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Kenya faces further violent clashes

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — Kenya’s opposition party has called for mass protests and rallies, a spokesman told CNN on Friday, raising the prospect of further bloodshed in what has long been one of East Africa’s most stable and economically-developed nations.

The call follows the failure of the African Union to mediate a bitter conflict sparked by the disputed presidential election on December 27.

The Orange Democratic Movement spokesman did not say when the rallies could take place, with the party having had to cancel two previous publicized gatherings when government troops met its supporters with force.

Several hundred people have died in the violence, prompted when President Mwai Kibaki declared victory over challenger Raila Odinga.

Much of the violence has taken on ethnic overtones, pitting supporters of Kibaki, a member of the Kikuyu tribe, against supporters of Odinga, a member of the Luo tribe.

International monitors, including a senior U.S. diplomat, have cited irregularities in the voting.

A U.S. diplomat told CNN Thursday said that former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan would take over mediation efforts in the dispute as African Union chairman John Kufuor, Ghana’s president, had left Kenya without a resolution to the dispute.

The news concerning Annan’s role in the talks followed Kibaki’s swearing-in of 17 Cabinet members in Nairobi.

The Orange Democratic Movement criticized the move because the president was choosing a government before the current political crisis is settled.

Kibaki said he swore in 17 officials to keep the government running, but did not fill all the Cabinet posts because of the political negotiations.

Those sworn in are members of either Kibaki’s group or another opposition party. None are affiliated with Odinga’s party.
found here.

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January 11, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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