Friday, February 22, 2008
Hopes Fade, Mediation Team Takes Weekend Adjournment
Kenya's 'de facto president' Raila Odinga, of the popular Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
It now appears that the deep divisions regarding the powers of the proposed Prime Minister's post have driven the weary mediation team apart and in effect left very little hopes for a political deal between ODM and PNU anytime soon.
No deal? Kenyans brace for the worst!
By the time the talks adjourned late Friday evening, hopes for a deal announcement quickly evaporated when neither Annan nor his spokesperson showed up at the press briefing. Media houses who have set up permanent camps (complete with OB vans and satellite) at Serena Hotel were disppointed when Annan failed to show up. The press have been forced to work in shifts so as to keep a 24 hour vigil at the five star hotel where the talks are taking place.
An optimistic and upbeat Annan last addressed a press conference accompanied by US secretary of state Condi Rice a couple of days ago. It looks like the agreement that was apparently 'signed' by the warring parties in Kilanguni lodge last Friday is already being disregarded. How is Annan taking all this?
To add insult to injury, this morning, the ODM captain Raila Odinga (pictured) skipped an appointment with Jean Ping, the new chairman of the African Union (executive) Commission. That was after the PNU team needlessly kept Kofi Annan, his eminent persons panel and the ODM team waiting for five hours after taking an early break (buying time) yesterday to attend, sic, the funeral of the man who set-up the infamous Nyayo House torture chambers and the brainchild behind Kenya's biggest scam of all time - Goldenberg International. That man was known as James Kanyotu.
Jean Ping was met by Uhuru Kenyatta on arrival in Nairobi's JKI Airport and carefully shepherded to Kalonzo Musyoka's Harambee House office yesterday before meeting Mwai Kibai this morning. While the AU have not officially endorsed the PNU government, their behavior and amateurish actions clearly show which side they fall on. During Mr. Ping's visit, ODM were kept out of the picture as was Annan and his team. Ironically, Annan is in Kenya under the AU auspices. Perhaps this tightly and remote-controlled itinerary may have probably upset the ODM and made them send a junior team to meet Jean Ping.
Although Raila was reportedly flown to Nigeria on chartered jet, no official in Abuja nor Lagos can confirm his presence in Nairaland. The Nigerian foreign affairs minister is not aware of Raila's visit. In a nutshell, Raila's whereabouts - Kenya's de facto president - is publicly unknown. What is going on?
Both PNU and ODM teams reportedly emerged from Serena Hotel late Friday evening saying that they were giving each other the weekend for consultations and would resume talks on Monday. Kofi Annan was nowhere to be seen.
Meanwhile, state intimidation moved to another level when ODM pointman in Uasin Gishu Jackson Kibor spent the second night in police custody after police announced they would arraign him in court on murder charges. Family, doctor and lawyers have been barred from seeing the 72 year-old diabetic Kibor. This afternoon, Kibor was subject of a heated argument between ODM legislators and journalists who had gone to cover the ODM Parliamentary Group meeting.