Annan: Deal could be struck in
February 12, 2008
By Standard Team
Hope for a breakthrough in the crippling political crisis rose
Monday night after mediator Kofi Annan announced that a deal could
be struck within the next 48 to 72 hours.
In a statement calling for a complete news blackout on progress on
the negotiation table, Annan also moved the talks on outstanding
political issues to an undisclosed location outside Nairobi "to
Annan also urged the parties to not to discuss issues under
negotiations with anyone outside the negotiating room.
In the statement issued by spokesman Mr Nassir Musa, Annan added:
"At the appropriate time, the Kenya National Dialogue for
Reconciliation Secretariat will issue a statement through the
press to announce the outcome of the confidential talks".
This emerged even as all legislators prepared for a special
session on the talks this morning, a clear pointer that the House
would be the next stop for implementation of any mediated
The informal session, known in parliamentary parlance as Kamukunji,
was convened at the request of Annan team last Friday. In the
meeting — seen as critical in clearing another hurdle in the quest
to break the impasse — the former United Nations secretary-general
and his team of Eminent African Persons will brief members on
progress and roles they are expected to play. The National
Assembly Speaker, Mr Kenneth Marende, will chair the Kamukunji.
And back at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, Annan pushed the negotiators
to abandon their hardline positions and towards a possible
At one point in the morning, the former UN chief met the Party of
National Unity and Orange Democratic Movement teams separately to
push a climbdown from their positions.
Last evening, the details of the proposed power-sharing deal were
not forthcoming though indications were that it would involve
power sharing in a settlement that could involve reforms on the
And curiously, President Kibaki and ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga
have been asked not to attend the Kamukunji, convened at the Old
Parliament Chambers, understandably so that the MPs can air their
It is believed that MPs would be asked to be ready to support
constitutional reforms to allow the possible sharing of power
between the two bitter rivals.
It would also serve to bridge the hostility gap between the two
sides and bring them to work together in Parliament when a
political solution is finally clinched.
The MPs, who faced off in a bitter swearing-in session last month
in which the Speaker was also picked, would this morning be asked
to be ready to vote together to accommodate the anticipated
MPs prepare for meeting
The gravity of the session was impressed upon the MPs last evening
as both PNU and ODM held separate parliamentary group (PG)
meetings where their leaders brought them up to speed on general
terms of the expected shared deal and what would be expected of
them at today’s session.
Vice-President Mr Kalonzo Musyoka chaired the meeting of PNU and
affiliate parties at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre,
while Raila chaired a similar ODM one at County Hall.
MPs in both PGs were told that the Annan talks wanted to be told
what kind of power-sharing deal was in the offing, but the leaders
explained that the Annan team would communicate the details later.
Some ODM MPs wanted to know if the deal would follow the lines of
the Bomas Draft that proposed the creation of a post of prime
minister with executive powers, or the Wako Draft that has a
But sources said the MPs were steered away from that direction and
told that the talks were far from the finer details.
Similar sentiments arose at the PNU meeting, where sources said
the MPs were steered to discuss only today’s meeting.
MPs in both meetings were asked to behave with decorum and to be
civil before Annan and the Speaker.
Last evening, the Speaker met Annan at Serena Hotel and discussed
Speaking outside the hotel, Marende said all MPs were expected to
attend the meeting with an exception of President Kibaki and Raila.
Last week, Annan said he had asked the Speaker to convene an
informal session of the House at the earliest opportunity to brief
MPs on progress so far.
Senior Deputy Clerk, Mr PG Gichohi, sent out an invitation to all
MPs on February 8.
Marende said today’s meeting would also lay the ground for debate
on the possible new constitutional dispensation in a bid to end
the current political stalemate.
In yesterday’s mediation session, the two negotiating teams agreed
to the establishment of an Independent Review Commission that
would investigate all aspects of the December 27 presidential
Sources said the Committee would be expected to make findings and
give recommendations for a better electoral process.
The committee would be made up of Kenyans and members of the
international community well versed in electoral issues.
The members of the committee must command high integrity and be of
good professional standing.
The committee is expected to start its work on March 15 and should
report it findings within a period of three to six months.
And in the separate morning meetings with Annan, both the PNU and
ODM teams gave their views on their possible solutions to a
In the PNU team are Cabinet ministers Prof Sam Ongeri, Mr Moses
Wetangula and Ms Martha Karua and Mbooni MP Mr Mutula Kilonzo.
On the opposite corner are ODM Pentagon members Mr William Ruto,
Mr Musalia Mudavadi and MPs Dr Sally Kosgei and Mr James Orengo.
Annan later informed both teams to bring written proposals to be
discussed this morning.
Details on how each negotiating team wanted the political crisis
to be discussed were scanty.
However, sources said PNU had again pushed for a recount of the
presidential votes, expressing confidence that President Kibaki
would win with a majority.
But ODM dismissed the recount, saying the ballot boxes would have
been tampered with.
While PNU insisted on a political settlement based along the lines
of Government of National Unity, ODM wants a transitional
government with an early election.
The party also wants the functions of the State and Government
The hardline positions are expected to melt down after today’s
And speaking to the Voice of America (VOA), ODM’s Prof Anyang’
Nyong’o said his party would demand a transitional government and
elections in six months.
He spoke as the international community continued piling pressure
on both sides to agree on a quick settlement.
On Monday, five foreign diplomats warned that any party sabotaging
the ongoing talks would earn the wrath of the international
"Kenya is a vital country in this region and the international
community is not ready to watch it slump into anarchy," said
Norwegian Ambassador Ms Hellen Jacobsen.
Jacobsen and four other diplomats — Rolland Hausan (Austria), Tony
Musimanga (South Africa), Elizabeth Barbier (France) and Haeticia
Van Denassum (the Netherlands) — were visiting the displaced at
the Eldoret ASK Showground.
The envoys told Kibaki and Raila to ensure that their parties and
supporters were committed to the mediation talks.