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Kenyans Hope AU-Mediated Talks End Violence


A cross section of Kenyans are reportedly hoping the anticipated talks between President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement would help end the post-election political crisis. A team of former African presidents has arrived in Kenya to help quell the escalating violence, which is threatening the country’s young democracy. Meanwhile, Ghana’s President John Kufuor who is also the chairman of the African Union reportedly held separate close door meetings with both President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The meetings are aimed at resolving the ongoing political impasse in which neither side seems willing to compromise. Michael Tiampati is a Kenyan political analyst. From the capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Kenyans are anxious to end the ongoing violence.

“Most Kenyans across the board are enthusiastically hoping that President John Kufuor of Ghana would have the magic formula to sort of resolve this political mess that is confronting Kenya. But unfortunately before he landed, Kibaki who is believed to be the beneficiary of a flawed electoral process went ahead and appointed certain ministers. Of course from his Party of National Unity (PNU) and its affiliated party and then gave the second slot, that is the vice president to the head of ODM-Kenya (Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya) that is Kalonzo Musyoka. And this kind of dampened the spirit and expectation of many Kenyans ahead of really having the situation resolved before his slot could be filled,” Tiampati opined.

He said President Kufuor’s mediation efforts were undermined with President Kibaki’s announcement of his cabinet, which sparked violent protests from supporters of the opposition party.

“Naturally, I believe that he (President Kufuor) must have been disappointed because there should have been some kind of level cutting point. But Kibaki pre-empted this process by going ahead and appointing these ministers. It threw him off balance. I’m assuming that he (president Kufuor) may have highlighted this when he met President Kibaki because that is one of the disappointments that the ODM brought up,” he said.

Tiampati reckoned that President Kibaki’s appointment of opposition figure Kalonzo Musyoka as his vice president is a tactical move to challenge or defeat Raila Odinga’s ODM in parliament or at an election re-run.

“My take on Kalonzo Musyoka actually being incorporated into Kibaki’s government and being given the second most power spot in the country is that, that is one way of Kibaki attempting to get the numbers. Since Kalonzo Musyoka has 16 Members of Parliament and PNU has about 46. And naturally, this situation is not favorable to Kibaki because he doesn’t have the numbers to challenge the ODM. Since Odinga seems to have a formidable force of about 100 members of parliament in the ODM camp. So that is one way of amassing his troops when parliament reconvenes on Tuesday next week,” Tiampati pointed out.

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