Kenya’s opposition has threatened to call its supporters back into the streets en masse in a week’s time if parliament is not recalled to pass constitutional amendments to allow for power sharing.
The ODM proposes that parliament be summoned within the next week to enact the necessary changes in the constitution to implement these mediation proposals,” said ODM secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o. “If that does not happen ODM will resume peaceful mass action.” Past demonstrations, following the controversial 27 emections, left about a thousand people dead and several more displaced.
President Kibaki opposes any constitutional change. On Tuesday, Kibaki said he was “willing to work together and share responsibilities in government”, he then went on to say that any agreement “must be in tandem with the current Kenyan constitution”. Analysts say that the government’s insistence on sticking to the constitution ( a treaty drawn during colonisation in need of an overhaul, agreed to by all sides) could block any special new arrangement to accommodate ODM.
Althought the idea of a grand coalition seemed to have been accepted following former UN Secretary general, Kofi Annan’s, announcement of a “very close” solution, the two parties have been battling out how to put that in practice.
On one hand, the opposition lead by Raila Odinga is asking for a prime minister’s position with powers, whilst Kibaki’s team who remains opposed to the creation of a prime minister’s position, has left a number of unfilled cabinet posts to be filled by Odinga’s team, in what it considers a sort of coalition.
Following Odinga’s threat of demonstrations, government negotiator, Mutula Kilonzo said “As mediators, we are immune to intimidation or blackmail” stating that they talks will continue as if there were no threats.
Encouraging both parties to move on with an agreement after meetings with both sides, U.S secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice said in a statement “it can’t be that there is simply the illusion of power-sharing, it has to be real”