Kenya: Rival Groups’ Terms for Talks
The Nation (Nairobi)
22 January 2008
Posted to the web 22 January 2008
The Government and ODM have given hints on what they would put on the table when talks aimed at ending the current political stalemate start in Nairobi.
The Government will first ask ODM to name its negotiating team to promote national reconciliation and also push to have any disputes arbitrated in court, according to a statement from the Vice President’s Press Service.
ODM leaders, on the other hand, said they would seek President Kibaki’s resignation and a rerun of the presidential vote.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka who heads the government mediation team said: “Let us not disown our courts. It is crucial that we uphold the independence of the Judiciary and follow due process; it is our responsibility as a regional bloc to respect the rule of law.”
But speaking in Kisumu, ODM secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o said the party “will push for a new UN- sanctioned electoral body, serialised and independently printed Form 16A, and independently recruited electoral officers.”
Form 16A is the document on which returning officers record presidential votes garnered at constituency level for tallying by ECK.
Prof Nyong’o said they would also seek an acceptable time frame of preparation, campaigns and fresh elections.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to arrive in Nairobi this morning as part of efforts to encourage dialogue between the Government and the Opposition. President Museveni is the chairman of the East African Community.
Kenyans have rested their hopes on the arrival of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to resolve the crisis sparked by the outcome of the December 27 General Election.
Mr Annan is expected to arrive in the country tonight.
According to a statement from the ministry of Foreign affairs, Mr Annan, will arrive in the country a few minutes past 8pm aboard a KLM flight.
Also expected in the country is former South African First Lady Graca Machel, whose plane is expected to land a few minutes to 3pm.
Another member of the peace panel, former Tanzanian President Mr Benjamin Mkapa is already in the country.
Mr Musyoka who leads a 10-member team named by President Kibaki expressed optimism that President Kibaki and Mr Odinga will meet soon to reduce political temperatures.
He said his team expected to meet the one named by ODM in talks under the auspices of eminent persons of the AU.
Mr Odinga and ODM Pentagon members William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi said they will be calling for President Kibaki’s resignation to allow a fresh presidential vote.
Mr Ruto said the party will be seeking to know why President Kibaki has not “handed power to the rightful winner of the seat despite the fact that majority of the voters voted against him”.
Mr Odinga asked supporters to remain firm but peaceful as they seek justice through the international mediators.
Meanwhile, 14 more people were reported to have died in the post-election violence on Sunday night and yesterday.
Five of them died in when raiders struck at Endebess, in Kwanza constituency, six in Molo and Kuresoi, two at Huruma in Nairobi and one in Kipkelion.