Kenyans have reportedly welcomed as good news embattled President Mwai Kibaki government’s agreement in principle to create the post of a prime minister as demanded by the opposition in the ongoing talks to end the post-election political crisis. The government had previously rejected the opposition demand to create the post of prime minister. Some political analysts say the agreement is a significant boost to the ongoing talks.
The former United Nations Secretary general Kofi Annan who is mediating the talks between the government and the opposition is reportedly optimistic about the talks, saying a possible solution would be found to resolve the current political crisis. Michael Tiampati is a Kenyan political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Nairobi that Kenyans are optimistic but cautions about the agreement’s prospects.
“The general public is reacting with guarded optimism like they do not know. There are no guarantees that what is happening on the political front will actually be implemented. And they have had nasty experiences of promises that never get implemented. Generally, Kenyans are optimistic, but they don’t want to be over optimistic,” Tiampati noted.
He said ordinary Kenyans want the crisis to end so that prices of goods and services which shot up during and after the post-election violence would come down.
“Kenyans in general in the countryside and actually in towns are beginning to experience the extremes of the situation because prices of food stuffs have skyrocketed and they can’t wait for this situation to be sorted out so that they can revert to their normal lifestyle,” he said.
Tiampati said although Kenyans have expressed some optimism about the agreement, they are tired with the ongoing political stalemate between the government and the opposition.
“The mood here in Kenya is that of a wait and see. It’s a kind of wait and see atmosphere because nobody want to be over optimistic because they end up having their hopes shattered. But people are really tired of the situation and they did express their desire for the leadership to just sort out the mess and get the country back on track,” Tiampati said.
He attributed the agreement between the government and the opposition at the ongoing talks to both local and international pressure that he said was put on both parties to resolve the political crisis.
“I would bet on the fact that why there seem to be some kind of progress is because almost 100 percent is due to external pressure. In Kenya we almost have a nasty history of the political class or the leaders not caring so much about the feelings of the common man so to speak… my take is that much of the progress can actually be credited to international pressure because there has been immense pressure from the U.S, the EU from South Africa and across the globe,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, some Kenyan women wearing white clothes to symbolize peace reportedly threatened yesterday (Thursday) to surround the venue of the crisis talks until a solution was found to resolve the political crisis after the December 27 disputed presidential election, which the opposition claimed President Kibaki rigged.