Breaking News: Troop Movements Worry Kisumu Residents
It can be authoritatively revealed that three members of president Kibaki’s part cabinet and his two close advisors have made it their business priority to ensure that the Annan led mediation to resolve the post-election crisis is still-born. Sadly, one of the cabinet ministers is the PNU Team lead negotiator of what is now known as the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation Team. These unpatriotic individuals represent the interests of powerful business cartels which supported Kibaki’s re-election campaign and those which dread the prospects of transferring government operations into the office of the yet to be created Prime Minister, even worse when the holder of this office is one Raila Odinga. What is interesting is that some of these hardliners including the cowboys in cartels whose interests they represent form up to two thirds of those who have received letters from the US State Department about imminent asset freeze and visa bans.
The Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs Martha Wangari Karua and her Transport and Finance colleagues, John Njoroge Michuki and Amos Kimunya respectively are the main stumbling blocks in the mediation efforts. Unlike other members of cabinet who have to seek appointments before seeing President Mwai Kibaki, these three individuals have unhindered 24-7 access to Kibaki and have variously advised the president to adopt uncompromising positions that end up undermining international attempts at mediation. To begin with, after ODM rejected their insistence on local mediation, they are said to detest use of the term ‘mediation’ and prefer ‘negotiation’. Secondly, they are directly responsible for the failure of President Kufuor’s mission earlier in the crisis to bring the two protagonists together. Other efforts they have successfully frustrated include that of retired African heads of state as well as that of Desmond Tutu. Kimunya is so confident that he has dismissed threats of donor aid freeze by assuring kibaki ‘over 90% of the Kenyan budget is financed internally and our Chinese friends will never let us down in our time of need’.
The other two individuals responsible for the deepening of Kenya’s worst quagmire in independent history are his long-time golfing buddy , Joe Wanjui as well as the State House based PS in charge of Strategy, Stanley Murage. The former is the ‘general’ who brought in Amos Kimunya into Kibaki’s inner circle and campaigned for his appointment as Daudi Mwiraria’s replacement at the Finance ministry. On his part, Murage has in recent weeks had ‘minor’ problems with respect to fighting his detractors at the hill, but that appears to be water under the bridge as the man has outmaneuvered his and still remains in his influential position at state house. These two individuals have repeatedly urged Kibaki to totally reject all international intervention aimed at resolving Kenya’s political crisis saying that there is a government in charge and it has everything under control. They opine international intervention is akin to admitting that PNU government lacks legitimacy and to an extent allowing foreigners take control of Kenya’s sovereignty. International pressure and the fact that government has not had total control in the country appears to have forced Kibaki to accept Annan’s mediation mission, but that now seems to be under serious threat from the hardliners.
After half-heartedly accepting Kofi Annan’s mediation mission, the PNU have adopted a strategy in which they intend to concede as little ground as possible to ODM in the on-going talks least of all agree to a transitional government under a grand coalition.
This probably explains why Martha Karua was quick to send a protest letter to Annan after he told Parliament that a "grand coalition" could oversee reforms in Kenya to pave the way for elections in two years. Karua’s letter went on to say "My team is alarmed at some serious inaccurate statement made by your excellency.” Forming a transitional government to prepare elections "has not been discussed or agreed upon" in the mediation talks, now in their third week and nearing the deadline fixed by Kofi Annan at the start of the talks.
In other words, political observers and diplomats are interpreting the protest letter by Martha Karua that PNU are not ready to make any concessions and still stand by their belief that Kibaki is the duly elected president of Kenya after having won presidential vote fairly and having been constitutionally sworn-in, and should therefore not have to share power with ODM under whatever circumstances. So what is next for this country?
While Annan sees a grand-coalition as the only workable political solution to Kenya’s crisis, PNU are trying to push the argument that the move is like introducing single-party dictatorship through the back door.
Meanwhile, interesting news from Kilaguni Lodge (unknown location my foot!) where the mediation team is based, say that ODM have demanded that the coalition be crafted in terms of parliamentary strength and that ODM should therefore have 55% of cabinet seats while the rest share 45%! Interestingly, Kibaki’s heir apparent and the hardliner’s choice to inherit Kibaki’s mantle KANU’s Uhuru Kenyatta has been quoted as saying he does not have any qualms with a grand coalition government arrangement.
Anyone with their ears to the ground in Nairobi must have heard that the mediation talks are doomed to fail and residents are being urged to stock-up now to avoid next week’s violence and inconveniences of street protests that will break-out following the announcement of the postponement (diplo- speak for failure) of the mediation talks.
What follows after this announcement will disappoint a lot of people…….
(to be continued as we monitor events and pray for this country)
Stop Press: Kenya Crisis Talks Adjourned To Monday