Monday, February 11, 2008

Mixed Messages

Things are truly starting to look up in Kenya. However, despite last week ending with promises of a power-sharing agreement to be announced this week, this is the news from the weekend.

Odinga has given off mixed messages in recent days, telling supporters on Saturday that Kibaki "must step down or there must be a re-election - in this I will not be compromised."

Two days earlier, he indicated he would not insist on Kibaki's resignation, saying "we are willing to give and take."

On Friday, the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan struck an optimistic note after mediating negotiations between the two sides, and Odinga's own political party said a power-sharing agreement was in the works. Annan said he hoped to complete work on a settlement early this week.

But Odinga returned Saturday to the themes that have rallied supporters, repeating a comparison of which he is fond: "You cannot steal my cow, and I catch you red-handed, and then expect me to share the milk."

In Odinga's stronghold in western Kenya, his supporters have threatened to burn down his farm and a large molasses factory his family owns outside Kisumu if he returns as anything less than president.

And this article reports on the same event from the weekend, where Raila was speaking at a funeral.

Kibaki "must step down or there must be a re-election — in this I will not be compromised," Odinga shouted in East Africa's common language of Swahili.

One can only hope and pray that Annan can help the two parties this week to reach an agreement, and that they'd actually stick to that to which they've agreed.

I'm still very curious to see what's going to happen when the 300,000+ displaced people start returning to their homes. Some say they won't return. Other speak of returning.

The way forward is a long one yet.

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