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Update 1 from Geneva – KNDR (Annan) Conference

I’m tired and sleepy, but the show must go on.

I arrived in Geneva for the Annan conference on Kenya this morning and haven’t had a chance to rest…too much going on.

I’ve been invited specifically because of my role as a blogger during the post election violence – which is huge – because it means that the Kenyan blogging scene is being taken seriously as an area of influence and a source of information (yeah for bloggers!). Unfortunately, the Chatham House Rules apply to most of the sessions, so I can’t be too detailed.

I’m sure there will still be lots to report about given my peskiness. So what’s happened so far..

– Shared a cab ride with Judge Kriegler from the Kriegler Commission. Cab ride chit chat led to breakfast. Unfortunately, the Judge was tight as a clam…he must have sensed my blogging radar…hehehe. I will say he seemed super-aware of his role as a foreigner when he did his work and maybe that’s why he stopped short of doing his job kabisa, unlike Waki. Anyway, he was quite friendly, a bit condescending, and apparently very unpopular with Kenyan civil society .

– At breakfast, sighted Karua, Wangari Maathai and Wako having breakfast together. Talk about strange bedfellows.

– Ran into a number of civil society friends including Maina Kiai, who had interesting stories about interviewing for the IEC gig…his interview lasted all of six minutes and he apparently was told by a source that he’d never get the gig because he had pissed on Kikuyus while he was at KNCHR. Frontrunner is Kaparo. Seeing the civil society guys lead to me being invited to sit in on a meeting with Annan and civil society reps to hear their views on where things are one year later.

– General prognosis, things are grim. Political space is diminishing, ethnic based militias are rearming (this time with AK-47s not machetes), the people are angry and disillusioned. Several references to Madagascar and the fact that the fire next time will be class based and not ethnic based.

– Potential flashpoints: census later this year; military given what happened in Molo/El Wak can’t be presumed to be professional any more…also suspension of the Tonje rules is formenting disquiet; a police force that’s running amok.

– There’s is a sense that the political class is numb, yet there can be no movement without them because they still hold enormous sway in Kenya e.g. forests are burning on the instructions of politicians; youth in Rift Valley were ready to cause havoc if the Ruto censure had gone down.

– Quote of the morning: “Kenya does not need reform, it needs an overhaul.”

OK, gotta run and clean up and get ready for the afternoon session…next post will be on the ICC option.

Comments open for the duration of the conference…please keep it civil!

2 comments to Update 1 from Geneva – KNDR (Annan) Conference

  • I’d have said you more than ‘earned’ that recognition for the great work you did and continue to do in this field. Great stuff!

  • I smoked cigarettes for a long time. I understand it damages my health therefore I must quit smoking and yet this has been harder than you can imagine. None of the stopping hints did the trick. Then I stumbled upon the e-cigs. It has in a literal sense made all the difference. No more breathing in toxic substances feels magnificent!