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Kenya's parties agree on plan to stop violence

Latest update : 2008-02-02

Kenya's feuding parties agreed on Friday to a four-point framework for talks which could resolve the violent political crisis within 15 days, chief mediator and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said.

The parties of Kenya's feuding leaders agreed a joint roadmap Friday to end unrest that has claimed nearly 1,000 lives since last month's disputed presidential elections, former UN chief Kofi Annan said.
  
"The Kenyan dialogue and reconciliation has started, we are off to a good start," Annan said after the two sides produced their first joint agreement since the December 27 elections set off a month of bloodletting.
  
"We have agreed an agenda covering both short-term issues and also long-term issues," Annan told reporters after talks with representatives of President Mwai Kibaki and his rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga.
  
"We are going to push as hard as we can to get results."
  
The agreement came as 10 people, including a policeman, were killed in fresh clashes in western Kenya and dozens of houses were burned.
  
Annan, who has been in Kenya for more than a week, said the first priority of the four-point agenda was "immediate action to stop the violence and restore fundamental rights and liberties."
  
Both sides would then address the growing humanitarian crisis caused by the unrest and resolve the political crisis created after Odinga acccused Kibaki of having rigged the election rob him of the presidency in the widely-contested polls.
  
Annan gave a deadline of seven to 15 days from the start of the dialogue on January 28 to resolve the first three points.
  
But the document gave little detail of how the political crisis would be addressed, saying only that "its resolution may require adjustments to the current constitutional, legal and institutional frameworks."
  
The fourth point concerned long-term issues such as unemployment, poverty and land reforms.
  
The current UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, added his weight to diplomatic efforts on a visit to Nairobi Friday and called for an end to the cycle of violence.
  
"The killing must stop. The violence must end for the sake of the Kenyan people and for the sake of Kenya," Ban told a news conference.
  
Some 1,000 people have died and up to 300,000 have been displaced in fighting sparked by Kibaki's re-election.
  
The crisis has severely shaken the formerly stable east African nation that is a refuge for many people displaced by neighbouring conflicts.
  
"You have lost already too much in terms of national image, in terms of economic interests," Ban said. "What I'd like to ask you, is to look beyond these individual interests, look beyond the party lines."
  
The UN chief met with Kibaki on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Ethiopia on Thursday and with Odinga in Nairobi on Friday.
  
Kibaki told African leaders in Ethiopia Friday that his poll victory represented "the will" of the Kenyan majority and blamed the opposition for the unrest.
  
"Regrettably, although the election results reflected the will of the majority of Kenyans, the leaders in the opposition instigated a campaign of civil unrest that resulted in over 800 deaths," Kibaki told a meeting of the east African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
  
Kibaki returned to Kenya on Friday evening.
  
US embassy spokesman Thomas Dowling said in Nairobi that the FBI had offered to probe the killings this week of two opposition MPs, Melitus Mugabe Were and David Kimutai Too.
  
But the government rejected the offer.
  
"We are capable of conducting our own murder investigations," said government spokesman Alfred Mutua.
  
Too was shot dead by a policeman on Thursday. On Friday, a police commander said that a crowd in his home village bent on revenge and armed with bows and arrows, spears, clubs and machetes, had attacked and killed a policeman.
  
Fighting in Nyamira district further west killed eight people and wounded 12, a police commander told AFP. "They were either hacked to death or shot with poisoned arrows," he said.
  
Odinga said earlier the killings of the MPs were "part of a plot" to reduce his Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) majority in parliament.
  
The ODM secured 99 seats in the legislative elections that coincided with the presidential poll on December 27. That made it the largest single party but it remained short of an overall majority. Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) won 43 seats.
  
Members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe suffered heavily in the first wave of violence at the hands of Odinga's Luo tribe and other ethnic groups, but have since carried out numerous revenge attacks.
  
The World Health Organisation warned Friday that hundreds of thousands of displaced Kenyans lacked proper health care and faced a growing risk of disease and sexual violence.
  
Annan said the talks would resume Monday morning.

Date created : 2008-02-01

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