Ban Ki-moon calls on Kenyans to
‘wake up’ and halt violence
UN News Centre
1 February 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all
Kenyans to stop the violence that has torn apart their nation in
recent weeks, claiming over 800 lives and displacing more than a
quarter of a million people.
“The killing must stop. The violence must end for the sake of the
Kenyan people, for the sake of Kenya,” Mr. Ban said at a press
conference in the capital, Nairobi.
Mr. Ban is in Kenya 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 crisis that began just over
a month ago after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the
winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in December elections.
In a meeting yesterday with President Kibaki on the sidelines of
the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa,
Mr. Ban encouraged the Kenyan leader to move toward a quick
resolution of the crisis. On arrival in Nairobi today, the
Secretary-General met with Mr. Odinga, as well as Mr. Annan and
his mediation team.
Pointing to a humanitarian crisis that is “unprecedented” in
Kenya, Mr. Ban called on all political leaders to look beyond
individual or partisan interests and resolve their differences
“The people and leaders of Kenya, particularly political leaders,
have the duty, and the responsibility, to wake up and reverse this
tragic path before it escalates into the horrors of mass killings
and devastation we have witnessed in recent history,” he stated.
As the violence persists in parts of the country, UN agencies and
their partners are continuing to assist the Government and the
Kenya Red Cross in providing relief to those affected.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says the violence affecting the
main roads through the Rift Valley and towards Uganda in recent
days has interrupted the transportation of commercial food as well
as food aid. Trucks carrying WFP food could go from Mombasa to
Nairobi without escort, but escorts were necessary when the trucks
drove out of Nairobi and through the Rift Valley. Rising fuel
prices were also affecting food delivery.
The agency also notes a shortage of food in the markets around the
country, and an increase in food prices. To date, WFP has helped
distribute food to more than 185,000 displaced persons in the Rift
Valley and the western provinces. Meanwhile, the UN World Health
Organization (WHO) has warned that displaced Kenyans around
Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru and Naivasha are lacking critical health
The number of sites hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs)
appears to increase every day, and an initial assessment by WHO
has found that these sites are very crowded, with poor shelter,
water supply and sanitation. In some camps, there is only one
toilet for every 500 people. The most prevalent health concerns in
all sites are diarrhoea in children, and acute respiratory
Reports of violence continue in Nakuru, Eldoret, and Naivasha, all
towns which already host hundreds of IDPs. WHO also notes that
hospitals are reporting a “dramatic” increase in cases of sexual
violence. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) yesterday
ferried more supplies from Nairobi to three displacement sites
some 30 kilometres outside of the Kenyan capital in the wake of
new evictions of nearly 10,000 non-indigenous communities working
mainly in tea plantations and flower farms around Tigoni.
UNHCR immediately handed over 1,800 family kits, enough for 9,000
people, and 25 lightweight tents to the Kenyan Red Cross for
distribution to the IDPs in the three towns.
The agency has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the
Kenya Red Cross by which it will provide emergency shelter and
basic household items, assist with camp coordination and
management, and strengthen systems for IDP registration. The
Government of Kenya and the Kenya Red Cross estimate there are now
more than 250,000 IDPs living in over 300 IDP sites in various
parts of the country.