Monday, January 28, 2008

Kenya hopes fade

The disintegration of society in Kenya continued unabated today as gangs of Kikuyu and Luo youth rampaged in western towns. Today, young people from the Kikuyu tribe, the same tribe as embattled president Mwai Kibaki, squared off against young people from the Luo tribe, which includes opposition leader Raila Odinga, in the western tourist town of Naivasha. Kenya has convulsed with ethnic violence since the closely contested Dec. 27 presidential election, which Odinga claims Kibaki stole. International observers have questioned the vote count, and Odinga has demanded that Kibaki resign and hold new elections. More than 85 have died in the past five days, according to the Washington Post. Post-election violence has claimed close to 800 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands in Kenya, which had been a stable democracy seen as a model for other emerging African nations. The Kibaki-Odinga dispute has apparently awakened long-simmering tribal rivalries among the Kikuyu tribe, which has long ruled Kenya, and the Luo and Kalenjin tribes, which backed Odinga. The initial optimism that surrounded last week's arrival of mediator Kofi Annan of Ghana, the former U.N. secretary-general, who arranged the first meeting between Kibaki and Odinga since the December balloting, appears to be fading.

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