Kenyan leaders fail to agree on cabinet formation

March 27th, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, March 27 (DPA) The creation of Kenya’s much-awaited coalition government hit a roadblock Thursday as leaders were unable to agree on a shared cabinet as expected and called for the return of mediator and former UN chief Kofi Annan, media and officials said. President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga met Tuesday to split the cabinet between the two parties but were divided on the major ministries such as internal security and finance, and the size of the government.

The independent Daily Nation, Kenya’s most reputable paper, said the stalemate was so strong that each side had requested the return of Annan, who left after brokering the power-sharing deal that ended two months of post-election violence.

“Annan sees negotiations are going on. He has talked to both leaders and therefore he expects that a way forward will be found. If it is not found, he will certainly come. At the moment the two positions are quite far,” said Salim Lone, spokesman for Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

According to Annan’s power-sharing deal, ODM and Kibaki’s party of National Unity were to split the cabinet into two to create a government that is meant to see through a slew of reforms to tackle the root causes of the violence that killed more than 1,000 people and was sparked by disputed polls.

Annan had suspended the talks shortly before the agreement was reached, blaming a lack of goodwill on the sluggishness of the negotiations.

Since then, Kibaki and Odinga have been seen together at a golf tournament and other public functions, smiling and shaking hands in what has boosted the hopes of Kenyans wary of another outbreak of unrest.

The Annan deal was hailed as a major success that is hoped will return Kenya to its original place as a budding democracy and a regional economic powerhouse.

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