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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee