Tag Archives: Annan

Kofi Annan Visit Upsets President Mugabe

Former UN chief, Kofi Annan, who helped to negotiate peace in Kenya after a disputed presidential election, announced he was visiting Zimbabwe to examine the current situation and the devastating impact of the humanitarian crisis which has engulfed the nation. President Mugabe’s government which has refused to carry out its promise to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) denounced the visit as a “partisan mission.” Annan works with former US president Jimmy Carter and rights activist Grace Machel, former wife of Nelson Mandela, as a trio of “elders” whose goal is fostering peace and stability. “The purpose of our visit is to meet those working on the ground to better asses the extent of the crisis and how assistance can be improved.”

In the narcissistic world of Robert Mugabe he is never wrong and anyone who expresses an interest in furthering peace in his country is obviously “partisan.” The Elders have but one concern–the people of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has but one concern–maintaining power for himself and his fellow thugs and crooks who have exploited the wealth of Zimbabwe for their own personal gains.

Kenya Compromise Produces A Cabinet

The ongoing saga of whether Kenya will have a coalition government or chaos was hopefully resolved with the announcement a power-sharing arrangement will be in place. Oppositon leaer Raila Odinga has been appointed prime minister anda new 42 member cabinet replaces the previous 17 member one. “Let’s build a new Kenya where justice is our shield and defender, and where pace, liberty and plenty will be found throughout our country,” said President Kibaki. Former UN chief Kofi Annan brokered the arrangement which provides more positions in government to the opposition Orange Development Movement.

There is little doubt the new Cabinet will be rather expensive given its huge size, but, in the long run, spending money to provide jobs for politicians is less expensive than dealing with street demonstrations and the anger of mobs.

Third Intifada In Sight?

During the past few years there have been repeated efforts to mediate the dispute between Israel and Palestinians. Norwegians, Germans, British, Turks, South Africans and a host of Arab nations seek an end to the conflict. Ghazi Hamad, former spokesperson for dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, claims “the Hamas movment conveyed its vision of a comprehensive agreement to several foreign diplomats so they could convey this vision to Israel. Yet all indication show that Israel has not exhibited any enthusiasm for trting this vision in a positive manner.” Among the points submitted to Omar Suleiman, chief of Egyptian General Intelligence is the following:

A mutual cease fire in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on which basis Israel must halt assassinations, invasions, and arrests, and resistance movements must halt firing rockets on Israeli settlements near the Gaza Strip.

A lifting of the siege imposed on the Gaza Stip since mid-June of last year, including reopening of border and commercial crossings.

Completion of the prisoner swap deal by which Israel soldier Gilad Shalit would be released in exchange for therelease of Palestinian prisoneers named by Hamas.

Hamas has met with all resistance groups in Gaza and obtained their agreement to these conditions. Israel’s usual responmse to such proposals is to insist they are attempts to buy time to obtain more weapons. Hamas proposals indicate the gulf between parties can be bridged by people of good will. Why not invite Kofi Ananan, who recently brokered a peace agreement in Kenya, to serve as a mediator in this dispute? He could be assisted by Nelson Mandela to add even further weight to the necessity of resolving the dispute before it escalated into an Israel invasion of Gaza and the end of peace talks.s

Kenya Escapes Blood Bath By Shaking Hands

The clock of war was slowly ticking as opposing forces in Kenya fnally agreed on a power sharing process which will ensure both President Kibaki and his opponent, Raila Odinga, are prepared to share leadership of the government. Kofi Annan and his UN-backed Panel of African Eminent Persons and the African Union hammered out the deal which was finalized by handshakes on the part of Odinga and Kibaki. The agreement provides for restoring the position of Prime Minister and dividing members of the Cabinet based on their voting status in Parliament. Britin’s Gordon Brown hailed the accord as did the United States.

In a speech shortly after signing the agreement, President Kibaki pledged to work to see to it the deal was honored by all parties in Kenya. The prime minister will be elected by Parliament ensuring whichever party has a majority would now have a say in governing the country. But, despite this agreement, much work must be done. The past few months have witnessed unleashng of tribal anger and this requires ending prejudice and ensuring that all Kenyans enjoy equal economic, social and political equality. A great deal of multicultural education must be done in schools.

Why Kenya Peace Talks Collapsed!

The Kenya Daily Standard reported a member of President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity engaged in a heated exchange with the Panel of Eminent Persons led by Kofi Annan. As a result of the apparent Kibaki refusal to compromise, Kofi Annan has suspended any further discussions to resolve the impasse arising from the fraudulent election for president. The Daily Standard says the Kibaki minister exploded when Annan tried to steer discussions towards what was already drafted in the report of the Legal Working Group. In the ensuing exchange of words, accusations and epithets were hurled around the room as the PNU and the Orange Democratic Movement confronted one another in a slinging match. Both Annan and former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa found themselves attacked and questions raised about their integrity.

The Kibaki rejection of a fair election has resulted in 1000 people dead in Kenya and over 500,000 displaced. Annan was sad that neither party appeared able to grasp the enormity of the situation and the importance of compromise. A major stumbling block is refusal on the part of President Kibaki to surrender some of his power to a prime minister who would come from the ODM.

Secretary of State Condi Rice told the Kenyan leaders, “we will draw our own conclusions about who is responsible for lack of progress and take the necessary steps. We will also exert leadership with the United Nations.”

Bush Talks-Kenya Reacts!

Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula, reacted with anger to a recent comment by President Bush concerning the political crisis in the African nation. Bush commented a power sharing agreement was the only way out of the impasse. The African diplomat angrily responded; “We will not be led, guided or given conditions by foreign States on how to reach a solution to solve the political impasse in Kenya. They will not tell us to do this or that. Holding a gun to our heads is something we will not take.” Leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement endorsed the Bush comment leading to angry words between parties trying to deal with the problem.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been working with all sides in an attempt to reach a consensus for a solution that can work. This is not the time for an American or British or any other foreign nation to intrude into the complex task of resolving opposing views. President Bush appears to forget that within a day of Kibaki claiming victory in the presidential election, the Bush administration endorsed his “victory.” Did that swift endorsement play a role in hardening the initial desire of Kibaki not to compromise? At this point, Annan is the best hope for achieving a solution. It would be best if, for once, the Bush administration relied on the old adage that silence is golden.

State Department Foot And Mouth Disease On Kenya

The Bush adminisltration constantly proclaims its commitment to democracy and the rights of nations to pursue their own destinies because our beloved president does not wish to repeat the failed policies of Bill Clinton’s nation building. Kenya is in the midst of a crisis and former UN Secretrary General Kofi Annan is hard at work to find a compromise solution. However, Jendayl Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa recently commented: “We’ll find an international mechanism if they can’t find it internally(within Kenya).” Of course, the US embassy in Kenya, immediately contradicted the Frazer comment. T.J. Dowling bluntly stated, “The U.S. has no plan B and an intervention plan will certainly not come from us. However, the UN and the African Union will intervene if major problems occur, but that is a very long shot.”

The only certainty about a Bush foreign policy in any area of the world is that at some point contradictions regarding his goals will emerge. One is left with the impression no one is ever in charge at the State Department. Annan is handling the situation, the least Bush people can do is to remain silent and let the man do his work. If George Bush had a brain he would have invited Annan to the Annapolis Conference and tried to use his talents in resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Of course, one must always remember George Bush promised, if elected, not to follow the Clinton nation building approach to foreign policy.

Peace In Kenya– Or Else, Warn Powers

The British government has warned any individuals who stand in the way of the Dr. Kofi Anan-led mediation talks that any obstruction would “face the consequences.” The Swiss government also supported the tough stand of Great Britain by saying it would cancel visas for obstructionists. The mediation effort has reached a critical point and there is need for all parties to work with Annan on completing the task of reconciliation and peace. England’s Foreign Minister David Miliband is encouraged that Annan has been able to usehis panel of Eminent Persons to make the process of peace work.

The concerns expressed by Great Britain and Switzerland revolve around Annan’s proposal that, after a two year period of coalition government, there would be a new general election for president. This has upset the Kibaki government which does not wish to relinquish power before its completion of office. Reality is there must be an election in the near future if peace is finally to arrive in Kenya.

Kenya Moves Towards Peace Settlement

Former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, apparently has been able to get both political parties engaged in a dispute over the recent presidential elections, to come togther in a spirit of problem solving. President Kibaki and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, have agreed there must be a negotiated settlement. Annan said: “We all agreed that a political settlement is neceessary.” There is some talk, Raila Odinga of the ODM, will be given a role in the government, but these details have yet to be completely resolved. As Annan noted: “These things always begin with intransigence. They will have to shift.” The obvious major issue is how much power will President Kibaki agree to share. He already has backed down from telling the ODM to take their complaints to a court.

There is increasing evidence Kibaki’s blatant vote stealing was used as a pretext by tribal groups to deal with old grievances that date back to colonial and post colonial events. Over a 1000 people are dead and 350,000 displaced. A political settlement is merely the first step in confronting issues that have been placed on the backburner of history for far too long.