Politicians must not rock the
March 12, 2008
A statement by the Head of the Civil Service on the power-sharing
deal rekindled disagreements we thought would not come so soon
after the political pact between President Kibaki and Prime
Minister-designate Raila Odinga.
Mr Francis Muthaura’s clarification on the structure of Government
— following speculation in the media about the roles of the
President, Vice-President and proposed Prime Minister — rubbed a
section of the Orange Democratic Movement the wrong way. So did
his comments that the February 28 National Accord and
Reconciliation Agreement did not include sharing of jobs in the
It is thus clear that the interpretation and understanding of the
agreement on both sides or sections of them are not the same. This
is alarming considering the violence and mayhem that followed the
General Election. Both sides of the political divide must weigh
their statements carefully and seek leadership from the principals.
Since the agreement was signed, the country has heaved a sigh of
relief. The closeness between President Kibaki and Raila has been
evident. The two hitherto protagonists, the Party of National
Unity (PNU) and ODM, have exhibited a thawing of relations and
even held a joint parliamentary group meeting.
The effect of these overtures on the nation has been phenomenal.
However, suspicion and mistrust are not far from the surface and
any misunderstanding, however, simple could explode into exchanges
that could inflame passions nationally.
We ask those jostling for and protecting their positions to be
aware of the bigger national picture. It is encouraging that a
six-member team, three from PNU and three from ODM, has been
meeting to harmonise the election manifestos of the major
The outcome will guide policy on the programmes that the coalition
Government will implement. In a way, each political party will,
therefore, influence policy and governance.
It is also important to point out that consultation is going on
over sharing of Cabinet portfolios. This is as it should be —
where consultation and dialogue take place, there is likely to be
an acceptable solution for the parties involved.
It is the hope of Kenyans, and this should also be the case for
political parties and politicians, that the deal works.
After what the country went through in January, politicians owe it
to the people to work together at dispelling misunderstandings and
If our leaders could only understand the fears and expectations of
the people, they would do nothing to rock the boat at a time when
the vessel has shown signs of smooth sailing.