David Miliband

Foreign Secretary

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Wednesday 23 July, 2008

Kenya: From crisis to leadership

The following report shows how the new Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has established himself as a distinctive voice in African politics - straight talking and clear. I am meeting him to survey changes in his own country since the crisis of six months ago that saw him broker a govt of national unity with President Kibaki (he's in London for talks with the PM). Kenya is not the political model for Zimbabwe's future, but it does show that new leadership can emerge to play a responsible role at home and abroad.

Taken from Associated Press:

Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga says Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe should step down

LONDON (AP) _ Kenya's Prime Minister says powersharing talks between Zimbabwe's president and the opposition should be aimed at getting Robert Mugabe out of power, not allowing the dictator to hold onto office.

Raila Odinga, in London to meet investors after a disputed election led to riots that killed 1,500 people earlier this year in Kenya, said negotiators at Zimbabwe's power sharing talks should recognize that the Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition party had won the first round of elections in March.

"Mugabe is not president, therefore we should not negotiate with Mugabe. We should negotiate with Tsvangirai who represents more Zimbabweans," he said at a talk organized by the London-based think tank Royal Institute of International Affairs held at the Houses of Parliament.

"But we should give Mugabe some face and let him leave smoothly."

Odinga said Zimbabwe could not be compared with Kenya, even though both countries suffered violence after a disputed election.

"Our election was well conducted, even if the count was not," he said. "The Kenyan economy is steady. Zimbabwe is in state of economic collapse because of inflation. And Robert Mugabe is not the same as Mwai Kibaki."

Kenya is usually one of the most prosperous and tourist friendly countries in Africa but it suffered more than $1 billion in losses after the post-election turmoil.

The violence subsided after Odinga's party agreed to form a coalition government with incumbent President Mwai Kibaki. Odinga said the country was now stable again. "Our nation is back on its feet. Kenya is up and kicking," he said.

Odinga will meet Britain's prime minister Gordon Brown Wednesday.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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I think its sad that kenya now has so many more MP's on the books - mugabe is just playing for time - his henchmen will not give up power they have too much to lose, sad truth is Zimbabwe could have been turned around if Mugabe & co was out, but every month that goes by, it becomes less possible. Sadly it will become just another African country surviving from handouts from the west. Also find it distasteful that they are shaking hands when so many of morgans supporters have had their hands cut off. I can only hope these 'talks' are real.

Posted by gill on August 08, 2008 at 01:23 PM BST #

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