Kenya: Kibaki and Odinga meet

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The chief protagonists in the Kenya’s post-election dispute, President Mwai Kibaki, and opposition leader Raila Odinga held their first consultative meeting Tuesday since signing an accord last week to form a grand coalition government.

Speaking after the meeting in the president’s office, Mr. Odinga said they discussed the structure of the envisaged grand coalition government and the implementation of the agreement that was brokered buy former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and chair of African Union (AU), President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.

“We met, just the two of us. We discussed how our parties are going to share power and responsibilities. We want to form a coalition government that will work as one team,” he said.

He said they discussed the process of national healing in the wake of ethnic animosities precipitated by last December’s disputed presidential poll results.

The meeting was a confidence booster for the country that is smarting from the worst political crisis since independence in 1963.

Over 1,500 people were killed in the post-election violence and an estimated 600,000 have been internally displaced.

Odinga said, “We want to embark on national healing immediately. This issue must be given priority as a way of uniting the country. We want to ensure that the ethnic rifts caused by the poll disputes are behind us as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Odinga is being accorded round the clock state security as he prepares to ascend to the second most powerful position in the country after the president.

Security at his house in Nairobi and his rural home in Nyanza province in western Kenya has been beefed up even before parliament passes necessary legal and constitutional amendments to formalise his Prime Minister’s portfolio.

In addition, the opposition leader has been assigned state limousines, signalling an end to hostilities between him and Kibaki. Panapress

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