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25 February 2024

Kenya opposition ready to work with Annan team

By Agencies


Kenya's opposition on Friday said it was ready to meet a mediation team headed by ex-UN chief Kofi Annan, after calling for three days of mass protests against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.


Annan, who delayed his visit due a flu infection, is to head a team including Graca Machel, the wife of South African former president Nelson Mandela, and former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, who both arrived in Nairobi on Thursday.

"We are ready to work with the two (Mkapa and Machel) and also we are waiting for Annan to come and join them," Orange Democratic Movement spokesman Salim Lone told AFP. It was unclear when Annan would arrive.

He added that opposition leader Raila Odinga -- who claims he was robbed of the presidency in flawed December 27 elections -- had not so far been contacted by the mediators.

The government has rejected international mediation, but said it would welcome anyone who would "facilitate dialogue" with Odinga.

African Union-led crisis talks on Kenya ended in failure last week but AU chairman, John Kufuor, who is the Ghanaian president, said political rivals had agreed to work with Annan's panel.

At least seven people have died in clashes between police and opposition protesters in Nairobi's slums and western opposition strongholds since the start of three days of rallies on Wednesday.

More than 700 people died and around 250,000 were displaced after more than a week of riots and tribal killings sparked by the December 30 announcement of Kibaki's re-election. (AFP)