Annan dismissed calls to meet presidential candidates

(Africa Review) - The chairman of the African Union Panel of Eminent Persons, Mr Kofi Annan, has rebuffed calls from a section of Kenya MPs that he should meet all presidential aspirants.

He said his mission in the country was to audit the national healing and track implementation of the National Accord and the new Constitution.

Speaking at Nairobi’s Parliament Buildings, Mr Annan, who was accompanied by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, said his panel was in Kenya to meet the two principals - President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the Speaker and the Chief Justice.

“We did not come to see the presidential candidates,” Mr Annan told journalists at the news conference in the Speaker’s office.

He added that “he was not sure” that the “presidential candidates had been determined”.

“The panel notes that a group of parliamentarians have addressed a Press conference in Parliament suggesting that the panel organises additional meetings during its visit to Kenya. The panel would like to reiterate that the purpose of its visit on this occasion is to review progress on the implementation of the Constitution and electoral preparedness,” said Mr Annan in a statement issued after the meeting with the Speaker, Mr Kenneth Marende.

The MPs had asked Mr Annan and his team to meet deputy prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta, plus Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and other presidential candidates.

He said the itinerary of the panel was to meet the team in the dialogue and the “agencies central to the full implementation of the Constitution and Kenya’s preparations for elections”.

Mr Annan also questioned the progress of Parliament in approving the law that will set in motion the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of all public officers, both elected and appointed, are not from the same gender.