Friday, February 01, 2008
U.K. minister: Kenya army should intervene!
LONDON (AP) — Kenya may need to deploy its army on the streets to quell political violence, a British minister said Friday.
Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch-Brown, speaking from Ethiopia where the African Union summit is being held, said police in Kenya were no longer trusted following two killings of opposition lawmakers.
"I think an early area of agreement may need to be the deployment of Kenyan army forces, because until there is some semblance of law and order returned, it is very hard to see how the political negotiations can get real traction, even — and it's a big if — the two leaders want them to," Lord Malloch-Brown said in a British Broadcasting Corp. radio interview.
He said he had detected "real alarm" among African leaders over the violence in Kenya between supporters of President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who both claim to have won the country's recent national election.
"Wherever the two leaders look they are going to see a united international community saying sit down and deal with each other and stop this before your country spirals out of control," Malloch-Brown said.
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"Armies are not ideal to put into a situation of civil unrest because they don't have the training and skills of a police force," he said.
"But the police at this stage seem to be seen as no longer neutral and behind some of the killings.
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Kagame urges Kenyan army to act
Paul Kagame, whose rebel army took power in Rwanda 13 years ago putting a halt to genocide, came close yesterday to calling for a military coup in neighbouring Kenya.
In remarks unprecedented for an African leader, Mr Kagame, now president of Rwanda, said army intervention might be the only way to curtail the violence that has erupted in the aftermath of last month’s flawed elections in Kenya.
Timeline: Kenya’s post-election crisis - Jan-31
Kenyan MP’s murder fuels violence - Jan-30
Editorial comment: Kenya is burning - Jan-29
Kenya opposition accused of fomenting violence - Jan-24
Annan in Kenya to mediate in crisis - Jan-23
Helios at risk from Kenya boycott - Jan-18
“It might not be fashionable and right for the armies to get involved in such a political situation. But in situations where institutions have lost control, I wouldn’t mind such a solution,” he said in an interview in Kigali with Reuters on the eve of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
Mr Kagame’s government is one of only seven to have recognised President Mwai Kibaki since his claim to a poll victory precipitated the worst crisis in Kenya’s post-independence history. An ally of the Rwandan president said that until now he had felt compelled to tread cautiously, given how dependent his country is on Kenya’s roads and railways for access to the Indian Ocean.
But he has been appalled, the ally said, by scenes of mob killings in Kenya reminiscent, if on a far smaller scale, of those in his own country in 1994. Rwanda is suffering from shortages of fuel and other commodities as a result of the crisis in Kenya.
Jendayi Frazer, US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said the violence, which has claimed nearly 900 lives, was “clearly ethnic cleansing”, but she did not consider it genocide.
Mr Kagame said he backed mediation efforts by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, but warned that his own country’s tragedy showed how quickly the killing could escalate.
“I tend to suggest that maybe whatever in terms of leadership that is there should be swept aside and space be created for people to go back on the drawing board and settle their grievances,” he said.
“In the wake of such senseless killings with no immediate solution, if anybody suggested that [military] option to me, I would say I agree with it.”
Kenya is one of only a handful of sub-Saharan African countries never to have experienced a military coup.
The make-up of the army reflects some of the same divisions within Kenyan society exposed by the post election crisis. Many of the ground troops are from poorer ethnic groups sympathetic to Raila Odinga, the opposition leader who believes he was robbed of election victory. More of the officer class have been appointed from Mr Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe.
Kenyans familiar with the army say senior commanders have been reluctant to allow the deployment of troops for fear they could splinter along ethnic lines.
A senior government official said military intervention was “out of the question”, while opposition figures including Mr Odinga have opposed the deployment of troops for fear that once out of the barracks, it will be difficult to get them back in.
Some middle-class Kenyans are discussing more radical solutions after concluding that the main protagonists in the crisis are locked in an escalating confrontation and neither has shown the necessary statesmanship to halt the bloodshed.
Additional reporting by Barney Jopson in Nairobi
Note from KDPM:
A good Army General must have excellent tactics.
He must also be resourceful, active, careful, hardy and quick-witted, both gentle and brutal. He has to be straightforward and designing, capable of both caution and surprise, lavish and rapacious, generous and mean, skilful in defense.
Unfortunately, the Kenya army Generals lack these vital qualities so depending on them is a WASTE OF TIME!