The head of the African Union, Ghana’s President John Kufuor, is planning a mediation mission to Kenya, to try to stem the post-election explosion of violence. Western powers, including former colonial ruler Britain, have called for restraint and dialogue, with hundreds killed in country-wide bloodletting.
Kenya’s simmering tribal tensions erupted after President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory in last week’s elections. Many of the victims have been Kibaki supporters in the west of the country. The government accuses the opposition of genocide.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga blames the president: “What is happening is genocide on a grand scale. We are seeing the security forces of Mr Kibaki shooting innocent civilians who are just expressing their democratic right of protest against the rigging of elections.”
The government rejects that. President Kibaki’s party spokesman George Nyamwea said the opposition should restrain its people and accept the result: “The elections are over. Our constitution says that once the electoral commission has declared the results, those are the results we accept. If we have any disputes, the normal way of resolving them is through petitioning the High Court.”
Up to 100,000 people have been forced to flee by roaming gangs of vigilantes. The border posts with Uganda are besieged. The Red Cross has sent patrols to help recover bodies, while many terrified survivors head for the Ugandan border in the hope of escaping the killing.