This is something I've been following this week, with both curiosity and serious apprehension. Now, after two days of vote counting, the results are kinda, sorta
in: Kenya has two presidents!
Well...not really. Incumbent Mwai Kibaki has been sworn in for a final term, but his main opponent, Raila Odinga, is also claiming victory.
"Violence erupts after Kibaki sworn in
President Kibaki was sworn in Sunday for a second and final term as Head of State as riots and protests erupted in parts of the country over the disputed presidential results.
And shortly afterwards, the ODM leadership insisted that Kenyans had elected Mr Raila Odinga “as the legitimate president” and were “ready to see him serve democratically”.
After being sworn in at State House Nairobi, President Kibaki asked his opponents to accept the outcome of the polls, which he described as “credible”.
In other developments, the Government through Internal Security minister John Michuki suspended all live broadcasts by television and radio stations and threatened to arrest anyone publishing alarming materials. [...] Before announcing the results on KBC television, [Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman Samuel Kivuitu] said: “A lot of things which were said were not correct but one can understand when an election is this close. In an election, there are invariably winners and losers. While the winner celebrates, it is unpleasant to lose. Furthermore, the backers (of the loser) will be disappointed... The contest this year was furious. Negative ethnicity did not help”.
Sunday’s events were the culmination of a second day of chaos and protests at the manner in which the results were being released.
Demonstrations, looting and burning of property were reported in parts of Nairobi where a commuter bus was reduced to ashes.
Cases of violence were also reported in Kibera, South “B”, Kariobangi North, Jamhuri estate, Komorack, Juja Road and Eastleigh in Nairobi and Eldoret, Kericho and Kisumu.
Suspicion and claims of vote rigging delayed the announcement of the final results for at least six hours.
On the one hand, EU observers are calling foul
[British] Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday expressed "real concerns" at "irregularities" reported in the Kenyan presidential elections.
Miliband urged leaders in Nairobi to work together to address the irregularities noted by European Union observers and others, in a joint statement with International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.
The pair said deaths in election-related violence -- in which 18 people have died since Thursday's ballot -- had marred the election in the former British colony, which became independent in 1963.
EU election observers in Kenya said Sunday that the country's electoral commission had failed to ensure the vote's credibility.
On the other hand, the US is congratulating Kibaki
"The United States congratulates the winners and is calling for calm, and for Kenyans to abide by the results declared by the election commission. We support the commission's decision," said spokesman Robert McInturff.
He reiterated a State Department statement from Saturday that asked Kenyans "to reject violence and respect the rule of law."
"Reject violence"--now that's awfully rich coming from the country that's been mucking about in Kenya's (and Somalia's and...) affairs, setting up
'counterterrorism' outposts and rendition programs etc. :evil: Kenyans know this sh!t is going on and, according to a recent NYT article
, the US waronterra has become an opposition "rallying cry for Kenya's opposition parties." (h/t mattt
for the NYT link)
One prime target of U.S. counterterrorism forces in the region for nearly a decade — and an example of just how virulent locally brewed jihadism has become — is Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who was indicted for planning the 1998 embassy bombings and, according to the F.B.I., has had a hand in nearly every terrorist act in the Horn of Africa since. A native of the Comoros Islands, Mohammed received training in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Somalia in the 1990s and settled on the Swahili coast of Kenya. After the embassy attacks, Mohammed regrouped with other terrorist cell members on the island of Paté, married into a local family, taught at a madrassa and started a local soccer team called Kabul. (It competed with the island’s other team, known as Al Qaeda.) During this period, he recruited a cell of eight other militants from mosques along the Swahili coast. On Nov. 28, 2002, two suicide bombers from Mohammed’s cell, according to the F.B.I. and the Kenyan police, attacked the Paradise Hotel near Mombasa, killing 13 people; almost simultaneously, other cell members tried to shoot down an Israeli chartered jetliner with shoulder-fired missiles. The attackers purportedly took refuge in the immediate area, then fled by motorized dhow, a traditional sailing craft, to Somalia.
By early 2004, the Kenya Anti-Terrorist Police, trained and financed by the United States, were raiding mosques and detaining suspected radicals all along the Swahili coast. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed’s next stop was Somalia, where radical Islam was establishing its strongest beachhead in the Horn of Africa. Mohammed reportedly became a high official in the Islamic Courts Union, a loose affiliation of Shariah courts that were in control of much of the southern part of the country in 2005. In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union militia defeated a coalition of U.S.-backed secular warlords in the capital, Mogadishu, began implementing Shariah law there and subsequently consolidated control across most of Somalia. Ethiopia, which shares American alarm about the spread of fundamentalist Islam in Africa, moved troops into Somalia and, late in December 2006, backed by U.S. Special Forces, sent 4,000 troops into Mogadishu. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed escaped the onslaught and fled. Hundreds of fighters and other supporters of the I.C.U. crossed the border into Kenya; between Jan. 2 and 31, 2007, Kenyan police officers rounded up 152 of these men and women from 21 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Yemen and Sudan. Then, in the controversial practice known as extraordinary rendition, 85 were placed on three chartered aircraft and flown to Mogadishu and Baidoa, where they were turned over to the Ethiopian Army. According to Muslim human rights groups in Kenya, those flown out of Kenya included 18 native-born Kenyans, one of whom was transferred to Guantánamo; the rest remain under house arrest in Addis Ababa. The renditions have become a rallying cry for Kenya’s opposition parties and, for many Kenyan Muslims, a symbol of how their government has grown beholden to American policy.
The story of Fazul and the other renditions was touched on in a recent "Frontline World
" doc by Stephen Grey. Grey discovers that Fazul's wife and daughters
were among the 85 people disappeared/'renditioned' last year--a kind of blackmail to get to Fazul:
The man accused of coordinating the [1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania], Fazul Abdullah, alias Harun, has never been caught.
Fazul was said to be hiding in Somalia. Last December, when Ethiopia moved its army into Somalia, the United States went after him, launching bombing raids against the country’s suspected al Qaeda hideouts. Thousands fled for the Kenyan border. Some were picked up in a dragnet by the Kenyan anti-terrorist police and disappeared without a trace.
Outraged Muslims in Mombasa began to protest and a Kenyan human rights lawyer took up the cause. The activist, Alamin Kimathi, shows Grey a flight manifest he obtained as part of the court case. It is rare documentary evidence of an extraordinary rendition. The Kenyans had taken a page out the CIA’s handbook. Eighty-five people, including 11 children, had been put on the planes. The passenger list includes Fazul Abdullah’s wife and daughters.
Kimathi tells Grey he believes the wife and children were “hostages…pure and simple,” detained in an effort to “smoke out” Fazul Abdullah. The tactic did not work.
skdadl will definitely recognize this gyu, Jack Cloonan--he's appeared as a source in many articles about rendition and torture:
A former FBI agent involved in anti-terrorist work, Jack Cloonan, says he believes the Kenyans would not have acted without the knowledge and support of the U.S. “It would be naïve frankly in this day and age to think that the FBI or the CIA, primarily the CIA, is not witting of what's going on. In point of fact I’d suggest to you that they probably were witting and they were the power brokers behind the scenes pushing this forward.”
The prisoners were “rendered” on a Kenyan plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a U.S. ally, which has its own conflicts with neighboring Muslim countries.
Grey believes this could be an indication of a new way in which renditions are being carried out by third countries, while U.S. officials remain in the shadows.
Sorry for the length of this post. I've been meaning to blog about Kenya's elections all week, but I've wanted to work-in the "terra" and Fazul story, too. I'll think of a way to do it, eventually, but there's much I still don't know...