Wednesday, February 6, 2008


There are reports emerging that the Annan's hotel room has been bugged!

Kenyan mediation efforts could be in tatters after it was discovered that chief mediator Kofi Annan’s hotel room has been bugged.

According to news reports in South Africa-based Independent Newspapers which quote unnamed reliable and impartial sources both in Kenya and abroad, it was discovered that the former UN Secretary General’s business and personal conversations were being intercepted during the ongoing negotiations after a thorough search was carried out on his Serena Hotel room on Tuesday evening.

For how long the room has been bugged or by whom is unclear, but one source said: “Kofi’s security aides found the device yesterday while the talks were in session.” Annan is said to be “livid” but it is not yet known how he intends to act on Tuesday night’s revelations or whether he will walk away from the already troubled negotiations. It is not yet known how he intends to act on this issue.

But when sought for comment by Kenya Times, Mr Annan’s spokesman, Ega Musa, rebuffed the claim, terming it as “nonsense.” He, however, acknowledged having seen the report from the said newspapers’ website. Kenya Times sought further clarification from Serena Hotel’s authorities where chief security officer, Mr Mike Aswani, said he was not aware of such eavesdropping activities on Annan’s room.

He explained that the former UN chief’s aides are the ones who booked the room weeks even before Mr Annan arrived in the country, and that his security detail has been in full control ever since. Mr Aswani said the hotel management only provides foods and drinks, adding that Mr Annan’s aides are the ones who take care of housekeeping chores in his room. Annan arrived in the country on January 15 on an African Union (AU) invitation to head up the talks around Mwai Kibaki’s disputed election victory.

He was joined by Graca Machel and the former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, under the banner of the Panel of Prominent African Personalities. Together they brought members of both sides of the political divide to the table at the Serena Hotel, where Annan is also staying.

Although a breakthrough had been announced last Friday, when a four-point framework was agreed upon to curb the violence and address the December 27 poll, Kibaki and his opponent Raila Odinga have continued to wage a war of words on the sidelines. News of the bugging comes just 24 hours after Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew as the intended chief negotiator when the government side made it be known that they would not trust the South African’s intervention. Ramaphosa was not the first South African to receive his walking papers.

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu’s efforts to broker a deal last month were also met with a luke-warm reaction. Uganda, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia, coming under IGAD council of ministers, had decided to dispatch their foreign ministers to Nairobi on Wednesday, followed by their respective heads of state to show support for “government efforts to restore stability.

But the IGAD meeting was cancelled amid threats from the opposition ODM to lead street protests against the gathering.

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