News 2008


ODM wants PM's post with executive powers, PNU says no


Nairobi - 12/02/2008

Nairobi, Kenya - Although hopes are rising that the Kenyan post-polls crisis will soon be resolved by the African Union (AU) and the UN-backed mediation panel, the two parties involved appeared far from being ready to restore peace to the East African nation if signals emanating from their camps are anything to go by.

The mediating panel, led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, said at an informal meeting with newly-elected members of parliament (MPs) that it had recommended the formation of a transitional coalition government pending fresh polls .

Annan said a political solution was imperative in putting to test the "difficult and complex" post-election crisis that has divided the country along ethnic lines, and expressed optimism that a mechanism to arrive at a permanent solution would be arrived at this week - possibly in less than 72 hours.

However, talks between the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Pre sident Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) appeared to hit tougher territory with both sides continuing to harden their positions on what should be the power-shearing deal.

ODM negotiators presented a proposal seeking the division of the constitutional roles of the president and sought the creation of the post of prime minister with executive powers to run the government while the president should remain amere head of state.

ODM is also seeking that elections should be held after two years after all the required legal and constitutional reforms have been undertaken.

The PNU negotiators opposed the creation of the executive premier, saying the post will be created but without any executive powers.

Kenya's current constitution gives all executive powers to the president who is also the head of state and government.

Efforts to create the distinction under a proposed constitution agreement at a forum in March 2004, known as "Bomas" - venue of the constitutional talks - failed at a referendum in November 2005 when the opposition successfully campaigned for its defeat.

Annan had announced that the talks had progressed well and a political deal to end the post-election bloodshed and torching of houses which has killed 1,000 people and displaced 300,000 was in the offing.