Date: Wed, 17 Sep 97 13:05:45 CDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Hauk)
Subject: General strikes called in Kenya
Organization: InfoMatch Internet - Vancouver BC
General strikes called in Kenya
The Militant, Vol.61 no.32, 22 September 1997
The National Convention Executive Council, a coalition of religious leaders, unionists, and student activists in Kenya, issued a call September 4 for nation wide strikes September 17-18 and October 8-9. The organizers say they also plan to mobilize 500,000 people in the capital city of Nairobi October 10. They are demanding that the regime of President Daniel arap Moi repeal laws restricting democratic rights such as freedom of assembly and expression. The government blocked a September 7 rally by the opposition forces in the city of Kisumu. Kivutha Kibwana, a leader of the coalition, said a program of "intensified mass actions" was needed to respond to the regime. Kenyan vice president George Saitoti called the opposition's approach a "recipe for chaos and civil war." A national strike was also held August 8. During mass actions in May, June, and July protesters were attacked by government forces, students set up burning barricades, and businesses throughout the country were paralyzed.
Meanwhile, Moi met with officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revive a $220 million loan package halted by the imperialist financial institution on August 1, supposedly over "rampant corruption" among government officials. Moi had balked at imposing austerity measures demanded by the IMF, but later implemented them all, including cutting funds for education and health care, laying off public employees, and removing food subsidies.