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Cablegate: Kenya - January 31 Sitrep

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #0339/01 0311341
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311341Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4512

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000339

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/ES-O/CMS, AF/E, AF/EX, CA/OCS/ACS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC PGOV EAID ECON PHUM PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA - JANUARY 31 SITREP

SENSITIVE-BUT-UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR RELEASE OUTSIDE USG CHANNELS.

1. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Orange Democratic Movement (ODM -
opposition) Member of Parliament for Ainamoi (Kericho District)
David Kimutai Too (ethnic Kalenjin) was shot dead in Eldoret by
Police Constable Andrew Moache (ethnic Kissi). Moache was arrested
and will be transferred to Nakuru for arraignment, according to the
Police Commissioner. Too was in his vehicle at the time parked
along a road in the West Indies Estate (other reports put him in a
hotel room or a house). A traffic policewoman named Eunice Chepkony
was in the vehicle with him. She was shot in the legs and stomach
and has since died in hospital. The police maintain this was a
"crime of passion," with Chepkony the subject of mutual affection
beween Too and Moache. In any event, this incident comes one week
after the killing of another opposition MP, Merlitus Were, and has
greatly increased already high tensions. Senior ODM figures are
convinced that the government is whittling down the ODM majority in
parliament through murder. Their supporters fervently believe this
is the case. We have again offered the Commissioner of Police and
the Minister of Internal Security the investigatory services of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. On the political front, formal
talks between the two sides continue today.

2. (SBU) SECURITY SITUATION: All of Kenya was calm until violent
outbreaks were experienced in Kisumu, Kericho, and Eldoret as a
result of the killing of ODM MP of Parliament (MP) for Kericho,
David Kimutai Too, in Eldoret. He is the second ODM MP to be slain
within a week. Crowds looted the former Foreign Minister's private
office in Kisumu before police being dispersed by police. As a
result of the killings, all areas of Kenya remain tense and police
are preparing for additional protests and violence.

3. (SBU) U.S. MISSION POSTURE: The Department approved In-Country
Authorized Departure for Kisumu and environs. Personnel and family
members have arrived in Nairobi. A total of four emergency USDH are
in Kisumu and Kericho. Post is in the process of organizing the
withdrawal of these four to Nairobi, which will occur either this
afternoon/evening or tomorrow. Ambassador conducted Town Hall
Meeting for Mission personnel and family members at the Embassy
Compound today, and announced two policies regarding travel to and
within Kenya. First, all Country Clearance Requests must be
submitted in writing to the DCM for consideration. Second, all
travel, official and personal, outside of Nairobi must be cleared by
the RSO and approved in advance by the DCM. Special restrictions
regarding travel to Kisumu and environs have been explained to all
agency and section chiefs. In Nairobi, all Embassy Offices are
open, including the warehouse (which had been closed on Tuesday
following disturbances in that area). The International School of
Kenya and Rosslyn Academy are open and buses are running normally.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is open, flights are
operating normally, and access roads are unobstructed. Office and
residential electricity and water systems are operational, and fuel
tanks for generators and vehicles are topped up. Communication
circuits, IVG lines, E&E radio net, cellphones/SMS, and Blackberries
are fully operational. Mission Kenya actual staffing on board today
is: Total USDH/USPSC - 254; total LES/FSN/PSA 682; total long-term
TDY -- 178; total short-term TDY - 43; PCVs -- 62. Total USDH in
Kisumu and environs - 4. Post is in the process of informing the
GOK that the Peace Corps program will be temporarily suspended.
Peace Corps has already begun moving PCVs from their sites back to
Nairobi for out-processing and return to CONUS next week.


4. (SBU) HUMANITARIAN SITUATION: USAID staff have received multiple
reports of local officials attempting to close temporary settlement
sites currently hosting internally displaced persons, without
establishing an alternate settlement option, providing transport out
of the area, or giving advance notice to the humanitarian relief
community. In addition, relief agencies are noting threats against
displaced populations who are sheltering at police stations,
churches, schools, or other public facilities. The Kenya Red Cross
Society and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
are leading efforts to establish an inventory of existing settlement
sites in order to address issues related to camp closures,
evictions, and threats from hostile communities. In addition, USAID
staff are engaging with U.N. and international relief organizations
to share information on reported threats against displaced
populations and discuss possible relocation plans.

5. (SBU) U.S. CITIZENS: The Consular Section has daily contact with
our Amcit wardens in Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kitale and
Naivasha. Kisumu reported that the situation is calm today and
activity is getting back to normal, although schools are still
closed. The warden in Kisumu reached out to the 100 plus Amcits in
his region and none are planning to leave. He noted that part of
the Amcit population is a Mennonite compound of 50 plus members.
The Mennonites have their own evacuation plan in place, should the
situation require it. Another group of Amcits lives on a farm with
an airstrip, and has its own evacuation plan as well. Nakuru
reported calm overnight and the roads clear. The warden there spoke
with other Amcits in his area (30 plus) and none are planning to
leave. Eldoret has about 50 plus Amcits. Today's murder of an
Eldoret MP (see above) has caused panic in the city. The warden is
advising all Amcits to stay inside and avoid all travel. The warden
reports that the airport in Eldoret is operating and commerical
flights are going out (most full). Kitale (just north of Eldoret)
has about 20 plus Amcits. The warden there noted that the situation
is mostly calm, although there have been sporadic roadblocks on the
outskirts of Eldoret. The Naivasha warden reports a calm but tense
situation. She noted that Americans and Europeans are not being
targeted. She has reached out to the 15 plus Amcits in her area and
none are planning to leave. Since last sitrep, Consular has fielded
about 5 phone calls from private Amcits looking for consular
information. Consular will release the revised Travel Alert as a
warden message, as soon as it is posted by Consular Affairs.

6. (SBU) OTHER DEVELOPMENTS - UN STATUS: Our Perm Rep to the UN
programs with their global headquarters in Nairobi heard today at
the UN that SyG Ban Ki Moon will arrive this evening to speak with
Kibaki and Odinga. The UN wants to add extra wattage to Kofi
Annan's efforts. He will then meet the Executive Director for the
UN Office Nairobi (UNON) and other senior UN officials in Nairobi.
UNON is the administrative and security umbrella for the many UN
offices serving Kenya and the region from Nairobi. UN Front Office
interlocutors told Perm Rep that the UN will likely relocate some of
its operations as it has become too difficult to work around Kenya
and in Nairobi. UN Security remains at Level 2: essential staff
required to some to work, others work from home. They are reluctant
to go to Level 3 which requires relocation. Current think would
relocate the Somalia Office and the Iraq Office, probably to Geneva.
The Executive Director offices for UNON, UN Habitat, and UNEP would
remain. Again per Perm Rep's interlocutors, the Government of Kenya
has not/not been lobbying the UN to remain, perhaps taking it for
granted that they will.

7. (SBU) ECONOMIC IMPACT: Shaken by the upsurge in violence, on
Tuesday the Nairobi Stock Exchange lost $571 million (5%) in value,
the NSE-20 share index also fell 5%, and the shilling dropped to a
three year low during trading. As of January 30, the shilling has
fallen 16.3% since December 24 and the NSE-20 Index has fallen
14.3%. Based on an informal survey of its members, the influential
Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) estimated its 2,500 members had
already lost $832 million and will have to lay off about 90,000
people. According to the FKE, if there is no political settlement
within two weeks, businesses will lose $3.3 billion in the first
half of 2008, and lay off 240,000 workers. Roadblocks make the
Nairobi-Uganda highway dangerous and difficult, requiring busses and
trucks to run in guarded convoys, and protesters tore up two
kilometers of the Mombasa-Kampala railroad. There is also a credible
report of a bridge being blown up on the road between Kisumu and
Kitale near Soi. Critical Kenyan agricultural export sectors are
greatly restricted, and could lead to shortages in Uganda, Rwanda,
Burundi, South Sudan and the DR Congo.
Rannenberger

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