News 2008


Annan ‘deal’ misunderstood


Feb 13, 2008

NAIROBI - The chief mediator in Kenya’s political crisis Kofi Annan said today his call for a "grand coalition" had been misunderstood by the government as a final deal.

Government negotiator Martha Karua had accused the former United Nations (UN) chief of suggesting that an agreement had been reached in mediation talks on forming a two-year coalition government before a presidential poll could be held.

"Unfortunately, it appears that one of the parties may have misunderstood remarks made during the question and answer period in reference to the possible ’grand coalition,’" said a statement from the United Nations.

"The chairman’s statement that a ’grand coalition’ is a possibility to manage the reform process within a two-year period represents his perspective on the discussions and does not imply a formal agreement between the two parties."

Annan briefed lawmakers yesterday on progress in the talks that kicked off last month to seek an end to one of Kenya’s worst crises and in which more than 1,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Karua, also the justice minister, said a coalition with the opposition had not been discussed or agreed upon.

However, Annan said the issue "was discussed this morning with the parties and was clarified."

Kenya descended into violence sparked by the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki in December elections which the opposition claims he rigged.