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Kenya Violence


Political violence in Kenya continues. In one of the latest incidents, Mugabe Were, a member of parliament, was dragged out of his car and shot to death. A moderate member of the political opposition, Mr. Were had been trying to promote ethnic reconciliation.

Widespread violence erupted in Kenya following the December 27th presidential election. Incumbent Mwai Kibaki, of the Kikuyu tribe, was declared the winner. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga, of the Luo tribe, said the election was rigged. International observers declared the vote to be so flawed that the true outcome could not be determined.

Since then, more than eight-hundred people have been killed in largely ethnically-motivated violence. In the Rift Valley, Kalenjin have been fighting Kikuyus. This sort of violence has spread across central and western Kenya, involving many different ethnic groups.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said that neither President Kibaki nor Mr. Odinga have done enough to stop the violence. The two leaders need to agree on a way to end the crisis. They should acknowledge serious irregularities in the vote tallying, and take immediate steps to ensure respect for the rule of law and human rights.

The continued unrest has led the U.S. to review its aid programs for Kenya. The European Union, Canada, and other countries have warned that they will cut assistance to Kenya if the rival parties do not come to a political agreement.

The U.S. is supporting the efforts of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to mediate an end to the crisis. Mr. Annan has called on Kenya's leaders to stop the "downward spiral into chaos that is threatening this beautiful country."

The only way forward for Kenya is for its political leaders to embrace equitable power-sharing, end the violence, and agree on an agenda for constitutional and electoral reform.

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