Friday, February 8, 2008

Kenya deal seen

Could a breakthrough in Kenya's tragic political and social crisis be near? Mediator Kofi Annan of Ghana, the former U.N. Secretary General who is leading mediation efforts between the two feuding political parties, said today that a settlement could be coming by the end of next week. "I sincerely hope that we will conclude our work on ... the settlement of the political issues by early next week," Annan said Friday, according to the Reuters international news service. "We are all agreed a political settlement is necessary with a little patience and a bit of luck." The crisis erupted along ethnic lines after President Mwai Kibaki was re-elected Dec. 27 but the vote count was rejected by opposition leader Raila Odinga. International observers say there were irregularites but a recount is not possible because large numbers of ballots were destroyed. Local media has speculated that Kibaki's Party of National Unity and Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement were negotiating a power-sharing arrangement, Reuters said. The crisis, which began with street demonstrations and escalated into tribal violence that has swept across the country, threatens to destroy Kenya's reputation as a stable, democratic and economic model for Africa.

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