Annan leaves as talks team tackle Agenda 4
Published on March 3, 2008, 12:00 am
By Standard Team
Lead mediator Dr Kofi Annan flew out on Sunday, exuding confidence that the power-sharing agreement signed between President Kibaki and ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga would hold and move the country to new heights.
|Former UN Secretary General, Dr Kofi Annan, and Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, at Serena Hotel. Picture by Stafford Ondego|
After 42 days of gruelling shuttle diplomacy in the city, the former United Nations secretary-general was confident Kenyans would finally have the peace they so much desired following the post-election turmoil that saw community rise against another, leaving behind an unprecedented trail of blood, death, injury and destruction.Annan left for Kampala, Uganda, as it emerged that former head of South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission, Judge Christiaan Kriegler, would chair the Independent Review Committee that would investigate the discredited 2007 presidential election.
The committee, that begins its sittings on March 15th, is expected to investigate all aspects of the flawed poll and make findings and recommendations to improve future electoral processes.
And when the mediation talks resume this morning, on the chair will be the new Chief Mediator, former Nigerian Diplomat Oluyemi Adeniji.
The team will tackle Agenda Four, which covers essential changes in law and the Constitution, the establishment of the Justice and Reconciliation Commission and constitutional offices.
Annan said although he was leaving for Uganda and onwards to his base in Geneva, he would remain at short call and would be willing and ready to fly back to Nairobi whenever needed.
“It’s time to say goodbye. But I am only bidding you farewell not fading away. I will be back periodically and will come when I am needed,” he said at an emotional send-off outside the Serena Hotel.
Serena Hotel was the base of the mediation talks from where Annan would shuttle to various other offices in the city, including State House, Harambee House, Pentagon House and Parliament to meet either the principals in the negotiations or some of the negotiators.
It was in the same hotel that intense emotions were witnessed during the negotiations, including altercations between members that at one point forced Annan to temporarily shelf the talks.
Annan on Thursday witnessed the signing of the historic political deal between ODM’s Raila and PNU’s Kibaki, and whose process was fast-tracked through efforts of African Union chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.
Annan hoped the power-sharing deal, that brought a sigh of relief to a tensed country, would lead to national reconciliation and healing.
|Dr Kofi Annan (right) and UN Director-General Dr Anna Tibaijuka listen as the Moipei Sisters, who are Unicef ambassadors, perform at the Serena Hotel.
Picture by Stafford Ondego
Before Annan left, the Moipei Girls Quartet of Mary, Maggie, Marti and Seraphine of Brooke House School and who are also the Unicef Ambassadors recited a message of hope for Kenyans and thanked Annan for doing a “good job”.Flanked by the UN-Habitat Director, Dr Anna Tibaijuka, and Nobel Peace laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, Annan thanked Kenyans for the support and prayers they gave his team as they sought a solution towards a peaceful political settlement.
Annan also paid tribute to Kibaki and Raila for showing leadership and for their statesmanship.
Annan said the next phase of the talks was crucial as it touched on the Constitution and land issues.
He asked Kenyans to stay the course and not to leave the issues at hand to politicians.
“Kenya has a lot to offer. As Kenyans you need to work together, heal and unify the nation,” said Annan, adding that it was a beautiful country which he would like to see remain prosperous.
Annan left even as the task of transforming the historic Harambee House deal into law shifted to Attorney-General Amos Wako and Parliament.
The AG and four other lawyers, Ugenya MP James Orengo, Mr Caroli Omondi (ODM), Mbooni MP Mr Mutula Kilonzo and Dr Gichira Kibaara (PNU/Government) will this morning start drafting the necessary Bills to amend the Constitution and accommodate the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008.
It is this accord that Parliament is expected to translate into law and entrench in the Constitution.
President Kibaki opens the First Session of the 10th Parliament on Thursday where MPs are expected to give priority to issues touching on the power-sharing agreement.
Elsewhere, the Thursday accord continued to elicit positive reactions locally and internationally.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss- Kahn praised the role played by President Kikwete in resolving the stalemate that had stalled the mediation.
According to a report appearing in the Tanzanian paper Daily News, Mr Dominique said in Dar es Salaam that the deal would go a long way towards stabilising the region’s economy.
The newspaper added that Kikwete chaired a crucial last minute five-hour peace meeting that saw Kibaki and Raila agree to sign the ultimate peace pact.
Progress had been hampered by hardliners on both sides, leaving a frustrated Annan to announce the suspension of the talks.
Kikwete told reporters on arrival from Kenya on Friday evening at the Julius Nyerere International Airport that he had detected a sense of urgency on both sides to end the crisis. Kikwete decided to stay one more day than was earlier scheduled.
He said Kibaki and Raila signed the peace pact of their own accord, apparently as they were all eager “to get their country out of the political quagmire”.
ODM said priority should now be given to the legislation to transform the power-sharing deal into law when Parliament opens this Thursday.
“The responsibility we have ahead of us as a matter of priority is to put all what has been signed into law and then we look at the Government structure and the Cabinet positions,” said ODM deputy leader Mr Musalia Mudavadi.
Vice-President Mr Kalonzo Musyoka expressed optimism that the deal would be entrenched in the Constitution.
Kalonzo said there was mutual goodwill from both sides of the political divide, which would make it easy for the necessary constitutional changes to be passed.
Speaking at the Baptist Church, Nairobi, during a preparatory mass for the church’s Golden Jubilee, Kalonzo praised the breakthrough and thanked the mediation teams for their good work.
He addd: “We are now geared to setting up a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Committee, to confront the mistakes of the past and resolve them so as to live together in harmony for the sake of peace”.
He asked the international community to be part of the peace process by shelving visa bans and threats against certain leaders.
The Anglican Church said the pact reached between President Kibaki and Raila was a “gift” to Kenyans and the best thing to happen in the country in many years.
Anglican head Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told MPs to put aside their political interests and expeditiously entrench the agreement in the Constitution.