Saturday, 29 March 2008

Kenya still in Limbo

Talks about the coalition are still in limbo. This is no easy task, and I sit and wonder how the hell Kenya will move forward.

Odinga said talks on the much-delayed formation of the cabinet -- a key step in the power-sharing deal aimed at ending Kenya's violent crisis -- yielded no consensus and had been indefinitely suspended.

We are at a standstill again, and someone has difficulty sharing power proportionately.

The most contentious issue of the day, and which could frustrate the naming of a new Cabinet soon was the Party of National Unity’s revision of its proposal on the size of the Cabinet from the 38 it has always pushed for to 44.

Barrack Muluka points out why it is vital that President Kibaki sees things as they really are.

The Orange Democratic Movement wants the World Bank to postpone reviewing of funding contracts until a new Cabinet is in place.

In the meantime Uncle Bob aka Robert Mugabe says

"We will succeed. We will conquer. We don't rig elections, you see; we have that sense of honesty. And I cannot sleep with my conscience if I have cheated on elections. Why should I cheat? The people are there supporting us, day in, day out."

My heart goes out to all my Zimbabwean brothers and sisters. Uncle Bob lost touch with reality years ago.

William Ruto has appeared before the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights to answer questions on post election violence.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Raila Odinga walking a tightrope

In his party, the Orange Democratic Movement, he is captive of competing inter-ethnic interests for vantage positions in the new pecking order.

He is fighting two wars, the first being to get "real power sharing and portfolio’’ balance in the Government, as well as the space and influence of the most powerful office outside State House.
In the backstage, there is the trickier game of juggling the interests of the influential personalities, without upsetting the inter-ethnic bonds that formed the Orange mosaic.
Thirdly, the leader of the party on the road to sharing government positions with Kibaki’s Party of National Unity has the arduous task of reaching out to the other side, as a signal he means well and is accommodating.
But even as he reaches out, there is the delicate balance, the act of spreading his tentacles without losing grip of ODM. Any sign he has been "swallowed, or is "carried away", could trigger trouble for him in ODM.

But the biggest headache for ODM is in the Rift Valley.
Like Nyanza, Rift Valley voted almost exclusively for ODM, has more MPs and bore the brunt of the violence that gripped the country after the polls. Inside the party, no one doubts that the region needs to be ‘rewarded’.
But at most, there could be only 17 slots for about 100 ODM MPs drawn from six provinces.
Some of the leaders from the Rift Valley think the region should get some five slots in the Cabinet, in recognition of the huge vote it brought to the party.

I wonder how Raila will manage to please everyone.

Related articles: State yet to approach IMF over funding.

Kenya’s Indy Media

Kenya Wildlife Service Suspends Fees to Heal Post-Election Crisis

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Raila a step away from being Prime Minister

The process to making Mr Raila Odinga the Prime Minister was fast-tracked to the penultimate stage, with the publication of the Bills to be debated in Parliament.
As the process went on, Raila, who has already started enjoying the trappings of power that go with the position continued to play the role on Friday as he toured Kibera.
In Kibera, which was among the worst hit Nairobi estates in the election violence, Raila preached peace and told displaced persons to return to their houses.

It is expected that when the Tenth Parliament resumes on Tuesday for its first regular sitting, the House could be asked to waive the tradition of giving priority to debate the presidential speech and allow for the Bill to sail through the first reading.
Parliament may borrow from the happenings of 1975 when founding President Jomo Kenyatta changed the Constitution in a day, going through the three stages. On the third day it was given presidential assent.
The amendment Bill was published on December 9. It was tabled on December 10. It passed all the three stages of debate that afternoon. On December 11, it received presidential assent and was immediately backdated to January 1, 1975.
Ugenya MP, Mr James Orengo, who spoke earlier this week, said that after the PNU and ODM parliamentary group meetings agreed to fast track the Bills without subjecting them to the routine debate, parliamentary formality can be priority and have them passed within a day.
On Thursday night, when he appeared on KTN’s Newsline, the Prime Minister designate said the new-look Cabinet, which he is to head under the new role, will be unveiled after entrenchment into the statutes of the power-sharing pact.
Raila, in the Newsline interview, said the House Business Committee would be constituted on Tuesday next week, which will allocate time for the Bills to be debated.

Raila on Friday embarked on what would be the first peace mission representing the Government as he toured Lang’ata Constituency and told the displaced to return to their houses.
In a motorcade secured by State agents and a public address system the Ministry of Information supplied, he held three rallies in the Kibera slums.
Raila, accompanied by veteran politician Mr Martin Shikuku, former Makadara MP Mr Reuben Ndolo and his son Fidel, preached peaceful and national reconciliation.
"We want to begin working for the nation and its citizens. The era of mass action and violence is over and all displaced person can now return home," Raila said, after Kibera DO Mr Kepher Maruge, received him.

One of the issues the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team is tackling under Agenda Four is to ensure the violence fermented by ethnic hatred experienced after the announcement of the presidential poll results on December 30, would never recur.
Agenda Four also covers the objective and purpose of the Grand Coalition government. The issues being addressed include the resetting of the more than 500,000 displaced people and ensuring sustainable peace, security and justice and the comprehensive review of the Constitution.
The National Dialogue and Reconciliation team is expected to address historical injustices that include unfair land distribution, State sanctioned land "grabbing" and unequal share of the national cake, where development, employment and education among other issues are concerned.
Past cases of impunity are also to be dealt with.
This would include cases of grand corruption and formation of terror gangs by politicians. There is also the issue of irresponsible speeches and actions deemed as inciting, which led to clashes among Kenyans.
The team is also tasked with establishment of a truth, peace, justice, and reconciliation commission within three months. This outfit is to secure national healing and reconciliation following the post-election skirmishes. This would target victims and perpetrators of ethnic and political violence that rocked the country for more than two months.
The toughest assignment the team must undertake is the comprehensive review of the Constitution. This will chart the country's future path after the end of the Grand Coalition Government. A new Constitution is expected to be in place in 12 months.
This will have ended a journey that Kenyans began more than 12 years ago.

Related articles: Rebellion against Kilonzo heightens.

Kenya Media council insists on poll audit.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Is it too early to celebrate in Kenya

The deal is not yet done until it is implemented. We will soon be getting into the untested waters of governance and the big question is; how prepared are we to navigate through the turbulent waters and avoid hitting jagged rocks that we might encounter?

The MPs agreed to fast track the deal through the procedures of Parliament and ensure it is enacted into law. This is expected to be followed by a rollout of a broad reform agenda to address challenges of governance.

They then have to try to "sell" the idea of power sharing to their constituents, among them people who are now homeless or who have lost loved ones in the violence.
There are still potential stumbling blocks ahead - in particular, how power will be shared and how cabinet posts and other senior positions will be allocated.
But for Thursday's ceremony the tone was conciliatory and upbeat.

This country is emerging from one of the darkest periods of its history and the coming weeks will be a real test of the commitment of all sides to a durable peace.

Some 1,500 people died in unrest after disputed poll resultsKenyans will be forced to confront some awkward realities with the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to investigate past injustices and violence blamed on supporters on all sides of the political fence.
They will also be forced to compromise.
There are concerns that a grand coalition will rob Kenyans of a real opposition.

Raila is charismatic, but ambitious; will he manage to keep his men together? If he does; political, constitutional and physical development will take place. It is certainly in his interest to do so, since he is now well poised to be the next president. But if ODM leaders squabble and split up, PNU will capitalise on this, and the equitable development Kenya badly needs will not happen, and the situation will be back to square one.

How will the power-sharing work in practice?
Will both teams be ready to give way, as they did to enable the present agreement be signed, or will they play an endless game of power-jostling, legal quibbling and name-calling?
Kenyans have been sobered, even frightened at what happened. No-one wants a replay of events, except perhaps a few greedy people ready to benefit from any tragedy. It is the moment to make a fresh start, and re-assess one's stance, with regard to ethnicity, the wealth-poverty gap, and governance.
Many eyes were on Kenya last December, hoping that if Kibaki were defeated he would step down like a gentleman, but the waters were muddied. This is the chance for them to be cleansed. If the two leaders make this coalition work, it could set an interesting precedent for a continent, artificially divided along ethnic lines where power and tribe are inter-locked.
Kibaki is the old-style leader, surrounded by like-minded advisers, for whom power means wealth and the aloofness of top-down rule. Raila, however, is comfortable anywhere and with anyone, in a popular bar or soccer match, dressed in a Nigerian outfit, and with the younger generation. The two men are poles apart, in style, beliefs and approach, but united in their wish to govern Kenya. Govern Kenya together, or as individuals? Can this partnership work? This is the question on Kenyans' lips.

The political settlement, the third item on the mediation agenda, has been solved - on paper. It is everyone's hope and prayer it will work. The first item, stopping the violence, depended on this, and still depends on this. Militias, organised and armed, were ready to enter action at a signal, if these talks had failed, and the violence would have been as bloody as before. Will these be disbanded and disarmed, or are they waiting on standby?
The second item, however, the humanitarian crisis still needs to be addressed, and urgently. The thousands displaced within Nairobi itself do not have homes to go to; they were destroyed.
Hundreds of women walk long distances everyday to collect foodstuffs from church compounds; the food-stalls were destroyed in the violence.
In the camps, within Nairobi and outside, toilet facilities are rudimentary and filthy; people queue hours for the food. The Red Cross and other NGOs are doing good work, but need more support.
Yet many Kenyans have reacted heroically and generously; some have sheltered neighbours of different ethnic groups, risking their lives.
The leader of a mainly Luo youth group from Kibera told me they had been taking food to Kikuyu refugees camped in a public park.

Related articles: Kenya media didn't incite violence-report

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Sheikh Mohamed Dor first Iman in Kenya's parliament, and Mungiki street protest

ODM nominated MP and Muslim preacher, Sheikh Mohamed Dor, will become the first Imam in Kenya's Parliament.

Meanwhile, Ms Shakila Abdalla, nominated by ODM-Kenya, said her priority would be to champion the role of women in national leadership.
She said her party had followed its manifesto, which considers the marginalised.
"My first priority will be to fight for women to be in the first line of decision making at the national level," she said yesterday.
Abdalla said she would work with other Coast MPs to tackle problems in the region.
She also promised to fight drug abuse among the youth.

There are no hurdles expected as the MPs step up the power deal debate in parliament tomorrow.

However there are some faces to watch in parliament.

Hundreds of followers of the outlawed Mungiki sect staged a demonstration in Nairobi's Central Business District, where they demanded the release of their leader Maina Njenga.

It is alleged the sect enjoys high
political patronage, hence the audacity with which they emerged.
Streaming into the Central Business District in such large numbers on Wednesday, the Mungiki caused a momentary security scare, catching everyone by surprise.
Police action was delayed for a frighteningly long spell as the early morning drama unfolded.
The demonstrators, estimated to be close to 3,000, poured onto several streets waving placards bearing the portrait of their leader, Maina Njenga, who is presently languishing in jail. They insist he is innocent.

It appears the Mungiki may have taken advantage of the relocation of hawkers from the city streets to the new Muthurwa Market to mount a demonstration and pass their seemingly politically loaded message momentarily, catching police off-guard.
The Standard reliably learnt that the majority of the demonstrators were transported from Murang'a and Maragwa overnight and assembled at River Road ahead of the early morning march.
When the police finally showed up, they seemed reluctant to stop the protest. The sect members were later dispersed near the Central Police Station as they finished their protest. This was after several businesses in the city had hurriedly closed in fear of violence.

The Government has denied a BBC report indicating that the State sanctioned the recent violence in parts of the country.
The respected British broadcaster quoted sources alleging that meetings were hosted between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures.

"The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to protect the Kikuyu community," the BBC story says.
But on Wednesday, the government called the allegations "preposterous".
A statement by Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, said: "The Government of Kenya has been shocked by a story appearing on the BBC that alleges that members of the banned group Mungiki held meetings at State House, Nairobi, the Official Office of the President.
"No such meetings took place at State House or any government office...
Such "unfounded lies" are "injurious to the President, Government and the people of Kenya," the statement said.

A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of State complicity.
He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called "matatus", packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.
"When we were there... I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed with men," he said. "There were no females... I could see they were armed. We were ordered not to stop the vehicles, to allow them to go."

Raila Odinga Interview with the Financial Times Correspondent

Financial Times: According to the agreement you signed with president Kibaki, the prime minister’s role is to “coordinate and supervise” government business. But what seems crucial is who is setting policy and who is controlling spending. Could you tell me how much influence you expect to have over those two things?

Raila Odinga: Well, according to the agreement we’ve signed, policies are formulated by the cabinet. The cabinet is chaired by the president, but I am a member of the cabinet. I become responsible for the implementation of those policies and for ensuring that cabinet decisions are enforced by line ministries. That is part of the supervision work. Secondly, I also ensure that the government is working in harmony; that the ministries all work in tandem – that is the coordination work. Another role is to ensure there is efficiency in the running of government. And the other one is to deal with issues like corruption, so that there is no corruption in the workings of government, and there is also less bureaucracy, less of the red tape that scares away investment from the country. That will be my function, because what has happened in the past is a lot of good policies have been developed on paper, but you find they are not implemented. So there is a disconnect between rhetoric and practice.

FT: Given those arrangements, could you find yourself in charge of the implementation of policies you don’t necessarily agree with, because those policies come from the cabinet?

RO: If they have been approved by cabinet, it’s usually done by consensus. Then I have no option but to ensure they are implemented. I’ll use my position to try to influence the policies at cabinet level, but once they are approved at cabinet I have no option but to implement. But I will also be working with line ministries in their formulation of policies. The policies cabinet normally works through are contained in memoranda produced by the ministries.

FT: Do you accept the term “executive prime minister”, which is what people are calling your expected new role?

RO: That is exactly what it is. It’s more or less like the French model, where you have a president who is executive and a prime minister who is executive, so you are sharing the executive functions. They call it cohabitation. You are cohabiting, hence the need for constant consultation between the presidency and the premiership so there is no conflict.

FT: What issues are you going to face working with president Kibaki, given the alleged rigging of the election and the breaking of the 2002 memorandum of understanding [on power-sharing, signed by Mr Odinga and Mr Kibaki ahead of the previous election]?

RO: I think, from our discussions yesterday [the two men met on Tuesday], and from what has happened since the election, that there is a general desire to see that this thing will work. I think that feeling is mutual. I sense it from president Kibaki himself. The success is going to depend very much on the trust and confidence built between us, so that there are no suspicions and fears.
You cannot forget the past but you can forgive it. That’s what [Kenya’s first president Jomo] Kenyatta said after those years in detention [during British colonial rule]. It remains as part of history. But you don’t want to live in the past. Everything in life is in the future. You don’t want to continue to be buried in the past.

FT: What do you think the policy priorities of this new government should be?

RO: The economy is very crucial. We are not picking up from where the last government left us before the elections, because we have this devastation that has come about as a result of the dispute, the crisis. So we need to start from reconstruction. That is urgent. You can call it almost an emergency measure that needs to be taken in the short-term. Then comes the medium-term and long-term.

FT: Reconstruction of what exactly?

RO: In a lot of urban areas businesses were destroyed. Premises were just burnt down by … you can call them protestors. There is a need to reconstruct, not just physical premises, but also capital, so people can be able to start again businesses that have been destroyed. There is the informal sector, where kiosks were burnt and you find people lost vehicles. Then there is the formal sector, where premises with all the merchandise were burnt, in Nairobi, in Kisumu, in Eldoret, in Kakamega, Mombasa and several other urban areas.
In my own vision statement, when I launched my [election] campaign, I talked of infrastructure three times. Now, when there’s been massive destruction, the economy is best revived through heavy investment in infrastructure.
In the US after the Great Depression, they invested heavily in infrastructure to create a lot of employment. In Germany after the war there was the Marshall plan for roads, rail, housing, energy, water and so on. That created massive employment after the devastation of the war and helped them to rebuild the country. So I think this is a route we want to follow.
We’ll use local resources, but we’ll also borrow from the international financial markets. And we want to make full use of the offer by the British prime minister Gordon Brown [to host a conference of international aid donors for Kenya]. I want to be thankful to him for this gesture at this time of need. He is a friend indeed. We will make full use of that to try to raise funds for reconstruction and to put up infrastructure so that Kenya can begin to work again.

FT: What about the issue of the internally displaced people? Can they be resettled back to places they’ve been displaced from? What’s the solution there?

RO: That is the big challenge, because as you know this is not the first time. We had this in ‘91, again in ‘97, and again in 2002. On each of those occasions homes were torched, people were displaced. Eventually in Kisii they went back and resettled, put up new shelters. But again they were burnt. So the question is where are the guarantees that if you settle them this time around it won’t happen again?

FT: It is possible to get that guarantee?

RO: That is what we want to get, a programme that is sustainable, where people will settle and they will be secure. This requires going beyond just the physical reconstruction, but creating a harmonious relationship among these various ethnic communities. So I’m suggesting a meeting between the leadership of these displaced people and of the communities from whence they’ve been displaced in order to reconcile the communities and address the issue of peaceful coexistence. I’m suggesting a national ethnic conference to deal with inter-ethnic relationships so we can develop a kind of a code of conduct that will be used by a permanent commission on ethnic relations, which will be established by an act of parliament.

FT: I don’t see how a conference alone can deal with these things, because they go back to issues of land distribution in the 1960s and, in Nyanza province for example, to a feeling the place has been ignored in terms of job creation?

RO: That’s why I’m talking about the leadership. There are animosities that have different backgrounds. You have for example the Kikuyu-Kalenjin, which is purely land. Then you have Kisii-Kalenjin, which is a boundary dispute. There’s Masai-Kisii, Masai-Kikuyu, which is about land and water. Luo-Kikuyu is more economic because they don’t have a common border. It’s more marginalisation, and it’s the same thing with the Kikuyu-Luhya.

FT: So how do you tackle these deeper issues?

RO: First, the solutions are not uniform. On land you need to find a way of settlement that will not create acrimony, which will not leave a feeling among the Kalenjins that they have been deprived of their land. That’s why it must be discussed at national level. We have in our manifesto a plan for comprehensive land reform, which will make land a factor of production, accessible and available to people who want to use it for production.

FT: So you’ll take that manifesto plan and try to make it government policy?

RO: Exactly. That’s why yesterday we agreed with the president to set up a six man team, three from my side and three from his side, to begin to work on harmonising the manifestos of ODM [the former opposition Orange Democratic Movement] and PNU [president Kibaki’s Party of National Unity] so that we have a common programme, more centrist, which we will be able to implement. We will have sectoral priorities, for example, so we will have a clear road map that we can use to check on the ministries to see that they are meeting the targets.

FT: The main difference between the ODM and PNU manifestos was on majimboism, or federalism. What’s going to happen to government policy on that?

RO: Majimbo is actually devolution, and devolution is a key issue. Now initially PNU was vehemently opposed to it, but as we packaged and marketed and sold it, it was brought by the people. And PNU toward the tail end of the campaign jumped on the bandwagon. So in the end we were actually on the same side, except their devolution was different, because they wanted to create so many tiny districts. That was their answer. In our view small districts are not viable. We cannot build county councils based on one single constituency. It doesn’t make sense because it does not have a sufficient revenue base to be able to provide the services that county councils are required to provide. Now that campaign is over. We are going to begin now to talk again and see where we can meet on the middle ground.
And the other difference between the manifestos was equity, which is tied in with devolution, because we want to distribute resources in a more equitable manner. We have also identified some marginalised areas where we want to pump more resources. And we want to create a ministry for northern Kenya. I’m going to put that on the table in the negotiations.

FT: What chance does the coalition have of surviving five years [the fixed term of a presidency] and what happens if it doesn’t’?

RO: The coalition is premised on reform. First constitutional reforms, then the land reforms I mentioned, and then institutional and legal reforms. Its survival is dependent on how far it succeeds in bringing these reforms. If at the end of these reforms the partners feel they are able to continue, then the coalition can last five years. But if after they have achieved these reforms the feeling of the partners is that they should go for an early election, then they’ll decide to go for an early election. But I don’t want to pre-judge that.

FT: What happens if the coalition breaks down because there’s some disagreement and one side pulls out. Is there an election then?

RO: At the moment we have a hung parliament. The two partners are almost equal in strength. So if one pulls out it will be very difficult for the other to continue. They’ll just be limping. They’ll be living on the precipice. It’ll be a dangerous existence. But sometimes people like to take risks.

Quotes from FT interview Raila Odinga by Barney Jopson

Monday, 3 March 2008

A new beginning in Kenya

Hopefully this week we will be able to start to get things back on track in Kenya. The road to recovery has its challenges.

William Ruto says that there are some issues that need to be dealt with at the moment

What is remaining at the moment is how to get to a new constitution in two months and the issue of setting up a truth, justice and reconciliation commission," he said.
Parliament is due to meet on Thursday to pass a constitutional amendment to allow for a coalition government led by Kibaki. His opposition rival, Raila Odinga, will take a newly created post of prime minister.

Former head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission, Judge Christiaan Kriegler, is to chair the Independent Review Committee that will investigate the 2007 General Election.
The committee, which commences its sittings on March 15, will investigate all aspects of the presidential election and make findings and recommendations to improve future electoral processes.

Reconstruction of structures destroyed during the post-election violence has started after Thursday's signing of power-sharing deal between President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga.
The American Government will provide Sh1.75b ($25million) to help the reconstruction process. In Kibera, the rebuilding of Toi Market has started. Traders who had fled the area are returning.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Historic week for Kenya

Kenya today enters what could be the historic week in which the power sharing deal President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga signed could be homed in the Constitution.The nation waits, albeit with baited breath, but with faces radiating optimism, for the State opening of Parliament on Thursday .

I spoke to the folks and friends this weekend, and they are in better spirits. I was told that Kenyans were wishing each other Happy New Year on Saturday, as the New Year had begun on Friday. I had a laugh with my folks about this.Apparently, it was bustling in town yesterday.

I just finished a piece of consultancy work with a Somali organisation here in the diaspora, and some of the people I worked with are Kenyan Somalis. There was definitely a different vibe on Friday,hope in the air with people now ready to fly home soon.

The President's Party of National Unity, which has a coalition arrangement with Mr Musyoka's ODM-Kenya, holds its PG tomorrow. Raila's Orange Democratic Movement meets on Wednesday.
The agenda for both sides will be the forging of a common stand on the proposed National Reconciliation Act 2008, which is an offshoot of the deal Raila and Kibaki signed.ODM will be holding a PG on Wednesday where they will formally take a common stand on the accord," Raila said on Saturday, after meeting Annan.With the signs it is just a matter of time before Kibaki and Raila become the pilot and co-pilot of aircraft Kenya, attention is now shifting to two former friends-turned- foes.
It is slightly over five years after necessity pushed them into a historic union that changed the politics of Kenya and defeated Kanu before parting ways in 2005.
The one-time liberation comrades when the nation cried for unity to defeat Kanu began to fall out soon after they took power in 2003, mainly over dishonoured Memorandum of Understanding.That journey will begin in real, concrete terms if Parliament, which convenes this week, ratifies the agreements the two leaders agreed on Thursday.
Unlike in 2002 when removing Kanu from power was seen to be good enough, Raila, Prime Minister-designate, and Kibaki, the President, have a daunting task.

The deal Raila and Kibaki signed last week, charges them with joint responsibility on issues they have viewed differently.

It charges both to preside over the overhaul of the Kenyatta State, which President Kibaki was seen to be reproducing and the Moi structures, which he fought briefly then embraced for political survival.
For Raila, it is a moment to dismantle what he has always wanted to; the leftovers of Kenyatta and Moi States, which he says have been characterised by gross inequalities and concentration of power and public resources, especially land, in the hands of a power elite. These are views for which he spent long years in detention, fighting.

Raila and Kibaki, despite radical differences in their political worldviews, cut the image of the last of the fading generation of politicians who still have some sense of ideology in politics.

A look into their politics over the years reveals an impression that Kibaki appears to believe that the way out of the problems that bedevil Kenya lies in the economy.
For Kibaki, from his early days in the Cabinet, through his days as DP chairman, all the way to his first term as president, he appears to believe that a strong and growing economy would heal the wounds and rifts in Kenya.
On the other hand, Raila's journey in politics leaves behind a strong impression that he believes the country's problems begin with the Constitution and its governance structures.
Raila appears to believe that however much the economy grows, if the country does not have a constitution and governance structures that define equal access to wealth and how power is used, national challenges will persist.

In contrast, Raila's campaign manifesto began with the promise of a new constitution. His party said it would guarantee a new constitution within six months to ensure equity, executive accountability and devolution of power.
Raila also promised a parliamentary system of government "where power will be shared and not concentrated in one person or office."
Those are just a few of the differences the two will have to integrate as they begin work in a new coalition.

They will also be required to address historical injustices, past cases of impunity, and secure national healing and reconciliation.

Kofi Annan has left Kenya now, I am so grateful to him for facilitating this deal; he has insisted Kenyans must still respect the rule of law while a final polical solution is sought.

I have had a numerous hits on my blog the past two days from readers looking for stories on Martha Rarua(tear apart) Karua aka PNU hardliner.

I guess it is to do with the stories circulating, that it is her heated exchanges, that led to the suspension of the talks on Tuesday.

The talks however almost collapsed when on February 26 a member of PNU team engaged the panel in heated exchanges.
The member made comments that stunned mediators and talks were suspended.

Some readers have asked for a transcript of that event, unfortunately, I have no access to that information.

The healing that needs to be done from now on, is huge, the internally displaced need to be resettled, to restore peace.

Related articles: Torturous road that led to a power deal.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Kenyans must seize democracry for themselves

We applaud Kofi Annan for steering Kenya back to sanity. But we also have to understand that this peace deal is an emergency stopgap solution so that the wounds of rigged elections, mobilized militias, ethnic cleansing, and extra-judicial killings may not bleed the country to death.

The Kenyan people on whose backs this power sharing deal has been signed have to seize democracy for themselves if change is to be real and long lasting, and in service of the Kenyan people and not the competing politicians.
We applaud the deal for peace but also recognize the work for a democracy that serves the people and not the elite is just starting.
We have been offered the shell of democracy, but the struggle is for its content.
We call for a democracy with content of equal land redistribution because land was at the heart of this crisis.
We call for a democracy with the content of economic justice because it is our discontent with extreme poverty that was used against us by the same politicians we are going to reward with cabinet positions.
We call for a democracy with the content of justice. In 1963, our first authoritarian leader, Jomo Kenyatta, asked us to forgive but not forget British colonialism. What he meant was forgive and forget. Let justice be the keeper of our memory.
We call for a democracy that protects its citizens from the excesses of the state. The police killings of unarmed electoral protestors recalls the extra-judicial killings of hundreds of young men criminalized because they are poor in May to June, 2007.
The police force we inherited from British colonialism was trained to see the people as the enemy. We call not only for a retraining of the police, but also for the officers and politicians who gave the shoot-to-kill orders to be brought to justice
We call for a democracy that has the content of justice, if we are to end of cycle of violence and counter violence, revenge and counter-revenge.
We call for a systematic disarming of all militia and the bringing to justice all those responsible for killings, injuries and destabilization.
We call for guarantees of safe passage and return of those violently displaced from their homes. Those who have suffered loss need to be compensated.
We call on an immediate investigation on behalf of the victims of sexual violence and rape and the bringing to justice those responsible.
We call for an independent judicial inquiry into the allegations of election rigging that led to the current crisis.
We have been very good at forgetting - the February 25th anniversary of the Wagalla massacres of 1984 in which over a thousand Kenyan Somalis were killed by the Moi government just passed without as much as a murmur. The recent Eldoret Killings recall the Eldoret killings of 1992 in which over a thousand Kenyans lost their lives. We call for historical and present day crimes against the Kenyan people and humanity to be punished.
We welcome the calm that the agreement brings. But this must not be confused with peace: peace will only be possible through justice and the placing of the truth in the public arena and addressing injustice and inequality.
A process must begin now to consider whether the constitution as it exists, and as it will be amended by parliament shortly, is the constitution that can guarantee peace, or whether we need to establish one that reflects the vision and values of all citizens.
In short, we call for a democracy that serves the people, and not a democracy that dresses up thieves and political thugs in suits.

The real work begins now, resettling the displaced and reconciling all Kenyans.

This is a challenging task for all involved, but there is a lot of healing that needs to be done.