Lawmaker Slain in Unstable Kenya

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An opposition lawmaker in Nairobi, Kenya was gunned down and killed early Tuesday.

The attack was likely to stoke the ethnic fighting that has plagued Kenya since last month's disputed presidential election.

Click on the video player for more on the latest killing in Kenya.

Since the Dec. 27 election, the death toll has soared over 800.

Opposition lawmaker Mugabe Were was shot by two gunmen as he drove to his house in suburban Nairobi, police said, adding they did not yet know if the political turmoil had motivated the slaying.

"We are treating it as a murder but we are not ruling out anything including political motives," Kenya police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said. "We are urging everyone to remain calm."

Were was among a slew of opposition members who won seats in the December legislative vote, held at the same time as the presidential election.

Homes and Buses Torched

The killing came a day after thousands of machete-wielding youths hunted down Kikuyus in western Kenya's Rift Valley, burning homes and buses, clashing with police, and blocking roads with blazing tires.

More than half the 255,000 people driven from their homes this month have been Kikuyus.

The bloodshed has transformed this once-stable African country, pitting longtime neighbors against one another and turning tourist towns into no-go zones.

Kibaki and Odinga blame each other for the violence, trading accusations of "ethnic cleansing." Human rights groups and officials charge it has become organized.

"What is so alarming about the last few days is. there's evidently hidden hands organizing it now," Britain's visiting minister for Africa, Mark Malloch-Brown, told reporters Monday.

He spoke after meetings with Odinga, Kibaki and their mediator, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Dialogue to Start Monday

Annan announced in a statement released Tuesday that the "dialogue process" to help resolve the deadly dispute will start Monday.

Kibaki and Odinga had been asked to name three negotiators each to participate in the talks. They are under international pressure to form a power-sharing government.

In the past, Kibaki has said he is open to direct talks with Odinga but that his position as president is not negotiable. Odinga says Kibaki must step down and only new elections will bring peace.

Kenya Foreign Aid Only 6 Percent of Budget

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Kenya has "gone from bad to worse, in terms of the violence."

European Union foreign ministers issued a statement indicating development aid could be pulled if Odinga and Kibaki don't agree to a power-sharing pact.

But only about 6 percent of Kenya's budget comes form foreign aid, and the government has said it will not be blackmailed.

The United States expects to provide Kenya with more than $540 million in assistance this year, but the vast majority of that is for humanitarian programs with the largest chunk, $481 million, going for HIV/AIDS projects.

Less than 2 percent of the total, which is allocated for counterterrorism and military training, would be considered for cuts should Washington decide to review its assistance, according to the State Department.

"I think it's pretty safe to say anything dealing with trying to improve the humanitarian situation in Kenya, including the AIDS funding, is just off the table," McCormack said Jan. 17. "That's not going to happen."

Source: The Associated Press

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