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Kenya’s rival politicians strike power sharing deal

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — Kenya’s rival politicians have agreed to form a coalition government after weeks of wrangling on how to end the country’s deadly postelection crisis, mediator Kofi Annan said.

President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga had been negotiating for weeks about sharing power following the disputed elections in late December.

Annan, who had been leading the mediation effort, told reporters at a press conference: We have come to an understanding on the coalition government.

The Associated Press reported that Mr Annan offered no further details, saying: All I can say is that we do have an agreement.

Annan’s announcement came after crisis talks with Kibaki and Odinga that were also attended by African Union chief Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania.

The two leaders are expected to sign a document formalising the deal later in the afternoon.

Odinga and Kibaki have been at odds since facing off in a December 27 election that international monitors describe as flawed. Kibaki claimed victory and took the oath of office despite reported irregularities. Violence that followed has killed at least 1,000 and displaced 300,000.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had been overseeing talks between the two sides meant to bridge the divide, but he suspended those talks on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Odinga told reporters that his supporters would not take to the streets — for now — in the kind of mass action that has previously led to violence.

We will delay mass action until further notice, he said.

The deal comes after Annan met privately with Kibaki and Odinga.

It is a crisis situation that we are trying to manage, and we need to understand the urgency and the need for speed, Annan said Tuesday. I trust the two leaders understand this and will work with me expeditiously to resolve the crisis the country is in. Time is of the essence.

Kibaki’s win in the December voting was immediately called into question with election observers from the European Union saying they doubted the legitimacy of the count. Analysts said it was probable that both of the main parties had been involved in electoral fraud.

The fighting that followed the vote broke down along tribal lines. Members of Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe and the Luos, the tribe of Odinga, have been in the middle of the ethnic clashes.

More than 270,000 displaced Kenyans remain in 200 camps; 12,000 others are being looked after in Ugandan camps and estimated half million overall are in need of emergency shelter, water, food and medical care, according to John Holmes, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who briefed the U.N. Security Council on Monday.

Holmes visited the region earlier this month.

Common threads among all the displaced groups were their urgent need for safety and security, particularly for women and children, with some disturbing accounts of continuing abuses in and around camps, he said in a written statement.

I heard dreadful stories of murder, of rape and burning, he added. The ethnic basis of much of what happened was tragically clear.
Kenya’s rival politicians strike power sharing deal – found here.

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February 28, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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