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Kennedy Abwao

Nairobi, Kenya
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About Kennedy
Kennedy Abwao is a journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. With 18 years experience covering the Horn of Africa region for international publications including the New York Times, DPA and PANAPRESS. He specialises on politics, economy and finance.
Feature Stories Risk Analysis Journalism
Business Finance Politics

The following collection of stories details the daily reporting from the Horn of Africa.

This piece details security developments on the warfront in the battle between the Al Shabaab and the constantly changing face of terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

EU Lawmakers Oppose Burundi's Inclusion in Trade Deal Over Human Rights Concerns

27 Jul 2016  |  mg.co.za
European lawmakers are campaigning to prevent Burundi from benefiting from a free trade agreement between the EU and the EAC due to human rights violations in Burundi. The suspension of European aid to Burundi is already in place because President Pierre Nkurunziza's third term is seen as a violation of democratic principles. The EU is seeking alternatives to maintain trade with Kenya, as it faces higher export taxes without a deal. The EU Parliament's trade committee chair, Bernd Lange, and member Marie Arena have expressed concerns over including Burundi in the trade deal and are also wary of Tanzania's reluctance to sign post-Brexit. Audace Ndayizeye of Burundi's commerce chamber argues against exclusion. The impasse has put East African trade diplomacy in a difficult position, with Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed optimistic about resolving the issue before the October deadline.

African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma becomes teary over Western Sahara

20 Jul 2016  |  mg.co.za
The article discusses the African Union's (AU) concerns regarding the lack of progress towards an independent Western Sahara state. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission, expressed her distress over the situation of the Sahrawi people, who have been living in refugee camps for generations. The AU criticized the UN Secretary-General for delaying his visit to the region and called for action to protect Western Sahara's integrity. Morocco's attempts to rejoin the AU and block UN actions on Western Sahara have led to division within the AU. The article also mentions the lobbying efforts by Morocco and the diplomatic responses from various African leaders and analysts.

Cop 'death squads' targeting terror suspects in Kenya raise human rights concerns

07 Jul 2016  |  mg.co.za
The article discusses the alleged involvement of Kenyan police in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, particularly targeting terror suspects. It highlights the human rights concerns raised by these actions, especially in the wake of the Garissa University attack by al-Shabab, where 148 students were killed. The article includes admissions from a police officer involved in the killings and comments from human rights activists and officials. The recent murder of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client, and his driver, which sparked protests in Nairobi, is also covered. The National Police Service Commission denies knowledge of police death squads, while human rights advocates call for greater oversight and accountability of the police force.

Kenya Detains U.S. Author Critical of Obama

08 Oct 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Jerome R. Corsi, a right-wing author known for his critical book on Barack Obama, was detained by Kenyan immigration officials for allegedly misleading them on his entry papers. Corsi was in Kenya to promote his book, 'The Obama Nation,' which raises controversial allegations about Obama. Kenyan officials claimed the detention was due to visa issues, while Corsi's aides argued it was an attempt to silence him. The incident highlights the divided opinions within Kenya regarding Obama, who is both celebrated and criticized in the country.

African Union Calls for Settlement in Zimbabwe

02 Jul 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
The African Union, during a two-day summit in Egypt, has called for the formation of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe following President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election, which was deemed illegitimate by many. The summit revealed divisions among African leaders, with Botswana suggesting Zimbabwe's suspension from African forums, while President Omar Bongo of Gabon supported Mugabe's presidency. The African Union emphasized the need for continued regional mediation, led by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, despite criticism of his lenient approach towards Mugabe. The union appealed to both the opposition and Mugabe's government to foster a conducive environment for dialogue.

Mugabe aide says West can 'go hang'

01 Jul 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
At the African Union meeting in Egypt, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, through spokesman George Charamba, dismissed Western demands for his resignation, while African leaders sought a consensus on resolving Zimbabwe's political crisis. Both Mugabe and his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai rejected the idea of a power-sharing government, with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change stating that the recent election eliminated prospects for a negotiated settlement.

Mugabe joins African Union summit

01 Jul 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe attended an African Union summit in Egypt following his inauguration to a sixth term, after a one-candidate election deemed not credible by southern African election monitors and falling short of the African Union's standards. African leaders refrained from public confrontation, while United Nations Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro called the situation a 'moment of truth' and emphasized the need for dialogue to restore peace and stability in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe dismisses calls for coalition in Zimbabwe

01 Jul 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Facing pressure from the United States for expanded sanctions, African leaders convened in Egypt to find a non-confrontational solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis following widely condemned elections. Mugabe's aides rejected suggestions for a coalition government, emphasizing Zimbabwe's unique approach to resolving political issues. The African Union's talks were overshadowed by the controversial election results, with Mugabe facing accusations of election theft.

African Union wants unity government in Zimbabwe

01 Jul 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
The African Union has called for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe following President Robert Mugabe's controversial election victory. The 53-nation body, meeting in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, urged continued regional mediation led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, despite criticism of his leniency towards Mugabe. The resolution highlighted divisions among African leaders, with Botswana advocating for Zimbabwe's suspension from African forums, while Gabon's President Omar Bongo supported Mugabe. The union's stance marks a shift from the continent's traditional reluctance to intervene in member states' affairs.

Mugabe to confront his critics at Africa summit

30 Jun 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Robert Mugabe, after being inaugurated for a sixth term as president of Zimbabwe in a controversial election marred by violence and intimidation, arrived at an African Union summit in Egypt. The election was widely condemned by international observers, including the Southern African Development Community and the African Union, as not free or fair. The United Nations urged African leaders to seek a negotiated solution, with South Africa calling for talks between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a transitional government.

Unrest in Kenya as Peace Plan Falters

09 Apr 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Riots erupted in Kenya as opposition leaders suspended talks with the government over a stalled power-sharing agreement. The violence, reminiscent of the post-election unrest, highlighted the deep divisions between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga. The power-sharing accord, brokered by Kofi Annan, aimed to form a national unity government, but disagreements over key cabinet positions have stalled progress. The unrest has further destabilized Kenya, impacting its economy and raising concerns about the future of the peace agreement.

Kenyan Parliament Opens on Theme of Unity as Rivals Sit Apart

07 Mar 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
The Kenyan Parliament convened for the first time since a power-sharing deal was established to resolve a political crisis. President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who will become prime minister, urged lawmakers to promote peace and reconciliation. The deal aims to stabilize Kenya, which experienced severe violence following a disputed presidential election. Kibaki emphasized the need for swift legislative action to formalize the agreement and outlined plans to address ethnic issues and support displaced citizens. Despite the unity theme, political tensions and ethnic divisions remain evident.

Kenya Rivals Reach Peace Agreement

29 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Kenya's rival leaders, President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, have agreed to share power, potentially ending the violence following the disputed December election. The agreement, mediated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, creates a prime minister position for Odinga and splits cabinet posts between the government and opposition. The deal aims to heal the deeply divided nation, which has seen over 1,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands displaced. While the agreement is a significant step, challenges remain in implementing the new government structure and addressing ethnic tensions.

Annan Has Sharp Words for Kenyans as Talks Stall

26 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, expressed frustration with Kenyan leaders' failure to compromise in peace treaty talks after a disputed election. Annan has been mediating negotiations in Nairobi between the government and opposition, which have stalled over governance agreements. The election commission's declaration of incumbent Mwai Kibaki as the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga, amid vote rigging evidence, led to unrest killing over 1,000. While some agreements were made, including a prime minister position for Odinga, the extent of the role's power remains contentious. Annan suspended talks and approached Kibaki and Odinga directly, as opposition leaders threatened nationwide protests if no compromise is reached.

Deal to Share Power in Kenya Appears in Reach

22 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Kenya's rival political parties are close to finalizing a power-sharing deal to resolve the crisis following the disputed presidential election. The government has agreed to create a prime minister position, a key demand of the opposition. While details are still being worked out, the prime minister would coordinate and supervise government functions. The unrest, which began after the December election, has resulted in over 1,000 deaths. International mediators, including Kofi Annan and Condoleezza Rice, have been involved in brokering the agreement. The deal aims to address long-standing issues and may include constitutional changes.

Opposition in Kenya Threatens More Protests

21 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Kenya's leading opposition party has accused the government of stalling negotiations to resolve the political crisis and threatened to resume protests if a power-sharing agreement is not reached within a week. President Mwai Kibaki has sent mixed signals about approving a prime minister post for the opposition, a key demand. The political situation remains tense, with over 1,000 lives lost in post-election violence. The opposition, led by Raila Odinga, demands a constitutional amendment to create a prime minister position, while Kibaki insists any settlement must adhere to the current Constitution.

Rice, in Nairobi, Offers Incentives to End Violence

19 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice engaged in talks with Kenya's political leaders, urging a swift power-sharing agreement to resolve the post-election violence. While emphasizing the need for genuine power-sharing, Rice offered economic incentives for a political resolution. The Kenyan government, however, showed resistance to external pressure. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant casualties and displacement, with deep-rooted issues of land and economic inequality exacerbating the situation. Both sides remain at an impasse, with the opposition demanding substantial roles in governance to prevent further violence.

Annan Sees Small Gains in Peace Talks in Kenya

09 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, is facilitating peace talks in Kenya following the violent aftermath of the disputed December presidential election. While no definitive political solution has been reached, progress is being made towards a potential compromise. The opposition may recognize President Mwai Kibaki, and discussions of a broad-based government are ongoing. Ethnic tensions and political grievances have fueled the violence, with Western governments applying diplomatic pressure to encourage a resolution. Annan remains optimistic about narrowing down the issues and achieving a political settlement.

Spreading Banditry Dilutes Benefits of a Plan for Ethnic Peace in Kenya

02 Feb 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the escalating banditry and lawlessness in Kenya following a disputed election in December, which has led to ethnic violence and over 800 deaths. Despite a peace plan signed by the government and opposition to defuse tensions, the countryside remains chaotic with opportunistic roadblocks and violence. The article highlights the challenges in implementing the peace plan, the role of ethnic tensions, and the impact on Kenya's economy and security. Key figures include President Mwai Kibaki, opposition leader Raila Odinga, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Official Sees Kenyan Ethnic Cleansing

31 Jan 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Jendayi Frazer, the top American diplomat for Africa, stated that the violence in Kenya, which has resulted in over 800 deaths and 300,000 displacements, constitutes ethnic cleansing but not genocide. The violence began after the announcement of President Mwai Kibaki's victory in a disputed election and has escalated with retaliatory attacks, particularly in the Rift Valley, exacerbating long-standing ethnic tensions.

Kenya’s Opposition Switches Its Tactics From Street Protests to Business Boycotts

19 Jan 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Protests in Kenya have shifted from street demonstrations to business boycotts as opposition leaders contest the results of the recent presidential election. The country remains tense with sporadic violence, including ethnic clashes and police shootings. Western diplomats and local human rights groups criticize the government's zero-tolerance policy towards protests. Election monitors report significant irregularities, casting doubt on the declared victory of President Mwai Kibaki over opposition leader Raila Odinga. The opposition plans to target businesses owned by Kibaki's allies to weaken their influence.

Protesters Clash With Police in Kenya and Loot Train

18 Jan 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Law and order in Kenya are deteriorating, with protesters in Nairobi's Kibera slum hijacking and looting a freight train. Police responded with force, reportedly shooting unarmed civilians. The unrest stems from disputed election results, with opposition leader Raila Odinga claiming the election was rigged in favor of President Mwai Kibaki. Ethnic violence has escalated, and international bodies like the European Parliament are threatening to freeze aid. The Kenyan government remains defiant, dismissing these threats. The situation remains volatile, with ongoing clashes between protesters and police.

Kenyan Opposition Wins a Skirmish

16 Jan 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
The opening session of Kenya's Parliament highlighted the deep political crisis following the disputed December 27 election. Opposition leaders succeeded in electing Kenneth Marende as the new speaker, defeating the president's ally. The session was marked by heated exchanges and accusations between the opposition and the president's party. Despite the opposition's victory, tensions remain high, with planned protests raising fears of further violence. Kofi Annan's expected mediation has been delayed due to illness.

Annan to Help in Kenya, Group Says

11 Jan 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
Kofi Annan is set to become the mediator in the Kenyan political crisis, taking over from Ghana's President John Kufuor. Despite efforts, no progress has been made in resolving the conflict that followed last month's flawed elections, which both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga claim to have won. The crisis has resulted in violence and hundreds of deaths. Annan will lead a panel of African dignitaries in attempts to reconcile the two sides. The World Bank's recommendation for a transitional government and an election investigation was rejected by Kibaki, further complicating the situation.

Mob Sets Kenya Church on Fire, Killing Dozens

02 Jan 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
In Kenya, a mob set fire to a church sheltering people, killing dozens, amid ethnic violence following a disputed election. Witnesses and the Red Cross reported up to 50 deaths in the village of Kiambaa. The violence, which has claimed over 250 lives in two days, involves tribal militias and is linked to accusations of ballot rigging in President Mwai Kibaki's narrow re-election. The EU has called for an investigation, while opposition leader Raila Odinga plans a major protest. The unrest has displaced thousands and raised fears of escalating conflict.

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