Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Kofi Annan attempts to push for a deal in Kenya

Kenya's opposition leader on Wednesday backed off plans for mass protests at the request of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is pushing the two rivals to share power.

Nathan Nyanjom feels that sharing presidency won't pacify Kenyans.

Annan and Rice argue that by having Kibaki and Odinga share power, peace will be ensured since both of these men's tribes will have an equal say in government.While it can be argued that the plan of shared power will bring peace to Kenya the quickest, peace will also come if Odinga is made the country's sole leader. After all, that was the form of presidency voted on by the majority of Kenya in the Dec. 27 election.Even if peace would ensue with Rice and Annan's plan in the short term, would it continue in the long run? Eventually Kikuyus would voice their frustration that Kibaki was only a co-president, and Luos similarly would be angered that Odinga shared his office seat.Since neither the solution of an individual president nor a shared presidency will eliminate all tribal tension, and since peace will arise regardless of the decision to have Odinga gain power that is sole or shared, the most democratic action should be taken, and that is installing the election's winner - Odinga - as Kenya's sole president.When people want change, they vote for it - that's the democratic way. American voters know this, and our government upholds it.Although the going in Kenya right now is tough, democracy must not go. The world community must uphold Kenya's democratic election and support a vision of Kenya led by only Raila Odinga.

Britain yesterday said that the Kenyan army is now "by far the best option" to stop a sectarian bloodbath as peace talks in Nairobi between the government and opposition were suspended.
The foreign office minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Mark Malloch-Brown, said that there was a serious risk of renewed bloodshed if talks broke down irrevocably. About a thousand Kenyans have been killed since disputed elections in December and 600,000 have fled their homes after rival gangs, organised largely on ethnic lines, went on the rampage. .

I never thought that I would consider this as an option, but right now, the way things stand I am not opposed to the army taking control temporarily.

On Monday, the PNU side came up with a totally different agenda items from what had been agreed the previous week. Progress had previously been made on the creation of the post of prime minister, who would be the leader of the party with majority MPs in Parliament and who would exercise reasonable power, including supervising ministries.
Consistency in matters agreed upon during a negotiation is not only a sign of good faith, but is the clearest testament to a desire for a speedy resolution.
The to-ing and fro-ing by PNU, which has openly exasperated the Annan team, leads many Kenyans to ask whether Mr Kibaki truly wants the best for this country - whether he cares for the thousands of displaced Kenyans languishing in refugee camps, the numerous others who paid with their lives for electoral ineptitude, whether he worries about an economy limping to a slump and if he is alive to the threat of civil war which hangs darkly over Kenya's deeply divided population.
We reject the fundamental objection of the PNU to the power-sharing proposal which had been fleshed out. We would like to state, yet again, that any new structure of government brokered by Dr Annan must be supported by a Constitutional amendment.
For one, any changes to the presidency as it exists today is itself an alteration of the Constitutional clause which created it, therefore the changes must go back to Parliament for a Constitutional amendment. They must be defined and sanctified with the same legal weight as the document it seeks to alter.
Secondly, the leaders of ODM and Mr Kibaki's side have a history of political betrayal. Surely, one can understand the insistence on a watertight agreement from a group of politicians who have yet to recover from the trashing by the President of the memorandum of Understanding they had reached in the previous election.

Thirdly, these changes are strictly not just about Mr Kibaki and Mr Raila. This is a golden opportunity for Kenya as a nation to tackle, in various phases, some of the lopsided political arrangements and economic injustices widely acknowledged to have caused the crisis we find ourselves in.

Related article: Kenya Post-Electoral Violence Wipes Out Businesses; Jobs

ODM says it is not to blame for stalled talks

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