News 2008


8 killed in continuing Kenya violence

07. March 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Eight people have been killed in separate attacks in western and central Kenya, government officials said Friday, underlining the difficulty of reversing Kenya's cycle of postelection violence despite President Mwai Kibaki and his rival agreeing to share power.

On Thursday, Kibaki urged lawmakers to pass the laws needed to enforce the country's new power-sharing agreement that was reached last week. It calls for Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to share power after both sides claimed victory in the Dec. 27 presidential election. Their dispute unleashed weeks of bloodshed, killing more than 1,000 people and exposing divisions over land and economic inequality.

Julius Mutula, a senior government official, said attackers suspected to be Turkana tribesmen early Friday shot dead two members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe in Aiyam village, about 186 miles from the capital Nairobi.

Mutula, the district commissioner for the central Kenya district of Laikipia West, said that a group of suspected Turkana attackers also killed five other Kikuyus on Thursday in two villages neighboring Aiyam.

He said that the attackers are believed to be seeking revenge for the death of their fellow tribesmen who were lynched earlier in the week for what Kikuyu tribesmen say was the theft of 15 goats.

In the western town of Kitale, a police officer on Thursday shot dead a man who attacked him with a machete as police tried to disperse people who had invaded a farm, said Bernard Muli, the police chief of Kitale.

On Wednesday, about 60 men from the Luyha tribe invaded a 600-acre farm belonging to a local tycoon, who is Kikuyu, saying that they were going to divide it among themselves, Muli said. Police then went into to disperse them Thursday resulting in a woman being injured, Muli said. He also said police arrested 14 people for invading the farm.

Tuesday, Kenya's unicameral Parliament is expected to debate two bills needed to enforce the power-sharing deal, one a constitutional amendment.

Under last week's deal, Odinga will become prime minister and have the power to "coordinate and supervise" the government more authority than Kibaki wanted to yield.

For example, in a draft constitution that Kibaki backed and was defeated in a referendum in 2005, the president could appoint a prime minister from any member of parliament and could fired the premier at any time.

Under the power sharing deal, the prime minister must be the leader of the largest party in parliament or a coalition and the premier can only be dismissed by a vote of no-confidence.

Kibaki and Odinga must try to help more than a half-million people who have been displaced from their homes and require food, water and medical care. Kenya's Red Cross has said it knows of at least 500 children who were separated from their families.

There also is the matter of restoring one of Africa's most promising economies.

Kenya, one of the most prosperous and tourist-friendly countries in Africa, has seen up to US$1 billion in losses linked to the turmoil.