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

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    Samedi 10 Mai 2008 -- L'Algérie a promis d'aider le Kenya à reloger les villageois qui avaient été forcés de fuir leur foyer en raison des violences inter-ethniques à la fin de 2007, a annoncé la présidence kényane vendredi. La promesse a été faite après que Nairobi eut lancé un appel pour un montant de 30 milliards de shillings (492 millions de dollars, 319 millions d'euros) pour aider au retour dans leur foyer des familles déplacées, alors que le pays n'avait pu collecter qu'un milliard de shillings (16,4 millions de dollars,10,6 millions d'euros).

    Le président algérien Abdelaziz Bouteflika a adressé un message en ce sens au chef de l'Etat kenyan, Mwai Kibaki, a annoncé le service de presse de la présidence kényane, précisant que le message avait été remis par le ministre algérien délégué aux Affaires maghrébines et africaines Abdelkader Messahel. Cependant aucun montant de l'aide algérienne n'a été fourni.

    Selon les autorités, quelque 60.000 personnes sont concernées par le programme de retour dans leurs foyers tandis que quelque 70.000 sont toujours hébergées dans des camps.

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  • Guest 123

    NAIROBI, May 9, 2008 (AFP) — Algeria has pledged to assist Kenya resettle villagers displaced by communal violence that followed disputed elections at the end of last year, the presidency announced Friday.

    The pledge came two days after Nairobi appealed for help raising 30 billion shillings (492 million dollars, 319 million euros) to assist the displaced, saying it had only raised one billion shillings (16.4 million dollars,10.6 million euros) so far.

    Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in a message to his Kenyan counterpart, Mwai Kibaki, offered to assist the country, which is also facing acute food shortages, the presidential press service said in a statement.

    "The Algerian government has pledged to support the Kenya government in its efforts to resettle the internally displaced persons in the country," it said, adding that the pledge was delivered by Algerian Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs Abdel Kader Messahel.

    It did not say how much Algeria will contribute.

    The government on Thursday said it had resettled some 60,000 people under a programme, dubbed "Operation Return Home" launched on Monday and that 70,000 others were still in camps.

    The violence broke out following December 27 elections which opposition candidate Raila Odinga claimed were rigged by incumbent Kibaki.

    The crisis left at least 1,500 people dead and displaced around 300,000.

    Some have since returned to their homes but others have continued to face attacks and intimidation, even after the February 28 political deal which saw Odinga join a coalition cabinet and become Kibaki's prime minister.

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    NAIROBI, April 13, 2008: President Mwai Kibaki named his rival, Raila Odinga, as prime minister Sunday, implementing a power-sharing deal after protracted negotiations over the agreement they signed more than a month ago.

    The two leaders had agreed to share power after weeks of deadly violence following the country's disputed presidential election in December left more than 1,000 people dead and about 300,000 displaced.

    The men were expected to announce a new coalition government once Parliament quickly passed laws to legalize the power-sharing deal, but they did not work out how to implement the accord, with both sides trying to secure the most powerful positions in a new cabinet.

    Kibaki, speaking in a speech broadcast live on television Sunday, named Musalia Mudavadi, the second in command in Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement, as deputy prime minister.

    Also named as a deputy prime minister in the new coalition cabinet is Uhuru Kenyatta, an ally of Kibaki and a son of Kenya's independence hero and first president Jomo Kenyatta.

    Kibaki named 40 cabinet ministers in keeping with the number he had agreed with Odinga on April 3, but going against demands by ordinary citizens and lobby groups to announce a lean cabinet.

    The cabinet posts are divided equally between Kibaki's Party of National Unity and allied parties, and the Orange Democratic Movement, which is one of the key provisions in the power-sharing deal Kibaki and Odinga signed on February 28.

    Kibaki and Odinga had said they would announce a new cabinet on April 6, but they did not do so after failing to reach agreement on how to divide a 40-member cabinet.

    Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement party had suspended talks with Kibaki on Tuesday, saying the president must first dissolve the cabinet that existed then and share the posts equally.

    The public has grown increasingly impatient with Kibaki and Odinga. For three days this week, scuffles broke out in Kenya's largest slum, Kibera, between the police and people protesting the cabinet delay. There were no reports of injuries.

    Kibera was the scene of some of the worst post-election violence in January and February.

    Kibaki and Odinga also came under international pressure this week to reach agreement, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling them on Monday and Foreign Secretary David Miliband of Britain expressing dismay at the delay.

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  • Guest 123

    April 8, 2008 -- Kenya's fragile political truce collapsed yesterday with the opposition pulling out of power-sharing talks with President Mwai Kibaki and its supporters launching angry street protests for the first time since a peace deal was signed six weeks ago.

    Police fired teargas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators in Nairobi's Kibera slum who burned tyres and blocked roads in protest at the deepening political impasse. Some shouted "no cabinet, no peace" — a reference to Kibaki's failure to nominate a unity government, the key feature of the accord brokered by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

    After lengthy consultations, opposition leader Raila Odinga and Kibaki had promised to make public a new 40-member cabinet on Sunday. But the announcement was postponed after Kibaki was accused of reneging on a deal reached last week on sharing ministries, which was meant to reflect an equal balance of power.

    The proposed cabinet released by Kibaki at the weekend showed his PNU coalition retaining almost all the important portfolios. Analysts say this goes against the letter and spirit of the Annan agreement.

    "This latest crisis in portfolio balance captures the astonishing lengths PNU is willing to go to ensure that it continues to monopolise power," Odinga, who is due to become prime minister in the new government, told a press conference.

    His Orange Democratic Movement party said that talks had been suspended. In response, Kibaki blamed the opposition for the delay in naming the new cabinet, saying it had made unacceptable "new preconditions and ultimatums".

    The breakdown in relations has caused serious concern in Kenya. While the peace agreement ended the violence that had engulfed parts of the country following Kibaki's disputed election win, the tensions have not disappeared. Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by ethnic clashes have yet to return to their homes. The economy was hard hit by the turmoil, and inflation is rising sharply.

    The seriousness of the deadlock is reflected in talk that Annan may need to return to Nairobi to broker further talks. It has also caused deep unease in the international community, whose pressure helped seal the original peace accord.

    A western diplomat in Nairobi said the "cautious optimism" over the Annan deal was fast disappearing.

    "We are seriously concerned. Even before the breakdown, it seemed as if the parties were more concerned with sharing the spoils of power rather than governing the country effectively."

    In return for allowing Kibaki to keep the powerful finance, defence, internal security and justice portfolios in the unity cabinet, Odinga believed his party would control the local government ministry, as well as key infrastructure posts, such as energy and transport. Instead, they all went to PNU.

    Some analysts believe that Kibaki had no intention of sharing power equitably, despite signing the Annan agreement.

    "Kibaki was never convinced by this accord, and his signature was merely a tactical retreat that allowed Annan to go home," said Mutahi Ngunyi, a political scientist in Nairobi. "He wants to tire Odinga, perhaps to the point of pulling out of the government, which would then allow him to appoint his own prime minister."

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  • Guest 123

    April 5, 2008 -- The announcement of Kenya's new coalition cabinet has been delayed indefinitely due to disagreements over its composition, the opposition says.

    The expected 40-member cabinet had been scheduled to be unveiled by midnight on Sunday but the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said the two sides had failed to agree over the sharing of portfolios.

    "The widely expected announcement tomorrow of a new cabinet that all Kenyans were so keenly awaiting has been delayed," Salim Lone, ODM spokesman, said in a statement.

    The government blamed the ODM , saying it had failed to present its list of would-be ministers to Mwai Kibaki, the president.

    "Today, President Mwai Kibaki requested Hon. Raila Odinga to submit his proposals for appointments into the cabinet. The president is yet to receive the list," Alfred Mutua, the government spokesman, said in a statement.

    "The consultations for the formation of cabinet have gone on for over a month and have to end at one point."

    Mutua said Kibaki had invited Raila Odinga, the ODM leader, for talks on Sunday at 10am (0700 GMT).

    Yvonne Ndege, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kenya's capital Nairobi, said the sticking point was the key ministerial positions of finance, local government, energy and internal security.

    She said that Kenya was on a "knife edge" and that there was a huge amount of public anger over the size of the cabinet which could be one of the "biggest in the world".

    According to the government statement, Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) is to cover the finance, defence, foreign affairs and justice portfolios, while the ODM is to take others including roads, public works and tourism and agriculture.

    The delay is a major setback in the implementation of a deal reached on February 28 to end the violence that erupted following December's election, which Odinga accused Kibaki of rigging.

    The violence killed at least 1,500 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

    The size of the new coalition cabinet has been criticised by the media, with newspapers saying 40 ministers is a waste of money in a country where many live in poverty.

    "This will be the largest cabinet Kenya has ever had since independence. Questions will continue being raised about the need and cost of such a large grouping," Kenya's top-selling Nation newspaper said in an editorial on Friday.

    Church and civil groups have threatened mass action if Kibaki and Odinga fail to reduce the new cabinet to 24 members.

    The government conceded that the cabinet was large, but said it was necessary to include all communities across the country.

    "Most of the new ministries are subdivided from formerly existing ministries and therefore the budget and members of staff for those new ministries already exist," Mutua said.

    "There is no price that is too high for our country to ensure peace, harmony and reconciliation, healing and stability that will spur and grow the economy and create even more wealth."

    The head of the Africa Centre for Open Governance accused Kenya's political leaders of creating a "totally wasteful government".

    "What Kibaki and Raila [Odinga] did was to show that their clients are not the people of Kenya, but themselves and their political expedients," Gladwell Otieno said.

    "The two agreed to set up a totally wasteful government, rewarding each other with ministries that we do not need and yet they are the ones who set off the crisis that has left Kenyans suffering."

    "This is a very bad start for a Grand Coalition that has yet to be accepted by a majority of Kenyans," Mwalimu Mati, an anti-corruption campaigner with Mars Group Kenya, wrote on his blog.

    He estimated the cost of the new cabinet as costing Kenyans 52 billion Kenyan shillings ($840m) a year.

    About 60 per cent of Kenya's population lives on less than one dollar a day.

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  • Guest 123

    Nairobi, April 4, 2008 -- Kenya's political leaders agreed on a power-sharing cabinet yesterday after criticism from the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan for failing to implement the peace deal he brokered in February.

    President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, said that an enlarged 40-member cabinet would be announced on Sunday. But relief at the breakthrough was tempered by criticism from civil society groups, who said the six new ministries could cost the country hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

    Wrangling over the division of cabinet posts - a key component of Annan's peace agreement - exposed the fragility of the accord between Odinga and Kibaki, whose controversial election win set off protests and ethnic violence that claimed more than 1,200 lives. The delay in forming a government also caused deep resentment among ordinary Kenyans. More than 100,000 displaced people are still in temporary camps, without the means or the security guarantee to return home.

    In a statement Kibaki said: "Both parties noted that the long consultations were necessary to enable there to be an agreement that is amicable and good for the country."

    Under pressure from his allies in smaller parties to reward them with top posts, Kibaki had initially proposed having 44 ministries - nearly twice the size of the 23-strong cabinet he appointed after his election in 2002, and six more than when his term expired last year. As part of yesterday's agreement Kibaki will appoint the defence and foreign affairs ministers, but who will get the finance, interior and local government posts is still not known.

    Odinga, who will become prime minister and whose party will run 20 ministries, was pushing for a leaner cabinet. But his spokesman said "compromises were necessary to take this country forward".

    Not everyone agrees. About 100 activists, including the Nobel peace prize laureate Wangari Maathai, who served in the last government but has since become a critic of Kibaki, tried to deliver a petition this week to the president's office, urging him to keep the cabinet down to 24 ministers. They failed after police used teargas to disperse them.

    The new ministries could cost taxpayers up to £400m annually, based on running expenses of existing ministries, said Mwalimu Mati, head of the Mars Group, an anti-corruption organization in Nairobi. Kibaki and Odinga have asked donor countries for about £240m to help resettle displaced people and reconstruct affected industries and areas.

    "Announcing such a bloated cabinet at this time is like putting out a fire with gasoline," said Mati. "These guys are completely out of touch with public thinking."

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  • Guest 123

    Transmara, Kenya, March 12, 2008:
    Massai warriors pepper a battle field
    as they clash with bows and arrows
    with members of the Kalenjin tribe in the Kapune hills.
    Over twenty warriors from the tribes have been killed
    in bow and arrow battles in the last couple of months

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    March 3, 2008 -- Clashes in western Kenya this morning have left 13 people dead, including a pregnant woman and a three-year-old child.

    Police say dozens of people armed with assault rifles and machetes stormed a village in a part of the country that sees frequent clashes over land.

    It was not immediately clear if the violence was linked to Kenya's disputed election.

    The resumption of violence comes a few hours after Kenya's political rivals repeated their resolve to work together on a power-sharing deal signed last week.

    The deal, brokered by the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, called for long-term political problems to be resolved within a year, but political negotiators said this morning they were hopeful they could speed up their work.

    "As far as I am concerned we ought to finish this phase this week," a government negotiator, Mutula Kilonzo, told reporters after discussions chaired for the first time by Nigeria's ex-foreign minister Oluymi Adeniji, who has taken over day-to-day mediation from Annan.

    An opposition negotiator, Musalia Mudavadi, also said he did not expect the remaining phase of the talks to drag on for a year.

    "We will find a way of moving faster," he said.

    Parliament is due to meet on Thursday to pass a constitutional amendment allowing for a coalition government led by President Mwai Kibaki. His opposition rival, Raila Odinga, will fill the newly created post of prime minister.

    More than 1,000 people were killed and 300,000 left homeless in violence that erupted when Kibaki was sworn in as president. Odinga says he was robbed of victory.

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  • Bent_Bladi

    At a ceremony in Nairobi, the two men put their signatures to a power-sharing deal brokered by ex-UN head Kofi Annan.

    A coalition government comprising members of the current ruling party and opposition will now be formed.

    Some 1,500 people died in political violence after Mr Odinga said he was robbed of victory in December's polls.

    International observers agreed that December's election count was flawed.

    The post-election violence saw thousands of people targeted because they belonged to ethnic groups seen as either pro-government or pro-opposition. About 600,000 people fled their homes.

    Although the level of violence had fallen in recent weeks, there were concerns that a failure to reach a deal would lead to a fresh round of blood-letting.

    Negotiations between the government and opposition lasted more than a month, stalling several times.

    The BBC's Adam Mynott, in Nairobi, says both sides have given ground from their original positions to reach this agreement.

    Portfolios shared

    The new coalition will be headed by President Kibaki, with Mr Odinga - whose Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the largest in parliament - probably taking the newly created post of prime minister.

    Each party will nominate a deputy prime minister, with other ministerial portfolios being divided equally between the two parties.

    Correspondents say both parties are now likely to begin wrangling over who gets what position in the new government, with the post of finance minister likely to prove the most contentious.

    After the deal was reached, Mr Annan said: "Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country."

    He urged all Kenyans to support the agreement, saying: "The job of national reconciliation and national reconstruction is not for the leaders alone. It must be carried out in every neighbourhood, village, hamlet of the nation."

    'New chapter'

    Speaking after the signing, Mr Kibaki said: "This process has reminded us that as a nation there are more issues that unite than that divide us...

    "We've been reminded we must do all in our power to safeguard the peace that is the foundation of our national unity... Kenya has room for all of us."

    Mr Odinga said: "With the signing of this agreement, we have opened a new chapter in our country's history - from the era or phase of confrontation to the beginning of co-operation.

    "We, on our side, are completely committed to ensuring that this agreement will succeed."

    Both men thanked those who had stood by Kenya in what Mr Odinga called its "hour of need", including Mr Annan, the African Union, the European Union, the United States and the UN.

    They also urged Kenyans to move forward together without ethnic divisions.

    'Very basic issue'

    A spokesman for the US state department, Tom Casey, said the agreement was "an important and very positive step forward".

    He added: "It allows the Kenyan people to move forward with a very basic issue of governance."

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the new power-sharing agreement.

    "Kenya's leaders have reached a power-sharing agreement that represents a triumph for peace and diplomacy, and a renunciation of the violence that has scarred a country of such enormous potential," he said.

    In western Kenya, the scene of the some of the worst violence, there was some scepticism about the agreement.

    Paul Waweru, 56, who fled his home and is now living in a camp in Eldoret, said: "The deal between Raila and Kibaki will help to cool down the situation but I doubt if it will enable us to get back to our homes."

    But in Nairobi's Kibera slum, there were celebrations.

    "The general mood among people is that of happiness," said Nelson Ochieng.

    "We are tired of the political crisis. I was a barber but my shop was burnt. Now I'm jobless, and the end of this crisis means that I can rebuild my business."

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    February 25, 2008 -- Kenya's opposition today called for mass rallies after negotiators admitted failing to resolve outstanding issues on power sharing.

    The opposition Orange Democratic Movement has filed papers giving police the required three days' notice of demonstrations.

    Negotiators representing the country's president, Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, said they had gone as far as they could and the two leaders had to take the hard decisions on sharing power themselves.

    "We have isolated a number of items that require our chairman's consultations with our principals," the government negotiator, Mutula Kilonzo, told reporters.

    The opposition negotiator, William Ruto, accused the government side of "changing their mind over sharing power", but declined to give further details.

    Kilonzo denied any change in position. "This is not correct at all," Kilonzo told the Associated Press. "They thought this was a picnic where they would walk in and take over the government."

    Negotiators for Kibaki and Odinga have agreed in principle to create a prime minister's post for the opposition, but sticking points remain over how much power the post would carry. Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, has been mediating in the talks.

    Odinga, who accuses Kibaki of rigging the December 27 elections, wants the prime ministerial position to carry real power and a 50-50 power split in the cabinet.

    Kibaki says he won fairly and accuses the opposition of instigating riots and ethnic violence instead of challenge the election through legal channels. He wants changes to be made under Kenya's constitution.

    Widespread fighting that killed more than 1,000 people in the weeks after the election has largely subsided, but there are fears of renewed violence if no political agreement is reached.

    Police said eight houses were burned in a village near the western town of Molo in an apparent clash between rival ethnic groups. Two people — a father and son — were taken to hospital with injuries.

    Much of the violence, which has been concentrated in the Rift Valley, has been ethnic, between supporters of Kibaki — a Kikuyu — and western groups who rally to Odinga — a Luo.

    Most of Kenya's 36 million people appear to want a quick end to the two-month-old crisis, which many see as a battle between wealthy political elites being fought at their expense.

    As negotiators tried to reach agreement before the planned protests, a human rights group said the winner of the 2004 Nobel peace prize, Professor Wangari Maathai, had received death threats after her plea for a peaceful agreement.

    Amnesty International said Maathai was sent three death threats by text message last week which read: "Because of your opposing the government at all times, Prof Wangari Maathai, we have decided to look for your head very soon, you are number three after Were, take care of your life."

    Two people working for her received similar threats. The threats were signed "Mungiki", the name of extremists belonging to the Kikuyu tribe, which claimed responsibility for beheadings and other murders involving mutilation.

    Maathai is a former MP. "Number three after Were" refers to the MP, Melitus Mugabe Were, who was killed outside his home in Nairobi on January 29. A second MP, David Kimutai Too, was killed in Eldoret town on January 31.

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