Hague: Raila pleads with Annan

February 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – Former United Nations Chief Kofi Annan has extended the Waki timelines to enable the government create laws for the establishment of a special tribunal, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Tuesday.

Mr Odinga said he had been in constant touch with Mr Annan who had assured him that he would hold onto the secret envelop until Kenya puts its house in order.

This follows last week’s developments that led to the defeat of the tribunal Bill by legislators in Parliament.

“Dr Annan will hold on to the envelop a little longer to give the Government of Kenya time to sort out issues that led to the collapse of attempts to create a local tribunal to try election violence suspects,” the PM told Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma.

Mr Sharma had paid a courtesy call on him on Tuesday afternoon.

“The PM said that the window may remain open for at most two months, by which time the government hopes to have convinced enough MPs to support a local tribunal,” the statement adds.

Mr Sharma on his part said Kenya could try a middle way between The Hague and the local tribunal.
He said Kenya had an option of setting up a tribunal made up of foreign judges and legal experts but try the suspects locally.

“The Secretary General said the Commonwealth would provide assistance should Kenya ask for it,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s office added.

Mr Sharma said he was happy with the progress Kenya had made in months since the peace agreement was signed.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, outlined the difficulties of running a coalition government, which he described as a pioneering experiment in Africa.

He said MPs supported The Hague option for different reasons but only singled out two.

One group, the PM said, supported The Hague because of fear that a local tribunal would be open to manipulation.

“Another group favoured The Hague out of belief that it would be a lengthy process that would take at least seven to six years before it kicks off, if it ever does,” he is reported to have told the Commonwealth boss.

The PM said it was an achievement that after fighting a bitter election in 2007, the two parties have been able to agree on a number of issues, including the dismantling of the Electoral Commission of Kenya and setting up an interim one, as recommended by a commission of inquiry.

He said that of all the steps taken since the power sharing deal was signed, the implementation of the Waki Report had been the most difficult but also the most critical to Kenya’s survival as a democratic state.


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