A call for fresh elections
31 January, 2008
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
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
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.