Nigerian diplomat jets in as peace talks resume

Nigerian diplomat jets in as peace talks resume

Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji from Nigeria is expected to arrive today to assist former UN chief Kofi Annan in the mediation efforts. Mr Adeniji is a former Nigerian minister and UN official. And Government and ODM negotiators yesterday held an informal meeting to prepare for the official resumption of the mediation talks today.

Government representatives, Cabinet ministers Martha Karua, Sam Ongeri and Moses Wetangula, and MP Mutula Kilonzo met ODM’s Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, James Orengo and Sally Kosgei in the absence of Mr Annan. And the African chapter of the Human Rights Watch has said a political agreement in Kenya was a step forward, but politicians must take immediate steps to ensure accountability for human rights violations for further negotiations to build lasting stability.

The group said that the country’s record of impunity for past episodes of political violence, particularly during the 1992 and 1997 elections, had directly contributed to the current crisis.

The New York-based rights body said yesterday in a statement that by failing to hold those most responsible for past abuses accountable, previous Kenyan governments sent the message that organising or inciting political and ethnic violence carried no penalty. “Impunity for the political violence of the 1990s continues to fuel clashes. “This mediation process is a historic opportunity to ensure justice for past and present human rights abuses and correct the systemic failures of governance in Kenya,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. Land reforms Successive Kenyan governments have been accused of failing to implement critical constitutional, judicial and land reforms. They have also been accused of failing to address pervasive corruption and restructuring the police. At least 1,000 people have died while 350,000 have been displaced by violence following the controversial December 2007 presidential elections. The violence has, however, turned away from the election and is now more between communities, with past injustices such a land grabbing and inequality taking centre stage.

Human Rights Watch researchers in Kenya were earlier reported to have documented several patterns of serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings and excessive use of force by the police. They also reported ethnic-based attacks and reprisals by militia groups on both sides of the political divide. Rein in excesses In many cases, the human rights body reported, community leaders and local politicians actively incited and, in some cases, directly organised the attacks. The group further accuses the national political leaders on both sides of having done little to rein in the excesses of their supporters. Human Rights Watch has welcomed the agreement by the ruling and opposition parties to establish a panel to review the elections and consider a truth, justice and reconciliation commission, among other reforms. It has also called on the Kenyan leaders to ensure that the agreement produced by the mediation process addresses both accountability and significant institutional reform.
Daily Nation

Pambazuka 

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