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Press anguish over Kenya violence

Opposition protesters clash with police on the second day of protests
Opposition protesters clash with police on the second day of protests

Newspapers in Kenya are scathing about what they see as the government's heavy-handed response to opposition protests against last month's presidential elections.

There is also concern about the perceived role of tribalism in fuelling the unrest, with one paper calling on Kenyans to adopt a "less myopic" approach to politics.

Commentators elsewhere in Africa are in despair over the Kenyan crisis's implications for the stability of the continent's democracies, and its economic progress.

EDITORIAL IN KENYA'S STANDARD

Police response has, in some cases, been excessive. Yesterday, the police lobbed tear-gas canisters into hospitals simply because protesters took refuge there. How can this be justified? If you must, disperse crowds, but for heaven's sake respect the sanctity of human lives.

EDITORIAL IN KENYA'S NATION

Police shootings in the circumstances recorded are totally unacceptable. There must be a clear distinction between use of reasonable force as a method of enforcing law and order, and what can only be cold-blooded murder. It is time the police and other relevant organs stepped back and re-thought the strategy of using force to block opposition rallies.

LUCY ORIANG IN KENYA'S NATION

Will someone please give us back the country we worked so hard to put together just five years ago, a country where the tribal fault lines were all but disappearing?

ATWOLI LUKOYE IN KENYA'S STANDARD

All around the country little children are witnessing heightened tribal animosity. At the very core of the issues is tribe... Our children should be taught to appreciate the culture of others and not to hold one group to be superior to others simply because they belong to it. The time to act is now.

NANCY MBURU IN KENYA'S STANDARD

The government has failed us miserably by creating the impression that a community has to have its own in the presidency so they can get a share of the national cake. We have to come up with a less myopic solution. We need radical change, to ensure there is equality and justice so that nobody will ever feel left out again.

EDITORIAL IN KENYA'S BUSINESS DAILY

There appears to be a good number of ostriches in key government offices, engaging in a farcical game of self-delusion in thinking that sustained expression of positive sentiments will somehow magically resolve the political crisis. The result is that the economic activity is taking a serious beating from the impasse.

EDITORIAL IN KENYA'S BUSINESS DAILY

The European Parliament voted for a freeze of budgetary support to the Kenyan government [which] means that the country must be ready to live much longer with bad roads, faulty power and water systems, all because those we call our leaders cannot find a solution to a problem that is of their own making. This paper holds the view that sanity must prevail and a solution found to prevent this crisis from snowballing into long term political and economic disaster.

OMAR KALINGE NNYAGO IN UGANDA'S DAILY MONITOR

Kibaki knows he can get away with the election theft, for as long as he promises to support the war on terror and not disturb the profit margins of the multinationals. Raila knows too that the so-called donors do not believe in the democracy they preach. Should the ODM find itself working with Kibaki for any reason, the stage will have been set for even more bolder rigging of elections in the whole East Africa region.

Now the bubble has burst and the image of the whole of Africa has plunged even lower than it has ever been. Now no African country is above suspicion, not even South Africa. A cloud of gloom hovers over Africa as to which country will lurch to the next crisis.

EDITORIAL IN ZIMBABWE'S HERALD

As the crisis drags on, a sinister picture is beginning to emerge. Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, claimed that he enjoyed support from 43 tribes. That was a dangerous statement from a political leader who should know better not to fan tribal animosities at a time of grave tension in his country. What then is the way forward? Political parties in Africa must learn to co-exist and share power like those in France and the USA.

EDITORIAL IN SOUTH AFRICA'S STAR

Consider Kenya. Here was one of Africa's best economies, and growing bigger still, probably more on course than most to reach the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals]. Until President Mwai Kibaki stole the elections. Now it's looking like just another basket case and business is fleeing, along with thousands of refugees from tribal, class and political violence. Bye-bye MDGs.

DR SHAYKH TIGITI SENGO IN TANZANIA'S ISLAMIC WEEKLY AN-NUUR

Nowhere in Africa have we lost our minds and let our brothers kill each other. It is laughable that we have not progressed to the extent that decisions have to be made for us by the likes of Bush or Gordon [Brown]. Where is the African Union? Where is the African Standby Force?

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.


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