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Kenya Party Calls for Renegotiation of Power-Sharing Deal

In the latest sign of the divisions within Kenya's governing coalition, the country's largest party says the power-sharing agreement binding the two main political factions together should be renegotiated.

One year since President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga agreed to share power in a coalition government, tensions between the two sides are still powerful.

Odinga's party, the Orange Democratic Movement, controls the most seats in parliament, but Kibaki's Party of National Unity controls the powerful presidency.

The Orange Democratic Movement says it has not been given enough power in the government. ODM Secretary-General Anyang' Nyong'o said the party would ask former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan, who negotiated the power-sharing accord, to revisit the deal.

"The coalition government has fallen far short of implementing the national accord in letter and in spirit, thereby shortchanging our party in appointment of the civil service, public operations and the security services and undermining power-sharing in several respects," he said. "The national accord therefore needs to be renegotiated."

In recent weeks, public dissatisfaction with the government has been on the rise, driven by allegations of corruption scandals in the agriculture and energy ministries, the failure to stem a food shortage and rising prices, and investigations into police misconduct. More than two-thirds of the respondents in a recent poll said the government had not accomplished anything over the past year.

While divisions among Kenya's leaders on these issues have often cut across traditional political alignments, the ODM statement brings the split between the two parties back to the center of debate.

Nyong'o suggested that the powers of the president should be cut back. That issue is expected to be at the center of the debate over reforming Kenya's constitution, also called for under last year's power-sharing agreement. This week, the government appointed a commission to review proposals for a new constitution. Kenya has made several previous attempts at overhauling the constitution, all unsuccessful.

Nyong'o also said the Orange Democratic Movement had endorsed the recommendations of the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial killings, who called for the resignation of Kenya's police commissioner and attorney general, and an overhaul of police oversight.

The government spokesman last week rejected the U.N. findings, but other members of the president's party have said the government should consider them.