4 February 2008

Kenya: Institutions Have Failed Kenyans - Kagame

Kigali — President Paul Kagame on Monday said the ongoing post election chaos in Kenya have become difficult to deal with because the institutions supposed to do just that have either "failed, are not there or have been compromised", RNA reports.

"For things to go the way they have been, I believe up to this day (that) institutions that should have dealt with such problems are not effective, or are not there or have been comprised in one way or another and cannot deal with that situation", Mr. Kagame told a press conference in Kigali.

The President was emphasising his recent comments in which he was quoted to have proposed that the Kenyan military should step in to put the country back to normacy. He had been whether his comments were "personal" or the position of the Rwandan government on the situation in Kenya.

In a lengthy reponse, he told his audience that he "knew the likely interpretation" of his comments for a military solution. "I knew it - but somestimes you have to say what people may not be able to say - for putting so much value on those niceties (talks)", said Kagame.

He emphasised: "I knew people would start wondering what I mean but that is what I meant and am not creating anything but talking about a situation that exists on the ground".

"My position was (that) in such a situation where you have no clear-cut way forward - based on what the institutions should be doing - a vacuum is created and that vacuum is bound to suck in something - something is bound to occupy that vacuum for worse or better", said Kagame.

He added: "I was trying to see that situation and imagined people going on endlessly with debates or dialogue - as it is happening - at the same time people on the ground dying the way they are."

"Before Kofi Annan, there were other respectable leaders who came in.maybe tomorrow another person - they are there saying Kibaki and Raila come together, bring their two sides - blah blah - but on the ground you have reports of hundreds of people dying, burnt in houses, homes or the streets, and getting worse" he said.

President Kagame said his argument is based on the "thinking" that dialogue was taking long to yield results to stop the violence which could lead into "total chaos in Kenya". He however said the situation in Kenya is 'totally different' from what happened in Rwanda.

"Maybe one of the instiutions that may seemingly be stable, or be effective like the army could go to stop the killings primarily as people get time for those important niceties of talking and negociating", he said with laughter.

Mr. Kagame proposed three possible solutions but added that each had its "own merits and lacks". Number one, as he put it could be a re-run of the elections but this could be workable if mechanisms are put in place to ensure that "this time the winner is the winner".

Number two, Mr. Kagame continued, Kenya could have a recount of the votes. "But am not sure if we have anything on the ground to count again - either this is totally lost or it has been tempered with, or you will not have access to it somehow, but you could attempt that if it makes sense", he said.

In option three, Mr. Kagame said the Rwanda experience of power-sharing, though not very popular with "some people", could be applied.

"You could say - 'you know what, we have disagreements and it seems we will not agree with each other soon - so why don't we settle for a common ground' - " Kagame said adding "why don't you share this thing you are fighting for".

He went on: "the winner and the loser - who (-ever) has that in his mind.why don't you share how you govern this country atleast to stabilize the situation on the ground to be able to have more time and move forward in the near future".

This, as he explained means "the ODM and this other party", that he could not bring to mind immediately - before he chipped in "the PNU sharing power".

"Sometimes when I see these things happen, I feel that Rwanda is vindicated in the sense that when Rwanda went the way - in its constitution - of power sharing, of consesus building, and so fourth - people were wondering what sort of democracy that was", said President Kagame.

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