Kenyan leaders were on Wednesday under pressure to resume talks on forming a coalition government in a bid to end a devastating political crisis, a day after hundreds demonstrated to demand a new Cabinet. The much-delayed unveiling of a national-unity government is a key step in implementing a power-sharing deal aimed at quelling deadly violence.
The announcement of Kenya's new coalition Cabinet has been delayed indefinitely over disagreements on its composition, both sides said on Saturday. "The widely expected announcement tomorrow [Sunday] of a new Cabinet that all Kenyans were so keenly awaiting has been delayed," Orange Democratic Movement spokesperson Salim Lone said.
The creation of a power-sharing government in Kenya appeared imminent on Tuesday after a parliamentary briefing in which former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan spoke of a possible "grand coalition" to end the country's political crisis. He has also noted that a deal would hopefully be made by the weekend.
Last week, eight of us from the Concerned Writers Group went to visit Eldoret, the town at the epicentre of the clashes in Kenya. Having been born and brought up in the Rift Valley, I know this area well. We spoke to groups of displaced people. We talked with Archbishop Korir, who is legendary for saving the lives of many people who would have been killed in the clashes of 1992 -- and now, of 2008.
United Nations agencies have expressed increasing concern for the plight of up to 250 000 Kenyans displaced by post-election violence, as international diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis continued. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that at least 100 000 people in the northern Rift Valley alone needed immediate help.
South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu was in Nairobi on Thursday to try to mediate between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga over their election dispute, party officials said. An official from Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement party said Tutu was expected to try and persuade Odinga to sit down with Kibaki and seek a joint resolution.
Last week Kenya's newly selected cardinal -- and for reasons that are obscure to me, we have not had one in a while -- came out to declare that the Catholic Church opposes majimboism. To its supporters, majimboism is a kind of federalism; to its detractors it looks a lot like ethnic regionalism.