Thursday, January 17, 2008

ODM's peaceful protest enters day 2

Kenya's infamous police have clashed with ODM for the second day running. ODM has called for 3 days of peaceful protests all across Kenya, challenging the December 27th election stolen by Kibaki. Tear gas was fired at hundreds of demonstrators in Nairobi's Mathare slum as Raila Odinga called on the international community to impose sanctions. "We are determined to continue with the fight," said William Ruto. "We will not allow Kibaki to make this country a dictatorship."

The first day of protests, Wednesday, saw Members of the ODM Pentagon tear-gassed in running battles with police in central Nairobi, riot police killed four people including a 10-year-old boy in Kisumu and several others were seriously injured across the country. In Nairobi, Bungoma, Kisumu, Migori and Eldoret, police used live ammunition to break up crowds. In an unconfirmed post to the BBC News website, a reader in Mbita Point said three people had been killed there in clashes with police. Unconfirmed reports from the city's Kibera also suggest that three protesters suffered gunshot wounds during demonstrations. In Eldoret, protesters carried placards, some of which read: "We voted Raila and you stole our vote. We demand justice and our rights. No Raila, no peace".

In a horrendously haunting clip carried on Al Jazeera last night, a police man in Kisumu shoots an unarmed youth at point-blank range with an assault rifle (see 1st picture on this post: youth in a black top), and then proceeds to kick him in the head as he lies on the ground, dying. KTN apparently carried the full clip in it's bulletin: right from the moment the officer takes aim and then fires. Yes, Kibaki is right: there is genocide going on Kenya. And the targets are members of the Luo community.

Meanwhile, a survey released by a US-based Freedom House lists Kenya as one of the countries in the world experiencing reversals in human freedoms. The survey groups Kenya alongside Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and Venezuela as countries which had faired poorly in the advancement of freedoms compared to the previous year. Freedom House says Kenya experienced a significant decline in political rights and slight drop in civil liberties last year. States the document: “The deterioration within Nigeria and Kenya, two of Africa’s most important countries, should be of great concern for those who had hoped that the incremental gains of recent years would continue.”

The report entitled Freedom in the World 2008, cites political manipulation of ethnic tensions and intolerance by African leaders as important factors in the decline of a number of countries, including Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. The survey done on 193 nations last year, awards scores ranging from one to seven to countries depending on their record on political rights and civil liberties. East African countries in the "partly free" category include Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. Rwanda falls under the "not free" category.

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