Kenya’s rival politicians sign coalition deal

February 29th, 2008 - 12:42 am ICT by admin  

Nairobi, Feb 28 (DPA) Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga Thursday signed an agreement to form a coalition government, settling their differences over the outcome of presidential elections. Following the deal, which was brokered by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Kibaki said he was confident that the challenges in implementing the deal to form a coalition government that he entered into with opposition leader Raila Odinga would be overcome.

“There will be challenges along the way but I am confident that through dialogue and a sense of unity and common purpose we will succeed,” he said.

In a brief statement, Annan said: “We have come to an understanding on a coalition.

“This agreement brings the spirit of partnership, peace and prosperity back to the people of Kenya who deserve it … let the spirit of healing begin, let it begin now … a compromise was necessary for the survival of this country,” he said.

“It is the foundation of reconstruction which will be of help to restore Kenya to its rightful place as a leader of the region and Africa … the journey is far from over, in fact it is only beginning,” the former UN chief added.

Odinga said: “With the signing of the agreement we have opened a new chapter in the history of this country. We will move from the era of confrontation to the era of cooperation. We (as a party) are committed to the success of this … there are so many who were killed, so many who are destitute, so many who are displaced.

“We should not waste a single minute and help these people to regain their lives and make sure that no Kenyan loses his or her life again senselessly,” he said.

The deal document signed by Kibaki and Odinga covers the division of powers and aims to end the two-month-old domestic political crisis that has spilled over into bloodshed in the East African country, with some 1,000 killed.

The signing followed Annan’s latest mediation round between Kibaki and Odinga Thursday, with talks also involving Tanzanian President and African Union chairman Jakaya Kikwete.

On Wednesday, Annan had threatened to end his mediating role because talks had reached a stalemate.

Mass demonstrations in January turned violent as Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement supporters came up against police who used tear gas and live ammunition to prevent them from reaching the rallies.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence that gripped Kenya after December’s polls, which Kibaki was charged with rigging, marking a disturbing change in the usually stable East African nation.

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