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Archive for January 3rd, 2008

Kenya: Tension mounts in Nairobi as police battle with opposition supporters

Posted by African Press International on January 3, 2008

Nairobi (Kenya) Tension is building up in Kenyas capital, Nairobi on Thursday as hundreds of chanting rioters are currently in a standoff with paramilitary officers barring them from attending a banned political rally called by the countrys opposition Orange Democratic Movement at Uhuru Park in central Nairobi.

In some parts of Nairobi, the rioters were engaged in running battles early Thursday morning with police who lobbed teargas and used water cannons to disperse the youths trying to make their way to the rally that was banned by the police on Monday for security reasons.

A church has been torched in Kibera slum in Nairobi, one of the largest in Africa while a petrol station and five cars have been set ablaze in other parts of the city.

Key highways into the central business district remain more or less closed as police battle protestors.

Uhuru Park is cordoned off by hundreds of paramilitary policemen at the crack of dawn.

The normalcy that was beginning to return to the city disappeared on Thursday morning, turning Nairobi into a ghost city, with all the shops closed and with residents keeping away.

Hundreds of rioters are currently chanting anti-Kibaki slogans and waving twigs and burning effigies of President Kibaki chanting Kibaki is dead Kibaki is dead.

In Kisumu, in western Kenya, police blocked hundreds of demonstrators trying to make their way to the city centre.

In Eldoret town in the Rift valley province, the largest in the country and the worst hit by violence, the police are placed on high alert.

In the coastal city of Mombassa, reports indicate that police are engaging rioters in running battles.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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Riots and violence grip Nairobi

Posted by African Press International on January 3, 2008

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 1/3/2008

Police are fighting running battles with chanting rioters pushing to access Nairobis Uhuru Park for a rally called by the Orange Democratic Movement.

A church has been torched in Kibera while a petrol station and five cars have been set ablaze along the citys Juja road. Key highways into the central business district remain more or less closed as police battle protestors.

Uhuru Park, the venue of the rally called by ODMs Raila Odinga, was cordoned off by hundreds of paramilitary policemen at the crack of dawn.

Virtually no business is taking place in the city as offices and premises that had opened earlier have now closed.

Scores of youths who attempted to get into the city from Kibera slums through Ngong road and Mbagathi Way were repulsed. A similar group was blocked along Thika road and Waiyaki Way. A stand-off between police and protestors has been reported along Jogoo road while on Mombasa road motorists are being blocked by police from driving into the city.

ODM leaders have finished a meeting with South Africas Bishop Desmond Tutu and are reported to be heading for the venue of the rally.

Bishop Tutu is in Kenya in help arbitrate between President Kibaki and Mr Odingas teams.Published by API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.nation.ke

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Posted by African Press International on January 3, 2008

Story by DAVE OPIYO and SAMUEL KUMBA
Publication Date: 1/3/2008

ODM Wednesday called for the appointment of an internationally constituted and recognised body to examine the controversial results of last years General Election.

ODM leaders emerge from a meeting room at Orange House yesterday. They had met the partys parliamentarians and insisted that the planned rally at Uhuru Park will go on. Photo/Correspondent

At a news conference in Nairobi Wednesday, Eldoret North MP-elect William Ruto said the body would recommend the modalities and procedures for resolving the crisis.

We are calling upon the international community to facilitate the appointment of such a body to help in resolving this crisis, he said.

In its report on the just concluded poll, ODM insisted that the move was necessary because ECK deliberately failed in its duties to prefect the polls and, as such, could not be trusted.

Flanked by more than 100 MPs-elect, Mr Ruto said as presently constituted, the Commission could not correct the wrongs it had inflicted on the electoral process.

On Monday, some of the commissioners conceded that the issues raised by ODM were weighty and thus merit judicial review.
In the meantime, ODM appealed to Kenyans to wait patiently as they participate in mass action and to desist from the senseless destruction of property and acts of violence.

Meanwhile, ODM-Kenyas Kalonzo Musyoka maintained Wednesday that dialogue between the leaders was the best way to resolve the current standoff.

Bearing fruit

Mr Musyoka said he had earlier managed to arrange a meeting between ODM and PNU on Tuesday which, however, could not take off because one ODM Pentagon member – Mr William Ruto – was out of town.

He said: If the meeting would have taken place I would have, among other issues, dissuaded them from perhaps calling for tomorrows (Thursdays) meeting.

However, he was glad that earlier meetings with both parties were bearing fruit as the Government shelved its intension to issue a curfew and declare a state of emergency.

We implored upon the Government to drop the idea for we thought that if they were to do that, it would have complicated the situation even further, he said.

Mr Kalonzo, who condemned the razing down of a church is Eldoret, called on Kenyans to desist from such acts and save lives instead.

I appeal to leaders to stand firm and save Kenyans lives. It does not make sense for a leader to take over a country that has no people.

Kenyans should also exercise maximum restraint. We may belong to different communities but we are all Kenyans, he said.
He, at the same time, donated Sh500,000 through the Kenya Red Cross to help the internally displaced Kenyans who are currently camping in churches and police stations across the country.

Elsewhere, PNU spokesman George Nyamweya Wednesday contested claims by ECK chairman Samwel Kivuitu that his party and ODM-Kenya piled pressure on him to announce the presidential results.

Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, he told the ECK boss that the law mandated only his organisation to announce the results, and we (PNU) had no powers to do his work.

Lifted and published by API/APN africanpress@chell.no source.nation.ke

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