News 2008


Political solution? What Kenyans want

February 11, 2008


By Standard Team

Many Kenyans would welcome a power-sharing or any other deal arrived at quickly through the Kofi Annan-led effort to stop the country from sliding deeper into political abyss.

Religious leaders, politicians, professionals and ordinary Kenyans on Sunday called for an urgent solution, and expressed hope that the Annan initiative would bear fruit this week.

The voices of political and religious leaders were illustrative of general optimism for a solution through mediation.

In Mombasa, Christians and Muslims were united in support of the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation team to accept a power sharing or any other deal for the sake of the country.

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) said Kenyans had no choice but to accept whatever President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga’s teams agree on.

Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa Anglican Church of Kenya Diocese said it was a momentous time and the negotiators must steer the country in the direction of peace.

The CIPK Secretary-General, Sheikh Mohammed Dor, called on the two leaders and their teams to put the interest of Kenyans before their own.

And the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya called on the political leaders to work together, reconcile their followers and shun revenge.

Presiding Bishop, the Rev Dr Walter Obare, also urged Kenyans to exercise restraint. "We urge our leaders to forgive one another, reconcile, show restraint, embrace God and avoid revenge at these tempting times".

The Eldoret Diocese Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir supported the proposal to share power if it would bring peace.

"If the proposal is the solution to the current problem of chaos everywhere, so be it. Kenyans want peace and that is all," said Korir.

Also in Eldoret, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) national chairman, Bishop Eliud Wabukala, was optimistic the mediation talks were on the right track.

"Things are now moving on well. The negotiation team should pursue the same line to ensure a breakthrough is achieved and what is agreed upon implemented," said Wabukala.

The Reformed Church of East African (RCEA) secretary-general, the Rev Samson Akoru, told negotiators from both sides to stay the path of peace.

"Let them be open and genuine to each other because Kenyans are longing for peace," said Akoru in Eldoret.

In Nakuru, Rev Josam Kariuki of the United Methodist Church said power sharing between ODM and PNU should aim at laying the ground for the enactment of a new constitution.

"For the sake of peace, we support power sharing but we are worried about who will keep the government on its toes," a teacher, Christopher Otieno, said.

Elsewhere, Cabinet minister Dr Noah Wekesa said a coalition government was the best option out of the political impasse.

"I approve power sharing. We cannot continue losing lives of Kenyans because people want to participate in Government,’’ said Wekesa by telephone.

Separately, Mukurweini MP Mr Kabando wa Kabando said no price or sacrifice should be too great to resolve the crisis.

"Whatever the sacrifice, whatever the price, there is no reason under the sun — whether it is power or wealth — that should delay the much-needed concessions in order to ensure that Kenya’s celebrated optimism is enhanced," said Kabando.

And the East Africa Law Society (EALS) commended the progress made by the Annan team.

The society chairman, Mr Tom Ojienda, said "the talks have taken a positive direction towards achieving a solution to the impasse."

Meanwhile, seven ODM MPs from Nyanza and Western provinces said any proposed coalition government with PNU should reflect the strength of their party.

The MPs, who yesterday toured the Western region to assess the impact of post-election violence, pointed out that ODM should have a major stake owing to its strength in Parliament.

The MPs included Dr Oburu Odinga (Bondo), Mr Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi), Mr Manyala Keya (Lurambi), Dr Simiyu Eseli (Kimilili), Mr Fred Outa (Nyando) and Mr Alfred Odhiambo (Butula).

Another Cabinet minister, Dr Wilfred Machage, and PNU MPs Mr Walter Nyambati and Mr Moriasi Ombui supported a possible power sharing deal.

Machage, however, said constitutional changes should first be enacted to create a Tanzania-like model.