Why Kofi Annan is not a hero


Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is a revered man in Kenya. The grey-haired Ghanaian played an instrumental role in mediating peace in 2008.

One year later and almost an entire nation is dissatisfied with the achievements of the Grand Coalition Government. As a result – and in an apparent attempt to reject the blame – ODM has discredited the National Accord.  In essence, they are trashing Kofi Annan’s document that sealed peace in Kenya.

Allow me to play the devil’s advocate.  And as we conduct an appraisal of the coalition government, let us also appraise the former UN boss.

How has Mr Annan performed to ensure that Kenya remained on the path to recovery after the devastating violence? Has he been firm with the two leaders, really? Has he whipped them into shape?

Contrary argument may be fronted here that Kenya is a sovereign State with a functioning government that should not be interfered with by any foreigner. And this is where I ask; does Kenya really have a functioning government or systems that would ensure democracy and sovereignty are maintained should its leaders think otherwise?

I say, no! we don’t. That is exactly why Kofi Annan, Graca Machel, Benjamin Mkapa, Jakaya Kikwete, Ban Ki-Moon and Condoleeza Rice among others flew into Kenya to broker peace and institute a government.

According to the National Accord, the Grand Coalition Government is to be in place until the next elections in 2012, by which time we should have proper institutions that would ensure Mr Annan and his international friends do not have to return to Kenya on a similar mission in future.

In effect, by being a signatory to the Accord albeit as a witness, Mr Annan is still part and parcel of this government. He should share blame for the current mess. Every scandal on oil, maize, the Grand Regency sale, extra-judicial killings etc should have Kofi Annan’s name attached.

Mr Annan, in my opinion has failed Kenya.

I say this because, as the man in charge of keeping the two principals in check, he should use his influence more to ensure that this coalition government delivers reforms and shows commitment to improving governance in Kenya.

In fact, we should stop blaming President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga for the mess, because these two demonstrated to us in early 2008 that they do not have the capacity to govern the country.

Why hasn’t Kofi Annan submitted the Waki list of post-election violence perpetrators to The Hague, as stipulated in the Waki recommendations? Why hasn’t he made an effort to ensure that reforms in the police and electoral systems have kicked off? Why do we still have hundreds of Kenyans living in tented camps? Does Mr Annan imagine that his job was done after the National Accord was signed?

Lately, Mr Annan has resorted to summoning (or inviting, if you insist) Kibaki and Raila to Geneva for ‘a review of the National Accord’. What review? Isn’t it obvious that the Accord is only worth the paper it was written on?

Mr Annan needs to answer to Kenyans why his National Accord has stalled. He drafted it and supervised its adoption and it is therefore his.

He needs to demonstrate leadership by ensuring that the five-year shelf life of this Accord ushers in a new dawn for Kenya devoid of corruption, indecisive leadership, careless and divisive political utterances, police heavy handedness, criminal gangs, hunger, fuel shortage and all ills bedeviling this nation.

Short of that, let history record that Kofi Annan had a chance to help Kenya, but he failed miserably!

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