Following a weekend of more killings and turmoil in various part of Kenya, efforts to resolve the post-election crisis resumed today under the leadership of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
More than 800 people have already lost their lives – and over a quarter of a million have been displaced – in intensifying ethnic clashes triggered by the aftermath of December elections in which Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga.
As head of the Panel of Eminent African Persons, Mr. Annan has been leading the mediation between the Government and the Opposition.
Even as talks resumed today, the UN Country Team confirmed that Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who had arrived in Nairobi on Friday to assist in the mediation efforts, left the country after the Government raised concerns over his impartiality.
Meanwhile, amid the persisting violence, UN agencies and their partners are continuing to assist the Government and the Kenya Red Cross in providing relief to those affected.
On Saturday, a joint UN team visited the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Eldoret town and reported that sewage facilities and drainage systems must improve at the overcrowded local IDP camp, home to some 19,000 residents.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has noted that the post-election violence has led to a humanitarian crisis that is “unprecedented” in Kenya, and has called on all political leaders to look beyond individual or partisan interests and resolve their differences peacefully.
“The people and leaders of Kenya, particularly political leaders, have the duty, and the responsibility, to wake up and reverse this tragic path before it escalates into the horrors of mass killings and devastation we have witnessed in recent history,” he said during a visit to the strife-torn nation.
In a related development, Kenya’s Foreign Minister, Raphael Tuju, has requested to meet with the UN Security Council regarding the situation in his country. While the date and format of the meeting has yet to be decided, Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, told reporters in New York that he expects it will be “in the coming days.”