KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has clarified on the remarks he made last week on the ongoing post-election violence in Kenya. During a news conference on Monday, Kagame said he knew his suggestion that the army as the most stable institution gets involved to avert the violence currently tearing apart Kenya would be received differently by different people.
He had stated in an interview on Tuesday last week that his could be considered as a temporary measure, while negotiations to find a lasting solution continued.
“I knew what would be the likely interpretation of what I said. But sometimes you have to say what some other people may not want to say depending on how compelling the situation on ground might be,” Kagame said.
He qualified his not-written-in-stone position by stating categorically he has neither been to Kenya of late, nor was he an expert on the country. His judgment was “based on how the situation presents itself in the media.”
He said the reason he proposed a military solution is because other institutions that would have dealt with the Kenya problem were either seemingly absent or have been compromised in one way or another.
Kagame emphasized that the implementation and success of any action would greatly depend on the good will of Kenyans themselves.
The violence in Kenya which quickly followed the highly disputed presidential election held December 27 last year has so far claimed up to 1,000 people.
The President said that despite the different dialogues mediated by various eminent African and international leaders, killings do not seem to abate.
“This is not something I am trying to create. Hundreds have died and the situation seems to be getting worse,” he said. Kagame also proposed three possible options for Kenyans to consider in their search for the urgently needed solution.
One of the solutions he suggested was consensus building.
“They could decide to settle for a common ground through consensus,” he said, adding that power sharing in the interim would give them time to chart a way forward.
Other suggestions he said would be a re-count of votes or re-election. On the re-run, he said that he wondered whether there were mechanisms in place to ensure the eventual winner stayed the winner, and on re-count, the President was not sure the tallies have not been tampered with.
“Another solution that has been already suggested is establishing a judicial commission of inquiry with international figures…but this would entirely depend on the information they find on the ground,” Kagame said.
On seeking a regional solution to Kenya through the East African Community, Kagame said that Rwanda is on record for having suggested that regional countries step up efforts to mitigate the problem.
“Rwanda was the first to suggest a regional solution to the Kenya problem and this was at a ministers’ meeting that took place in Tanzania,” he said.
The two warring parties in Kenya are loyalists to President Mwai Kibaki on one hand and those of Raila Odinga on the other. The latter claim their man was the true winner and was only robbed of victory by the incumbent machinery.
The dispute has since become ethnic, with the Kibaki’s Kikuyu and their allies fighting a coalition of other tribes led by Odinga’s Luo.