A setback for Kenyan peace

The refusal by Mwai Kibaki's government to accept Cyril Ramaphosa as a mediator in the Kenyan political crisis is a great setback for that beleaguered country.

Over a thousand Kenyans have died following the contested elections that all observers, except serving government officials, say were unfair and rigged.

Ramaphosa is a skilled negotiator who ushered in South Africa's constitutional democracy that is the envy of the world.

He was also instrumental in helping Northern Ireland find peace after decades of war.

Kibaki's people claim that Ramaphosa is biased towards Raila Odinga's ambition to be head of state. This is patently untrue and smacks of a no-holds-barred attempt to derail the peace negotiations.

This is a ruse by Kibaki to cling to power for as long as possible, right in the face of the mounting casualties and physical destruction of his country.

His actions mean that he is holding his country to ransom and the blood of his fellow countrymen is on his hands.

Ramaphosa is known for his calm under pressure. He is an astute strategist and his credentials have never been questioned.

Intransigence like Kibaki's makes it far more difficult for Africa to solve its problems on its own.