kenyan talks collapse, more violence expected

Kenya seems to be headed for more chaos as talks between the government and the main opposition party over disputed elections collapsed on Thursday. The opposition then reacted to this by announcing three days of street protests throughout the country in an attempt to force the government to resign.

The government is yet to react to the call for fresh protests. Last time the opposition tried to go to the streets they were met by paramilitary officers with clubs and water canons. A few were shot dead in the Western cities of Kisumu and Eldoret, the hot beds of opposition support.

By refusing to allow mediation to work, the two leaders in the midst of the current chaos, Kibaki and Raila, risk plunging this former oasis of peace on the continent of Africa into yet another failed African state. The economy has lost more than a billion dollars since December 27th and the stock market continues to record losses – five percent of its value has already been wiped off thanks to the violence.

True to a Swahili proverb, when two elephants fight its the grass that suffers – as Kibaki and Raila lock horns in their struggle for power it is the ordinary poor Kenyans that are feeling the pinch, more than anyone else. Prices have shot up since violence erupted in late December and more than 500 people have died already. A panel of mediators led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan is expected into the country to try and mediate a settlement between Raila and Kibaki. The government has already shown its unwillingness to cooperate by insisting that the country needs no mediators as it is not in a state of war.

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