Nine killed in Kenya as
parliament tackles power-sharing deal
06. March 2008
NAIROBI (AFP) - Nine people were killed Thursday in western Kenya,
underlining the fragility of a landmark power-sharing agreement
just as President Mwai Kibaki was urging parliament to back the
Parliament met to discuss enacting the agreement into law, after a
deal which has raised hopes of an end to a deadly post-election
crisis but has so far relied only both sides' good will.
"The accord is a victory for all Kenyans, laying the foundation
for peace and stability in our country," Kibaki said.
"The successful implementation of the accord will require goodwill,
unity, good faith and integrity from this house and all our
Allegations by opposition candidate Raila Odinga that Kibaki
rigged his way to re-election in the December 27 polls triggered a
wave of violence that has left at least 1,500 dead and displaced
hundreds of thousands.
International concerns over a country usually considered a beacon
of stability in the region led on February 28 to a power sharing
deal after weeks of mediation efforts spearheaded by former UN
chief Kofi Annan.
What started as protests against the election results quickly
turned into a vicious cycle of ethnically-driven revenge killings,
mainly in western Kenya.
The latest incident occurred on Thursday in villages around the
town of Laikipia, a police commander and a local official said.
"The attack targeted two villages. Nine people have been killed
and eleven other people have sustained serious panga cuts and have
been rushed to local hospitals," said Laikipia West district
commissioner Julius Mutula.
He said the violence appeared to been motivated by Wednesday's
killing of a woman in the same area.
The Laikipia region is inhabited chiefly by members of the rival
Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes, who have been the most involved in the
post-election violence in recent weeks.
The latest killings showed that despite last week's agreement,
Kenyan politicians have a long way to go before resolving
long-running land and tribal disputes which were exacerbated by
the election crisis.
The negotiators who sat with Annan for weeks are due to resume
their talks on Tuesday, with the prickly issue of land reform
On Thursday Kibaki urged parliament members to whole-heartedly
support a bill that will enshrine the power-sharing deal into law
and see his erstwhile rival Odinga become prime minister.
Other bills to be tabled provide for the creation of a truth,
justice and reconciliation commission as well as a series of
"I urge honourable members to ensure that all the necessary bills
to implement the accord and other social and economic reforms are
dealt with promptly so that Kenya can be fully restored to, and
even exceed, its former glory," Kibaki said.
The session was preceded by lengthy prayers and two minutes of
silence, one in honour of the two opposition MPs murdered since
the start of the year and another for all the victims of the
Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement won more seats than Kibaki's
Party of National Unity in the December elections, but fell short
of an outright majority.
Alliances with smaller parties by both camps have resulted in an
almost evenly split parliament, with Odinga's allies dominating by
a narrow margin.
Both sides have pledged to support the legislation.
If an agreement is reached, the broad cabinet coalition will
replace the government that was announced by Kibaki in the first
days after he was controversially declared the winner of the