Kenyan leaders stoking ethnic division: Annan


Former UN chief Kofi Annan warned yesterday that some Kenyan politicians were reverting to the dangerous ethnic campaigning that fuelled the country’s post-election violence last year.

Annan chaired weeks of meetings that ended the political and ethnic clashes, which were triggered by a disputed poll on December 27, 2007. At least 1300 Kenyans died and another 300 000 were uprooted in violence that lasted several weeks.
“We are deeply concerned by the increasing ethnic divisions and lack of cohesion within the government and across Kenyan society,” he told reporters in the capital Nairobi.

Annan said he was worried by the way some local leaders were promoting their agendas in east Africa’s biggest economy.
“The discussions and moves of some of the politicians and their supporters it is as though 2007 didn’t happen, as though there were no lessons there,” he said.

Annan also responded to a media report that youths in the Rift Valley which saw the worst of last year’s bloodshed were arming themselves ahead of the next ballot in 2012.
“If this time they have got their hands on guns then we are headed for a very serious situation,” he said.

The country’s fragile coalition government is under growing pressure from Kenyans and international aid donors to implement wide-ranging reform, end endemic
corruption and prosecute high-profile masterminds of the post-election violence.

Earlier this week, Annan urged Kenya to accelerate efforts to improve living conditions in Nairobi’s squalid slums, which were battlegrounds during the 2008 turmoil and which experts say pose a threat to stability and national security.