March 06, 2008

Stepping Back from the Brink

In Kenya, it seems that the sparks may yet not ignite the kindling, leaving tragedy but avoiding cataclysm.

The Kenyan Parliament met Thursday for the first time since a power-sharing deal was struck to end a political crisis that had plunged the country into chaos.

Politicians from the governing party and the opposition spoke sweet words of unity — but the top leaders continued to sit apart from one another in the chamber.

“Honorable members, you must now become the ambassadors of peace and reconciliation,” President Mwai Kibaki told the lawmakers. “Please forget the history of what has happened, not because you want to put it aside, but because you want to do something much better.”

Only time will tell whether the political compromise that arose out of Kipaki's stolen election will prevent or only postpone disaster. Let us hope that Africa's Second "World War," which this conflict unconstrained would have become, can be avoided altogether.

Kofi Annan deserves plaudits for proving his dedication to the human security agenda that he championed as UN Secretary General.