Kenya police stand guard with arms amid continuing political unrest in this east African nation.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date: 1/8/2008
President Kibaki has begun shaping up his new Government by naming the first half of his Cabinet.
The President also moved to bring the ODM-Kenya to his side by naming the party’s Kalonzo Musyoka to be his Vice-President.
In a televised address to the nation, the President appointed 17 ministers and said the rest will be appointed after further consultations.
In addition to Vice-President Musyoka, here is the full list of Ministers appointed:
1. Internal Security – Prof George Saitoti
2. Defence – Yusuf Hajji
3. Special Programmes – Naomi Shaban
4. Public Service - Asman Kamama
5. Finance – Amos Kimunya
6. Education – Prof Sam Ongeri
7. Foreign Affairs – Moses Wetangula
8. Local Government – Uhuru Kenyatta
9. Information and Communications – Samuel Poghisio
10. Water and Irrigation – John Munyes
11. Energy – Kiraitu Murungi
12. Roads and Public Works – John Michuki
13. Science and Technology – Noah Wekesa
14. Justice and Constitutional Affairs – Martha Karua
15. East Africa Cooperation – Dr Wilfred Machage
16. Transport – Chirau Ali Mwakwere
Kenya leader names new ministers
Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki has named new ministers, just before Ghana's leader arrived as part of mediation efforts following disputed elections.
Mr Kibaki named Kalonzo Musyoka, who came third in last month's election, as vice-president but no-one from the main opposition party was appointed.
A BBC correspondent says the move could derail the efforts of Ghana's John Kufuor, who heads the African Union.
Violence broke out in opposition strongholds following the announcement.
Some 600 people have died in a wave of clashes across the country, after the opposition said the election had been rigged.
Raila Odinga, who claims that fraud robbed him of victory, has meanwhile said that he will not attend talks with Mr Kibaki on Friday, unless they are led by Mr Kufuor.
He says Mr Kibaki should step down and new polls be conducted.
In that context, the BBC's Adam Mynott in Nairobi says Mr Kibaki's move, in naming some members of his new cabinet, could be seen as a provocative act.
Residents of the western town of Kisumu say that three people have died in the latest clashes but local police chief Grace Kahindi denied this.
Kalonzo Musyoka: Vice-president, ODM- Kenya
Uhuru Kenyatta: Local government, Kanu
Moses Wetangula: Foreign affairs, PNU
Kiraitu Murungi, Energy, PNU
Martha Karua , Justice, PNU
George Saitoti: Internal Security, PNU
John Michuki : Road transport, PNU
Kisumu on Lake Victoria is Mr Odinga's home town and was the scene of serious fighting and violence last week, which left 100 people dead.
"The youth are unhappy with the announcement of the new cabinet, which they term as provocation," Joe Ojuang a local reporter told the BBC News website.
There are reports that fires have been started and property looted, while police have been firing over the heads of crowds of people on the streets.
Mr Kibaki made the cabinet announcement in an address to the nation, which he recorded before going to the airport to welcome Mr Kufuor.
"In naming the cabinet, I have considered the importance of keeping the country united, peaceful and prosperous and a strong broad-based leadership," he said.
For this reason he was naming the first half of the cabinet.
Correspondents say the implication is that other cabinet posts are being left open for the outcome of negotiations.
However, they say it is the key ministries that have been filled, leaving 15 remaining posts.
The 17 cabinet members named include at least one other member of Mr Musyoka's party, as well as Uhuru Kenyatta, from the former ruling Kanu party.
Mr Musyoka's Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya split from Mr Odinga's party last year in a row over who should represent the party.
While many former cabinet members lost their seats in the parliamentary elections, Mr Kibaki has retained several close allies from his Party of National Unity (PNU).
They include Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, who has previously been sacked as a minister over a huge corruption scandal.
Mr Kufuor's trip was seen as a sign that there has been some progress on the meditation front as his visit last week had been blocked.
Ghana's Minister of Information Oboshie Sai Cofie said Mr Kufuor's role would be more as a facilitator than a mediator - someone to bring the two sides together in a more congenial atmosphere.
Mr Kibaki's aides say they is no need for official mediation - a key demand of Mr Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
The BBC's West Africa correspondent Will Ross says Mr Kufuor is not someone to bash heads together - he is known as the "gentle giant" - and has helped negotiate during the conflicts in Ivory Coast and Liberia.
Meanwhile top ODM official William Ruto has said they will not recognise the new cabinet.
"The cabinet is null and void because President Kibaki did not win the election and we shall not recognise it," he told the BBC Swahili Service.
The ODM won a majority in parliament but does not have the two-thirds needed for a vote of no-confidence in the president.
Both sides have accused the other of ethnic-cleansing during a week of violence after Mr Kibaki was declared the winner.
Some 250,000 people have fled their homes in clashes between rival political supporters, ethnic groups and the police.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/01/08 17:03:50 GMT
End of turmoil in sight as AU boss jets in
Story by LUCAS BARASA and RACHEL OMBAKA
Publication Date: 1/8/2008
A breakthrough in the country’s political turmoil has emerged with ODM calling off countrywide rallies and today’s expected arrival of African Union mediator John Kufuor.
An upbeat ODM leader Raila Odinga emerged from a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer saying he had talked to Mr Kufuor, who chairs the African Union, and that he had assured him he was on his way to Nairobi.
And since ODM wants negotiations with President Kibaki to be held in a peaceful atmosphere, Mr Odinga said all rallies planned for today had been cancelled until further notice.
“After consultations, all the rallies called for tomorrow have been put off until further notice. We want the negotiations to kick off in a peaceful environment,” Mr Odinga said.
Protest rallies called by the party last week were stopped by police and today’s had also been outlawed.
Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by Eldoret North MP-elect William Ruto and Aldai’s Sally Kosgei said Mr Kufuor, who is also Ghana’s president, will facilitate efforts to bring him and President Kibaki together.
The negotiations, he said, were likely to start tomorrow.
Role in the talks
Mr Kufuor, the Lang’ata MP-elect said, was officially invited for the talks by President Kibaki, something ODM had been waiting for.
Mr Odinga said that Mr Kufuor would be accompanied by an AU team.
Asked what Mr Kufuor’s role in the talks would be, Mr Odinga said: “We are in dispute here and we want a facilitator who will sit and bring us together.”
Once Mr Kufuor is in the country, Mr Odinga said, ODM would spell out issues it wants addressed and they expect the Government to do the same.
“Through negotiations we expect to arrive at an acceptable position that will bring us together,” said Mr Odinga, who addressed a news conference at a house next to the US ambassador’s residence.
Mr Odinga’s two-hour closed door meeting with Ms Frazer was held at US ambassador Michael Ranneberger’s residence.
Mr Odinga said Mr Kufuor was expected to be involved in the crucial negotiations until an agreement to ensure sustainable peace in the country is signed.
The Lang’ata MP-elect denied rejecting the formation of a coalition government with President Kibaki, saying he was only against a government of national unity.
He, however, said it was he who should invite President Kibaki to the coalition, having won the December 27 presidential polls.
Mr Odinga welcomed the involvement of more people including South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ms Frazer in the search for peace, saying “the more the merrier.”
Ms Frazer, he said, was an experienced negotiator having been involved in similar initiatives in countries like Ethiopia and Nigeria.
One of the options
The ODM leader proposed a presidential election re-run as one legal way of addressing the crisis facing Kenya.
“This is one of the options available for consideration. There are many ways of killing a rat,” he said.
Calling on Kenyans to avoid violence, Mr Odinga vowed to continue pursuing legal and peaceful means to ensure the “true” election results were respected.
“The issue here is not my future or Mr Kibaki’s future, but the future of Kenya’s and indeed Africa’s hard won democracy for which so many sacrificed so much,” he said.
Mr Odinga said there was no excuse for violence witnessed in parts of the country even if it was out of anger.
The situation, he said, was worse if the violence was perpetrated by organised groups like the Administration Police, and the outlawed Mungiki sect.
He said the change ODM wanted first included a united and peaceful Kenya where all can work and live without fear.
Uhuru appointed special envoy
Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date: 1/8/2008
President Kibaki has appointed Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta as special envoy to brief world leaders on the political crisis in the country caused by his election as president in a disputed win over ODM’s Mr Raila Odinga.
Mr Kenyatta, the Gatundu South MP-elect, was among four others Mr Kibaki appointed last week. The others are Foreign affairs minister Raphael Tuju, Education minister George Saitoti and Foreign affairs assistant minister Moses Wetang’ula.
Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said yesterday the envoys would visit several African states and brief their heads of state about “the genuine situation in the country,” instead of relying on the international media.
But asked to identify the specific leaders and countries included in the shuttle diplomacy, Dr Mutua told a media conference that there were several. He did not elaborate.
On Mr Wetang’ula’s weekend visit to Ghana to brief President John Kufuor about the developments in the country, the spokesman said he had not received the latest report.
President Kufuor doubles as the chairman of the African Union. His name has featured prominently as the most acceptable international mediator to chair talks between President Kibaki and ODM’s Mr Odinga, over the disputed presidential results.
The announcement and rigging claims have led to violent riots, almost 500 deaths and loss of property. Over 250,000 people have also been displaced.
“Mr Wetang’ula went and is now back. Ghana is not the only country where we have sent a special envoy. Uhuru, Tuju and Saitoti have also been sent to world leaders with special messages.”
Earlier, Dr Mutua addressed another media conference flanked by Police spokesman, Mr Eric Kiraithe and thanked ODM for calling off today’s banned rallies.
Police disperse Mombasa demo
Story by NATION Correspondent
Publication Date: 1/8/2008
A mid-morning lull in the streets of Mombasa was on Monday shattered when police clashed with about 60 peaceful demonstrators, most of them women.
The group led by Kisauni MP-elect Hassan Ali Joho, sang songs in praise of ODM leader Raila Odinga. They started their peace march at Kwa Shibu Mosque and had walked for about one kilometre when riot police led by Mombasa OCPD Wilfred Mbithi blocked them.
The police lobbed two tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, sending them scampering in different directions.
Mr Mbithi told Mr Joho to call off the demonstration because it was illegal, but Mr Joho did not budge. The OCPD said no demonstrations are allowed until the situation in the country returns to normal.
However as the police boss and Mr Joho exchanged words, the crowd continued chanting pro-ODM slogans.
Business on the busy Digo Road was briefly disrupted but after a short while shops re-opened and business resumed as usual.
Time to address issues honestly
Editorial From the Kenya Daily Nation
Publication Date: 1/8/2008
That the ODM has called off the rally scheduled for Nairobi and protests in other major towns today, might be a welcome indicator that the key protagonists in the post-election stand-off are about to begin talking.
Mr Raila Odinga specifically stated that the protests were cancelled so that negotiations can be held in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
President Kibaki had, in earlier statements, said that he was ready for dialogue, but only if the violence first ceased.
It is indeed welcome if both sides are abandoning intransigent positions and edging towards the negotiation table.
It is quite clear that there has been intense diplomatic pressure on both President Kibaki and Mr Odinga, who must both realise that the problem facing Kenya goes far beyond the issue of which of them deserves to be the legal tenant at State House.
Kenyans, with their cries for reason, and the international community, with its clout, must continue to pressure the two and their respective sides to engage in genuine dialogue.
Any negotiated settlement must take into account that this is now not simply the question of determining who rightfully won the presidential elections, or creating the conditions for another speedy election.
While securing the peace must be paramount, that will only be achieved in the long term with a comprehensive settlement that seeks to resolve many social, economic and political issues, some going back to history.
Any short-term solution, that deals only with the elections or an immediate political settlement, will probably address the symptoms rather than the underlying causes.
It might also only provide for a temporary calm before an even more devastating storm. It is important that all sides agree there are very serious problems that need to be addressed.