Cablegate: Kenya - February 13 Sitrep
DE RUEHNR #0477/01 0441345
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 131345Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4687
UNCLAS NAIROBI 000477
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 13 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: The Kofi Annan-led negotiations
made limited progress on Monday, February 11, as both sides were
busy consulting with MPs who were assembled in Nairobi in advance of
an informal session of parliament scheduled for the following day.
(Comment: We consider this consultation and briefing of MPs as a
necessary step and do not consider it to be lost time or a negative.
End comment). On February 12, Kofi Annan did in fact hold open- and
closed-door sessions with MPs to brief them on the status of
power-sharing negotiations during which he noted that a coalition
government and new elections were one solution to Kenya's political
impasse, a statement that generated protest from Justice Minister
and PNU negotiator Martha Karua and a group of 75 PNU MPs. Ruffled
feathers were smoothed over by mid-day today (February 13), however,
when Kofi Annan announced in a press statement that talks were
proceeding satisfactorily and that all parties understood he was
only suggesting a possible solution. Annan continues to predict an
agreement by week's end.
2. (SBU) SECURITY SITUATION: The security situation throughout
Kenya has markedly improved over the past week, but anxiety
surrounds the outcome of talks lead by Kofi Annan. While Kisumu and
Kericho have remained quiet, police contacts there voice concerns
that should the results or progression of the talks not be perceived
as favorable to the local populace in these areas, fresh violence
3. (SBU) U.S. MISSION POSTURE: Six USDH emergency personnel are
deployed to the authorized departure area of Kisumu and environs.
CDC has three USDH in Kisumu, and MRU has two USDH in Kisumu and one
in Kericho. Their deployment was approved on Monday by the
Ambassador upon the recommendation of a Kisumu EAC meeting held
earlier in the day. Today, the approval for their deployment was
extended through Friday. All emergency personnel will return to
Nairobi on Friday and stand fast. The USAID OFDA field assessment
team flew commercial air into Eldoret today. They will travel by
road through Nakuru and Naivasha, returning to Nairobi on Saturday.
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: Over the weekend, U.N.
Humanitarian Coordinator John Holmes reported that there are as many
as 600,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from post-election
violence. Official Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and Government of
Kenya figures continue to point to approximately 300,000 IDPs.
However, this figure reflects only those people who have transited
or are residing in IDP camps. The 600,000 figure attempts to
include those people who fled directly to host families or
communities without transiting an IDP camp. As of February 12, KRCS
reports that 300 IDPs residing in Rift Valley Province have migrated
to Kieni Forest in Gatundu District in Central Province over the
past few weeks. KRCS has been providing food and plans to
distribute emergency relief supplies, including blankets and
mattresses, to displaced populations. The U.N. World Food Program
(WFP) and U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) are in the process of
conducting assessments to identify gaps and needs. On February 11,
the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team returned to Chief's Camp
in East Nairobi, next to Muthare slum. The team reported that
approximately 370 IDPs are residing in the area, approximately the
same number of people as during the earlier visit in mid-January.
The team noted that an additional 300 non-resident women and
children visit the camp for food distributions. According to the
team, conditions at the camp had improved since the earlier visit.
Access to water on site continues to be a problem, as residents
reported difficulties in connecting large water tanks to the
municipal water supply. Most residents reportedly got water from
the nearby police station.
5. (SBU) U.S. CITIZENS: Consular wardens from Rift Valley, Nyanza
and Western provinces reporting calm, quiet and that life is back to
normal. All report that schools, businesses and government offices
are open and functioning normally. None reported illegal
roadblocks. Kisumu and Eldoret reported that the airports were open
and that access to the airports is unrestricted. The warden in
Kisumu further reported that his organization made an overland
circuit ride to several affiliated organizations throughout Nyanza
and Western provinces. He reported no problems (roadblocks,
looting) during the circuit ride. The warden in Eldoret is
responsible for several rural clinics and made a similar circuit
ride to check on them. He too reported no problems traveling to or
with the clinics. The warden in Naivasha reported that the Red
Cross set up a camp for several thousand Kikuyu IDPs from the Molo
area. Some of the large flower farms in Naivasha are still
reporting staffing shortages as a result of the civil unrest.
Despite the return to normalcy, however, all our wardens report
underlying ethnic tensions. Most feel that the outcome of this
week's negotiations will determine if the normalcy remains or if
violence erupts once again.