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by MONITOR
THE power-sharing agreement reached in Kenya between President Kibaki and the opposition leader Raila Odinga is a triumph for Kofi Annan who led the difficult negotiations and for Benjamin Mkapa, the former Tanzanian president, who worked closely with him. Against the odds they forged an African solution for an African problem. By accepting the deal President Kibaki has in effect accepted that the election which confirmed him in office was flawed. The new post of prime minister created for Mr Odinga will give him the “authority to coordinate and supervise” the work of the government and he has the security that he and two deputy prime ministers, can be removed from their posts only by a vote in parliament. This arrangement is the last element of a three-part agreement that provides also for a truth and reconciliation commission and an independent review of the December 27 election. If all this holds there is a real chance that the threat of renewed violence in the country will be removed in the short term and that in the long term the economy will recover and perhaps a new constitution be introduced. There is also, though, the reality that Kenya has undergone a traumatic experience whose effects in terms of tribal antagonism may last for a very long time. Kofi Annan was a distinguished Secretary General of the United Nations but it is doubtful if anything he did in that office was more important than saving Kenya, one of Africa's brightest hopes, from disintegration.