Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Headlines - Wed 4/9/2008

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Kenya opposition urges restraint - BBC


Kenya's main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has appealed to his supporters to exercise restraint after violence broke out in the capital, Nairobi.

Mr Odinga suspended talks on forming a power-sharing government on Tuesday.

"It is better to take slightly longer and get it right then to rush it and make mistakes which will lead to regrets," he told the BBC.

Mr Odinga says he wants a 50-50 split in cabinet posts as promised by an accord to end post-poll violence.

Some 1,500 people died and 600,000 were displaced in January and February.

Meanwhile, the African Union has expressed concern about the political impasse.

ODM MPs: 102
PNU MPs: 46
Pro-ODM MPs: 5
Pro-PNU MPs: 61
Vacant seats: 6

"The delays in appointing a coalition government will inevitably delay a return to normalcy in Kenya, and is also of concern to the rest of the region," AU chairman Alpha Omar Konare said in a statement.

Mr Odinga, who under the agreement will become prime minister, also accuses President Mwai Kibaki of insisting that full executive power would remain exclusively with Kenya's presidency.

The president expressed surprise at the accusations, as he said the two men had been close to completing their discussions.

Mr Odinga says his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will return to talks with the government after it has agreed to its demands on a coalition government.

"I know people are getting impatient, but to negotiate matters of this nature takes time," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa.

He said the ministries are split into five "clusters" and they want them to be divided 50/50.

So far, ODM had not been allocated any position in the "co-ordination ministries" (foreign affairs, finance, local government and public service) or "security ministries" (defence, internal security, home affairs and immigration).

He also called for the ODM to be able to appoint some politically appointed permanent secretaries and diplomats.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/04/09 16:24:00 GMT© BBC MMVIII

What is the solution to Kenya’s political gridlock?
Reuters UK, UK - 1 hour ago
Implementation of Kenya’s peace accord brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in February to end post-election bloodshed has hit a logjam over ...

VP meets diplomats
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya - 2 hours ago
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Wednesday held talks with Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Kenya from Europe and North America at his ...

Full story:

VP meets diplomatsWritten By:Rose Kamau , Posted: Wed, Apr 09, 2008
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Wednesday held talks with Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Kenya from Europe and North America at his Jogoo House office.
Mr. Musyoka briefed the envoys on the progress of the negotiations and consultations towards the formation of a grand coalition government.
He assured them of President Mwai Kibaki's commitment in forming the coalition government as soon as the consultations with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Raila Odinga, are completed.
The Vice President who was accompanied by Ministers George Saitoti and Uhuru Kenyatta, and the Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo told the diplomats that it was imperative that the ODM leader contacts the President urgently, for the two to conclude the consultations and announce a cabinet that is acceptable to all Kenyans.
The diplomats raised concerns over the delay in naming the cabinet, saying it was hindering the efforts to address other pressing challenges facing the country such as the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and the reconstruction of the country.
Later, the Vice President held talks with African Ambassadors and High Comissioners.
The Vice President said Kenya appreciates the role played by the African Union in the drafting the agreement that gave rise to the National Accord.
Mr. Musyoka said all that was remaining was for the ODM leader to join President Mwai Kibaki and give Kenyans the cabinet they deserve, saying that the announcement of cabinet is not an end in itself but will pave way for resettlement of the IDPs among other issues.
He said there is need to separate the issue of the formation of cabinet and IDPs adding that both sides should work together to create an enabling environment for resettlement of the displaced persons.
The Vice President also urged Kenyans to remain patient and shun violence.
The Mozambican High Commissioner to Kenya Marcos G Namashulua, who led the diplomats appealed to the government and ODM to embrace the spirit of give and take so as to reach an amicable solution to the on-going crisis.

US ambassador says relations with Kenya at stake in power-sharing deal (Pressemitteilung), Austria - 2 hours ago© AP
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Kenya's relationship with the United States depends on the implementation of the East ...

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World News
US ambassador says relations with Kenya at stake in power-sharing deal

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Refer to a friend © AP
US ambassador says relations with Kenya at stake in power-sharing dealBy ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY - Associated Press Writer© AP
2008-04-09 16:07:44 -
Kenya (AP) - Kenya's relationship with the United States depends on the implementation of the East African country's stalled power-sharing accord, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya said Wednesday.Michael Ranneberger spoke one day after the opposition suspended talks with the government and parts of Kenya erupted in violence reminiscent of scenes that rocked the
country for weeks after the disputed Dec. 27 presidential election.«The whole U.S. relationship with Kenya depends on the implementation of this accord,» Ranneberger told reporters at his residence in the capital, Nairobi. «If the political accord is not implemented, it will make it difficult, if not impossible, for us to work in Kenya.Still, Ranneberger, who met with both men Tuesday, said a deal could happen within a week.«There is no crisis,» he said. «This is a time for the Kenyan people to remain calm.Government spokesman Alfred Mutua declined to comment on Ranneberger's statements. Calls to the opposition leader were not immediately returned Wednesday.The U.S. and other allies consider Kenya a vital partner in the war on terrorism and a regional economic and military powerhouse whose stability has stood in stark contrast to war-ravaged neighbors like Sudan and Somalia, where Islamic extremism is rife.Ranneberger also said some US$2 billion (¤1.27 billion) flows from the United States to Kenya every year, including aid,
investments, tourism and remittances.President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga both claim to have won the presidency and are trying to form a joint government to resolve the crisis. More than 1,000 people were killed in weeks of clashes that followed the vote, and 300,000 were displaced.Kibaki and Odinga agreed in February to share power, but they have not worked out exactly how. The agreement called for Cabinet posts to be split equally, but both sides have been trying to secure the most powerful ministries, such as internal security and foreign affairs.Ranneberger said some of the delay is due to the politicians surrounding Kibaki and Odinga who want to serve in vital posts.«It's a little bit like kindergarten,» he said. «Everyone's saying, 'Me! Me! MeForeign pressure _ which was increasing in the days leading up to the signing of February's accord _ appeared to be growing again.British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wednesday that «all sides must be prepared to make concessions to allow this to happen, including President Kibaki's supporters ceding some powerful portfolios.U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also said the U.S. will hold responsible anyone who stands in the way of true power-sharing.On Tuesday, Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement said it had suspended negotiations and would only resume after Kibaki dissolved the current Cabinet.Kibaki and Odinga must try to repair the lives of hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who remain displaced from their homes after violence that tarnished the country's reputation.There is also the matter of restoring one of Africa's most promising economies. Kenya, one of the most prosperous and tourist-friendly countries in Africa, has seen up to US$1 billion (¤640 million) in losses linked to the turmoil.Much of the bloodshed pitted ethnic groups, such as Odinga's Luo tribe, against Kibaki's Kikuyu people, long resented for their domination of the economy and politics. In many regions, the violence brought a bloody end to decades of coexistence among Kenya's ethnic groups, transforming cities and towns where Kenyans had lived together _ however uneasily at times _ since independence from Britain in 1963.

US envoy sees Kibaki-Raila agreeing
Daily Nation, Kenya - 3 hours ago
By KEVIN J. KELLEY in New York
The United States is confident that an agreement will soon be reached on a power-sharing Cabinet and thus sees no need to ...
Full story:
US envoy sees Kibaki-Raila agreeing
By KEVIN J. KELLEY in New YorkLast updated: 4 hours ago
The United States is confident that an agreement will soon be reached on a power-sharing Cabinet and thus sees no need to punish Kenya, US ambassador Michael Ranneberger said on today.
Noting that he met on Tuesday with both President Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, the American envoy said he "came away optimistic about their commitment" to forming a grand coalition government.
"I do not think there is any need to impose sanctions," Mr Ranneberger added.
In response to a question from a Nation reporter, the ambassador said he views a 40-member cabinet as "too large." Mr Ranneberger added in an Internet chat that "sometimes compromises must be made between what is best and what is politically needed."
Asked whether an enlarged Cabinet poses greater opportunities for corruption, the US ambassador said "there are a lot of means to hold the new Cabinet members accountable. We will continue to make efforts to fight corruption a priority. The Kenya media will also help expose abuses."
Urging patience, Mr Ranneberger noted that "in some European countries it has taken months to work out coalition governments."
The ambassador did allude to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s threat on Tuesday to "act accordingly" if Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga fail to conclude an agreement.
But Mr Ranneberger’s tone was consistently upbeat. He downplayed fears of renewed chaos, saying that violence on Tuesday was not widespread. He also reiterated US pledges to provide additional support once a power-sharing government is formed.
Mr Ranneberger further expressed optimism that such a government can function effectively.

Pressure mounts on leaders to resume talks
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya - 3 hours ago
Pressure is mounting on President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Designate Raila Odinga to resume talks and name the grand coaltion cabinet. ...

Pressure mounts on leaders to resume talksWritten By:Andrew Kilungu , Posted: Wed, Apr 09, 2008
Pressure is mounting on President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Designate Raila Odinga to resume talks and name the grand coaltion cabinet.
Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai says the signing of the National Reconciliation Accord saw the post election violence subside and expressed fear that it would escalate with the collapse of the talks.
She was speaking at her office where she released a press statement about the state of the IDPs.
Maathai said that it was extremely important for the government to provide security for the IDPs to return to their farms because there are many cases of sexual exploitation in the camps as well as deplorable living conditions that could lead to disease outbreaks.
Maathai also asked the government to assist displaced farmers with seeds and fertilizers so that they can return to their farms and plant during this rain season.
Meanwhile US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannerberger says he is confident that President Kibaki and Odinga will resolve the cabinet stalement.
The envoy says he met the two principles separately Tuesday and they showed their commitment to working together and moving the country forward.
Addressing the press at his residence the envoy therefore called on Kenyans to remain calm saying the issue was complicated with a lot of political interest.
He at the same time urged leaders to stop making public statements that might complicate the matter further.
He clearly said that US is just talking to the two principals, but urged Kenyans to put pressure on the two leaders by sending them peaceful comments.
At the same time Rannerberger says the sharing of positions in the public service commission is not an issue at the moment as it could be resolved once the new government is reconstituted.
US says it is committed to working with Kenya but warned that if the accord does not work the relationship between the two nations might change.

Kenya Is Back On Edge
HULIQ (press release), NC - 4 hours ago
Kenya was recently in the news for an unprecedented level of political and ethnic violence that followed the bungled December 27th 2007 presidential ...

US envoy sees Kenya coalition deal "in days"
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 4 hours ago
NAIROBI (Reuters) - The US ambassador to Kenya said on Wednesday he expected the country's political rivals to agree on a power-sharing cabinet soon despite ...

Rice urges Kenyans to speed up coalition plans
USA Today - 4 hours ago
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Scores of demonstrators torched tires in Nairobi's largest slum on Wednesday to protest a political standoff between the president and ...

US pressure pushes for Kenya coalition
Daily Nation, Kenya - 5 hours ago
By PATRICK NZIOKA The US is pushing Kenya ’s leaders to name a coalition Cabinet urgently even as tension rose in parts of the country due to a stalemate ...

Fear as Kenya deadlock deepens
Independent Online, South Africa - 6 hours ago
Nairobi - Kenya's opposition has suspended talks with President Mwai Kibaki's party, while police have fired teargas to disperse opposition supporters ...

Kenya warned by US over Cabinet
CNN International - 6 hours ago
(CNN) -- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Kenya's government and opposition party to agree on the composition of their coalition Cabinet ...

Kenyan leaders under pressure to resume coalition talks
AFP - 6 hours ago
NAIROBI (AFP) — Kenyan leaders were Wednesday under pressure to resume talks on forming a coalition government in a bid to end a devastating political ...

ODM may resort to mass action
Daily Nation, Kenya - 6 hours agoBy Emman Omari The latest stalemate over the formation of grand coalition Cabinet is fuelling speculation on what might happen if the deal brokered by ...

Kenya shilling seesaws on jitters over politics
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 6 hours ago
NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Kenya shilling extended its losing streak against the dollar in early trade Wednesday, hit by political uncertainty over a ...

Rice asks Raila, Kibaki to implement accord
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya - 7 hours agoUS Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Designate Raila Odinga to urgently put in place a power-sharing ...

Kenya: Raila Odinga’s ODM pulls out of cabinet talks
New Sudan Vision, Canada - 12 hours ago
April 8, 2008 (Nairobi NSV) - Hopes on Kenya’s post-election progress were dampened on Tuesday as opposition leader Raila Odinga suspended its participation ...

Rice Tells Kenyan Leaders to Implement Power-Sharing Accord
Bloomberg - 12 hours agoBy Paul Tighe and Eric Ombok April 8 (Bloomberg) -- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader ...

Protests in Kenya as talks collapse
Times Online, UK - 12 hours ago
Police fired teargas to scatter opposition protesters after a breakdown in power-sharing talks with President Kibaki's party. The protests spread west from ...

Violence erupts in Kenya
United Press International - 14 hours ago
LAMU, Kenya, April 8 (UPI) -- Violence erupted Tuesday in Kenya after opposition leaders said they were abandoning talks with the government over a ...

Kenyans Express Disappointment In Country’s Leadership
Voice of America - 15 hours ago
By Peter Clottey A cross section of Kenyans is expressing disappointment and anger after talks between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate ...

Kenya opposition halts talks, protests flare
Reuters - 16 hours ago
By Katie Nguyen and Daniel Wallis NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's opposition suspended talks with President Mwai Kibaki's party on Tuesday and police fired tear ...

Rice says she telephoned contending Kenyan politicians and urged ...
International Herald Tribune, France - 16 hours ago
AP WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she personally urged Kenya's two most powerful politicians to settle their power-sharing dispute ...

Rice calls for speedy power-share agreement in Kenya
AFP - 17 hours agoWASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday urged Kenya's two rival leaders to quickly put in place a power-sharing agreement to ...

Violence breaks out as Kenyan leaders fail to agree cabinet
Independent, UK - 17 hours ago
By Steve Bloomfield in Nairobi Fresh violence has broken out in parts of Kenya as the country's fragile power-sharing deal appeared to be on the brink of ...

Kenya: Riots Resume, Washington - 17 hours ago
Kenya's opposition party suspended talks with the government Tuesday and hundreds of angry young opposition backers set fires to protest delays in reaching ...

Kenyan Opposition Suspends Unity Talks; Violence Grips Nairobi Slum
AHN - 18 hours ago
Nairobi, Kenya (AHN) - Violence between opposition supporters and police has erupted in Africa's second largest slum, Kibera, following the suspension of ...

Danger in Kenya
UN Dispatch - 18 hours ago
Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power sharing agreement ...

Kenya: A Sad Day As ODM Pulls Out of Talks, Washington - 18 hours ago
It was a day of drawn swords after ODM announced it had pulled out of Cabinet talks, and PNU declared it was ready for elections if negotiations fail. ...

Kenya: Annan Plea to Leaders, Washington - 18 hours ago
FORMER United Nations Secretary General, Dr Kofi Annan, has once again pleaded with President Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga, ...

Kenya: Serena Talks 'May Collapse', Washington - 18 hours ago
Mediation talks hang in the balance due to the Cabinet deadlock between PNU and ODM. Sources said there was growing discomfort among international mediators ...

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