Annan hints at a new government
Story by NATION Team
16. 02. 2008
The clearest hint yet that a new government incorporating ODM
members could be formed to end Kenya’s post-election crisis was
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is leading the
mediation talks, said a new government bringing together PNU and
parties in its coalition and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
was necessary to push through legal, constitutional and other
reforms necessary to heal the country.
Government and ODM representatives to the Kenya National Dialogue
and Reconciliation talks were discussing the possibility of such a
government and President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga are
expected to state their stand for an agreement to be sealed, he
Mr Annan was briefing the news media on the progress made by the
negotiation team during the 48 hours of a retreat to Kilaguni
Serena Lodge to thrash out the thorny issue of possible
Mr Annan said he would request for a meeting with President Kibaki
and Mr Odinga on Monday “to give clearest instructions to their
negotiators on the option of political settlement”.
Nearly 1,000 people were killed and 300,000 displaced in three
weeks of violence which followed the announcement of the disputed
presidential election results.
Mr Annan is leading a team of eminent Africans trying to bring a
negotiated settlement to the dispute. Other members are former
Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and former South African First
Lady Graca Machel.
The government team to the talks is led by Justice and
Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua and includes Cabinet
ministers Moses Wetang’ula and Sam Ongeri and Mbooni MP Mutula
The ODM team is led by Sabatia MP Musalia Mudavadi and includes
MPs William Ruto, James Orengo and Sally Kosgei.
Mr Annan said: “Several options have (of the governance structure)
emerged and the parties are going to consult their principals and
leadership on these options and will revert to the chair (Mr
Details of the new government will only be sealed and made public
when President Kibaki and Mr Odinga instruct their negotiators to
endorse it. “I have requested for a meeting between President
Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga,” he said.
Mr Annan, in a move that gave Kenyans fresh hope for negotiated
settlement to the crisis, said the negotiating team was close to
agreeing on a deal.
The first reference that the negotiation team had agreed on one or
two sets of a new government came when he acknowledged the concern
of majority of Kenyans that the pace at which the talks were
progressing could frustrate him to leave.
“I will stay as long as it takes to get the issue of a political
settlement to an irreversible point. I will not be frustrated or
provoked to leave. It is in the interest of the men and women of
Kenya, the region, Africa and the international community to have
a new government,” he said.
The second signal to a new government came when he was answering a
reporter’s question on whether there was an option of one side in
the conflict forming a government should the PNU and ODM
negotiators fail to agree on the options of a political settlement.
The former UN secretary general shared the concern of millions of
Kenyans on the need for a quick solution to the crisis and an end
However, he said that the matters that are on his table for
consideration by the mediation team were sensitive, complex and
sometimes frightening to be agreed upon expeditiously.
“I know you have been waiting to hear that we have a deal. I
understand that you are eager but again let me advise patience. We
are at the watershed and normally it is frightening to take some
steps,” he said.
And he assured Kenyans that he will remain in the country as long
as it will take for that government to be set up.
“We are through with agenda one and two, we are now on agenda
three and four. This is a very important issue for Kenya and
Africa and I will stay over for as long as it takes to ensure that
the new Government is set up,” he said.
He went on: “I am not here to provoke anyone, but to get the work
Mr Annan said that the discussions by the National Dialogue team
saw the necessity of this and what was remaining are the
modalities which ODM and PNU negotiating teams were going to
discuss with their principals — President Kibaki and Mr Odinga.
“Let us be patient, we have no hardliners and the momentum is with
us in this most difficult circumstances,” he said.
Mr Annan explained that a government that brings everyone on board
was necessary so that both PNU and ODM marshal the 65 per cent
majority in Parliament required to enact constitutional changes.
The PNU alone has 43 MPs including Mr Kibaki while ODM has 96
having lost two and Mr Kenneth Marende vacating his Emuhaya seat
following his election as the Speaker.
Then, he announced that he had suggested the name of top Nigerian
diplomat Prof Adebayo Adedeji to join the mediation team subject
to clearance by the Government. He said that ODM had accepted Prof
Mr Annan made the announcement as US President George W. Bush
dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who is expected in
Kenya on Monday to bolster Mr Annan’s efforts.
She is travelling to Nairobi with assistant secretary of state in
charge of African affairs Ms Jendayi Frazer to deliver to Kenyan
leaders a stern message from President Bush thus: “There must be
an immediate halt to violence, there must be justice for the
victims of abuse and there must be a full return to democracy.”
Ms Rice, who will be in the country for only a few hours, is
expected to meet Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga before holding talks with
Yesterday, Mr Annan said an independent non-judicial review
commission will be formed to inquire into irregularities of the
presidential results and should start work by March 15. Its
findings, to be done between three and six months, will form part
of the electoral reforms to ensure that it will never happen again.
“There is need for a political settlement and Kenyans have a right
to know what went wrong during the tallying,” he said.
He said the recommendations of the review committee would be
factored in the electoral reforms to ensure that the flaws that
led to the current dispute were not repeated. Mr Annan said the
political settlement that would be put in place would oversee a
raft of constitutional, legal and institutional reforms.
Among them were a new constitution in 12 months, comprehensive
electoral reforms that would include overhauling the Electoral
Commission of Kenya, dispute resolution mechanisms, and the
setting up of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission.
Others were the prosecution of those behind the violence,
strengthening of the legislature, placing the police under an
independent commission, judicial and legal reforms and commitment
to a shared national agenda in Parliament on the reforms. Mr Annan
explained that a government that brings everyone on board was
necessary so that both PNU and ODM could marshal the 65 per cent
majority in Parliament required to enact constitutional changes.
The PNU alone has 43 MPs, including Mr Kibaki, while ODM has 96,
having lost two to death and Mr Kenneth Marende, who vacated his
former Emuhaya seat after his election as House Speaker.
“The reforms that have been agreed upon have to go through
Parliament. If they (MPs) do not pass these reforms, Kenyans will
not forgive them,” Mr Annan said.
He also said the negotiators had touched on the fourth item of
long term issues which, he emphasised, should commence in concert
with the constitutional and institutional reforms.
Those issues were likely to go beyond the time-line of elections
that his team would set once the new government structure is
agreed upon and announced.
Among them are national cohesion, land reforms, tackling poverty,
imbalance in regional development, sorting out unemployment,
public service reforms, strengthening of public accountability and
anti-corruption laws and putting in place new public finance and
revenue management systems. PNU and ODM appeared divided over the
progress of the talks.
While PNU said the negotiators had achieved more than expected
since the dialogue started on January 29, ODM said much would have
been done if both sides had received enough support from their
“There’s no delay. The deadline we set is artificial. Taking into
account various interests and political issues surrounding the
talks, I don’t think eight people could go and make decisions
without consulting political parties and leaders,” Mbooni MP
Mutula Kilonzo told the Nation on phone. Mr Kilonzo also said PNU
was still against a grand coalition as proposed by Mr Annan and
some foreign countries.
A grand coalition, Mr Kilonzo said, uses a parliamentary system
while Kenya is a presidential system. He said the PNU and ODM
leaders lacked enough trust to work together and that the system
is unpopular with public. “For President Kibaki to cede power to
any party will be violation of trust given to him by the public,”
Mr Kilonzo said.
He said a German minister had lectured the PNU and ODM leaders on
how a grand coalition worked in Germany. “But Germany is a federal
government,” Mr Kilonzo said.
Mr Ruto said despite slow progress, Kenyans should expect a
breakthrough in the Annan-led negotiations next week.
“The issues are clear. The country is in abeyance. The answers are
with us. We can’t put the country hanging in the balance any
longer.” Mr Ruto said.