Kenyan president invites rival to face-to-face talks on disputed poll

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki extended an olive branch to the opposition leader Raila Odinga last night, inviting him to face-to-face talks about the disputed election result which has plunged the country in chaos.

His offer of negotiations this Friday about how to stop the violence, consolidate peace and forge "national reconciliation" came as the senior US official for Africa acknowledged that Kenyans had been cheated by their leaders, but urged them to "haul themselves back from the brink".

Jendayi Frazer, who has spent three days meeting the two rivals in Nairobi, pointedly refused to recognise the disputed re-election of Mr Kibaki, which has sparked violent clashes across the country and left the Kenyan people reeling. "They have been cheated by their leadership and their institutions," said Ms Frazer. "The political leaders have to stop the violence and they have to reform the institutions."

New figures released by the government put the number of people killed in the post-electoral fighting at 486. The police said the figure was 600, while Mr Odinga put the number of dead at closer to 1,000.

But hopes rose that the worst of the clashes might now be over, with the opposition calling off a series of rallies planned for today. The announcement was greeted with relief by many of their own supporters, who feared fresh protests would lead to more unrest. Mr Odinga said: "We are prepared to go the extra mile to bring peace to this country."

There were also signs of a breakthrough on the international mediation front. John Kufuor, the President of Ghana who is the current chairman of the African Union, was due to arrive in Kenya last night. Meanwhile, the Law Society of Kenya became the latest civil group to question the re-election of Mr Kibaki. It accused electoral officials of "dishonesty and ineptitude" and called Mr Kibaki's swearing-in "null and void". Kenya's new parliament, in which Mr Odinga commands strong support, will be convened next week.

His Orange Democratic Movement won 95 of the 210 seats, compared with the 33 won by Mr Kibaki's Party of National Unity.

One avenue still open to Mr Odinga is a parliamentary vote of no confidence in Mr Kibaki. However, Kenyan politicians are notoriously fickle and analysts believe the president's allies will try to buy support from smaller parties with the offer of government positions.

Much-needed aid arrived at displacements camps across Kenya yesterday. A convoy of food from the United Nations' World Food Programme arrived in the Rift Valley, where more than 100,000 refugees are living. More than 250,000 people have fled their homes to avoid clashes between rival political supporters, ethnic groups and the police, and 500,000 are believed to be in need of assistance.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin