Tuesday, February 5, 2008


The peace talks Mr Kofi Annan is mediating has reached a critical stage. It is at this point where the spirit of give and take should make the most sense.

It is against this backdrop, and in appreciation of the progress made so far, that Mr. kibaki's statement, that ODM should go to court is unsettling and undermining the potential of national stability.

The President told the African Union Summit in Ethiopia on Friday that the Government was setting up a truth and reconciliation commission - and that the Opposition planned and executed the ongoing violence. One wonders then why even bother waste time and effort of others in the name of "mediation" to solve this crisis.

Plans, he said, were under way to resettle the displaced. "Controversies over elections are a reality in any democracy. And historically, few close to call elections are marred by allegations of irregularities, even in advanced and well-established democracies. In such situations, the accepted rule is to resort to the established constitutional mechanisms. Indeed, the Judiciary in Kenya has over the years arbitrated electoral disputes and the current one should not be an exception,’’ he said.

The bigger challenge, however, is the question: how does Mr. kibaki expect to achieve these outside the Annan mediation, and on his own? Or does he, despite saying he is committed to the process, have one foot in and one out?

This will undermine his ‘commitment’ to peace, made before cameras. Or what has he to gain from further violence and destruction of the economy?

Going by the experiences of the past few weeks, in which even the security forces appear strained and the Government authority shrinking, the President’s remarks were ill timed and could undermine peace talks. Probably the President wanted to combat perception he is stuck in the mud or is lame duck. Already, the other party to the dispute is seething with anger.

The nation is stung by pain and numbed to the heart by the killings and fear of tomorrow. For now all the hope are pegged on the talks – the assurance to a better tomorrow. All must work for an environment in which peace will flower and embrace all.

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