Saturday, October 11, 2008



October 11, 2008
The Standard

By Isaac Ongiri and Agencies

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have missed out on the most prestigious peace award that some western media-houses had bet they would win.

The two leaders will have to wait for their turn, if at all it would come; to join such celebrated African icons Nelson Mandela, Freidrick de Klerk, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Prof Wangare Maathai.

The surprise winner was Mr Martti Artisaari, a former President of Finland, "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts". He brokered peace in the Balkans.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Kibaki

Kibaki and Raila had been nominated for 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, alongside the African Union, because of the power-sharing deal they signed in February, effectively ending Kenya’s slide into full-scale war or even failed state.

On the global arena the winners of the coveted award include Dr Martin Luther, Mother Teresa and Dag Hammarskjˆld.

Also on the list was Zimbabwe’s Prime minister-designate Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change who beat Mr Robert Mugabe in the first round, boycotted the re-run, but finally bowed to pressure for a power-sharing deal with the man he has fought for most of his adult life.

Prof Ole Danbolt led the Norwegian Nobel Committee in declaring Artisaari the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo on Friday.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 to Martti Artisaari for his important efforts, on several continents for over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts," announced a statement, posted on the NNC website moments after the winner was revealed.

Artisaari became the 96th individual winner of the coveted award, which has also been won by 20 organisations, including the United Nations, since 1901.

International media had earlier projected a possibility of Raila and Kibaki who were joint nominees of this year’s award as possible winners.

Others placed their bet on the US$1.5 million dollar prize (over Sh70 million) on Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean opposition leader who won the first round of the country’s Presidential elections before the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission ordered a run off.

Before the announcement AFP quoted Oslo newspapers, as having set their eyes on a detained Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia.

The Associated Press reported Kibaki, Raila and the African Union had been considered following their role in restoring peace in Kenya after the disputed presidential poll.

Fighting for peace

An election dispute over the bungled presidential poll last year in Kenya led to the death of over 1,200 people and the displacement of about 500,000 before Kibaki and Raila shared power after a negotiated deal by another Nobel laureate and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

The Nobel Committee described the former Finish President as a man who dedicated his life to fighting for peace in the world.

"In 1989-90 he played a significant part in the establishment of Namibia’s independence; in 2005 he and his organisation Crisis Management Initiative were central to the solution of the complicated Aceh question in Indonesia.

In 1999 and again in 2005-07, he sought under especially difficult circumstances to find a solution to the conflict in Kosovo," the committee cited.

Artisaari’s role in the Iraqi conflict was also cited as having counted, enabling him to beat a host of nominees, who included former Heads of State, human rights activitists, and environmentalists.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has on several occasions awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to mediators in international politics. Today Artisaari is an outstanding international mediator," the committee went on.

The Finish has been on the list of touted Nobel winners for years after he successfully negotiated an end to a conflict that began over 100 years ago between the government of Indonesia and separatist guerrilla movement in Aceh.

Former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Irish rock star Bob Geldof, the Peace Jam Foundation, the environmental group Greenpeace; and American Jesuit Priest John Dear, were among the 197 nominees beaten to the prize by Artisaari.


Brian Barker said...
October 12, 2008 at 1:53 AM  

I regret that the much neglected language,Esperanto did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At least nine British MP's nominated this global language, for the Prize.

Within a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now placed within the top 100 languages, out of 6,000 worldwide according to the CIA factbook. It it the 17th most used language by Wikipedia, and it is in active use by Facebook and Skype.

Solid arguments for Esperanto can be seen on the Youtube video, by Professor Piron, a former translator at the United Nations.

If you have time please check