Envoys support Kibaki’s gesture
on grand alliance
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Dujis MP Bare Dwale (ODM) praised the proposal to revamp the
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
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
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.