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Kenyan rivals sign coalition deal

Latest update : 2008-02-29

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced a deal between the Kenyan government and opposition forces after weeks of negotiations to resolve the deadly post-election violence. UK is ready to host a donors meet to help Kenya. (Report: AITV)

After two months of intense negotiations, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement Thursday in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

 

The agreement sees the creation of a new prime minister post, to be held by the leader of the majority party in the Kenyan parliament – in this case, Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Government positions will be distributed between the two political parties in proportion to their representation in parliament.

 

Intense international pressure, orchestrated by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his role as mediator, was exerted on the two rival political parties to reach Thursday’s political deal. “The compromise was indispensible for the country’s survival,” said Annan, while congratulating the two rival political leaders.

 

“The Dec. 27 elections were ridden with numerous irregularities – notably a 115 percent participation rate – which was not very credible,” said FRANCE 24’s international affairs specialist Christophe Robeet. “That generated a deep political crisis, which led to violence - rare for Kenya - and opened old wounds that were believed to have been closed.”

 

More than 1,500 people were killed, according to political sources and the Red Cross estimates that more than 300,000 were forced to flee their homes in a conflict that took on ethnic proportions.

 

“It’s necessary for the two political leaders, Kibaki and Odinga, to work on reconciliation between the country’s various ethnic groups. This work will be slow,” said Robeet.

 

The ethnic wounds opened by the last two months of violence do not appear to have healed as yet. Inter-ethnic violence flared Wednesday night in western Kenya after nearly two weeks of relative calm. A senior ODM official, William Ruto, accused the police force of a “a systematic and consistent attempt to persecute and intimidate ODM supporters in the Rift Valley,” and  accused them of “arbitrarily arresting innocent civilians.”

 

Shortly after the agreement was signed, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain was ready to host a donors conference to help rebuild the country. The conference, he announced, would be “the best chance to build upon this power-sharing agreement, to restore tourism (and) get the economy moving again.”
 

Date created : 2008-02-28

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