Friday, December 19, 2008



December 19 2008

Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete has revealed the behind-the-scenes happenings that led to the signing of the National Accord, which ended the post election violence.
His intervention came at a time when the chief mediator Dr Kofi Annan had suspended the Serena talks over what he described as “agreeing in the morning only to disagree in the afternoon’.

He joined the talks in his capacity as the Africa Union chairman.
President Kikwete said: “When I arrived at the airport everybody looked gloomy and felt that I was not wanted.

“But during our journey to the town centre Foreign minister Wetang’ula told me that Kofi Annan had decided to suspend the talks and if he was to be seen at the airport leaving the country would plunge into a worse disaster.”

He noted that Mr Wetang’ula urged him to convince the former UN secretary General not to leave the country.
President Kikwete was speaking at Kenyatta University where he was given an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters). He said he headed straight to Serena Hotel where he met his predecessor, Benjamin Mkapa and the other panel of Eminent Personalities who briefed him on the development of the talks..

“Later the same evening I met the then opposition leader Raila Odinga and he gave me his side of the story and the following morning I met the president and the vice president in what was to be an hour’s meeting but ended up late in the evening.”

“I would like people to know that both leaders embraced dialogue that finally ended the stalemate. They were both ready for peace only few issues had not been ironed out,” added the President. President Kikwete added that they both later met and that the same evening they signed the accord.

“I urge all Kenyans to stay on the course of peace and reconciliation and added that people should be ready to settle their differences through dialogue.”

Others who were given honorary degrees were: Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka and Educationist Dr Eddah Gachukia.

The VP praised the Tanzanian president in his efforts to restore peace in Kenya and other African countries including Somalia, Sudan and Burundi.

“I was to recognise your efforts in restoring the East African community and the joining of Rwanda and Burundi,” Kalonzo said.

He was with wife Salma Kikwete with whom they have eight children.

The Chancellor, Dr Harris Mule, awarded him the award and described him as a “focused talented and dedicated leader. Internationally he has won accolades for fighting corruption especially in Tanzania. Internationally he is an icon of peace.”

More than 3,000 students graduated with Assistant minister for Higher Education Kilemi Mwiria, who gave a key note saying that 'Universities are symbols of national unity that should uphold integrity and shun tribalism’