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06 December 2023

Kenya’s government says power-sharing structure far from settled

By Agencies

Kenya’s rival politicians remain divided over the details of forming a government together to end the post-election crisis, government negotiators said on Sunday.


The officials said local media reports that the two sides had gotten as far as divvying up ministries were wrong.


Government negotiator Martha Karua said the only items that had been decided on so far were the creation of a prime minister’s post and its responsibility for coordinating government ministries, and the termination of the coalition if parliament is dissolved.


“All other issues are under negotiation, to which end various proposals by the parties are on the table for discussion,” Karua told reporters.


Opposition spokesman Tony Gachoka declined to comment on the statement, saying it did not present any new information.


Kenya’s peace talks have been volleying between a deal and collapse for more than a week now as the country’s politicians struggle to find a compromise to move on from a flawed election that sparked widespread fighting between supporters of the president and his rival from a western ethnic group.


In the latest sign that violence has not completely subsided, police said eight houses were burned in a village near the western town of Molo on Sunday in an apparent clash between Kalenjin and Kikuyu ethnic groups.


Two people – a father and son – were taken to a hospital with injuries, a local police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not an authorized spokesman.


Opposition leader Raila Odinga charges that he was the rightful winner of the December 27 presidential vote, which international and local election monitors have said was manipulated. President Mwai Kibaki maintains that he legitimately won another term.


The ensuing violence, which has killed more than 1,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, has pushed the two sides to agree to form some sort of power-sharing government.


But working out the details of the coalition government has been the problem. Among some of the unresolved issues is whether the constitution will be amended to accommodate the changes to the government.


Both sides have accused the other of stonewalling as talks drag on.


Opposition leaders “are the ones who have been stuck in the same place like a broken record,” government negotiator Mutula Kilonzo said on Sunday. Odinga’s supporters have levied similar charges against Kibaki’s party, even threatening mass protests if concrete progress is not made by the end of the day Wednesday.


Both sides have said they hope for a deal early this week. Karua said the government decided it needed to clarify the details of the negotiations because local papers had gone too far in speculating about the extent of the agreements.


In one of the first attempts to analyse the weeks of violence that followed the disputed vote, a Kenyan human rights group laid a large part of the responsibility for the carnage on police, which were confirmed to have shot into crowds in various areas in attempts to regain control.


The Independent Medico-Legal Unit, which conducted 80 post-mortems on the bodies of people killed in Kisumu, Western Province, Rift Valley and Nairobi, said family members blamed police for the deaths of nearly 30 per cent of them. The group said mobs were blamed for about 9 per cent of the deaths, while more than 60 per cent died without anyone knowing how they were killed.


The group said the majority of deaths in Kisumu and Western Province were from gunshot wounds, while more of those from other areas died from injuries caused by crude weapons. (AP)