Former UN chief Kofi Annan will visit Kenya this weekend to meet political leaders who are under fire from donors for delays to badly-needed reforms after last year’s post-election violence in east Africa’s biggest economy.
Annan chaired the weeks of negotiations that gave birth to Kenya’s grand coalition government and ended ethnic turmoil that had killed at least 1300 people, uprooted more than 300 000 others and disrupted business across the region.
A condition of the deal that forged the unity administration was that the architects of the chaos, including government ministers, would face justice, either at a specially created local tribunal or before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Kenyan media said ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo would also visit the country next week, but a spokesperson in Moreno-Ocampo’s office said that was wrong.
Annan’s office said yesterday he would be in Kenya from October 4-7 to assess progress on the agreements that he brokered, especially the need for reforms to deal with grievances like land issues and wealth inequality.
“Annan looks forward to holding discussions with the two principals, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, as well as members of the dialogue team and other political leaders,” it said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the ICC said it intended to pursue charges against those most responsible for last year’s bloodshed.
“Can’t have it both ways”
In a statement, Moreno-Ocampo said he wanted the ICC to try the worst offenders, a special tribunal as defined by Kenya’s parliament to handle the others, and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look at the underlying causes of the violence.
He said Kenya would be a world example of how to manage violence. His office said “decisive consultations” with top officials in Kenya would take place in the coming weeks.
The Kenyan government has said it will deal with the leaders of the violence itself. But numerous attempts to kick start the process have foundered and the administration has committed to referring the case to the ICC prosecutor if it fails.
A bill to set up a local tribunal was defeated in parliament, leaving Kenyans doubting whether powerful individuals will ever be charged for their role in the bloodshed due to widespread impunity among the political class.
In July, Annan gave Moreno-Ocampo a sealed envelope containing the names of 10 suspects, believed to include a number of influential ministers.
Western donor nations believe making examples of Kenyan political heavyweights may help avoid more violence at the next election due in 2012. But analysts say indicting senior figures could rip the already feuding coalition apart at a time when donor nations have been pushing its members to work together.
“Those who are saying they want justice and an end to impunity, they also say, make the grand coalition work,” one Nairobi-based analyst said. “You can’t have it both ways.”
Pic: Former UN Chief- Kofi Annan