Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Annan leads Kenya crisis talks

African press graphic

As the tension in Kenya continues to rise following the killing of the opposition MP, Mugabe Were, newspapers bitterly criticize politicians for seemingly doing nothing to stop the violence.

Editorials across the spectrum lament that "the country is on fire", but accuse politicians on all sides of "fiddling as Kenya burns".

There is shock at political "inertia and ineptitude", with one daily concluding that "Kenya's political class has failed to lead the country."


We are shocked, like everybody else, at the inertia and ineptitude... Most surprising, President Kibaki, at whom the buck stops, and his rival Raila Odinga, other than that photo-ops session last week, have not taken the message of peace to the doorstep of their followers. We want to exhort President Kibaki to come out of State House and tackle the unfolding crisis. He cannot keep quiet when the country is burning. We also demand the same of Mr Odinga.


The country is on fire. It is intensely polarized and split down the middle. It thus calls for the president in particular to look at the larger picture and take, as Annan suggested, bold and difficult decisions... And what about Raila Odinga? Is the burning Kenya we have today the Kenya he wants to rule? There are far too many politicians who, like the fabled Roman emperor Nero, appear to be fiddling as Kenya burns.


One month has passed since the election. Thousands have died... Why has the political elite, including President Kibaki and Raila Odinga, not been continuously appearing on the electronic media and travelling the country appealing for calm? Kenya's political class has failed to lead the country. It is they who are to blame for the prevailing anarchy.


The crippling political crisis threatening to shut down the country is not the making of the Kenyan people, it is a failure of our institutions to come up with results that are auditable and verifiable. Politicians who, just a month ago, were stomping the country during the election campaigns are nowhere to be seen.

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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