Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Annan mediation dies in the water, it's back to the streets on Thursday

NAIROBI - The search for a political settlement out of the post election crisis stalled after the Government side walked back several steps, changed positions on issues already agreed and threw the talks into a spin. To illustrate its point, the Government side roundly disowned an earlier document that reflected common ground with ODM on a number of divisive issues in a power sharing arrangement. It had suggested a closing of ranks between the feuding groups and offered a ray of hope to millions of Kenyans desperate for a solution out of the crippling crisis.

When the talks resumed after an eventful weekend break, PNU made it clear it was no longer interested in sharing power. Last night, the task of making the hard choices appeared to lie with bandit president Kibaki and people's president Raila Odinga. "I believe that the Panel of Eminent African Personalities working with the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation has done its work. I’m now asking the party leaders, Hon Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki to do theirs," a statement issued by Dr Kofi Annan, the lead mediator at the talks after meeting both leaders, read.

Worded in a manner that left no doubt as to the depth of his disappointment, the statement intoned: "After four hours of intense negotiations this morning, the negotiating team made almost no progress toward reaching an agreement on governance, despite the fact that they had the entire weekend to consult on their positions". Before suspending the talks on Monday, the UN-backed mediator said he had concluded the teams were incapable of resolving the outstanding issues. It was also unclear what time, if at all, the talks will resume today after scattering at lunch time Monday.

Meanwhile, the threat of mass action looms large after ODM Secretary-General Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o formally notified the Commissioner of Police Maj-Gen Hussein that the party shall hold nationwide peace meetings on Thursday.

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