News 2008


Panel to report to AU on progress of talks

(Ed. Note: Are we going to see them now only travelling all over the place? Don't they have e-mail and internet conference possibilities for the little progress they have to report? Waste of taxpayers money is imminent again!)

Published on March 12, 2008, 12:00 am

By Abiya Ochola

The mediation panel leaves for Addis Ababa today to table a report to the African Union (AU) on the progress of the reconciliation talks.

The panel will also brief the AU on the implementation of the power sharing deal signed between President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.

The talks were postponed until tomorrow during a session where sentiments attributed to Head of Civil Service, Ambassador Francis Muthaura, on proposed government structures and portfolio, featured prominently.

"Sensitivity over what appeared in the media attributed to Muthaura featured prominently, though not as a formal agenda. Members said they were uncomfortable with the sentiments," a source privy to the talks said.

It was not clear if the debate on Muthaura’s sentiments would make part of Session chair, Prof Oluyemi Adeniji’s report to be tabled in Addis Ababa.

But Government members at the talks defended Muthaura saying what he said reflected the law as it is at the moment.

Adeniji, who took over from former UN Secretary-General, Dr Kofi Annan, will lead the team to Addis.

This is the first time that the mediators, under the banner of Panel of Eminent African Personalities, will be making a direct report to the AU on the progress of the talks aimed at resolving the post-election crisis that left more than 1000 people dead and nearly 500,000 displaced.

"Adeniji is expected to brief the AU on the ground already covered by the talks and to what extent he feels the deal is being implemented. It is important that as the initiator, the AU must be fully briefed on the goings-on in Kenya," said the source.

Kenya’s mediation talks are a creation of the AU having been established in mid-January by the then AU chairman and Ghanaian President, Mr John Kuffuor.

A deal was signed on February 4 where Kibaki and Raila agreed to create the position of PM in a power sharing set-up to end post-election crisis occasioned by disputed presidential election results.

The team, for the first time, discussed budgetary allocations to the panel.

"Members wanted to know how much money had come from the Government and donors so that the team could be accountable to the people," said the source.

The mediation teams also agreed to suspend the sittings to allow members, who are MPs, attend parliamentary sessions.

"This is to allow the MPs to shed light to members of the House on the crucial Bills emanating from the talks and their import to the stability of the nation. It will also give the MPs room to visit their constituencies," said the source.

Cabinet ministers, Ms Martha Karua, Mr Moses Wetangula and Prof Sam Ongeri and Mbooni MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo represented PNU. ODM Pentagon members Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr William Ruto, Mr James Orengo and Dr Sally Kosgei represented the party as the teams discussed Agenda Four.

Items under this agenda are long-term land reforms, electoral, financial and judicial reforms, which included the formation of an Independent Review Committee and a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.