News 2008


UN mediators recommend 'transitional coalition government' for Kenya


Nairobi - 12/02/2008

Nairobi, Kenya - The African Union and UN-backed panel of Eminent African Personalities mediating in the Kenyan political crisis said Tuesday it had recommended the formation of a transitional coalition government pending fresh polls to save the East African nation from hurtling further into the abyss.

At an informal meeting with newly-elected Members of Parliament, the chairman of the panel, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said a political solution was imperative in putting to rest the "difficult and complex" post-election crisis that has divided the country along ethnic lines.

Mr. Annan expressed optimism that a mechanism to find at a permanent solution would be arrived at this week possibly in less than 72 hours, and called the new MPs "to go to your constituents to help forge one Kenya with a common destiny."

"We all have multiple identities...nevertheless you must see yourselves as as Kenyans first," the former UN chief said.

He told the MPs to urgently embark on comprehensive constitutional reforms as soon as the House reconvenes to address historical injustices, land restitution and inequitable distribution of national resources, which he said were at the heart of the current political mayhem.

"When we met President Mwai Kibaki and (opposition leader) Mr. Raila Odinga on Friday [last week], we appealed to them to work together to heal this country," he said, hinting the two protagonists had agreed to form a coalition government.

He said since it was generally agreed the presidential poll was massively flawed, it was not necessary to re-tally or recount the presidential vote to determine the winner of the disputed 27 December election.

However, he said a committee composed of international investigators would be formed to probe the cause of the flaws of the 2007 elections, adding that the investigation would take six months to complete its work.

The investigations will involve the dissolution of the discredited Electoral Commission of Kenya and formation of a new body to preside over fresh polls at time to be determined later.

The reforms in the electoral process will also involve instituting legal and constitutional mechanism to resolve political disputes such as the current one, Annan said.

A member of the panel and wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, called for the enactment of laws that "inspire a new sense of citizenship" and can cushioned women, children and the elderly from extreme acts of violence.

The three-member team that also includes former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa retreated from the capital city of Nairobi to a "secret location" to prevent what Mr. Annan described Monday as selective leaks.

The chief mediator complained Monday that both President Kibaki's Party of National Unity and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) were feeding the media with resolutions reached and expressed fears that it had the potential of creating anxiety or precipitating violence.