Your role is vital and we can’t
afford to fail, Annan tells MPs
13. Feb. 2008
We have come here today to brief you on the progress of the
National Dialogue and Reconciliation process.
We arrived three weeks ago, and have been engaged in face to face
negotiations since January 29 after the parties appointed their
We have committed to a resolution of urgent issues on the agenda
in 7 – 15 days, and I believe we are making good progress. I want
to applaud the members of the Kenyan National Dialogue and
We have listened to a broad cross section of Kenyans, political
leaders, women’s groups, religious leaders, youth groups,
community-based organisations, representatives of the business
community, legal and human rights groups and other civil society
We visited affected communities in the Rift Valley – in Molo,
Cherengani and Burnt Forest – and were deeply moved by what we saw.
The crisis in this country is a challenge for all Kenyans, but it
is also an opportunity for leadership and change in this country,
to steer the nation towards stability, unity and peace. Your role
in this will be vital.
Admire rich diversity
I came here to address you as representatives of the people of the
whole of Kenya and not as a Parliament representing different
We all have our multiple identities, be it ethnic, nationality,
Nevertheless, you must all see yourselves as Kenyans first. I urge
you to be proactive within your communities to foster this vision
of one Kenya with a common destiny. You should stress what unites
you and not what divides you.
There is beauty in diversity. For decades, outsiders have admired
the rich diversity of your people, the wonderful animals (including
a baby rhino named Kofi Annan), and the natural beauty of the land
– all co-existing in peaceful harmony. What happened to that
Kenya, and how can we restore it?
We started our work by agreeing an agenda, a road map, that would
lead hopefully to a stable, equitable, democratic and prosperous
We came up with a four-point agenda.
Item One: Measures to end the violence and restore fundamental
rights and freedoms. Some key commitments were made:
* Those engaged in acts of violence cannot be allowed to act with
* The security forces must carry out their duties and
responsibilities with complete impartiality without regard to
ethnicity or political persuasion.
* Demobilisation and disbanding of all illegal armed groups and
To ensure freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of
peaceful assembly are upheld. It is encouraging to see that both
the ban on live broadcasts and on public assembly have been lifted.
We then turned to Agenda Item Two: Immediate measures to address
the humanitarian situation and promote reconciliation, healing and
restoration. Some of the key commitments on this agenda item
* Ensuring a secure environment, particularly for vulnerable
groups, including women and children in displaced camps, and
enabling safe return of IDPs and refugees to wherever they choose
* The establishment of all-inclusive reconciliation and
peacebuilding committees at the grassroots level to foster healing
within and among communities.
* The establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation
Commission that includes local and international jurists.
Weekly progress reports on implementation will be made to the
National Dialogue and Reconciliation by the relevant parties and
We are now discussing Agenda Item Three: How to End the Political
While this is a difficult issue, the parties are working well
together. A number of important points of agreement have already
Recognising that there is a serious crisis in the country, a
political solution is necessary to promote national reconciliation
and unity. It will also entail the establishment of a grand
coalition government to undertake crucial and long overdue
constitutional, electoral and other reforms.
This will require this Parliament’s strong support in the coming
months and years.
Having explored all the options, and ways of trying to resolve the
issues, we have concluded that there was no viable way to get at
the truth immediately, either by retallying, recount or any other
We agreed that it was important that the truth not be swept under
the carpet. We need to know what happened.
We have agreed to establish an Independent Review Committee that
would be mandated to investigate all aspects of the 2007
presidential election and would make findings and recommendations
to improve the electoral process.
Beyond that, there is a need for comprehensive electoral reform –
of the electoral laws, the electoral commission and dispute
Beyond the elections, constitutional, legal, judicial and
institutional reforms, as well as some reforms necessary to
address the root causes of the conflict - such as land - need to
be tackled with urgency and strong sustained political will.
I expect that we shall conclude our deliberations on Item Three
We shall then move on to critical longer term issues under Agenda
These include land reform, tackling poverty and inequity;
addressing transparency, accountability and impunity and
supporting equal access to opportunity.
Above all, a secure and stable environment for all Kenyans must be
fostered. It is only in such an atmosphere that real reform and
progress can take root, benefiting all people.
Some of these issues will require action by this Parliament. It
will be critical that a legislative agenda is agreed so that you
can move forward expeditiously with the important business of
You will need to work together to implement this heavy agenda.
Your active involvement, across party lines, is necessary. Without
this, the government may be paralysed.
It is imperative that you engage with your constituencies to
reduce tensions, violence and ensure stability for the people.
You need to take action quickly. As their representatives, your
role in this is central and you must live up to your
responsibilities. This is what the people demand, that is what
When the panel met last Friday with President Kibaki and Hon Raila
Odinga, we appealed to them to work together to heal and reconcile
this country. You share that responsibility too.
We cannot afford to fail.