Peace negotiations between Kenya’s embattled President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to resolve the ongoing post-election violence continue today. This follows a meeting between the former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan and Raila Odinga on Sunday. Annan, who is mandated by the African union to mediate between the government and the opposition, met Odinga to finalize details of the agenda for today’s peace negotiations to curtail the loss of lives and property that is threatening the stability of the country.
Leading member of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) William Ruto tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition wants the crisis resolved.
“Kofi Annan being the team leader of a three-man team has been in the country now for almost three days. Yesterday on Sunday, Kofi Annan’s group met with Raila Odinga’s group and major issues discussed were the rules of engagement for the discussions and negotiations that are to begin today,” Ruto said.
He said the opposition maintains that the disputed elections led to the ongoing violence, which he said needs to be addressed.
“I think we have said before that the crisis we have in our country and the near anarchy that our country is tethering towards is because of a stolen election, which needs to be resolved. And all indications whether you are talking about observers, whether you are talking about the electoral commission of Kenya, whether you are talking about Kenya Law Society, Kenya Human Rights Commission, all point to a stolen election. And as a result of that stolen election, the people of Kenya have taken the law into their hands and there is a lot of violence in the country,” he noted.
He said innocent civilians are still losing their lives in the ongoing violence.
“In fact yesterday afternoon on Sunday, about 30 people in Naivasha were burnt to death by the dreaded Munguki sect. And the situation in our country is continuing to be grave and unless and until these issues are resolved. And we hope Kofi Annan’s team puts that agenda on the table urgently and bring the protagonists together urgently. This country is really in for very rough times,” he said.
Ruto denies the opposition has anything to do with the escalating violence blamed for the loss of lives and property.
“We did postpone the rallies that were supposed to be there on Thursday and Friday last week. But since we postponed our rallies, about 150 Kenyans have died when there was no single rally organized by the ODM. About 65 people have died in Nakuru because of the government, which has armed members of an illegal sect called the Munguki. And the same Munguki on Sunday afternoon burnt down 30 Kenyans in Naivasha. I mean government should really wake up to the reality, and even their lies are substandard,” Ruto pointed out.
Meanwhile, the reported sudden slide of Naivasha and the nearby, previously quiet tourist town of Nakuru into pitched tribal battles has deepened growing anxiety since December 27 polls cast the country into chaos.
Scores of ordinary civilians are reported to have been forced from their homes. The unrest has shattered the east African nation's image of stability and damaged one of the continent's most promising economies.