Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Kibaki will be judged on how he resolves this crisis

Today, he stands at a junction as a man who could be this country’s most important historical figure over how he handles the current crisis and nothing else may matter over the rest of his term and this will is also the true test of his leadership. This test is not whether he can steer an impressive domestic policy agenda to underwrite economic prosperity—which is probably a cake walk for him—but whether he can manage a decent foreign policy agenda. His foreign policy agenda will mainly be driven by how he resolves the current political crisis. For his economic agenda to succeed, it matters a lot that he reunites the country. In the short term, this will be by meeting his political enemies halfway and long term by enacting sweeping constitutional changes that will ensure that the current political crisis never happens again.

However, given that the current negotiators have all been experienced opposition politicians and agitators for democratic freedoms under the oppressive leadership of former president Moi, it is perhaps easier to look at the problem from the perspective of the kind of compromises they would seek at the same negotiating table if the tables turned assuming a worst case scenario. Would the Party of National Unity (PNU) want to be in opposition under the same terms of settlement they are proposing if the other party came into power and vice versa?Then it would be easy to unravel the hardened positions and start expanding the list of favourable options that would benefit the entire country in perpetuity. This is where the leadership of President Kibaki comes in to ensure that the negotiators move away from merely stating positions, but expanding the range of options.

Quotes from Kibaki will be judged on how he resolves crisis. I sit and wonder whether Kibaki has any concerns about how he will be judged at all.

Wangari Maathai, criticised politicians allied to the Party of National Unity, saying they were trivialising the suffering of Kenyans and playing politics with sensitive issues.

Kibaki says that a political solution to the current crisis must be constitutional. He is willing to share power with ODM, but clearly on his terms.

There is more bloodshed,as we wait for a solution,and rioters attacked a minibus in Mathare today, in response to police arrests for unpaid rent.

A positive sign to all this, is that Parliament may have the last word.

Related articles:New Danish aid to displaced persons in Kenya

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