[JURIST] Kenyan Minister of Internal Security George Saitoti [official website] Friday lifted a ban on public assembly in the strife-torn country, saying that "security has generally improved." The ban was imposed after violent protests broke out following December's contested presidential election [JURIST report], killing 1,000 people and displacing some 250,000 more. The announcement came as former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] reported progress in power-sharing talks between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition candidate Raila Odinga [campaign profile], although no agreement has yet been reached.
Kenya's controversial presidential vote has sparked simmering ethnic tensions, as Kibaki has long been accused of using his position to favor members of the Kikuyu tribe. Fueling accusations of malfeasance, he won the December 27 election despite early opinion polls that placed rival candidate Odinga in the lead. Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets following the poll, which prompted the government to ban public rallies and institute a curfew in Nairobi, the capital city. Odinga's opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement [party website] filed a formal complaint [JURIST report] on January 22 with the International Criminal Court [official website], alleging that Kibaki's administration has committed crimes against humanity while using force against demonstrators. AP has more.