Annan steers rivals to end crisis
Published on February 29, 2008, 12:00 am
By Martin Mutua and Alex Ndegwa
DR Kofi Annan ended two days of intense shuttle diplomacy with the announcement that a deal had been struck.
The former UN Secretary-General, who spoke from the staircase of the Office of the President at Harambee House soon after witnessing the signing of the deal between President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, said they had agreed to the creation of the post of an executive Prime Minister.
He outlined the job description of the PM’s office, saying the bearer would co-ordinate and supervise the Cabinet as well as the execution of the functions and affairs of government, including those of ministries and government departments.
Mrs Ida Odinga congratulates her husband, ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga at the Pentagon House in Nairobi, on Thursday. Picture: Moses Omusula
The UN-backed mediator, who chairs the Panel of Eminent African Persons, also announced that the protagonists had agreed to the creation of the positions of two deputy Prime Ministers. The two positions will be shared by PNU and ODM.
In his outline, Annan stated that the PM shall be an elected MP who will also be the parliamentary leader of the political party that has the largest number of members in Parliament.
The PM shall also come from a coalition of political parties in the event that the leader of the political party that has the largest number of MPs does not command the majority in the House, the documents adds.
The PM and the two deputies shall only be removed from office through a vote of no confidence by Parliament, if the coalition is dissolved or if one of the members in the coalition withdraws by a resolution of the highest decision making organ of that party in writing.
Annan noted that the deal will be sealed through an Act of Parliament and will be passed by the House through constitutional amendments when the Tenth Parliament convenes on Thursday for official opening.
The agreement is what the ODM team had put on the mediation table since the talks began under the chairmanship of Annan at the Serena Hotel.
On Thursday, Annan noted that as was the case in any negotiations, there was give and take, adding that compromise was necessary for the sake of uniting the country.
“It is a foundation for reconciliation that aims at restoring Kenya to the rightful place,” he added.
Annan said he would reconvene the mediation talks this morning to continue with agenda number four, which comprises long term issues such as comprehensive constitutional reforms, poverty and the land issue.
He reiterated that he was committed to ensuring that the mediation team continued its work to a logical conclusion.
“The journey is far from over. It is just beginning and the challenge is to President Kibaki and Honourable Raila Odinga to reconcile and heal the nation now,” he added.
Annan noted that the work of nation healing and reconstruction should, however, not be left to the leaders alone and appealed to all Kenyans to support the process.
African Union Chairman and Tanzanian President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete, praised the power sharing deal as “historic”, but cautioned that the greatest task lay ahead.
He said the challenge was for both parties to ensure that the accord was implemented.
Commitment to deal
Kikwete, who started his address with the much-awaited declaration that “at long last we have a deal”, urged PNU and ODM to ensure that the deal succeeded to help the people return to their normal life.
“Appending signatures will mean nothing if there is no commitment to ensure that what is agreed upon is implemented,” Kikwete said at Office of the President at Harambee House on Thursday moments after President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga signed the deal to end the political crisis.
Kikwete appealed for political will for it could “make or break” the agreement.
He also urged the international community and supporters of both parties to support the deal. The latter, Kikwete said, might have had certain expectations, but he exhorted Kenyans to appreciate what had been agreed upon.
“The deal was a give-and-take affair. I know some wished to get more, but what you got is the best under the circumstances,” he said.
Kikwete opened the address by saying: “At long last, we have an agreement that ensures the historical accident that happened in Kenya can now be a thing of the past.”
He congratulated the Panel of Eminent Persons, led by former UN Secretary-General, Dr Kofi Annan, for their “tireless efforts”.
He also thanked PNU and ODM negotiating teams, noting that their task in hammering out an agreement had not been easy.
“Their sweat and toil has been rewarded handsomely,” Kikwete said.
Meanwhile, Britain and the US hailed the power-sharing agreement reached between Kibaki and Raila.
British Prime Minister, Sir Gordon Brown said: “Kenya’s leaders have reached a power-sharing agreement that represents a triumph for peace and diplomacy, and a renunciation of the violence that has scarred a country of such enormous potential. The Kenyan people have the outcome for which they have hoped and prayed.”
Brown lauded move and praised the two leaders for their courageous decision.
“I applaud the courage that Kenya’s leaders have shown in taking the tough decisions necessary to put Kenya back on the path to the prosperity, democracy and stability which it is so richly deserves.”
US State Department Spokesman, Mr Tom Casey, emphasised on the significance of the agreement and relayed his country’s appreciation of the step the leaders had taken.
“That’s an important and very positive step forward. We are very pleased to see that this agreement has been reached. It allows the Kenyan people to move forward with a very basic issue of governance,” he said.
“We want to see this agreement implemented ... We certainly appreciate the good will shown by President Kibaki and Mr Odinga in reaching this agreement. We hope that everyone associated with their political parties would work with them to support this deal and move it forward,” he added.http://www.eastandard.net/news/?id=1143982560&cid=4