Kenyans want action from government, Annan says

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyans want their coalition  government to take concrete action on impunity and political  reforms to avoid a repeat of last year’s post-election violence,  former United Nations chief Kofi Annan said yesterday.

Annan chaired weeks of negotiations last year to end the  ethnic violence that killed at least 1,300 people and uprooted  300,000 after opposition leader Raila Odinga disputed President  Mwai Kibaki’s election win.

Kibaki remained president and Odinga became prime minister  in the deal to form the coalition government. But they have been  dogged by accusations that reforms promised to avoid a repeat of  the violence have been delayed — and those behind the  blood-letting are no closer to facing trial.

“The challenge is to achieve these reforms before the  country enters the next electoral cycle in about one year or 18  months’ time. That is what I will be discussing here, starting  with the two principals,” said Annan, who will meet Kibaki and  Odinga on Monday.

The coalition government has pledged to bring in a new  constitution, reform the police, judiciary and electoral  process, as well as tackling festering disputes over land  ownership that fuelled much of the violence.

But Annan’s frustration with the slow pace of progress  became evident in July when he handed over a list of the top  violence suspects to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in  The Hague.

“Clearly the Kenyan people are expecting more from the  coalition government, more unity of purpose, more progress on  the reform agenda and more concrete action to end impunity and  combat corruption,” Annan told reporters yeterday.

While Kenya may still have the option of setting up a local  tribunal to try the main perpetrators, ICC prosecutor Luis  Moreno-Ocampo seems to be running out of patience.

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