Kenyan parliament meets to hear peace deal

Kenya’s president urged MPs today to pass the laws needed to enforce the country’s new power-sharing agreement as Parliament prepared to convene for the first time since the deal was signed.

Kenya’s president urged MPs today to pass the laws needed to enforce the country’s new power-sharing agreement as Parliament prepared to convene for the first time since the deal was signed.

The agreement, reached last week, binds together President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga after both sides claimed victory in the December presidential election.

Their dispute unleashed weeks of violence, killing more than 1,000 people and exposing divisions over land and economic inequality.

“I urge honourable members to bear in mind that the agreement is in the best interest of the country,” Mr Kibaki told opposition and government lawmakers in a special meeting hours before Parliament convened.

International and local observers say the presidential vote was rigged, and it is unclear who won. They also have accused politicians of stoking the violence.

No votes were expected in Kenya’s parliament today on the official opening.

But Mr Kibaki planned to outline the legislative agenda, including the two bills that are needed to enforce the power-sharing deal, one a constitutional amendment.

Much depends on how Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga, who attacked each other bitterly for weeks as the violence swept on unchecked, work together in the days ahead.

Under last week’s deal, Mr Odinga will become prime minister and have the power to co-ordinate and supervise“ the government which is more authority than Mr Kibaki wanted to yield.

The two men must try to help more than a half-million people who have been displaced from their homes and require food, water and medical care.

Kenya’s Red Cross has said it knows of at least 500 children who were separated from their families.

They also have to begin restoring one of Africa’s most promising economies which has lost up to £500m (€651m) through the turmoil.

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