- After more than a month of painstaking crisis negotiation talks, Kenya's rival political leaders on Thursday signed an agreement to nail the country's bloody post electoral conflicts.
President Mwai Kibaki and the opposition leader Raila Odinga had thrown away their differences and expressed commitment to work together in a power-sharing government to development Kenya.
Although the level of violence had fallen in recent weeks, there were concerns that a failure to reach a deal would lead to a fresh round of blood-letting.
The negotiation talks, led by the former UN chief Kofi Annan, had stalled several times thus increasing fears that the country would still back to bloody political unrests.
President Kibaki would lead the power-sharing government while Mr Odinga retains the post of a Prime Minister. The deal will also see the creation of two deputy Prime Ministers.
The post of a Prime Minister was scrapped in Kenya a year after the country gained independence froml Britain in 1963.
The signing of an agreement had ended Mr Annan's frustrations. He said "compromise was necessary for the survival of this country", calling on all Kenyans to support the agreement.
"The job of national reconciliation and national reconstruction is not for the leaders alone. It must be carried out in every neighbourhood, village, hamlet of the nation," said Mr Annan.
President Kibaki said the beauty of the process is that it has "reminded us that as a nation, there are more issues that unite than that divide us."
He said they have been reminded to do all in their power to "safeguard the peace," which is the "foundation of our national unity.
For Raila Odinga, the "signing of the agreement had opened a new chapter in our country's history," thanking the Kofi Annan and the world for standing by Kenya during its "hour of need."
He pledged his party's undivided commitment to ensure that the agreement succeeds.
The international community lauded the positive development, hoping that coalition government would raise Kenya's peace and diplomatic profile and heal the wounds caused by political instability.
A dispute over Kenya's controversial presidential election results led to angry protests, which later turned into "ethnic cleansing", resulting to the killing of over 1,000 people as well as displaced tens of thousands.
The unrests have also left its mark on the economies of the entire East Africa region because most countries largely depend on Kenyan ports for the importation of their goods, including fuel.
Until the recent crisis, Kenya had been the largest economy and oasis of the conflict-ridden region.
Meanwhile, the two sides resume their crisis talks on Friday focusing on other crucial issues such as land and constitutional reforms and economic disparities among different Kenyan communities.
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