Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised Kenya’s speaker of parliament on Wednesday for telling leaders of the fractious coalition government to end their feuding and get back to work. The administration was formed last year to solve post-election violence that displaced hundreds of thousands of people and hit trade and economic growth across the region.

annanBut to the growing dismay of Kenyans and foreign investors, many of its senior members have squabbled ever since. Annan, who led the talks that created the coalition, said he and other former mediators had followed with concern the deadlock over who would be the official leader of government business in parliament — as well as a separate debate over who would chair an influential parliament committee.

Parliament Speaker Kenneth Marende had been expected to rule on both issues on Tuesday.But instead he threw the decision back to the coalition parties, saying he expected they would resolve the issues “in good faith through consultation and willingness to compromise”.

Analysts said he was effectively forcing President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the former opposition leader, back to the negotiating table to hammer out the details of their power-sharing agreement. Annan and his former mediation team, Tanzanian ex-president Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, said it was a good move.


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