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Kenya deal signed into law

Latest update : 2008-03-19

Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki signed the power-sharing deal reached last month with opposition leader Raila Odinga to quell the post election violence that killed thousands in January. The deal will see Odinga become Prime Minister.

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki signed into law two bills passed by parliament Tuesday that put in place a power-sharing deal which halted post-election unrest in the east African nation.
Lawmakers unanimously passed the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill and the National Accord and Reconciliation Bill at a session attended by Kibaki and rival opposition chief Raila Odinga.
"The signing into law of the bill by the president will pave the way for the creation of the posts of prime minister and two deputy prime ministers as required by the envisioned grand coalition," the president's office said.
Enacting the laws is a key step in the implementation of the power-sharing pact reached by Kibaki and Odinga -- designated to become prime minister -- on February 28 after weeks of negotiations.
The deal has raised hopes of a permanent end to the violence that erupted when Kibaki's re-election in the December 27 polls was challenged by Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) with accusations of vote rigging.
The new law states that the governing coalition formed by the ODM and Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) will be dissolved if any one of the parties decides to withdraw.
It does not provide for new elections to be held if the coalition is broken.
It also states that the prime minister will "have authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the government."
Kibaki is now expected to form a coalition cabinet to replace the one he announced days after he was declared the winner of the presidential vote. It was unclear when the coalition would be formed.
Addressing parliament earlier Tuesday, Kibaki said the two bills opened the way to resolve the political crisis.
"We are now confident a permanent solution to the crisis will be achieved," said Kibaki, himself an member of parliament for the Othaya constituency in central Kenya.
Odinga warned MPs not to halt their effort towards reconciliation and support a drive to address key underlying issues.
"A time has come for us to hold a national ethnic conference where we will have representatives from all the 42 tribes in the country come together to discuss openly how we want to lead this country," Odinga said.
But Kibaki called for rapid constitutional review in the country, more than two years since a government-backed draft was rejected by a referendum.
"Putting in place a new constitution would form the basis for building a new Kenya and facilitate the country to join the new world," said the president.
"Distractions must not be tolerated this time and demands for the creation committees to review the constitution in piecemeal must be avoided," Kibaki told the lawmakers.
An unprecedented cycle of protests, police raids, tribal clashes and revenge killings left at least 1,500 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced following the December elections, dealing a huge blow to east Africa's largest economy.
Although the bills passed, the country has yet to deal with a range of political and economic reforms blamed for the clashes.

Date created : 2008-03-19