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Friday, January 25, 2008

ODM rejects Museveni offer

ODM has turned down President Yoweri Museveni’s proposal for a judicial commission of inquiry into the presidential election.

The party said it rejected the idea because the post-election crisis had mutated into a bigger problem. ODM Secretary-General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, said: "Museveni had very interesting proposals and we gave audience, but our take was that we do not want a quick fix which cannot stand the test of time."

Nyong’o said ODM leader, Raila Odinga, met Museveni before holding a discussion with William Ruto. The remarks contradict Ugandan newspaper, The New Vision, which reported that the Opposition and the Government had agreed to Museveni's proposal. Museveni has also called for a coalition government. Nyong’o said the inquiry would be tantamount to filing an election petition at the High Court, which is controlled by the Government. "At the moment, ODM is not bringing forward any proposals that may jeopardise peace talks. We want the Government to accept that there is a problem before we lay foundations for a lasting solution," Nyong’o said. Speakingat Serena Hotel, Nyong’o was pessimistic that the talks would bear fruits. "There must be light at the end of the tunnel in all these talks, but there are challenges that are arising like widespread violence and the Government’s refusal to allow us hold peaceful meetings," he said.

There was a flurry of meetings at the hotel. The US Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, French envoy, Elisabeth Barbier and their German colleague, Walter Lindner, held talks with former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, former Tanzania President, Benjamin Mkapa, and Graca Machel, wife of former South Africa president, Nelson Mandela. It was not immediately clear what transpired in the meeting, as the envoys left and shortly Annan headed for Harambee House to meet President Kibaki and Raila. Nyong’o and Pentagon member, Joe Nyagah, also met former presidents, Ketumile Masire and Joachim Chissano, all in a bid to fix the crisis.

Meanwhile, the EU Troika (represented by the French ambassador, Elisabeth Barbier, and the Head of Political Affairs of the European Commission, Harvey Rouse) met Prof George Saitoti, Tuesday, as a follow-up to the recent visit of Commissioner Louis Michel to Kenya. They discussed the importance of respecting civil and human rights, cases of disproportionate use of force by the police, and the necessity to end violence. The meeting concluded with an appeal that both sides embrace dialogue.

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