flares over Kenya coalition on eve of debate
Mon 10 Mar 2008
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's fragile power-sharing deal to end a
bloody post-election crisis suffered a setback on Monday as a row
broke out over the role of prime minister in the proposed
President Mwai Kibaki and his rival Raila Odinga signed the pact
last month to end political turmoil which left at least 1,000
people dead and cost Kenya its reputation as one of Africa's most
The landmark deal will bring Odinga into the government by
creating a prime minister's post for him.
In a reminder of the tense ties between the two parties, Odinga's
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rejected on Monday a statement
outlining the structure of the coalition by the head of the civil
service, Francis Muthaura.
"The statement is causing alarm. It is mischievous. It could pose
a threat to the accord," ODM spokesman Salim Lone said.
Parliament is due to meet on Tuesday to debate legislation to pass
the deal into law and amend Kenya's constitution to make the
Critics said Muthaura's statement appeared to downgrade the prime
minister's role by saying the vice-president would remain the
principal assistant of the president.
"The interpretation of the accord should come out of a joint
meeting between the two parties that signed it," Lone said.
"This is the view of the head of the civil service. We do not take
this as the position of the president," he added.