Cablegate: Kenya - February 1 Sitrep


DE RUEHNR #0354/01 0321306
O 011306Z FEB 08






E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: The talks continue, but there are
signs that the PNU continues to search for means of peeling away ODM
members of parliament, encouraging ODM schisms and otherwise finding
a way out that does not involve actual power sharing with Raila
Odinga. The ODM tried unsuccessfully to challenge the sitting at
the AU Summit of the GoK delegation led by Kibaki. The UN Secretary
General came to Nairobi on a 12 hour visit, mainly to coordinate
with his predecessor, Kofi Annan. In addition to Annan, he met with
Raila Odinga and VP Musyoka.

2. (SBU) SECURITY SITUATION: No major reports of violence were
received today for all parts of Kenya. All areas affected
throughout the past week continue to be tense and threats of
evictions and attacks by rival tribes remain active. RSO continues
to be laden with rumors of activity outside Nairobi, but to date, no
Mission facilities or U.S. personnel have fallen victim to the
violence. Personnel working in the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
office located inside the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
facility bordering Kibera, a High Density/Low Income (HD/LI) suburb
outside Nairobi, have witnessed violence in the area, but to date,
have not felt threatened or concerned that such violence would turn
toward their office. A visit by an ARSO on 30 January 2008
confirmed that the CDC/KEMRI facility and personnel are not
presently affected by the violence, but constant monitoring of this
area continues. Additional guards have been added at the request of
CDC and a review of the facility's physical security assets is
currently taking place.

3. (SBU) U.S. MISSION POSTURE: The last four USDH have been
successfully withdrawn from Kisumu and Kericho. Dr. Shaffer
departed Kericho Thursday evening aboard the Tea Plantation shuttle
flight. Col. Walsh, LtC. Polhemus, and Capt. Hicks flew to Nairobi
on commercial air Friday morning. All Kisumu and Kericho USDH and
family members are now in Nairobi or outside Kenya. Administrative
issues, temporary lodging, medical care, and transportation issues
are being addressed for them. CDC operations in Kisumu are tended
by their remaining FSN staff and the KEMRI Cooperative Agreement
personnel, who can maintain administrative operations to the extent
security conditions allow but will not have the benefit of technical
guidance from the USDH staff that have been withdrawn. Similarly,
MRU projects in Kisumu and Kericho are essentially in caretaker
status until USDH personnel can return. In Nairobi, all Embassy
offices are open. In-country travel clearance procedures have been
published requiring RSO and DCM approval of all official and
personal travel outside Nairobi. Schools are open and operating
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. A scheduled outage of the official communication circuits for
Friday evening has been postponed. 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 EFM - 352; total LES/FSN/PSA 682; total
long-term TDY -- 178; total short-term TDY - 43; PCVs -- 62. Total
USDH in Kisumu and environs - 0 (zero).

4. (SBU) HUMANITARIAN SITUATION: USAID staff report that despite
strong early efforts by the Government of Kenya's Ministry of Health
(MoH) to address emergency health needs in the current crisis,
services are declining and current demands are beyond MoH's capacity
to respond. An increased number of hospital admissions, including
rape, trauma, and surgical cases are overwhelming the capacity of
some hospitals, particularly in Nairobi and Nakuru. In addition,
some hospitals and clinics are closing intermittently since health
staff are unable to travel to work due to security concerns. The UN
World Health Organization has provided approximately USD 127,290 to
the MoH to support basic emergency health services in 20 districts.
In addition, USAID health staff recommend drawing on support from
community and faith-based organizations to provide logistics,
financial, and other assistance to maintain basic health services.
USAID's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance is funding the UN
Children's Fund to provide additional emergency health services to
populations affected by the crisis.

5. (SBU) U.S. CITIZENS: Yesterday's murder in Eldoret of a member
of parliament triggered rioting in several cities. Post's warden in
Eldoret reported that Kericho experienced rioting, some of which was
in the neighborhood of the Walter Reed medical research facility.
The facility was not harmed and Amcits were not targeted. In fact,
a Walter Reed employee stationed in Kericho noted that the local
population is very respectful of Walter Reed facilities and
employees. The Eldoret warden stated that Eldoret city itself was
quiet last night and this morning, although he experienced some
burnt cars and downed wires on the road from Eldoret to Turbo, a
small town approximately 25 km northwest from Eldoret. Nakuru
warden reported calm and quiet, although he stated that he passed
some burning houses on the road north from Nakuru to Baringo. Some
of his colleagues traveled from Nakuru to Nairobi (south bound) by
road and reported no problems. Kisumu reported that events were
tumultuous yesterday after the announcement of the MP's murder, but
that by nightfall all was calm, which carried over to today. Kisumu
did report that one Amcit left on a commercial flight this morning
and is headed back to the U.S. Naivasha reported all calm and
quiet. The Consular Section has received no reports of clashes in
other parts of the country nor have we received requests for
assistance from Amcits. Post issued an updated Travel Alert today
via the warden system, as well as a warden message asking all Amcits
in need of assistance to contact the Consular Section. Specific
contact information was provided in this warden message. Post is
planning a Town Hall meeting for private American citizens on Feb 5
at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

6. (SBU) OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: UN SyG Ban Ki Moon arrived at about
11:00 at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The SyG
will proceed to a meeting with ODM leader Odinga. Yesterday, he met
with Kibaki who is attending the African Union heads of state
meeting in Addis Ababa. After speaking with Odinga, the SyG will
proceed to the UN campus (across the street from the Embassy) for an
informal lunch with the top UN staff. The topic of keen interest
will be the security situation and UN contingency planning for UNON
as well as the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) and the UN Human
Settlements Program (UN Habitat) as the global headquarters of the
latter two are located in Nairobi.

© Scoop Media

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