Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Kenyans will be watching if their new crop of leaders will deliver. As Aljazeera also reports...

The opposition does not recognise Kibaki's re-election, accusing the president of vote fraud [EPA]
Kenya's president and his main political rival will face each other for the first time since elections marred by claims of vote-rigging sent the country into chaos late last month.
Mwai Kibaki, 76, and Raila Odinga, 63, both of whom will be sworn in as the newly-elected parliament sits on Tuesday, have not met since Kibaki's was re-elected.

The session promises to be stormy as Odinga and members of ODM has so far refused to recognise Kibaki's re-election as president or to sit down with him until he admits to fraud.

Annan mission rejected

A flurry of international mediation attempts has so far failed to break a deadlock between the leaders.

Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general, is due to arrive in Kenya on Tuesday in the latest push for reconciliation but a senior Kenyan cabinet minister and close Kibaki ally has already rejected the mission.

Meanwhile, police have beefed up security and cordoned off streets in the capital, Nairobi, as people prepared for three days of nationwide demonstrations called by Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

The planned protest is due to start on Wednesday despite a police ban on all rallies.

Hundreds of bodies have been found since violence and ethnic warfare erupted in the East African nation following the disputed presidential election on December 27.

The fact that ODM won 99 seats in parliament to 43 for Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) means the president will have to try to push bills through opposition legislators who believe his government is illegitimate.

Opposition control

Odinga, left, has called for nationwide
protests, defying a police ban [AFP]
Some opposition members have even vowed to occupy seats on the government side of the house, by force if necessary, guaranteeing more drama in parliament.

Analysts say that in the current political climate, Kibaki is likely to keep sittings to a minimum.

"Some people say they don't recognise the government. Are they going to refuse to get sworn in and if so, what happens next?" XN Iraki, a political analyst, asked.

"It's going to be very acrimonious. We should definitely expect some drama."

Parliament is expected to elect a speaker but hold off on official business for now.

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