The killing of a second opposition legislator — this time, by a policeman — heightens the sense of urgency for Kenya’s leaders — and African statesmen from around the region — over the breakdown of order in the east African country. One of the economic and social powerhouses of sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya’s drift into open ethnic warfare should simply be unacceptable to all friends of the region. Negotiations are of course essential, but a political settlement cannot be constructed out of thin air. To bring Kenya back from the brink, President Kibaki must unilaterally concede a good deal of his executive powers to his Odinga, who many independent observers believe received a raw (even rotten) deal following the Dec. 27 national elections.
African leaders often complain, loudly and bitterly, that they get no respect around the world. Now is the time to show that they deserve respect. Now is the time for them to set aside their vanities and trappings of power — and join the moral universe. Swift and pragmatic actions are required to restore Kenya to its rightful position in the world.