KOFI Annan had more than his share of disappointments during his years as Secretary General of the United Nations but few of them can have concerned him as much as the reality of the situation in Kenya which he saw for himself yesterday. Earlier in the week, he had achieved what had been thought impossible in bringing President Kibaki and the opposition leader Raila Odinga face-to face. For the photographers and television cameras, these two bitter rivals smiled broadly and shook hands with each other and with Mr Annan. But even as they did so, their respective party supporters were disowning any understanding or compromise between them over the rigged elections which took Mr Kibaki to power. Yesterday, on flying visits to several parts of the country, Mr Annan saw for himself the terrible brutality that had followed the elections. He saw the mutilated bodies of victims and spoke with some of the thousands of displaced people. He told reporters accompanying him, “There needs to be fundamental changes to Kenya's institutions to prevent a repetition. We cannot accept that every five years or so this sort of incident takes place and no-one is held to account. Impunity cannot be allowed to stand.” Fine words, but the reality is that a form of democracy which had worked for almost fifty years, and was hailed as a model for other African nations, suddenly collapsed and the country reverted to tribalism.
With his unique background, what solution can Mr Annan, or anyone else, suggest?


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