All roads lead to Nairobi in the week beginning 21 January as international mediation efforts resume to try to resolve the three-week crisis in Kenya sparked by the disputed presidential elections of 27 December.
New talks will be led by a team of eminent Africans headed by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan. Other members of the team are former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who are held in high esteem by the main opposition party Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and their supporters.
The Ugandan president Yuweri Museveni, who doubles as the chairman of the East African Community and also of the Commonwealth, is also expected to help in the mediation efforts. However, he is likely to get a cold reception from ODM leaders for being the only African head of state to congratulate Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity (PNU) after he was declared the winner by the Electoral Commission of Kenya on 30 December. The ECK boss, Samuel Kivuitu, has since said that he still does not know who really won the most closely contested polls in the country's 43-year history.
African Union chairman and president of Ghana John Kufuor, South African Nobel Peace prize winner, the Anglican Arhbishop Desmond Tutu, and European Union development commissioner Louis Michel have already visited Kenya and held separate talks with the protagonists of the crisis, Kibaki and his defeated rival Raila Odinga of ODM, who believes the polls were rigged.
Recent mass protests by ODM have cost the country billions of shillings in lost revenue, wasted manhours and bad press locally and internationally.
The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have all threatened to impose sanctions on Kenya unless the crisis is resolved soon. Last week, the situation was debated by the European parliament and the British House of Commons.