RWANDAN President Paul Kagame has said a re-run of Kenya’s disputed December 27 presidential poll should be considered seriously among options to stem the tide of post-election violence in the country.
“I want to make my position clear on this matter. There are three scenarios of ending this situation and one of them is a re-run,” Mr Kagame told journalists in Kigali yesterday.
He said a re-run would help the warring factions on both sides of the political divide to settle their disputes democratically.
“The violence in Kenya is worsening and human rights violations are increasing. This must stop. Both PNU and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) should go back to elections all together,” Mr Kagame said at a monthly press conference held in Kigali yesterday.
Mr Kagame is the first and so far only president from the East African region to repeatedly suggest bold solutions to the Kenyan post election conflict that has pitted President Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe against Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Jaluo community and other groups supporting the opposition.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Koffi Annan brokered a deal between Kenya’s rival parties on Friday to take immediate steps to end the post-election violence which has killed nearly 900 people and displaced more than a quarter of a million. But the ethnic tensions in Kenya have taken on a momentum of their own, going beyond a standoff over Mr Kibaki’s disputed re-election.
Mr Kagame has a right to suggest solutions to Kenya’s problems because Kenya is the main entry and exit route for Rwanda’s imports and exports. The violence therefore has had a great bearing on Rwanda’s economy. Just like Rwanda, Uganda too has suffered the brunt of the anarchy in Kenya, with many of its imports getting stranded in Mombasa.
Mr Kagame also took a swipe at critics of his proposed military intervention. Defending his position yesterday, he said the intervention of Kenyan military forces is imperative since people are continuing to die, and many others displaced daily due to the political unrest while other institutions are looking on.
“The army should step in as negotiations progress. When I gave this military proposal, I knew some people would get it differently but I am just reading the situation on the ground and I find military intervention a priority at this time,” Mr Kagame, a Major General in the Rwandan Army said.
Mr Kagame, however, doubted whether the same institutions that conducted the previous elections would make a difference. Mr Kagame also proposed a recount of votes and equal power sharing between the big two -Mr Kibaki’s PNU and ODM.