Government must put pressure on Kenya

28 February 2008

Government must put pressure on Kenya

SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang is urging the government to do all in its power to persuade European Union partners to adopt a ban on politicians from Kenya involved in the ongoing blood-letting in the country from travelling to Europe. The SP development spokesman raised the demand during Tuesday's debate with Minister for Development Cooperation Bert Koenders.

On Tuesday evening Parliament debated the situation in Kenya, following the recent riots which have broken out there in the wake of last December's elections. At these elections there was a strong appearance of fraud by the sitting President Mwai Kibaki, who claimed victory. Since then, at least 1,500 people have lost their lives as a result of acts of violence and hundreds of thousands have been put to flight. Irrgang believes that the Netherlands should raise the matter at European level and demand a ban on Kenyan politicians culpable in the organisation and financing of the blood-letting from travelling to Europe. "The US has already introduced such a ban, which has hit these politicians where it hurts," Irrgang pointed out. "The people in question are already known and as far as we can see Europe could adopt a similar ban. In the SP's view the list could be broadened."

The SP fully supports the laborious attempts at mediation carried out by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the basis that both parties should together form a government. One of the proposals is for the 'losing' opposition leader Raila Odinga to be offered the newly-created post of Prime Minister. In Irrgang's view it must, however, be made clear that this would be more than a symbolic post. "As so often the devil is in the details," he said. "This is about a practical division of power. If that doesn't succeed there's a serious chance that things will very shortly explode again, with serious consequences for the whole region."

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