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Kenya's opposition threatens mass protests

  • Story Highlights
  • Kenya's opposition threatens a "mass civil disobedience campaign next week"
  • They are calling for the prime minister's job and proportional sharing of powers
  • Government negotiators and their rivals had promised to sign a power-sharing deal
  • The political deal was intended to break the Kenya deadlock and end violence
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From CNN's David McKenzie
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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Kenya's opposition party says it will embark on a "mass civil disobedience campaign next week" if its demands aren't met in the intensive negotiations aimed at defusing the political crisis in the tense East African nation.

Kofi Annan: "I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel."

The lawmakers are calling for the prime minister's job and proportional sharing of powers in any new government. If the demands aren't met, the movement pledges to start its civil disobedience by Wednesday and will employ such tactics as work slowdowns to apply pressure in the talks.

Ababu Namwamba issued the statement Friday on behalf of lawmakers who believe talks between negotiators for President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who was in Nigeria on Friday, are being stalled by the government representatives.

Violence erupted in Kenya after the December 27 presidential elections, when incumbent Kibaki of the Party of National Unity (PNU) was declared victor. Odinga's backers said the election was rigged, and he and his supporters declined to recognize the election as valid.

The fighting that followed the election has broken down along tribal lines. Members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and the Luos, the tribe of Odinga, have been in the middle of the ethnic clashes.

Both sides have agreed to talks and eventually gave the go-ahead for the creation of an independent committee to investigate irregularities in the poll and suggest reforms.

But the opposition parliamentary group has been accusing the PNU of "procrastination and obvious time buying games" at the talks, which have been overseen by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The statement was drafted Friday when government negotiators failed to show up for negotiations, which the opposition said were being boycotted. Government negotiators arrived late, however, and talks were being held.

The lawmakers from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) also raised the issue of "self-determination" but didn't elaborate. Many of the ODM supporters live in the western region of Kenya.

"If there is any community in Kenya unwilling to co-exist with other Kenyans in a manner that reflects the popular will of Kenyans; then that community is at liberty to exercise the principle of self-determination as is well-enunciated in the U.N. Charter and other international legal instruments," the statement said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Raila OdingaMwai KibakiNairobiKenya

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