Thursday, January 3, 2008

Kenya headed for repeat polls?

ODM leader Raila Odinga last night took the lead in trying to find a way out of the impasse caused by the fraudulent tallying of votes that cost him victory in the just completed poll and led to a massive loss of lives. The declaration by the Electoral Commission of Kenya that Kibaki had won the fiercely contested poll led to spontaneous protests countrywide, leading to the killing of nearly 300 people.

Last night, Raila dropped the preconditions he had earlier set for talks, and declared that he was agreeing to international mediation, through which he would negotiate with Kibaki. Raila also said he was willing to participate in an interim government whose only purpose would be to prepare for a re-run of the presidential election. "The interim government should last no more than three months," he said, adding that such a poll should be conducted by an independent body and not the ECK, which has been discredited as partisan and whose members are President Kibaki’s appointees. Raila’s roadmap to get the country out of the abyss it is slowly sinking into came even as suspicion, mistrust and arrogance were evident in the PNU.

Meanwhile, prospects of a round of fresh confrontations with law enforcement agencies loomed large, after ODM announced it would proceed with today’s prayer rally at Uhuru Park. ODM also reeled out what it said was evidence of a massive election fraud and put its terms of engagement on the table as the country remained on the international spotlight. As ODM was gearing up for today's rally, Kibaki had a meeting with a group of MPs-elect at State House, a meeting whose agenda and outcome have yet to reach the public domain. ODM and ODM-K boycotted the meeting altogether, as ODM said it had no business attending a meeting whose principal convenor, it insisted, had been rigged into office.

The party’s presidential running mate and Sabatia MP-elect, Musalia Mudavadi, chaired a meeting of ODM and its affiliate National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) MPs-elect, where the decision to boycott the meeting was reached. "We can not attend such a meeting. As much as we want peace, justice must prevail and the winner of the election be given what is due to him," Mudavadi said at a press conference attended by Pentagon members.

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