The Monitor (Kampala)

Kenya: Museveni Proposes Power Sharing Deal to Raila, Kibaki

Kampala — PRESIDENT Museveni yesterday handed three proposals, including a power sharing deal, to his Kenyan counterpart, President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader, Raila Odinga, in his renewed push to quell a polls dispute that has left hundreds dead.

Mr Museveni's press secretary, Tamale Mirundi told Daily Monitor yesterday by telephone from Nairobi that the first proposal the Ugandan leader tabled was the creation of a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate "areas of contention as provided on both sides, especially on the claims of vote rigging."

He revealed that the two warring sides had in principal agreed to the proposal "but President Kibaki insisted that the Kenyan government should appoint members of the commission."

That position, Mr Mirundi said, was out-rightly rejected by the opposition, who said all parties should have a say in the appointment of members.

The last proposal Mr Museveni put forward was a power sharing deal, Mr Mirundi said, but the Kibaki government insisted that it cannot share power with "killers."

"The government said the opposition's hands are stained with blood; they have been involved in killing innocent civilians, a charge the opposition has also roundly denied," Mr Mirundi said. By yesterday evening, there were no clear signs that the current political crisis would be ending.

However, Mr Museveni extended his stay in Nairobi and made the consensual decision not to return home yesterday, because "there was some sort of breakthrough," Mr Mirundi revealed.

Although he did not go into specifics, he said that Mr Museveni had planned to return home yesterday, "in fact the President had checked out of his hotel and the presidential jet had been cleared at the airport."

Significantly, Mr Museveni later held a second meeting with President Kibaki, but attended by Prof. Anyang' Nyong'o, the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) secretary general, Mr Mirundi said.

That meeting brings the number of meetings Mr Museveni has held with Mr Kibaki, to three.

Mr Mirundi also revealed that President Museveni met former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday morning "for about ten minutes", along with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Marchel, Mr Nelson Mandela's wife.

The trio are in the country in mediation efforts to end weeks of unrest over Kenya's December 27 disputed poll that has left hundreds of people dead.

It also emerged that Mr Annan and his team of international mediators yesterday had a busy day setting the groundwork for their efforts to end the post election crisis gripping Kenya.

Mr Annan first presided over efforts to set up a secretariat to coordinate his team's work in Nairobi before meeting the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kenneth Marende.

On a day characterised by high stakes diplomacy, Mr Annan, in tow with President Museveni, met President Kibaki yesterday and was scheduled to meet ODM leader Raila Odinga later in the evening.

Daily Monitor also learnt that Mr Museveni was put on the spot at a meeting with Mr Odinga on Tuesday, over the alleged presence or involvement of Ugandan security operatives in Kenya.

But Mr Museveni reportedly denied the allegation and said he had intially not taken the claims seriously.

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