In what could be a major breakthrough in the Kenyan crisis, President Mwai Kibaki has been meeting opposition leader Raila Odinga. The talks took place under the mediation of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who said both leaders had taken “fair steps” towards dialogue.
The country has been in crisis since a disputed presidential ballot on December 27, which saw Kibaki’s re-election. Hundreds have been killed in the violence and an estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. Many have taken refuge in the volatile Rift Valley province where they are surviving on aid relief.
In the camp of Eldoret, many of the 13,000 Kenyans living in tents are members of President Kibaki’s Kiyuku tribe, chased out of their villages by members of a rival gang. Red Cross workers are trying to reunite families separated in the crisis by putting up pictures of mostly missing children.
The violence has shattered Kenya’s image as a stable, democratic country with the strongest economy in the region. Its tourism industry has seen mass cancellations and its currency hit an 18-month low on Wednesday.