Troubles in Kenya continue

The World

DM earlier was in a Nairobi neighborhood which is one of the largest slums in Africa, �There was a major standoff between supporters of the opposition and riot police, there were several hundred riot police arranged against the road, the main entrance and exit to that slum. They faced off with several hundred protesters and in the end the riot police charged right into the slum, chasing down several protesters. There was automatic gunfire, we followed the riot police as they basically went right through the slum, kicking down doors and hauling out any young man, fairly indiscriminately, just beating them, kicking them. Tear gas was thrown in. we talked to one woman who was carrying an unconscious six year old girl who had tear gas thrown into her house. So the tactics by police are very tough, they seem very adamant in fact that they’re not going to let any form of protest happen here and the result certainly is a death toll that’s continuing to rise in this country.� MW �so slum dwellers in this neighborhood supporting the opposition leader, Odinga, vesus the riot police of President Kibaki, it sounds like a volatile mix.� DM �it is a volatile mix and just being there today for several hours and watching this thing, you get the sense that the two sides are becoming even more entrenched in their positions as this violence continues to grow. There’s been no dialogue between the two sides politically and as this violence continues and as the accusations continue surrounding this violence, it’s becoming harder and harder to see how these two men are going to be able to sit down and work something out between them. Really it’s a situation that appears to be unraveling in many ways.� MW �what is the latest on former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan’s arrival in Nairobi to help with mediation efforts?� DM �We still don’t have a date on that yet, as far as we understand he’s still suffering from the flu. It’s still unclear how both sides see his role when he gets here, I think Mr. Annan is going to have a very tough job when he finally does recover from the flu and gets here.� MW �now as you know, Kenya is traditionally a gateway to many parts of East Africa, sometimes peace talks in the Horn of Africa originate in Kenya. If Kenya is kind of seen as a leader in the region, and if that also have a knock on effect in terms of politics, if other countries in the region see that Kenya can’t get it together, what must they be thinking?� DM �Well that’s just it. and it goes beyond that. There are a quarter of a million refugees from countries around the region that are living here. Traditionally this is a safe haven and it is an example, as you say it’s hosted peace talks for Sudan. It’s difficult, I think a lot of people look to Kenya as a shining light and certainly this election was meant to be furthering that example. It was meant to be this great shining moment of democracy which has just descended into something that nobody here really expected. And I don’t think anybody knows or understands how this is going to play out and I think there’s a lot of genuine fear in neighboring countries about where this is going to go.�

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.