In the name of peace, Kibaki, Odinga should negotiate

Last week brought some respite in Kenya’s now volatile politics, as efforts to negotiate a settlement to the leadership crisis was going on. The African Union chairman and Ghanaian president John Kufuor tried to broker a peace deal between President Mwai Kibaki and ODM president Raila Odinga, but left the country without success, prompting Odinga to call for massive national demonstrations for three days beginning Wednesday to Friday. There is now no doubt that there were gross electoral irregularities that swept Mwai Kibaki to the presidency, given the fact that even the electoral commission chairman himself declared he was not sure whether Kibaki had indeed won the polls.

Last week brought some respite in Kenya’s now volatile politics, as efforts to negotiate a settlement to the leadership crisis was going on. The African Union chairman and Ghanaian president John Kufuor tried to broker a peace deal between President Mwai Kibaki and ODM president Raila Odinga, but left the country without success, prompting Odinga to call for massive national demonstrations for three days beginning Wednesday to Friday.

There is now no doubt that there were gross electoral irregularities that swept Mwai Kibaki to the presidency, given the fact that even the electoral commission chairman himself declared he was not sure whether Kibaki had indeed won the polls.

Very many people have died protesting the election outcome, and many others have been caught up in the violence that has since gripped Kenya. The opposition claims that as many as 1000 people have lost their lives, and many not only remain unburied, but some bodies are still missing, and Kenya Red Cross has said that wild animals and birds of prey are gorging themselves on the remains.

Neither the government nor the opposition has the right to cause a person’s life taken away in this manner.

It is still possible to salvage Kenya’s and Africa’s dignity by going back to the drawing board and saving the country from the anguish of a destroyed existence.

The region’s leaders should do their utmost to prevail upon Kenya’s leaders to end this impasse, as they also gird themselves for harsher times to come, for a destabilised Kenya means a destabilised region; as has already been proven in the case of scarce fuel supplies and skyrocketing prices for consumer goods, in some of the countries in the region.

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