News 2008

 

Envoys support Kibaki’s gesture on grand alliance



Daily Nation

Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE and OWINO OPONDO

07. March 2008



The international community yesterday pledged to support the soon-to-be established coalition government to put the country back on the path of stability and economic prosperity.

The United States and German envoys said the opening of Parliament and the commitment of President Kibaki to the coalition accord were indicative of leaders’ resolve to stabilise the country.

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger and his German counterpart Walter Lindner were optimistic that both President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga had shown their determination to work together and implement wide ranging reforms that will place the country on a competitive economic and political pedestal.

Common ground

They saluted President Kibaki’s speech in which he outlined his determination to see through the clauses of the National Accord which he signed last week with Mr Odinga.

Mr Lindner said President Kibaki’s address depicted the spirit of coalition governments. “It truly showed the spirit of a coalition and it appears that they have already talked about the projects that they want to implement.”

In his address, the President regretted the post-election violence and revealed that the deal was signed out of their desire to listen to Kenyans.

The Head of State said coalition partners would harmonise their manifestos.

Mr Lindner said every grand coalition needed a common ground.

“That is exactly what we do back in Germany,” he said.

They had attended the State opening of the second session of the 10th Parliament which was summoned by President Kibaki to prepare the way for a coalition government and create the positions of prime minister and two deputies.

Mr Odinga, who attended the session in his capacity as the ODM leader and MP for Lang’ata, sat in the seat of the Official Opposition leader.

Reconciliation Bill

The two envoys were categorical that Parliament must move quickly and enact four Bills which were meant to create the coalition government and the posts.

Mr Lindner said the Bills—the National Accord and Reconciliation Bill, the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, the Establishment of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Bill and the Establishment of the Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya Bill —were urgent.

Mr Ranneberger said the US had committed Sh1.75 billion ($25 million) above its budgetary allocation in the country to assist in the resettlement of displaced persons and reconstruction.

Pledging similar support, Mr Lindner said Germany had given Sh232 million (euros 2.5 million) to help in the resettlement of displaced people and plans were at an advanced stage to increase the kitty. Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi said the deal should be anchored in the Constitution.

However, he said MPs should be mandated to elect the President in future. The minister argued that Kenyans largely voted on tribal lines “and that is why every community feels short-changed if their own member who contested the top seat is not the winner.”

“We should adopt a parliamentary system because voting in this country is ethnic and we cannot change that overnight. Let us abolish direct election of the President and let MPs play that role.”

Sabatia MP Musalia Mudavadi (ODM) was optimistic that MPs would unite to pass the Bills necessary to create the posts of prime minister and two deputies, and also implement the peace deal.

ODM Kenya nominated MP Mohammed Affey said the President’s speech “set the tempo for national reconciliation” and asked leaders to rise above ethnic biases and unite the country.

Government coalition Chief Whip George Thuo called on MPs from different political parties to fast-track the Bills proposed by the President for legislation. The MP also asked first-time colleagues to “prove that new brooms sweep cleaner” by mastering House rules of procedure and work harder.

ODM nominated members Millie Odhiambo and Rachel Shebesh said the speech was “comprehensive but did not have strong language on other important matters such as Affirmative Action and trafficking in persons.”

Ms Shebesh supported the Government’s plans to amend the Local Government Act to allow Kenyans directly elect mayors and chairpersons of councils.

Tigania West MP Kilemi Mwiria (PNU) asked all political leaders to respect the peace agreement.

“This experience (violence) has taught us a lot and we must make sacrifices for the sake of Kenya,” he said.

Livestock sector

Dujis MP Bare Dwale (ODM) praised the proposal to revamp the livestock sector.

Another ODM-K nominated MP member Shakila Abdallah asked all leaders to “work as a team” and pass as many Bills required for national reconstruction and healing as possible.

Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando (Safina) urged colleagues to urgently amend the laws to allow for direct sale of coffee by farmers and also revamp the tourism industry.

His counterpart from Mt Elgon, Mr Fred Kapondi (ODM), said the President’s speech adequately touched on issues agreed on by ODM and PNU.

Eldoret North MP William Ruto (ODM) described the 10th Parliament as unique noting that it did not matter who would be in Government as long as the necessary reforms were passed in the House and implemented.

Butula member Alfred Odhiambo (ODM) asked leaders to respond more keenly to public wishes and pass more Bills of national importance.

Mr Mutula Kilonzo of Mbooni said the Bills represented the totality of what negotiators agreed on at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel and would end violence if implemented.

 

 

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