Chaos worsens in Kenya

Opposition vows to proceed with banned rally as monitor urges review of polls result.

    Kenya witnessed rioting after the disputed presidential election [EPA]

    's opposition leader has vowed to go ahead with a mass protest rally that threatens to worsen a wave of political and ethnic violence that has already killed 300 people and displaced 100,000.

    Raila Odinga's planned rally on Thursday comes as a senior Commonwealth observer called for a review of the election result that returned Mwai Kibaki to the presidential office.

    The march, which could bring hundreds of thousands of supporters and their rivals on to the streets of the capital, is meant "to communicate to our people, to inform them where we are coming from, where we are and where we want to go", Odinga told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    The government has banned the rally, setting the stage for clashes between security forces and Odinga's supporters.

    Both sides have blamed each other for inciting the violence following the country's disputed election, with the government accusing Odinga's party of "genocide and ethnic cleansing".

    Odinga's supporters, drawn mainly from his Luo tribe, have blamed the violence on Kibaki, with Odinga accusing him of provoking citizens by "stealing" a presidential vote held on December 27.

    International observers said the election fell short of democratic standards and both sides have accused each other of electoral fraud.

    Commonwealth intervention

    On Thursday, Paul East, the deputy head of the Commonwealth election observer group, warned that Kenyans had "no confidence in the final results that were announced".

    At least 70,000 people have been displaced
    by the violence in western Kenya [AFP]

    As such, he said it was important to have outside judges deciding on who the winner is or whether to hold another election especially after electoral officials said they saw documents being tampered with.

    "We're now in a position where it is just impossible to know who should have won the presidential election," East told New Zealand's National Radio network.

    "And this is now confirmed by several of the [Kenyan] electoral commissioners who have now stated that they saw changes to documentation that was presented to them."

    Odinga's claim that Kibaki stole the vote gained further credence on Wednesday when the head of the country's election commission admitted he was not entirely sure who the victor was.

    "I do not know," Samuel Kivuitu, who pronounced Kibaki the winner on Sunday, said on being asked if he was certain that Kibaki had won fairly.

    Kivuitu earlier said all sides pressed him to release the result hastily.


    Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the former president of Sierra Leone who is attempting mediation, suggested that one solution to the crisis could be a government of national unity.

    "Maybe one way to do that [restore calm] would be to argue for a possible all-embracing government," he told Al Jazeera.


    "So you will have national cohesion from there and on that basis you build confidence in the judicial system and move on from there."


    Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe was immediately targeted in the post-poll violence, but revenge killings by Kikuyus are on the rise.

    David Miliband, the British foreign minister, and Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, issued a joint statement calling for an end to violence and "an intensive political and legal process to end the crisis".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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