Kenya parliament back in session

The World

There’s been no resolution to the dispute over the results of Kenya’s presidential election three weeks ago. And today there was more heated rhetoric as Kenya’s parliament held its first session since then. LM �pretty significant there that this is the man who won.� DM �very significant. This is the opposition’s choice for speaker and the speaker is the third most powerful person in the country after the President and Vice President. This is going to make it much easier for the opposition which is the largest party in the parliament, they lost the presidential elections but they are the largest party in the parliament, it’ll allow them to push forward their agenda which is really to get a recount on that presidential vote and acutely push also for a rerun of the presidential election.� LM �This is the movement of Odinga, the opposition candidate. Last week, his movement announced plans for more nationwide protests starting tomorrow. Are those likely to go ahead?� DM �Well as I understand, those protests are going to go ahead and there’s actually been flare ups of violence in one slum in Nairobi and in Western Kenya, which is the hotbed of support for Odinga.� LM �is he doing anything to try and dissuade people from any kind of violence or to tamp down violence if it indeed does happen? In other words, does he seem to be acting as an incendiary device or is he trying to diffuse any kind of violence?� DM �in public he’s called for no violence, he’s said he doesn’t want to see violence on the street. The flipside of that is every time he’s called for street protests, it has led to violence so every time street protests are called, people fear violence will happen. So it’s a bit of two sided and that’s why people were quite upset with him when he called for these new street protests because people really equate them with street violence and death.� LM �how is the opposition helped by the violence? If Odinga is not trying to put the kibosh on this violence, how is he helping?� DM �Well the more ungovernable this country looks the less support President Kibaki is going to have from the international community, that seems to be the theory going on in Odinga’s inner circle. Certainly there’s been quite a lot of condemnation of how this election was carried out and if the country itself continues to go up in flames there’s going to be much more international protest towards Mr. Kibaki.� LM �in terms of the United States, what kind of international pressure has it been bringing to bear in Kenya and to what end?� DM �the US Under Secretary of State spent several days here and met with both the opposition leaders and President Kibaki on two separate occasions. How much sway she has, it’s really hard to say. I mean, she left without the situation having changed that much. That said, President Kibaki has been a very close ally with the current administration of the United States on the war on terror. So it’s difficult to say how much the current administration wants President Kibaki to come out, that’s hard to say. But certainly they’ve been applying pressure but there’s been six different mediators who have come through here and none have had any luck so far so the Americans are just part of a long line of failed mediation going on that have tried to get the two sides together.�

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