Friday, February 8

East Africa roundup

  • Nairobi was abuzz this evening over talk of a breakthrough in Kenya's political standoff. Apparently, some significant progress was made, but what it amounts to I'm not sure yet. AFP says the sides have now "agreed to seek a negotiated settlement." I though that was what they were doing now. We'll probably have to wait a few more days for a more substantive announcement. Also, apparently Kofi Annan's room wasn't bugged (IOL). I have a story for VOA on the various other diplomatic noises being made.
  • Also on Kenya, the Congressional testimony of Maina Kiai, Director of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, is worth reading, though I think he underplays the seriousness of the ethnic component to the violence (Fahamu). This article in Der Spiegel would have to qualify as one of the more alarmist I've read on Kenya recently, starting with the subheading "Sheer Terror In All Directions." Maybe it's the translation? And as if the town of Naivasha needed more problems, now it's apparently been a victim of witchcraft (Africa News).
  • Headline of the day: "Rioters in Kenya Want Obama to Win" (NDTV)
  • Djibouti - the tiny Red Sea state that hosts French and American military bases - had a parliamentary election today, but you're excused if you missed it. The opposition boycotted the vote. In 2003, the opposition got 38 percent of the vote, which translated into zero seats (AFP).
  • Eritrea continues to block fuel supplies for the UN peacekeeping force monitoring the border with Ethiopia. The UN had threatened to pull out if Eritrea didn't let the fuel through this week but, worried that war might break out, have decided to stay put for now (Reuters).
  • Things are still going poorly in Somalia (VOA).
  • Rebels say the Sudanese government is attacking towns in Darfur (Reuters). The military in southern Sudan is saying a Lords Resistance Army attack earlier this week killed 136 (Reuters).
  • Tanzania's new prime minister is former local government minister Mizengo Pinda. Tanzania's president dissolved his cabinet this week over a corruption scandal (Reuters).

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