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» 31.03.2010 - Court bombshell hangs over Kenya
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» 25.02.2010 - Truth commission chair told to resign
» 18.02.2010 - Resolve differences - Annan tells Kenyan leaders

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ODM set for economic boycott

afrol News, 18 January - The main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has announced its readiness to launch an economic boycott as the party's next line of action.

The party's announcement came on the heels of the expiration of its nation-wide mass protests against the re-election of the Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, in a disputed polls in December.

"Today is the last day of demonstrations. We have seen a lot of suffering caused by reckless police action against peaceful protestors," Salim Lone, the Spokesman of ODM, said.

The police have confirmed the killing of 14 people since the country-wide protests began on Wednesday. Both the opposition and human rights groups accused the police of using excessive force on innocent civilians.

The police refused to legalise the protests by issuing permits, arguing that the country is still grappling with fragile security.

"No amount of propaganda will deter the force from executing its legal mandate with a view to providing a secure environment for the full resumption of our country's social and economic activities," the Police Spokesperson, Eric Kiraithe, declared.

But ODM executive said it was about time that the party's strategies and actions be widened.

"We are now moving on to a new phase of the struggle and this will include initiating an economic boycott by consumers of large companies owned by hardliners around Mr Kibaki," Lone said.

The boycott targets Brookside Dairies, Kenya Bus Services and Equity Bank, among others. These companies are largely owned by senior government officials of President Kibaki's ruling Kikuyu tribe.

Kenya's post electoral unrests had killed more than 700 people, displaced over 250,000 others as well as threatened its economy and those of the neighbouring countries.

Several international diplomatic efforts to douse the deadlock between the government and the opposition had failed.

The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has led a group of African wise men to foster reconciliation between the rival sides so that peace and sanity can prevail in the East African country. The team includes Graça Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela and Banjamin Nkapa, former President of Tanzania.

UN has launched a US $34 million appeal to help thousands of people displaced by Kenya's political unrest.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is also providing urgently needed medical equipment and supplies to the victims country. The Fund is providing materials to ease the care and delivery of thousands of pregnant women who might find themselves beyond the reach of health facilities.

It is also working with Kenyan Ministry of Health, Red Cross and other organisations to re-distribute supplies, refer women experiencing complications to nearby health facilities as well as make family planning services accessible to displaced couples.

"UNFPA is particularly concerned about reports of increased sexual violence in the displacement settlements. At least one hospital in the affected areas has reported that the number of rapes, especially gang rapes, has increased significantly over the past three weeks," UNFPA expressed in a news dispatch.

"The Fund is providing medicine and equipment to help treat these cases of violence, including post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection and medications to treat gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia."

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