3 December 2012

Kenya: Annan, Mkapa Deny Meddling in Kenyan Affairs

African Union (AU) Panel of Eminent Personalities members Kofi Annan and Benjamin Mkapa on Monday denied claims they are meddling in Kenya's internal affairs.

Annan, a former UN Secretary-General, and Mkapa, a former Tanzanian President, are members of the Annan-led panel which brokered the peace talks that ended the 2007 post-election violence, culminating in the formation of Kenya's Grand Coalition Government.

The violence was sparked by the disputed election in which incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner by the now disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), to the chagrin of his key challenger, Raila Odinga.

The ensuing violence left 1,300 people dead and 350,000 displaced.

The pair brushed aside the meddling claims when they met Chief Justice Willy Mutunga as part of their three-day tour of Kenya which ends Tuesday.

They described themselves as friends of Kenya, whose core mandate is to help the east African country in its reform process.

The two leaders said they were in the country to observe the framework laid out by various institutions to ensure security, transparency and peace during the March 4, 2013 election period.

"We have been engaged since 2008. A lot has happened and as we look forward to the next elections, I am sure most Kenyans are hoping for free and fair elections and we as friends and people of goodwill wish the country well.

"There are lots of goodwill to the people of Kenya in the outer world and these people would want to see this happen.

"That is what has kept us engaged in the process over the years, and that is what we are here to encourage as we move towards March 2013," he said.

The pair said they actively participated in the mediation process and were determined to ensure Kenya succeeds in its efforts to restore its institutions, especially through democratic elections.

Some politicians, especially presidential aspirants Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, have been critical of Annan's frequent visit to Kenya, at times accusing him of favouring certain presidential aspirants.

Uhuru and Ruto are among the initial six Kenyan suspects, whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution suspected of playing key roles in the post-election violence.

Other suspects were former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, former Head of Public Service and Secretary to The Cabinet Francis Muthaura, broadcast journalist Joshua Sang and Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey.

The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber 2 acquitted Ali and Kosgey, citing lack of sufficient evidence, but ruled that Uhuru, Muthaura, Ruto and Sang should answer crimes against humanity charges at The Hague from March 11, 2013.

Unlike other ICC suspects who are held in custody at The Hague, the Kenyan suspects are free and will only be held in custody if they breach the terms and conditions given by the ICC.

In the meantime, Uhuru and Ruto have crafted a pre-poll alliance in which Uhuru will be the presidential contender and Ruto his running mate.

Annan was the one who forwarded to ICC the envelope containing the names of people suspected to have played key roles- masterminding and funding- the violence.

The envelope was presented to High Court Judge Philip Waki, who led the Commission of Inquiry into the post-election violence.

Chief Justice Mutunga assured the two leaders that the Judiciary had seriously considered the elections and was ready to handle any disputes arising therefrom.

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