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Kenya’s Opposition Threatens Mass Protests


Kenya’s main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is threatening mass protests against what it describes as the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the ongoing talks. The opposition is accusing embattled President Mwai Kibaki’s government of not being serious and thwarting Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts at finding a lasting solution to the country’s post-election political crisis. But the government says it would not succumb to what it called opposition’s bullying tactics. Professor Kabiru Kinyanjui is a Kenyan political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the ongoing talks would take a while before a solution is found.

“I think this is another tactic to pressurize the government and PNU (Kibaki’s Party of National Unity) so that they can be able to compromise and accept ODM proposals on the creation of prime minister and also sharing government positions on equal basis with the government,” Kinyanjui noted.

He said the government and the opposition are employing the same entrenched negotiating positions at the ongoing talks.

“Well, at the moment both sides are doing the same thing, and the most important thing is to give Kofi Anna an opportunity to come up with a solution, which is a negotiated solution by both sides. Both sides are actually having a dialogue they are sitting around the table trying to come to the solution. And what I see as the tactic on both side is to try and put pressure outside the negotiating table to try and get what they want. So this threat by ODM, I see it as another attempt to pressurize the other side so that the ODM position can be recognized and that they can be able to get what they want,” he said.

Kinyanjui said so far the problem of hatred, which he claims is threatening the country’s stability after the December 27 disputed presidential election, has not been addressed.

“At the moment there is one fundamental issue, which has been ignored that there is hatred, there is displaced Kenyans in all parts of the country, and there is no attempt to deal with the hatred and the very deep feeling of the relation by the young people. There issues, which are being addressed are the issues of sharing of positions within the government by the political elites,” Kinyanjui said.

He reiterated the need for the ongoing talks to tackle why there are divisions in the country, which is blamed for the loss of lives and property.

“The fundamental questions have not yet started to be addressed. And this is the question of creating an environment of peace, having a dialogue at the community level, which enable them to deal with the deep suspicions with the deeper hatred, which exists among our people. I can see this is where the issue is,” he pointed out.

Kinyanjui said it would take a while before a lasting solution is found to address the ongoing political stalemate.

“In my own view, this is likely to take maybe another four weeks or even more before some kind of a deal is worked out because both sides have suspicions of each other, and this suspicions have not been addressed. So they are raising their ugly heads and they are almost trying to derail the negotiations under Kofi Annan,” Kinyanjui said.

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