Election violence rocks Kenya (FCN, 01-13-2008)

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) – Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will take over the mediation efforts in the Kenyan post-electoral crisis with his immediate mandate being to tackle constitutional and electoral reforms in the East African country, reports PANA Thursday.

African Union (AU) chairman John Kufuor, who is also the Ghanaian President, jet ted out of here Thursday after failing to bring the two main rivals, President Mwai Kibaki, and the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Raila Odinga, for face-to-face talks.


Odinga and Kibaki are set to meet Friday to discuss what a government official s aid were ways of stopping post-election bloodletting and not discussions on a power-sharing pact.

In a statement issued after what the AU chairman called “extensive consultatio ns with the parties on ways of resolving the crisis arising from the recent presidential and parliamentary elections, President Kufuor said three main issues wer e agreed upon.

“They agreed on an immediate cessation of the violence as well as any acts which may be detrimental to finding a peaceful solution to the on-going crisis,” the statement said.

President Kufuor, who was due to meet President Kibaki Thursday afternoon, decid ed to leave without meeting his host, who attended the swearing in of his partia l cabinet of 16 ministers, including newly-appointed Vice-President Kalonzo Musyo k a, Kibaki’s ex-rival.

He said the two sides agreed to work together with the Panel of Eminent Africa n Personalities headed by Annan, towards resolving their differences and all out s tanding issues, including constitutional and electoral reforms.

“President Kufuor appeals to all Kenyans, as well as the friends and partners of Kenya to collaborate with the AU to support the process of dialogue and reconciliation and to ensure the restoration of peace and stability,” the AU statement said.

The statement was issued by Andrew Awuni, the Ghanaian president’s press secretary and spokesman.

Kenya’s main opposition party (ODM) is demanding a re-run of the presidential race or the re-tallying of the votes, although this prospect is almost no longer t h e issue.

ODM said the talks failed after the government refused to sign a deal agreed upon during the talks, including the formation of an interim government.

The opposition said the mediation talks failed flat.

“It is with the greatest regret that the international mediation conducted by the AU Chairman Kufuor of Ghana has failed,” ODM Secretary-General Anyang Nyong’ o told a news conference here after the talks collapsed.

They also agreed that there should be dialogue, that it should be done under t he auspices of the Eminent Panel and that should be the way forward,” President Kufuor said before departing.

“It (agreement) must happen, Kenya is too important for Africa,” President Kufuor had said.

ODM leaders said President Kufuor presented to Kibaki an agreement prepared and agreed upon by its representatives but Kibaki refused to sign it, saying he knew nothing about it.

“This was an agreement that was prepared after extensive consultations, involvin g World Bank Representative Collin Bruce who was the facilitator,” Nyong’o said.