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Kibaki will not go to Geneva, says VP

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Monday said that the Geneva meeting called by the Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan could still proceed with the members of the Serena team.

The VP clarified that President Mwai Kibaki would not be attending the meeting, but said members of the Serena mediation team, which played a key role in formulating the National Accord were free to attend the meeting, whose aim is to compare notes on the status of the coalition.

“Let’s get this thing absolutely right, President Kibaki will not go to Geneva,” Mr Musyoka asserted.

“As a diplomat, I have been studying this issue for some time and it is not usual to get a former UN Secretary General inviting a sitting Head of State to a meeting outside of his country. I’m sure even Kofi Annan was not expecting President Kibaki to go to Geneva,” he said.

The VP added that it was not proper for a former UN official to invite a sitting Head of State to a meeting.

Last Thursday, PNU MPs and officials asked President Kibaki not to attend the talks, saying it was disrespectful of Mr Annan to summon Kenya’s President to Switzerland.

“We take exception to Annan’s purported summoning to Geneva of the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya,” they had said.

The UN Office and the Kofi Annan Centre in Geneva sent out invitations nearly two weeks ago indicating that both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga would attend the meeting that is supposed to assess the status of the current power sharing deal, evaluate the implementation of the National Accord and draw lessons that could be shared with Africa and the world.

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Mr Annan chaired talks between PNU and ODM following the disputed presidential election results of the 2007 poll that plunged several parts of the country in violence.

The former UN boss invited President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga, the eight members of the Serena negotiating team, members of the civil society and journalists to the meeting, slated for March 30-31.

Meanwhile, VP Musyoka reassured Kenyans that the Grand Coalition Government will not disintegrate.

“It is clear that the Grand Coalition Government will run its full course, I have been in this game for years. Just like gambling, you have to know when to lay low, when to play high and when to run. I would like to tell those who are complaining that this is not the time to seek high positions; that time will come,” he said.

Mr Musyoka further said he doesn’t see any of the coalition partners moving out of the government.

He dismissed talk of renegotiating the National Accord as not serious and a mere diversion.

“I don’t see anyone, who is ready to leave the Grand Coalition government; there is a lot of chest thumping going around.”

“Talk of renegotiation is not serious; the National Accord is entrenched in the Constitution and cannot be renegotiated. Those calling for such are only trying to divert attention because of the apparent problems with their parties so that it will look like there is a crisis,” he said.

The VP appealed to coalition members to instead address issues affecting Kenyans such as poverty, impunity and joblessness among the youth, rather than engaging in power games.

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“Let us not use the Grand Coalition, which in my view is trying very hard to work, this is the time to address the problems that are gripping our country,” said Mr Musyoka.


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