Slain Kenyan Pol a Key to Peace

Multi-ethnic opposition MP was would-be peacemaker
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 11:25 AM CST

(Newser) – The Kenyan opposition lawmaker who was dragged from his car yesterday and shot to death could have been key to ending the ethnically charged turmoil, reports the New York Times, but his assassination instead further plunged the country into violent chaos. Melitus Mugabe Were had been working toward peace, able to bridge ethnic divides because of his Kikuyu wife. “Whoever did this has killed the dreams of many,” one friend said.

Were’s killing sparked angry denunciations. “The very foundation of the state is crumbling. Violence is spiraling out of control,” said Raila Odinga, leader of Were’s party; another threatened "four Kikuyus will die" as anguished protesters cried "You started by killing us and now you're killing our leaders!" Police fired tear gas to break up a crowd of mourners, turning them into an angry, tire-burning mob.