Kenya opposition in boycott plan

Economic boycott to target companies linked to allies of President Kibaki.

    More than 650 Kenyans have been killed in violence since the disputed December 27 vote [AFP]
    The ODM's planned economic boycott includes Equity Bank, Brookside Dairies and bus companies CityHoppa and Kenya Bus.

    In video

    14-year-old Nelson speaks about being forced to flee his home because of the violence

    The boycott is largely seen to be symbolic, and its effect is likely to be minimal on Kenya's weakening economy.

    Yet many of Kenya's poor make use of Equity Bank because of its accessibility and low charges, while commuters in long queues may not want to wait even longer by shunning certain buses.

    Odinga address

    Odinga meanwhile on Sunday returned to the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, for the first time since the election, to a rapturous welcome from supporters at a memorial for those killed in unrest.

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    "I'm saddened by the brutal killing of innocent unarmed people demonstrating peacefully," Odinga said, as thousands sang his name and six coffins of people said to be shot by police were laid out in a stadium in the western town.

    "Kibaki has proved he has no respect for democracy. I'm the rightful, elected president," he said.

    Odinga also called for an end to the violence at a church service in Nairobi's Kibera slum, saying: "No need to kill somebody because of his tribe, even if he did not vote for me."

    Moses Wetangula, the Kenyan foreign minister, summoned Adam Wood, the UK's High Commissioner, to express displeasure at criticism of Kenya's election made in the UK's parliament.

    "Our elections don't need a stamp of authority from the House of Commons," Wetangula said in the latest statement by the government against Western powers doubting the vote.

    The British mission confirmed the meeting on Monday with Wood, but would not comment further.

    Damaging deadlock

    More than 250,000 people have been displaced in a country that is more used to receiving refugees from war-torn neighbours like Sudan and Somalia.

    The crisis has damaged one of the continent's most promising economies, cut off trade with neighbours, and threatened to taint Kibaki's reputation as the man who democratised Kenya after the 24-year rule of President Daniel Arap Moi.

    Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, was due to fly into Kenya to start talks with both sides on Tuesday.

    Diplomats hope he can bring Kibaki and Odinga into some sort of power-sharing arrangement before a possible fresh vote in the east African nation.

    Kenyans, however, are sceptical of such a solution.

    "It seems every time we vote, we bring a bloodbath upon ourselves," said a Nairobi resident.

    "Why would we want another election?"

    SOURCE: Agencies


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