15 April 2008

Latest from Kenya

The situation in Kenya after their disputed presidential election is improving, but still has a long way to go to stability.

After the election between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki resulted in widespread violence, former UN secretary Kofi Annan flew in to begin peace talks between the candidates.

I must admit that I was skeptical that Annan could get anything done. After initial efforts to get the two Kenyans to meet failed, I was sure the violence would only become more widespread as the people felt more and more frustrated with their government.

But instead, Odinga, Kibaki and other Kenyans sat down and hammered out the National Accord and Reconciliation Act. Essentially, Kibaki retained his presidency and Odinga became Prime Minister, a position that had not existed in Kenya since 1964.

In short, I was wrong. Diplomacy and compromise appears to have worked in this situation, which is fantastic. More nations should learn from this example, especiallythose in Africa.

A new problem has arisen, however, in a large gang, named Mungiki, that is responsible for at least four civilian deaths yesterday in Nairobi. Kenya's top-selling paper, Daily Nation, makes some interesting accusations about this gang:

"There are convincing indications that very senior politicians in both the past and present government used the sect to carry out dirty political work. Perhaps that is where the impunity springs from..."

I certainly hope not, but it makes sense. The government is doing its best to crack down on this gang, which has been around since March of last year. Overcoming the election turmoil was a major step in the right direction. Eliminating the threat Mungiki poses to the safety of average Kenyans would be another.

No comments: