The Star (Nairobi)

10 December 2012

Kenya: Why Annan Keeps Coming to Kenya

A four-item agenda agreed between ODM and PNU on February 1, 2008 is at the heart of the persistent visits former UN secretary general Kofi Annan keeps making in Kenya.

The agreement was signed by deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi then a newly elected MP for Sabatia on behalf of ODM and then Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua for PNU side.

Annan signed it as a witness and on behalf of the panel of African eminent personalities. The first agenda was immediate action to stop the then ongoing violence and restore fundamental freedoms and liberties.

The second was immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis and promote healing and reconciliation. The third was on how to overcome the then prevailing political crisis and the fourth and most important the long-term issues and solutions required to secure Kenya back on track.

Although the first, second and third agenda's were more or less settled within the alloted time- within 7 to 15 days of the commencement of the talks, agenda four was not to be solved within the one year alloted time.

"Poverty, the inequitable distribution of resources and perceptions of historical injustices and exclusion on the part of segments of Kenyan society constitute the underlying causes of the prevailing social tensions, instability and cycle of violence," the preamble of agenda four stated.

Issues to be tackled under this agenda included constitutional reforms, tackling poverty and inequity, tackling unemployment especially among the youth, consolidating national cohesion and unity, undertaking land reform and addressing transparency, accountability and impunity.

An agreement on agenda three signed on February 14, 2008 under Annan also reiterated that the political solution could only be anchored properly under a "broad reform agenda and other mechanisms" to address the root causes of the crisis.

The parties were represented by Martha Karua, Sam Ongeri, Moses Wetangula and Mutula Kilonzo for PNU and Mudavadi, James Orengo, Sally Kosgey and William Ruto for ODM. They explicitly stated the need for constitutional, electoral, parliamentary and judicial reforms.

They also stated prosecution of perpetrators of the violence, police reforms and truth commission as action points to further achieve objectives of agenda three. They agreed that issues in agenda four are closely linked to agenda three.

"The implementation of the (agenda four) reforms should commence urgently in concert with reforms of Agenda Item Three. However, these processes may continue beyond the time-line of the next election," they agreed.

The two sides agreed sharing of power was not enough and that addressing the root causes of the crisis was more important. They also reaffirmed their commitment to address the issues "expeditiously and comprehensively".

Later on May 23, 2008 under Annan's successor Oluyemi Adeniji, the parties agreed to implement agenda four and to seek international expertise and support if necessary in doing so. They also agreed to "request the panel" to provide support on a need basis.

Subsequently, an independent monitoring project was put up to generate periodic reports on the implementation process on quarterly basis. Annan the chief mediator has since been following up on the pertinent issues raised by the project monitoring reports.

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