Kenya: “Civil War and Genocide, Which Are a Clear and Present Danger, Are Not a Clear and Present Danger”

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Kenya is not burning and not at the throes of any division –Kenyan government spokesman

“… well-organised acts of genocide and ethnic-cleansing … well-planned, financed and rehearsed by Orange Democratic Movement leaders prior to the general elections.” –Kenyan government spokesman

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied –Journo joke

Never doubt anything until it has been officially affirmed — Corollary to the above

Rumor is both a process of information dissemination and a process of interpretation and commentary … a collective activity that tries to make sense of unexplained events, but … that … depends on two necessary conditions: The importance of the information and its ambiguity.“Rumors: Voices That Insinuate”

Calls for peace as military deployed in humanitarian crisis (The Nation, Kenya).

We have now read that the Kenyan government is denouncing “genocide,” and that the challenger is warning that “civil war is imminent.”

Now we also read that the Kenyan government is saying that the situation is not serious enough to warrant international intervention and mediation. There are no serious internal divisions, and civil disorder has only affected 3% of the population, it tells us.

On the other hand, there is a humanitarian crisis going on. So the government also says the military deployment it has just announced is purely for purposes of alleviating this (unexceptional) crisis.

The military has been deployed to various parts of the country affected by violence following President Kibaki’s re-election. Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said the military has been deployed to assist in averting a humanitarian crisis. He said the soldiers will help in the distribution of food, blankets and medical supplies in those areas. “This is not the first time we are undertaking this venture,” said Dr Mutua. “The military has always assisted in undertaking these assignments and this time is no exception,” he added.

In other words: This is not a state of exception.

Dr Mutua also said the government is ruling out mediation as a means to resolve the skirmishes rocking parts of the country following the impasse over the controversial presidential election results. The spokesman said the country was not at war to warrant the deployment of mediators to bridge peace in the country.”We have not yet reached a Somali-like situation to allow mediators to come to our country,” he told a news conference.

Another minister told the Washington Post this morning that the government was dealing with

“… well-organised acts of genocide and ethnic-cleansing … well-planned, financed and rehearsed by Orange Democratic Movement leaders prior to the general elections,” the statement read by Lands Minister Kivutha Kibwana on behalf of his colleagues said.

The country is not at war, but it faces either (1) a coordinated ethnic-cleansing plan to overthrow its current (de jure) government or (2) a police- and military-backed coup d’etat by its current (de facto) government.

Depending on who you ask.

Does this compute for you?

An African Union entourage is scheduled to arrive, bearing a message coordinated with the U.S. and the U.K., for whom, as the BBC reports today —

The twin examples of Rwanda and Zimbabwe provide diplomats with ample incentive to do what they can to stop the spread of violence and resolve doubts over the presidential election.

I just read that the visit has been cancelled. Source: AP.

AU spokeswoman Habiba Mejri-Cheikh said Kufuor was expected in Kenya on Wednesday, but Kufuor’s press office said the leader had canceled the visit. They gave no explanation.

Minimizing the extent of civil disorder:

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua downplayed the violence, saying it had only affected about 3 percent of the country’s 34 million people. “Kenya is not burning and not at the throes of any division,” he said.

But the Western press is buzzing with the “G” word today. Which is not their word for the situation, but the word used by a government spokesman. Today.

The apocalypse is upon us, but can be averted by handing out blankets and oatmeal. Outside interference will not be brooked. The army has taken the field, but with butter, not guns.

File under “message control, failures of” and “government crisis communications, double-bind theory and.”

Meanwhile, the challenger — whose latest statements indicate he is contemplating a López Obrador-style parallel inauguration of the “legitimate president of [Mexico] [Kenya] — is not heard much from. Rumors of his arrest abound. They turn out not to be true.

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