Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Kenya: Senate Passes Feingold-Sununu Measure Supporting Peaceful Resolution to Kenyan Electoral Crisis.
United States Senate (Washington, DC)
30 January 2008
Posted to the web 30 January 2008
Today, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution authored by U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John Sununu (R-NH), condemning the recent violence in Kenya following the country's December 2007 elections and calling on both of Kenya's leading presidential candidates to support a peaceful resolution to the electoral crisis.
The bipartisan resolution introduced by Feingold and Sununu, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs respectively, also calls for an international audit of the election results.
In the month since the elections took place, violence has claimed hundreds of Kenyan lives and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes.
The resolution is cosponsored by 21 other senators.
"I am very pleased the Senate has acknowledged that the crisis in Kenya must be resolved peacefully, with the first step being internationally brokered negotiations," Feingold said. "The U.S. Senate is also now on record in support of an independent and transparent review of the entire electoral process and its outcome. I hope President Bush joins us in calling on Kenya 's political leaders to refrain from igniting violence and remain engaged in the U.N.-led international effort to bring peace to a troubled nation."
"The United States Senate has unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to the people of Kenya and their pursuit for democracy," said Senator Sununu. "The continuing violence and unrest is of great concern to the United States and the international community. Both parties must continue to work together to find a credible and appropriate solution to the current crisis so that the country can return stability and peace to its people."Feingold and Sununu's Kenya Resolution, S.Res.431:
-Condemns the ongoing violence
-Supports an international audit of election results
-Urges President Bush to consider sanctions and support diplomatic efforts
-Calls on the leading Kenyan presidential candidates to respect the will of the Kenyan people
-Calls on Kenya security forces to refrain from excessive use of force
-Calls on the international community to provide assistance to Kenyan refugees
-Calls for an end on media restrictions
-Condemns threats to civil society leaders
-Holds all political actors in Kenya responsible for the safety of civil society leaders and human rights advocates
-Commends the Kenyan people for their commitment to democracy
Below is a communication from an expert on African Security: Dr. Wafula Okumu who is based in Pretoria, RSA
From my end in the far south I can assure you that I am doing my level best. I returned from Addis and Nairobi over the weekend after attending meetings on Kenya. I then gave a well-attended seminar to the diplomatic community and the media in Pretoria on Monday. My analysis, also shared widely with key players seeking a resolution to the political crisis in our beloved land, was based on my visit home during the elections and last week. In summary, this is what I presented in the seminar on Monday:
I critically reviewed the following proposals:
• Conduct an inquiry by a competent and independent team of respectable persons
• Re-tally election results & announce through a special Constitutional Court
• A rerun of the presidential election
• Hold a fresh presidential election within the next three months
• Formation of a GNU (divide executive powers) brokered by international mediators
• A political solution--divide the presidential terms into two & form an interim government with a specific agenda
My conclusions are that our problems have become too complicated to be resolved through a legal framework. For instance, conditions do not exist for a re-run or a fresh presidential election. Formation of a GNU is also a long shot as ODM would have none of it. Even re-tallying of the votes could not be possible as results from 130 constituencies are contaminated. It is most likely that a recount and/or re-tally would be inconclusive. In view of this, the most logical proposal is to have an interim government with a divided term and shared powers. This will mean Kibaki will rule up to June 2010 and hand over power to Raila who will rule for the remaining term. This interim government should have shared executive powers with each side switching ministries at mid-term. During this interim period, the government will have a very specific agenda and mandate focusing on:
1. Constitutional reforms addressing:
improved electoral framework—the ECK must be reconstituted to make it transparent, accountable and respectable
transfer of power (the short period to handover power after an election partly contributed to the violence)
devolution and distribution of resources
structure of government and powers of the executive (the era of the imperial presidency must come to an end in Kenya)
2. Restoration of security (this will require building a professional police service)
3. Restorative justice
4. Truth & reconciliation
Peeping into the crystal ball, I came up with the following most likely Scenarios:
Failure of Annan mediation (this will lead to continued stalemate and increased violence)
Militianization of the country and full-blown civil war
Military take-over (this could go either Ivory Coast or Mali/Mauritania way)
Success of Annan mediation and formation of interim (coalition government similar to the Burundi and Mauritius)
Although the last one is the best case scenario, we should watch out for the others as the dynamics are changing so fast and we could be breeding numerous peace-spoilers at an alarming rate.
Let's hear from your end!
Courtesy of Achieng Warambo.