Kenyan problem will be half-solved the moment we treat each other as equals
Even before the nominated teams begin negotiations, signs are already emerging that the Annan led mediation talks are doomed to fail. Yesterday, the talks were nearly sabotaged by Office of the President protocol officers who were insisting that Kibaki sits alone on the ‘high table’ because he is the ‘supreme presidential authority’. The ODM and Mr. Annan on the other hand, would hear none of it and in the end, Raila and Kibaki occupied the same ‘high table’ flanking Annan on both sides as equals. This was after Annan and the Speaker of the National Assembly as the convener of the meeting over-ruled the OP protocol officials. Such pettiness, emanating from the PNU side, clearly shows that they are treating their political adversaries as junior partners. Protocol officials who do not appreciate that it is the very presidency that is in contention nearly exchanged blows with ODM officials prior to Annan/Marende's intevention!
The PNU had already started showing bad faith by nominating ODM-K members who have unashamedly already endorsed the legitimacy of the presidency as their representatives in the mediation process. The ODM has been clear in its demands that it does not recognize the 'government' and will only negotiate with the other side as PNU.
Even worse, on the same day talks were due to begin, PNU government insiders were desperately trying to hide from accusations of complicity in the assassination of Embakasi ODM MP Mugabe Were. Similarly, Kenya police were groping around for excuses after tear-gassing innocent mourners at the late MP’s residence. The mourners included the widows and infant children!
Barren Foreign Affairs Policy
Thanks to Kenya's barren foreign affairs policy and scant respect for global affairs, the Annan talks will, in all probability, not see the light of day.
As it is, although the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been in the region in recent days and is due to attend the African Union summit in Ethiopia later this week, he has given Kenya a wide-berth. Ban Ki-moon has been heavily criticised by human rights group for ignoring the Kenyan crisis. The UN-SG seems caught in a serious dilemma because he does not want to be seen upstaging the African Union under whose umbrella the Annan team is operating.
As if to add insult to injury, the all powerful UN Security Council has been quick to wash its hands off the Kenyan crisis ostensibly because the crisis does not meet its rules and regulations governing its response to issues of peace and security.
Back to the Addis Ababa AU summit, PNU’s Kibaki has ignored official requests to stay away and is insisting he will attend the meeting as Kenya’s duly elected head of state. This obviously will adversely affect the direction of the mediation talks back in Kenya.
Although the Kenyan deaths and displacements are painful to most people, international sympathy is not too much as to warrant an UN peace keeping intervention. Moreover, the Annan team lacks real powers to enforce some of the pre-conditions it has listed on the MOU that was signed last evening. It is apparent even to Mr. Annan himself that this will not be the first MOU for PNU to disregard MOUs. President Kuffuor (Chairman AU) and President Museveni (Chairman Commonwealth & EAC) have both been in Nairobi to try and resolve this crisis, but both have been largely unsuccessful. Several former African heads of state plus Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Desmond Tutu and our own Wangari Maathai have also been given a cold shoulder by PNU.
What options does this leave the ODM?
- Resign to fate and accept that it is the official opposition and continue its mandate? Obviously NO!
- Revert to its mass action and economic boycott calls? Maybe, YES!
- Hope that someone somewhere has the absolute power to force Kibaki/PNU out of statehouse and organise presidential re-elections in the shortest time possible. Hopefully, YES!
What options does this leave the PNU?
- Continue to bury its head in the sand, assume that it is rightfully in power and proceed with discharging its mandate? Pray, NO!
- Accept that the presidential vote tallying was deeply flawed and Kibaki’s purported swearing-in highly irregular? Of course, YES!
- That both a vote-recount and a legal process are not viable options because the votes are already interfered with and that the judiciary in Kenya is impartial? Please, YES!
- Accept to form a transitional government with ODM with the sole purpose of re-constituting the ECK and re-organising fresh elections? Hell YEAH!
Let the people decide.