Monday, February 25, 2008

Feb 21, Rpt 33, Not looking good - David Zarembka

Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:26 PM
Subject: AGLI -- Report form Kenya -- #33 Feb 21.

Dear All,

Politically things are not looking good. The Government (PNU--Kibaki) side, after immense pressure from the US, Britain, the EU, and many others, has not compromised hardly at all. They are continuing to say much of what they said right after the election--Kibaki is in power and the Constitution cannot be changed to accommodate any settlement. The Opposition side (ODM--Raila) is planning to start holding demonstrations again after a week if Parliament is not called into session to vote on the Constitutional changes needed for a settlement. The Government then says they (ODM) are bringing on violence and ODM responds by saying that it is the Government who is violent when they forbid peaceful demonstrations as allowed by the Kenya Constitution and international law. The tear gas, water cannons, and live bullets are what is making the demonstrations violent. For some reason, the authorities in Kapsabet had allowed demonstrations before and they were peaceful and the youth blew off their steam. The Kibaki side wishes to procrastinate as long as possible since with each passing day they remain in power.

Noah Weksa, a PNU Member of Parliament from Western Kenya, a Quaker, and Minister for Science and Technology, has called for a power sharing agreement--this is at some variance with
the PNU hardliner stance. It will be interesting to see if some of the PNU, non-Kikuyu MP's start to break away to form that moderate middle that will be necessary for a resolution.

On Tuesday Gladys and I were at the Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT) meeting and I heard this interesting story. There are still about 1000 Kikuyu camped at the police station in Kakamega. On Sunday 350 Luhya who had been displaced from Naivasha, Nakuru, and Central Province and returned to their "ancestral land" as is the phrase here (i.e., ethnically cleansed) arrived in their truck at the police station, but the police turned them away--presumably because the Luhya would have problems staying with the Kikuyu. When the truck returned to town, not really knowing where to drop the people, the bicycle taxi drivers got aroused. In mass, as they do during the rioting, they returned with the truck to the police station and demanded that the Luhya be allowed to stay there (or they would begin attacking the Kikuyu). The police backed down and the Luhya stayed with the Kikuyu in the police station, both as internally displaced people.

In the reports on the FCPT distribution which I missed when we were in Uganda, a number of people commented that the internally displaced people would see the Red Cross vehicles pass them by, but never stop to help. FCPT is distributing to those who have not been serviced by the Red Cross. These people are ethnically mixed, but none are Kikuyu. It seems that the Red Cross is servicing only Kikuyu. People I know in Lumakanda have stopped me in the streets here to complain about the Red Cross not helping the Luhya. This should be investigated and if true, the Red Cross should be taken to task for this discrimination.

Our 42 one-day listening workshops for the 496 staff at the Center for Disease Control in Kisumu have been completed. I talked to the Director and she was very pleased with them as she had heard many positive reports from the participants. We had brought Chris, one of the HROC facilitators from Rwanda, to help out. The HROC program in Rwanda is planning listening sessions for survivors of the recent earthquake in Cyangugu at the southern end of Lake Kivu so Chris will be able to bring the Kenya experience back to Rwanda.


David Zarembka, Coordinator
African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams

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