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Kibaki appeals to Museveni for help

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th January 2008 03:00 AM

KENYAN leader Mwai Kibaki has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to help find a solution to Kenya’s post-election crisis that has claimed over 600 lives.

KENYAN leader Mwai Kibaki has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to help find a solution to Kenya’s post-election crisis that has claimed over 600 lives.

By Henry Mukasa

KENYAN leader Mwai Kibaki has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to help find a solution to Kenya’s post-election crisis that has claimed over 600 lives.

Kibaki’s special envoy, Moses Wetangula, delivered the message to Museveni who was in Ruhaama, Ntungamo district on a mobilisation tour on Monday. According to a State House statement, Wetangula briefed Museveni about the Kenyan elections and the aftermath violence.

“He (Kibaki) appealed to President Museveni to use his position as the chairman of both the East African Community Authority and the Commonwealth to involve both the Kenyan government and the opposition to get a solution to the current Kenyan problems,” the statement said.

Violence erupted in Kenya after the Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman, Samuel Kivuitu, declared Kibaki winner of the December 27, 2007 presidential elections. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Raila Odinga, rejected the results, citing election malpractices.

According to State House, Wetangula told Museveni that the dispute over the elections “is neither on civic nor parliamentary level but rather on tallying, which could have been handled without causing violence.” “He said the situation worsened when some political actors incited the masses, leading to ethnic tension,” the statement quoted Wetangula as saying.

Museveni regretted the post-election riots, saying instability and ethnic violence would not only hurt the region but Kenyans mostly.

He added that as chairman of the East African Community, he was “deeply concerned”.

The President said he was in touch, with many East African brothers “to ensure that such a situation should never happen again.”

“Violence must be dealt with and stopped as it destroys the lives of people who have nothing to do with governance or electoral authority,” Museveni said, adding that those who commit crimes should not always go away with impunity “as it breeds more criminality.”

Museveni said he had appealed to Kibaki and Odinga to work towards finding political and judicial mechanisms to solve the current political crisis.

“He (Museveni) told the Kenyan envoy that Uganda itself suffered such tensions for a long time. But, he said, using the legal, political and administrative measures, these problems can now be handled.”

Kibaki also sent his foreign affairs minister, Raphael Tuju, to Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

The message was received by Rwanda prime minister, Bernard Makuza, on behalf of Kagame, who is currently in the US.

A Rwanda government statement said Tuju told Makuza that Kibaki sent him to give an explanation about the violence and instability that erupted after Odinga claimed vote-rigging. Tuju is quoted as saying that Kibaki is ready to set up a national unity government and that he would also work closely with the new parliament which is dominated by Odinga’s party members “if Odinga accepts defeat.” Makuza assured Tuju that “Rwanda would support any decision Kenyans take to solve their problems.”

Meanwhile, Kibaki yesterday named a partial cabinet, a move that was opposed by the opposition supporters who resumed riots in Kisumu.

Witnesses said protesters built burning barricades and stoned cars in Kisumu, a stronghold of Odinga, after Kibaki named 17 new ministers.

Local reporter Baraka Karama told Reuters that the police shot dead one protester in Kisumu. Residents of Nairobi's Mathare and Kibera slums said hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets, some brandishing machetes.

Kibaki named former presidential candidate, Kalonzo Musyoka, who was the flag bearer for the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K), as vice president.

KANU’s Uhuru Kenyatta was named local government minister.

In a brief televised address, Kibaki described the new cabinet as a “broad-based”.

While details were not available by press time, the cabinet is said to included ODM-K and KANU representatives.

Odinga’s party dismissed Kibaki’s cabinet announcement as “a public relations gimmick.”

Yesterday Odinga’s spokesman, Salim Lone, said the ODM leader would only meet Kibaki for direct talks if the African Union chairman, John Kufuor, acts as a mediator.

Kufuor, the Ghanaian president, arrived in Nairobi last evening to join efforts to end the political turmoil.

In a related development, four former African presidents arrived in western Kenya to try to break a political stalemate.

Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa, Mozambique’s Joachim Chissano, Botswana’s Sir Katumile Masire and Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda held a meeting “to discuss the crisis,” Kenya government, Alfred Mutua, told AFP.

The former presidents visited thousands of refugees at a hastily constructed camp in Eldoret and promised to work for peace.

“They will also meet former (Kenyan) president Daniel arap Moi to discuss ways of healing the country and fostering national reconciliation after the problem caused by the elections,” Mutua said.

A week after a mob torched a church and killed 30 people in the worst single attack in the post-election violence, families are still finding the mutilated bodies of loved ones in nearby fields. Faith Wairimu broke down into sobs when she stumbled across her husband’s remains in a field after days of searching.

His head and torso were missing. “It is him, he is dead,” the farmer said, pressing her fist against her lips and closing her eyes to stem the tears.

Corpses piled up yesterday in a mortuary in nearby Eldoret, and columns of smoke rose from outlying villages looted and burned in continuing attacks by gangs of youths.

The UN estimates that 250,000 Kenyans have been displaced and 100,000 are in need of immediate assistance in the western Rift Valley region of Kenya.

Kibaki appeals to Museveni for help

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