Kenya: Dear Kofi Annan…

Kofi Annan is an undisputed mediator and a peace maker. When the party leaders in Kenya started hiding behind the constitution to derail the talks, Annan declared that the constititution will not be used to deny Kenyans peace.

Yes, the contentious post of Prime Minister was agreed on, but the hardliners have taken their positions and none wants to compromise. Annan has threatened to quit, and has suspended talks until President Mwai Kibaki and his rival Raila Odinga meet and soften the positions.

Upon receiving the quit threats,  wheremadnessresides decided to write a letter to Annan: 

“Dear Kofi Annan:

There's a rumour that you're thinking of leaving Kenya. That you're fed up with our leaders and their madness. That you're up to here and beyond with all this nonsense.

I can certainly understand why you would be sorely tempted. But please please please don't. Leave Kenya that is. You can't anyway. You promised, remember?

Last Friday but one you looked straight through the camera and right at me and said you weren't going to go anywhere until a comprehensive solution had been arrived at. You said that anyone who thought they could frustrate you into leaving was deluded.
Remember that?”

 Kumekucha thinks Kenya's solution lies in power sharing:

In order to achieve normalcy in Kenya, Annan and the international community are in agreement with the ODM in its quest for an immediate political settlement arising out of the disputed December 2007 election before deeper negotiations and agreements can be reached on the issue of constitution review. That immediate political settlement is: POWER SHARING.

…..A power-sharing deal has been imminent for the last two weeks but it appears the antagonist cannot reach an agreement on the extent of powers of the proposed office of the Prime Minister. ODM has announced it will accept nothing short of an executive prime minister and that whatever deal is agreed upon, it must be entrenched into the constitution.

Kenya Imagine has published a lengthy post, giving the recipe for constitutional change and power sharing. The article goes into great detail, giving historical perspectives and comparing with American politics and how they have handled such issues:

The threat of violence works in strange ways, its wonders to perform. Assuming that the ODM is not going to wear a balaclava and walk into the boardroom of government with a shotgun, I propose that certain exceptions be made for them, as follows:  First, the president should allow the ODM to nominate their own people to the government. If they want to nominate Raila Odinga, William Ole Ntimama, or William Ruto, that is fine. Ministers appointed should be subject to some kind of enforceable doctrine of collective responsibility to forestall the impunity witnessed when some the ODM members were incorporated in the last government.

While they should not condone illegalities, they should be supportive of the government in a functional, visible way. They should also be subject to the performance contracts like everyone else.  Given that some cabinet positions have already been taken, the ODM should be allowed to nominate CEOs and Chairmen for some state corporations, subject to qualifications of said applicants. Once appointed, they should be subject to the performance contracts already in place. The ODM has complained of marginalization. Appointing CEOs is spreading the bread, distribution of resources, and is in the national interest.

Kenyan Pundit had predicted that the current sent up of talks is not meant to go far and that Kenyans had a choice of wrestling their fate from the two leaders:

It is increasingly seeming like my worst fears will be confirmed, and the Annan mediation talks will become a long road to nowhere.

Frustrated as we are, I think it is important for us as Kenyans to keep trying to find ways to wrest the fate of our country from these two power-hungry individuals. You can play your part by doing what you can to support the peace building initiatives and aid effortsthat I have listed below. These efforts are more tangible than signing petitions, wearing bands, etc.

Lets demonstrate that there is a better way to do things and that unlike our leaders, we as Kenyans are ready to do the HARD work necessary to rebuild our country…talk is cheap. I also encourage you to circulate this list widely, especially to people in Kenya who are in position to do something but might not necessarily access my blog…some of these initiatives just need a show of support.

Mwananchi Mkenya has taken issues seriously and is now evaluating the concept of democracy within the party and wondering whether democracy is being undercut:

While PNU never, and ODM-K now offers me no hope, I continue to wrestle with my relationship to ODM.  On one hand they are making amazing contributions to democracy in the country.  PNU needs strong opponents and to be challenged on their crap.   They have shown remarkable resolve in standing up to PNU oligarchs, have built a truly impressive national machinery, and provided Kenyans with a much needed space to articulate the need for true democracy.

But on the other hand ODM is  seriously undercutting the future of democracy in the country.  My frustrations with them are in not working hard enough to avoid targeting one ethnic group.  In my view ODM has been too comfortable framing the issues plaguing the country as those of ethnicity and not those of class.

While considering the happenings in Kenya, Ken Opalo feels that the political class has let Africa down:

The political class has failed Africa. The political class has failed Kenya. The political class has failed me, personally. Why haven’t we produced more Mandelas and less Mobutus? Why do we keep churning out leaders who do not have any sense of what true leadership is about? Leaders who are willing to do whatever they can to improve the situation of Africans? When will they know that politics should never be an end in itself? That political competition is a means to an end and that politics should be used to serve the interest of the African people and not to enrich a few people?

As Achebe put it in the early 1980s, [replacing Nigeria with Africa] The trouble with Africa is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the African character. There is nothing wrong with the African land or climate or water or air or anything else. The African problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.

Regarding the regional and international influence, Morgan writes about the threat by the US to intevene as well as actions taken by regional leaders’ whose countries depend partly on Kenya for economic prospertity:

The Longer the situation is in flux then the problems could not only escalate but even spread. There have been persistent reports of Ugandan Troops along the border with Kenya and keeping a wary eye on its Neighbor. 25% of Uganda’s GDP moves through Kenya. Rwanda has about the same number and for Burundi it rises to 33%. So its not only Kenyans that are suffering.
For Several Years the US has Praised Kenya for being a beacon of Stability in a region where Fighting seems to be a daily norm. Tensions in the Horn of Africa are rising again. Somalia still remains in a perpetual state of anarchy as well. So there was considerable pleasure when Kenya had a Peaceful Change of Government several years ago.


  • scholastica

    kibaki must step down first and you will see the talks will be smoother,i wanted to tell ms. karua to shut up because is making everything worst

  • Bwana Benter

    Dear Mr Annan,
    If I say thank you for a job well done then I;ll be cheatin just because I don;t have the correct words to explain to you how great full we are today for what you have done to our country. Imagine for the 1st time this year I walked to the office at 8.00am and people were there and were planning how to go to the field other days we have been concerned of how to reach home safely before riots starts.
    I urge all kenyans to preach peace and let us forgive one another and forge a head.

  • […] children could not go to school and all along, Mutahi Ngunyi HAD gone silent!  Everybody literary hang their hopes on that “righteous coward” called Kofi Annan. I recall seeing Mutahi on NTV on 28th […]

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