Kenya’s mediator team forms committee on grand coalition

February 20th, 2008 - 4:20 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, Feb 20 (Xinhua) Mediators trying to resolve the post-election political deadlock in Kenya have formed a sub-committee to look into power structures of a grand coalition, officials said Wednesday. President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) are expected to draw up options to consolidate the political settlement by a constitutional amendment or a new statute.

Former under secretary of legal affairs and legal counsel of the United Nations Hans Corell will assist the committee, which was formed Tuesday.

Mutula Kilonzo, one of the members from the government negotiating team warned that the government would not allow constitutional amendments to suit personal interests.

“We will only work towards a responsible power sharing arrangement and nothing else,” he said.

The development comes as talks between the government and the opposition have been in a stalemate over disagreement on power sharing.

This comes after beleaguered President Kibaki’s government rejected calls by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and peace mediator Kofi Annan to allow for a power-sharing deal or a grand coalition.

The opposition is demanding a 50:50 arrangement, with Odinga as prime minister, followed by fresh elections in two years.

But the government dismissed the opposition demands as untenable with a brief statement from President Kibaki’s office avoiding the mention of “power-sharing” but which only said the president had assured Annan that he was ready to “share responsibilities” with ODM.

Kibaki said the government fully supports a comprehensive constitutional review within 12 months as “a correct platform to systematically address the challenges that face the country.”

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