Kenya leader urges backing for deal

Kibaki tells parliament to pass the necessary bills to implement power-sharing pact.

    Security was stepped up for the convening of parliament in Nairobi  on Thursday [AFP]
    But as Kibaki told parliament that the deal would lay "the foundations for peace", at least nine people died in violence in villages around the western town of Laikipia, police said.

    "The attack targeted two villages. Nine people have been killed and eleven other people have sustained serious panga cuts and have been rushed to local hospitals," Julius Mutula, Laikipia West district commissioner, said.

    The region is inhabited chiefly by members of the rival Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes.

    Dead hounoured

    Thursday's parliamentary session was preceded by prayers and two minutes of silence, one in honour of two opposition politicians who were murdered and another for all those killed in the violence.

    After weeks of mediation led by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary- general, Kibaki and Odinga agreed on February 28 to share power in a coalition government.

    Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) won more seats than Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) in the December vote, but fell short of an outright majority.
    Odinga had accused Kibaki of rigging the polls.
    In his speech on Thursday, Kibaki listed four bills that have to be passed - the national accord and reconciliation bill, the constitution of Kenya amendment bill and two more establishing the truth, justice and reconciliation commission and another on ethnic issues.
    He also urged the parliament members to support the power-sharing agreement.
    "Kenyans are keenly watching. They are keen to see an end to  partisan bickering. They want pragmatic solutions, not ideological posturing," Kibaki said. 

    "They want their leaders to place the country above party and individual interests."

    Kenyans 'unsure'

    Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Nairobi, said that a lot of work lies ahead to push these amendments through.

    "Kenyans however, are unsure at just what a power-sharing deal means," she said.

    "Enacting new laws is but a single step in national reconciliation and healing"

    Daily Nation

    "There are provisions in the country's constitution that make way for opposition parties - but there has never been a place given for a prime minister. It is also worth remembering that Kenya has a history of power-sharing deals not working."
    Both sides have also agreed to set up a committee that will outline policies for the coalition government to be formed in the days or weeks ahead.
    The Daily Nation newspaper said in an editorial: "Enacting new laws is but a single step in national reconciliation and healing. The challenge lies in actualising the envisaged legal and constitional changes.

    "The reason behind power sharing is to create checks and balances and to ensure that no individual or group dominates the management of the state."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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