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Unrest in Kenya as Peace Plan Falters
|Last Edited||ArmyDem Apr 08, 2008 09:58am|
|Media||Newspaper - New York Times|
|News Date||Wednesday, April 9, 2008 03:00:00 PM UTC0:0|
|Description||By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN |
Published: April 9, 2008
LAMU, Kenya — Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were pulling out of talks with the government over a stalled power-sharing agreement.
According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, and lit bonfires, destroyed cars and some small businesses and threw rocks at police.
“No cabinet, no peace!” they yelled, referring to the stillborn cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.
This was the first major riot since Feb. 28, when rival politicians signed a power sharing agreement that was billed as the only way to end weeks of bloodshed after a disputed presidential election in December.
The post-election violence killed more than 1,000 people, and drove hundreds of thousands away from their homes, most of whom are still displaced. The violence also threatened to ruin Kenya’s cherished image as a bastion of stability in a chaotic region.
The problem that set off the riots on Tuesday seemed to be the same problem that has always bedeviled the reconciliation efforts: the division of power. Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki, whom opposition leaders and some Western election observers have accused of stealing the vote in December, seems reluctant to grant opposition leaders substantial power.
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