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Cablegate: Kenya - February 8 Sitrep

VZCZCXYZ0011
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #0417/01 0391205
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081205Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4634

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000417

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC PGOV EAID ECON PHUM PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA - FEBRUARY 8 SITREP

REF: A. NAIROBI 379, B. NAIROBI 378, C. NAIROBI 370, D. NAIROBI 367

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

1. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: As noted ref B, the Kofi
Annan-led negotiations in Nairobi entered their most critical and
difficult phase February 7, as the parties began talks on
power-sharing. We spoke with one ODM negotiator at their 1430 break
and were told that the parties were making significant progress and
that the ODM team was optimistic a deal might be reached soon.
During the late afternoon session, however, PNU negotiator Martha
Karua poured cold water on the day's progress by announcing a
complete reversion to PNU's original position - that the parties
must solve their differences in court. Raila Odinga did not take
the bait, but stated at an evening press conference, flanked by
Louis Michel, the European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian
Affairs: "Initially, our stand was that we won the elections and
Kibaki did not, hence he should resign and we should be sworn in.
But we have said we are not static on that point. We are willing to
yield some ground so that an acceptable solution can be found
between us and the other side."

Talks continued February 8, but will break for the weekend and
resume on Monday, February 11. Kofi Annan is scheduled to meet
separately with Kibaki and Odinga at the Statehouse at 1600, sources
tell us.

Two Kibaki-side provocations fizzled over the last 48 hours. The
East African Community Heads of State Summit and an IGAD ministerial
meeting that were scheduled to take place in Nairobi from February
7-8 were cancelled under pressure from nearly all sides, including
Kofi Annan, the international community, and very robust protests
from Kenyan civil society. The IGAD ministers were already in town
and so met informally with each other and both sides to the
negotiations. The heads of state never touched down.

2. (SBU) SECURITY SITUATION: Kenya has experienced a period of
relative calm over the past few days, with no major reports of
violence being received. The inevitable and already present upsurge
in opportunistic criminal activities is being closely monitored by
the RSO and the Kenyan security services. Loosely organized gangs
of youths are taking advantage of the violence, threats of violence,
abandoned properties, and the security forces diverted focus from
crime, in order to loot, extort, and threaten the communities most
affected by the recent violence. To date, no American Embassy
employee or private American citizen has reported being affected or
threatened by this new trend. Travel of all Mission employees
continues to be monitored and approved by RSO and DCM, for the sake
of accountability.

3. (SBU) U.S. MISSION POSTURE: There are no/no USDH personnel in
the cities of Kisumu and Kericho. USAID OFDA field assessment team
of two USDH and two FSNs are in the southern Rift Valley town of
Narok. U.S. Peace Corps is completing its Close-of-Service workshop
in Nairobi for their 58 Volunteers. In Nairobi, USG offices at the
Gigiri Chancery compound and CDC/KEMRI compound are operating
normally. International School of Kenya and Rosslyn Academy are
open and buses are running without disruption. Power, water, and
communications are fully operational. In-country travel policy is
in effect and all personnel and family members are accounted for.

4. (SBU) HUMANITARIAN SITUATION: The USAID Disaster Assistance
Response Team (USAID/DART) reports growing humanitarian needs in
Kenya's Central Province, where up to 30,000 people have recently
become internally displaced. These internally displaced persons
(IDPs) consist of two groups: some are arriving from other provinces
to seek shelter with relatives and host communities; others are
fleeing the province out of fear or threats of additional violence.
During a two-day assessment trip, the USAID/DART noted that few
humanitarian organizations are present despite the deteriorating
situation. The team's Field Officer observed a lack of emergency
relief supplies and confirmed with Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS)
staff that most relief supplies had previously been sent to
conflict-affected areas of Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western provinces
in the initial weeks of the emergency. The USAID/DART's field
officer has contacted WFP and KRCS to highlight the situation and
advocate for an increased emergency response in Central Province.

5. (SBU) U.S. CITIZENS: Consular wardens from Kisumu, Eldoret,
Kitale, Nakuru and Naivasha (covering Rift Valley, Nyanza and
Western provinces) report calm and quiet in their respective areas.
All noted that life is getting back to normal and that businesses,
banks, post offices and schools are open and functioning. The
warden in Eldoret mentioned that she heard of isolated incidents of
violence - for example, a spear being thrown through a window - but
stated that they have not heard about any major incidents like
roadblocks or torched houses. The warden in Kitale mentioned that
he had visited a camp for IDPs near Kitale and that the camp was
quiet. The warden in Kisumu specifically noted that travel in and
around Kisumu is operating normally, although many locals are still

fearful of traveling to Nairobi overland for fear of being targeted.
The Nakuru warden noted that the burial of murdered MP David
Kimutai Too will take place today in Kericho, which could prove to
be a volatile event. The Naivasha warden reported that the many
flower farms located in Naivasha are open and operating, although
she had no information about staffing levels on the farms. Post
revised its Situation Update as of February 6 and expects that a
revised Travel Warning will be issued today.
Rannenberger

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