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Kenya president, opposition leader sign power-sharing agreement

Kenya president, opposition leader sign power-sharing agreement

Governments gave strong backing yesterday to Kenya's power-sharing agreement and promised support to help the country emerge from two months of ethnic violence sparked by a disputed presidential election.
Kenya's feuding politicians shook hands Thursday, smiled for the cameras and finally agreed to share power. But the real test for Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga is whether the reluctant partners can work together to heal a divided nation.
Under the agreement, the opposition leader will become prime minister and have the power to "coordinate and supervise" the government - more authority than Kibaki wanted to yield.
The bitterness between them runs deep, however, and both men have been lashing out at each other since the December 27 election. They have traded accusations about inciting violence, stealing the vote, and destroying the nation.
Kofi Annan, the mediator, had to prompt them to shake hands Thursday as the cameras rolled.
Still, a deal was signed, and the international community, that had watched once-stable Kenya slip toward political meltdown, rallied behind its leaders.
The parade of international figures who aided the negotiations - including Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the Tanzanian president and African Union head - indicated the importance foreign powers put on Kenya's stability.
While Kenyans welcomed the deal Thursday, there were also reminders of previous weeks' chaos. Police fired tear gas to disperse dozens who had gathered outside Kibaki's office to witness the signing.
It was unclear when, exactly, Odinga would take over as prime minister. Kibaki said he is reconvening parliament March 6 to begin work on the needed constitutional changes.
Their uneasy coalition will also have to work together to disarm militia groups and, most difficult, restore Kenyan's trust in their government.


Updated : 2021-03-08 15:31 GMT+08:00