ByScott Baldauf| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and Rob Crilly| Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitorfrom the February 29, 2008 edition
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya - After weeks of rancorous negotiations to resolve a postelection conflict that killed nearly 1,500 people, Kenya's two rival parties signed an agreement on power-sharing Thursday.
Under the agreement, President Mwai Kibaki will retain the position of president, although international observers and Kenya's own election commission have declared his election deeply flawed. Opposition leader Raila Odinga will become prime minister, although his powers are decidedly ceremonial.
The pact does not address such key issues as a new Con-stitution, land redistribution, and human rights violations. But with it, Kenya appears to be turning the corner toward a tentative peace. Now begins the work of making politicians set aside rivalries and greed to form a unity government and to urge ethnic communities that have massacred each other to make amends.
The power-sharing agreement may be the crucial starting point toward peace, but it is perhaps the easiest step. Many analysts anticipate greater difficulty in the days ahead, as the new Kenyan government of national unity takes up the more contentious issues, such as rewriting the Kenyan constitution, balancing the distribution of wealth and land ownership, reining in politically connected militias, and punishing those persons who have instigated or promoted ethnic violence.
"The danger here is that people will say we have an agreement, so let's carry on with our lives," says Jacqueline Klopp, a political scientist and Kenya expert at Columbia University. "The politicians have their agreement, but their militias and their supporters have not demobilized. Until we have some peace-building, some recognition that what we did was wrong, people are not going to just start going back to Eldoret."