International pressure Thursday mounted on Kenya to solve the post-election crisis. US President George W. Bush demanded a return to democracy, while Britain said it did not recognise the Kibaki government.
President Bush dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya with a message that there must be a full return to democracy. “We’re backing the efforts of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to end the crisis,” President Bush said in a speech on Africa.
“I’ve asked Condi… to travel to Kenya to support the work of the former secretary-general and to deliver a message directly to Kenya’s leaders and people: there must be an immediate halt to violence, there must be justice for the victims of abuse and there must be a full return to democracy,” he said.
ODM leader Raila Odinga accuses Kibaki’s team of rigging the vote, while Kibaki says he won fairly.
Officials for neither side would comment on developments. But a source said the talks ended in acrimony and the negotiators were flying back to the city to consult their bosses.
The two parties are also expected to set up a South African-style truth, justice and reconciliation commission to investigate abuses including ethnic attacks and killings of protesters by police.
On Thursday, the Government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said ringleaders should not be forgiven “To do so would be a travesty of justice,” commissioner Hassan Omar Hassan said.
Various Western nations have threatened travel bans or freezing of assets against guilty parties, and have warned, anyone derailing the Annan talks would face “consequences”.
The post-election turmoil has shocked Kenyans, neighbouring states and world powers alike, crippling Kenya’s tourism industry and denting one of Africa’s most promising economies.
On Thursday, Kenya’s Foreign minister lashed out at Britain’s high commissioner after the envoy said on TV the Government did not reflect the democratic will of the people. Mr Moses Wetang’ula said Mr Adam Wood’s comments had shown “total disregard” for diplomatic etiquette, and threatened to take unspecified action. But a spokeswoman at the British High Commission in Nairobi said Mr Wood was only reiterating the British government’s position.
Britain’s top diplomat stepped into the brewing diplomatic row, declaring his country did not recognise President Kibaki’s re-election. Foreign Secretary David Miliband was commenting on remarks made earlier by Mr Wood, that the current Constitution did not reflect the will of the Kenyan people.
On Thursday Mr Miliband defended Mr Wood, describing him as an excellent public servant. Britain, he added, fully backed the remarks made by its envoy, saying last year’s General Election was flawed.
Britain also dismissed an earlier statement released by the Presidential Press Service during the visit of British minister Mark Malloch-Brown that Britain had recognised President Kibaki.
But Kenya’s Finance minister Amos Kimunya Thursday told foreign capitals not to impose solutions to the political crises in Kenya. He addressing businessmen in Thika Town.
Additional reports by Jeff Otieno and Oliver Musembi