Kenya: further violence

Kenya has slipped a little down the news headlines. The levels of violence seem to have subsided a little. Today is the second of three days of protest called for by the opposition leader Raila Odinga to protest against the extremely disputed elections which saw President Mwai Kibaki re elected. Today six people were killed in clashes between riot police and protesters. Five of them killed in the town of Kisumu on the coast of Lake Victoria which has been especially hard hit in the recent violence. As I suggested in my last post on the subject it is difficult to assess whether this is becoming an ethnic conflict or if the issue is actually more complicated.

Although the Africa Union president John Kufuor did attend meetings last week little progress seems to have been made. The first meeting of the newly elected parliament was characterised by insults and rows over voting with an opposition MP being elected speaker after five hours.

Interestingly it has been suggested that there is a potential rift opening up between the European Union and the USA on the way forward. MEPs have called on the EU to block aid to the Kenyan government and some in Europe seem to be advocating a recount of the electoral votes whilst the USA has been suggested to be centrally concerned with Kenyan stability and has been suggesting a compromise with opposition members having seats in Kibaki’s government. Of course that has been tried previously with Odinga having been in government with Kibaki before walking out.

Whilst a reduction in the violence is welcome in so as far as it goes; this crisis is unlikely to have an easy solution.