The Annan led team trying to reestablish sanity in Kenya will from tomorrow start looking at the most contentious issues thus far – the issues of the alleged election fraud, land, economic disparity and constitutional reform to limit the powers of the president. This is expected to be the most critical stage of the negotiations because most of the violence that has visited Kenya over the last month was caused either directly or indirectly by one or a combination of the above factors.
The government side has indicated that it will not compromise on the matter of Kibaki having been elected even as the ODM continues to insist that the election was stolen by the Kibaki camp. Today (Wednesday, 5th) both sets of negotiators held meetings with their respective principals to brief them on the goings on in Serena. Annan, who has been joined by former Tanzanian president Mkapa and Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, expressed optimism over the talks. His sentiments were echoed by both Ruto and Kilonzo of ODM and PNU-ODM-Kenya respectively.
Meanwhile the central bank governor issued a statement saying that the Kenyan economy is expected to fail to meet the projected annual growth of 5% for the year 2008. This he attributed to the adverse effect the recent violence has had on production, consumption and investor confidence. The private sector estimates that more than 400,000 Kenyans will lose their jobs if the situation does not improve soon. This would be bad for a country with unemployment rate that is approaching the high forties.
Kenyan leaders ought to know that the last thing they need is even more angry, hungry and jobless young people in the streets.