News 2008


A call for fresh elections in Kenya

31 January, 2008

By Anonymous

The dimension, which the post elections crisis has assumed in Kenya, continues to create much cause for concern. On average, about 35 persons have died per day owing to election-related violence over the last month.

Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes seeking refuge from armed mobs and looters. Particularly worrisome is the fact that the gruesome orgy of violence that Kenya is witnessing has pit tribe against tribe. And there are incidences of persons being set ablaze in their residences.

Indeed, recent developments in Kenya are reminiscence in miniature of the savage ethnic cleansing that characterised the horrors of Rwanda and Burundi in the 1990's, which left almost a million souls brutally murdered in what has been described as the most brutal conflict in modern history.

The crisis in Kenya is the country's worst since independence in 1963, and threatens to undermine stability and growth within the East African community, eastern DR Congo and southern Sudan, which all depend on Kenya as a strategic link to international trade routes through the Port of Mombassa.

It also threatens to upset tourism and horticulture, which constitute the mainstay of the Kenyan economy.

So far, efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis have proven futile. As if to inflict a diplomatic slap on the face of the African Union in their effort to broker a peaceful settlement few weeks ago, Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent and accused cheat of the election named a cabinet just at the time John Kufuor, the current chairman of the AU flew into Kenya for that purpose. Neither did the effort of Jendayi Frazer, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs to broker any peaceful settlement make any impact. And there hardly seems to be a beacon of hope at the tunnel of peace by the efforts of Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of he United Nations.

There is a general consensus amongst the international community that the incumbent lost the election to Raila Odinga. Even with this scenario, he seems to be the more intransigent.

We, at Business Day are of the opinion that Kibaki is leveraging on the old-fashioned form of governance where might makes right.

The United States and United Kingdom, while implicitly acceding that Kibaki lost the elections, are calling for opponents to work together. While we acknowledge that Kenya's sovereignty, as a nation should be respected, the international community must come to the realisation that it is no longer acceptable to allow selfish politicians plunge their countries into needless crises as is developing in Kenya.

We call the attention of the UN Security Council to the Responsibility to Act Resolution, which it adopted in late 2006. Gleaning from the principle of that resolution, we charge that it is incumbent on the international community, as embodied in the Security Council to take the needed pre-emptive measure to save Kenya from going down the same path of countries like Rwanda, Liberia, DR Congo, and the likes.

Meanwhile, we commend Kofi Annan for his persistence to bring the two sides together; at least he has succeeded in getting Kibaki and Odinga to exchange handshake and allow their supporters to begin talks. Doubtless, such a gesture will kindle confidence that there is still hope, hope that a peaceful settlement can be reached.

But if the two sides cannot come to a compromise to work in a government of inclusion, then the only conduit to peace might be to file pressure on Kibaki to allow the formation of an interim government that will arrange for fresh elections under the supervision of the United Nations.