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U.S. congratulates Kenyan president on re-election amid crimes against humanity

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  • U.S. congratulates Kenyan president on re-election amid crimes against humanity


    WASHINGTON, December 30, 2007 (AFP) — The US State Department Sunday congratulated Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on his re-election, and called on all sides to accept the results despite opposition allegations of ballot fraud.

    "We obviously congratulate the president on his election," department spokesman Rob McInturff told AFP.

    "Again we would call on the people of Kenya to accept the results of the election and to move forward with the democratic process," he said.

    Kibaki was sworn in Sunday less than an hour after Kenya's electoral commission announced he had defeated opposition leader Raila Odinga, who has accused Kibaki of stealing the election by rigging the tallying process.

    The result's announcement triggered riots in bastions of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement in the capital Nairobi and western Kenya.

    "I think the electoral commission in Kenya and the commissioner there would be the ultimate authority, and we would look to them to investigate any claims of fraud or mismanagement," McInturff said.

    "That said we would also, given that the results are out, congratulate and support the president and look forward to working with the people of Kenya in the coming years."

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    Nairobi, December 30, 2007 - The Kenyan government on Sunday suspended all live radio and television news reports as riots spread across the country after President Mwai Kibaki's re-election, said the information ministry.

    Ministry of information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said: "I am directed by the minister for internal security John Michuki that in the interest of public safety and tranquillity I order the immediate suspension of live broadcast until further notice.

    "I am also directed to order that all media houses and journalists in general stop forthwith any broadcast of inciting or alarming material and take responsibility for such broadcasting with the law."

    The measure was announced as disgruntled supporters of defeated presidential challenger Raila Odinga took to the streets in several cities across the country, including Nairobi and several opposition strongholds in western Kenya.

    At least five people had been shot dead by police in western Kenya since the electoral commission on Sunday declared Kibaki's victory amid allegations of vote rigging.

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    • #3
      December 31, 2007 -- In another heart-warming example of democracy in action, the Kenyan internal security Ministry ordered radio and television station to cease news reporting (Sunday, December 30). The re-election of President Mwai Kibaki has spawned riots throughout the country.

      "I am directed by the Minister for Internal Security John Michuki that in the interest of public safety and tranquility I order the immediate suspension of live broadcast until further notice," Information Ministry spokesperson Bitange Ndemo said in a statement, reported by AFP.

      Election results were announced on State-operated Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), all other media being barred.

      The Internal Security Ministry’s directive also requires all media to stop all broadcasts “of inciting or alarming material.” Similar demands were not made of print media.

      KBC is facing further scrutiny by media watchers both inside and outside Kenya. Monitoring the elections, the Commonwealth Observer Group, headed by former Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, faulted KBC for failing to provide balanced coverage.

      The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issued a report (December 13) saying only KBC radio and television stations failed to follow Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) media guidelines and showed bias toward President Kibaki. There was, said the report, “a fair attempt by the mainstream media to adhere to the code of conduct and practice of journalism in Kenya and to the guidelines for election coverage in Kenya.”

      "KBC has let us down,” said Kenya’s election commissioner Samuel Kivuitu a fortnight ago. “We pay taxes and you know how we are pushed with taxes. This money is the one which runs KBC."

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      • #4
        December 31, 2007 -- Kenyan authorities have imposed a 6:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew in the riot ravaged city of Kisumu, with police ordered to shoot any violators.

        Overnight forty-six bodies were brought to the morgue in Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city.

        The latest deaths brought to 84 the number of people confirmed to have died since Thursday's general elections, in protestor's clashes with police and rival tribal groups, opposing President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.

        Supporters of the 76-year-old Kibaki say he has turned Kenya's economy into an east African powerhouse, with an average growth rate of 5 percent. But Kibaki's anti-graft campaign has largely been seen as a failure, and the country still struggles with tribalism and poverty.

        After the opposition took most of the parliamentary seats in Thursday's vote, Kibaki will likely find it difficult to unite the country during his second five-year term.

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          • #6
            December 31, 2007 -- At least 100 people have been killed in Nairobi and in western Kenya overnight during clashes that erupted following President Mwai Kibaki's re-election, police say.

            The latest deaths brought to 124 the number of people to have died in poll-related violence since the December 27 general elections.

            Bodies with gunshot wounds were taken to the mortuary in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold in the west of the country, while in the shanty towns of the capital thousands of opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters fought with rival tribes on Monday.

            Police said on Monday that 40 people were killed in Nairobi and 53 in Kisumu, the country's third city and a bastion of defeated opposition challenger Raila Odinga.

            Four bodies were discovered in the capital's Mathare slum, seven were killed in Nakuru, provincial capital of the Rift Valley. Further clashes between rival supporters in a village near Kapsabet also left four dead, police said.

            Smoke rose over the slum of Kibera as truckloads of heavily armed police were brought in to try to contain demonstrators

            The Kenyan authorities said that anyone attempting to join the demonstration would face arrest and in the slums police were operating a shoot-on-sight policy. Massive security deployments could be seen across the city.

            Simmons said: "Kenya is in shock today. Poor people are suffering the most. Not just those who are protesting, but those who are living in those slum areas cordoned off by the security forces.

            "Here in the capital, it's extremely quiet. It is like a ghost town because of the clampdown."

            Mutuma Rutere, a member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, described the depressing situation in Kenya as a crisis.

            "One of the things that we should emphasise at this point is not the divide, but the unity of the Kenyans," he told Al Jazeera.

            Samuel Kivuitu, the chairman of the electoral commission, had announced on Sunday that Kibaki won with 4,584,721 votes against Odinga's 4,352,993 votes.

            Kibera was one of the first areas to erupt into violence on Sunday when the electoral commission announced the result. Odinga had led in pre-election opinion polls and in early media tallies for Thursday's vote.

            Within an hour of the results being announced by the electoral commission, Kibaki, 76, was sworn in for a second five-year term.

            Almost immediately men carrying rocks, machetes and sticks could be seen on the streets as smoke rose above Nairobi's largest slum, home to one million people.

            The Kenyan government has suspended live radio and television news and Kenya Airways has said flights in and out of Kisumu have been suspended due to a fuel shortage.

            The European Union's team of election observers said the country's electoral commission had failed to ensure the credibility of the vote.

            "We believe that, at this time, the ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya), despite the best efforts of its chairman, has not succeeded in establishing the credibility of the tallying process to the satisfaction of all parties and candidates," Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the chief EU observer, said in a statement.

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            • #7
              Washington, December 31, 2007 -- The US State Department expressed "serious concerns" on Monday about Kenya's disputed presidential vote and withdrew its congratulations to the re-elected leader, Mwai Kibaki.

              "We do have serious concerns, as I know others do, about irregularities in the vote count, and we think it's important that those concerns... be resolved through constitutional and legal means," department spokesperson Tom Casey said.

              "I'm not offering congratulations to anybody, because we have serious concerns about the vote count," he added after another State Department spokesperson on Sunday had congratulated Kibaki.

              "We call on the political parties in Kenya as well as the Kenyan people to avoid violence," Casey also said, urging dialogue between party leaders.

              At least 149 people have been killed in clashes since Thursday's election in Kenya, which led to widespread allegations of vote rigging and fraud in the official tally before Kibaki was hastily sworn in for a second term on Sunday.

              Opposition leader Raila Odinga had planned to present himself as "The People's President" at a mass rally on Monday, but postponed the gathering until Thursday and predicted that one million supporters would show up.

              Odinga, 62, had led nearly every pre-election opinion poll and looked to be heading for victory before Kibaki, 76, squeezed out a victory in late vote-counting.

              Despite foreign concern about the vote, expressed notably by European Union monitors, State Department spokesperson Rob McInturff on Sunday had congratulated Kibaki and called on all sides in Kenya to accept the results.

              Rowing back, Casey told reporters on Monday that any sense that the United States was happy with the election was an "error".

              "What's clear to us is that there are some real problems here and that those need to be resolved in the Kenyan system, in accordance with their constitution, in accordance with their legal system," he said.

              Casey's comments came after a statement issued by the US embassy in Nairobi fretted about "anomalies" in the vote, noting that some Kenyan constituencies had declared bizarrely high turnout figures.

              The statement deplored the violence that has erupted in Kenya and called on Kibaki and Odinga to "reach out to each other in order to work out a way forward for the nation".

              The unrest is the worst Kenya has seen in its cities since a failed 1982 coup against authoritarian former president Daniel arap Moi.

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                  • #10
                    January 1, 2008 -- The crisis in Kenya over the disputed re-election of the president, Mwai Kibaki, appeared set to escalate today as the government sought to ban a mass opposition rally.

                    The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, yesterday called for a million people to take to the streets on Thursday to protest at what is widely regarded as a rigged election.

                    But the authorities said they wanted to block the demonstration to prevent more of the violence that had already led to the deaths of more than 200 people. Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Reuters: "The ban on political rallies is not without reason."

                    He added: "When people are daring enough to commit crimes against other people's lives and property, it is not likely the police can also have the capacity to organise security properly."

                    At least 15 people were killed today when a mob set fire to a church where people had sought refuge from the violence.

                    The level of unrest today was lower than in previous days, but skirmishes were still reported in the Nairobi slums that are home to tens of thousands of opposition supporters.

                    The police said the death toll had risen to more than 200, that 33,500 Kenyans had been forced to leave their homes and 208 properties had been destroyed.

                    The bloodshed has exposed underlying tribal tension in Kenya, where Kibaki's Kikuyu supporters - members of Kenya's largest ethnic group - are accused of turning their dominance of politics and business to the detriment of others. Odinga is from the Luo tribe.

                    Kenya's Red Cross said gangs were even checking on the tribal affiliations of aid workers trying to help the injured.

                    In Nairobi's Mathare slum, Odinga supporters torched a minibus and attacked Kikuyu travellers, witnesses said.

                    Riots have also been raging in opposition strongholds in western Kenya, the tourism-dependent coast and the Rift valley.

                    Earlier Gordon Brown urged Kenya's politicians to start talking and bring an end to the violence, a call Odinga rejected.

                    In telephone calls to both Odinga and Kibaki Brown called for negotiations.

                    He said: "What I want to see is them coming together. I want to see talks and I want to see reconciliation and unity. I want to see the possibility explored where they can come together in government."

                    But, speaking on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, Odinga said: "What is there to negotiate?"

                    "Kibaki must first accept that he lost the election."

                    He also rejected suggestions that his supporters were to blame for the violence.

                    "The blame should not be directed at our side," he said. "The security forces are shooting people on sight. It is Kibaki that should be blamed."

                    Brown's intervention came as European Union electoral monitors declared the election "flawed".

                    The prime minister said: "There has been criticism of the election procedures. I think it is important all sides must recognise that by working together we can make progress.

                    "But the first priority is that the violence is brought to an end. It is unacceptable that lives are being lost. The important thing is that people should now come together and I will be talking to the various parties later today."

                    The chief EU monitor, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, told the BBC that the poll was "flawed" and "lacked credibility".

                    In a statement, the EU observer mission said: "The 2007 general elections have fallen short of key international and regional standards for democratic elections.

                    "They were marred by lack of transparency in the processing and tallying of presidential results, which raises concerns about the accuracy of the final results of this election."

                    Four of Kenya's 22 top electoral commissioners called for an independent inquiry into whether the national electoral commission altered the results of the election.

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                      • #12
                        NAIROBI, Kenya, January 1, 2008 (Reuters) - Thousands of terrified and mainly ethnic Kikuyu refugees took shelter in churches in and around the west Kenyan town of Eldoret on Tuesday as vigilante gangs roamed outside, a Catholic priest said.

                        "There are four to five thousand in the main cathedral, and thousands in other churches," Father Paul Brennan, an Irishman, told Reuters from the town. "Houses are being burned. It is too dangerous to go outside and count the dead."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

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