Skip to main content

Kenyan president pushes peace deal

  • Story Highlights
  • Kenya's president urges lawmakers to enforce new power-sharing agreement
  • Parliament convening for first time since deal was signed
  • Dispute over election uleashed weeks of bloodshed
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- President Mwai Kibaki urged the Kenyan parliament Thursday to pass into law a power-sharing deal reached last week aimed at ending the violence that followed the country's disputed presidential election in December.

"Kenyans need to hear and be reassured by their political leaders that they can live, own property, and do business in any part of the country without fear of prejudice, harassment or persecution," Kibaki told parliamentary members.

"In this regard, we propose to bring to the House a comprehensive policy and accompanying legislation that will ensure that the threat to our national security and social cohesion caused by negative ethnicity is neutralized for the well-being of our country," he said.

Under the United Nations-brokered peace agreement, which Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed last week after two months of bitter dispute and violence following the December 27 presidential election, Odinga will become prime minister. The post does not currently exist under the Kenyan constitution.

The agreement, called the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, establishes that the president, vice president, prime minister and other ministers will form the government's cabinet -- with the addition of two deputy prime ministers who will be appointed by the president.

The act also stipulates that ministers cannot be fired without written permission from their party.

Peace negotiations were initiated in the wake of violence after the presidential elections, which incumbent Kibaki narrowly won amid allegations that the vote was rigged.

Election observers from the European Union said they doubted the legitimacy of the count, and analysts said it was probable that both of the main parties had been involved in electoral fraud.

Violence and chaos erupted, with some fighting breaking down along tribal lines. Members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and the Luos, the tribe of Odinga, had been in the middle of the ethnic clashes.

The clashes left about 1,000 people dead and displaced more than 300,000, according to John Holmes, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

More than 270,000 Kenyans remain in 200 camps, and 12,000 others are being looked after in Ugandan camps, Holmes said last week. He estimated that half a million Kenyans overall are in need of emergency shelter, water, food and medical care.

On Thursday, Kibaki urged parliamentary members to look beyond the violence of past months. "Please forget history of what has happened, not because you want to put it aside, but because you want to do something much better," he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Mwai KibakiRaila Odinga

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print