Kofi had no doubt poll was flawed

Published on 04/04/2009

By Standard on Saturday Reporter

Combing through Dr Kofi Annan’s interview, you get the feeling he was right from the start convinced the presidential election was bungled. Right at the outset, he makes it clear his team vowed to “do something” about it.

When he landed in the country, Annan’s concern was not to resolve the election dispute but rather to get President Kibaki to share political power with Raila. Indeed, the lines “there must be real (sic) power sharing in Kenya” became the intimidating evensong by former US President George Bush and UK Premier Gordon Brown.

“I remember talking to Mark (Malloch-Brown, the Minister of State for Africa and Asia, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK) and he said, ‘your friends in the international community, including someone like Jeffrey Sachs, think that there has to be some sort of a rerun, and they thought that Kibaki shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it’,” recalls Annan.

However, Annan was opposed to pursuing this combative approach. He had some general ideas of what he wanted done, but all these crystallised as he went along. One of his first acts was to get the two principals shake hands to send a “strong message” to the Kenyan people.

“To those groups that were killing each other, the message was — here are your two leaders shaking hands, so hold your horses,” he says.

Get People Killed

The other thing he wanted address immediately was the elections: “I had come to an early conclusion that a rerun would be a bad decision, and bad decisions get more people killed. Enough had been killed already, and in that environment any kind of election was going to be acrimonious and was going to get people killed.”

He figured out another way of dealing with the disagreement over the election by looking forward, and not trying to rerun, repeat or “something that would not give you the result you want”.

And reflecting on the election results, Annan was convinced there was no way that either party could run the Government effectively without the other. So some type of partnership or coalition was going to be necessary.

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