Coalition fights delaying reforms, says Annan

Published on 31/03/2009

By Ben Agina in Geneva

Infighting within the Cabinet has slowed down implementation of key reforms agreed in February last year, Chief Mediator Koffi Annan says.

Dr Annan says Kenya is at a crossroads and leaders must embark on reforms to avert another political disaster.

He says most Kenyans believe rightly or wrongly, that politicians have put their partisan interests above those of the country.

He notes despites the difficulties facing the Coalition Government, since signing of the National Accord, there is a framework to carry out far-reaching reforms to change the Kenyan society for the better.

The former UN Secretary-General says the Geneva conference is not about renegotiating the National Accord.

“Neither are we here to replicate the Kenyan political battle field in Geneva,” he said yesterday.

The stern words appeared to be directed at President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila who skipped the plenary of ‘The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation – One Year Later’.

The two-day conference is hosted by the Kofi Annan Foundation to review the mediation and share experiences with the world.

Annan said there are divisions within the Kenyan society, which if not addressed threaten the country’s existence.

“Negotiating and signing a peace agreement is the easy part. Implementation is more complex and difficult. An agreement, no matter how beautiful, is merely a piece of paper unless it is actually implemented faithfully,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, ministers James Orengo (Lands), Moses Wetang’ula (Foreign Affairs), Sally Kosgey (Higher Education) Martha Karua (Justice and Constitutional Affairs) and Mutula Kilonzo (Nairobi Metropolitan) and Attorney General Amos Wako are attending the meeting.

Kenyans’ Resilience

The ministers were part of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee, commonly known as the Serena team.

Annan praised Kenyans, saying:” Kenyans should be proud of having brought the country back from the brink. There was no alternative to dialogue and mediation, and the leaders found the courage and wisdom to seek a political settlement to stop the killings.”

Post-election violence last year, killed more than 1,500 people and displaced another 350,000. Some of the internally displaced people are still living IDP camps, a year later.

Annan said lessons from the Kenyan experience have a wider relevance for Africa and elsewhere.

“A number of the causes underlining the crisis in Kenya in 2008, including politics of ethnicity, non-adherence to the rule of law, corruption and the abuse of power, exist in other parts of Africa and across the globe. I believe this is why the world is paying such close attention to the way Kenya grapples with these issues,” he said.

Key reforms are needed in the Judiciary, Police, Executive and the Civil Service.

The National Accord also agreed on land reforms to address the key source of conflicts.

It was envisaged that addressing poverty, inequity and regional imbalances would enhance sustainable peace.

The Serena team also agreed to consolidate national cohesion and support accountability.

Part of the deal included reforms in the electoral process and creation of a Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of post-election violence.

Other speakers at the conference are former Chairman of the Constitution Review conference, Prof Yash Pal Ghai, Justice Philip Waki who chaired the Commission of inquiry into Post-election Violence, and Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat.

— Additional reporting by David Ohito

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