News 2008


Kenyan politicians discuss power-sharing to end postelection violence


Associated Press Writer

13. Feb. 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Kenya's rival parties sequestered themselves at a luxury lodge in a game park normally packed with tourists Wednesday as they attempted to hammer out a peace deal to end weeks of bloodshed.

A news blackout on the peace talks appeared to be holding; both parties declined to comment on the discussions. Top negotiators said Tuesday that the opposition was proposing sharing power with the government for two years, then holding new elections.

Progress at the talks has given hope to many Kenyans, who have seen more than 1,000 people die and some 600,000 flee their homes in the violence that has followed a flawed Dec. 27 election. Much of the violence has pitted ethnic groups linked to particular politicians against each another.

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who is mediating, declared a news blackout Tuesday and moved the talks to a secret location outside Nairobi, his office said.

A government official said the two sides were meeting at safari lodge in the Tsavo West National Park in southern Kenya -- making it likely the only such lodge in the country without rooms available. Tourists have canceled reservations in droves in the wake of the violence.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because officials have been asked not to speak to the press.

Before heading leaving Nairobi on Tuesday, both sides had offered a glimpse of what is on the table.

The opposition's proposal includes "forming a broad-based government that lasts for two years," said William Ruto, an opposition lawmaker. "We are going to agree on how are we going to work together in governance."