In Summary
  • The book, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, chronicles the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres that eventually brought back Kenya to its feet.
  • The former UN chief has observed with keen interest every major historic development in the country, including promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.

“The Lord had the advantage of being able to work alone”, is one of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s famed quotes, and one which he largely exercised during his gruelling 41-day Kenyan mediation exercise in 2008.

In his book, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, Mr Annan confesses he had to act solo “as some Lord of sorts” in order to save Kenya from the brink of collapse, following the bloody post-election violence of 2007 that left of 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands maimed and homeless.

MANOEUVRES

The book, one of the top diplomat’s recent texts, chronicles the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres that eventually brought back Kenya to its feet. Hiding behind his famous quote, Mr Annan observes in some crucial instances, a solitary mind works better than a group. And this is why, as he reveals, he suspended mediation proceedings at the Serena Hotel in late February and decided to confront Mwai Kibaki, who had controversially been declared winner of the presidential poll.

“Mr President, over 1,000 people are dead. It’s time to make a deal,” he told Mr Kibaki. “This was my last play,” Mr Annan writes.

ISOLATED

And many are the times when Mr Annan admittedly isolated members of the mediation team representing Mr Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and Mr Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), in order to realise a political settlement between Kibaki and Odinga.

Mr Annan accuses members of the Kibaki and Odinga teams at the Serena talks for sometimes placing “childish obstacles” in his way. The eight members of the negotiating team representing PNU were Ms Martha Karua, Mr Moses Wetangula, Prof Sam Ongeri, the late Mr Mutula Kilonzo and ODM’s Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr James Orengo and Mr Sally Kosgei.

FAILED STATES

And yesterday morning as he breathed his last in Switzerland, Kenyans were doubtlessly among those who were touched most by Mr Annan’s demise. This is because the United Nation’s seventh Secretary General spearheaded a most crucial effort that saved Kenya from joining the growing list of the world’s failed states.

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