War is young men dying and old men talking – Odysseus, the King of
Two days ago (Monday, February 4, 2008), The Standard, a Nairobi-based national newspaper published on its front page the heart-rending picture of the Kenyan Minister of Special Programmes, Dr. (Mrs.) Naomi Shabaan, carrying a two-day old baby, John Nduati, who was born at one of the very “inhospitable and squalid camps” where hapless Kenyans, brutally displaced by the insane political crises that have engulfed their country for more than a month now, have sought refuge.
This tender child never asked to be born at this time. He neither knows President Mwai Kibaki nor Mr. Raila Odinga, whose bitter quarrel over the disputed December 27 polls have continued to exact enormous toll on their once beautiful and peaceful country. Hopefully, someone would preserve a copy of last Monday’s The Standard and show it to this hapless boy when he grows up. I doubt if he will forgive all those who had plunged his nation into such horrible crises and caused him to be born in such an inhuman condition that brings tears to the eyes of even the most hard-hearted.
At least, more than 800 persons (some reports put the figure at 1000) have so far lost their lives in the Kenyan crises, while 350,000 others have become refugees in their own country. Although living in very poor sanitary conditions in over-crowded camps, it is understandable that most of the displaced families have refused to heed the call of the MPs to return to their homes. By Sunday morning, two days after the call by the over-fed and duly protected MPs, many of the people camping at police stations in Nyeri and the Central Police Station were yet to move an inch. Indeed, they have every reason to doubt every assurance that adequate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure their safety, or that peace was returning to
Indeed, while the MPs were issuing their assurances, some Kenyans were still being massacred. “At the Borabu-Sotik-Bureti border, 10 people were reportedly killed, bringing to 17 the number of those who have lost their lives in the past three days. Also burnt alongside several dozen houses were three schools — Koiyet Primary and
It should be clear that President Kibaki is far from being battle-weary and appears bent on continuing to stoke the fire presently devastating in his country. In fact, there are fears now that the Kenyan President may snub the resolutions of the high-powered Negotiation Team led by former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Anan, whose mediation talks have this week entered key areas that are central to the restoration of peace in
Following Kibaki’s remarks at the recent African Union (AU)
The Kenyan crises had erupted when Kibaki, on noticing that his party’s dismal performance in the parliamentary elections could only lead to his loss of the Presidency allegedly manipulated the figures, mainly in his Kikuyi mainland, to ensure that he emerged “winner” of the presidential contest. Mr. Odinga is insisting that since his party, the ODM, had won 99 parliamentary and 998 civic seats as opposed to 43 and 322 won by Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU), there was no doubt that the ODM won the elections. In fact, twenty-three serving Cabinet ministers were floored in the legislative election by candidates of the ODM.
It is reassuring that Mr. Odinga is asking his supporters to refrain from acts of violence and pledging not to withdraw from the Anan-led talks. He is also ready for fresh elections, an option Kibaki is not very comfortable with. Pressure must, therefore, be mounted on Kibaki by the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and his Western friends, to respect the wishes of the people and allow peace to reign and the carnage presently ruining his country to stop. The seeming helplessness of the AU in the face of Kibaki’s crude determination to destroy
Just last Friday, two Ugandan newspapers, Daily Monitor and Weekly Observer, published an open letter to President Museveni by Ugandan opposition leaders signed by Mr. Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, a respected opposition leader in
“It is absolutely important and imperative that your Excellency distance yourself and the people of
Earlier at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Museveni had told the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, that what was required in Kenya was a Commission of Enquiry (to be set up by Kibaki?) to probe the elections and proffer solutions. That was his way of rejecting the Anan-led talks currently holding in
“Let us align ourselves with Kenyans and not with either of the protagonists. Let us join them in finding a solution, which … should be advocating for fresh elections supervised by AU and UN. Let us prevail on Mr Kibaki to resign and leave room for a government of national unity which neither he nor Mr Raila Odinga should head, and whose main task shall be to prepare for fresh elections within a period not exceeding one year,” they told him in their open letter.
With Museveni solidly behind him, Kibaki is also reaching out to the West. On Sunday night, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, left
Against the backdrop of threats by both the US and UK to review developmental support to Kenya if nothing concrete was done to urgently halt the crises, the vice-president would deploy all his persuasive powers to dissuade them from withdrawing their assistance despite Kibaki’s intransigence and determination to supervise the ruination of Kenya. It is unfortunate that instead committing himself to the on-going peace talks at home, Kibaki would rather waste scarce resources on shuttle diplomacy, to win support for his illegitimate regime, with the blood of nearly 1000 Kenyans dripping from his cruel palms.
He needs to urgently recall the wise counsel offered him by the
One African leader deeply pained and embarrassed by all this mess is Mr. Paul Kageme, the Rwandan President. During the 14th Heroes Day Celebrations in his country’s Southern Province on February 1, he could not hide his disgust and disappointment.
“People do not want to relinquish power peacefully until they are forced out after a spell of destructions and this has affected the development of the continent…They have also ended up in flames. Today one country is in total chaos, then tomorrow another follows suit and the next day violence is reported in another African country … and all these conflicts are fuelled by bad leadership,” last Sunday’s Monitor (
On Monday, in
Well, Kagame has spoken, but who will listen to him? How other bold and sincere enough to speak forthright and sincerely in the Kenyan crises? Is Kibaki not still hanging there because he is yet to feel any pinch of condemnation and isolation from other African leaders? Who really cares if
Well, it is reassuring that Mr. Ki-Moon who was in
Also, troublemakers like Museveni and others giving more covert support to creatures like Kibaki must not be allowed to escape justice once they leave office. They must be made to tread the inglorious path the likes of Charles Taylor have since trod, to face a duly empowered UN Human Rights Court for their clear and unambiguous crimes against humanity.
On no account should Kibaki be allowed to drag
In short, this whole madness must stop.