A gradual reduction in post-election violence has been observed across the country in the past week.
The US Secretary of State Ms Condoleezza Rice arrived in the country on Monday 18th February. After separate meetings with President Kibaki, Mr. Raila Odinga and Kofi Annan, She said that President Kibaki and Mr. Raila Odinga must come together and there is need to have a power sharing arrangement for the country to move forward. She however, cleared the air over the involvement of the US and the international community in the political crisis in the country stating that they were not dictating the type of coalition government that would end the stalemate.
Yesterday (19th February 2008) President Kibaki signaled the kind of agreement he is proposing to help resolve the political crisis which has engulfed the country since the disputed elections. He said he was willing to work with and share government responsibilities with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), but within the existing constitution while a new one is being written. He said the government fully supports a comprehensive constitutional review within 12 months as a “correct platform to systematically address the challenges that face the country”.
The Position of ODM contrasts that of president Kibaki as the leaders want an executive Prime Minister appointed to share power with the president. The president would then be Head of State and the Prime Minister Head of Government. They also want cabinet and other government positions shared out proportionally according to party strength in parliament. They are also proposing a two year period to review the constitution before a re-run of the presidential race.
On 15th February 2008, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) released a statement that read in Part: “We regret that we as church leaders were unable to effectively confront these issues because we were partisan. Our efforts to forestall the current crisis were not effective because we as the membership of NCCK did not speak with one voice. We were divided in the way we saw the management of the elections; We identified with our people based on ethnicity; and After the elections, we are divided on how to deal with the crisis.
As a result, we together with other church leaders have displayed partisan values in situations that called for national interests. The church has remained disunited and its voice swallowed in the cacophony of those of other vested interests. We call on church leaders to recapture their strategic position as the moral authority of the nation. We have put in place measures to enable us overcome the divisive forces, and set off on a new beginning. As the church we will do our best in helping achieve the rebirth of a new Kenya”.
CMS held a one day post election violence debrief for all Nairobi office staff on Wednesday 14th February 2008. This session enabled all the staff members to speak out their feelings on the current situation and how they have been affected. This was followed by a session on dealing with trauma and how we can be able to help other people who are going through the same.
The National Alliance of Churches, Humanitarian Crisis co-ordination centre has continued to function as an intermediary between those in need and the church/NGO’s who have been motivated to respond to the needs.
There is still need for food, medicine, clothing , beddings and temporary shelter for the internally displaced persons (IDP’s) in camps, need for school fees for the secondary school going students who have been displaced and have not been able to
report back to school. There is also need for funds to help re-settle the people back to their rural homes.
Please continue praying for the mediation talks led by Kofi Annan, and for healing and reconciliation among the Kenyan people that we will be able to appreciate diversity and embrace positive ethnicity.
Report compiled by Ken Mwangi - CMS Africa