Thursday, February 07, 2008
U.S SUGGESTS INDEPENDENT PROBE INTO KENYA VIOLENCE!
U.S. suggests independent probe into Kenya violence
Email|Print| Text size – + By Susan Cornwell
February 7, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An independent investigation into post-election violence in Kenya could help to prevent more bloodshed, the U.S. State Department's top diplomat for Africa said on Thursday.
more stories like thisAssistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said Washington was examining how to treat those who had incited the ethnic violence that has convulsed Kenya since President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election in December.
"Those options should include an impartial and independent investigation to ascertain individual responsibility, and future accountability to ensure impunity does not prevail," she said in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs Subcommittee.
Frazer did not suggest in her prepared remarks who might conduct such a probe, but added: "A strong message of accountability, delivered now, will help to deter additional violence."
Earlier in Nairobi, officials said the United States has barred 10 Kenyans suspected of being behind the violence -- which has killed more than 1,000 people and uprooted some 300,000 others -- from visiting the United States.
U.S. Embassy officials in Nairobi said five of those banned were politicians and the rest prominent businesspeople.
The violence started after a dispute over the December 27 re-election of Kibaki; opposition leader Raila Odinga says the election was stolen. But the violence has laid bare divisions over land, wealth and power dating from colonial rule.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is leading international mediation efforts at a hotel in Nairobi where officials from both parties met on Thursday for more talks.
Frazer, who just returned from Africa, said the United States would stay engaged at the highest levels to support resolution of the crisis.
She warned: "On our part, we have made it clear that there will be 'no business as usual' with Kenya until there is a real concerted effort by both the Kenyan government and its opposition to resolve the issues that generated this tragedy."
She did not elaborate. U.S. officials have said that while they are reviewing U.S. aid to Kenya, there is relatively little that could be cut because most of it is humanitarian.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted 405-1 to urge President George W. Bush to restrict all non-humanitarian aid to Kenya unless the parties are able to solve the crisis peacefully.
Frazer also suggested there be a probe into electoral irregularities that preceded the violence. She said the United States did not believe an accurate recount was possible, because election documents had been lost or destroyed.
"However, an impartial investigation into the nature of electoral irregularities might help to restore the faith of the Kenyan people in the democratic process," she said. "New elections should not be considered before the ECK (the Electoral Commission of Kenya) is reformed and enjoys broad credibility."
Frazer said the United States expected Kibaki, Odinga and other political leaders to stop the violence and reach a political agreement that allows the country to move forward.
"The president and his party must offer real acc
I am making a suggestion that Kenyans contact the offices of Senator Russ Feingold, Chairperson on Sub-Committe for Africa and Congressman Payne, with their concerns about the situation in Kenya. Their websites are easily available on the web and this is an opportunity to have our voices heard. I don't know about you but I have deep concerns that long-standing issues that we have lived with in Kenya for years are not being put on the table. I feel that this is a prime opportunity for all these issues to be brought into the light of day. The world needs to be clear that most Kenyans are the most peace-loving people tin the world, and that these recently reported grievances have been simmering under the surface for decades. For example RV is the bread basket of kenya, but generally the indigenous ethnic groups do not appear to have been benefitting from the resources. Additionally, the coast province enjoys a lot of tourism, but again, generally speaking, the locals don't appear to benefit. Look at Nyanza, the gateway into central Africa and the transportation , roads and the general infrastructure are a nightmare because this region is not a priority for Nairobi. A blind man could have seen the simmering tensions underlying the veneer of peace and prosperity in Kenya. Kenyans have long endured ethnic and national origin discrimination from one group in Kenya ever since independence. Majority of Kenyans have never enjoyed equal opportunities in their own land. There has always been discrimination based on national origin, in education, the job market, housing, bank loans, land allocations, health care,etc , yet they have always dutifully pay their taxes. What we have had is taxation without representation. There should be laws enacted against discrimination based on national origin, birthplace, ancestry, culture, language and gender otherwise Kenyans will be forced to live under an "apartheid"-like government. I noticed asome Kenyan blogs quoting MLK Jr. Let everyone be reminded that MLK fought against discrimination in all its forms.
Those of you who want to contact Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin you can do so on his website: http://feingold.senate.gov
The website for Congressman Donald M. Payne is: http://www.house.gov/payne