Kenyan president urges MPs to
back power-sharing deal
Matthew Weaver & agencies
Thursday March 06 2008
The Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, urged MPs from all sides to
back a power-sharing deal in the country's parliament today, aimed
at ending weeks of violence since his disputed re-election.
The pact involves Kibaki continuing as president but serving
alongside his rival, Raila Odinga, who will become prime minister
Parliament will have to pass the laws necessary to enforce the
power-sharing agreement, which was reached last Thursday after
talks led by the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
Kenya's MPs will vote on the deal later today after the parliament
is convened by Kibaki.
In a speech before the session Kibaki said the vote was a
political "turning point".
"I appeal to you all to be guided by a strong sense of national
unity, which must override all partisan considerations," Reuters
quoted him saying.
He added: "I urge all honourable members to support the proposed
legislative measures which will go a long way in ensuring peace
and stability in our country.
"The launch of this grand coalition is a clear signal that
although loud debates may attract a lot of attention, we can
achieve a lot together through quiet dialogue."
Up to 1,200 people have been killed in unrest since the
presidential election in December, which the opposition claimed
was rigged. Among the dead were 2 MPs.
The speaker of the new parliament, Kenneth Marende, who is from
the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, also called for support
for the deal.
Speaking to Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper, he said: "I expect the
honourable member will rise to the occasion and enact the laws
that will return this country to the path of peace, stability and
progress. They cannot fail millions of Kenyans who are looking
unto them with a lot of expectations."
Both the opposition ODM and Kibaki's Party of National Unity say
they back the deal. But crucial details have yet to be worked out,
including who will chair cabinet meetings and which party will get
key ministerial posts.
Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has dismissed as "preposterous"
claims by the BBC that meetings between officials and a banned
militia group were held at Kibaki's official residences.
It is latest in a series of allegations that some of the
post-election violence was orchestrated by politicians of both