In Kenya, the contested presidential election results of December
2007 led to over 1,000 deaths and the displacement of some 300,000
others in waves of violence with a serious ethnic character. Earlier
this week the African Union-sponsored negotiations between Raila
Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and President Mwai Kibaki’s
Party of National Unity (PNU), led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, suffered a severe setback. Annan released a statement
expressing disappointment and insisting that it was up to Kibaki and
Odinga to reach an agreement. ODM’s frustration at the lack of
progress prompted the party to renew threats of mass action and
announce another round of rallies to begin on 27 February. Meantime,
today’s reports indicate the parties might have reached an
agreement. How real is the threat of renewed violence? What are
on-the-ground developments, particularly in the volatile Rift Valley?
Is a power-sharing agreement enough to de-escalate the situation and
resolve the humanitarian crisis? What additional role should the U.S.
and other governments play to de-escalate and achieve sustainable
peace? SNC hosted a field-based expert from the International Crisis
Group for a discussion on these topics. With an office in Nairobi and
field research staff, Crisis Group has been following developments
closely. Attendance at this event was limited to Congressional staff
due to security concerns.