The political crisis in Kenya: A call for justice & peaceful resolution- Maina Kiai – Feb 08

The political crisis in Kenya: A call for justice & peaceful resolution

Pambazuka News

2008-02-07

Maina Kiai

Maina Kiai makes an impassioned plea for seriousness and commitment from all actors in the pursuit for a resolution to Kenya’s political crisis

Kenya is at a cross-road that will mean either the complete disintegration of Kenya or the beginning of a new, more democratic, sustainable nation suited to the needs and aspirations of the Kenyan people in the 21st Century. In a deeply painful and costly manner–in terms of lives lost and destruction wrought—the crisis in Kenya has given the country a unique opportunity to move forward in a way that we have been advocating for the last 20 years. In a sense, Kenya is at its “civil war” moment that the US was at in 1861. Just as that war was pivotal in establishing and solidifying the democratic credentials of the US, this moment could lead Kenya to much greater heights if properly handled both domestically and internationally.

In this context, the mediation currently going on under the leadership of Kofi Annan, Graca Machel and Ben Mkapa is the last best chance for Kenya to move forward. Whatever can be done to keep the players at the table, and keep them there in good faith, is critical. And efforts that delay, or subvert the talks—whether through insensitive statements and actions or by trying to prolong the talks through acts of filibustering—must be condemned. Consistent regional and international pressure is necessary especially on the hardliners who think that the crisis will blow over. The consequences of the failure of the mediation efforts are too dire to imagine not just for Kenya but for the region.

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