January 31, 2008
H.E. MR. KOFI ANNAN
Mediation of the Kenya Political Crisis
RE: MEDIATION OF THE KENYAN POLITICAL CRISIS
The Quaker Church, whose solemn creed, faith and practice is the promotion of peace among humankind and nations, joins fellow Kenyans and friends of good will in welcoming your Excellency and your team of eminent persons to our troubled country. We pray and are confident that you will succeed in executing the enormous task of unlocking the current political impasse which has brought our country to the state of socio-economic and political paralysis. Our faith in you is founded on the premise that you have unlocked more intricate impasses elsewhere in the past.
The social repercussions of the indecisive result of the presidential elections of 27th December 2007 have been catastrophic resulting in heavy loss of life and property as well as national cohesiveness, trust and unity which the country has enjoyed for decades.
We congratulate you for having moved speedily to bring the protagonists to the negotiating table and thus creating the atmosphere for dialogue. It will, however, be appreciated that peace without justice can, at best, be only temporary. The cause of this nationwide conflict, discontent and rebellion cannot and should not be swept under the carpet. Justice, which comes with the unraveling of truth, has to be an essential part of the mediation. The majority in the nation wanted change and are convinced that they got it through the ballot box but were robbed of the victory. Many a cleric has been known to confer with State House since the crisis struck. However, press statements and even their Episcopal messages have almost exclusively focused on appeals for cessation of hostility to allow for peace to prevail. Little is said about the search for justice that was denied the aggrieved voters of the six out of eight provinces who continue to protest and lament the perceived injustice inflicted upon them. It should be noted that in the current constitution of Kenya, part of the winning formula for presidential elections is that the candidates must garner 25% of the votes cast in at least five of the provinces, which the two leading candidates more than fulfilled.
As a peace church for nearly 400 years, our PEACE TESTIMONY embraces refusal to fight with weapons of destruction affirming, instead, the righteousness of God and the sanctity of life, promotion of truth and justice, and, ultimately, peace. These same ideals form the bedrock of the United Nations mandate since its establishment on 20th October 1945 calling for abolition of war followed by promotion of peaceful means of conflict resolution, human rights, economic justice and good governance.
This complementarity of our Peace Testimony with the ideals of the United Nations earned the Quaker Church the Nobel Peace Price(1948) and, through its umbrella body, the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), special consultative status in the United Nations Economic Social Council in 1948. This was enhanced in the year 2002 to the general consultative status allowing it liberty to work on a broad range of international concerns. In its quest for world peace therefore, the Quaker United Nations offices (QUNO) in New York and Geneva were established while the Quaker Council for European Affairs maintains a brief on the subject for the European Union in Brussels. The Africa Section of FWCC operates on the regional level while in Kenya there has been established the Friends Church in Kenya Service Committee and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
It is, therefore, not an accident, Sir, that you, the immediate former Chief Executive of the United Nations system have been chosen as the Team Leader of the Eminent Persons for this crucial task. As Quakers we feel duty-bound spiritually and morally, to search for genuine, lasting and just peace. Although a window of opportunity for dialogue and mediation was seemingly opened when the two main protagonists shook hands and even shared a negotiating forum under your able chairmanship, they need to go an extra mile to win credibility of the skeptical masses who continue to agitate and bear the brunt of the conflict physically and emotionally.
Below are issues which are in tandem with the implementation of our Quaker Peace Testimony which we hope will be helpful. We wish to contribute to the negotiation process on issues on humanitarian aid, security, legal, political and constitutional spheres for a deep dialogue with a purpose of leading to a win-win outcome for wananchi of Kenya.
To this end we wish to propose the way forward as hereunder:-
(i) Efforts to care for the displaced, hungry, traumatized, bereaved and hospitalized should be set in accordance with the UN Standards and Procedures. These persons should not be put under pressure to return to their original homes before ensuring their safety and well being. Some casualties have tragically already occurred on being assured safe return.
(ii) The law enforcement agents who, in many cases have aggravated bitterness, destruction of property and loss of life by use of excessive force and live ammunitions should cease forthwith in order to guard the sanctity of life. The law enforcement agents should engage both sides in dialogue to encourage their supporters to keep peace.
(iii) The claimed existence of foreign troops in the country primarily from Uganda and deployed in Nyanza, Western and Northern Rift Valley should be thoroughly investigated and expunged from our country.
(iv) Credibility of leaders can only hold if confessions and assertions made are consistent with the admission of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya that he was pressured by PNU and ODM-Kenya to announce the results, as was witnessed nationwide on live media coverage. To do this requires a three-stage approach:
Since the truth of the tallying and re-tallying has been overtaken by events, then the right solution would be:
a) Dissolve the present government in favour of one based on proportional representation consistent with the weight of party representation in Parliament. This would be an interim government which would hold power for three months headed by the Speaker of the National Assembly while preparing for rerun of Presidential Election.
b) Rerun the Presidential Election with Hon. Kibaki and Hon Raila as the only candidates. The winner would form the government that would be recognized by the nation as legitimate.
c) Other presidential candidates who may feel aggrieved may also be included in the run-off should they want to participate in establishing the truth.
(v) Reconvene Parliament as a matter of urgency and in the interest of national harmony to put in place a new Constitution or an amendment which would allow for establishment of corresponding and stabilizing institutions.
(vii) Put in place short-term and long term mechanisms to tackle the problem of prevailing and historical economic marginalization along ethnic lines by facilitating equitable distribution of national resources including ownership and control of means of production, wealth and employment opportunities, as documented in the NEPAD Peer Review and the Final Report of The Constitution of Kenya Review Commission.
(viii) Replace, with immediate effect, voting cards with National Identification card for the purpose of polling at any national election to eliminate the wide spread incident of buying and destroying the voting cards by hostile and rich opponents at the polls. This would eliminate tampering with voter registers where names of electorate go missing. Consider the Australian example of making voting compulsory in order to eliminate the using of registered voters who did not cast their ballot as a top up for unscrupulous candidates thus making a travesty of democracy.
(ix) The ODM-K has accepted appointments in Kibaki’s Cabinet which, in the course of the current political impasse, is considered part of the problem and not part of the solution. You will note that this will compound the problem in the mediation process and add to the frustration of the, their inclusion in the mediation process and add to the frustration of the aggrieved masses.
(x) Once opened as a matter of national urgency, Parliament should put in the statutes provisions which would compel the judiciary to move with speed, in solving national problems such as the ones currently under discussion. The nation has lost faith in the judiciary as an institution for timely and impartial dispensation of justice in such a manner that it sounds insulting to be referred to as the courts of law for resolution of legal and political problems. With regard to electoral cases, the courts should give provision for the Chief Justice to constitute 3 to 4 specific courts to dispense with these cases within the first year of election.
(xi) Following the assassination of two Members of Parliament, the situation is volatile. It is imperative that the mediation process be speeded up. At this juncture the need for non-partisan international force under the guidance of the UN be brought to Kenya for peacekeeping.
(xii) We encourage you and your mediation team to give guidance on modalities of establishing mechanisms for reconciliation and peace-building, not only at the apex with the national leaders, but also down through to wananchi and the grassroots level.
(xiii) Examine the 2004 Bomas Draft of the Constitution with a view to finding answers to the present crisis. This draft contains the peoples views as collected and collated by CKRC and negotiated by the National Constitution Conference (NCC).
(xiv) From past experience we know the trajectory of where the events of the past months in Kenya are most likely leading to. They reflect the cases of Somalia and Rwanda. We also know that interventions in such situations have come when too much damage has already been done and innumerable lives lost. We propose that what Kenya needs badly today is a robust police force to restore law and order. The only weakness with Kenya’s police force in this crisis is that it is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the crisis. We propose that you institute an express process through the United Nations Security Council using your good offices as former Secretary General to bring in a United Nations police force in the shortest time possible. We suggest contributions from: Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, India and Australia.
We are committed to the foregoing views which we would like you to consider as viable options which would quell the current conflict and put in place a credible and acceptable government.
We wish your Excellencies every success in this challenging and noble task. Please Sir, accept the assurance of our highest consideration. GOD BLESS KENYA.
Midikira Churchill Kibisu
Nairobi Yearly Meeting
For FRIENDS CHURCH IN KENYA