Thursday, January 17, 2008
Protests continued today in Kenya, more than two weeks after the country's president, Mwai Kibaki, claimed victory in a hotly disputed presidential election. Police fired tear gas and live rounds into the air to disperse demonstrators in Nairobi, the capital, and the western town of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, the Reuters international news service reported. More than 600 have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by violence that has paralyzed the East African country since the election, which Western nations have characterized as flawed. An African Union mission to try to start negotiations between Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga ended in failure last week. Odinga claims Kibaki stole the Dec. 27 election. A member of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement, which holds the most seats in Kenya's parliament, was elected as speaker this week. Another mission headed by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan of Ghana is reportedly on hold. Yesterday, the European Union indicated it was reviewing its program of aid to Kenya, which was one of Africa's most stable and prosperous nations until the unrest began. The EU had planned to send $600 million in aid to Kenya through 2013, Reuters said.