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» 02.03.2011 - "Kenya, Niger, Mali troops support Ghaddafi"
» 19.04.2010 - Kenyan leader speaks out on constitution affair
» 08.04.2010 - Church leaders find role in Kenya’s reform agenda
» 31.03.2010 - Court bombshell hangs over Kenya
» 11.03.2010 - New Kenyan constitution nearing majority
» 04.03.2010 - ICC prosecutor submits 20 names
» 25.02.2010 - Truth commission chair told to resign
» 18.02.2010 - Resolve differences - Annan tells Kenyan leaders

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Politics | Society | Human rights | Media

Kibaki's win heightens chaos

afrol News, 31 December - Several parts of Kenya continue to be rocked by violence following the swearing in of President Mwai Kibaki for a second term in office. Irate opposition protesters went on the rampage, setting fire on cars, buildings and shops.

At least 19 people were killed when police fired live shots at protesters in Kisumu. Scores of seriously injured people were admitted at hospitals and health facilities in the second capital Mombasa.

Post electoral violence, which was a response to the declaration of President Kibaki as the winner of last Thursday's elections, continued in many regions in the country, including the capital Nairobi.

Opposition have been provoked and angered by what they called stolen election. The leader of the main opposition Orange Democratic Movement, Raila Odinga, had earlier warned that any declaration of a Kibaki victory on account of fake results would lead Kenya to as situation similar to that of Ivory Coast. He described the scenario as too terrible to contemplate.

But the Police Commissioner, Hussein Ali, has rubbished the arrest of Raila Odinga as false.

The police boss has appealed to all aggrieved persons to use the courts instead of inciting public violence.

But Odinga, whose ambitions to scale to the leadership ladder was dealt a blow, told reporters that his party would not negotiate with President Kibaki.

“I don’t recognise Mwai Kibaki as President," he said. "The country is in a state of mourning because ODM has been robbed of leadership. Kibaki can only hope to remain in power with the support of the military."

The government's refusal to allow the party to hold a rally in the capital this afternoon was like adding salt to injury. Its leaders decided to retire into a meeting so as to brainstorm on how to deal with their greatest political challenge.

Nairobi city centre has turned into a ghost town, with shops and businesses remaining closed. Only gun and baton-wielding security agents could be seen patrolling on the streets at some point. The protest was also marred with breaking and looting of shops.

Most election observers, including the European Union doubted the authenticity of the results.

According to political observers, it is evident that President Kibaki might be completely unable to govern a country seen as East Africa's biggest economy and democracy, considering the fact that he was rejected by majority of the electorate.

Besides, it will be difficult for Kibaki to appoint a cabinet that represents the true face of the country because his party has mostly grabbed parliamentary seats in Central Kenya.

The government has placed a ban on live broadcasts of electoral affairs, a move the Media Council and Media Owners Association described as "retrogressive and an affront to freedom of the press."

The ban was announced by the Internal Security Minister, John Michuki, shortly after President Kibaki was proclaimed the winner of the controversial election.

The government said the order was “in the interest of public safety and tranquillity, claiming that some people have been using the media to call for violence and to incite members of the public to engage in violence.

The Paris-based Reporters sans frontières condemned the climate of fear imposed on the privately-owned media in the wake of Kenya's disputed presidential election.

"The news blackout could result in the streets being ruled by rumour and disinformation," RSF said, describing the decision as “counter-productive” that imposes a climate of intimidation and plunges the country into confusion.

“We call on the government to talk to media executives and editors and to let them work freely so that the public is properly informed."

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