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.