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Kenya's Opposition Calls for More Rallies As Kofi Annan Heads to Nairobi

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi Tuesday to try his luck at mediation to resolve Kenya’s post-election political crisis. African Union chairman President John Kufuor of Ghana failed last week to get President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement to meet face to face. Meanwhile, the opposition has called for three days of rallies from this Wednesday to protest the results of Kenya’s December 27th presidential election.

Peter Anyang Nyong’o is ODM Secretary-general. He told that the ODM and its partisans would continue their peaceful passive resistance until the Kibaki government shows that it wants to dialogue to resolve the crisis.

“We do intend to have rallies and peaceful demonstrations all over Kenya, in the cities and towns, and market places so that Kenyans can express their strong objection to the stolen election and the poor performance by the Electoral Commission of Kenya in running the election and tallying the results. We feel strongly that we can only accept a legitimately elected government in a democratic system, and allowing this kind of travesty to continue would undermine the democratic system that we have taken so much time to put in place. If the government does not show signs of engaging in dialogue and wanting the crisis to be solved we shall continue with passive resistance in a peaceful manner,” he said.

Nyong’o accused Kenyan police of killing many demonstrators in several cities by using live ammunition to disperse protestors. He said this week’s planned rallies would go ahead because the police ban is illegal.

“The police ban is unconstitutional and actually against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The police must provide peace for its citizens expressing themselves at assemblies, according to the constitution, and should not turn guns against their own citizens. As a matter of fact even the manner in which the police have tried to control the crowds is against human rights. They have used live bullets. So we call upon the security agents of the state to observe the rights of Kenyans and allow Kenyans to assemble in the streets and to express their freedom,” Nyong’o said.

He blamed President Kibaki for the unsuccessful mediation efforts of African Union Chairman and Ghana’s President John Kufuor. However, Nyong’o said ODM is looking forward to the mission of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“It was extremely regrettable what Kibaki did to Kufuor because Kufuor added a lot of love in the mediation. But rather than respect what he known, Kibaki decided to denounce the document, putting President in an embarrassing situation. Nonetheless, we had said we welcome the arrival of the former Secretary-General of the U.N., his Excellency Kofi Annan, Madam Graca Machel, and Ex-President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa to continue with the mediation process so that we can discuss and resolve the current political crisis,” he said.

Nyong’o said the ODM would propose to former U.N. Secretary-General the holding of new presidential elections in the shortest time possible.

“The people of Kenya want to be governed by a president that they have elected. If the Electoral Commission messed up the election on December 27th, the best that the people of Kenya can do is to be given another opportunity to elect their president in a democratic manner under free and election run by a competent body,” Nyong’o said.

Nyong’o reiterate his called for economic sanctions against the government of President Kibaki.

“A government that can steal the votes of its own people will obviously steal the resources that have been given to it either by the people of Kenya or the international community. The best that the international community can do is to withhold such resources from this government until such time that the people of Kenya have elected a legitimate government that can look after their resources and the resources of the international community responsibly and honestly,” Nyong’o said.