Kibaki's minister says AU has no right to stop Kibaki from summit

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union has no "legal basis" not to rec ognize Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, who is expected at the heads of state summ i t despite the opposition's warning that such a move would upset AU- sanctioned po l itical talks.
Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said here Monday the 'embattled' Kenyan leader would arrive at an unspecified time to attend the AU summit slated to ki c k-off in the Ethiopian capital Thursday.
Speaking minutes after the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary-General An yang Nyong'o called on the 53-member political body not to recognize Kibaki as P r esident, Wetangula said he was legally attending the foreign ministers' meeting.
He said nobody had questioned his capacity as the duly-appointed minister, addin g that nobody has the legal basis to question Kibaki's legitimacy.
The AU meeting is expected to discuss Kibaki's contested re-election and has als o lined up important issues on its agenda, which might be over- shadowed by the p o litical crisis, originally meant to discuss Africa's industrialization.
A senior Kenyan envoy has confirmed the political crisis has been included in th e agenda of the meeting and has also featured prominently in the AU Commission P r esident Alpha Konare's agenda to the African leaders.
Sources disclosed Nairobi lobbied hard to exclude the issue from the agenda, but South African diplomats have lobbied to have the issue discussed at a special s u mmit to be convened soon specifically dedicated to the issue.
Wetangula said the Kenyan leader would be coming to Addis but did not state the date of his arrival, insisting that his schedule was unpredictable.
The statement came minutes after the opposition ODM asked the AU to slap sanct ions on the Kenyan leader.
Wetangula told journalists the AU "has no basis" to block Kibaki or either of hi s ministers from attending the continental meeting.
He reiterated that Kibaki was ready to negotiate with the opposition to help fin d a lasting political solution to the crisis.
He insisted the AU has no legal basis not to recognize Kibaki as the Kenyan pres ident, but the opposition has insisted such an action would plunge the on-going A U mediated talks into disarray and put the AU credibility into doubt.
"We are appealing to the AU to call its members not to recognize the illegitimat e government of Mwai Kibaki because he used the threat of force to have the Elec t oral Commission of Kenya (ECK) to declare him winner," Nyongo said.
"If the AU maintains the status quo, this would lead to the balkanization of Ken ya.
Any recognition of the government would negate the whole rationale for the AU- mandated international mediation efforts led by Kofi Annan," Nyongo said.
"It is imperative the AU does not take any action that would prolong the sufferi ng of the people of Kenya and undermine the union's strong attachment to democra t ic principles of free, fair and transparent elections," he added.
Nyong'o said the opposition believed Kibaki's government has been established by unconstitutional means and therefore should face the AU sanctions as is referre d to in the constitutive act.
The constitutive act mandates the AU to intervene on the situation to preserve p eace.
It also classified unconstitutional governments as one that rises to power as a result of interventions by the armed machineries or a government that refuses t o relinquish power to the winning party after free and fair elections.
Meanwhile, the European Union ministers have warned that massive aid cuts are pa rt of a strategy to force the Kenyan leader to negotiate with the opposition on a power-sharing pact.

28 january 2008 18:48:00




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