Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 17:24 UK

Kenya opposition urges restraint

Mwai Kibaki (L) and Raila Odinga after their meeting on 6 April, 2008
Raila Odinga (r) says delicate talks take time

Kenya's main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has appealed to his supporters to exercise restraint after violence broke out in the capital, Nairobi.

Mr Odinga suspended talks on forming a power-sharing government on Tuesday.

"It is better to take slightly longer and get it right then to rush it and make mistakes which will lead to regrets," he told the BBC.

Mr Odinga says he wants a 50-50 split in cabinet posts as promised by an accord to end post-poll violence.

Some 1,500 people died and 600,000 were displaced in January and February.

Meanwhile, the African Union has expressed concern about the political impasse.

ODM MPs: 102
PNU MPs: 46
Pro-ODM MPs: 5
Pro-PNU MPs: 61
Vacant seats: 6

"The delays in appointing a coalition government will inevitably delay a return to normalcy in Kenya, and is also of concern to the rest of the region," AU chairman Alpha Omar Konare said in a statement.

Mr Odinga, who under the agreement will become prime minister, also accuses President Mwai Kibaki of insisting that full executive power would remain exclusively with Kenya's presidency.

The president expressed surprise at the accusations, as he said the two men had been close to completing their discussions.

Mr Odinga says his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will return to talks with the government after it has agreed to its demands on a coalition government.

"I know people are getting impatient, but to negotiate matters of this nature takes time," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa.

He said the ministries are split into five "clusters" and they want them to be divided 50/50.

So far, ODM had not been allocated any position in the "co-ordination ministries" (foreign affairs, finance, local government and public service) or "security ministries" (defence, internal security, home affairs and immigration).

He also called for the ODM to be able to appoint some politically appointed permanent secretaries and diplomats.


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