of the report to investigate violence in other areas such as the Nairobi slums and western Kenya and give their verdict.” (Nation)
We agree that there should be independent investigations about the violence in other parts of the country, but what ever will be found out there, it will not change nor justify what happened in the Rift Valley Region.
Kenyan Army is operating in Nakuru
According to the Eastern Standard, “thirty-Two people were killed in fresh flare-up in Nakuru and Molo. And Rift Valley’s capital was put on 7pm-6am curfew. Military officers in fatigues, and armed to the teeth, were brought out of the barracks to enforce law and order. Another 5,000 people were displaced in Nakuru and adjoining areas. In Nakuru town alone, 12 people were hacked to death or shot with bows and arrows in the Thursday night terror. This followed a serious fighting in Githima and Kwa Rhonda estates next to the sprawling Kaptembwo slums. Of the 20 killed in Molo, 18 were shot with poisoned arrows.
Nakuru DC Mr Andrew Wanyagah led a security team backed by military personnel from Lanet barracks, as he toured Kaptembwa slums calling for peace.
“This problem has been fuelled by rumours circulating among local communities. We have received reports that members of the Mungiki gang and armed militiamen have been transported to the town to cause mayhem,” he said.
Following the violence, angry youths barricaded all roads leading in and out of Nakuru town for the better part of the day as police made frantic efforts to clear the highway.”
Nakuru residents made up most of the new arrivals at the town’s showground camp set up for people fleeing post-election violence in neighbouring districts, according to a local aid official. The camp holds 5,900 people, according to coordinator Jesse Njoroge who said most of the 696 new arrivals were from Nakuru itself. (Kenvironnews)
The use of military forces is a new development. It might be influenced by the presence of the international mediators. With the international Community watching, the government has to show that it can provide security
Koffi Annan termed the violence “gross and systematic human rights abuses” on a visit to western Kenya, where scores more people were killed in the flashpoint Rift Valley province.
No consequences for Colin Bruce from the World Bank
Following up on one of our previous articles, it seems that the World Bank still trust in Colin Bruce as their local representative. He still is in power and can influence the World Bank’s policy towards the Kenyan government. Colin Bruce, a tenant of Kibaki, sent a memo to the World Bank, suggesting that his Landlord had won a “fair” election.
Considering how much Paul Wolfowitz had to do to get kicked out, it is no surprise.
With the African Cup of Nations football fever, we cannot fail to have our eyes on the Kenyan football scene. East African Standard reports that suspended Kenya Football Referees Association (KFRA) chairman Wycliff Ogutu says he will appeal against the action.
Ogutu was among three officials suspended by Fifa’s ethics committee for five years after being found guilty of engaging in corrupt activities.
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.
From the Human Rights Watch Internet-Page:
“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. [...]
A Kalenjin preacher in a village in Eldoret North constituency told Human Rights Watch that on the morning of December 29, 2007, a local ODM party mobilizer “called a meeting and said that war had broken in Eldoret town, so the elders organized the youth into groups of not less than 15, and they went to loot [Kikuyu] homes and burn them down.” [...]
Human Rights Watch spoke to numerous members of Kalenjin commmunities around Eldoret who provided similar accounts. In many communities, local leaders and ODM mobilizers arranged frequent meetings following the election to organize, direct and facilitate the violence unleashed by gangs of local youth. [...]
Many Kalenjin community leaders told Human Rights Watch that if the area’s ODM leadership or the local Kalenjin radio station KASS FM told people unequivocally to stop attacks on Kikuyu homes, then they believe the violence would stop. “If the leaders say stop, it will stop immediately,” said one Kalenjin elder.
[...] Human Rights Watch also collected accounts from several Kalenjin men present at community meetings where local elders and ODM mobilizers urged Kalenjin residents to contribute money toward the purchase of automatic weapons. [...]”
Kenyan novelist and play writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o published a comment today from the diaspora in the United States via BBC news. He compares the incident of the Eldoret church massacre with the massacres in Bosnia, Iraq and Rwanda. He then says that the “ethnic cleansing” must be separated from the accusations of a rigged election. To him it seems like a “co-ordinated program with similar acts occurring in several other places at about the same time against ordinary members of the same community.” He also says that Ethnic cleansing does not happen spontaneously, that it is almost always premeditated by members of the political elite, who usually do not have to suffer the consequences of their actions. He proposed an inquiry by the United Nations as necessary, that if political organizations have a “campaign on a program that consciously seeks to isolate another community as a community, then they ought to be held fully accountable for the consequences of their ideology and actions.” He continues to say that this should not only be the case if such is instigated by the government, but also if “such a massacre is inspired by a program of an opposition movement… “ He then says that they must be condemned “even when they (the campaigns) are clothed in progressive, democratic-sounding words and phrases.” In conclusion he urges “all progressive forces not to be so engrossed with the political wrongs of election tampering that they forget the crimes of hate and ethnic cleansing.”
Ngugi wa Thiong’o
We would like to add some remarks to Ngugi wa Thiong’o's comment. We can not say that we could have foreseen what happened in post-election Kenya, not even after reading Ngugi’s novel “Wizard of the Crow”, “…where the ruling party and the opposition parities engaged in Western-sponsored democracy become mirror images of one another in their absurdity and indifference to the poor.”, as he writes. No doubt, it is a great novel with fitting reflections on Kenya’s and Africa’s political situation. But the book does not lift Ngugi wa Thiong’o to the position of the prophetess Cassandra as he implies. Despite the inadequateness of the Kenyan political Parties, one should take into account that ODM obtained so much support, because it was more likely to deliver the promised constitution. Of course, from the lookout of a prophetess, that might be very little, not bringing uhuru, not breaking the claw of the World Bank. But, decentralizing and sharing power, having control bodies against corruption, and elevation of human rights would have made a difference especially for the poor. Or in Binyavanga Wainaina‘s words: “A Constitution that names and recognizes the tribal nations within our nation, that decentralizes some power and that includes us all in the process is possible.”
An 11-year-old survivor stands amid the burnt out ruins of the Kenya Assemblies of God Pentacostal church, where at least 18 people were burnt alive ,near Eldoret in western Kenya (from josephkaroki)
According to the German Spiegel Online, Lynn Muthoni Wanyeri from the Kenyan Human Rights Commission stated that she has knowledge about militias arming themselves in at least three regions: in Nyanza Province, the Mungiki group in Nairobi and in the area around Eldoret.
It is difficult to tell how much influence the Mungikis still have in Nairobi. During the riots in the slums, they might have lost some of their controlled ground. Nevertheless, they most likely have a substantial amount of money and weapons. There were ties between Mungiki and some KANU and NARC politicians in the past. But after the governments war against Mungiki in 2007, with at least 500 people killed by the police (some sources even go as far as 8000), it is not very likely that Mungiki is fighting for any other interest besides its own.
Continuing violence in Nyanza and Eldoret could harm ODM. Kibaki’s government could try to blame it on their unwillingness to join a government of national unity. They would have the chance to keep up the police forces all over the country and they could keep up the pressure on the media. Peaceful protest marches are basically all ODM can try at this moment, but the margin of peaceful protests is thin, with tensions all over the country. And the economic crisis is working against ODM as well: With food supplies running short, people have to set priorities and it will become more difficult to organize mass demonstrations.
Kibaki made clear that he will not give in easily. If violence erupts once again, the international community will raise the pressure also on Odinga to end atrocities with a government of national unity.
There are few choices for ODM. With Kibaki hanging on to power, it is crucial to reorganize and strengthen the party structure of ODM all over Kenya. So far in many places ODM has been more an alliance for the election campaign. ODM’s MPs and leading politicians should start to organize the protest in their constituencies and recruit more party members. Only with a local structure strong enough to convince people in Eldoret, Nyanza and elsewhere, that every person killed in “ethnic clashes” makes Kibaki only stronger, ODM can keep up its pressure on the government with the support of the international community.
ODM can win on the streets of Nairobi, but can also lose its struggle in the Rift valley.