Thursday, February 21, 2008

FACTBOX: What's next in Kenya's post-election crisis? - Reuters 2/21/2008

Reuters Factbox
Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:39am EST

(Reuters) - Kenya's government has agreed in principle to creation of a prime minister's post sought by the opposition, but the terms and duties are still being discussed.

Negotiations to resolve Kenya's post-election crisis, in which more than 1,000 people have been killed, are dragging on, with former U.N. head Kofi Annan leading the mediation team.

Below are some facts on the talks and what could happen:


* The international community and Kenya's opposition are pressing for power-sharing -- a grand coalition, in Annan's words. Power rests wholly with the president in the east African country, though there have been coalition governments in recent years. The ODM has backed off its demand that Kibaki step down but wants a new, powerful prime minister's post for Odinga plus ministerial positions for its people. The government had said the current constitution must be followed, which has no provision for a PM. But on Thursday, it said it was considering an interim PM post that would last until parliament was dissolved or a new constitution enacted.

* The focus of any deal will almost surely involve changes to the 45-year-old constitution. The ODM defeated a 2005 re-drafting backed by Kibaki, saying it did not do enough to reduce the president's vast powers and introduce checks and balances.

* In one sign the government is ready to tackle constitutional changes, three of its four negotiators are among the cream of Kenya's legal fraternity -- Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula, Justice Minister Martha Karua and Mutula Kilonzo. Kilonzo was the legal mastermind behind the opposition's defeat of Kibaki's new constitution in 2005. The ODM also has a formidable legal mind on its team, James Orengo -- one of the activists who fought for the return of multi-party democracy in the early 1990s.

* Some fear the talks will fail and Kenya will fall back into bloody protests and spiraling ethnic violence, further damaging the economy and leading to a flight by investors and the many foreign organizations based in Nairobi.

* The opposition, using its only real leverage, renewed threats this week of more street protests if its demands are not met. Annan has again reminded both sides of their pledge not to make provocative, public statements.


Former U.N. Secretary-General Annan is leading the mediation, with wide backing from the international community including the USA, former colonial ruler Britain and the EU. The 69-year-old Ghanaian is joined by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela.

Many foreign luminaries including African presidents, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been to Kenya to try to mediate or to support Annan.

(Writing by Bryson Hull in Nairobi)

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