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Adeniji peace talks wind up, formally

NAIROBI, July 30 – Peace talks initiated by the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in February, formally wound up on Wednesday, with the conclusion of the last item on the four-point agenda.

The mediation committee, whose last phase was chaired by Nigerian diplomat Oluyemi Adeniji, wrapped up discussions on constitutional, institutional and land reforms meant to ensure sustainable peace, address poverty, equitable access to opportunity and regional imbalances.

Addressing journalists shortly after the conclusion of the talks at the Serena Hotel, Adeniji said he would set up a team to monitor the implementation of their recommendations.

He emphasised: “All these agreements are not meant gather dust as has been the trend. This time we want to ensure they are carried out to the satisfaction of the Kenyan people.”

Adeniji said the team, to be based at the African Union offices in Nairobi, would conduct periodic reviews and report to the government and Panel of Eminent African Personalities.

Agenda Item Four also addresses tackling unemployment, particularly among the youth, consolidating national cohesion, as well as promoting transparency and accountability in government among others.

The eight-member negotiating team resolved that a new constitution, which is crucial for the implementation of Agenda Item Four, should be in place one year after the Constitution of Kenya Review Bill and the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill are passed by Parliament.

Justice Minister Martha Karua introduced the Bills in the House for the first reading on Tuesday.

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“You cannot expect a new constitution by January because at the beginning of the year you didn’t have a government and the country was up in flames. So you can only count a year after legislators approve those Bills,” Adeniji stated.

“We hope Parliament will show its good faith by adopting those Bills before adjourning.”

The talks of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team began in February this year to end a bloody political crisis in the country.

It is credited with drafting the National Peace Accord that was signed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, effectively ushering in a coalition government and leading to an end to the countrywide flare-up.

Other members of the African Union Panel of Eminent Personalities (leading the mediation process) were Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

The negotiation team comprises of Cabinet Ministers Martha Karua, Moses Wetangula, Mutula Kilonzo, Sam Ongeri, William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi, James Orengo and Sally Kosgei.

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