Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kibaki snubs Kofi Annan mediation, EU to cut aid to Kenya

Kibaki's illegitimate government yesterday rejected a mediation mission by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to try to end political unrest, and at the same time sent a stern warning to the opposition ahead of 3 days of planned nationwide protests. Annan was due in Nairobi today, two weeks after Mwai Kibaki’s contested re-election sparked violence, which claimed the lives of over 600 people and displaced at least a quarter million. Several voices have been raised against Kibaki's electoral theft, the most crippling of them being a yet-to-be-released exit poll commissioned by the US government-backed International Republican Institute — a nonpartisan democracy-building organization whose work in Kenya was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development — which blatantly says that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was defeated in last month's disputed election rather than being re-elected as he claims.

“If Kofi Annan is coming, he is not coming at our invitation,” roads and public works minister John Michuki, a hardline member of Kibaki’s new cabinet, told reporters in Nairobi. “We won the elections so we do not see the point for anyone coming to mediate power-sharing.”

ODM accuses Kibaki of not being interested in finding a way out of the impasse and using delaying tactics to entrench himself in power. “It shows that all this is a charade,” ODM spokesman Salim Lone said. “The same happened to (AU chairman) John Kufuor. Kibaki repeatedly said no mediation was needed, which delayed his coming for eight days, and a cabinet was announced just as he was landing.” Top US Africa envoy Jendayi Frazer, who spent a week in Kenya, said afterwards she was “deeply disappointed” that the two rivals had been unable to reach agreement on how to hold direct discussions. Frazer also warned that the United States could not “conduct business as usual in Kenya.” The EU, in its third statement on the Kenyan crisis, urged both sides to embrace the mediation efforts by the African Union. “The EU expresses its full support for the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, headed by Kofi Annan, which will work with the Kenyan parties to resolve their differences and all other outstanding issues, including constitutional and electoral reforms,” a statement yesterday said.

Meanwhile, the EU could cut its aid to Kenya over concerns about disputed elections, the EU's top aid official said yesterday. Another EU official said the 27-nation bloc was considering suspending all aid and imposing sanctions if mediation efforts to resolve the crisis failed. "It's difficult to continue the same level of budgetary support if we see that the election has not been fully respected," EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel told a meeting of the European Parliament's development committee. The crisis has dented Kenya's democratic credentials and rattled Western donors. Post-election turmoil has hit the country's economy as well as supplies to east and central African neighbours. "We are not in a situation we can call business as usual by any means," Michel said. "We have to adapt our relations."

The EU provided 290 million euros ($431.1 million) in aid to Kenya between 2002 and 2007. A further 383 million euros are planned for 2008-2013.

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