The heat is on, as Annan says he has suspended many important assignments to be in Kenya (but PNU politicians seem to be taking the country in circles!)
After the government side introduced a new raft of demands that trashed a power-sharing deal reached in the infamous Kilaguni Lodge, it immediately resulted into a collapse of the mediation talks on Monday. But it seems all is not lost, because it now appears Kofi Annan has managed to bring the warring parties back to the negotiation table after meeting both Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga last evening.
As at the time of posting this, both parties were back meeting Annan and his group of eminent persons in their usual Serena Hotel rendezvous. It is unclear whether what they were unable to agree on Monday had been sorted out with their respective principals.
In order to achieve normalcy in Kenya, Annan and the international community are in agreement with the ODM in its quest for an immediate political settlement arising out of the disputed December 2007 election before deeper negotiations and agreements can be reached on the issue of constitution review. That immediate political settlement is: POWER SHARING.
Earlier Koffi Annan's aide had told CNN that the Chief Mediator would be leaving Kenya unless the protagonist reached an agreement. Annan himself issued a statement saying:
"After four hours of intense negotiation this morning, the team made almost no progress on reaching an agreement on government, I had to conclude that they were not capable of resolving the outstanding issues."
Annan's diplospeak is hardly revealing any failure, but it is revealing huge frustration and disappointment orchestrated by the Government side led by Martha Karua. Matters were not helped by the fact that the Local government minister - Uhuru Kenyatta - was engaging in blatant abuse of power by trying to influence (read-rig) the Nairobi and Nakuru mayoral polls in favour of PNU. This morning, the ECK Chairman, Samuel Kivuitu has uncharacteristically come out in support of ODM and disowned Uhuru Kenyatta with regard to the nomination of Esther Passaris by ODM.
Back to the Annan led mediation talks, Annan has been in Kenya for more than a month trying to resolve the elections crisis and it is said that it is the longest period he has spent on any conflict resolution. Annan met both Raila and Kibaki Monday evening and released a statement saying: "I believe that the Panel of Eminent African Personalities working with the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation has done its work. I’m now asking the party leaders, Hon Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki to do theirs."