Ban Ki-moon to visit strife-torn
31 January - 01 February 2008 – Warning that violence in Kenya
could spiral out of control, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
announced plans to visit the country, where more than 800 people
have already lost their lives in intensifying ethnic clashes
triggered by the aftermath of recent elections.
Speaking to reporters in the Ethiopian
capital, Addis Ababa, Mr. Ban called on the Kenyan people to “stop
the killings and end the violence now, before it is too late.”
More than a quarter of a million people have been forced to flee
their homes due to the violence, which began late last year after
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over
opposition leader Raila Odinga in December elections.
Mr. Ban said he will travel to Nairobi today to give his full
support to the Panel of Eminent African Persons, led by former UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which is trying to resolve the
current crisis. While in Nairobi, Mr. Ban intends to meet with Mr.
Odinga, civil society leaders and UN staff.
“If political leaders fail to act responsibly in the interests of
all Kenyan people, the situation could escalate beyond control,”
warned the Secretary-General, stressing that the UN is ready to
provide all necessary assistance.
“Kenya can remain stable and prosperous, a model to all Africa,”
he added. “We must all do our utmost to ensure that it does so.”
Addressing the opening session the African Union summit earlier
today in Addis Ababa, Mr. Ban drew attention to the alarming
developments in Kenya, calling on the gathered African leaders to
urge the leaders and people of Kenya to calm the violence and
resolve their differences through dialogue and respect for the
In a meeting with President Kibaki on the sidelines of the summit,
Mr. Ban encouraged the Kenyan leader to move toward a quick
resolution of the crisis, according to a UN spokesperson. The two
men discussed the humanitarian situation in the country and the
situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as the
Secretary-General’s trip to Nairobi.
Mr. Ban also spoke by phone with Mr. Annan, discussing the serious
impact of the violence on Kenya’s economy.
In a related development, Kenyan women have called for an
immediate end to inter-ethnic killings, impunity and gross
violations of human rights, especially the increasing cases of
sexual crimes and gang rapes, in a communiqué handed over to Mr.
The women appealed for an urgent response to the special needs of
women and children who constitute the majority of IDPs, according
to a news release from the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
They also called for constitutional reforms and measures to
restore the rule of law and order, and appealed to all Kenyans to
respect and embrace different democratic opinions. Consultations
have been held over the past couple of weeks on getting women
effectively engaged in national efforts to resolve the crisis.
Excerpt from yesterday Speaking:
I will meet with President Kibaki here right after this press
conference. Tomorrow I will go to Nairobi to give my full support
to the Panel of Eminent African Persons, led by Kofi Annan. I will
meet Mr. Odinga, some civil society leaders and visit my UN staff
as well. I commend African leaders for responding so quickly to
the turmoil, which has forced thousands of refugees beyond the
borders of Kenya. The United Nations stands ready to provide all
necessary assistance. Kenya can remain stable and prosperous?a
model to all Africa. We must all do our utmost to ensure that it
I call on the Kenyan people: Stop the killings and end the
violence now, before it is too late! Heed the calls, from Mr.
Annan and other world leaders, for restraint, tolerance and
peaceful dialogue to resolve contentious issues. Demand it from