Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed Thursday to form a coalition government after weeks of tense negotiating, mediator Kofi Annan said. Hundreds of Kenyans died in fighting that broke out after Odinga’s supporters accused Kibaki of rigging 2007 voting to win re-election. (CNN)
What the commentators said
“This is a glorious and historic day!” said a DailyKos blog. “Annan's efforts may have been the final possible preventative against genocide.” If the agreement holds, Annan deserves consideration for his second Nobel Peace Prize.
“Peace will prevail and the task of re-building the fractured country will begin afresh,” said Kivutha Kibwama in Kenya’s Daily Nation. But a power-sharing arrangement is only a temporary fix. “Kenyans must use the sordid post-election violence” as a springboard, and “re-invent their own country. A non-partisan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission must be established to investigate gross past human rights abuses with a view to ending the era of impunity.”
“There are only ugly answers” if the two sides can’t share power, said Bronwen Maddox in the London Times. The British government has suggested that the Kenyan Army “can be a force for stability,” but giving the military the job of “quelling” political violence “puts too much weight on that valuable but fragile institution.” If the Army ever fractures along the tribal lines dividing Kenya’s politicians, the nation is lost.