31 January 2008 – review

The fallout from the Florida primaries continue. As we all know by now, Republican former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Democrat former North Carolina Senator John Edwards have both pulled out from the race, leaving just Romney, McCain and Huckabee on the Republican side and Clinton and Obama on the Democrats as the front-runners in the primaries.

Senator McCain picked up Mayor Giuliani’s endorsement, as well as that of Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. Meanwhile, on the Democrat side – where, while Senator Clinton won the Florida primary by far, she (and everyone else) picked up no delegates – Senator Obama’s been busy in the past week picking up two key endorsements from the late President John F. Kennedy’s brother, Senator Ted Kennedy, and daughter, Caroline Kennedy.

Where does this leave us?

McCain certainly has the momentum going into Super Tuesday on February 5. The winner-takes-all Florida primary gave him all of Florida’s (halved) delegates – 57 of them – giving Sen. McCain a lead of 27 over Governor Romney. The endorsement of the Governator will help in California, which is not a winner-take-all state. We’ll just have to see, come Wednesday, if Senator McCain has built on his solid Florida showing to effectively end the Republican race, as the BBC have been suggesting. For what it’s worth, I’m personally hoping Senator McCain goes on to win the White House.

For the Democrats, with Sen. Edwards’ withdrawal, only two are left in the race, with Sen. Clinton still leading Sen. Obama in the delegate count. Sen. Obama represents Illinois, another Super Tuesday state. One would expect him to sweep the state – a poor showing there could be a blow. For Senator Clinton, the same could be said of New York, which is also holding its primary on February 5.

On to Africa, where the violence in Kenya continues. An opposition MP, the ODM’s David Too was killed in the western town of Eldoret, becoming the second ODM MP to be killed in the space of just days, apparently by a traffic policeman.

The violence continues to spiral out of control. In today’s Assignment programme on the BBC World Service, Pascale Harter travelled to Eldoret. The revelations are shocking. Kikuyu people are forced out of their homes, threatened by their neighbours with death. And these neighbours – Kalenjin – say they will kill any Kikuyu who return, unless Pres. Mwai Kibaki steps down. Have a listen to the programme here.

The United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Fraser, has described the situation as ethnic cleansing. Based on what Pascale Harter found, it’s hard to dispute this label.


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