Friday, February 29, 2008

Key points & next steps - BBC 2/29/2008

1 - Key points: Kenya power-sharing deal

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have signed a power-sharing agreement which will see the creation of a prime minister post.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who mediated the negotiations, said the deal would be known as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, and "entrenched in the constitution".

[Annan] outlined the key points of the agreement as follows:
  • The post of prime minister will be created, with the holder having the authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of government functions.
  • The prime minister will be an elected member of parliament and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition if the largest party does not command a majority in parliament.
  • Two deputy prime ministers to be appointed, one to be nominated by each member of the coalition.
  • The prime minister and deputy prime ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no-confidence with a majority vote.
  • A cabinet to consist of a president, vice-president, prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and other ministers.
  • The removal of a minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and agreement in writing by the leaders.
  • The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance, and reflect the parties' relative parliamentary strengths.
  • The coalition will be dissolved if the current parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/28 17:41:00 GMT© BBC MMVIII

2 - Next steps: Odinga pledges to rebuild Kenya

Prime minister-designate Raila Odinga has told the BBC his priority will be to rebuild Kenya after a deal to end the two-month political crisis.

He pledged to help those who had been displaced, lost their property or lost their jobs during the violence in which some 1,500 people died.

Many Kenyans have been celebrating the power-sharing deal between Mr Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki.

But some of those displaced question whether ethnic hatreds can be healed.

"It's become a habit of saying 'peace, peace, peace' every now and then and after peace we see flames of fire," a woman living in a displacement camp in the western town of Eldoret told the BBC.

But in nearby Kisumu, Mr Odinga's home town, thousands of dancing and cheering people poured onto the streets to celebrate the deal brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Mr Odinga also pledged to reconcile Kenyans, after the violence took on an ethnic dimension, forcing some 600,000 from their homes.

"You have seen the ugly face of ethnic confrontation in our country. I feel confident that the experience we have gone through has been a teacher and everyone is going to ensure that this coalition does succeed," he told the BBC's Today programme.

Negotiations between the government and opposition, which lasted more than a month, stalling several times, have resumed to discuss long-term reform of land ownership, the economy and the constitution.

These discussions are expected to last more than a year.

'Two kings'
Mr Odinga said the agreement was "just a piece of paper" - the most important thing was the will behind it.


  • New two-party coalition government to be set up
  • Cabinet posts to be divided equally between parties
  • Raila Odinga to take new post of prime minister, can only be dismissed by National Assembly
  • Two new deputy PMs to be appointed, one from each member of coalition

"It means we recognise Mr Kibaki as president and he recognises that there were some flaws in the elections," he told the BBC.

And, he said, the coalition had a lot of work to do - constitutional and legal reforms as well as land reforms to address "historical injustices".

"There has be to be trust and confidence developed on both sides. It is important for us to forge a firm foundation for a united country," he said.

But some doubt whether the two bitter foes can now work together.

In Mr Kibaki's home town of Nyeri, one man told the BBC he was against the deal:
"They're two kings sharing one power - that can never happen. You cannot have two husbands for one woman in one house."

Mr Odinga said he hoped for a new constitution within a year and fresh elections within two as Mr Annan had given the coalition a maximum life of two years, after which it should be reviewed.


After 8 weeks of uncertainty in the political atmosphere, as well as peace, there is somehow a glimpse of hope and light to the beautiful land of Kenya.
Edward, Nairobi

The new coalition will be headed by President Kibaki, with Mr Odinga - whose Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the largest in parliament - set to take the newly created post of prime minister.

Each party will nominate a deputy prime minister, with other ministerial portfolios being divided equally between the two parties.

Correspondents say both parties are now likely to begin wrangling over who gets what position in the new government, with the post of finance minister likely to prove the most contentious.

After the deal was reached, Mr Annan said: "Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country."

He urged all Kenyans to support the agreement, saying: "The job of national reconciliation and national reconstruction is not for the leaders alone. It must be carried out in every neighbourhood, village, hamlet of the nation."

Speaking after the signing, Mr Kibaki said: "This process has reminded us that as a nation there are more issues that unite than that divide us."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/29 16:50:40 GMT© BBC MMVIII

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