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Cablegate: Kenya's Electoral Crisis: Odm Holds Mostly

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DE RUEHNR #0278 0250925
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P 250925Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4429
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9846
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5740
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 5064
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2578
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2608
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2542
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000278

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA'S ELECTORAL CRISIS: ODM HOLDS MOSTLY
PEACEFUL PUBLIC FUNERALS FOR VICTIMS OF POST-ELECTION
VIOLENCE

REF: NAIROBI 00245

1. The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) on January 23 held
public funerals in Nairobi, Kisumu (Nyanza Province), and
Kakamega (Western Province) for victims of Kenya's
post-election violence. These deaths were all alleged by ODM
to be the result of police action, and not civilian on
civilian violence. (Note: Deaths from police actions have
generally been of ODM supporters and protestors while deaths
from civilian-on-civilian violence have generally been of
government supporters or individuals perceived by the killers
to be of a government-allied ethnic group. End Note.) These
were the first government-sanctioned ODM gatherings since
Kenya's electoral crisis began.

2. The funerals were prayer gatherings followed by a public
procession escorting the victims' coffins to their burial
places. The Kisumu and Kakamega gatherings went off
peacefully, but there was violence in Nairobi.

3. The Nairobi event was attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga
and most of the party's top leadership. Raila opened the
event by telling those gathered that ODM will not back down
in its struggle for justice. He called on his followers to
refrain from violence and destruction of property. The event
proceeded peacefully until, near the end, a group of ODM
youth allegedly began stoning cars. This caused police to
use tear gas to disperse the crowd. Chaos ensued. The
youths then proceeded to damage a Telcom Kenya switching
station (15 workers had to be rescued by police) and burned
several cars. There were also reports of looting.

4. COMMENT: The fact that the government permitted the
events is a welcome affirmation of the right to public
assembly and represents a softening of the government's
stance as Kofi Annan begins his mediation mission (reftel).
Annan's presence is apparently causing both parties to
moderate their position: ODM called off a series of public
protests announced for January 24, at Annan's request. A
disconcerting fact is that Raila's plea for non-violence fell
on deaf ears. The longer Kenya's electoral crisis continues,
the harder it will be for ODM to control its supporters.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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