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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 11:33 GMT
Press issues dire warnings over Kenya
African Press Graphic

As international concern mounts over the post-election violence in Kenya that has left at least 275 people dead, Kenya's papers warn in stark terms about the country's future.

One daily fears that Kenya could go down the road of Somalia and DR Congo, while another says the country is on the verge of "total anarchy".

Papers in neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda are also worried about the effects of the disruption, particularly on their economies.


The nation is bleeding. The people are weeping. We are ominously moving towards the picture of war-ravaged nations such as Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo... It will not help the situation for the president to carry on as if there is nothing the matter, or for the ODM [opposition Orange Democratic Movement] to believe it can march its way to State House without further spillage of blood. History will judge us in equal measure for the stands we take today.


Was a tribal war on the cards of the instigators, with perpetrators only awaiting an excuse to trigger bloodletting and ethnic cleansing? The trend the violence has taken gives credence to some claims that it is well-organized... Let us face it. We are in a crisis. The nation is on the verge of total anarchy.


This should be the time for statesmanship, not brinkmanship. Raila Odinga may well have been robbed of electoral victory, but this is the time to demonstrate leadership in the interest of the nation... The ODM leaders must rise above the political fray and call off their people who have reacted with such anger against what they see as a stolen election.


Kenya is severely damaged... Never has there been so much animosity between people who have lived together as good neighbours for many years... Kenyans are dying, their property is being looted, livelihoods are being destroyed... Kenya is now causing untold suffering to its neighbours, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which rely on its industry and infrastructure for supplies.


The eruption of violence is a reminder that declarations of democratic maturity are somewhat premature. It is also a strong indictment of the conduct of the General Election by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK)... A heavy police presence and the limitation of press freedoms have been relied on to keep order, further denting democratic practice.


Everything Uganda and the region for that matter have endeavoured to establish in the last couple of years could end up destroyed because of the disruption of strategic infrastructure in the chaotic Kenya. Kenya is the most viable land and sea gateway to the rest of the world for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, southern Sudan and parts of eastern DR Congo. A blockage of the transport system therefore renders these economies incapacitated.


The clashes between Kibaki and Odinga supporters in various towns around the country reportedly divided along ethnic and tribal lines, with Kibaki's Kikuyus targeting the Luos, Odinga's tribe, and vice versa. While this election mayhem continues to claim many more innocent Kenyan lives, the politicians responsible for it are enjoying their safety... Let the politicians involved act responsibly and save lives.


This subversion of democracy ought to have been met with a firm response from the outside world. Kenya has been an oasis of stability and economic growth in a blighted region. But it will not long remain so unless the international community supports genuinely democratic forces in the country.

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