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Kenya’s Government Vows to Hold Opposition Accountable For Violence

Kenya’s government has descried as irresponsible and reckless the opposition Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) planned economic boycott of businesses whose owners are allegedly supporters of embattled President Mwai Kibaki. The government also warned that it would crack down on opposition supporters protesting against the December 27 disputed polls. The government said the protests have become violent. But the opposition has vowed to continue with its planned protests.

Meanwhile, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected in Kenya today (Tuesday) to mediate between the government and the opposition to end post-election violence, which is threatening Kenya’s stability.

Amos Kimunya is the re-appointed Kenyan finance minister. From the capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government would hold politicians accountable for the destruction of lives and properties.

“The first thing is we have a responsibility to protect private property as well as human life. And the kinds of calls that are being made for people to go and attack businesses or boycott or have economic sabotage on businesses that are being deemed to be for people who are aligned to government is highly irresponsible and we all condemn that and we would not condone that kid of thing. So as a government we have that responsibility and we are calling on all Kenyans who are by nature very peace loving to ignore any such calls,” Kimunya said.

He blamed the opposition for failing to use the proper channels in making its concerns about the disputed elections known. Instead Kimunya said the opposition has resorted to what he described as violent protests.

“We are opening all avenues; the legal avenues are opened for people who are dissatisfied to use that route. We’ve opened the avenues for dialogue and that is open to people who want to use dialogue. But obviously there are people who would not want to use either the legal means or to use dialogue. All they want is to go to the streets they want to demonstrate they want to basically have a dramatic turn, but in the event what is actually happening is the destruction of people’s properties, is bloodshed, is killing of innocent mothers and innocent children. That is not the way to expressing your anger or frustration, that is premeditated murder; that’s premeditated destruction and we don’t believe in that,” he said.

He dismissed as bogus calls by the opposition for the disputed elections to be re-run.

“There is one party that is alleging that the government is not actually in office, and who alleges must prove. I mean it is only in a mob justice where you want to tell people that they have said so and so is a thief and hence he must be crucified.