The situation in Nairobi and other parts of the country is volatile, with local and international religious and other leaders calling on president Mwai Kibaki and opposition party Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga to agree to come to a round-table conference to resolve the stand-off between them over the disputed 27 December presidential poll results.

Tension is high and most Nairobi residents fear travelling to the city centre or out of town because of the numerous illegal roadblocks set up by demonstrators or political goons.

The uncertainty is also forcing many residents to engage in panic grocery shopping as the two leaders' supporters continue to take a hard line over the way forward. The majority of residents, who live below the poverty line, are now suffering because the cost of living has increased due to the unexpected demand for essential commodities. There is also a shortage of petroleum products.

Civil liberties are also being curtailed. Following the release of the contested poll results on 30 December, there was an abortive attempt to order media houses to discontinue live radio and television broadcasts especially by opposition leaders such as Odinga. However, it backfired after publishers chastised the minister for internal security, John Michuki, saying there was no law barring them from doing their job. Government spokesman Alfred Mutua also warned cell phone subscribers that it was an offence to send SMS messages that were

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