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Opposition Lawmaker’s Killing Sparks Renewed Kenya Violence


The death of an opposition member of Kenya’s parliament is being described as a revenge killing. The banned Munguki sect claimed responsibility for the killing of Melitus Were, who represented the opposition Orange Democratic Movement in Kenya’s legislature. Tuesday’s homicide, which sparked renewed looting and violence, follows a post-election wave of disturbances after the disputed December 27 elections and has reportedly pitted entire ethnic groups against each other.

Meanwhile, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is calling for restraint and is urging both opposition leader Raila Odinga and embattled President Mwai Kibaki to end the threats to Kenya’s stability. From Nairobi, Kenyan political analyst Mustapha Ali tells reporter Peter Clottey the ongoing violence is regrettable.

“Violence and killings have intensified in Nairobi today from the morning an opposition MP from the ODM was gunned down. And ominously, the banned Munguki sect has clamed responsibility for that killing,” Ali noted.

Ali describes the pleas from both government and the security agencies to end the renewed surge in violence as a lackadaisical response.

“The police spokesman just came out saying the killing of the MP was a normal criminal incident and has not said anything. Yet Munguki has come out and has claimed responsibility of the killing, which means it’s politically motivated. On top of that Munguki has released names of up to about eight senior journalists in Nairobi with the leading television network KTN, the Nation, and radio stations, saying, and I quote, “look what happened to them,” end of quote. These are chilling messages. We’ve never seen these kinds of situations in the history of independent Kenya,” he said.

Ali called for a transitional government to address the December 27 vote.

“It’s difficult with all this violence to even conjecture what should be the next step to take. What is however clear is that we should have a transition government that should rule for the next three to six months only, and then call for a rerun of the presidential election. Otherwise, there is going to be violence. And I don’t think there would be a political settlement to the current situation despite the fact that Kofi Annan is working very hard and met with the two leaders today to kick-start the mediation process,” Ali pointed out.

He said Kenyans are in shock with what are being described as revenge killings.

“Certainly we’ve watched with horror the revenge killings that began over the weekend in the town of Naivasha, a town about 90 kilometers from Nairobi. And today, there was revenge in Kisumu based on ethnic sentiments, and this has created a cycle, and the violence is bound to increase,” he said.

Ali adds that there has been a call for some voices of moderation from both the ruling party and the opposition to find a lasting solution to the surge in violence.