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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 18:06 GMT
Call for Kenyan truth commission
A resident of Kericho in western Kenya holds her baby in front of burning houses, 3 February 2008
Houses in western Kenya are still being torched
Former UN chief Kofi Annan has called on Kenya to establish a truth and reconciliation commission to help end the crisis following disputed polls.

A similar body in South Africa helped shed light on apartheid-era crimes and ease tensions.

Mr Annan, who is mediating talks between rival political leaders, also said UN investigators should look into alleged human rights abuses in Kenya.

Political and ethnic violence has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless.

President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory in the presidential vote on 27 December, but the opposition says the vote was rigged.

Former UN chief Kofi Annan at press conference in Nairobi on 1 February 2008
Joint peace rallies should be convened by all leaders of parties
Kofi Annan
Talks mediator

At the weekend, scores more were killed despite an agreement signed by Mr Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

In another development, Kenyan authorities have lifted the live broadcast restrictions imposed after the election.

At the time, the government said it was imposing the ban to ensure public safety.

South African role

As talks resumed in Nairobi, Mr Annan called for "immediate measures to promote reconciliation and healing".

"Joint peace rallies should be convened by all leaders of parties to promote peace and reconciliation," he said.

My heart aches for Kenya. Your countrymen and women have suffered greatly
Bishop Desmond Tutu

A framework for the negotiations was agreed on Friday, but the man he hoped would lead the talks, South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, has been dropped from the mediation panel after Kenyan government objections.

Mr Ramaphosa played a key role for the African National Congress negotiating with South Africa's last minority white government.

Meanwhile, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, who led South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has appealed for an end to the "totally unacceptable" violence and called on Kenyans to back the talks.

"My heart aches for Kenya. Your countrymen and women have suffered greatly," he told the BBC.

"It is in your power to stop the violence if you act as one. You have an opportunity now to stand up for peace."

'At the brink'

The discussions are due to last a month and aim to halt the bloodshed within two weeks.

Displaced Kenyans wave goodbye in Limuru, near Nairobi, 3 February 2008
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee

The two sides are due to discuss the key allegations of electoral fraud this week.

Other issues that the two parties agreed to address are

  • the humanitarian situation
  • the political crisis
  • land and historical injustices

Mr Odinga has called for peacekeepers from the UN or the African Union "because the police have often been misused and we do not have faith in the army to be neutral."

But Mr Kibaki and his supporters continue to accuse the opposition of fuelling the unrest.

"This is a politically instigated situation," said information minister Samuel Pergisio.

"It is a process that requires these politicians to go back and speak to their people."

The unrest has blocked many of Kenya's main road and rail links, which are vital for Uganda, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region.

A delegation of Ugandan ministers has travelled to Tanzania to discuss importing goods via its port of Dar-es-Salaam, instead of Mombasa in Kenya.



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