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KENYA, ‘Warlords might replace MPs’

‘Warlords might replace MPs’

Story by ODHIAMBO ORLALE
Publication Date: 2/14/2008

An MP told his colleagues that they risked being replaced by warloads following the post election violence that gripped the country.

Members should find an amicable solution to the political crisis, Naivasha MP John Mututho warned on Tuesday.

He told the Speaker’s Kamukunji, addressed by chief mediator Kofi Annan, that  the more than 200 lawmakers  should not take for granted the peace that had flourished in the country since independence.

Closed-door meeting

The MP, who was among the 207 elected during the December 27 General Election, told the closed-door informal meeting that peace had been elusive in neighbouring Somalia since President Said Barre was overthrown two decades ago.

He appealed to his counterparts to learn from the painful experience of Somalia and join the international mediation team, led by Mr Annan, to promote peaceful coexistence among all Kenyans.

Said Mr Mututho: “I support my colleagues who are united in the peace initiative. We should recall that in 1980,  Somali MPs were replaced by warlords soon after Barre was ousted and war broke out.”

All political, religious and professional leaders, he said, should rise up to  put their partisan, ethnic and personal interests aside for the sake of the country.

Mr Mututho regretted that the month-long violence had left his constituency devastated, and with scores of people killed and thousands displaced.

Bomet MP Kipkalya Kones also pledged to support the peace efforts, saying that his district was one of the worst hit by the political crisis.

The former Cabinet minister said he would continue to preach peace and co-existence among different communities living in Rift Valley Province.

Kisumu Town East MP Shakeel Shabbir said the protests in the lakeside town following the announcement of the disputed presidential elections, and the murder of Embakasi MP Melitus Mugabe Were and his Ainamoi counterpart David Kimutai Too, were hijacked by criminals and militia.

“In Kisumu, we had vigilante groups and criminals who hijacked the ODM peaceful demonstrations,” the MP said.

The former Kisumu Town mayor said he was shocked to return from a foreign trip to find the town devastated.

Speaker Kenneth Marende told the Kamukunji that the experience of the past month should lead to reflection.

“We must ask ourselves difficult questions. How well prepared are we to deal with conflict?

“What role should the National Assembly play? We need to commence immediately to build our own capacity in conflict management and resolution and disaster preparedness,” he said.

Mr Marende assured the former UN boss and Kenyans that Parliament was willing and ready to help enact any necessary constitutional or statutory changes to bring lasting peace, reconciliation and national unity.

“Let us roll up our sleeves and be ready to put in whatever it takes to return this country to its glory. As we do this, some caution is in order.

“We must not seek easy and superficial solutions. We must be prepared to make the hard options that will endure the test of time and ensure that never again shall neighbour rise against neighbour in our country,” he said.

On her part, Mrs Graca Machel, a member of the mediation team, told MPs: “The more we listen, the better we understand how divided this nation is.”

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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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