Topical debates — Kenya

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:27 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Brooks Newmark Brooks Newmark Opposition Whip (Commons) 2:27 pm, 17th January 2008

I was not expecting to speak in this debate; I would have hoped not to have to speak in such a debate, but the images that I saw on the television of young men carrying machetes struck home tremendously.

Last summer, I spent time in Rwanda, and those who know that country know that over a period of 100 days in 1995, an incredible genocide took place involving the Hutus and the Tutsis, in which the Hutu majority slaughtered 750,000 Tutsis. I went to see one of the memorials, on which it said "Never again". That phrase struck me when I saw television reports showing young men carrying machetes in the aftermath of the election in Kenya. That is why I wish to speak briefly; I appreciate that I have only a brief time to talk on this important issue.

We heard from President Kibaki that the elections were free and fair, but we would not have seen the response on the street, and from the international community, if those on the ground believed them to be free and fair, and if those internationally, who know best practice when it comes to elections, thought so too. It is important that the Government take a strong stand on the issue, and I hope that the Minister will respond to this point. She should address the question asked earlier about whether the Government will recognise the Kibaki Government.