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Kenya's rival politicians sign agreement

Kenya's rival politicians sign agreement

Kenya's rival politicians signed a power-sharing agreement Thursday and shook hands after weeks of bitter negotiations on how to end the country's deadly postelection crisis.
President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga both claim to have won the country's Dec. 27 presidential election; local and international observers say it is unclear who won because of rigging. Kibaki and Odinga, both in blue suits, looked stoic as they signed the deal, side-by-side, to create the prime minister's post for Odinga that the opposition has been demanding.
"For the last two months, Kenyans have known nothing but sadness," Odinga said after signing the deal. He referred to Kibaki as "my countryman, President Mwai Kibaki."
Kibaki added: "This process has reminded us that as a nation there are more issues that unite than that divide us."
The election dispute set off street violence that killed more than 1,000 people and eviscerated the East African country's economy. Postelection violence has largely subsided in recent weeks, but the country remains on edge.
Kenyans were closely following the negotiations. In downtown Nairobi on Thursday, people were gathering anywhere they could find a television _ in hotels, outside electronics shops and in their homes.
The conflict has tarnished the reputation of this once-stable and prosperous country, bringing sharp rebuke from exasperated Western powers such as the United States. Diplomats from the U.S. and around Africa have jetted in to Kenya to urge progress, many of the exasperated by the talks' glacial pace.
Mediator Kofi Annan said earlier Thursday that "compromise was necessary for the survival of this country."


Updated : 2021-06-17 05:06 GMT+08:00