News 2008


Annan briefs MPs on Kenya crisis


12. February 2008

Mediator Kofi Annan has addressed an informal session of Parliament and briefed them on developments to end the political impasse.

The options to undo the political dispute in Kenya has emerged to be: The possibility of a grand coalition government, independent committee to investigate last year’s General Election, electoral reforms, constitution, institutional judicial reforms and a political solution to be unveiled in the next few days.

204 Members of Parliament have been told that the task of re-uniting Kenyans is urgent, “we cannot afford to fail” and nothing should be swept under the carpet.

The MPs numbers dropped from 207 following the deaths of Embakasi MP Mugabe Were, Ainamoi MP David Too and elevation of Emuhaya MP Kenneth Marende to Speaker of the National Assembly.

The MPs met with the Koffi Annan- led mediation team at the Old Parliament chambers and the agenda, to restore unity, love and peace among members of their bigger constituency and country, Kenya became the focus of the meeting.

The former United Nations secretary general and team member Mrs Graca Machel were unanimous as they briefed the MPs into what task lay ahead of them that the question at hand is about a political crisis and only an urgent political solution will restore the glory of Kenya into the family of nations.

Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Kenneth Marende commended all the parties in the mediation team for their resoluteness in the search for peace.

Mr Annan said having listened to all sides and consulted widely including visiting parts of the country, political reforms must be made.

The first is the possibility of a Grand coalition government that will bring unity through service and give the country a united front as other options continue to take shape.

He said measures to end violence, restore peace and respect for human rights was the major shift they started with and as a result will address measures for reconciliation and healing through the formation of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

There must be a secure environment of co-existence among all vulnerable people mostly children and women. The process must be achieved through the MPs going to their people and preach peace as the first virtue for tolerance.

Annan said Kenya is divided and so is Parliament and therefore a grand coalition government will bring all parties together.

Annan said that there will be no quick-fix solution such as retallying, recount or audit of votes that led to the disputed Presidential elections. Instead an independent review committee will be formed with the mandate of investigating all aspects of the 2007 general elections and then revert back to the mediation team with recommendations. Measures will be put in place to ensure that what transpired will not be repeated.

Parliament should be actively involved in pushing legislative agenda on electoral reforms, constitutional issues, and judicial, legal and institutional reforms across party lines.

Long-term solutions to poverty and inequality, land reforms, accountability and transparency will be tackled by the team as agenda number four.

Creating equal opportunities for all Kenyans to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor is of necessity. The task is urgent and Mrs Machel recounted her experiences in South Africa.

“We are here because we are Africans, we are concerned and we care. Africa cares and we share in the pain and success of Kenya,” she said.

She said that: “We don’t come with solutions, but we will insist on a solution.”

Kenya she said is divided and profusely bleeding because of the political crisis which can only be solved by a political solution. Women and children have paid the highest price and this is an opportunity to confront the truth, challenges and problems we have overlooked or postponed over a long time.

Mr Marende said parliament supports the process and will enact all laws required to bring about the envisaged change for the good of Kenya. He said his office is working on a programme to deal with national conflicts, conflict management and preparedness.

“Let us not seek easy and superficial reforms,” Mr Marende said as he quoted a US Congressman who said Kenya’s problem is not an ethnic conflict but a political conflict with ethnic overtones.