Kenya's political leaders seek
to heal wounds
Tue 4 Mar 2008
By Katie Nguyen
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's political leaders are intent on
healing wounds and uniting a country torn apart by post-election
violence, opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Tuesday.
"We want to work as one team to unite Kenya. We want to heal those
wounds that emerged after the elections," Odinga told reporters
after meeting President Mwai Kibaki for the first time since they
signed a power-sharing pact five days ago.
Under the agreement to end two months of political turmoil,
parliament is due to pass a constitutional amendment to allow
Odinga to become prime minister in a newly-created post.
Odinga said his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) would discuss how
to carve up the cabinet with Kibaki's Party of National Unity
after Thursday's parliamentary session.
Kibaki left the meeting without commenting, and his office later
issued a statement saying the two men had agreed to ensure the
deal would be implemented fully.
Kenyans have welcomed the move to end of one the country's
bloodiest moments since independence in 1963. More than 1,000
people were killed and 300,000 uprooted in tribally-tinged
violence triggered by Kibaki's disputed re-election in December.
"The president and the ODM leader also agreed to work together
towards uniting all Kenyans and accelerating the healing process
by holding meetings with different communities with a view to
ensuring that wananchi (the people) live together peacefully," the
PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
Dorothy Angote, Kenya's vice minister for justice and
constitutional affairs, said the agreement signed last Friday
between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga
was a "triumph for dialogue and diplomacy and also for peace and
It sought to move Kenya forward, "begin the healing and
reconciliation process... address the root causes of the conflict,
and to create a more secure country for all Kenyans," she said in
Angote was addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council whose 47
member states are holding a four-week meeting in Geneva to examine
A government-funded rights group called on Kibaki and Odinga to
visit the worst-affected areas together to foster national
reconciliation after clashes that shattered Kenya's image as a
relatively stable haven in a conflict-ridden region.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) also said it
would carry out an investigation into the violence, with its
findings due to be released later this month.
Despite the progress made, analysts say there is still much more
to be done to resolve deep grievances over the distribution of
land, wealth and power that fuelled the post-election unrest.
Negotiators from both sides raised the prospect of another vote --
a referendum on a new constitution, which most Kenyans believe is
the only way to properly address such issues.
Though violence has abated in most of the country, land clashes
flared on Monday in the Mount Elgon region close to the border
Private television station KTN said security forces were deployed
to the area on Tuesday as helicopters whirred above after 12
people were killed in an attack blamed on militias.