After a month of talks led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with support from the head of the African Union, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, a power sharing deal has been arrived at in Kenya, that is acceptable to President Kibaki of the Party of National Unity (PNU) and Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
The agreement known as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act is to be “entrenched in the constitution” according to Annan, who announced the details of the agreement.
The essential features of the agreement are:
The creation of the post of Prime Minister with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of government activities; two Deputy Prime Ministers one to be appointed by each leader of the coalition;
The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers can only be removed by a no confidence vote by the majority of the National Assembly;
The Cabinet shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, two deputy Prime Ministers and other Ministers;
No Minister of the coalition may be removed without consultations and the written agreement of the leaders;
The composition of the coalition government must at all times take into the account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect the Parties’ relative Parliamentary strengths;
The coalition will dissolve if parliament dissolves, if both parties agree in writing or if one member withdraws.
The power sharing agreement came just in time to avert more protests and the violence that have been associated with them. Just ahead of the announcement of the deal Raila Odinga, who is set to occupy the post of Prime Minister once it has been formalised, had announced protests if no agreement had been reached.
The protests were cancelled after Annan met with Odinga. Both Annan and Kikwete had to work hard to secure a compromise from the two Kenyan leaders both of whom held firmly to their positions. Reportedly Kabila agreed with the creation of the post of Prime Minister but disagreed with any adjustment to the constitution.
News of the agreement saw thousands celebrating in Kisumu, the hometown of Raila Odinga. Others though were not so quick to celebrate. While admitting to relief at the agreement and the long hoped for end to the violence, the homeless referred to as IDPs – Internally Displaced People, are concerned about the length of time it will take for them to get settled. Others in areas outside of Nairobi are even more sceptical voicing the view that the agreement is between the leaders in the capital and will not address the problems on the ground which some see as tribal and not political.
Odinga speaking to the BBC has pledged to work to rebuild Kenya paying particular attention to the displaced and those who last property and or jobs during the period of instability.