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Concern calls for calm and political solution to Kenya crisis

Concern says a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Kenya must be found as a matter of urgency. This is what ordinary Kenyans, civil society organisations, the media and the business sector there are calling for.

The postponement of a major rally planned to take place in Nairobi today provides a window of opportunity to diffuse the post-election violence, which has broken out in certain flashpoint areas, such as parts of Nairobi and Kisumu.

It is vital for Kenya and the wider region that the situation is stabilised as soon as possible. Violence only erodes development and civilians in the worst-hit areas must be protected from targeted attacks.

Internal solution should be possible

Kenya is a maturing multi-party democracy and the most stable country economically and politically in the region. There is no reason why an internal solution cannot be found. The country’s political leaders need to sit down together now to achieve that and not use tribal affiliations for their own political gain.

Contrary to some reports and despite the atrocity which took place in Eldoret, this is not a Rwanda-type situation. Only certain areas are affected and Kenyans themselves are determined to go about their normal, daily lives. They, the Kenyan media and even commercial businesses, such as the two main mobile phone companies, are calling for an end to the violence and appealing to their politicians to end it.

A continuation of the violence and any worsening of the situation will only hamper efforts to improve the quality of life for the poorest and most marginalised sections of the population. Areas in which they live, including the Nairobi slum of Kibera and the western district of Kisumu – areas in which Concern is operating - are among the worst affected. The instability is restricting people’s access to work and to shops, and as a consequence, their ability to look after their families.

Concern - monitoring the situation

All of Concern’s staff in Kenya, including a small number of expatriates, are safe. The agency will continue to monitor the security situation on a day-by-day basis and is working with partners on the ground to assess and respond to the immediate needs of those who have been displaced by the violence.

In 2007, Concern spent just over 2.5 million euros on its projects in Kenya, most of which are implemented in co-operation with local Kenyan partner organisations and focus primarily on education, HIV and AIDS and supporting impoverished agricultural communities.

Listen to Richie Cuddihy, Concern Regional Finance Director for the Horn of Africa, being interviewed about Concern's operations.