Monday, February 11, 2008


Central Province MPs insisted that Kibaki won the polls as mediation talks enters its critical stage. Kenyans are watching as this could be the defining moments.

Annan’s mediation and diplomatic skills look set to be stretched to the limits in a week that could re-define the future of Kenya---whether Kenyans finally put behind them the bloodletting and anarchy that has seen 1000 lives lost and 350,000 people displaced– or remains moored on a nihilist course.

The weekend provided a glimpse into just how tricky and treacherous the discourse could be as opposition and government delegations meet for what has been billed a make or break session. This can be attested to given latest assertions by ODM leader Raila Odinga that the country’s executive power rests with him and that he will not betray the party supporters.

But this position was countered by 12 Central Province legislators meeting in Nyeri on Sunday where they re-stated that Mwai Kibaki won the December 27 presidential elections genuinely and ODM should accept that.

Led by Mathira MP Ephraim Maina, the MPs, while supporting Annan’s mediation efforts, were emphatic that it was fait accompli as far as election results were concerned. And in remarks first made on Saturday at the burial of slain Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too and repeated yesterday, Raila said ODM will settle for nothing less than a deal that gives them control of executive powers.

Speaking in his trademark parables, Raila is reported to have made clear what he wants from the negotiations when he told mourners in Ainamoi that: “How can someone steal your cow and hope to invite you to share with him the milk from the same cow? You must get back your cow first!” The ODM chief reiterated his stand that Kibaki’s government is illegitimate despite having expressed willingness to shift from such hard-line positions last week after it was said that Mr Annan had lost patience with repeated claims of victory in the December polls from both Raila and Kibaki’s camps.

“What we have always said is that we are not going to let our people down. ODM will not betray its supporters,” Raila told journalists yesterday moments after attending a church service at Nairobi’s All Saints Cathedral.

If Raila maintains this position and seeks to push it through the negotiation process, it will be interesting to see how his protagonist responds as speculation in foreign media suggests that the two feuding sides are likely to settle for a power-sharing deal through an interim government that would hold brief pending far-reaching constitutional reforms that promise to dismantle the status-quo and significantly change the conduct of politics and governance in Kenya.

It is understood that the ODM will push for a power-sharing deal based on party strength in parliament, a position the government side is seemingly uncomfortable with. But plans for a power-sharing deal, if any, seem to have met stiff opposition from no less a person than President Kibaki’s deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka, who says such a deal could kill the spirit of multiparty democracy in Kenya.

The same sentiments were expressed by visiting Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who told reporters in Nairobi, Sunday, that there is need for a strong and vibrant opposition in Kenya to guard against the excesses of government.

Hence, the thread in Kalonzo and Sentamu’s argument tend to suggest that a deal that brings President Kibaki’s PNU and Raila’s ODM in government would leave the country without a worthy opposition.

But whereas Sentamu’s position is understandable, Kalonzo’s sudden concern over a strong opposition come as a total surprise given that he is Vice President and leader of government and having come to parliament on the ODM-Kenya party ticket that opposed Kibaki at the general election.

Nonetheless, Raila’s hard-line remarks seem to go contrary to the reconciliatory spirit that had characterised his Thursday’s meeting with President Kibaki in which PNU had dropped its position that the court option be pursued by ODM if they thought Kibaki’s election was fraudulent.

The ODM leader yesterday also repudiated reports that he was willing to enter into a joint government with President Kibaki, saying PNU and ODM negotiating teams were yet to table their respective proposals for a political settlement to the current crisis. Said he: “We will support a political settlement to the crisis, details of which will be negotiated by the respective teams. We will give support to the proposals made though at the moment there are no proposals.”

He added: “At the moment I do not know who is going into government or who is going out. We are yet to reach that stage.” Reports of a proposed joint transitional government were carried by Western media including Associated Press and BBC international, which indicated that a breakthrough had been achieved in the on-going negotiations after both sides agreed to enter into a power-sharing pact that will be sanctioned by Parliament.

Meanwhile, Raila has once again lashed out at the conduct of security agents deployed to deal with the post-election violence. He accused the Police of being used by government functionaries to execute cold blooded murders against ODM supporters in the pretext of maintaining law and order. He termed as “hypocritical” the arraignment in court of Constable Edward Kirui, the policeman captured by television cameras in Kisumu allegedly gunning down two unarmed protesters in Kondele, and Constable Andrew Moache who shot dead Ainamoi MP David Kimutai. “It is important that security forces ensure a peaceful environment to all.

But instead, the Police are being paid by an illegitimate government to kill Kenyans,” said Raila. Claimed he: “What is the need for arresting one Police officer for killing David Too, when the OCS of Kericho is still killing so many of our people? He has killed over 70 people.” “Why arrest one and leave the others to perpetuate cold blood murders?

It is hypocritical that the government appears to be doing something just because Constable Kirui was the only one captured on tape.” “In Kibera, they have killed 50 people and no one has been arrested and charged in court,” Raila said.

Raila was accompanied to the Church service by his wife Ida. The service was presided over by Archbishop John Sentamu, a Ugandan who heads England’s See of York.

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