The head of the African Union, Ghanaian president John Kufour, has held separate talks with both sides in Kenya’s election crisis. He met with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Mr. Kufour is one of many international and regional leaders seeking to end the impasse in Kenya. Angina Ojwang is a Nairobi-based lawyer and political activist. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that President Kuffor, who arrived in Nairobi on Tuesday, had already met with Mr. Kibaki and the leadership of the ODM.
Ojwang said the general message from all the mediators, including four African former heads of state, is that Kenyans should forget the past and put in place a transition arrangement that will move the country forward.
He said former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano had given a statement on behalf of his fellow former heads of state imploring Kenyan leaders to put the interests of the country first. “He (Chissano) was calling for the formation of a government led by someone acceptable to both parties in the transition period. This is the message also being given by US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, as well as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.”
Ojwang noted that there is a lot of interest by the international community in resolving the Kenyan election crisis because Kenya has established itself as a regional and international center and the country is host to a number of UN agencies. “At the regional level, Kenya is the economic artery of the neighboring countries. Kenya is a major transit point for their goods. Also, Kenya is the hub of international operations aiding refugees and other afflicted persons in the region,” he said.
He added that many African leaders would not like to see the Kenyan political situation deteriorate, because that would affect the whole region.