Democracy Solves All Problems
|Wednesday, January 2,2008 19:23|
The Bush administration has made promoting democracy - interpreted mainly as free and fair elections - as the centerpiece of US foreign policy. To that end it has encouraged the disaster currently unfolding in Pakistan, elected Hamas to power in Gaza, prodded Egypt to let the Muslim Brotherhood into the political process and turned studiously ignored the implications of Latin American voters electing ever more vehement leftists to national office. To the growing list of countries where elections ("democracy" in Bush-speak) may be making a bad situation worse, now add Kenya, a nation whose political and racial fissures may be on the brink of eruption.
Reuters quoted a senior security official claiming that as many 15,000 people were sheltering at churches and police stations in Eldoret.
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Reuters: "The ban on political rallies is not without reason."
He added: "When people are daring enough to commit crimes against other people"s lives and property, it is not likely the police can also have the capacity to organise security properly."
The police said that, as well as the rising death toll, the crisis had seen 33,500 Kenyans forced to leave their homes and 208 properties destroyed.The bloodshed has exposed underlying tribal tension in Kenya, where Kibaki"s Kikuyu supporters - members of Kenya"s largest ethnic group - are accused of turning their dominance of politics and business to the detriment of others. Odinga is from the Luo tribe.The Red Cross said gangs were even checking on the tribal affiliations of aid workers trying to help the injured.In Nairobi"s Mathare slum, Odinga supporters torched a minibus and attacked Kikuyu travellers, witnesses said.
Riots have also been raging in opposition strongholds in western Kenya, the tourism-dependent coast and the Rift valley.