Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Friday, 29 February 2008

Odinga pledges to rebuild Kenya

Boy walks through burnt-ourt shop
Many businesses were destroyed during the violence

Prime minister-designate Raila Odinga has told the BBC his priority will be to rebuild Kenya after a deal to end the two-month political crisis.

He pledged to help those who had been displaced, lost their property or lost their jobs during the violence in which some 1,500 people died.

Many Kenyans have been celebrating the power-sharing deal between Mr Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki.

But some of those displaced question whether ethnic hatreds can be healed.

"It's become a habit of saying 'peace, peace, peace' every now and then and after peace we see flames of fire," a woman living in a displacement camp in the western town of Eldoret told the BBC.

But in nearby Kisumu, Mr Odinga's home town, thousands of dancing and cheering people poured onto the streets to celebrate the deal brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Kenyans give their views on the peace deal

Mr Odinga also pledged to reconcile Kenyans, after the violence took on an ethnic dimension, forcing some 600,000 from their homes.

"You have seen the ugly face of ethnic confrontation in our country. I feel confident that the experience we have gone through has been a teacher and everyone is going to ensure that this coalition does succeed," he told the BBC's Today programme.

Negotiations between the government and opposition, which lasted more than a month, stalling several times, have resumed to discuss long-term reform of land ownership, the economy and the constitution.

These discussions are expected to last more than a year.

'Two kings'

Mr Odinga said the agreement was "just a piece of paper" - the most important thing was the will behind it.

New two-party coalition government to be set up
Cabinet posts to be divided equally between parties
Raila Odinga to take new post of prime minister, can only be dismissed by National Assembly
Two new deputy PMs to be appointed, one from each member of coalition

"It means we recognise Mr Kibaki as president and he recognises that there were some flaws in the elections," he told the BBC.

And, he said, the coalition had a lot of work to do - constitutional and legal reforms as well as land reforms to address "historical injustices".

"There has be to be trust and confidence developed on both sides. It is important for us to forge a firm foundation for a united country," he said.

But some doubt whether the two bitter foes can now work together.

In Mr Kibaki's home town of Nyeri, one man told the BBC he was against the deal:

"They're two kings sharing one power - that can never happen. You cannot have two husbands for one woman in one house."


Mr Odinga said he hoped for a new constitution within a year and fresh elections within two as Mr Annan had given the coalition a maximum life of two years, after which it should be reviewed.

After 8 weeks of uncertainty in the political atmosphere as well as peace, there is somehow a glimpse of hope and light to the beautiful land of Kenya.
Edward, Nairobi

The new coalition will be headed by President Kibaki, with Mr Odinga - whose Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the largest in parliament - set to take the newly created post of prime minister.

Each party will nominate a deputy prime minister, with other ministerial portfolios being divided equally between the two parties.

Correspondents say both parties are now likely to begin wrangling over who gets what position in the new government, with the post of finance minister likely to prove the most contentious.

After the deal was reached, Mr Annan said: "Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country."

He urged all Kenyans to support the agreement, saying: "The job of national reconciliation and national reconstruction is not for the leaders alone. It must be carried out in every neighbourhood, village, hamlet of the nation."

Speaking after the signing, Mr Kibaki said: "This process has reminded us that as a nation there are more issues that unite than that divide us."

video and audio news
Kofi Annan welcomes the deal between Kenya's rivals

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific