Monday, January 21, 2008
Calling on Kenya
Maybe former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of Ghana can figure out what to do to restore civil order and democracy in Kenya and how to get the government and opposition to agree to do it. Annan is due to arrive in Nairobi on Tuesday, and faces a dire situation that only seems to be getting worse. The world has seen police loyal to President Mwai Kibaki -- whose re-election in December has been challenged as rigged by the man he defeated, opposition leader Raila Odinga, and questioned by the United States and Great Britain -- shoot demonstrators in the streets of several cities. Kenyan society is disintegrating along tribal lines, and something must be done to save East Africa's most stable and prosperous democracy. If Kibaki's re-election was, indeed, invalid, as Odinga says, Kibaki needs to be removed from office by whatever pressure the international community can bring. But if the election results were valid, Odinga needs to stop inciting his supporters to demonstrate in the streets and stop provoking the police. Odinga said today that he was the "rightful elected president and that "Kibaki stole his way into power," according to the Reuters international news service. But Odinga and Kibaki have a complicated personal rivalry that could be impacting the unfolding events. Kenya's government has raised formal complaints about interference from Western nations. More demonstrations are planned for Thursday, raising the specter of further violence. More than 650 have been killed and 250,000 displaced since the start of protests after last month's balloting.