Milestone Elections in Kenya
Regarding the Opinion page article "Stung by Opposition Gains, Kenya Regime Returns to Politics of Intimidation," Jan. 26: The author's critical demand for the donor countries to withhold much-needed aid until President Moi hands over power to FORD-Kenya, is unconstitutional and offensive to all who support the rebirth of multiparty democracy in Kenya. The Dec. 29 multiparty elections were an important step in Kenya's march toward pluralist democracy. The opposition lost because it failed to unite behind
a single candidate. All of the observers who monitored the election agree that, despite some flaws, the election was a milestone.
More important, the Kenyan people are now looking to their newly elected leaders to bring about economic and political changes for the benefit of all Kenyans. To ask that the Kenyan people give up these gains so that FORD-Kenya, which finished third in the presidential election, can run the country insults the Kenyan electorate's right to choose.
If Paul Mutua were truly serious about strengthening democracy in Kenya, he would instruct the opposition members of Parliament on how to operate as an effective opposition rather than encourage the personal ambitions of some of their leaders. Perhaps Mr. Mutua should urge the opposition to put their house in order and to prepare for the next general election in five years. William N. Meda, Washington Embassy, Republic of Kenya The forgotten Armenia
Your editorial "Armenia's Extremity," Feb. 8, is a welcome breakthrough in the conspiracy of silence which the Western media have been maintaining for quite some time, so as not to hurt the tender feelings of our cold-war ally, Turkey.
Armenia is not a third-world country; it can survive on its own. It still maintains its technological and industrial infrastructure, and, unlike other republics of the former Soviet Union, Armenia has been able to maintain its internal stability, its march toward democracy, and its conversion to a market economy. Armenia does not need United Nations intervention to resolve its conflicts. All it needs is to be left alone by its neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkey. You hit a nerve with the statement: "Turkey will be a key player.... The history between the two states is sensitive to say the least." No other victimized nation has demonstrated the [forbearing] approach in dealing with its victimizers of yesteryears as Armenia has demonstrated. But no one seems to note how mature Armenians' conduct has been, until they are forced to the wall. Edmond Y. Azadian, Taylor, Mich. Russian inflation
The article "Russia Acts Against Inflation, Shifting From Industry Focus," Jan. 22, shows how partisanship can cloud objective analysis. The author refers to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's "go-slow approach to reforms." But readers are invited to side with the faction associated with former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, who wants Reagan-style economics for Russia. We are told that raising the pension of the elderly to $9 a month will be inflationary. Reformers see it as "economically ruinous." But t hese same reformers did achieve one success: to remove price controls and profit caps on basic foodstuffs.
Somehow, rising food prices aren't inflationary but helping the poor to buy these items is. The United States, through the International Monetary Fund, is insisting on Reaganomics for Russia just as we move away from it at home. This means lucrative profits for Western investors and a Russian elite; but it breeds widespread backlash and nationalism, which will cost us far more dearly. David Keppel, Essex, Conn.