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Mudavadi heads to Annan talks in Geneva

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi left the country on Saturday night for a two-day meeting called by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan, to assess the status of the power sharing deal between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement.

Mr Mudavadi is leading the Kenyan delegation that includes eight Cabinet Ministers who took part in lengthy mediation talks at the Serena Hotel, ahead of the formation of the Grand Coalition government last year.

A statement from the Kofi Annan Foundation said the chairman of the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities would open the talks on Monday, before a closed-door session to be addressed by the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, Cabinet Ministers Mutula Kilonzo and James Orengo.

Others expected to speak at the meeting later on Tuesday are Justice Minister Martha Karua and Justice Philip Waki who chaired the commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence.

The talks will also be attended by international and Kenyan civil society representatives, academics, analysts, and journalists who were observers of the mediation process following disputed presidential elections in 2007.

The conference is expected to draw lessons from the mediation in Kenya that can be shared with the rest of the world.  It is taking place one year after the formation of the Grand Coalition government.

The Annan Foundation will be publishing the main conclusions and recommendations from the meeting.

Mr Annan had in February called President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to the meeting. The two however opted not to honour the invite to Geneva.

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At the time, the former UN chief – who negotiated the deal to end the 2007 post election violence – said he was concerned about the slow progress the government was making to carry out a reform agenda agreed upon during the Serena talks.

The Orange Democratic Movement had indicated that they would advise their representatives at the Geneva talks to push for the renegotiation of the National Accord, a power sharing deal signed between the President Kibaki and PM Odinga in February 2008.

ODM has accused it coalition partner the Party of National of Unity (PNU) of not honoring the 50-50 sharing of government positions as called for in the Accord.

PNU has however told ODM to put up or move out of the coalition, saying they were not ready to renegotiate the power sharing deal.


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