News 2008


Group cautions on talks

February 13, 2008


By Maseme Machuka

The International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has called on the Annan-led mediation teams to act with caution as they get to the climax of the talks.

The Executive Director, Mr Ndung’u Wainaina, asked the team to critically look at the fundamental causes of the conflict to arrive at a more satisfactory, acceptable and durable political settlement.

"It is critical to avoid a ‘quick fix’, which could be extremely dangerous. We need to be looking at the reasons for the current governance collapse and low trust in institutions. It is also paramount to address the non-institutional issues such as the economy, where people feel no substantial progress has been made in their interest," he said.

Ndung’u said to reach the required sustainable agreement, a comprehensive approach was needed to take into account the root causes of the original conflict and the factors that have blocked constitutional reforms and social transformation.

"It is erroneous to presume that the vested interests of elites on either side of the river necessarily correspond to the interests of the broader population," he added.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, he called on the international community to remain "determined, clear and unequivocal in its actions towards mediation in order to forestall intransigency and time-buying tactics".

The civil rights advocate said forcing a quick fix power-sharing arrangement devoid of a roadmap for achieving the perquisite reforms that have remained elusive would be disastrous.

"The final political settlement must reflect the desire for reaching constitutional, governance and policy reforms in order to deal effectively with the real disease and not the symptoms. We have to be wary and critical of any quick-fix approaches that ignore the need to lay foundations to make negotiated peace sustainable."

Kenya, he said, needed to struggle for greater democratisation of political space, for respect of human rights and accountability by all political actors in order to build a lasting and just peace.

ICPC appealed to the National Assembly to realise its centrality in the mediation process in converting the resolutions into a comprehensive legislative framework that would transform the governance system and constitutional order.

"Parliament has to be determined to take full responsibility for formulating a comprehensive, long-term legal framework, which will guarantee that the entire country is looped into the mediation process and its outcome," he added.

The Annan-led team has retreated to an undisclosed location to fine-tune the agreement that will see the end of the political crisis.

More than 1,000 people have lost their lives and 500,000 others displaced in sporadic violence.