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Kenya's Opposition ODM to Propose Power-Sharing Government

In Kenya, both the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and embattled President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) are scheduled to present new positions Monday to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan who is mediating a resolution to the country’s post-election crisis. This comes after both parties agreed to abandon their original postures in favor of a political solution.

Peter Anyang Nyong’o is ODM secretary general. He told VOA that contrary to reports over the weekend, a deal is far from being reached.

“What happened at the mediation talks is that finally both parties have concurred that a political solution is necessary in principle. Previously PNU was insisting on a legal procedure, on a legal technicality that the only way to deal with the issue is to recount the votes, or if ODM is dissatisfied to go to court. I think Kofi Annan has convinced them that that is a hopeless way to go about things. And that what we needed is for both parties to put on the table what they think are the options for a political solution,” he said.

Nyong’o said the ODM has also modified its previous positions that Raila Odinga won the December 27 elections and that President Kibaki should step down.

“What we are now proposing is that there be a transitional executive authority for six months during which a reconstituted electoral commission of Kenya would be put in place and then later for a presidential election after six months. That is our first option and we shall put that on the table on Monday, and if that is agreed upon so be it. If it is not, we have a second option which we shall also propose,” Nyongo’o said.

He said the ODM would propose the establishment of a co-executive transitional government.

“If a transitional arrangement is to be worked out, there will be a co-executive, that is Raila and Kibaki will have co-executive powers just like Mandela and de Klerk (F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era president) had between (1989) and 1994 when Mandela came out of prison. If you look at the South African presidential executive authority law, it is something that can be repeated in Kenya on a transition basis while we undertake much longer term solutions to our problems subsequently,” he said.

Nyong’o said the ODM has shown much flexibility from its original positions but without compromising the fact that the ODM believes the December 27 elections were rigged by President Kibaki.

“We are flexible precisely because we want to make sure that we have an arrangement which would be supported by all parties. We want a bi-partisan approach to the problem. That does not mean, however, that we have compromised in principle the fact that the election was stolen. That is something that will come up when the truth and reconciliation commission is established,” Nyong’o said.