Kibaki holds talks with Rice
Published on February 19, 2008, 12:00 am
By Cyrus Kinyungu And Agencies
President Kibaki met visiting US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, on Monday for more than two hours at his Harambee House office, Nairobi.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr Jendayi Frazer, and US Ambassador, Mr Michael Ranneberger, accompanied the top US diplomat.
|Members of the PNU mediation team, Prof Sam Ongeri (left), Mr Mutula Kilonzo and Ms Martha Karua, consult outside the Office of the President as US Secretary of State, Dr Condoleezza Rice meets President Kibaki.|
Rice came to deliver a message from President George Bush on the need to settle the political crisis. Bush, who is on a tour of Africa, sent her to show his commitment to help the country go back to normalcy.
He had indicated that power sharing between the two opposing camps was the secret to unlocking the crisis.
Rice arrived at the President’s office at 12.34pm and left at 2.45pm after a closed door meeting with the Head of State.
A Presidential Press Service dispatch said Rice delivered a special message to Kibaki from Bush.
In his message, Bush wished Kenyans a quick resolution to the challenges facing the country, saying he looked forward to Kenyans resuming their duties of national development.
It also said Kibaki reaffirmed his commitment to national dialogue under former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, and his team of eminent persons.
Sources said the meeting between Kibaki and Rice was attended by Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Ms Martha Karua, and her counterparts for Internal Security, Prof George Saitoti, Local Government, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Foreign Affairs, Mr Moses Wetangula, and Attorney-General, Mr Amos Wako.
Mbooni MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, who is in the Government negotiation team at the mediation talks, was also present.
Rice left for a meeting with ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, at the US Ambassador’s residence without addressing the media.
Earlier in the day, the President held a meeting with some ministers and top security chiefs, among them Chief of General Staff, Gen Jeremiah Kianga, and Police Commissioner, Maj-Gen Hussein Ali.
Also present were Internal Security PS, Mr Cyrus Gituai, Finance PS, Mr Charles Kinyua, and their Defence counterpart, Mr Zachary Mwaura.
Other Cabinet ministers present were Prof Sam Ongeri (Education), Mr Samuel Poghisio (Information and Communications), Mr Chirau Mwakwere (Transport) and Mr Asman Kamama (Public Service).
Later at Muthaiga, Rice asked the feuding parties to hurry up with a pact to end the post-election crisis that has killed 1,000 people and dented the country’s nation’s global status.
“The time for a political settlement was yesterday,” Rice said.
“The current stalemate and the circumstances are not going to permit business as usual with the United States or with any other part of the international community,” she added.
Rice is the most senior US official to visit since the disputed December 27 vote triggered protests and ethnic conflict that also displaced more than 300,000.
“They need to have a power-sharing arrangement … There needs to be a coalition,” she said, echoing the line being pushed by former UN boss, Dr Kofi Annan.
Meanwhile, Government officials have become increasingly prickly over foreign pressure.
On the eve of Rice’s visit, Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Moses Wetangula, warned that nobody should “make any mistake of putting a gun to anybody’s head.”
But Rice, noting she had been “especially moved” listening to Kenyan civil society and business representatives, said the pressure was coming from within, not abroad.
“Kenya is a friend. Kenya is also an independent and proud country … So this is not a matter of dictating a solution to Kenyans.
“What I hear is the impatience and insistence of Kenyans that this is resolved,” ” she said.