Thursday, February 14, 2008


There are reports that ODM and PANU rivals agreed on Thursday among other things to write a new constitution within a year as part of a deal to end the country's crisis. "The two parties have agreed to write a new constitution", Mr. Mutula Kilonzo told reporters after two days of secret talks were adjourned until Monday.

Kenya's current constitution was crafted in the lead-up to independence from Britain in 1963 and has been revised repeatedly, giving the president sweeping powers. Kenyans have repeatedly said they want a constitution that would reform how their country is run following decades of abuses by successive governments.

Kilonzo did not give details of any other aspects of the agreement, which is likely to be just a first step in negotiations. He spoke just hours after a spokesman for Annan announced the sides had signed a deal but gave no details.

The international community kept the pressure on as President George Bush said Condoleezza Rice will fly to Kenya to support Kenyan negotiators and to build on the agreements that were reached during the talks in an effort to try to end the post elections violence that erupted after the disputed presidential election. The former U.N. leader Kofi Annan said he will outline the agreement on Friday,the reports said.

President Bush did not specify when Rice will travel, but negotiators have said they will continue talks next week. Nasser Ega-Musa, spokesman for the panel of eminent African personalities on the national dialogue of reconciliation said on Thursday that Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general who was asked to help settle the dispute, will outline the agreement on Friday.

Ega-Musa said Annan will release the text of the agreement that was signed by both parties at a news conference.

Earlier this week, both sides agreed not to pursue a recount or audit of the votes in the December 27 disputed election.

Both sides have also agreed to the creation of an independent committee to investigate irregularities in the December 27 election and suggested other reforms.

Meanwhile, the PANU government has ordered an investigation into claims that radio stations broadcast hate speeches to fuel ethnic violence.

Information Minister Samuel Poghiso said that politicians who had used hate speech would face the law.

No comments: