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Annan arrives for Cabinet ceremony

NAIROBI, April 16 – Chief Mediator Kofi Annan returned to Kenya on Wednesday to attend the swearing-in of the Grand coalition Government that was named on Sunday by President Mwai Kibaki.

Addressing journalists shortly after his arrival, Annan expressed satisfaction over the implementation of the National Accord Act, brokered under his guidance almost two months ago.

He said: “Naming the cabinet was the first step to reconciliation and I’m happy the two leaders agreed on 50-50 power sharing.”

Annan at the same time defended the 40-member Cabinet.

“Many would have wanted a leaner Cabinet but I believe the two principals did what they thought was best for the nation,” the former United Nations Chief said.

He called on President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to ensure that the government they had formed served all Kenyans.

Annan said the Cabinet, which is made up of 91 Ministers and Assistant Ministers should be a cohesive and progressive team that would steer national reconciliation and reforms.

The Chief Mediator urged Parliament and all Kenyans alike to support the merged Government.

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He said: “Kenya is a great country with a bright future but all need to work together for its prosperity.”

Annan left the country early March after a six-week stay.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will arrive in Kenya on Thursday for meetings with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga.

Sharma will be coming from Uganda where he met President Yoweri Museveni, the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office, on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, before departing London for his first overseas trip since he took office as Secretary-General on April 1, Sharma welcomed the April 13 announcement of a power-sharing Cabinet between the Government and the Orange Democratic Movement.

“It is only through sustained leadership and political will at the top that the interest of the nation will be preserved,” he had said.

This spirit of co-operation will enable the country to tackle some of the challenges posed by the disputed December elections, including resettling thousands of people displaced, strengthening the structures and institutions of governance, and eventually reaching a consensus on a new constitution,” he went on.

Sharma will also meet the Speaker of National Assembly Kenneth Marende, and Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula.

In his discussions with the leaders, the Secretary-General is expected to express support for the ongoing national dialogue and reconciliation process, and offer the Commonwealth’s assistance in delivering the necessary reforms.

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