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AU: "stop Kenya burning"
Nairobi, Kenya, 31 January 2008 - Chairman of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konaré has asked African leaders attending the 10th heads of state and government summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to do everything within their powers to stop Kenya from burning otherwise there would be nothing for the East African country.
AU chief said it was the continental body's duty to support the mediation process of the Eminent African Leaders led by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Konaré said both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have a special responsibility to solve weeks of violent disputes over presidential polls results in a peaceful manner.
Despite opposition protest that Kibaki should not be recognized by the AU, the Kenyan leader has flown to Addis Ababa.
However, the AU has turned down the request of the ODM to attend the Addis Ababa summit simply because Kenya is represented by the government delegation.
The three-day summit, themed industrialization, will among others delve into pressing issues in Darfur, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
UN Security Council on Wednesday held a close-door meeting on the Kenyan crisis. The UN Under-Secretary General for political affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the members about the latest development in the crisis-ridden country.
After the meeting, Mr Pascoe spoke to reporters, stressing the need for the "parties to work together" to halt the violence once and for all.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who discussed the Kenyan crisis with Konaré in Addis Ababa, expressed similar sentiments. Both leaders agreed that the AU and UN should support the efforts of Mr Annan.
UN agencies have warned against the increasing worsening humanitarian situation caused by the recent days of violence, fearing this might hamper relief efforts.
The US Envoy to Africa, Jendayi Frazer, said neither Kibaki, nor Odinga is doing enough to stop the bloodshed. She said Washington was reconsidering its aid amounting to US $540 million to Kenya, although majority of it goes to the people.
“The first wave of this violence, it was primarily in the Rift Valley, and it was Kalenjin pushing out Kikuyu. But that may now be spreading to Kikuyus pushing out Luos and Kalenjins,” Frazer told journalists in Ethiopia.
Human rights groups accuse politicians of orchestrating the violence, which claims over 900 lives, displaced 255,000 people as well as caused serious damage to the economy and shatter the country's social fabric.
She said speeches made by both political leaders had proved counterproductive.
“I think both sides have spent quite a lot of time, and unhelpful time, in the public,” she said while calling for "an Investigation into the into the inciting of violence and investigation into who is actually killing people. We know there have been politicians on radio inciting violence before the election ended.”
The beginning of peace talks could not loosen tension in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret where a policeman shot dead an opposition parliamentarian. The incident is the second such this week.
Police said the shooting was an act of revenge by a jealous boyfriend. Opposition leaders denied the police version, insisting that it was political. The development has ignited angry youths to take to the streets again.
By staff writer
Source: Afrol News