Friday, February 29, 2008

Kenya News Bulletin: Peace Deal at Last; Text of Agreement

Peace deal at last

Kenya Daily Nation
Publication Date: 2/29/2008

President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga Thursday signed a historic agreement to end Kenya’s post-election political crisis.

Under the deal brokered by chief mediator Kofi Annan and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the leaders agreed to form a coalition government which will radically alter the way Kenya will be governed.

Mr Odinga is almost certain to become independent Kenya’s second prime minister after Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who held the post at independence in 1963.

Thursday’s agreement, which came after two days of intense diplomatic activity states that the post of Prime Minister will be created to co-ordinate and supervise affairs of Government. The premier will be leader of the largest party or coalition in Parliament.

Nominate deputy PM

According to the deal, both PNU and ODM will each nominate a deputy prime minister, who together with the premier, can only be removed from office through a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.

Immediately after signing the agreement, President Kibaki and Mr Odinga said they will work together to ensure that the new deal succeeds.

President Kibaki announced that the State opening of Parliament will be on Thursday, March 6, to begin the process of converting the agreement into law.

Addressing a press conference after the two leaders signed the pact, Mr Annan announced that he will reconvene the mediation talks Friday to debate how the long-term issues will be resolved. The talks were suspended on Tuesday after the negotiators failed to agree on a power sharing formula.

Mr Annan later said he decided to move the talks to President Kibaki and Mr Odinga because there was mistrust among the PNU and ODM negotiators that were hampering the talks. “The leaders were easier to deal with and they were the only ones capable of taking bold decisions to move forward,” he said.

In an interview with the Nation and NTV, Mr Annan said the mistrust had built over time... the men and women in the two teams had at one time worked together and betrayed each other.

He was full of praise for the African Union chairman, Tanzanian President Kikwete, who travelled to Nairobi to help in the mediation effort.

And in a statement released by the British High Commission in Nairobi, British premier Gordon Brown described the deal as a “triumph for Kenya and Kenyans.”

Under the deal, the Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the two deputy prime ministers and the other ministers. The removal of any minister will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.

It also states that the composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect each party’s relative parliamentary strength.

The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

The agreement, signed on the steps of the entrance to the Office of the President in Harambee House, was witnessed by President Kikwete and Mr Annan.

The post of prime minister was briefly held by Mzee Kenyatta after independence in 1963, until the country became a republic and the post was abolished and Kenyatta became Kenya’s first President.

Disputed election

And for the first time since the disputed presidential election results were announced on December 30, 2007, Mr Odinga referred to the Head of State as “President Kibaki”.

With the agreement signed, Kenyans finally got the breakthrough they had been praying for in the two months since violence broke out after the disputed presidential elections. Over 1,010 people were killed in the violence while another 350,000 were displaced. But Special Programmes minister Naomi Shabaan has since said that the numbers had reduced to about 120,000 people.

Under the new deal, parties already in Government will now be joined by ODM in a new coalition. The announcement, broadcast live on national television, sparked celebrations in some parts of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret among other major towns.

Speaking after the signing, President Kibaki thanked the international community for their efforts and support for Kenyans to reach an agreement.

He said that the Government will help those whose houses were burnt to resettle on their farms.

Mr Odinga said that in the last two months, Kenya had received more publicity in the international media more than it had done in the last 45 years.

“It has been a story of sadness. In the last two months, Kenyans have known nothing but sadness.,” Mr Odinga said.

But he added that the crisis had taught Kenyans to forge the firm foundations for a strong, united and prosperous nation.

What President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga agreed on

Publication Date: 2/29/2008

The following is the text of the agreement signed Thursday by President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to end Kenya’s political crisis.

The pact was witnessed by Mr Kofi Annan, the chief mediator, and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who is also the chairman of the African Union.


The crisis triggered by the 2007 disputed presidential election has brought to the surface deep-seated and long-standing divisions within Kenyan society. If left unaddressed, these divisions threaten the very existence of Kenya as a unified country. The Kenyan people are now looking to their leaders to ensure that their country will not be lost.

Given the current situation, neither side can realistically govern the country without the other. There must be real power-sharing to move the country forward and begin the healing and reconciliation process.

With this agreement, we are stepping forward together, as political leaders, to overcome the current crisis and to set the country on a new path. As partners in a coalition government, we commit ourselves to work together in good faith as true partners, through constant consultation and willingness to compromise.

This agreement is designed to create an environment conducive to such a partnership and to build mutual trust and confidence. It is not about creating positions that reward individuals. It seeks to enable Kenya’s political leaders to look beyond partisan considerations with a view to promoting the greater interests of the nation as a whole. It provides the means to implement a coherent and far-reaching reform agenda, to address the fundamental root causes of recurrent conflict and to create a better, secure and prosperous Kenya for all.

To resolve the political crisis, and in the spirit of coalition and partnership, we have agreed to enact the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, whose provisions have been agreed upon in their entirety by the parties hereto and a draft copy thereof is appended hereto.

Its key points are:

There will be a prime minister of the Government of Kenya, with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya.

The prime minister will be an elected member of the National Assembly and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition, if the largest party does not command a majority.

Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the National Assembly to be appointed a deputy prime minister.

The Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers and the other ministers.

The removal of any minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.

The prime minister and deputy prime ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no confidence with a majority vote.

The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect their relative parliamentary strength.

The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act shall be entrenched in the Constitution.

Having agreed on the critical issues above, we will now take this process to Parliament. It will be convened at the earliest moment to enact these agreements. This will be in the form of an Act of Parliament and the necessary amendment to the Constitution.

We believe by these steps, we can together, in the spirit of partnership bring peace and prosperity back to the people of Kenya who so richly deserve it.

Country celebrates peace agreement

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 2/29/2008

The Government and ODM Thursday returned smiles on the faces of Kenyans and a sigh of relief to the international community by signing a deal to end the two-month political crisis.

Kenyans across the country burst into celebrations after President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga signed the agreement at Harambee House.

Celebrations engulfed western Kenya following the announcement that the mediation team had reached a power sharing deal between PNU and ODM.

Crowds chanting ODM slogans poured into the streets to celebrate what they said was an end to a period of uncertainty.

On a day that would have seen the ODM supporters take to the streets in protests, it was jubilation instead.

Cars with full headlights blaring horns and draped in twigs snaked through the streets of Kisumu. While some sang and danced on the streets, others chose to ride on car bonnets in celebration.

But in the President’s Nyeri home turf, some residents welcomed the move while others accused him of betraying them.

Stick to the agreement

Kenya National Union of Teachers Nyeri branch secretary Samuel Kariuki Kanake welcomed the deal terming it the best decision the country has made in the recent past.

“This is the best decision and we fully support it,” said Mr Kanake who called the Nation Nyeri office soon after the deal was signed.

Mr James Mwangi, a consultant in Nyeri, said he hoped the leaders would follow the agreement to the letter.

“I hope this is the end of bad things for Kenya. The leaders should make sure they stick to the agreement,” he said.

However, some Othaya businessmen were unhappy.

“This is very serious. How can he do that?” asked a businessman from Othaya Town who said that by signing the deal, “the President was accepting that he had lost the polls”.

At the Coast, residents celebrated the power-sharing deal, saying it was the only way to end the crisis.

Business came to a standstill in Malindi Town last evening as residents poured into the streets shouting “Peace!” “Peace!” in celebration.

Several vehicles with huge loudspeakers mounted on them moved around the town, loud music blaring from them. The residents chanted “ODM!” “ODM!” and praised Mr Odinga for signing the deal.

In Kilifi Town, residents broke into celebrations after witnessing the signing of the agreement.

Most of the residents who followed the proceedings on television and radios in hotels, open air-markets and the Kilifi bus park broke into cheers and praised President Kibaki and Mr Odinga for their commitment to end the crisis.

Touts at the bus park abandoned their work and headed to palm wine drinking dens to celebrate. Two days of intense shuttle diplomacy by chief mediator Kofi Annan and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete targeting President Kibaki and Mr Odinga did the trick and the political agreement was signed at 5.50pm at Harambee House, which is also the office of the president.

It was the meeting of five — President Kibaki, Mr Odinga, President Kikwete, his predecessor, Mr Benjamin Mkapa, and Mr Annan – that succeeded in navigating through the six issues that had led to the suspension of talks to give Kenyans a peace deal they have been yearning for for the past two months.

Minutes before the announcement of the breakthrough, Mr Annan had stated: “We have had constructive and fruitful discussion and we have come to an understanding on coalition agreement. We are ready to sign a document at 4pm. That is when we will brief you on what we have agreed. What I can say now is that we have an agreement.”

The meeting took five and half hours in which it is understood President Kibaki and Mr Odinga closed ranks and agreed to the creation of the position of prime minister. It was based on the Tanzanian model of PM where the office holder controls and coordinates the functions of ministries in a way that his powers will not interfere with those of the President.

The two sides will also get ministerial slots on the strength of their numbers in Parliament while it was agreed that the positions of the PM and two deputies would be created through an Act of Parliament.

Append signatures

It was a sight to behold at the entrance to Harambee House when a mahogany table was brought and two red seats bearing the emblem of power strategically positioned next to it for the two men at the centre of the conflict to append their signatures to the coalition agreement.

Watching closely were Cabinet ministers, attorney-general Amos Wako, key leaders in ODM, foreign diplomats, Mr Annan and Mr Mkapa alongside scores of journalists. Hundreds of Kenyans stood on the adjacent Harambee Avenue to witness the occasion.

Mr Odinga and his team - MPs Musalia Mudavadi, Najib Balala, William Ruto, Sally Kosgei, Anyang’ Nyong’o and Henry Kosgey - arrived at 4pm ready for the ceremony. Mr Odinga had left the venue for lunch at 3pm as Mr Annan was briefing the press on the breakthrough.

President Kibaki, who arrived at Harambee House at 9am, met with government negotiators Martha Karua, Sam Ongeri, Moses Wetang’ula and Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo.

Also present during the signing ceremony were Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Cabinet ministers George Saitoti, Amos Kimunya, Uhuru Kenyatta, Samuel Phogisio and Wilfred Machage.

It marked a fruitful end to a tortuous journey of mediation started by Ghanaian President John Kufuor on January 8.

Later police lobbed tear-gas canisters on a group that was celebrating the deal.

The group which had gathered at a vantage position near Harambee Avenue to follow the speeches had earlier wildly cheered President Kibaki and Mr Odinga as they signed the agreement and spoke.

They further chanted slogans in support of Mr Odinga and other ODM leaders.

The group’s shouting attracted the eyes of guests invited to witness the signing, together with former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and his predecessor Kofi Annan.

Ceremony ended

The crowd continued with their celebrations when the ceremony ended and as the dignitaries motorcades left the venue at around 6 pm.

However, hell broke loose minutes later when police, without any provocation lobbed tear-gas at the demonstrators as they scampered for safety.

Reports by Lucas Barasa, Bernard Namunane, Walter Menya, Walker Mwandoto, Wilfred Muchire and Daniel Nyassy

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