Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's government accused rival Raila Odinga's party of unleashing "genocide" in Kenya yesterday as the death toll from tribal violence over a disputed election passed 300.
Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts accelerated to seek a solution to the crisis that has displaced tens of thousands of people.
"It is becoming clear that these well-organized acts of genocide and ethnic-cleansing were well-planned, financed and rehearsed by Orange Democratic Movement leaders prior to the general elections," a statement read by Lands Minister Kivutha Kibwana on behalf of his colleagues said.
Odinga's supporters, drawn mainly from his Luo tribe, have made similar charges against Kibaki, whose Kikuyu have dominated political and business life in East Africa's biggest economy.
As young men armed with machetes manned roadblocks in rural areas, a trickle of office workers in the capital Nairobi made it through police cordons to begin the new working year.
"They call this democracy," said a central bank worker, delayed by police as he tried to get to work.
A local and an international rights group accused Kenyan security forces of having "bloodily repressed" protests by opposition supporters.
"As a reaction, some protesters are responsible for the assassination of Kikuyus," the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the International Federation for Human Rights said.
And in an apparent chain reaction, there were growing examples yesterday of revenge killings by Kikuyu militants, including the notorious Mungiki gang, on pro-opposition tribes.
On Tuesday, about 30 Kikuyus died when a mob set fire to a church where they were hiding from the violence in the western town of Eldoret.
The head of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, was expected in Nairobi yesterday to lead a joint mediation effort with the Commonwealth, represented by the head of its observer mission, former Sierra Leonean president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
Commonwealth spokesman Julius Mucunguzi said Kabbah had met with the rival leaders and they had "agreed to his mediation."
In a statement issued in London yesterday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in pressing for a resolution to the crisis.
"We call on all political leaders to engage in a spirit of compromise that puts the democratic interests of Kenya first," the joint statement said.
Kibaki, 76, has called for talks with party leaders, but Odinga has insisted he will only negotiate if the president acknowledges that he cheated.
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he had spoken to Kufuor and Kabbah and discussed a joint AU-Commonwealth mission to oversee the process of reconciliation.
"What I want to see is them coming together," he said.
Also See: Turmoil can kill Kenya boom: analysts
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest