Annan vows to steer peace talks
to the end
February 16, 2008
By David Ohito
Fresh from a retreat, lead mediator Dr Kofi Annan pushed to unlock
a gridlock on negotiations by laying a roadmap for what he called
a ‘new government’ expected to emerge from the initiative.
Annan announced key agreements by negotiators despite reports that
drafting of fine details on power sharing had caused discord
between the two teams.
Annan also said negotiators were discussing power-sharing
arrangements with their principals before they could come close to
The former UN Secretary General dwelt mainly on spelling out
phases of constitutional, institutional, electoral, political and
economic reforms to be undertaken in the short and long-term and
the steps to the healing.
Among key agreements Annan announced were that the thorny
proposals of re-counting, re-tallying or a re-run of the elections
would not resolve the crisis and had been ruled out.
He said these were ruled out after teams agreed they would likely
divide Kenyans more than achieve a lasting solution.
This puts to rest what had been thought to be a major hurdle to
the talks that both sides had tussled over.
He said: "In discussions it was apparent there was no viable way
to get at the truth immediately, either by recount, re-tally or
any other measure to determine outcome of elections."
But Annan said it had been agreed an Independent Review Committee
would be created to investigate all aspects of the presidential
election and make the full truth known to Kenyans.
The former UN chief remained optimistic as he spelt out bold steps
taken at the talks for a possible political settlement to the
But sections of his statement revealed it has been an uphill task
for him and his team of negotiators bringing the Party of National
Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement teams to agree on thorny
issues related to the proposed power sharing.
Annan, who exuded hope that a solution was in sight, said he would
not be frustrated and would surge on to achieve a lasting solution
He announced he had released the teams on Thursday from their
two-day hideout at the secluded Kilaguni Lodge in the Tsavo, to
consult with their party principals — President Kibaki and Mr
Annan said he would meet President Kibaki and Raila on Monday to
impress on them the need to urge their negotiators to be flexible.
"Reaching a compromise is difficult, but there is real momentum
and I am confident that the interest of Kenya will come first and
the parties will show wisdom and flexibility to conclude an
agreement," said Annan.
The break from Kilaguni from where Annan had earlier said a
solution would emerge within 48 to 72 hours was understood to have
come as both sides clashed on details of power sharing and the
creation of a position of prime minister.
Annan steered off explaining details of a power sharing deal, but
outlined what had been agreed on.
At the 5pm press briefing at the Serena Hotel, Annan said a new
coalition Government may be created as a political settlement for
Annan said the first step towards reaching a consensus on the new
Government or grand coalition would be on Monday, when he meets
Kibaki and Raila to plead with them to ask their negotiating teams
to be flexible.
On the reforms committee, he said: "The committee will be a
non-judicial body made up of Kenyans and non-Kenyans recognised as
electoral experts of the highest professional standing and
personal integrity," he explained.
The committee would submit its report within three to six months
and publish the same within 14 days of submission. It starts its
work not later than March 15.
Truth must be told
The findings of the committee must be factored into the
comprehensive electoral reforms that are envisaged.
"The truth must be told and Kenyans have to know what happened. We
agreed that the system must be reformed so that such a crisis
never happens again," Annan added.
"The Independent Review Committee will allow for this to take
place in an environment of tranquillity and transparency to
further national healing and reconciliation," he said.
On Governance arrangements, which entail power sharing structures,
he said both sides agreed to first consult their principals and
leadership and come back with positions on Monday.
But the parties agreed that the political settlement is not about
sharing positions, but about addressing fundamental root causes of
Annan said he expects both teams to return with him to the
negotiating table on Tuesday.
It is expected that the big political agreement would come if the
teams agree on the structures of power sharing.
Also agreed on is a truth, justice and reconciliation commission.
The commission would handle identification and prosecution of
perpetrators of violence.
He said both sides have committed themselves to respecting human
Parliamentary, legal and judicial reforms would also be
He said the parties are also committed to a shared national agenda
in Parliament for these reforms as well as other legislative,
structural, political and economic reforms as needed.
Annan said the final phase would be long term. This he termed
Agenda Four – tackling root causes of crises like poverty and
inequity, regional development imbalances, especially among the
It would also touch on reform of the Public Service, strengthening
of anti-corruption laws and public accountability mechanisms.
There would also be reforms of public finance and revenue
management systems and institutions.
"We recognise that there is a serious crisis and that political
settlement is necessary to promote national reconciliation and
unity," Annan said.
"We advise patience as we near this compromise and we plead with
leaders to show true leadership and foresight to resolve the
impasse quickly," Annan said.
"US Secretary of State Ms Condoleezza Rice joins me on Monday to
support the mediation process at its most crucial state," Annan
said confirming the expected arrival of the American leader.
He, however, clarified that Rice would not be here to flex muscle,
but to "deliver a message of courage and solidarity with the talks".
He said clinching the deal has taken a little longer than
anticipated. But he reiterated he still had the stamina to ensure
success and secure a deal agreeable to both sides.
Annan said the new Government – a form of grand coalition, has
worked in Germany, United Kingdom and Japan in times of crises and
moved the countries forward.
"The Kenya question is of great importance to Africa, the world
and Kenyans particularly," Annan said, adding, "I will stay as
long as possible to help fast track a solution."
Briefing their principals
Earlier, the PNU team of negotiators led by Justice Minister Ms
Martha Karua spent the Friday afternoon with President Kibaki at
Harambee House, while ODM team leader Mr Musalia Mudavadi briefed
Raila the previous evening.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Ms Martha Karua led
her team in updating the President on the issues deliberated on at
At the talks, PNU has maintained that President Kibaki was duly
elected and that ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga should take up his
role as the Official Opposition leader in Parliament.
PNU has also complained that it should not be pushed into
accepting a quick fix power sharing deal without addressing the
underlying causes the violence that left 1,000 people dead and
more than 300,000 displaced. It also wants perpetrators of
violence brought to book.
Meanwhile Rice who will address the Press at the end of her
discussions on Monday afternoon is coming "to support the work of
Annan, and deliver a message to Kenya’s leaders and people."
The political settlement on power sharing generated heated
arguments at Kilanguni retreat after ODM presented its formula for
Earlier described by Annan as ‘too hot’, the power sharing deal
has remained contentious through out the negotiations. ODM has
demanded 55 per cent of Cabinet posts as PNU seeks to ensure
Kibaki calls the shots and appoints ODM MPs as ministers.
Sources said PNU did not make any submissions on power sharing
arguing "they had no authority nor mandate" to discuss power
sharing without consulting Kibaki.
PNU reportedly said it had no mandate to discuss governance
structures at the critical stage of talks.
It was understood that lawyers allied to both sides had a separate
retreat and discussed the power structures where ODM proposed
separation of powers with real checks and balances on the
executive and proposed the French model of governance where the
premier is answerable to Parliament with powers to run government.
Under this proposal, Raila was to be Prime minister and head of
Government while Kibaki was to be Head of State.
During negotiations, sources said PNU proposed how to retain Vice-
President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.
Sources said the power sharing deal met resistance during the
retreat but Annan said he hoped the goodwill of Kibaki and Raila
would resolve the matter.