kenyan crisis deal expected next week

Former UN boss Kofi Annan has hinted to the possibility of a political compromise between ODM and PNU by as early as next week. Speaking to the AP Annan said that the two parties have shown positive steps towards finding a political solution to the chaos that have hit the once peaceful East African state. Meanwhile, ODM luminary William Ruto was quoted by the same AP as having said that both parties had agreed to form a unity government. Annan was however reluctant to admit this saying that such statements should not be made prematurely before the actual deal is sealed.

Kenya needs a solution to its crisis fast. The economy is bleeding – jobs are being lost, production capacity has been diminished and investor confidence is at an all time low. The situation has also adversely affected regional economies of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan and Eastern DRC. Last week the Kenyan central bank admitted that 2008 will see a reduction in the projected 5% growth rate.

A deal between the two parties would be the ideal solution because it is obvious that neither can govern the country effectively on its own. Odinga has support in most of Western Kenya and among Kenyan muslims at the coast while Kibaki’s support base is mostly concentrated in the Central region of Kenya. A power sharing arrangement would thus make both blocks happy and promote the spirit of national reconciliation and strengthening of the idea of a united Kenya.

It is also important that the Annan team sees ahead beyond Raila and Kibaki. The deal should not just be designed to please these two aging men but should also include constitutional amendments to reduce the power of the presidency, decentralise government, make the judiciary, legislature and the electoral commission independent and promote equitable sharing of public resources like land and government-provided public goods.

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