Saturday, March 29, 2008
Kenya growing pains
Parties to the historic power-sharing deal that settled a deadly political crisis that brought Kenya to the brink of anarchy have come too far to be sidetracked now. But negotiators for President Mwai Kibaki's Party for National Unity and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement have stopped talking in a deadlock over the makeup of a coalition government. The disagreement apparently concerns the painstaking allocation of cabinet seats between the two parties and the public offering of shares in Safaricom, a top mobile phone operator in east Africa. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan of Ghana, who mediated the power-sharing deal that stopped weeks of tribal violence in normally calm Kenya cities, has been summoned to help the parties return to negotiations. Annan is negotiating with both sides, the Reuters international news service reported Thursday. More than 1,200 people died in ethnic violence after Kibaki's re-election in December in an election marred by a problematic vote count. The deal with opposition leader Odinga took power from the presidency by creating post of prime minister.