News 2008


Protests at Muthaura’s power deal talk

Story by NATION Team

12. March 2008

ODM Tuesday told party supporters to ignore head of public service Francis Muthaura’s sentiments on the structure of the new coalition government.

Pentagon member William Ruto said it was not Mr Muthaura’s business to “try or even attempt to trivialise the agreement between President Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga”.

Safina leader Paul Muite also dismissed Mr Muthaura’s interpretation of the proposed power-sharing deal between President Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

He said the amended Constitution will ensure that executive authority will be shared between the two principals.

Mr Muite, a former MP for Kikuyu said the proposed amendments to the Constitution will provide the parameters of the power-sharing agreement.

On Tuesday, Mr Ruto said: “Kenyans should treat Mr Muthaura’s statement with the contempt it deserves.”

At the same time, Fafi MP Abdi Sugow of Kanu blamed Mr Muthaura for making such public statement on a delicate matter saying he should have send circular to civil servants. He was addressing a press conference at Parliament Buildings.

Mr Muthaura said under the coalition which is to be entrenched into law this week, President Kibaki remains Head of State and Government, the Vice-President is principal assistant to the President and leader of government business in Parliament while the PM will coordinate and supervise government functions under the authority of the President.

On Tuesday, Mr Muthaura was backed by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo, who said the PM will supervise government business while the President will head the government.

“We are not setting up a government within a government,” Mr Wetangula said.

Mr Wetangula and Mr Kilonzo said what was needed was an all-inclusive government and that the agreement signed by Mr Odinga and President Kibaki was about service and not power.

They added that deputy PMs will be drawn from the Cabinet.

But Mr Ruto said Mr Muthaura’s statement was meant to create disharmony and showed that “some people were out of touch with reality in the country.”

“The statement is uncalled for, unnecessary and contemptuous of the agreement that was agreed by the principals,” Mr Ruto, who is also the Eldoret North MP said.

He said it would be unfair for “us” to agree to agree on issues and fail to implement them.

According to the agreement, the prime minister is to be the leader of the party with the highest number of MPs.

ODM and PNU would further share ministerial slots according to their representation in Parliament.

Ministers nominated by ODM could not be sacked without consultation between the PM and the President.

A cross section of leaders Tuesday criticised Mr Muthaura’s statement.

Legislators, traditional and religious leaders from Western Kenya said that it was unfortunate that despite the power-sharing deal and pledge by the leaders that they would not make statements that would cause more chaos, the civil servant seemed to go against the grain.

Chairman of the Luo Council of Elders, Ker Riaga Ogalo wondered what could have prompted Mr Muthaura to make such utterances.

“To whom was Muthaura talking to or trying to explain the structure of the would-be government?” Mr Ogalo asked.

In Kericho, religious leaders and legislators said Mr Muthaura’s statement appeared aimed at scuttling the accord.

Through their spokesman Bishop Samwel Odero of All Nations Fellowship Church the leaders, who included Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) head Alhaji Abdullahi Kiptonui, Kericho Mayor Cllr Moses Kimutai Limo, his deputy Cllr Solomon Chepkwony and Stadium Ward civic leader Elijah Kipsalat Ruto said it was unfortunate that Mr Muthaura could make such reckless utterances.

They said President Kibaki and Mr Odinga should be the only people interpreting or explaining the agreement to the people of Kenya. “Kibaki and Raila should be the ones explaining or interpreting the accord, and not any other person,” said Bishop Odero.