Accessibility links

Kenyan Government, Opposition Agree on Power Sharing

  • Scott Bobb

The heads of the government and opposition in Kenya have signed a power sharing agreement aimed at ending the crisis over December's disputed elections. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Nairobi that the agreement was reached after a day of talks mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Chairman of the African Union Jakaya Kikwete.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed the agreement before international diplomats and representatives of the Kenyan government and opposition.

Chief mediator Kofi Annan said that the two leaders had agreed on a government structure after five hours of intensive talks.

"I am pleased to be able to tell you and all the citizens of Kenya that the two parties this afternoon completed the work on agenda item three, how to overcome the political crisis," he said.

The two sides agreed to the creation of the posts of prime minister and two deputy prime ministers. The prime minister is accorded authority over the ministries. The prime minister is to be nominated by the largest party or coalition in parliament and can only be removed by a majority vote of the national assembly. This position is seen as going to Mr. Odinga.

The accord also calls for distribution of the ministerial posts according to the relative strength of each party in parliament. And it calls for the changes to be enacted by constitutional amendment, a major demand of the opposition.

Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga pledged to ensure that the accord is implemented and called for unity among all Kenyans.

Mr. Annan commended the two parties, saying they reached a common position for the good of the nation. And he had a message for the citizens of Kenya.

"Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country," he said. "Support this agreement, for it is the key to the unity of Kenya. It is the foundation for national reconciliation and it is the springboard for national recovery."

Parliament is to convene next week (Thursday) to enact the measures. Mr. Annan said the negotiations would resume Friday on long-term issues such as constitutional reform and ways to end inequalities in land and wealth distribution.

The two sides have been meeting for nearly five weeks in an effort to find a political solution to the Kenya crisis. One thousand people were killed and several hundred thousand were displaced in the violence that erupted after Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner of a presidential election that the opposition says was rigged.

Mr. Annan had suspended the talks Tuesday, saying they were going in circles and that he would engage the two leaders directly to try to break the deadlock.

Tanzanian President Kikwete flew to Nairobi Wednesday to add the weight of the African Union at what was seen as a critical phase of the negotiations.

XS
SM
MD
LG